The town of Saint-Tacos was a festive one, that night. The townsfolks were getting ready for the annual Tacos Festival, the biggest, most fun day of the year here. They hung fancy decorations, flags and colorful lanterns all around, on wires connecting the tacos-shaped houses to one another. Traveling merchants set up their stands and shops, getting ready for business, volunteers built a platform at the center of the plaza for the musicians to play. In all this ruckus, one boy walked carelessly, with his hands in his pockets, towards the gate of the town. His presence always raised reactions in public, due to his weird looks. He had a cardboard bag on his head, complete with a black question mark on it, as if he were trying to hide his identity from everyone. People looked at him with confusion and wonder, but never dared to engage a conversation with him, not that he seemed very interested in doing so. To add to the mysteries surrounding him, he always went alone or with a strange cat in the Saint-Tacos Woods to do things no one knew of. He calmly passed through the plaza and then through the nearly empty streets, on which only animals roamed at this time. He exited the town moments later and directed himself towards the Saint-Tacos Woods, as it got darker. He could hear the citizens chanting and cheering, even from where he stood, already deep in the woods, which were growing dark rapidly. Just before the sun completely set on the horizon, he climbed a homemade ladder on the side of a tree and reached a wooden platform a few feet in the air. He then climbed two stories higher and ended up atop the trees, from where he could see far in the Grasslands. He sat down on the floor, leaning on his hands, and stared at the moonlight-illuminated town of Saint-Tacos. Trivinartria’s moon was surprisingly big, some even went to say in old legends that one day, it would fall from the sky and destroy everything. Before the festival officially began, the mayor climbed onto the finished platform and asked for everyone’s attention. Only the fountain in the middle of town made noise, and so, the mayor lifted his arms up and shouted for all to hear, “Let the Tacos Festival begin!” Night went on, but so did the festivities. It had been a while since the boy had been doing absolutely nothing, and it was now the middle of the night. The calmness of his treehouse suddenly got interrupted by cracking noises below him. He leaned against the side of the platform to see what caused these sounds and saw a girl making her way to him. Before he could properly react, she slammed her hands on the floor and pulled herself up. She stood up and whipped some dust off her hoodie, raised her arm at the surprised boy and said while panting a little, “I found you!” He was slightly thrown off guard by his very first visitor, so he said after a good fifteen seconds, “You were looking for me?” He took the time to observe her. She was around his age from the looks of it, so seventeen or so. She was not tall nor short, just the in-between height, had a blonde ponytail going down her back all the way to her hips and little bits of hair in front of her face. She wore a dark hoodie and long pants of the same range of colors. When he saw her eyes, he had a mind seizure, because they hurt to look at; they were of a green so bright it put the moon to shame. She interrupted his train of thought when she shouted at him. “What the heck are you staring at me for! It’s freaking me out!”
“Well, you did just climb here uninvited and started screaming at me,” he replied.
“Anyways, yes, I am looking for you?”
“To unravel the mysteries surrounding you!”
“Good luck with that,” he laughed.
“What’s so funny!? You want to fight about it!?”
“No, it’s just that you’ll have a hard time doing it,” he said as he sat back down, his back turned away from her.
“And what does that mean?”
“You want to see my face?”
“Well, mainly, yes. Are you going to show me?”
“I would, except… I can’t.”
“Don’t be an idiot, yes you can! Here.” She grabbed his bag and pulled on it, but it would not come off. She pulled harder and harder each time, but to no avail. “What the?” She backed off a bit, looking rather confused. She then tried to rip it in half, from bottom to top, and from top to bottom, but once again, nothing happened. She then punched him in the back of the head. He grabbed his head and turned to her, pissed off. “Ouch! What is wrong with you!? Are you trying to give me a concussion!?”
“No, I… I just tried to take off that bag.”
“By punching me!? Do you punch a cereal box to open it!?”
“Why is it stuck there!?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? Is that a joke?”
“Unfortunately, no.” A loud hissing sound could be heard in the distance, followed by the booming of a firework. The night reached its peak with the fireworks, renowned around Trivinartria for being some of the best ones out there. The two teenagers stopped talking and stared at the show; it was quite pretty. “So…” the girl said. “What’s up with the bag on your head? Do you know anything about it?”
“I don’t, no.”
“It’s really stuck there? Like, you can’t take it off?
“That sums it up, yeah.”
“Have you ever tried taking it off?”
“What do you think? Of course, I have, but I failed. That one time, I set it on fire, but it didn’t work.”
“Are you an idiot!? You could have died!”
“I had a bowl of water next to me, it was foolproof.”
“What about that tear over there.” Indeed, on the top-right corner of the bag, there was a slight tear from which it was possible to see the boy’s hair. “Honestly, I don’t know about that either. It’s always been there, as far as I can remember,” he said.
“You have brown hair,” she said as she took a peek inside.
“That’s about the only thing I know about my head.”
“I see. By the way, I’m sorry for yelling at you. I was kind of a jerk.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Also, my name’s Lana. Yours is like, Alberbingbooty, right?”
