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Chapter 2 - the endless void

by MissSaigon


"Ciel, where are you?"

What just happened? Why is Ciel gone? I couldn't have imagined it, could I? Where am I even? I looked around but I couldn't see anything at all, where was I? It was dark, I couldn't make out where I was or what had happened according to my surroundings. No voice or noise could be heard, silence was all that surrounded me, did I just imagine Ciel's voice being here? Did I become delusional? No, Ciel's voice was here, he called for me. He was looking for me, I'm sure of that.

I was alone, all alone, what had happened? I tried to recall what happened but I couldn't come up with a lot. My memories started to fade and slowly vanish deep inside my consciousness, which was also starting to fade away. All I could recall was standing at the cliff where Ciel and I first met a couple of seconds ago, why am I here now? What will happen to me? Is this the end? Did I die again…?

"Michael, why did you let me die?"

"Ciel?"

I looked around again, my hectic movements did not cooperate well with my unbalanced stance. I fell over, hitting my head on the ground but it didn't hurt. The ground felt unsafe and wobbly. Nearly like some damp sheets. Soft damp sheets, bouncing back all the pressure that was applied on them.

As I was trying to get up again, the ground suddenly felt like it was trying to suck me in, a thick liquid wrapped itself around my hands and legs, sucking me in slowly, I sank into the void below me, into a darkness that I recognized. Deep within my consciousness, I knew I already felt this before. This cold darkness had surrounded me once before. This darkness had surrounded me the day you died.

"Michael, why did you try to meet me again?"

"I tried to meet you again because… because I love you, Ciel."

I said, trying to find the source of his voice and trying to free myself from this slimy liquid. I tried to rip myself free from this liquidity-sickening stench coming from the moving ground but as soon as I ripped on it, it thickened and hardened, pulling me into the ground deeper and harsher. My arms were halfway covered in this weird texture. It was too dark, I couldn't see what was happening, I could only feel the liquid starting to wrap itself around me, pulling me deeper into this black void.

This isn't how I wanted it to end. I didn't want to die like this, no, not like this. The thoughts running wild in my mind kept pacing and flying around, and I couldn't focus on any of them. It was loud, too loud. My head was pounding heavily as I tried to read the thoughts racing through my mind. I couldn't make out one of them, it was impossible. I mentally called for help from the gatekeeper but I received no answer. I was alone, no one was going to save me.

My heart was pounding so loudly and irregularly, I thought it would jump out of my chest and fall to the ground, bound to burst into a thousand pieces that will be engulfed in this liquid, bound to be dissolved there. Leaving my mere body alone, leaving the nerves that uphold myself, my posture, and my being to die and fall apart. Falling apart into atoms, rotting in the ground slowly, fusing my remains with the soil. I would serve as nature's soil, food, and life substance…but this isn't nature, this is the void I am getting sucked in. I would get lost there and be captured, no, I'd be trapped for eternity, bound to fall into a deep slumber and be alone forever. I'd never get to see him again…

"Michael, why are you doing this to me?"

Huh, what did he mean? Doing what? Is he referring to our past life?

Even though I knew myself that I won't see him and that it was all in my head, I still ripped on this liquid, ripping my head up, looking around desperately trying to find him. The more desperate I got, the harsher the slime pulled me in to engulf me, leaving no trace of me behind.

"Why do you hate me?"

"I don't hate you! I- I was just too much of a coward to admit how much I've loved you…"

My voice started to fade as I lowered my gaze, staring at my sunken hands, regretting my former actions. The liquid started to wrap itself around my arms more gently again, engulfing me in its reality. The less I inferred, the more gently the liquid engulfed me in its own reality, it tried to persuade me into believing its reality was my own, it tried to bury me inside deep, suffocating every breath I took. A lonely emptiness, a familiar feeling to me, started to spread inside of me, it was the same as I had experienced it beforehand. It embraced me. Its embrace was… warm. Warm and comforting. Why did it feel like this? Why did I crave this warmth? I wanted to get closer to it, its warmth made my senses go numb. It enchanted a huge sensation upon me and brought me to a different world, a world where everything was going well and nothing bad ever happened to me. This enchantment, I was feeling and started craving, numbed my senses. My senses, they were numb but that tempting sensation of comfort and love, remained, seemingly overwhelming me, trying to please me. It was too inviting for me to decline its request. Its request to meet me, it requested to engulf me and cradle me in its darkness, its dark beauty. A terrifying request but such a tempting sensation, an offer no one would decline, an offer no one could decline. The temptation to leave this stress, this life behind grew inside of me, as I craved and craved this warm feeling. It was so deprived of love that it searched for love and affection from someone like me who has never experienced such affection as well, me who craved this kind of affection from someone I can't have…yes, Ciel is someone I could never have as though I don't, no, I never ever deserved him…maybe it was destiny to miss him today? Maybe the universe wanted me to let him go?

"I hate you, Michael."

His words, his voice, they felt worse than one million knives piercing through my skin, leaving deep cuts in my being, in my heart. The pain and agony these words had brought to me, finally brought me back to reality. They reminded me of my goal, a goal that made me throw away my life, a goal that made me sacrifice everything I ever knew, a goal worth chasing after.

This liquid wasn't only deadly because it sucked me into the void but also because it was so persuasive to make a person crave it, it made me crave what I wanted to experience from Ciel. It tried to make me forget my purpose in regressing my life, it tried to persuade me that I am happier alone in its comforting charm but I didn't want this kind of comfort. I didn't want this kind of comfort from this terrible liquid, I wanted to find real comfort in him and no one else. Not this liquid, not this void! Only from Ciel would I ever accept this kind of comfort and affection!

