It's the year 2013 and Mother Nature has decided that she is tired of the humans mistreating her Earth. She takes all the polution and bad energy and throws it back at the humans. Some humans are not able to take the energy and they die. Some become... different. They change into something else. Some gain powers. Some become dark. Many people take out on their own, but other survivors ban together. A small group of survivors ban together in an attempt to fix the Earth. Can they fix this Hell they have been brought into...?


14. Chapter Thirteen: Newcomer

Kate yawned rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Riley had always found her way to Kate, pouncing onto her as the sun awoke. Now Riley was dragging her down a path that led to the exit of the ruin city. Kate was sad to depart. It had been homier than the rest. But Riley, Vaann, Lyllina and Marissa were practically running out of the city.

                Kate didn’t understand. Why leave so soon? There was something waiting for them, just over the horizon! A doomed fate. Her skin crawled at the thought. They were truly no match for the Mother. Kate was so nervous she could hardly breathe. It was Riley’s voice that pulled her from her Dark Place.

                “Wow, this place is so dull…” The petite girl said, glancing around her with wonder stricken eyes. “I remember it used to be so vibrant with life. The last time I came here, I mean.” Her eyes were suddenly coated with such sadness that Kate’s heart hurt. She gave Riley’s hand a light squeeze.

                “What?” Vaann asked, like Riley had pulled his attention from elsewhere too.

                Kate and Lina seemed to stiffen at almost the exact same time. Kate whipped her hand from Riley’s, grabbing at her head. Lina rushed to her side, catching her before she could fall. The vibrant colors filled Kate’s head, sending her the visions she never wanted. The visions she loathed. As Kate took in the silhouette of a figure in her mind, she froze. The figure turned to stare at her. Its eyes landed on hers and a familiarity rushed through her.

                It was the boy…

                Before the light could show his face, Kate’s eyes snapped open and she was gasping for breath. She pushed out of Lina’s hands, almost smack into Vaann. They both stumbled back as he threw out his arms to catch her. She only crashed nose first into his chest.

                “Ouch…” She said rubbing her nose. She looked up at him blushing. “Oops… sorry.”

                “S’okay. But tell me about this presence.” Vaann said, turning his gaze back to Lina.

                She could sense it too, Kate thought.

                “Presence… hasn’t… pew!” Lina wrinkled her nose in disgust. “-hasn’t had a bath since before this happened.” She stuck out her tongue and giggled.

                Kate lifted her nose to the sky and sniffed. The person didn’t smell that bad. But he wasn’t to…. Peachy…. Either.

                Vaann laughed, “But, seriously. Someone else is still alive?”

                “Lucky enough to be alive. There is hardly any food here!” Riley added quietly.

                “Smells that way,” Lina said. “Can’t you smell it?” She plugged her nose gently.

                Kate had heard enough. Her feet stumbled forward into the brisk morning air. She shivered as she remembered the path of her vision. East. She had to find him. So close…

                “Kate? Are you alright?” Kate looked down at Riley. Almost like her sister. She wished she really was. It would be nice. Better than Anisa at least.

                “No, not until-“ she cut off, staring around. This was it. Her breath halted as she saw the figure just ahead. She was certain it was him. Her heart was racing. He was sneaking around the corner, scavenging for anything that could be used to survive.

                “Where’d they go?” Vaann’s voice rang in her ears, but his words sounded like mush to her. He stepped up beside them, staring as well.

                “Hello?” Kate called out gently.

                The moment he turned around and met Kate’s eyes, she was burning. Her heart was racing at the pace of a hummingbirds wings. One half of his body was all black, his one eye red. The other side was white with a sparkling blue eye.

                “What the hell are you?” Vaann whispered under his breath.

                “I don’t know,” Riley answered Vaann with a giggle as she stared.

                The man and Kate couldn’t even hear them. They were trapped within each other. As intense as his stare was, Kate couldn’t bring herself to look away. It was only them, like the rest of the world had fallen away.

                Could he feel it too…?

                Lyllina stared at Kate for a second before she plugged her nose. Vaann watched uneasily.

                “This is great, Vaann!” Riley said, pulling at his arm. His gaze left Kate and landed on Riley. “We can have another person on our side!”

                He looked away from Riley, glancing back to the new found man. “How am I supposed to make a racist joke here?”

                Kate finally pulled herself away and took another step forward. “Hello?”

                “Why should you? That would be rude! He’s lucky to be alive, as are you,” Riley snapped, smacking Vaann’s arm.

                “Ouch! I was joking. All jokes aside, that’s pretty bad-ass.”

