Burnt World

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic


Humanity has plagued the earth long enough. It's time for it to be cleansed.

Submitted: September 15, 2018

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Submitted: September 15, 2018

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Burnt World




 

I woke up to the sound of dogs barking outside. I turned over on my side, opening my eyes. The lamp on my nightstand was off, along with my glasses, wallet, and a silver arrow. Past that was another bed. Its baby blue sheets were crumpled and pushed back to the far end of the bed. The pillow was pushed against the wall. Its occupant was missing.

 

My nose caught the smell of something. It was enough to make me sit up and locate the source. As I rubbed my eyes I reached over and put on my glasses. The world came into focus. In the room next to my bed was the small kitchen/dining area, where the smell was emanating from. I heard a woman’s voice humming coming from the room. I let out a yawn as I swung my feet over the side of my bed. I opened the drawer of my nightstand and put on a long green shirt and black pants, and white socks.

 

After I’d readied up for the day, I entered the kitchen. Spread out on the table was an array of breakfast foods. Sizzling bacon, puffy eggs, brown bread, fresh milk and cereal. A girl was sitting at the far end of the table, chewing on a slice of bacon. She noticed me and smiled.

“ Good morning Lewis! I got a few things ready.” I pulled up a chair and took my place.

“ Morning Kayla, this looks amazing!” I said, filling my plate with eggs and a bowl of cereal. I took a bite of the eggs, it tasted salty and flavourful. “ My mouth agrees with me.” Kayla laughed. She had her long blonde hair pulled back, falling loosely down her back. Her green eyes sparkled.

“ Thanks, I uh, I dunno. I just kinda felt like cooking.” She said.

“ Well I can say it was worth it. I can’t do this.” I said.

“ I’m sure you could if you wanted!” Kayla said. She took a sip of orange juice. I hadn’t taken a drink yet. I filled my glass with apple juice.

“ Maybe.” I said. I gulped down the juice. Kayla stared at me. “ What?” I asked.

“ You look worried about something.” She said. I put my glass down.  I guess she could see the worry and anxiety on my face.

“ Can’t deny it.” I muttered.

“ I know,” Kayla said. “ You’ll be fine, I promise.” I didn’t say anything as I swallowed some cereal. “ It’s only a meeting, what’s the worst that could happen?”

“ It’s not what could happen exactly here in Morque…” I looked out the window behind me. The other grey buildings in the town stood sturdy in the early morning light. Men and little children wandered the streets. A cat was walking along the roof of one house, and a dog barked at it.  “ It what’s happening out there. It’s hard to take in the info and just be able to deal with it.” I said. Suddenly a body embraced me.

“ I know Lewis, I really do.” Kayla said. “ But I believe you’ll be fine. You’re strong after all.” I hugged her back.
“ We’ll see, thank you.” I told her.

 

 

I walked up the steps of the PROTECT center. It was a great building, with marble columns built into its sides. Its roof a dome, and its walls devoid of windows. There was only one entrance, and that was the front. The entrance that was guarded by two men. They each wore white hooded suits. Swords sheathed at their sides, they made sure no one unwanted entered one of the most important places in Roma. I stood before them.

“ State your name, birthdate, and reason for being here.” The guard on the left said to me. His face was darkened and deadly serious.

“ Lewis Clark. February seventh, 300 ad.” I told him. The guard looked down at his tablet. On it lay a paper where a list of names was written. He found my name and crossed it off.

“ You can go in.” He said. The guard on the right nodded. I nodded back, and entered the building.

 

As the grey double doors swung open I was hit by a wave of cool air. A red and gold rug led to the main room, where a large table was set up. Two rooms split off to the right and left sides, containing shelves of books and binders. Countless knowledge and plans were stored here. Only one other place in Roma had such capacity. I approached the long brown table in the main room. Sixteen other men were already seated, and in a heated discussion. I sat down and listened in.
“ You all don’t understand.” One guy said. He was wearing a green shirt, just like the rest of us here. “ The Bienz are readying to attack us  right now.”
“ You have no proof of this.” Another said.
“ Yes I do. Scouts have infiltrated their city and eavesdropped on their generals. They are planning on attacking tonight.” The first said.

“ But the Bienz have been so quiet.” A third man said. “ Wouldn’t we know if they’d have anything up their sleeves?”

“ Of course we wouldn’t.” Said a fourth. “ That’s the idea, they want us to think there’s nothing going on so we can sit unprepared and vulnerable.” The arguing went on for a half hour before one man silenced everyone. He was Coner, the king of our Roma.
“ After listening to you all bicker and disagree, I’ve come to a conclusion.” He adjusted his cape. “ It seems like we have enough evidence to suggest that Bienz may be attacking tonight or tomorrow at the latest. We will have soldiers ready at the walls and catapults on stand by if need be.”
“ Sire you think this to be true?” A man asked. The King sighed.
“ I know not for sure, but we can’t risk losing another battle against them.” No one could argue with that. The last time we’d almost lost the city to the Bienz, and that had been only months ago. The decision was made and each of us was tasked with riding to a certain part of Roma and publicly displaying the news.  Coner wanted the whole place on guard if we were to survive this. We couldn’t be lazy, or else they might strike.