I looked back up in determination to break free from this liquid. As I did, my muscles tensed up in shock, they tensed up and immobilized me. I couldn't believe my own eyes, I saw a glowing figure in front of me, a beautifully shaped man, a beautiful boy with white wings and skin as smooth as a pearl hidden deep in the ocean. A treasure hidden within all those rough, rocky diamonds, hidden beyond what's visible to the eye of a mere human. It was him, it was Ciel, my Ciel…

"Ciel! I'm sorry, I know I should have never wronged you like that, please don't hate me. I'm begging you! Please don't!"

I cried out at the sight of him, even if I only felt his presence for a glimpse moment, it was so comforting and it gave me new strength to keep on going, it gave me strength to overcome this fear, this fear of being trapped. The fear I had suppressed so deeply within me that it outshone my own being and captured my abilities in my mind, deep within my own thoughts.

I collected every last bit of strength that was left in my body as I pulled as hard as I could on this liquid, trying to rip myself out of there and free myself, it wasn't a matter of pure strength, it was a matter of mentality. With this knowledge, I knew that it was possible, the thought of freeing myself gave me new energy to rip my agitated body out of that slimy engulfment of this liquid, free from this suffering.

I was screaming at the top of my lungs as I felt a vein in my right eye pop. It burned, my eye felt like it had been lit on fire that very moment but I didn't care, I didn't care about the pain, the only thing I cared about was Ciel. Ciel, you were always my biggest desperation, desire, and comfort. I had to fix this, no matter what!
Blood was running down my right cheek as I squinted my eye to reduce the pain and blood loss I was experiencing. My blood vessel was pulsating, it was agitated and pounding heavily, slowly making my sight on my right eye turn red, blood red. My eye has gone blind shortly after, and all I was able to see was red, the same red I had seen the day you died. 

"CIEL!"

I screamed as I finally loosened the grip of that disgusting liquid. Its grip on my right arm kept loosening itself, until finally, at last, I was able to free my right arm and right after my left arm, leaving me in a kneeling position. I was now kneeling on the ground as my legs were still tangled up, I pushed myself up with all my strength and stared up into the sky. Wait, the sky?
When did I return? What just happened?

"FINALLY! YOU'RE AWAKE!"

The gatekeeper's voice? What is he doing here? What is happening? Why does my whole body feel agitated and sore?

A groan left my mouth as I squinted my eyes shut in sole pain and agony. Even the sky I kept admiring and comparing to your beauty pained me to look at, even though it looked beautiful, your beauty, the beauty of your mere presence had overwhelmed me as I was fighting the void to come back to life. Even a small glimpse of your clear sheer beauty, your perfectly shaped body with skin, skin as smooth as the clouds flying in the sky, and eyes, eyes as bright as the sky. Your eyes, they have always reflected the ocean and sky. Their deep blue made me lose my mind every time I looked at them, they showed me the beauty of this world. They shone brighter than the sun but looked colder than ice, they were the most beautiful temptations I have ever seen.

"Jeez, you gave me a heart attack when you suddenly started having a stroke! I thought you'd die!"

"Huh?"

I blurted out, trying to find the right strength in my body to push myself off the ground and stand up. He looked at me before helping me sit up. I groaned in pain as I sat up slowly, he supported my back. I then asked out of concern and confusion about the happened events:

"Why? What happened to me?"

My throat felt so sore, I couldn't talk properly, it was dry. I heaved dry attempts to ask again but no sound could be produced. My voice was hoarse and sounded quite agitated as I asked the gatekeeper. I coughed as I tried to produce more noises and communicate with the gatekeeper again, my throat, it was throbbing and it was swollen to a degree where it applied pressure on my voice bands, the pressure pained me when trying to speak. The more I tried to speak, the harsher the urge to cough grew inside my throat.

"Don't speak, I'll explain after getting you home."

I nodded as he suddenly sat down beside me offering me a piggy bag ride. I blushed at the thought of having him carry me like that, the heat in my face made my feelings transparent to my opposite.

"I know your father never gave you a piggyback ride but just hop on, you can barely sit, I can't let you walk home like that in the right sane mind."

I nodded as he turned his head to face me.

Only then, did I realize how many scars his face held, it was covered in them, and it looked like those scars held his face together, like if one of them were to rip open, his whole face would deconstruct itself and fall apart. Looking at his face, I now understood why in his gatekeeper form he only has one eye. His left eye had 3 huge scars on top of it, sealing it shut. The stitches were already healed, so it must have been a couple of thousand years since he got left with these scars. 
I hopped onto his back and let him carry me back home as I rested my head on his shoulder, my head hanging down low, still disappointed about having missed Ciel. My body felt heavy and tired, I had no energy to keep my eyelids open. They felt too heavy, they felt like a million kilograms were hanging on my lashes, slowly closing, sealing my eyes shut, putting me into a deep slumber. As my eyelids got heavier and heavier with every single step the gatekeeper took, I started to doze off to sleep slowly.

"Get some rest, I'll bring you straight to your room and go back to my duties afterward."

I nodded sleepily and sheepishly smiled as I closed my eyes, finally falling asleep again.

Another 7 years have passed and no trace of Ciel, I knew I had to be patient but I already missed him before. I knew he moved away and only came back recently for middle school, but this hole in my heart… it couldn't be fixed without him here. No, it would never be fully fixed, nothing could ever fix the hole you left in my heart, Ciel. I miss him too much, nothing fulfills my heart the way his smile does, nothing fulfills my heart the way his eyes outshine my mere presence, and nothing fulfills me the way he does.

