Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.
General Content Rating: 18+
Story Content Warnings: Heavy Swearing, Blood and Gore, Death, Racism, Sexism, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Exorsexism, Child Abuse, Underage Shenanigans (Drinking, Smoking, etc.), Suicide
Current Chapter Content Warnings: Heavy Swearing, Blood
Viewer Discretion is Advised
Notes: A sentence written in English that is italicized in dialogue means that a language other than English is being spoken, and has been 'translated' by the omnipotent narrator for you convenience.
Yes, that was what she was seeing right now, darkness.
She had been conscious for a while, and would have quickly fluttered her eyes open; but her mind felt heavy. She was in the purest bliss.
There was nothing to worry about as long as her eyes were closed. Yes, her entire body ached in a way that was unfamiliar to her, and yes, the surface she laid on was cold and hard and uncomfortable; if she opened her eyes however, she would have to think. Despite the fact that she had just recently woken up, she was already tired of thinking.
But of course, she was thinking right now, and her curiosity and boredom were besting her; so she opened her eyes and saw a white marble ceiling hanging far up above.
That was when she realized she didn’t know where she was.
Her heart raced at the sudden revelation. Her upper body shot up in fear, but lost its balance. She fell back on the surface she laid on with a thud, and tried to raise her right hand to clutch her aching head.
Only to find that, for some reason, she couldn’t even move her right hand.
She couldn’t even feel her right hand.
She twisted her head to the right, and beheld a long, white sleeve that connected to the shirt she wore. The hand that was supposed to have stuck out of the end of that sleeve wasn’t there.
She tried to raise her left hand, wrapped in various colored cloth strands; it was a successfully attempt. She placed her left hand on her right arm, feeling for the right hand that was supposed to be there.
She noticed how the sleeve strangely trailed up to above where her elbow would be, as if nothing was wearing it. Her fingers traced from her shoulder to her arm; the action ended earlier than it was supposed to.
The realization hit her like a train.
Her right arm was gone?
...H-Her right arm was gone!
As her heart pounded furiously in shock; she attempted to move her other limbs. She knew her left arm was okay. What about her legs? Do they work?
Yes, yes, they do. She still has her legs and her left arm. Calm down. Ease your breathing. Think rationally.
The first thing she has to do is stand up. Yes, that’s what she should do. Stand up and observe her surroundings. Figure out where she is.
She propped her left arm on the surface she laid on, and lifted her upper body up. This time she didn’t lose her balance, and was able to survey her surroundings clearly.
The entirety of the room she was in was made out of the same white marble…at least…she thinks it’s white. The intricately designed windows adorning the walls revealed the night sky plainly. This room wasn’t very well lit.
She looked down to see what she was laying on…which appeared to be a tall, pure black slab over three times her size. An altar perhaps? But for who? A giant? The decorations engraved all over it were rather strange-looking. In fact, everything in the room looked ethereal and otherworldly.
She cautiously scooted herself off the altar, and placed her two feet on the ground. Strange, she noted. She wasn’t wearing any shoes. At least she had tights on; who knows how dirty the floor is.
Looking to her right, she saw another altar almost identical to hers.
A boy rested on top of it.
She clutched her altar; preventing herself from spazzing out and falling in surprise. A light gasp escaped her throat; the first sound she uttered.
The boy’s closed eyes tightened, and he grimaced; moaning in annoyance. As he groggily rose up, she took the time to study the boy’s features. African descent. Rather tall and muscular. rectangular-ish faced. Dressed rather casually in a navy and white varsity jacket, a green cameo shirt, khaki pants, and red running shoes.
The boy let out a yawn, took one look at her, and in a frenzy scooted off the altar he laid on. “Who the hell are you!?” He shouted with a cautious glare, clutching his alter with one hand and clenching his fist with the other.
She winced at the blaring voice that entered her eardrums. What on earth was he saying? “…I’m sorry, but I don’t understand you. do you speak Japanese?” She knew he was speaking another language, and its name was on the tip of her tongue, but she just couldn’t remember it.
The boy blinked a few times, before raising an eyebrow. “…Sorry, I don’t speak Chinese. English? Do you know English?” He emphasized with a confused and slightly frustrated tone.
…Ah! English! Suddenly she could understand the words he had said.
Ignoring the Chinese comment, she searched through her mind for a response, and fished out a name. “…Noriko.” She couldn’t remember her last name for the life of her. She’d have to settle with giving her first name for now, even if it made her uncomfortable. “My name is Noriko…I’m sorry.” She apologized quickly. “I could ask the same for you. What is your name? Who are you?”
Noriko’s calming tone relaxed the boy, who’s mind was racing with a hundred different questions. He knew this girl’s name: Noriko, but who was she? Where even is he? Why is he here?
In order to get the answers to those questions, he’d have to give this girl a name. “…Brian.” It worried him how it took him actual effort to recall it. How could he have forgotten his own name? His fear transformed into more anger, and his glare strengthened. “But who are you? Do you have something to do with this?!”
