The [[Witch]] - Chapter 18 (11/14/2021)

“Today we bring these vile criminals and sinners to justice. Their long reign of terror and destruction ends here.”

The Executioner’s words don’t particularly cut me deep. I’ve heard this countless times before. He stands before a large and angry crowd he’s whipped into a frenzy. How painfully nostalgic.

I am but one of the several so-called “criminals and sinners” up on the menu today, and we’re a bit tied up at the moment. A long dark cloak hides my body and the hands cuffed behind my back. My noose is just a little tight, and my short stature is forcing me to the tips of my toes to keep from choking. Surely the work of amateurs, I’ve partaken in better executions.

“Here we have Arthur, a member of the insurgency working against this Kingdom. His crimes are as follows…”

*Thunk*

Ah, they’re finally getting started. Sadly my position seems to be towards the end, leaving me a bit more time. I’m tired. So tired. Mentally, physically, spiritually. I just wish they’d hurry.

“Cursed [[Witch]], there is no place in this world for you.”

These are the first words I remember hearing and comprehending. It was the dawn of mankind and I was an unfortunate orphan left to the whims of an uncivilized world. To avoid the abuses of my adoptive tribe I began learning from their Shaman.

I excelled; weaving and working the magic in the atmosphere was as simple as breathing. However, it brought no relief, and I was used even more as a tool by the tribe. I brought ruin to many a settlement during this time. Again, and again. The death and destruction became too much for my feeble heart to bear, thus I left.

Isolation is better than being used as a weapon capable of bringing only demise and despair.

Or so I thought.

“Next up is Justine, a murderous wench. Her crimes are as follows…”

*Thunk*

I spent too much time in the mountains, perfecting my magic beyond the limits of humanity. Delving into long forgotten taboos. Foolishly I began tattooing my body with spells using a magical but poisonous ink. And when I ran out of room, I took to my eyelids, the inside of my mouth, and even my eyes. The pain was insufferable, but it was nothing compared to the pain of being used as a tool of destruction.

The spell was more of a curse. A blasphemy against the concept of [[God]] itself. My life to this point had been one of loneliness and pain. In a moment of weakness, I had a thought. “If I could live forever… Maybe something good could happen to someone like me…”. And so, I gifted myself a never aging and never dying body.

It was roughly a century later, on my 125th birthday, that I would leave the mountains. My tanned skin, brown eyes, and brown hair all dyed mostly black with my immortal curse. I had stopped growing and aging at 25 and ended at a lithe 5ft tall. Hope shined in my ruined eyes, that things could be different in this second chance at life.

I was a fool. For every happy moment gifted to me by eternity, I received a thousand agonies in return. New friends and family were found, giving me momentary peace. All gone in the blink of an eye as I buried loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after loved one after lov------

“Next up is Alexander, a murdering and thieving bandit caught in the woods. His crimes are as follows…”

*Thunk*

My heart is heavy. Recalling the names and faces of those I’ve left behind is worse than a thousand executions. Tens of thousands of years have passed since my birth. Happiness still out of reach.

To save those dear to me I had to intervene with the world more than I’d have liked. Involving myself in political and military matters. I became a tool once more on many occasions.

And when it was convenient, or I was no longer useful, they sought to end me in fear. Cruel [[Witch]] how could you poison his majesty. Abhorrent [[Witch]] you’re the cause of the crop failures. Evil [[Witch]] it was you who tempted our knights to commit heinous war crimes. Forcefully shouldering the blame again and again, I was put to death. Over and over.

After my executions I would pretend it had worked. After burial I would exit my tomb and leave for the next country. Repeating this endless loop of gain and loss.

The boundless hope that once shone in my eyes was replaced with bottomless despair. This was not the happiness I had wished for… Surely this is my punishment.

“Here we have the vile [[Witch]], she is a plague on our kingdom. Her crimes are as follows…”

This may take a while. The crimes they’ve manufactured against me are innumerable. After all I’ve done to help, we’re back here again.