It has finally arrived, the first day of middle school, the day we met again after 7 years. I woke up to the sound of my alarm and jumped out of bed enthusiastically.

'Damn, you've got a lot of energy this early in the morning, ya know? What's the occasion?'

'Ciel and I will meet again today. In my former life, our ways parted until we met on the first day of middle school. We ran into each other and started to become friends, well kinda friends.'

I was disgusted by my own actions. I really was a douchebag in my first attempt at life, but now, I will change the outcome and make things go down differently! 
I stared at my closet, smiling a little in contentment, before walking over there and changing my clothes. The uniform fit and I made sure to tug my shirt in and not violate any school rules. Back in my first attempt, I always violated all kinds of school rules with just my looks. I looked horrendous, like some little boy trying to spice up something that can't be worn good-looking. I shivered at those thoughts, but still, thinking back at my old appearance, a lot has changed. I was now taller and built better, my shoulders were wider and my abs were more visible even through loose t-shirts, but the most significant part was my hair. It was combed better and didn't look as unhygienic as before. I looked more handsome in general. The undercut I got toned my curly hair and made it stand out more, it looked soft and fluffy. I hope Ciel will like it.

'Stop staring into the mirror, you'll be late.'

'Are you my mom?'

I laughed a little as the gatekeeper lectured me.

'Hmpf!'

He pouted at me again, I laughed even louder as he seriously got mad at me and said in a harsher tone of voice:

'You lil shit, get your ass to school!"

I stopped laughing and checked the time, he had a point, I really should get going. I heaved a sigh before going downstairs into the kitchen, grabbing breakfast, and leaving the house. I didn't like to stay home for breakfast as that always reminded me of terrible arguments with my parents, no matter what I said, no matter what I did, it always ended in a lot of screaming and violence. Recalling those memories always made my heart sink, it felt heavy, my chest always stings when I recall such cruel memories.

I got on the bus and stared out of the window, staring up at the sky. Since it was still pretty early, the sun only slowly started to rise. The orange-tinged sky was very clouded today, the clouds looked like small highlights throughout the sky. They lit up the beautiful gradient going from a light pastel orange into a deep red, a red as deep and pretty as those roses that you have shown me that day, the flowers you loved and adored. I wish I still had that photograph of you, that picture I sneakingly took the day we visited that garden, the garden where we both fell in love, the garden where I broke your heart…

I heaved a heavy sigh, soundly in distress, the regret I carry with me day and night, the regret we both created. No matter how much I sigh, none of it could ever relieve what we have created, only we, only the both of us, can change the outcome of this.

I got off the bus and entered the school building. The hallways were very crowded and busy, and it was hard getting through to my classroom. I eventually pushed through the crowds and got into my classroom just in time. I heaved a sigh of relief as I sat down at my desk. These people seriously only think about themselves, no one was kind enough to wait patiently until everyone started moving. They all pushed each other, yelled for the other to stop pushing them, and ran some people over. I was close to getting suffocated between two rugby players. This day started off exhausting enough already.

"Good morning class!"

The teacher, I think her name is Miss Petersen, said loudly, catching all of the students' attention except for mine, for my focus lay on the door of the classroom that led to the hallway. He had to show up there soon, I remember vividly that Ciel was late on the first day because he got lost in the crowd and couldn't locate the classroom. He'd soon step through the doorway in a hurry, looking like a lost puppy with his messy hair and baggy uniform. Why did it take him so long?

Time felt like it had stood still. I couldn't hear what the teacher had said as my mind drifted off to what happened 7 years ago, my heart pained me as I remembered Ciel's cold words. It felt like the hole he left only grew bigger and wider the more I thought about it. My heart stung, it hurt, it tightened, and it kept tightening. The pain was unbearable, my mind was like a maze filled with screams, shouts, and cries. I couldn't take my eyes off the doorstep, I wanted to see him, I wanted to hold him, I wanted to kiss him. The desire within me to just walk out of this classroom to go and search for him grew every time the clock struck, indicating another minute has passed. Where was he? Why wasn't he coming?

"Sorry, ma'am! I got lost in the hallway!"

Ciel!


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Sun Feb 26, 2023 2:32 pm
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: This is a powerful follow up here, especially the first third or so of this where emotions really went sky high there and showed us quite so much about the real backstory behind all of this. I really like that. Not to say the rest was bad but those moments were particularly impactful and I must say it feels like that second part should've been chapter three already.

Anyway let's get right to it,

"Ciel, where are you?"

What just happened? Why is Ciel gone? I couldn't have imagined it, could I? Where am I even? I looked around but I couldn't see anything at all, where was I? It was dark, I couldn't make out where I was or what had happened according to my surroundings. No voice or noise could be heard, silence was all that surrounded me, did I just imagine Ciel's voice being here? Did I become delusional? No, Ciel's voice was here, he called for me. He was looking for me, I'm sure of that.

I was alone, all alone, what had happened? I tried to recall what happened but I couldn't come up with a lot. My memories started to fade and slowly vanish deep inside my consciousness, which was also starting to fade away. All I could recall was standing at the cliff where Ciel and I first met a couple of seconds ago, why am I here now? What will happen to me? Is this the end? Did I die again…?