 

Out of the seventeen states of the city I was assigned to the Fourteenth one, my home, where I stood at a wooden podium in the town square and gave my speech. It was boring really. It was simply a warning to the normal folks and a command to the soldiers. Fourteen was also where the SAFE house was located. A ginormous vault in which to keep the people of Roma safe if our attackers were too strong. At least until we could take back our home. Problem with it was that it only held around eighty five thousand people. Roma consisted of over a hundred thousand.

 

As I walked back to my hut, I saw men and women scrambling around in silver armor. Carrying weapons and shouting orders. They were in the process of setting up along the city’s wall, at the top and the base. Coner had appointed a group of men known as KEEPERS. They managed all the big operations. I saw some of them, in their purple gowns. They spoke with the soldiers about orders and with confused citizens. When I looked up at the top of the city wall I could see scouts looking out at the surrounding land, to see if any army was incoming. So far so good. This whole operation would last around three days. This time period worked almost every time. Around the second to third day any army would think Roma had quit, but they were wrong. Like when the Sonches attacked, after the third day. We were still ready for them.

 

I opened the door to my hut, and entered the office. Kayla was gone. She was probably out in the sectioned off part of the wilderness with her hunting group. Her job was to kill a select number of animals to be skinned and their meats and furs sold to the markets. I sat down and stared at the small stack of papers before me. I had the rest of the day off from the Senate because of the meeting. Meetings like that didn’t happen much. I mostly just worked at the state senate, and sometimes the city senate. The council rarely, that was mostly the upper classes job, and the King. However I still had to fill out these forms for the council itself. More reports had been showing up due to the Elemental presences throughout the city. Certain individuals had reported encounters with life forms only described as celestial. I read on the reports the varying descriptions giving of these creatures. One woman said she found one in her hut. She said it to have the general design of a human, but its skin was entirely blue. Blue like the ocean, and it waved back and forth like the ocean as well. It apparently had no distinguishable features, with no face or genitals to be seen. It was just a figure. The woman said the water figure had moved toward her in her house, ignoring all objects in its way. It had stared at her for a brief moment before vanishing, leaving nothing but a small water stain on the carpeting. The woman complained about her messed up carpet afterwards. I wrote on the bottom “ Send an inspector to the house.” I wrote nothing else. I wrote the same simple message for all the reports. They all said similar things, with figures made up of water following certain individuals, and then disappearing. It seemed odd to me that these reports never spoke of any kind of aggressive action. These figures never did more than watch and then fade away. Sure, they were new, only starting around a week ago, but still. Nothing living is a true pacifist. Pacifists die.

 

After setting down the final paper report, I put the stack into my sack at my side, ready for tomorrow. I stood up, and pushed in my chair. I turned to head for the kitchen, to have a snack while I waited for Kayla to get home. I always ended up relying on her for our big meals. Mostly because she enjoys cooking, and I’d rather let her do something to give her a reason to feel in charge. People along the streets and even in the Senate would ask me if me and her were a ‘thing.’ Of course I tell them ‘no.’ I’d constantly have to give the same story. Kayla didn’t move in with me because we were engaged or anything, she moved in because she had to. Her parents had been killed during a battle with the Sonches about a year back, when they tried infiltrating the fourteenth state during the night. We beat them, but we had a few casualties. Unfortunately, Kayla’s parents were two of them. Since Kayla’s hunting job meant she had to stay in state fourteen, she would have to give it up and get a new job if she moved to a different part of the city. I remember how much she didn’t want to leave. I’d spoken with her enough to know she loved this state. I kinda agree, it is nice. Some states, like one five and seven, are hell to live in. We get more support from the Council and the King.

 

I felt obligated to offer Kayla a place to stay with me, since there were no other housing available at the time. She’d said yes, and hasn’t moved out all these months later. I have the feeling she enjoys living with me. Honestly I’m glad she came here. I left my parents long ago, so that I could manage my own life. But it did get awfully lonely, and having a partner fills that gap. Even if we are just good friends, what’s the issue in that? I began to head toward the kitchen and wait for her to get home.

 

Then there was a knock at the door. I paused, and opened it. I nearly stumbled back when I saw what was in front of me. The water figure. It looked barely like a female. There were extended curves where breasts might be, and its behind was too big for a male. It had the outline of hair falling down its back. It appeared naked, but no other features were visible. The water itself swayed back and forth, as if a part of the sea had stuck together and walked to my door. The ground where it stood continually got more and more covered with water. I stared at the figure, speechless. It was nearly midnight now, so no one else was outside. The figure itself seemed to glow very faintly. I almost dared someone to see it, so I would know I wasn’t hallucinating. We were there looking at each for what felt like ten minutes straight, and the world was at a standstill.