I see a dear friend in the crowd, Elizabeth. Don’t look at me with those teary eyes. Our time together was painfully short, but I will carry it with me to eternity. I’ve seen your pure soul with my magically infused eyes, you have a bright and pure future unsuited to this world.

I try to smile at her, but it doesn’t reach my dead eyes. How much longer must I endure this? For all my power, why can I not end this bitter cycle?

I don’t care to rule over anyone.

I don’t care to throw about my power.

I just want to love and be loved in return.

“[[Witch]], have you any last words?”

I have words. The unfairness of it all. This rotten world… if I had to say anything…

“This world, is truly meaningless…”

*Thunk*

The floor beneath my feet falls away. My neck snaps as I gasp for air and flail my limbs, for it is all I can do. Ithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurts. I t. H u r t s . I scream internally, the pain consuming all reasonable thought. After putting on a short show I cast a spell to put myself into a long sleep and spare myself more pain. The next time I wake, it will be in another tomb.

Just once.

If you’re listening.

Give me a happy ending.

~~~

Time passes as it does. I wake. My body stiff and sore from its long slumber. The sun shines brightly in my eyes. This is not a tomb, but a field.

I stand to gather my bearings and view my surroundings. Gone are the humble abodes of the peasantry. Gone are the cobble streets. Gone are everything I had known to this point.

Before me stands a grand city. A city of metal and glass.

Chapter 1: The End

First time writer on the board here. I’ve been writing DnD campaigns and thought combining a world/character of magic with the Diaper Dimension might be interesting.

Sorry if the first chapter is a little dark/sad, but I felt it would be a good introduction to the character.

Feedback is greatly appreciated!

2 Likes

Welcome!

I see you have some odd formatting in your post. Would you like some hints on how to deal with formatting in Markdown on Discourse?

Some hints would be great! I took a second look after pasting it from my word file and tried fixing the AsteriskThunkAsterisk but I couldn’t get it completely right lol.

That’s one of the easiest fixes: put a \ before each one that you want to show normally :slight_smile:

Like this: \***THUNK\***

it’ll show like this: *THUNK*

For the dividers, there’s a few ways to do those

--- on a line by themselves is the easiest, and it’s also the one that most commonly gets people posting stories.

It renders this way:


(I do need to fix the CSS to make those more visible though)

You can also use this to create a scene divide in proper pupblishing syntax:

<div align="center">~~~</div>

Which shows up as:

~~~

Thanks very much for the hints, I’ve incorporated them and I think it looks a thousand times better!

Don’t apologise for writing something that isn’t generic tropey trash.

I am though still a bit bemused by the square brackets. [[]]

1 Like

We’ll have to see how that holds up for the next chapter haha. I’m pretty much done with it and it’s not looking any happier. :upside_down_face:

Perhaps all will one day be revealed

MORE! pwease? makes kitty eyes

The [[Witch]] left her mountain. Seeking a new life and experiences she went east. It was a journey full of interesting people, food, animals, and monsters. But the sadness and emptiness inside her could not be quelled.

She could go east no longer. Atop a beautiful hill, a coastal town and its ocean stretched before her. Wandering the streets, she sought something.

She found twins, Olivia and Henderson. Orphans like her. They relied only on each other for the first 20 years of their lives.

A connection was made. They bonded over their pain and the [[Witch]] was able to finally open her heart.

And for the first time in her life, new emotions bubbled forth.