                The man backed away slowly, his eyes never leaving Kate. “Why are you alive? You shouldn’t be alive…”

                “No more than you should,” Kate said reaching out her hand.

                “We are lucky, just like you.” Vaann said.

                “Everyone, back up! Don’t crowd him,” Kate said glancing back.

                “If he’s not just lucky, this could get dangerous, like our encounter with Zack.” No one seemed to notice Vaann’s sudden tension; he hid it well. He talked calmly, but his palm was sweating.

                The new man stared at each person individually before giving a small nod. “I see… you’re just going to hurt us, right?”

                Vaann stared at him unsure. Could they trust him? Who was this oddly shaped being? As he stared, he realized he wasn’t just one person. He was two… the pollution? Something that had to do with the Toxins.

                “We won’t, unless you attack first.” Vaann said taking a quick breathe to steady himself.

                Why was Kate looking so dazed?

                Vaann felt slightly uneasy.

                Kate smiled at the strange new comer. Not one of her guarded smiles, Vaann noticed. A real smile that stretched across her face, her eyes lighting up. Like she was suddenly happy, truly happy. He yearned for that happiness she felt around this stranger. The atmosphere was even lighter. Vaann only felt that relief, that happiness around one person…

                He tried to focus back in on Kate’s babble as he shook his head.

                “We won’t hurt you if you won’t hurt us.” Kate said sweetly.

                “Nope!” Riley added skipping up beside Kate, smiling at the guy. Riley, he could understand. She could open easily… but Kate… “Come on you two, get over here and join us.” Riley’s voice was warm and enthusiastic. Marissa just nodded in agreement. She stayed close to Vaann’s side, her friend just too close to him for comfort. For all of their comfort.

                Vaann and Kate moved at the same time, almost like magnets. Kate stood in front of the man, smiling.

                “Yes, join our group!” Vaann could hear the smile in her voice, but her nerves were visible in her tight muscles.

                Vaann slithered his hand passed Kate, leaning around her. “I use my bow for protection, not violence, friend.” He stared at Kate when she didn’t flinch or blush and retreat as usual. As a matter of fact, he saw her eyes were locked with his as Vaann growled internally. Why was she so enchanted by him?! “Move, Kate, you’re ruining my entrance!”

                His eyes flickered from Kate’s to Vaann’s as he snapped at her. Vaann could feel the hatred in that glance.

                “Shut up, cry baby!” Kate growled, looking to Vaann.

                “Entrances don’t matter, Vaann.” Riley said with a role of her pale blue eyes.

                Vaann glared down at his feet, feeling oddly out of place. “I’m the leader here!”

                In the silence that followed, Vaann realized just how childish he had sounded.

                The man suddenly slapped Vaann’s hand away. As Vaann stared at him, he noticed that, in fact, he was not a man at all. He was at least a year or two younger than himself. His mutation gave him the illusion of age. The boy looked in Lyllina’s direction.

                “Stop that,” he muttered.

                Vaann felt his pulse quicken. His eyes widened as he tried to comprehend. Kate could sense his distress and touched his arm gently. Then it hit him. Only Kate could feel Lina invading her head. But this…. This new one… he could feel her, too. As he glanced between Kate and the boy, he saw a connection that was lost quickly, pushed into the back of his mind.

                Come back, what was it?

                “Wait, you can feel her?” Vaann said, voice his utter confusion. “None of us can do that except Kate.”

                Vaann saw the two meet each other’s gazes immediately.

                Lina suddenly stood and walked over, claiming her spot beside Vaann. He felt relief at her presence, just not enough.

                The boy stared at Kate, like he was giving her a silent begging. “She’s in our head. Get out of our head!”

                “I asked her as a precaution,” Vaann said taking an uneasy step forward. Lyllina mirrored his actions unconsciously.

                Lina tilted her head. “Why so tense?”

                At first, Vaann thought she was talking to him, but realized she meant the boy. “I’m sorry, but after our last encounter with a survivor, I don’t want to take chances…” Vaann said, clenching and unclenching his hands in a nervous twitch.

                “I’ve never seen any of you before…” His eyes flickered from Lyllina to Kate and back to Lyllina after lingering up and down Kate, giving her a once over, learning her shape, her curves. He had stopped at her face, learning the shape of her full lips, the cute nose and her haunting green eyes. Every time he looked into her eyes, he burned. He yearned to be in their gaze, to stay trapped in their mossy color. “You’re trying to destroy my mind, right? Eliminate a theat.” His eyes came to Kate and he felt a longing deep within him, tied into a tight knot in his center. His words tumbled from his lips and the knot choked him. “Are you with the Mother?”