“It’s Alvershlongnasty,” he sighed.
“What kind of crazy ass name is that?”
“Do you know anything at all?”
They awkwardly looked at each other for a couple of seconds, but Lana broke the silence by saying, “I got to go, my dad will start to get worried if I don’t.” She left the treehouse and headed back to the festival, leaving Alvershlongnasty alone. He was alone again, but it felt refreshing. “That girl is annoying,” he said to himself. He had his back turned to the town when he heard the loudest firework of his life; it was like an explosion. Upon further examination, actually, it was an explosion. He turned and saw a cloud of smoke raising to the sky, coming from the plaza. He gasped and immediately climbed down as fast as he could and ran to his home, where Muchatcho, his cat, was alone and possibly dead. As he rushed through the streets, he saw fire devouring houses and buildings collapsing under their own weight after they had been weakened. He heard screams of joy become screams of terror and people dropped dead at every corner. It did not take him long to reach his house at the speed he was going and once he arrived, he kicked the door open, because normally opening it would have been too demanding, and scanned the interior, searching for his cat. He found him, freaking out in the corner of the only room, meowing like a senile old cat looking for attention after pooping on the floor. There was no way Muchatcho could run, his twisted body did not allow that; he could barely walk, so he grabbed him and put him in his backpack along with a few other things and left his sweet little home. He was about to run outside of town and into the Grasslands, off to who knows where, but a high-pitched scream of despair froze him in his tracks. It was that of a young child, crying out for help. “What do I do?” he thought to himself, his body trembling. “Ah, screw it.” He turned around and ran to the source of the scream, where he found a young girl crying next to a woman stuck under a pillar inside a blazing house, presumably her mother. Alvershlongnasty broke the window with a conveniently place barrel just outside said window and jumped in the house. He lifted the pillar, conveniently not on fire yet and threw it aside, helped the mother back on her feet and sent her and her kid on their way because conveniently, her bones were not broken. “Thank you, young man,” the woman said. He nodded and ran outside before he suffocated in this closed space, and went towards the plaza, where the explosion occurred. “Why am I still going? I should get out of here!” he thought. He felt like a superhero having saved these two, so he kept searching for people in need. Muchatcho was still meowing, but was stopped by Alvershlongnasty when he made a sign to stop being noisy. He hid behind a conveniently not burning house and peeked at the plaza. There was a person dressed in a cloak that made it impossible to see him. The individual slowly walked to someone laying on the ground and grabbed something around his neck. It was a necklace with a shiny marble on it, and that cloak person seemed particularly interested in having it, so he took it, ripped it off the neck of his victim. He put it in his cloak and just disappeared into the ground, leaving behind the demolished, fiery ruins that used to be the lively town of Saint-Tacos. The teenager left his still conveniently not burning hiding spot and ran to the man on the ground. It was the mayor. He opened his eyes with a lot of trouble and mumbled, “Boy… you must listen very carefully to what I am about to ugh… tell you. The Wind Orb… was stolen. You must go to the Crooked Mountains… there, you will ow… seek help. Be hasty, you do not have much time…” His eyes closed and his head dropped on the ground, echoing in the now empty town. Footsteps came loud and clear from not so far away, faster and faster. It was Lana, rushing to the dead body of the mayor, crying out gibberish. When she made it to him, she kneeled down and shook his body, her mouth moving out of control, as one does when crying too hard. “Dad! Dad! D-d-dad… oh no… no please, not you too…” she spoke in a murmur. Alvershlongnasty did not know how to react to this, so he just stood there, looking at the both of them with sorry eyes. Lana looked up at him and asked, trying to whip off her tears, “What happened? Tell me what happened, I want to know!”
“What I saw was the mayor laying there and then some person in a cloak took something from around his neck and just vanished.”
“Wh… what? Someone attacked him? Why? He didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I don’t really know what happened, but listen. The mayor, your father, he told me something. He said to go to the Crooked Mountains and to get some help there.”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know, but he said to hurry, that I didn’t have much time. That sounds like an adventure to me.”
“You idiot! This isn’t about having fun. Anyways, these mountains, they’re days away from here, it’ll take time.”
“I suppose I’d better leave soon then.”
“No way! If you’re leaving, I am too! My dad just got murdered, I’ll carry out his last words if it’s the last thing I do!”
“What? You don’t mind?”
“If you want to come, you can. Did you expect me to stop you or something?”
“Well no but, I figured you’d like to be alone.”
“Why is that?”
“You’re always alone, I thought you liked it that way.”
“Sure. We need to go soon.”
“Let’s leave tomorrow. I want to give my dad a proper burial.”
“Okay, but don’t take your sweet time, we’re in a hurry, remember?”
“Y… yeah.” Lana wiped her off her tears once more and stood up, a fierce and vengeful look in her eyes, still tingling from the remaining tears.
© Copyright 2017 Dingdongbigoudi. All rights reserved.
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