“ You are the one.” It said finally. I nearly fell back again when I heard it speak. Its mouth did not move, and yet the sound flowed out softly and sweetly. It was the most non-aggressive thing I’d ever seen.

“ I-I’m the what?” I asked it. I began to feel sweat slide down my neck.

“ You, and her. You two are the ones who will continue humanity.” The figure said. This made no sense to me.

“ I don’t… What are you..?” I was confused and scared at the same time.

“ There is no time, only enough to do what needs to be done, for your survival.” The water figure extended its right arm forward. On its palm was a piece of paper with a sketch on it. It showed in detail the biggest boat I’d ever seen. It seemed like it could fit all the animals in the world inside of it. I hesitantly took it. It felt like normal paper, nothing different about it. More sweat fell off my face.

“ A boat..?” I said.

“ You have exactly thirty days to construct this.” The water figure said. “ Now listen.” I looked into its non-existent eyes. “ Once it is done, you and her must take all the supplies necessary and lock yourselves inside of it. No one, no one can join you. Only you two have the chemistry to do it. Wait fifty days, never leaving the boat once. After the final day has passed, you may exit.” I processed this.
“ Then what?” I asked.

“ Then this world that you know will be burnt. All you can do then is rebirth humanity. It will be the only species on this planet missing after the fire.” The figure said. I felt like I needed to sit down.

“ Burnt, missing? What do you mean?” I asked. I couldn’t believe no one else was hearing this.

“ I must go, do not forget, or else humanity will perish. The fire is angry with this species.” The watery woman said. She turned and walked away. I watched her turn the corner of my street. I looked down at the sketch in my hands, and ran after her. She was gone. I couldn’t find her, just the wet trail she’d left behind.

 

 

Needless to say Kayla and I had a weird discussion that night. We sat and ate and talked. It took some time to convince her of what I’d seen, though it wasn’t that hard. She’d always been open to the possibilities of other life. Course she was a bit reluctant, but she knew I wouldn’t lie to her. I hoped. By the end of the night she agreed to help me.

“ If anything we’ll get a cool new boat out of it.” She said. Looking at the sketch.

“ Yeah, I guess so.” I said.

“ You’re not lying about the rebirthing humanity part?” She asked.
“ No, straight from its mouth, that it didn’t have.” I said.

“ Well, I dunno about that part.” Kayla said.

“ Right, well we have work to do before then, so we don’t need to worry about it.” I said, taking a swig of water. It was incredibly awkward to talk about. If it meant what I thought it meant… We’ll get to that later.

“ Well, after work tomorrow I can show this to Jacob.” Kayla said. “ You know the builder that works in the shopping district?”

“ Oh yeah, could he help?” I asked.

“ I think so, he’s worked on many military things before, so I wouldn’t be surprised.” Kayla said.
“ Alright…” I said. It didn’t seem like this size boat was possible, but I wasn’t much of an architect.

 

 

The next day, I found out that Jacob had accepted the job. Kayla told me that Jacob figured he could get some major boosts in reputation if the city knew HE built it. Seemed like a scummy reason, but at least it would help us. I wasn’t able to get many details from Kayla, so I had to get them myself. On my way to the state senate  I took a detour to Falio, the shop where Jacob worked. He owned the place and loved to be apart of it everyday. I asked the front man if he was there, and he brought me to him.

“ Hey it’s my friend!” Jacob said as I walked in. “ How’re you doin’?”I sat down on a chair.

“ Alright, I want some info on this boat.”

“ Right.” He sat down adjacent to me. “ What’s up?”
“ Well, Kayla gave you the sketch right?” I asked.
“ Yup. Have it here somewhere.” He said, feeling around. He picked up the paper and showed me. I nodded.
“ You have the capabilities to make such a thing?” I asked.
“ It’ll be a struggle, but I can manage it I think.” Jacob said. “ I’ll just have to get some men and supplies from outside the city. I still have to put the orders in from Jenga, they have good building tools.”
“ You always get stuff from them.” I said.
“ Well, Roma’s friendly with ‘em, and they have good materials!” Jacob raised his hands. I sighed.

“ Okay, well Kayla told you we have only thirty days to make it right?” I asked.
“ She didn’t say that, wow.” Jacob laid back in his chair. “ That’s a short time for something this big.”

“ I know it is. That’s why we’re trusting you get it done.” I said.

“ I will!” Jacob stood up. “ But if I am that means I’ll have to ask you to pay.”

“ How much?” I asked.
“ For this size? Around six hundred coins.” Jacob said. Normally that would be unaffordable for anyone in Roma.

“ Okay, I’ll get it to you tomorrow.” I said. My reasoning was that if humanity was to be wiped out, money didn’t matter. Sure, I wasn’t certain if I could believe this water spirit. Then again, it was an Elemental. Something on that level couldn’t be ignored. Other cities such as Jenga and Bienz had entire religions based around the Elementals. Roma was the only city to not be so strict on that kind of thing, but those ideas were still practiced. I paid Jacob the money the next day. That left me fairly poor, but it didn’t matter. I decided to keep this whole scenario a secret from others. I wouldn’t want to be embarrassed and/or create panic. Kayla and I discussed what we’d bring to the boat. Before we could gather supplies for it however, Roma was attacked.