Noriko looked to the side, staring out of one of the windows. “No. I woke up on one of those alters, just like you. As for who I am…I…”
Dread consumed her. Where was she born? Who are her parents? How old is she? What was the last thing she remembered?
She searched, and searched, and searched for these answers. Nothing came up. “…I don’t know.” She spoke stiffly, clutching onto her black accordion skirt.
“What? What do you mean you don’t know?!” Brian shouted in frustration.
Noriko gave Brian a subtle glare of disapproval. “Please, keep your voice down. Panic will get us nowhere-”
“I’m not panicking! I think I have the right to be angry considering my situation!” Brian did not lower his voice in the slightest. If anything, he was even more loud.
Noriko reluctantly nodded in agreement. “You’re right, I suppose. Do you remember who you are?” She asked cautiously.
…The boy’s face grew more and more horrified by the second. “…I-I…I can’t remember anything…I can only remember my name-”
Noriko and Brian turned their heads towards the sudden new voice. A third altar next to Noriko’s altar, across from Brian’s altar, presented a scrawny boy. He was clearly of Spanish descent based on his skin color and the language he was speaking, and his hair was a deep red. “W-what’s going on? W-who are you people?” If the two could see the boy’s hands under the yellow rain-poncho he was wearing; they’d probably be fidgeting furiously.
Brian glanced at Noriko; raising an eyebrow. “Can you speak Spanish too?”
“A little bit. Hold on a second.” She turned her gaze back to the crying soul, giving him a reassuring look. “Hey. It is okay. Can you speak English?”
The boy ceased his quiet whimpering, and slowly nodded. “Y-yes. I am speaking English a l-little bit. I-I am not good though.”
Brian bit his lip tightly, trying to block the giggles that threatened to escape his throat at the poor grammar and the heavy Spanish accent. Noriko also found it a bit amusing, but refused to show it with any sort of action. She’s not rude like that.
“That’s perfectly fine.” Noriko reassured the boy. “Do you know your name?”
“…Ah…Aden? My name is Aden.”
“Nice to meet you Aden. My name is Noriko, and the boy next to me is Brian. Do you remember where you are from, or what you were doing before you got here?”
Aden bit his lip tightly, tears trailing down his cheek as he shook vigorously, the realization terrifying him to his very core. “I-I am s-scared!”
Noriko and Brian somberly watched Aden curl up into a ball on the altar…
…And then, another yawn was heard in the distance. Brian and Noriko beheld another altar, across from Noriko, next to Brian and Aden. A blonde, slightly curvy girl wearing a black leather jacket stepped down from this altar. Clad in bright pop colors; she would’ve stood out among a crowd.
Stretching her arms; the new girl let out a lazy moan. “Who’s interrupting my beauty sleep…?” She slurred out in French.
French was another language Noriko knew, but not as well as English or Japanese. “We are sorry. Now is not the time to sleep. Do you speak English? I could explain everything better.”
The new girl opened one of her eyes in confusion before she let out a squeal. Clutching onto the alter behind her; she frantically glanced between the three strangers before her. “Quoi?! I-I’m sorry but who the hell-”
“I’m Brian, she’s Noriko, and he’s Aden. We all woke up in this room with only our names. No memories about who we are or why we’re here.” Brian deadpanned. He wanted to get the explanation over with. “Unless you’re an exception. You remember who you are?”
The girl let out a huff. “Of course I do! My name’s Diantha! Diantha…” She trailed off; searching for a last name in her mind, but turning up with nothing.
An eerie silence filled the marble room. The only sound heard was the subtle rustling of what sounded to be trees from the outside, and Aden’s fearful, quiet sobs.
Brian was the one to finally break the ice. “Ok…so what the hell is- Woah! Are you ok? Your arm…” Forgetting his question, he noticed Noriko’s loosely hanging right sleeve; blood stained and covering the stub that was her arm.
“I…lost it but…I’m fine.” Noriko answered reluctantly. She was still processing it; her missing limb. The feeling of loss hadn’t fully sunk in yet, but she felt it grow stronger with Brian’s reminder.
“W-what!” Aden shouted in worry; lifting his head from between his legs with a tear-stained face. “You do not have the arm?”
Diantha also responded to this news with concern. “Are you sure? A missing arm isn’t really something to pass off…”
Noriko nodded her head. “It doesn’t seem to be bleeding so I think I will be fine…Do any of you have injuries?”
Brian, Aden, and Diantha surveyed every inch of their body at the question.
“I’m just bruised up. I feel like I got cornered and beaten to a pulp.” Brian answered simply.
Diantha ran her hand through her hair, touching the medium-sized gash on the upper right part of her head. “It hurts like a bitch right here. I feel a bit winded.” She sighed out; staring at the floor in dejection.
Aden blinked, pondering for a moment before shrugging. “I feel fine.”