Oh this is taking some turns here. I did not expect to see it go in this direction at all and well doesn't that kick everything up a notch to just start with these memories literally being attacked in some form there and suddenly everything looking like we're starting to have this fall apart to some degree.

"Michael, why did you let me die?"

"Ciel?"

I looked around again, my hectic movements did not cooperate well with my unbalanced stance. I fell over, hitting my head on the ground but it didn't hurt. The ground felt unsafe and wobbly. Nearly like some damp sheets. Soft damp sheets, bouncing back all the pressure that was applied on them.

As I was trying to get up again, the ground suddenly felt like it was trying to suck me in, a thick liquid wrapped itself around my hands and legs, sucking me in slowly, I sank into the void below me, into a darkness that I recognized. Deep within my consciousness, I knew I already felt this before. This cold darkness had surrounded me once before. This darkness had surrounded me the day you died.


Oh this is really getting a little abstract now. Perhaps its just me but its getting a tiny bit hard now to picture this persons' location because thing just becoming very magical. It worked really well in the previous one because we had ourselves a gradual build up. Not this time its started right and its going up so its lost a little bit of that grounding force to some degree.

"Michael, why did you try to meet me again?"

"I tried to meet you again because… because I love you, Ciel."

I said, trying to find the source of his voice and trying to free myself from this slimy liquid. I tried to rip myself free from this liquidity-sickening stench coming from the moving ground but as soon as I ripped on it, it thickened and hardened, pulling me into the ground deeper and harsher. My arms were halfway covered in this weird texture. It was too dark, I couldn't see what was happening, I could only feel the liquid starting to wrap itself around me, pulling me deeper into this black void.

This isn't how I wanted it to end. I didn't want to die like this, no, not like this. The thoughts running wild in my mind kept pacing and flying around, and I couldn't focus on any of them. It was loud, too loud. My head was pounding heavily as I tried to read the thoughts racing through my mind. I couldn't make out one of them, it was impossible. I mentally called for help from the gatekeeper but I received no answer. I was alone, no one was going to save me.


Oh this is really going quite powerfully here to see it all starting out from the first moment of contact to it now spiraling and us seeing that perhaps there's more to this death by Micheal than it at first appears especially since Ciel seems to have died somehow. I have a feeling we're close to seeing the true motivation for this little reincarnation situation here. All of these emotions that are playing out are definitely telling us quite a lot.

My heart was pounding so loudly and irregularly, I thought it would jump out of my chest and fall to the ground, bound to burst into a thousand pieces that will be engulfed in this liquid, bound to be dissolved there. Leaving my mere body alone, leaving the nerves that uphold myself, my posture, and my being to die and fall apart. Falling apart into atoms, rotting in the ground slowly, fusing my remains with the soil. I would serve as nature's soil, food, and life substance…but this isn't nature, this is the void I am getting sucked in. I would get lost there and be captured, no, I'd be trapped for eternity, bound to fall into a deep slumber and be alone forever. I'd never get to see him again…

"Michael, why are you doing this to me?"

Huh, what did he mean? Doing what? Is he referring to our past life?


The actual confusion here is also really powerful to see. Seeing Micheal feel so lost and confused and yet so desperate just really creates a trio of incredibly powerful emotions that manage to somehow both tell us a lot of the backstory here while still keeping a lot of this as a mystery. I love the way you've done this here.

Even though I knew myself that I won't see him and that it was all in my head, I still ripped on this liquid, ripping my head up, looking around desperately trying to find him. The more desperate I got, the harsher the slime pulled me in to engulf me, leaving no trace of me behind.

"Why do you hate me?"

"I don't hate you! I- I was just too much of a coward to admit how much I've loved you…"


Oh my we really are learning ever so much here not just about the backstory but about both these characters too. Their relationship certainly doesn't seem quite as rosy as the opening of this whole thing led us to believe and we're just starting to realize just quite how tangled of a situation this whole thing actually happens to be.

My voice started to fade as I lowered my gaze, staring at my sunken hands, regretting my former actions. The liquid started to wrap itself around my arms more gently again, engulfing me in its reality. The less I inferred, the more gently the liquid engulfed me in its own reality, it tried to persuade me into believing its reality was my own, it tried to bury me inside deep, suffocating every breath I took. A lonely emptiness, a familiar feeling to me, started to spread inside of me, it was the same as I had experienced it beforehand. It embraced me. Its embrace was… warm. Warm and comforting. Why did it feel like this? Why did I crave this warmth? I wanted to get closer to it, its warmth made my senses go numb. It enchanted a huge sensation upon me and brought me to a different world, a world where everything was going well and nothing bad ever happened to me. This enchantment, I was feeling and started craving, numbed my senses. My senses, they were numb but that tempting sensation of comfort and love, remained, seemingly overwhelming me, trying to please me. It was too inviting for me to decline its request. Its request to meet me, it requested to engulf me and cradle me in its darkness, its dark beauty. A terrifying request but such a tempting sensation, an offer no one would decline, an offer no one could decline. The temptation to leave this stress, this life behind grew inside of me, as I craved and craved this warm feeling. It was so deprived of love that it searched for love and affection from someone like me who has never experienced such affection as well, me who craved this kind of affection from someone I can't have…yes, Ciel is someone I could never have as though I don't, no, I never ever deserved him…maybe it was destiny to miss him today? Maybe the universe wanted me to let him go?


Oh this is a really powerful paragraph there. Maybe a touch too long I will, say its a mouthful to read but the whole thing as a series of just thoughts coming one after another says so much with so little there and we can literally see the wheels turn within Michael's brain to try and accept this new reality that Michael clearly didn't expect to see with the decision that was made here.