 

I woke up to sounds of screaming and shouting outside. Kayla was yelling at me to get up and grab my bow. She had her armor on and her bow and sword equipped. I asked what was happening.
“ Bienz are trying to break down the gate to our state!” She said. I jettisoned out of bed.

“ And you’re going?!”  

“ It was a sudden attack and the King demands all soldiers and hunters to be on the front lines!” Kayla rushed toward the door and thrust it open. Innocents were scrambling to get inside houses and soldiers ran past. “ Stay here, and stay safe.” Kayla said, and dashed outside, closing the door behind her. I got on my clothes and and strapped my quiver on my back. I didn’t have fancy armor like my friend did, but I was fairly skilled with the bow. I held it in my fingers. Practicing with it was a fun past time for me. I waited in my house, anxiously watching outside to see if anyone tried to bust in. I stayed there for a fairly long time. Every so often I’d see soldiers fighting and falling outside. I tried to control the feeling in my stomach. Was this what the fire was angry at? Finally I saw figures move in the windows. I looked out. Two soldiers in red and black outfits were breaking down my neighbors door. The colors showed they were Bienz men. They entered the house and began to take hostages. I felt anger swell inside of me. I couldn’t just stand here and let them take the people inside! I waited for Romans to stop them, but no one came. They were busy fighting elsewhere. I took a deep breath, opened my door, and stepped outside.

 

I approached the other house carefully, an arrow nocked in my bow. One soldier came out, carrying the body of an elderly woman. He saw me and dropped her.
“ Well, what are you trying to do?” He whipped out a silver sword. His friend stepped up next to him.

“ Another brave soul huh?” He said. They both charged me. I released my string, sending the arrow flying into one soldier’s neck. He grasped at it and fell to ground. The other swung at me. I dodged to the side, getting my arm grazed. Red filled my arm as I reached for an arrow. The man swung horizontally at my face. I ducked down, jabbing my arrow into his gut. He staggered back, and pulled the arrow out of his stomach. He made to swing at me again, this time slower. I braced to dodge, again, when the man suddenly stopped and fell. I saw Kayla before me.

“ I told you to stay inside.” She said, coming toward me.

“ Sorry.” I said. She inspected my arm.

“ Get back in and put some medication on that.” She told me.

“ How’s the fight?” I asked.
“ Fine, but I need to go, get in the hut!” She said, and rushed past me. I followed her with my eyes. She was about to turn a corner when another Bienz soldier jumped her. She flipped him onto the ground then slit his throat and moved on. I spent the rest of the battle in the hut. I had my arm bandaged, and my dirty shirt put away for cleaning. Thankfully the fight ended soon, without too much trouble. Later on I found out from the Senate that some citizens had been killed and a few injured. But our food stock was still okay. That was the usual. Kayla kept scolding me for not listening to her though. I was able to shut her up by bringing up that we still needed to get our supplies ready.

 

Two days later, we were shopping for food when a question arose in me.

“ You still wanted to fight even though they’re all gonna die?”

“ They won’t die.” Kayla said. “ We’ll just be doing an experiment, right? Something the Elements want to test?”
“ What? No!” I said. “ The water said they are all gonna die! I told you!”
“ Yeah, but that could just be a scare tactic.” Kayla said. “ I think we’re just helping out, I mean how could everyone be wiped out just like that?”

“ It’ll take fifty days!” I said.

“ Fifty for the experiment to be finished.” She insisted. I couldn’t believe this.

“ No see you’re wrong. They are gonna die!” I said.
“ Maybe try a more positive view for once.” She said.

“ That’s not…” But she wasn’t listening to me anymore. Kayla was busy picking out fruits. I decided to drop it. Perhaps it’d be easier on her if she thought differently. Then again she’ll find out regardless what’ll happen. I wasn’t even sure myself what was the truth. By the fifteenth day we got all our supplies ready to be moved. Others thought we were either moving states or were just insane. I couldn’t exactly argue with them. I simply told them we had some redecorating plans. No one bought it, but at least I wasn’t letting out the truth. Anything but that, even if they still wouldn’t believe me. By day twenty nine, Jacob knocked on our door.

“ It’s done my friend.” He told me. Kayla’s head rose up from her bed.

“ What’s done?” She said.

“ The boat!” Jacob said. “ You two have to see this.”  

“ Alright, better be worth it.” I said.

 

It was worth it. The boat itself sat by the docks in the ocean. It was almost as big as the Council Building. It was dark grey and blue. It had a ramp leading up to its deck. Inside was according to the sketch. Multiple beds, storage chests, and kitchens were setup. It was as big as a mini field. The three of us stood inside of it. Kayla then sprung. She explored every part of it.

“ Oh my GOD! This is insane! How did you even do this this is ridiculous!” She was saying.

