Reason For Living

If one finds that life has no more to offer, is he obligated to carry on? If one feels that he is undeserving of life, must he be forced to finish it? And what if he believes that the world would be better off without his existence; should he be forbidden to desire the release of death? Many a person has wondered such things, most not able to draw a conclusion. In fact, Frisk had been tormented by those very questions, her being of the majority, without a glimmer of an answer. Though one day when her deepest fears became reality, she found herself face to face with them once again. But this time, she couldn't put off her response. She found no reason for living, so was she required to continue her futile life? The time had come, where she would finally have to make her decision. However, whether her choice was wise or foolish, that judgement is left to others. Her friends, her enemies, and you. (Entry for "Press Start to Join: A Gaming Writing Competition")

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2. The Invasion

Frisk sprawled herself on the couch, dozing off into space. A faint wail could be heard from upstairs, but slowly came to a silence. She turned her attention to the stairway, where a man was declining down the steps, a sniffling child in his arms. "He is just a stinker today," the man chuckled, walking toward the exhausted woman.

"Aww, what's the matter, baby boy?" she asked, obviously not expecting an answer. The man handed her the child, and she set him on her lap. "Is life just a drag?" she rhetorically inquired, to which the baby only giggled. The man shook his head. "He's all sunshine and rainbows when he's around you!" he laughed. "And when it's just me Armageddon is upon us! I don't see the logic, Frisk!" 

Frisk smiled at her husband. "Oh, come on! That's not true!" she said. "He likes you!" She bounced the baby on her knee. "Don't you, Clement?" The child only looked up at his mother, and immediately returned to eating his hand. She leaned her head down to the baby's level. "I sure love you, Daddy," she squeaked, attempting to impersonate her child. "It's just that my fingers are so delicious!" The man chuckled, whereas Clement frankly had no idea what was so funny. He took a seat beside his wife on the couch, and placed his arm around her shoulders. "You feeling alright, babe?" he asked, rubbing her opposite bicep with his hand. Frisk gazed at him, and then back down at Clement. "Yeah, I think so," she said. Her husband nodded. "So, what was it this time?" he questioned next. Frisk didn't look up from her child. "The same." This concerned the man, though he wasn't exactly surprised. "Exactly the same?" he pressed, hoping to pry a little more from her. Frisk only responded with a nod, contrary to what her husband had been hoping for. He pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. "Frisk, are you sure you don't want to see someone?" he asked. "I mean, I know you don't think it's worth spending money on, but I don't want you to have to go through another night of this." The woman finally looked up at him, but that was all she did. This time the man was the one to turn away. "You always wake up screaming in the middle of the night," he said. "I just hate seeing you so distraught." 

Clement had grabbed a lock of Frisk's hair at this time, but she didn't have the mind to stop him from claiming his next snack. She stayed silent for a moment, but only for that. "Look, Edmund," she said, still allowing her child to eat her hair, "I appreciate you concern. Like, I really do. But, we've talked about this before..." She grabbed her brown hair from the baby's mouth, which was thoroughly covered in slobber. "I find it unnecessary to pay someone to tell me I'm crazy." Clement attempted to take hold of his mother's hair once again, but she pushed it out of his reach behind her ears. "And besides, I'm on medication. My nightmares will go away eventually." Edmund didn't like this; she always did this. "You're not crazy," he told, his eyes staring into hers. "No one ever said you were." 

"They treat me like I am," Frisk said. "They talk to me as if I'm a child. They've been doing it my entire life. I'm an adult; I don't have to put up with it anymore!" 

There was a pause, but Edmund was soon to brake it. "Regardless, this medication you're on doesn't work," he asserted. "You've been taking it for months now, and your night terrors haven't gone away. If we want to get rid of them, we will need to try something else." 

Frisk gazed down at her kid, who had happily found his foot to stick in his mouth. She did want to be rid of these nightmares. Although, it was more accurately just one "nightmare". She had had the same terrible dream nearly every night ever since her return from the Underground, sometimes with slight variations of events. But every single terror held one similarity: Undyne. The monster that had threatened her years ago, bent on avenging her race by destroying all humans. Frisk would dream of Undyne's return, where she could carry out her plan and kill all the inhabitants of the Surface. And if she was lucky, Frisk would get the version of the story where she wasn't blamed for the fall of humanity. Once the end of the nightmare drew near, someone in her dream would taunt her for what she did as a child, how she killed numerous residents of the Underground, and caused the monsters to yearn for vengeance. Though Frisk would never contest that; if such an event were to occur, she would indeed be responsible. Perhaps that was why her nightmare was so terrifying, and why she woke up every night in a cold sweat, shrieking for her life. Frisk had tried to receive help before, many times when she was younger. But when asked to explain what the dreams were about and what they meant to her, she had to mention her journey to the Underground. And after her thorough and sincere recount, doctors and therapists alike would give that look, the "this-kid-is-crazy-look", as she called it. Frisk would always have a talk with her parents following on the consequences of lying, to which she would truthfully deny ever taking part in. And it soon came to a point where even her own mom and dad thought she had gone around the bend. Medications were prescribed, and therapist appointments became a habit, but even with all of that her night terrors remained, up to this very day nearly ten years later. 