"I hate you, Michael."

His words, his voice, they felt worse than one million knives piercing through my skin, leaving deep cuts in my being, in my heart. The pain and agony these words had brought to me, finally brought me back to reality. They reminded me of my goal, a goal that made me throw away my life, a goal that made me sacrifice everything I ever knew, a goal worth chasing after.

This liquid wasn't only deadly because it sucked me into the void but also because it was so persuasive to make a person crave it, it made me crave what I wanted to experience from Ciel. It tried to make me forget my purpose in regressing my life, it tried to persuade me that I am happier alone in its comforting charm but I didn't want this kind of comfort. I didn't want this kind of comfort from this terrible liquid, I wanted to find real comfort in him and no one else. Not this liquid, not this void! Only from Ciel would I ever accept this kind of comfort and affection!


Oh the combination of this very mystical surroundings that seem to cause all of this pain mixing in with that very real and very raw emotion makes for a really quite powerful effect there. I think you've really managed to tap right within the depth of it all to bring up the power in this scene here and I love it.

I looked back up in determination to break free from this liquid. As I did, my muscles tensed up in shock, they tensed up and immobilized me. I couldn't believe my own eyes, I saw a glowing figure in front of me, a beautifully shaped man, a beautiful boy with white wings and skin as smooth as a pearl hidden deep in the ocean. A treasure hidden within all those rough, rocky diamonds, hidden beyond what's visible to the eye of a mere human. It was him, it was Ciel, my Ciel…

"Ciel! I'm sorry, I know I should have never wronged you like that, please don't hate me. I'm begging you! Please don't!"

I cried out at the sight of him, even if I only felt his presence for a glimpse moment, it was so comforting and it gave me new strength to keep on going, it gave me strength to overcome this fear, this fear of being trapped. The fear I had suppressed so deeply within me that it outshone my own being and captured my abilities in my mind, deep within my own thoughts.


Oh we're diving even more into these thoughts. For a moment I thought perhaps we'd reached a bit of an end to that horror but instead it seems Michael here is teased with this one image here from whatever force is controlling this whole void and whole other cascade of thoughts are suddenly bearing down here. Once again an incredibly powerful moment that one.

I collected every last bit of strength that was left in my body as I pulled as hard as I could on this liquid, trying to rip myself out of there and free myself, it wasn't a matter of pure strength, it was a matter of mentality. With this knowledge, I knew that it was possible, the thought of freeing myself gave me new energy to rip my agitated body out of that slimy engulfment of this liquid, free from this suffering.

I was screaming at the top of my lungs as I felt a vein in my right eye pop. It burned, my eye felt like it had been lit on fire that very moment but I didn't care, I didn't care about the pain, the only thing I cared about was Ciel. Ciel, you were always my biggest desperation, desire, and comfort. I had to fix this, no matter what!
Blood was running down my right cheek as I squinted my eye to reduce the pain and blood loss I was experiencing. My blood vessel was pulsating, it was agitated and pounding heavily, slowly making my sight on my right eye turn red, blood red. My eye has gone blind shortly after, and all I was able to see was red, the same red I had seen the day you died. 

"CIEL!"

I screamed as I finally loosened the grip of that disgusting liquid. Its grip on my right arm kept loosening itself, until finally, at last, I was able to free my right arm and right after my left arm, leaving me in a kneeling position. I was now kneeling on the ground as my legs were still tangled up, I pushed myself up with all my strength and stared up into the sky. Wait, the sky?
When did I return? What just happened?


Oh wow that got a lot more bloody than I was expecting it to. Wow, things really are being dialed absolutely up to eleven. Given the kind of flashback we saw in that first chapter I shouldn't really be surprised and yet here I am still being very much surprised by the absolute rawness of what we're witnessing here.

"FINALLY! YOU'RE AWAKE!"

The gatekeeper's voice? What is he doing here? What is happening? Why does my whole body feel agitated and sore?

A groan left my mouth as I squinted my eyes shut in sole pain and agony. Even the sky I kept admiring and comparing to your beauty pained me to look at, even though it looked beautiful, your beauty, the beauty of your mere presence had overwhelmed me as I was fighting the void to come back to life. Even a small glimpse of your clear sheer beauty, your perfectly shaped body with skin, skin as smooth as the clouds flying in the sky, and eyes, eyes as bright as the sky. Your eyes, they have always reflected the ocean and sky. Their deep blue made me lose my mind every time I looked at them, they showed me the beauty of this world. They shone brighter than the sun but looked colder than ice, they were the most beautiful temptations I have ever seen.

"Jeez, you gave me a heart attack when you suddenly started having a stroke! I thought you'd die!"


Oh this is a powerful little combination as we see whatever weird void moment moment that was actually come to and end and have Michael be still lost in that while the gatekeeper is definitely revealing that they are very much invested in whatever Michael is here to do and seems to have some genuine that doesn't at the moment seem like its simply for selfish reasons.

"Huh?"

I blurted out, trying to find the right strength in my body to push myself off the ground and stand up. He looked at me before helping me sit up. I groaned in pain as I sat up slowly, he supported my back. I then asked out of concern and confusion about the happened events:

"Why? What happened to me?"

My throat felt so sore, I couldn't talk properly, it was dry. I heaved dry attempts to ask again but no sound could be produced. My voice was hoarse and sounded quite agitated as I asked the gatekeeper. I coughed as I tried to produce more noises and communicate with the gatekeeper again, my throat, it was throbbing and it was swollen to a degree where it applied pressure on my voice bands, the pressure pained me when trying to speak. The more I tried to speak, the harsher the urge to cough grew inside my throat.