“ Well the hardest part was the material itself.” Jacob said. “ It was something I’d never seen before. Some kind of mixture of metal and stone. Took a while to make it work, in fact we failed at it quite a few times. Good thing I got the determination!” I felt the wall. It was cold and hard.

“ And it’s not dropping like a rock to the bottom of the ocean?” I asked.
“ Well, we have it held up as of right now. It’ll most likely sink to the bottom once we release it.” Jacob said. “ Good for sneaking into enemy territory.” I faced him, so did Kayla.
“ What?” I asked.
“ That’s what I told the King, we’d use this for military reasons, and you two would be testers.” Jacob said.
“ Oh, alright.” I said.

“ But you know the real reason right?” Kayla asked. Jacob scratched his beard.

“ Uh, something about the Element right?” Kayla was gonna argue that was offense to the water spirit, but I waved her off.

“ It’s fine, thanks man. I hope the money pays well, I nearly lost my house from it.” I said.
“ It’ll go to fine use on women and drinks.” Jacob said. Kayla gave him a murderous look. “ Just kidding!” He added quickly.

 

Kayla and I began moving our stuff in, once we’d have enough marveling. We couldn’t waste time, we had only one day to get this done. I wasn’t sure what would happen after day thirty, but I didn’t want to find out. I also tried not to think much about the others. Would this world really die? I wasn’t sure, and I just kept my head focused on moving boxes. It was a laborious process, incredibly boring. We had the day off, not that it mattered. We only took breaks to eat and use the restrooms. Finally, around ten at night, we finished. I collapsed on a bed next to Kayla’s bed, where she too, was laying dead.

“ Well, I guess we live here for the next fifty days.” I said.
“ That long?” Kayla said. “ Jesus.”

“ Yeah, we better keep track.” I said.


“ Ok, you do it.” Kayla said.
“ How about you?” I suggested.
“ Nu uh, you.” She said.
“ Please?” I asked.
“ Please as in you want to do it?” She said. “ Ok good.”

“ You’re being hopeless.” I said.

“ Oh nooo….” Kayla waved her arms around in the air. I laughed and rolled over. I was too tired to argue. I’m sure we’d both end up doing it anyways. At some point in the middle of the night I felt the boat slowly drop to the bottom of the ocean. I guessed the King thought we were out ‘testing the boat’ or something, for the next fifty days.


 

So we spent the next seven weeks in that large boat. I thought we’d both go insane. But actually it was not as bad as I’d initially believed. The food we had was quite good, and we had enough salt to keep it fresh. The beds were comfy and there was enough space to play around. Kayla and I had spent enough time together to make up some fun games to play. Things like tossing meat, throwing pillows, hide and seek, that kinda thing. We’d also brought along some books to read, which helped. Every so often Kayla would be tempted to open the hatch door, and I’d have to stop her. I had to remind her we’d be drowned in water if she did. Some were close calls. It kinda surprised me that no one ever bothered to check up on us down here. Did the King really believe we’d be out for fifty days? I figured at some point we’d get knocks on our hatch, and we’d have to answer as why our boat is just sitting here. But nobody came.

 

Kayla and I were having some underwater dinner one night, around day twenty five I think.

“ So, what do you think of this new life?” I asked, cutting into a piece of meat.

“ Really, you’re just asking now?” Kayla said, putting a chunk into her mouth. “ Kinda late don’tcha think?”

“ Alright, it is.” I admitted. “ But that doesn’t mean I don’t wanna know.” Kayla set her fork down.

“ It’s really weird. It feels like we live in a huge mansion or something. Except I know we are still underwater in a boat.” She said. “ It’s just odd.”
“ That’s true.” I agreed. “ But at least the water spirit gave us a comfy place to live.” She nodded.
“ But why us though? I should’ve asked sooner, but why just us?” She asked. I shrugged and took a swig of orange juice.

“ First off I’ve answered this already.” I said.
“ Can you just tell me again!” Kayla said.
“ Could you not forget this time?” I asked.
“ Yes, just tell me!” She insisted. I chuckled.
“ Right well, the spirit said we were the most compatible together.”  Kayla stared at me.

“ How so?”
“ I dunno, I guess most people don’t get along for long periods of time.” I guessed.
“ But you’re saying that we would, being stuck together for a long time like this?” I couldn’t tell if she was pressing to joke or to be serious.

“ W-well, that’s what it said, so…” I focused on my beans.

“ So, what?” Kayla asked.
“ Why are you making this awkward?” I said.

“ I’m not, I just wanna know what you think.” She said.

“ I think we do work well together.” I said. I was worried she’d say something back that would break us. We couldn’t be broken, not now. Kayla got up and began to scoop up her plates and utensils.

“ I think so also. I mean I wouldn’t have stayed with you if I didn’t think you were so great. But here I am.” She walked over to one of the many sinks and began the dishes. I still felt like that stuff just leaked out into the sea and hurt the fish.