                He could easily see that the short blonde felt it too. Her lips were parted in wonder, yet she shook. She took a deep breath to steady herself as he exhaled in turn.

                Kate inhaled deeply again, trying to release his gold, but it was too strong. She flushed under his intense gaze. “With the Mother?! Hell no!” She laughed shakily and very nervously.

                “You know the Mother, too.” Vaann said, watching the two carefully. “I think you’re on our side then.”
                “No, I sincerely am not with the Mother.” Riley said, holding her hand over her heart, almost like she was pledging.

                Lyllina glared toward the stranger, obviously not a big fan. It would take time to get used to him… “Destroy your mind?” Lina said, pretending to sound offended. “If I wanted to, you’d never sleep again!” She stared daggers toward him as she hissed the threat between her teeth. He stiffened, hearing the hostility in her voice.

                The boy felt warmth flush through him, which he questioned, as the blonde girl smiled up at who he guessed to be the leader. “Cool, another guy besides Dark! Awesome!”

                The leader nodded and gave a small smile back to her. The boy felt uneasy. The leader looked back to him. The unnamed one. “Lyllina won’t destroy your mind. We won’t hurt you unless you attack us.” Vaann repeated himself again. Always repeating himself…

                The boy scoffed as his gaze flickered from Kate to Vaann. “Same as us, funny. Now, stop faking emotions before I really make you wish you hadn’t come.”

                Vaann tensed, his hand twitching toward his knife, which wasn’t there. He cursed under his breath before casually crossing his arms. “I wouldn’t if I were you. If you can read our minds, do so and you will learn the hell the Mother has put us through.”

                Kate felt her heart squeeze and blurted, “I’m not faking.” She regained herself and gave a sheepish smile. Where had her control gone? What was it about him that made her so…

                Familiarity rushed through Kate again as she met his soft gaze. She could feel her cheeks fill with heat and her pulse sped up. She kept her mouth clamped shut, feeling like she would be sick. She didn’t like this new feeling, though it kept drawing her in. Like him.

                Vaann peeked at Kate and dismissed her words easily. “If I wanted to hurt you, I would do so from a good distance away. I’m not good at fighting without my bow.” He admitted giving a slight awkward smile.

                The boy stared at Kate as he spoke. “At least one of you is honest…”By his tone, he had obviously not been talking about Vaann. It was like Kate and this new comer had a connection already.

                Or maybe a…

                The boy sat on the ground. Still name-less. He crossed his arms impatiently. “And I don’t read minds, but I can. At least for a short while, I can sense your thoughts.”

                Everyone looked to Kate as she stirred uneasily.

                The boy’s gaze said ‘especially you’ as it burned into Kate’s shadowed face.

                Her thoughts must be loud, like she’s screaming, Vaann thought to himself.

                “If you do not wish to join us, we shall take our leave.” Vaann said, gesturing for the group to leave.

                Kate felt her heart sink and sunk to the ground beside the boy. “I saw him in a vision, I’m not leaving him.” Kate could feel his gaze burning into the side of her face and flushed.

                Riley hopped toward the two, taking each step carefully, trying not to fall. “May I sit next to you?”

                Vaann turned away from them, keeping his back to them. “No objections, whether you saw him in a vision or not. What he does is his decision, not ours. I don’t want a fight.”

                The boy looked over to Riley emotionlessly. “Yes, you may.”

                Vaann smiled to himself and strolled toward Lina as Riley plopped down on the opposite side of the boy. She didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Kate wondered what went on in that mind of hers; up in Riley Land.

                “I, for one, am not going to fight him, but I have to stay with him. Sorry, I saw him. That means he’s in my future.” Kate said crossing her arms like the hard head she was.

                “I knew it would work. They would never leave someone.” Vaann said looking to Lina. “And he’s not with the Mother, so they are safe. I trust him for now.” Lina nodded as she listened to him blab on in his thoughts. He leaned up against the wall, looking at them as Kate played with a strand of her own hair. “He survived, he must be special. The only reason any of us are here is because we were a group. He was alone…”

Kate’s POV:

I dropped the strand of hair I was playing with. I needed something to keep my eyes from traveling to this stranger. Everything about him was so foreign yet so homey. I wanted to drown in his comforting atmosphere. It was hard to explain.

“Sorry if I’m bothering you. Vaann says I’m annoying.” I said as I watched Lina and Vaann standing just a distance away. Marissa was relaxing under a tree.

“You could never bother me!” His voice was urgent yet soft. “Don’t you ever listen to him. He’s wrong. He doesn’t understand you.” I stared up at him. His eyes added a silent ‘not like I do’. His face became guarded and confused, almost like he wasn’t in control of himself. “Don’t stop talking. You’re extremely interesting.” He said with a smile.