Uncertainty .

~~~

Looking out over the field and the city before me, I can’t help but feel uncertain. I’ve planeswalked before. Seeking stimulation and sometimes even death among the worlds in the night sky. However, this place feels different.

I stretch my magic out, probing about the fabric of this reality. Magic is abundant here. But things are too simple. My home realm could best be described as sheets of paper layered on top of each other. Each sheet containing entire realms full of planets and life.

This place is a single, self-contained sheet of paper. Could this be a separate universe…? Another dimension? I feel claustrophobic. I might puke, just a little.

Pulling myself together I look at the city from the field. Simply put, everything seems absurdly large. A quick glance tells me that doors are built to accommodate a being of roughly 10-15ft in height.

It’s only then that I realize my current predicament… I’ve shrunk nearly a foot. My already short 5ft has become 4ft. Perhaps my body underwent some sort of change to fit this new reality. I’m not particularly sad. I swear. I’m not…

Feeling around I verify my belongings are still strapped around my belt. That’s good at least.

My skin prickles, I’m being watched. Looking around my immediate area I see naught but grass and strange connected metal trees mixed with regular leafy ones. I narrow down this feeling to one of the metal trees.

A small box with glass on one end stares at me. I take a few steps. It swivels. I move back. It swivels again. A one way viewing glass? Nobility from certain places I’ve visited had these. But it isn’t giving off magic.

I exert my will on the strange box. My mind flowing through a physical connection. I see a room. Blinking lights and glass with pictures. I’m on one of the glasses. A well-dressed man sits in a chair watching the one way glass. He’s about my height, maybe a smidge taller.

Toying with the foundation of my body I try various methods to make myself disappear on the glass. Eventually I find something that works, and my form vanishes from the man’s view. The box is complicated but if it looks through me, it cannot see me. I settle back into my body, satisfied.

Doing my best to hide my skin, I wrap my cloak tightly around myself and pull the hood over my head. If anyone knows the significance of my tattoos I may be in a tough spot. If my theory about this place is right, it’s a nonsensical fear.

Mustering my strength, I force myself forward. Into the city.

~~~
⚠️WARNING⚠️ ANOMALY DETECTED ⚠️

The words flashed frequently and brightly across the screen. The well-dressed man staring at these words had just started his shift. It was supposed to be simple, light duty. And a problem has now been dropped onto his lap.

As a member of the Hellcats his duty is to monitor this city, Elmsbury, and report higher up to the main base when things go south. But things had been quiet for some time. No illegal portals, no terrorist little groups, nothing.

The computer burst to life flashing errors and focusing all available cameras to an empty field. He was in the middle of picking up the phone to ask if maintenance was being performed when a small bundle appeared on the screen. A little wrapped in a cloak.

It is not unheard of for littles to find their way into this Dimension on accident. With the amount of portal activity taking place, it would be weirder if some unfortunate souls did not get sucked up on accident. But there are no portals in this city, at least there should not be. Possibilities race through his mind.

The bundle stands, hood falling back, hair cascading down. The little begins looking around obviously confused. The man chuckles having seen this kind of footage before. Suddenly the little changes direction. The little’s head locks on to a camera on a telephone pole. The man begins to sweat. He swears their eyes meet. His hair stands on end.

The little disappears. The man begins to calm down.

“Ah… Shit. Top Brass will not be happy about this.”

Cigar in one hand and phone in the other, the man prepares himself.

~~~

This city is strange and unlike any other I’ve seen. Size seems to vary a good amount from what I can tell. I’ve seen people as short as 2ft and as high as 13ft. Large machines carry people up and down the black-stone road. Much like a horse drawn carriage but without the horse. Must be some clockwork automata, much more advanced than anything I’d seen.

The giants seem confident, most seem to walk with a certain superiority about them. To contrast, the shorter people seem anxious and worried. I wonder what the deal is here.

Despite my best efforts I am very much attracting attention. My cloak is not fitting in with the aesthetic of the world. The smaller people don’t give me much of a glance, but the giants seem curious. I haven’t been approached yet.

It’s not exactly busy right now. A city this size in my world would be packed shoulder to shoulder with traders and adventurers. Perhaps the populace sticks to a somewhat tighter schedule. I’ve seen few cities such as that.

Here and there things catch my eye as I stop and wonder. Marvelous shiny contraptions. Food so luxurious it would not be out of place on a demi-god’s plate. Strange clothing both for giants and smaller people.

I stop before what I believe is a shop. There’s a large window display with numerous glass devices stacked atop each other. Each screen is the same; showing two people dressed colorfully and oddly, talking loudly to each other. They have something puffing up their pants, not unlike something I’ve seen trendsetters do with their breeches.

As I stop and look, my skin begins to crawl as my brain begins to thrum about in my skull. If I didn’t know better, I would say these devices were attempting to psychically attack me. That shouldn’t be possible, no magic is detected. I reinforce my mind, calming my pounding head, and look back at the glass. Now intent on figuring out what’s happening here.

“Hey, what are you doing? Get away from that!”

A voice breaks me from my investigation. A girl my height with anxiety painted all over her face sharply whispers at me from an alley.

Stay calm. Don’t come on too strong. I know I’m a screw-up. I know. Whatever happens, I can’t blow my first interaction.

“Uh hey f-friend, how do you do?”

Between the hood and the tattoos, I’m glad no one can see how red my face is right now.