 

 

 

For the next thirty days, we did our usual fair. We actually slept a lot. The jobs we’d had were very demanding, and it felt good to sleep for as long as we wanted. Kayla loved to play pranks on me, almost every day. Maybe it was her slowly going insane. But there were numerous occasions where I couldn’t find my bed sheets, or my clothing. Or some food would go missing. Of course it was always that Kayla was hiding it from me, and I’d have to find her. Another thing, is that we had no way of bathing ourselves down there. We both started smelling awfully quickly.

“ Do you smell?” Kayla would ask me.
“ Yes, and so do you. We both smell.” I’d reply.

“ We should’ve put showers in before we dropped down.” Kayla said.

“ You think? You’re just now thinking that?” I’d ask.

“ Don’t be mean, I’m just dealing with this smell!” She’d say. We had our trial set out for us with that sinking boat. But we managed. We made it all fifty days. Both of our birthdays pasted in that time. We ended up forgetting both of them. The smell made us loony I swear. But regardless of all this, the day finally came, when we could leave the boat.

 

I woke up on the fiftieth day I woke up and signed it off on the wall next to me. There were so many marks on it now. Kayla shot up out of her bed.

“ FINAL DAY! SURFACE!” She screamed. She could really scare me with her sudden outbursts like that.

“ Right! We… Should eat first.” I said.
“ Why?!” She complained.

“ Well,” I looked up the hatch. There was still water above us. “ We are still down below, we probably have to wait for a bit before the water or whatever moves us back up.”

“ And you’re sure it’ll do that?” Kayla asked.
“ I think so.” I said. I moved back down and started to cook breakfast. We still had too much food left, though most of it was spoiling. During our eating we talked about what we’d find. Kayla thought it’d be the same as usual, though I had a suspicion we’d never find what we once knew. Finally, we felt the boat jerk upwards. Once it stopped moving, we both scrambled to the hatch, not worrying about our stuff yet. I unlocked the glass hatch and we climbed out.

 

 

As soon as we stepped out Kayla rushed toward the railing. I followed after her. The hit me, and it wasn’t what I expected. It felt thick, smoky, and burnt. As I looked out over the railing and at Roma I could see why. Roma, was simply gone.

 

All the buildings were nothing but simple piles of black dust on the ground. Smoke rose up into the sky, which that in of itself was a tint of orange. There was no one there, except parts of skeletons, and some rats. The council building was gone, the shopping center was gone. Breathing was hard, since the air hurt my lungs. My eyes filled with tears, and it wasn’t just from the oxygen. I heard Kayla inhale sharply. One glance at her and I could tell she was crying. I gently enveloped her in my arms. Normally such contact would make her grimace. But now she just accepted it. I felt her tears on my arms.

“ Why…?” She murmured softly. “ How... Why…”

“ Remember when I mentioned the fire?” I asked, my tone low.
“ But why would it do this?” She said into my chest.

“ I’ve thought about it.” I said. I had been thinking a lot about it. I honestly felt stupid now, I’d never talked to her about it this whole time. I was just too afraid of hurting her. Fifty days, and I still didn’t say a word. How stupid was I? “ I figured the fire had meant to cleanse the earth of humans. Stop us from hurting it, and let the world prosper like how it was before.” Kayla looked at me. She cheeks were red.

“ But this is NOT how you cleanse!” She said. I looked out over the horizon, the whole scene made me feel like I was in hell. We could question the ways of the fire all we wanted, and yet, there would be no resolve. The Elements had always acted in strange ways.

 

Now that I thought about it, this wasn’t the first time an Element had destroyed our world. Back around 200 ad, the King had commissioned a skilled architect to build the city’s tallest tower. This would have been used for military purposes, to give Roma a higher perspective on the surrounding area. It only stood for two months before heavy winds shook it, and toppled it over. Some citizens said it was on accident, however there was no proof to suggest that. As far we know, anything the Elements do, is on complete purpose.  The King however, was not affected by the loss of his tower, that took months to build. He theorized it was the Air’s way of balancing us out with the other cities. At the time the Sonches had failed to build higher up as well, and the Bienz before them. Perhaps we’re meant to be grounded, not aerial.

 

Regardless of that act, it didn’t prevent us from causing trouble, it seems. Even if we couldn’t get into the sky, we got too deep in the ground. So much so that the Fire decided it was time… To stop it? To cleanse the earth?

“ What plans do the Elements have?” Kayla was asking herself next to me. She was now standing straight, gazing at the land before us. “ If humans aren’t supposed to exist no longer, then how is earth supposed to advance?”

“ I… Don’t know.” I said. “ There must have been some reason for this, even if we aren’t meant to know it.”

“ Perhaps we need to know something.” She said. She motioned toward herself and me. “ I mean, look at us, we’re still here, so there has to be some sort of reason for us still living, right?” Kayla looked at me with eyes of desperation. Even a brave hunter like her had a breaking point. I’d consider her fairly independent, for most of her life. However that as it may be, she still needed someone. A person to pull her through the times she couldn’t handle herself. I supposed I was always that person. I sighed, and held her hands in mine. At this point it was hard to tell if I was tearing up from the smoke, or something else.