Well it looks like things definitely went quite bad there even in just the mortal realm while that whole thing was happening. No wonder we had the gatekeeper being ever so worried in that moment. It looks like Michael just properly suffered through some very serious stuff there.

"Don't speak, I'll explain after getting you home."

I nodded as he suddenly sat down beside me offering me a piggy bag ride. I blushed at the thought of having him carry me like that, the heat in my face made my feelings transparent to my opposite.

"I know your father never gave you a piggyback ride but just hop on, you can barely sit, I can't let you walk home like that in the right sane mind."

I nodded as he turned his head to face me.


Oh my. Well to see this gatekeeper offering to appear in a physical form to actually give this person a piggyback ride home is a powerful moment I feel. That simply does not feel like something an entity like that would ever do without having true meaning behind it all and its a wholesome little touch amongst quite some horror that we've seen here.

Only then, did I realize how many scars his face held, it was covered in them, and it looked like those scars held his face together, like if one of them were to rip open, his whole face would deconstruct itself and fall apart. Looking at his face, I now understood why in his gatekeeper form he only has one eye. His left eye had 3 huge scars on top of it, sealing it shut. The stitches were already healed, so it must have been a couple of thousand years since he got left with these scars. 
I hopped onto his back and let him carry me back home as I rested my head on his shoulder, my head hanging down low, still disappointed about having missed Ciel. My body felt heavy and tired, I had no energy to keep my eyelids open. They felt too heavy, they felt like a million kilograms were hanging on my lashes, slowly closing, sealing my eyes shut, putting me into a deep slumber. As my eyelids got heavier and heavier with every single step the gatekeeper took, I started to doze off to sleep slowly.

"Get some rest, I'll bring you straight to your room and go back to my duties afterward."

I nodded sleepily and sheepishly smiled as I closed my eyes, finally falling asleep again.


Well that was a really nice little description there. A tad bit long I will say given the kind of situation we were in so the flow suffers a tiny but I'm almost not bothered by that cause of how powerful that description and that moment is specific to this gatekeeper.

Another 7 years have passed and no trace of Ciel, I knew I had to be patient but I already missed him before. I knew he moved away and only came back recently for middle school, but this hole in my heart… it couldn't be fixed without him here. No, it would never be fully fixed, nothing could ever fix the hole you left in my heart, Ciel. I miss him too much, nothing fulfills my heart the way his smile does, nothing fulfills my heart the way his eyes outshine my mere presence, and nothing fulfills me the way he does.

It has finally arrived, the first day of middle school, the day we met again after 7 years. I woke up to the sound of my alarm and jumped out of bed enthusiastically.

'Damn, you've got a lot of energy this early in the morning, ya know? What's the occasion?'


Ooooh well this is interesting. I was not expecting a seven year time skip of all things after the kind of scene we had there but then also it oddly makes sense. It feels like that moment there was just one powerful moment and it was somehow missed and this person has had to just bide their time until this moment where it seems there's another chance to be had and the gatekeeper arriving seems to confirm this as a pivotal moment too.

'Ciel and I will meet again today. In my former life, our ways parted until we met on the first day of middle school. We ran into each other and started to become friends, well kinda friends.'

I was disgusted by my own actions. I really was a douchebag in my first attempt at life, but now, I will change the outcome and make things go down differently! 
I stared at my closet, smiling a little in contentment, before walking over there and changing my clothes. The uniform fit and I made sure to tug my shirt in and not violate any school rules. Back in my first attempt, I always violated all kinds of school rules with just my looks. I looked horrendous, like some little boy trying to spice up something that can't be worn good-looking. I shivered at those thoughts, but still, thinking back at my old appearance, a lot has changed. I was now taller and built better, my shoulders were wider and my abs were more visible even through loose t-shirts, but the most significant part was my hair. It was combed better and didn't look as unhygienic as before. I looked more handsome in general. The undercut I got toned my curly hair and made it stand out more, it looked soft and fluffy. I hope Ciel will like it.


Hmm this is really off to an interesting start already here. I mean we've sort of tapped right back into the energy we had at the very start with this person seemingly putting whatever happened seven years ago behind them and now embracing this mission once again and attacking it with some much renewed hope of redoing this life better than before. Its a beautiful little sight honestly.

'Stop staring into the mirror, you'll be late.'

'Are you my mom?'

I laughed a little as the gatekeeper lectured me.

'Hmpf!'

He pouted at me again, I laughed even louder as he seriously got mad at me and said in a harsher tone of voice:

'You lil shit, get your ass to school!"


OKay well that was an interesting moment. Genuinely hilarious there and its a very different vibe from quite how dialed up it got there. I'm honestly wondering why haven't actually split the chapter there because that feels like a very dividing point right there that you'd expect to use.

I stopped laughing and checked the time, he had a point, I really should get going. I heaved a sigh before going downstairs into the kitchen, grabbing breakfast, and leaving the house. I didn't like to stay home for breakfast as that always reminded me of terrible arguments with my parents, no matter what I said, no matter what I did, it always ended in a lot of screaming and violence. Recalling those memories always made my heart sink, it felt heavy, my chest always stings when I recall such cruel memories.