The three teens turned to Aden and inspected him. He was definitely not “fine.” A few large, ugly bruises covered his face and neck. Most importantly; something was completely wrapped around his left eye. Stains of blood stuck out under the wrapping.
Diantha cautiously stepped towards Aden, who eyed the approaching blonde with slight distrust. He didn’t protest however when she cautiously placed a hand on his cheek, and inspected the wrapping closely. “…Is that…duct tape?”
That comment was enough for the Noriko and Brian to race over to Aden and see the scene for themselves. “…It…it is!” Brian muttered out; completely dumbfounded. “Dude! Why would you wrap your eye with duct tape?”
Aden shrugged in response; shifting his position and glancing all over the place. He was nervous from the attention “…I…I do not know. I do not seem to can rem…I cannot remember why.”
Noriko lifted her hand to her temple; massaging it slowly. “It is going to be a pain, peeling it off. You must have been desperate to have used duct tape…” She commented quietly.
Diantha sat down next to Aden on the altar, giving him a concerned frown. “Are you sure it doesn’t hurt?”
Aden quickly shook his head. “No, I am fine. It is not bad.” He gave a strained smile to the three.
A friendly smirk formed on Diantha’s face. “Well, we all seem to be hitting it off, despite our situation.” She spoke with enthusiasm to the others. “Maybe we shouldn’t focus on ‘whats’ and ‘whys.’ We should focus on how to get help instead.”
Brian grimaced. “But who’s to say we can even trust each other? We know nothing about each other.” His retort earned a glare from Diantha.
“Brian is very right.” Noriko reasoned calmly. “We know nothing about each other, and one of us very likely could be behind this stressful situation. However, the disadvantages of being alone are much more numerous than the disadvantages of working as a team. If we work as a group, then we’re less susceptible to any dangers we could face. Therefore, it is best to trust each other for now.”
Brian gazed at Noriko; slowly processing her reasoning. Those were a lot of big words Brian found to be confusing and most importantly, absolutely needless. He eventually got what she said though, and glared off to the floor; muttering a hesitant ‘okay.’
Diantha clapped her hands together in relief at Noriko’s agreement. “Then I suppose our first goal is to find a way out of this room!”
The four kids observed their surroundings. Besides the four alters surrounding the center of the room, it was rather bare. The intricate designs across the walls and floors were the only things preventing it from feeling completely dull and encaging.
However, against the wall that Diantha’s alter pointed to was a large tapestry divided in the middle. The intricately designed curtains covered a hallway; its length unable to be determined due to the distance. “Well that was difficult.” Brian muttered sarcastically.
Noriko paid special attention to the art the tapestry presented. A strange…insignia perhaps? Or a symbol? A four-pointed star like shape, divided into four sections. each section contained a different shape and color: a red circle, a blue triangle, a purple square, and a pink diamond.
Whatever it meant; she had no idea. Maybe it was some sort of religious symbol she had never seen before?
Noriko stepped through the curtain covered hallway, pushing the piece of cloth out of the way and disappearing behind it. Brian quickly followed suit, glancing at every corner around him as he too disappeared behind the curtain. Diantha extended her hand to the still fearfully Aden, who took it hesitantly. She gently led him through the curtains.
The hallway wasn’t that long, and the four teens stopped at what appeared to be the beginning of a pair of staircases. One lead down to the left, and one led down to the right.
Noriko twirled on her heel; giving an unspoken question to the other three. Which way?
Diantha shrugged, and walked closer towards the staircase. “Am stram gram, Pique et pique et colégram…” She recounted a rhyme as she pointed her finger back and forth between the two staircases.
Eventually, her finger landed on the left staircase. “Pique! I’m going down the left one!” She decided as she skipped down the stairs. Noriko sprinted after her; urging her to slow down so they could stick together.
Brian would have dashed down the stairs after the two girls, but felt someone cling onto the end of his sleeve before he could go very far. He twisted to the side to see Aden staring up at him with unease. “¡E-espere! I cannot keep up…do not leave...por favor.”
Brian gazed at the small red-head's puppy dog eyes; unable to determine what he felt in that moment. Was it pity? Or was it something else?
Eventually he shrugged. This pipsqueak can’t do much harm to him “Sorry man, I'll slow down for you.”
Aden beamed at Brian; his eyes shining with joy. “¡Gracias!”
Brian didn’t know exactly what the phrase ‘grassy ass’ meant, but he could guess based on the context.
The two boys walked down the left staircase, following the two girls they woke up with.
Special Author Note:
So...I started writing this story I believe a year ago? Possibly more than that! and have been rewriting the earlier chapters as my writing style improved.
I want to see if it's worth reforming and turning into a published book series, or animation, or comic series, so here it is for The Young Writers Society to see. Depending on how well this is received I might post more of the chapters I've already written once I gain enough points.
To any reader that finds and finishes this work, thank you for taking your time to read the first chapter of a story I have been passionate about for a while now! I'm still pretty amateurish when it comes to writing, but hopefully as time goes on I'll improve even more than I already have.