I blushed and looked down, smiling slightly. “Thank you. But I’m not sure what to say.”

He looked around thinking. He smiled at me. “So, you have visions?”

“Yeah, I get them…” I said looking down. “They aren’t fun… they hurt. A lot. So, seeing you was painful, but now you’re here.” I said with a light smile, trying to hide my cringe as I remembered the paralyzing pain. The pain only got worse.

“Is there any way to make them not hurt?” His voice was light and soft. I stared into his eyes, lost in thought. His left eye, the red one, was almost sadistic and happy for my pain. His right eye, the beautiful blue one, looked upon me with sadness.

“I wish. But it’s nothing, I can deal.” I said looking down with another cringe.

His voice was deep and dark, causing me to look up at him. “You lie… but that’s okay. I enjoy watching people suffer.” A grin stretched across his face, showing razor sharp teeth. “The last survivor I saw, he claimed me a demon. I ripped his head from his body and threw him with the res-“ His voice cut off and was replaced with a smaller softer voice, the one with the accent. Almost sounding like a scared child. “Please don’t tell that story…”

“There’s no way that I know of,” I said in confusion. I let out a small laugh. “I forgot you’re two people. I will have to get used to that, huh?”

“In that case, we leave him and hope we can end this before She ends him.” I shivered as I caught the last part of Vaann’s conversation. He was obviously speaking of this boy and the Mother. The thought of him not beside me anymore made my heart throb sadly.

“You shouldn’t leave him, Vaann!” Riley said, tears filling up in her eyes. “That’s cruelty! Think if you were him! How would you like it if you were left here?”

“I guess you will…” He said staring up at the group, catching my attention again. His voice lowered to a whisper. “Don’t let them leave us…” He said looking to me. “We could barely survive, we ran out of supplies.”

I reached out touch his arm gently with a smile. “Even if they leave, I will stay with you.” Like I have a choice, I thought.

“We all know what it’s like to be alone here, Riley.” Vaann said, but he didn’t know the half of it. I was always alone. “We all started that way. None of us are exempt from that hell. I offered friendship, it’s his choice now.” He crossed his arms as he watched Riley. I wanted to smack him. He could be so….ugh!

“I will go with you.” He said, silencing my thoughts. I jumped. “I know things they do not. Besides, I’m one- … two people, and I’ve survived the Mother’s wrath.” I just smiled at him, unsure of what to respond with. Sorry you encountered her, but I lived with her so I know how that feels and I can’t say it was the best. Yes because that would totally help.

“Then, welcome to the group.” Vaann said walking over. I flushed as I realized he had been listening. “Glad to have you with us.”

“Thank you,” he said making no move to smile or acknowledge Vaann. His voice was just flat and emotionless, like his face. Then he glared toward Lina. “We don’t like that one… she won’t bother me, right?”

“No, she won’t, as long as you don’t bother her.”

I smiled to myself and giggled. “My visions rock sometimes.”

“I wouldn’t bother a fly.” The boy said grinning darkly. It sent an adrenaline rush and pure fire through my veins.

“Vaann? I’m going for a stretch.” Lina called over. “I’ll be back.” She jumped up onto a building and started scaling it before hopping out of sight.

When the boy watched her leave with an evil look, Vaann took a slight step closer.

“We all protect each other, she is no exception. Lyllina is a good person. She was only in your mind to make sure you weren’t going to hurt us. She won’t go in unless I give her permission. Which I only usually do if I see it needed. None of us will hurt you, I promise.”

“She’s not bad! She’s quite nice.” Riley said smiling down at us.

I stood and offered him my hand. “Stick with us and you’ll be fine.” He smiled and took my hand. The moment our hands touched, static seemed to rush up my arm and we both gasped. When he was standing, we both pulled our hands away blushing.

“Oh, we haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Vaann, the leader of this group.” Vaann said holding out his hand.

“I’m Riley!” Riley giggling latching onto the boys arm. Rissa was asleep under the tree now.

“If you ever suggest hurting us, I will personally-“ His voice was dark again causing me to smirk a bit. “Ignore him.” The boy took Vaann’s hand in his strong grasp. “I can’t really give a name for myself.” He looked to Riley. “Um, hi…”

He didn’t have a name…?

“That’s Riley, the youngest.” Vaann pat her head, causing her to giggle and smile. “But probably our best spy. She can create illusions. That’s Marissa, our healer.” He said pointing to her sleeping form.