"I just..." Frisk started, choking up as she spoke. "I want actual help. I want someone to actually take them away. And I don't want to be treated like I'm crazy." 

A stray tear found itself trailing down her cheek, but she swiped it away as soon as it did. Slowly the man seated beside her took hold of her hand in his own. "I promise you," he vowed, "that we will find someone that can help. And I won't ever—" he gazed straight into Frisk's eyes, "—ever, let them treat you like you're crazy." 

She sniffed and wiped her nose, at the same time preventing Clement from tearing her shirt's neckline. "Edmund?" she named, with a hopeless tone in her voice. "Do you think I'm mad?" 

Her husband glanced down at his boy, who was still trying to take his mother's shirt collar for himself. He sighed. "Well, I'm no psycho-ciatrist or whatever," he joked, "but I'm pretty sure that you are not mad. I mean, look." He gestured to their son, who had returned to the consumption of his hand. "You raised this little guy. You did. If you were as crazy as they think you are, my man Clem wouldn't be here right now." He nudged the little guy with his fist, but Clement wasn't exactly sure what to make of it. So he smiled his one-toothed smile. 

Frisk grinned as well, however possessing a full set of teeth. Edmund was the one human on the Surface that had never considered her insane or a liar. And she never really figured out exactly why. But she had a good guess: Edmund was a strange guy. A really strange guy. There was nothing on the planet that he wasn't able to believe. He was always the first one to jump to the incredible and fantastic. It was the very thing he ran on. Frisk had told him before, that he would have loved to come with her to the Underground, to see and experience the embodiment of strange. And Edmund would always laugh, agreeing that this world she spoke of would have indeed been paradise. 

"Thank you," Frisk said, as she shifted her resting position atop her husband's side. Edmund only leaned his head on hers, and hugged her close to him with his arm. "You're welcome, my darling," he responded. Frisk stayed where she was, but felt a sudden ping of déjà vu. Someone used to call her "darling" all the time, but she couldn't for the life of her remember who. 

However, she would never have a chance to contemplate her déjà vu. For once all seemed right in the world for the family, a scream was heard from outdoors. 

The couple jumped, and Clement continued to chew on any appendage he could get in his mouth. Frisk and Edmund turned around to find who was shrieking, and found out their window every one of their neighbors, running and screaming for dear life. But there were not only people tearing through the streets, but the most unusual of creatures anyone could imagine. Among them seeming to be being tiny, winged suits of armor, lanky magicians that hovered in midair, giant eyeballs with arms and legs, and walking...bathtubs. These were certainly the most imaginative of beings, and also very deadly at that. All about the block projectiles flew here and there. Bullets of various substances—fire, ice, water, magic, and more—shot toward houses and cars and, unfortunately, people. 

Edmund was completely void of words, as was Frisk, but not in the same way. It was happening. It was actually happening. What her ten-year-old self had been afraid of, and what her twenty-one year-old self had been sure wasn't possible. But here it was, "happening" before her very eyes. 

"W—wha—" was all Edmund could say, but Frisk didn't let him stutter any more than that. She took hold of his shoulder and moved from the couch and away from the window, still holding Clement in her arms. "Edmund," she said, fear escaping alongside her words. "This is it! This is what I was talking about!" Her husband laid his hands on her shoulders. "What? What do you mean—" 

"This is what my nightmares were about!" she yelled, a bit louder than necessary. "It's happening! What I told you when I was a kid! It's happening!" 

"Hey hey!" Edmund quieted, holding his wife's head to face him. "Please calm down. Just start from the beginning, okay?" 

Even with the gentle force of his palms against her skull, Frisk shook her head. "No. No no! There's no time!" she shouted. "We need to hide! If they find me they'll kill us!" 

At this time Clement had started crying, perhaps sensing the severity of the situation. "They'll see him, and they'll hurt him!" Frisk warned. "If they find me we're done for!" 

"Frisk I don't understand!" Edmund yelled, causing his son to wail even louder. "You aren't making any sense!" 

"I killed them!" she finally confessed, but then paused to collect herself. "When I was ten, I went missing for a couple days, remember?" she explained. "I fell down a hole on Ebott, and when I woke up there was an entire world down there! A—and when I wanted to get back home the monsters down there attacked me, and I killed them! And now they want to find me and make me pay for it!" 

Her husband only stared, for quite a while. Frisk waited for a response, her child still screaming in her arms. "So...you're saying..." Edmund reiterated, placing his hands before himself, "that monsters from under the mountain...are ransacking our town...to find you?" 

Frisk shook her head again. "N—no," she said, realizing that she sounded quite ridiculous. "They hate all of us, for sealing them underground. And for killing Asgo—never mind that! They just want to get rid of humans." She looked down at the floor. "But their ruler...wants revenge on me...in particular." 

