A Snippet of Book Two’s Opening (Rough Draft)
This is a Dark Fiction, Thriller, Horror, Short Story
Koa’s long coat billowed in the biting cold wind as he trudged through the park. No birds tweeted their evening goodnights, no laughter in the distance, just the eerie stillness of nothingness. An odd place that clung to him as if in a dream. Flashes of images that he couldn’t make out faded as quickly as they came. Soft voices called out through the wind. Murmurs that begged for attention. Almost whispering his name with a silent call. A call only he heard. A familiar place, yet unrecognizable. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t seem to remember why he was there or when he arrived. In fact, he couldn’t remember anything. Not even his name. All he was sure of was that this night was different and filled with sorrow as if it were mourning.
The park was illuminated by a hazy white light of streetlamps and filled with people who seemed to have nowhere else to go. Ghost-like silhouettes of some of these solitary figures held hollowness in their eyes. Men, women, young and old alike, walking amongst the trees in zombie-like devotion. Some wore expressions of quiet resignation, while others scowled into the darkness as if challenging whatever unseen force stood before them.
Koa sensed their inner turmoil with each person he passed, aching and searing like flames in his own being. He wondered if tonight would be the night they chose to persist or succumb to the overwhelming weight of life. A twinge of guilt tugged at Koa’s heart for feeling pity toward them, but it reminded him of his battles with loneliness, a heavy burden resting on his chest.
Koa sauntered along the winding, cracked concrete path, lost in a mist of nostalgia and longing. His heart heavy with unspoken questions, and an unknown burden weighed down his. A sudden gust of frigid air jolted him from his reverie, the sharpness of its touch like a slap to his skin. Startled, he stumbled forward and collided with a gnarled oak tree. Instinctively, he braced for impact, poised to defend himself against an unseen foe — only to realize there was no enemy.
As Koa’s eyes were drawn to the majestic tree, his breath caught in his throat. Its golden leaves shimmered in the sunlight, a symphony of color that stirred curiosity. An unexplainable calm settled over him, lulling his troubled mind and soothing his weary soul. He knew this tree held secrets, ancient knowledge that could give him the understanding he desperately sought.
Feeling a presence around him, Koa whispered a plea into the crisp air, asking to be shown what he had lost. The chilling reply was like an icy hand caressing his spine, sending shivers. But still, he persisted despite the warning lingering in the air. “I am ready,” he declared, determined to uncover the truth no matter how painful.
As the vibrations reverberated through the air, Koa dropped to his knees, a mere mortal in the presence of the Tree of Life. Its warmth caressed his body, awakening his truth. His eyes fluttered with confusion as he struggled to find his voice.
A sense of suspicion crawled through his core, inexplicably tinged with agony. He knew it was a warning but couldn’t resist the pull to investigate. Despite this unease, he pressed forward, his curiosity and need to know overriding any caution. With bated breath, he waited for the inevitable revelation, bracing himself for the impact of his past.
His gaze locked onto a radiant object, materializing. Its brilliance rivaled that of a gilded statue against the backdrop of the giant oak tree. Its surging light, vibrant and warm, thrumming his core with a kaleidoscope of memories. The enticing allure of its presence pulled him deeper into its spellbinding aura. And uncontrollably, he opened his heart. But before he fully understood how to make sense of the moment, he felt a powerful force commanding him to write.
“Ask no questions. You will not get answers. Tell me, what troubled you in your previous life? How did a demon like yourself get caught between the war of the worlds? Why do you want to go back?”
With trembling hands and a mind full of fragmented memories, Koa began to weave a tale into a glowing book, guided by an unseen pen and fueled by the magic of the sacred tree.
“As my memories come flooding back, I remember my decision to protect the one person that will ever matter to me. The weight of that choice now grips my shoulders, threatening to pull me into a bottomless pit of uncertainty. I have committed myself to a perilous path fraught with danger and darkness because it’s a path she will always choose, a road she has always walked alone, and a war where she will have no choice but to challenge both the human world and mine — the Dark World.