“ The Elements work in mysterious ways.” I said, gazing into her water filled blue eyes. “ If we are still here, then that must have a meaning to go along with it.” She squeezed my hands.

“ But what is that?” She asked. She was shaking. This was new, she never got this emotional. “ Lewis, do you understand what’s happening?”

“ Huh?” I blinked.

“ You don’t seem as affected as I am.” Kayla seemed to be asking the questions I couldn’t answer myself. I rubbed my face.

“ I, convinced myself of this already.” I glanced back at the city. “ I figured if I didn’t let myself get hurt by it, then it wouldn’t matter.”
“ That’s why you seemed less energetic before.” Kayla looked away. I lowered the bridge down to the docks.

“ No point in standing here, is there.” I said.

“ What’s the point of going down there?” Kayla asked.

“ We could find something.” I gazed at the water, dark and muddy.

“ Something?” She came up behind me. “ Well, guess it beats staying here.” She followed me down the bridge and into the city of nothing.

 

I wasn’t sure how much time we spent, just walking around. It’s not like we had a clock or anything. All that stuff was left behind. Kayla immediately went to the shopping district, and cried over the remains of the people and the stands. I could still see Falio, and a certain friend’s skeleton. Skeletal pieces were all that was left of this place. Charred, burnt, scarred, black, grey. It was the worst halloween setup ever. I thought of it like that to cheer myself up, only it didn’t work. I’d seen enough people die from the various wars Roma’s fought in, but this had a different feeling to it. The place I’d spent my whole life, through all the ups and downs, was just gone. With one quick thought, the Fire had eaten all I’d, or Kayla’d, ever known.

“ Why aren’t you crying? WHY!” She kept asking me. I would repeatedly say I dunno. I wasn’t much for those emotions. Despite this something in me had still died. Whatever it was, it was hard to pinpoint exactly. The kind of thing you always had in you, but you were never aware of it until it was gone.

 

As we moved about, I began to get this feeling. A presence, like we were being watched. I figured it was an animal, after all this place would soon be overrun with them. But as we kept on walking, entering the other districts, the presence wouldn’t go away. At one point I turned a corner and saw a small fire still blazing. That shouldn’t have been possible. All other fires were put out already. Unless it was recently put there, by something.

“ Lewis, there’s still fires going on over here.” Kayla would beckon me over to two more places where fires were randomly burning, not too far away from us. I told her to be on the lookout, and keep moving. Finally we encountered it. Towards the east wall, standing under the archway that lead out to the open world, was the Fire.

 

We stared at it, its heat almost too much to look at. It had the same complexion of the Water, only it had a more masculine figure. It was as if a man had been set on fire so much his bare skin was no longer invisible. It stepped towards us. We were lucky not to be burnt alive.

“ You live.” It said. Its voice echoed in my mind, sounding strong yet calm. “ Has the Water sealed you away from my wrath?” I didn’t know what to say.

“ Yes.” Kayla spoke for me. “ We stowed away in a boat given to us by the Water, to protect us from you.”

“ Interesting. I had not thought she would go this far.” The Fire said. He had a passive aggressive tone. “ However, I must confess.” This took us both aback. Confession? From the thing that killed our world? “ I had sought to bring the earth back to its former glory. Over the centuries, Humanity had slowly withered away at it. Killing it down to the source. If I did nothing the planet would die. Water had told me I was being too brash, that this was not the way. At the time I did not believe her, or anything they said. Now I can see.”

“ You can see that you were wrong?” Kayla asked. I wanted to tell her to shut up, that she’d get us both killed. But I was too afraid to say anything. However the Fire just stood still, its light bouncing off the walls of Roma.

“ Yes, young one.” It began. “ Had I only erased half of Humanity, then this dilemma could have been solved. But to be quick and hasty is my nature. I cannot help it. When I first realized you two had escaped my wrath, I wanted to burn you as soon as you stepped out of that boat. But now I see a different future.” I could hear Kayla exhale sharply. I decided to speak up.

“ W-what future?” I asked quietly. The Fire turned to me. It was all I could to not avert my eyes. For fear that would exacerbate things.  

“ A peaceful future. I must go now. Celestial interference must only be temporary, as to maintain the flow of the earth. As I do not speak to a wolf for more than a half day, so with you.” The Fire said, knowing this to its core to be true.
“ But what do we do?” Kayla asked. “ Everything is gone!” The Fire said no more. It simply watched us, and vanished.


 

Kayla came up with the idea to leave the city. At first I was terrified of the idea. We wouldn’t know where to go or what to do out there. We’d most likely die. But she was adamant about it. I gave in, figuring losing my only partner wouldn’t help. The first day wasn’t so bad. We crossed the valley that surrounded the east side of Roma. Once I saw a flock of birds over our heads. The sky became clearer out here. Blue and majestic, and endless. It occurred to me that all other species on earth were left alone. Somehow the fire had only killed the humans, and nothing else. We slept on the grass. It wasn’t exactly a bed, but it was soft, and beat laying on dust. This gave me the chance to watch the stars.

