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From the second I woke up, I knew that day was going to be a mess. And I was right. Always trust your gut.
Of course, I thought that because I woke up in a bed of moss, with half-starving crows all around me eating who-knew-what. Fun.
I gasped and sat up so quickly my eyes clouded over for a second, and the crows cawed as they backed away; I was lucky they weren't picking at me. When my vision cleared, I looked around as best I could with nearsighted and tired eyes.
I was confident I was in a dream, even though no dream had ever been like this.
Imagine forests from fairy tales. Lush, birds fluttering, deer. Now imagine a villain's swamp in those storybooks. Dark, dead, and rotting.
Somehow, this place was both. Beautifully dead.
I slowly settled back into the moss. I was just dreaming, even if it was ridiculously real to my senses. It felt familiar, so it must have been a dream, was my logic.
I shut my eyes and curled up. But still nothing happened.
Well, something did happen. A bird landed on me.
I screamed and jumped up, the bird flapping away noisily. I heaved great breaths. I was starting to panic.
I just stood there in the moss for some time. This was not how I expected the day to go.
I really wish I could describe what was going on in my head at that moment, but it was mostly a jumble of anxiety and a sense of forbidden wonder. There's always a part of us that wants to go on an adventure, and as much as I was trying to keep that away, it kept coming back. Why did I feel like I had been there before? I needed to know.
I finally cleared my head enough to work my legs numbly forward when a screech split the air, sending more birds flying. I froze up again. I definitely could have been imagining it, but that had sounded human.
Without thinking, I raced into the undergrowth of the half-dead forest faster than I could comprehend. My legs carried me forward, my brain was far behind. Everything had happened so fast.
I barely registered it when I bumped into something, and hit the ground with an embarrassing thud.
"Oh, man. A-a-are you okay?" a feminine voice asked. Groaning, I looked up.
It was a girl, surely the source of the noise earlier. She had long black hair with the occasional ombre or multicolored highlight, and her skin was a rich tan laced with pure white tattoos - didn't she look too young to have them? I couldn't really figure out anything at that time.
She reached out a shaky hand, and, with my own shaky hand, I took it. Shaking person meets another shaking person, means the shaking is canceled out. Which meant, to my muddled brain, that if we trusted each other, we might be safe for a while.
"Was th-that you who screamed?" I managed to croak. Cheeks suddenly flushing red, she slowly nodded.
"I saw a huge bug," she admitted, brown eyes wide like she had been caught doing something wrong.
"At this rate, I'd scream at anything," I admitted, voice cracking.
She let out a laugh, a nervous one that didn't mean anything.
"What's your name?" I asked, knowing it was risky.
"Well, people call me Happy. Even though that's not how I feel."
She chuckled at this, but I had an epiphany. I had noticed something weird about her, like I had seen her before, in this familiar world.
Out of darkness, I had a theory. And I needed to test it.
"What's your name?"
"My name is Lakael," I stated, trying to balance my voice. And sure enough, her eyes widened even more.
"O-oh, my-" She seemed at a loss for words. She shivered and tried to compose herself. "Weird question. You... you wouldn't happen to know something called the SAMB?"
I allowed a smirk to pass on my face.
"Yeah. Yeah, I do know that."
"OH MY-" She was in the middle of a revelation when a monstrous wind whipped through the forest, so strong it broke a bough off of a pine in front of me. We both managed to duck in time. When we stood up again, Happy was shivering - due to cold, excitement, or fear, I didn't know.
"We need to stick together," she decided.
I nodded. Together we matched our steps in the boggy ground, looking for something to tell us where we were.
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L A K A E L / L O K I
"Oh, you fool
There are rules
I am coming for you
You can run,
But you can't be saved..."
-Yawning Grave, Lord Huron
MINIORITY GROUPS MATTER.
HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US.