I got on the bus and stared out of the window, staring up at the sky. Since it was still pretty early, the sun only slowly started to rise. The orange-tinged sky was very clouded today, the clouds looked like small highlights throughout the sky. They lit up the beautiful gradient going from a light pastel orange into a deep red, a red as deep and pretty as those roses that you have shown me that day, the flowers you loved and adored. I wish I still had that photograph of you, that picture I sneakingly took the day we visited that garden, the garden where we both fell in love, the garden where I broke your heart…


Oooh loving these memories being played back here. Now that we were through the painful moments, seeing the actual wholesome that came before it all to create this love we've been told of is a nice choice here I think, cause its a lends just that little bit more weight to everything we've seen so far in making all of that feel much more real through these memories that were created at one point and that this person clearly wants to recreate even better.

I heaved a heavy sigh, soundly in distress, the regret I carry with me day and night, the regret we both created. No matter how much I sigh, none of it could ever relieve what we have created, only we, only the both of us, can change the outcome of this.

I got off the bus and entered the school building. The hallways were very crowded and busy, and it was hard getting through to my classroom. I eventually pushed through the crowds and got into my classroom just in time. I heaved a sigh of relief as I sat down at my desk. These people seriously only think about themselves, no one was kind enough to wait patiently until everyone started moving. They all pushed each other, yelled for the other to stop pushing them, and ran some people over. I was close to getting suffocated between two rugby players. This day started off exhausting enough already.

"Good morning class!"


Well this school scene is getting of to a surprisingly normal start there in the background and I love how much that ends up clashing with the sheer painfulness that Michael appears to be going through to being with here. Quite the powerful moment there to let us know exactly where this scene is about to go.

The teacher, I think her name is Miss Petersen, said loudly, catching all of the students' attention except for mine, for my focus lay on the door of the classroom that led to the hallway. He had to show up there soon, I remember vividly that Ciel was late on the first day because he got lost in the crowd and couldn't locate the classroom. He'd soon step through the doorway in a hurry, looking like a lost puppy with his messy hair and baggy uniform. Why did it take him so long?

Time felt like it had stood still. I couldn't hear what the teacher had said as my mind drifted off to what happened 7 years ago, my heart pained me as I remembered Ciel's cold words. It felt like the hole he left only grew bigger and wider the more I thought about it. My heart stung, it hurt, it tightened, and it kept tightening. The pain was unbearable, my mind was like a maze filled with screams, shouts, and cries. I couldn't take my eyes off the doorstep, I wanted to see him, I wanted to hold him, I wanted to kiss him. The desire within me to just walk out of this classroom to go and search for him grew every time the clock struck, indicating another minute has passed. Where was he? Why wasn't he coming?

"Sorry, ma'am! I got lost in the hallway!"

Ciel!


Oh well there we goo...love this ending once again. Although this particular little cliffhanger ends up being a significantly more wholesome one. Given how the rest of this story has gone so far it doesn't feel like things are going to be as simple as it all just being alright after this, but it does end up creating a very interesting atmosphere for the whole thing.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall a really strong chapter two here. This one works well and we have a solid cliffhanger yet again. Definitely builds very nicely on chapter one and continues to make sure that I definitely can't just be stopping here. I will be going on to see what exactly we've can find out in that third chapter now. It does seem to be the longest of them all so I'm very excited to see how much we can learn.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate




MissSaigon says...


Thank you for the review yet again! I really appreciate it a lot!



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Thu Feb 02, 2023 11:08 am
Zeno wrote a review...



Hi, I'm here to leave a review.

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My heart was pounding so loudly and irregularly, I thought it would jump out of my chest and fall to the ground, bound to burst into a thousand pieces that will be engulfed in this liquid, bound to be dissolved there. Leaving my mere body alone, leaving the nerves that uphold myself, my posture, and my being to die and fall apart. Falling apart into atoms, rotting in the ground slowly, fusing my remains with the soil. I would serve as nature's soil, food, and life substance…but this isn't nature, this is the void I am getting sucked in. I would get lost there and be captured, no, I'd be trapped for eternity, bound to fall into a deep slumber and be alone forever. I'd never get to see him again…

"Michael, why are you doing this to me?"

Huh, what did he mean? Doing what? Is he referring to our past life?

Even though I knew myself that I won't see him and that it was all in my head, I still ripped on this liquid, ripping my head up, looking around desperately trying to find him. The more desperate I got, the harsher the slime pulled me in to engulf me, leaving no trace of me behind.

"Why do you hate me?"

"I don't hate you! I- I was just too much of a coward to admit how much I've loved you…"

My voice started to fade as I lowered my gaze, staring at my sunken hands, regretting my former actions. The liquid started to wrap itself around my arms more gently again, engulfing me in its reality. The less I inferred, the more gently the liquid engulfed me in its own reality, it tried to persuade me into believing its reality was my own, it tried to bury me inside deep, suffocating every breath I took. A lonely emptiness, a familiar feeling to me, started to spread inside of me, it was the same as I had experienced it beforehand. It embraced me. Its embrace was… warm. Warm and comforting. Why did it feel like this? Why did I crave this warmth? I wanted to get closer to it, its warmth made my senses go numb. It enchanted a huge sensation upon me and brought me to a different world, a world where everything was going well and nothing bad ever happened to me. This enchantment, I was feeling and started craving, numbed my senses. My senses, they were numb but that tempting sensation of comfort and love, remained, seemingly overwhelming me, trying to please me. It was too inviting for me to decline its request. Its request to meet me, it requested to engulf me and cradle me in its darkness, its dark beauty. A terrifying request but such a tempting sensation, an offer no one would decline, an offer no one could decline. The temptation to leave this stress, this life behind grew inside of me, as I craved and craved this warm feeling. It was so deprived of love that it searched for love and affection from someone like me who has never experienced such affection as well, me who craved this kind of affection from someone I can't have…yes, Ciel is someone I could never have as though I don't, no, I never ever deserved him…maybe it was destiny to miss him today? Maybe the universe wanted me to let him go?