“ They really are pretty.” Kayla said. I nodded in agreement. For the first time in awhile, we could enjoy something simple, together.

 

The next morning was hard. We had nothing to eat. Kayla was eventually able to kill a squirrel with a rock. Even then we had no fire. We spent the morning getting a stake ready. The meat was terrible, and covered in fur. We trekked on, through the nearby hills. I had to rest too often where Kayla was perfectly fine. She was the only reason I got up most of those inclines.

“ You need to work out more.” She said.

“ Sorry I’ll focus on that more, since I have free time now.” I said. She laughed. It felt a bit better, knowing that we had each other on this. Whatever was going to happen, I wanted Kayla on my side.  We spent most of the second day getting food. Kayla used sticks and rocks to make makeshift weaponry. We managed some more squirrels, and one wolf. That wolf had actually bitten my wrist, nearly taking it off. Kayla gave me a bandaid in the form of the bottom of her ripped off shirt. We slept along the side of a hill, watching the stars yet again.

 

The third day, we reached Sonch. Their city was not the same as it was when it was fighting against us. It had the same general structure as Roma. A walled city in the middle of a valley. Entering from the west gate, we knew it had met the same fate as our beloved home. Everything was burnt.

“ No, it’s not.” Kayla said. She walked up to a building. “ They’re still here.” Indeed it was. All the structures in Sonch were still standing. The exterior of them had been burnt to an utter crisp, but not destroyed. Kayla busted down the door to one house, and looked inside. “ Lewis look at this!” She practically pulled me inside. The house’s living room, kitchen, office, and dining looked perfectly intact.

“ It’s been preserved.” I said. “ How?”
“ I don’t…” Kayla was busy inspecting the kitchen. “ Lewis this place is full of food! How come these people got so much food?” She didn’t bother with the skeletons that laid about the house. I smiled.

“ Who knows, it’s ours now.” I said.

“ You bet it is.” Kayla tried to walk out with five tons of bread, and most of it fell to the ground.

“ Maybe we should decide what we’re doing first?” I suggested. Kayla stopped in the doorway and faced me.

“ Well, then what are we doing?” She asked. “ I thought we’d live here.”
“ Do you want to?” I asked.

“ Better than being out in the wild, isn’t it?” She said.

“ That’s true. But it feels odd, living among ghosts.” I said, glancing at the skeletons in the closets and chairs.

“ I know, but I think this is what the Fire meant when it said a future.” Kayla set the bread down in the kitchen. She began to get our cooking supplies.

“ What are you doing?” I asked.

“ Making dinner, I’m hungry.” She continued with her procedure. I sat down at the table. I noticed the skeleton next to me.

“ While you do that, I’m gonna get rid of these things.” Most of the ones I touched crumpled, but I managed to get the five of them out of the house, and I was fairly sure more weren’t lying around, least not in here. Kayla had made some pasta, and butter bagels. As surreal was it was to eat in a burnt city, it was also relieving. We had a place to stay, and we had a future to look forward to. Even if it was going to have a weird start.


 

Later on that night, once Kayla was sleeping on the living room couch, I took a stroll outside. The night time stars gleamed down on Sonch, giving it an outer worldly glow. Honestly it was peaceful. No people to fight with, or cause trouble with. No battles to fight or items to be stolen. Just me, making my way wherever I wanted. I wanted to get to know this ghost town. The place I’d only fought against before. As I made my way down a barren street, I saw a puddle on the ground. Getting closer the puddle extended upwards, into the form of a human.

“ Lewis.” It said.

“ You know my name?” I asked.
“ I know all things. Like I knew how to stop Fire’s plans from being accomplished.” The Water said.

“ You kept the city under care while the fire happened, didn’t you.” I said.
“ Correct. I knew that if you two were to live, that you’d need hospitality.” The Water motioned around us. “ This was a place not too far for you to reach.”
“ And we did reach it, without even knowing.” I said. Perhaps it was just fate, or the Water’s blessing, but we made it. “ Am I to thank you?”  

“ No need. I am here to sustain all life on this planet. Telling me thanks is not my motivator.” It said.

“ Is the Fire coming back?” I asked.

“ It may, however with its lesson learned, you shouldn’t worry.” It said.

“ Like that’s easy. What do we do now?” I asked.

“ What you already know to do. Start a new, more innocent life.” The Water said.
“ But…” I wasn’t sure how to respond.
“ You know what to do.” It said, and melted back into a puddle.

 

I stood there, staring at the small bit of water, for a few minutes. Would Kayla let me? Could we bring back what was lost? Was it a good idea to bring back Humanity? I had these thoughts reverberate in my head as I headed back to the house Kayla was in. I wasn’t exactly sure of what would happen. If this was to be repeated. If Humanity could redeem itself for what it had done. It would take a lot of effort to replace all the damage that the Fire had done, and especially difficult rebirth an entire species. But I just knew one thing. We had a new burnt world, and a new job to go along with it.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


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