Riley let go of the boy. “Here, watch!” She walked about ten paces away before turning around and completely disappearing as she blended in with the back ground behind her. I could just make out the ripples as she snuck toward the boy who looked around confused. A shriek made us jump.

“You will have to excuse me,” Vaann said looking in the direction of the scream. “Kate, keep everyone here.” I nodded as he walked off. I stared around looking for the ripples.

“Boo!” Riley said from behind us, making me squeal.

The boy yelled out with a jump and decked Riley right in the face. “Don’t do that!” He shouted gasping.

Riley fell back as she cried out holding her nose. “Ow!”

“Riley!” I said rushing over and kneeling down beside her. She grinned up as me showing her nose. It looked alright… besides the blood….

“I’m so sorry…” The boy said staring down at us in pure horror.

“Riley, don’t scare anyone, okay? I’m not trying to be mean, but after all this…” I gestured around us. “I don’t think it’s the best idea…”

“It’s okay! I shouldn’t have done that in the first place.” She nodded and smiled at me. I reached out my hands, which she took gladly. She rubbed her nose gently, gripping onto my hand with her free hand. The boy just looked down.

My hand slipped from Riley’s as I walked toward him taking his hands in mine, entwining our fingers. “Hey, it’s okay…” I smiled sweetly, not totally sure what I was actually doing.

“I’ll get better soon.” Riley said, patting his shoulder with her non-bloody hand.

I dropped his hands and he frowned. I pulled at the bottom of my shirt, gaping at how much fabric was already gone from my constant ripping. I walked toward Riley with my chunk of cloth. “Tilt your head back, sweetie.”

She titled her head back giggling. “Oh, lala! I see a tree behind me!” She said in a sing-song voice. “And it rhymes!” I giggled as I dabbed gently at her bloody nose.

“No, forward. Tilt your head forward!” He said shaking his head. “Do you want to choke on your own blood?”

“Tilting your head back is how you stop a bloody nose.” I said as my eyebrows pulled down in confusion.

“Wait, what?” Riley chirped in confusion. I held her head back with a smile and sighed when the blood stopped.

“Good as new.” I turned to the boy as I discarded the bloody cloth. “Wait, so you don’t have a name?”

“Well, no…”He said with a frown.

“Hmm… maybe we could make you one.” I said, sifting through my mind.

“What were your names before?” Riley asked.

“Demetrius-“ The softer voice said. I felt a small smile flash across my face. My grin turned dark when his voice got darker and deeper. “Sebastian.”

“Time to get Riley-fied!” Riley said sitting down to think.

I smiled as the name came. It was perfect. “What about Duo?”

“Duo?” He questioned, raising his eyebrows.

“Mhmm! Because you’re two people in one!” I with a smile, placing my hands on my hips with a nod.

“May I call you Deti?” Riley asked with a smile.

“Eh... I like Duo. Duo’s good.” He said smiling at me.

Finally, a name for him. Duo.

“Then, Duo it is!” I laughed smiling, covering my mouth.

“Wait, which is my name?” Duo said looking between Riley and me.

“They’re both of your names! Deti is just you old names formed into one.”

“Your name is Duo. Deti is just Riley’s nickname for you. What is everyone else’s?” I asked.

“Lyllina is Stardust, you’re Kane. Vaann is Vion, Marissa is Marold.” Riley giggled.

“Oh…” Duo said, still obviously confused.

Riley snuggled into Duo’s arm and I was shocked to feel anger. “That way we can both be satisfied, Kate! Are you satisfied, Deti?”

“S-Sure…” Duo said, but it sounded more like a question.

“Yay! That’s all I really wanted to hear. Well, meaning you’re okay with the names.” Riley said.

“She’s twelve, forgive her.” I said with a giggle to hide my anger. “Riley, hun, personal space.”

“Kate, hun, I know. He needs some love at the moment,” she said smiling.

I could give him love if… I trailed off that thought blushing crazily. What was I thinking?! Duo made no effort to hide his discomfort.

“Yeah, it’s okay…” He said staring down at Riley.

“Besides… it’s so soft… like a pillow…” She said snuggling closer to him as they both sat down slowly. He looked etremly unsure. I could see Riley dozing off.

I sighed rolling my eyes. “I know he needs love, Riley, but I’m not sure he wants to be a pillow.” I gave Duo an apologetic smile.

“I’m soft…?” Duo stared at his other arm which was mostly skin and bones before letting out a sigh.

“Yeah, yeah…whatever.” She said with a big yawn.

Duo and I glanced up as Vaann walked out of the trees. I smiled at Duo, cursing myself internally.

Why did he make me feel like I was light as a feather…?

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