Is this world worth saving? Why Amara? I have spent countless nights pondering these questions, my mind trapped in a labyrinth of doubts. I am bound to this fate, entangled in the web of Amara’s existence. No matter how many times I perish, I don’t intend to abandon her.
I wanted to understand what compelled her. As I delved deeper, trying to understand Amara’s connection to the Dark World, I began to unburden the gravity of my choice. This isn’t merely a battle between light and dark; it is a clash between ancient entities, each wrestling for superiority over the fragile fabric of reality. The Dark World oozes with unspeakable horrors, a place where nightmares are born and nightmares become real, and it wants freedom. It wants control. It wants Amara and all those like her.
Amara is a rare gem, possessing an enigmatic power that even she struggles to understand. This coveted gift makes her a target for both sides in a battle for control. She bears the weight of this burden on her delicate shoulders. It is a heavy and daunting life to relive for one so pure and fragile. I am still at a loss, unable to fathom how I can aid her without putting her in harm’s way.”
A soft voice whispered in Koa’s ear, “What is your strategy, dear Koa? How will you escape the Dark World and help this girl?”
Koa paused, taking in the question.
“I have no concrete plan, but I must protect Amara at all costs. Your gift of restored memories has strengthened my resolve. I will find a way.” He insisted. “For countless centuries, I have witnessed the collapse of that world, marveling at how it remains intact. The unwavering resilience of humanity in the face of constant opposition baffles me. The cycle of existence is so cruel. Death is the majority. Evil reigns as a deity, spreading like a plague, consuming all in its path. Closed hearts become the darkness, unstoppable as they pray on others, leaving a wake of fear and destruction. Closed eyes see nothing but a twisted reality as the soulless change surroundings. Making the things humans love too dangerous to enjoy, turning who they idolize into the enemy. And as evil tightens its grip on the world, it controls even the most basic necessities, ensuring that death is an inevitable fate for all. Yet, life thrives. Humanity never gives up, so why should…”
“Koa, you cannot save her,” the voice interrupts. “It is her fate to walk that world alone. This is a battle the two of you can’t win.”
The words echoed, a solemn reminder of their fate. But Koa’s determination burned brighter than the flames that surrounded those terrifying words.
“I refuse to abandon her to this fate, to the endless cycles of pain and suffering,” he declared defiantly, his voice thick with emotion. “Even if we cannot win this war, I will stand by her side, an unwavering shadow in every life she is drawn back into this hell.” His resolve was unbreakable, the beauty of his loyalty shining like a beacon.
"So you accept the bond of Amara's Journal and all that comes with it?"
Koa knew this was not like before - stumbling upon a cursed damsel's spellbound diary. This was a conscious decision, an acceptance of all that came with the bond of Amara's Journal.
"I do," Koa said firmly, meeting the gaze of the great tree.
The tree paused, its leaves rustling in contemplation. "Understand this, Koa. By accepting this bond, you will experience much more than your first death. You are unknowingly taking on the role of a guardian, something that goes against the nature of a demon, even a half demon--no matter how strong their human side may be. Your return will be felt by others, and they will know why you've come back. And once the bond is ignited, you and Amara will be hunted." Koa's heart clenched. Though he'd already known this, to hear the great tree confirm it was crushing. "And if you make it out of the Dark World--which will be challenging, you will have no physical form. How will you protect her on the other side?"
Koa took a deep breath, knowing the risks but also knowing he couldn't let Amara face any more danger alone. "I'll find a way."
“I will lead you to a vessel, Dark Prince. The rest will be up to you.”
The ethereal voice floated off into the distance, a gentle whisper riding on the breeze, leaving behind a shimmering trail of fading stardust. Koa’s eyes followed its path until it vanished, and he shifted his gaze to the pages of the golden journal before him. Each word was like a sunburst etched onto the page, radiating warmth and light. But as he reached for it, the vision changed. Where his own writings once lay now stood Amara’s leather-bound journal, adorned with a delicate gold cord. It rested upon the gnarled roots of the oak tree. Koa’s lips tugged upwards as he scooted over the rough ground, his gaze magnetically drawn to the book. When he finally reached it, he cradled it against his chest and whispered tenderly into the top of its worn pages. “I’m coming, my love.”