Edmund closed his eyes, trying to take this all in. Outside the home chaos ensued, but the enclosure was as dead as a cemetery. Even Clement had stopped crying. It was a strange sensation, to say the least, and Frisk didn't like it. "You..." she spoke, her voice quivering with fright, "...you...believe me, don't you?" Her husband opened his eyes to see her, and did so for a long period of time. "Well..." he uttered, holding his palm to his head, "...it's exactly how you described it in your nightmares. I don't think it could be coincidence." And in case his response was too vague, he concluded, "Yes, I believe you." He turned to the window, examining what was occurring beyond it. "And honestly, its the only thing I can think that makes any sense. I'm just shocked that it's actually happening." Edmund turned back to his wife. "Though I'm sure this is even more shocking for you." 

As shocked as Frisk indeed was, what was truly shocking was the sound of shattering glass. The couple whipped their heads around to find that very window broken, an armored beast standing at the other side. Both of them stepped back at the sight, and Clement commenced his wailing. "Frisk what is that?!" Edmund shouted, expecting her to recall its name after all this time. "I don't remember!" she yelled in response, moving toward the hallway behind them. "It was ten years ago!" 

As the window was too small for the monster to get through, it stomped over to the front door instead, and started breaking it down. Edmund glanced to his right and spotted a small table, atop it resting a lamp. He grasped the light source immediately, yanking its plug from the outlet. Frisk noticed this, and shook her head. "No, you won't hurt it at all with that!" she scolded. He looked up at the appliance he was wielding like a baseball bat. "I know, I know," he said, ashamed at his stupidity. "It's the only thing I got though." 

The beast had been making very good progress on the door, and barely a second after Edmund had finished his statement the wooden barrier had shattered, as if it were mere glass. Frisk and Edmund stared in awe at the creature before them, a gigantic knight in dark armor. Not surprising was its horned helmet that had been sharpened to points, or the staff it held that bore the emblem of a sun, but the pair of gazing eyes and the toothed mouth that appeared on its torso. If either had examined their odd assailant any longer, they would have had to ask themselves whether it's face was on the head, or on its stomach. But as neither one of them did such thing, they began to back away down the hall. "Back door," Edmund said, as the monster started to advance. "Out the back door!" But Frisk didn't need to be told twice. She was already running through the hallway and past the kitchen, where she knew the exit to the backyard was. In the grassy plain that was their yard Edmund eventually caught up to his wife, following at the backs of her heels. Behind them they were relieved to find no knight. Edmund would have liked to believe that the table lamp he had thrown in its direction had impeded the monster, but even he knew full well that his appliance had bounced off its armor, and the beast was only struggling to get through their narrow-walled house. Once at the fence that barricaded the couple's establishment, they were forced to stall. The wooden structure was much higher than Frisk, and even six-foot-two-inches Edmund had trouble viewing anything past it. They were at an impasse; they hadn't thought about getting over the fence, and how to do so with a baby in tow. 

As Frisk was trying to figure how all three of them could get over this barricade in the little time they had left, the man cupped his hands together and held them closely to the ground. "Here," he said, looking up at his wife. "I'll give you a boost." There would be no time for any "no-I-won't-leave-without-you" spiels, and Frisk knew that. Among many reasons she could deduce for going before Edmund, she possessed their child; she needed to go first. Quickly she set a foot on her husband's palms, and felt herself being thrust into the air. Though before she could lose her balance, her free hand clamped down at the top of the fence. With the agility and skill she possessed—to put it lightly, she possessed little of—she stepped atop the splintery fence and leapt, or more accurately "fell", to the ground. But just when Edmund was about to hop upon the barrier and follow her over, he felt a gust blow on his neck. And he knew that it hadn't been the wind. 

As Frisk lifted herself up from the grass her ankles shrieked in pain, but she had no time to complain of her joints. She looked over at Clement, who was still in her arms. He was quite rattled, but without injury. "Edmund!" she yelled at the fence. "Climb over!" 

There was a pause, one that was fairly out-of-place. No scraping or kicking at the fence, no head or body peeking over the top. "Edmund?" she called again, wondering why he wasn't already coming over, and why he wouldn't answer her. 

"Frisk," she finally heard, his voice filled with a helpless defeat. "I—" that very word wavered, as the armored figure loomed over him, "—I love you, so much." Frisk was confused, but ever so scared. "Edmund, what's wrong?" she asked, before spotting the pair of sharp horns above the fence. Her eyes widened at the sight. 

"Edmund!" she screamed, but the monster had already grabbed his victim. "Run," he wheezed through the hold on his neck. "Please run. Get out of here." 

"No!" Frisk screamed, even louder than her child. Tears started to well in her eyes. "I'm not leaving without you!" 

But alas, she was too late. As if her statement could save her husband anyway. The knight thrust the man into the dirt, and before he had the time to react, he found the staff he had previously found so intriguing held out before his body. "Disgusting human," the monster spat, and the last thing Edmund would ever hear was the innocent farewell, "Good night." And with that, the golden sun came down upon Edmund. Though he was only alive long enough to feel the first blow. 

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