"I hate you, Michael."

His words, his voice, they felt worse than one million knives piercing through my skin, leaving deep cuts in my being, in my heart. The pain and agony these words had brought to me, finally brought me back to reality. They reminded me of my goal, a goal that made me throw away my life, a goal that made me sacrifice everything I ever knew, a goal worth chasing after.

This liquid wasn't only deadly because it sucked me into the void but also because it was so persuasive to make a person crave it, it made me crave what I wanted to experience from Ciel. It tried to make me forget my purpose in regressing my life, it tried to persuade me that I am happier alone in its comforting charm but I didn't want this kind of comfort. I didn't want this kind of comfort from this terrible liquid, I wanted to find real comfort in him and no one else. Not this liquid, not this void! Only from Ciel would I ever accept this kind of comfort and affection!

This definitely surprises me. I never thought the story would continue like this. This small piece interaction between Michael and the liquid is both thought-provoking and deep. It effectively conveys the theme of self-doubt and self-delusion through Michael's internal struggle between embracing and escaping the liquid. However, the sudden appearance of the void and dark liquid feels disconnected from the rest of the story, leaving me curious for a further explanation.

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"Why? What happened to me?"

My throat felt so sore, I couldn't talk properly, it was dry. I heaved dry attempts to ask again but no sound could be produced. My voice was hoarse and sounded quite agitated as I asked the gatekeeper. I coughed as I tried to produce more noises and communicate with the gatekeeper again, my throat, it was throbbing and it was swollen to a degree where it applied pressure on my voice bands, the pressure pained me when trying to speak. The more I tried to speak, the harsher the urge to cough grew inside my throat.

"Don't speak, I'll explain after getting you home."

I nodded as he suddenly sat down beside me offering me a piggy bag ride. I blushed at the thought of having him carry me like that, the heat in my face made my feelings transparent to my opposite.

"I know your father never gave you a piggyback ride but just hop on, you can barely sit, I can't let you walk home like that in the right sane mind."

I nodded as he turned his head to face me.

Only then, did I realize how many scars his face held, it was covered in them, and it looked like those scars held his face together, like if one of them were to rip open, his whole face would deconstruct itself and fall apart. Looking at his face, I now understood why in his gatekeeper form he only has one eye. His left eye had 3 huge scars on top of it, sealing it shut. The stitches were already healed, so it must have been a couple of thousand years since he got left with these scars. 
I hopped onto his back and let him carry me back home as I rested my head on his shoulder, my head hanging down low, still disappointed about having missed Ciel. My body felt heavy and tired, I had no energy to keep my eyelids open. They felt too heavy, they felt like a million kilograms were hanging on my lashes, slowly closing, sealing my eyes shut, putting me into a deep slumber. As my eyelids got heavier and heavier with every single step the gatekeeper took, I started to doze off to sleep slowly.

"Get some rest, I'll bring you straight to your room and go back to my duties afterward."

I nodded sleepily and sheepishly smiled as I closed my eyes, finally falling asleep again.

The characterization of the father and the portrayal of the relationship between him and Michael are expertly done. The attention to detail in describing the father gives me a clear picture of him and how he was fierce on the outside and caring on the inside, while Michael's ignorance of his father's scars highlights his past character. This made me even more curious about how Michael was a 50-50 case.

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I got off the bus and entered the school building. The hallways were very crowded and busy, and it was hard getting through to my classroom. I eventually pushed through the crowds and got into my classroom just in time. I heaved a sigh of relief as I sat down at my desk. These people seriously only think about themselves, no one was kind enough to wait patiently until everyone started moving. They all pushed each other, yelled for the other to stop pushing them, and ran some people over. I was close to getting suffocated between two rugby players. This day started off exhausting enough already.

"Good morning class!"

The teacher, I think her name is Miss Petersen, said loudly, catching all of the students' attention except for mine, for my focus lay on the door of the classroom that led to the hallway. He had to show up there soon, I remember vividly that Ciel was late on the first day because he got lost in the crowd and couldn't locate the classroom. He'd soon step through the doorway in a hurry, looking like a lost puppy with his messy hair and baggy uniform. Why did it take him so long?

Time felt like it had stood still. I couldn't hear what the teacher had said as my mind drifted off to what happened 7 years ago, my heart pained me as I remembered Ciel's cold words. It felt like the hole he left only grew bigger and wider the more I thought about it. My heart stung, it hurt, it tightened, and it kept tightening. The pain was unbearable, my mind was like a maze filled with screams, shouts, and cries. I couldn't take my eyes off the doorstep, I wanted to see him, I wanted to hold him, I wanted to kiss him. The desire within me to just walk out of this classroom to go and search for him grew every time the clock struck, indicating another minute has passed. Where was he? Why wasn't he coming?

"Sorry, ma'am! I got lost in the hallway!"

Ciel!

Another 7 years had passed... the story progressed rather quickly. I'm excited to finally see Ciel come to play. I can't wait to uncover the story and the love-hate relationship between Ciel and Michael.

As a conclusion, this chapter was well-written especially in describing the characters. I can't wait for the next one!




MissSaigon says...


Tysm!




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