~~~

The years that the [[Witch]] spent with Olivia and Henderson were the best of her life. Her bright smile never once dipped into a frown. Her initial Uncertainty gave way to pure Joy .

But life had different plans. Or more accurately, the military. Henderson was drafted into a violent conflict between local governments. Olivia and the [[Witch]] were sad and frustrated but they had each other for support.

Then.

Olivia drew ill. Medical knowledge at the time was beyond poor. The [[Witch]] did not have tens of thousands of years of healing knowledge behind her at this point.

However, she did what she could. She did what she could. She did.

Then, Henderson returned home.

In a box.

He…

I…

……

Olivia was heartbroken. Her only brother… She devolved into fits of crying and coughing into her handkerchief. There is only so much comfort that can be offered in this world.

But.

The [[Witch]] did what she could.

And yet.

And.

Yet.

The [[Witch]] found Olivia in bed the next day. Her pillow stained with tears and mucus and blood.

The scene was too much for one person to bear. The room seemed to swim and swirl around the poor [[Witch]]. She made up her mind.

What was one more taboo to break. She could not let this stand. This cruel. Sick. Fucking. Joke.

She had to see them again. Would do anything. To just one… One more time…

She brought them back.

Their shambling, mindless forms taunted her. It was a perversion and mockery of life. Their souls having already moved on to whatever peace they could find, together. Leaving her. Alone.

She dealt with them properly. With her own hands. And buried them. On the same hill overlooking the town she first arrived at.

And so, I she sat there. Between her first and most precious friends. Staring at the beautiful city and its coast.

Chapter 2: Chance encounters with the [[Witch]]

Thanks for reading everyone, my inspiration is through the roof right now so updates will be a bit more frequent than I had originally thought.

I would consider chapter 1 an introduction to the character, so this chapter is what the setup of most future chapters will look like.

1 Like

She sat with her friends on that hilltop for some time. Hours turned to days and days to weeks. Feeling sorry for herself and her friends; the [[Witch]] had no will to live.

Finally, she exploded. She grabbed a rock and began to carve away at her flesh. Surely, surely if those tattoos were gone, she could reunite with her friends.

The pain was too much. She passed out. Only to wake up shortly after, those accursed tattoos reassembling her wounded skin.

Bidding her friends farewell, the [[Witch]] travelled south along the coast. Seeking an end to her story.

After getting lost in a labyrinth-like forest for years she met someone. A young elf, barely 50 years old.

Lumina. A name befitting the kind elf whose personality shone so bright. She gave and taught the [[Witch]] many things. Among which, healing. She would never again be powerless to a simple illness.

The [[Witch]] never forgave herself for failing Olivia and Henderson… But my dear Lumina dulled the pain and was one of the few others capable of understanding the pain of being long-lived.

Death was no longer an option for the [[Witch]].

It took time but the [[Witch]] opened up to Lumina, and Lumina to her. It wasn’t marriage in the conventional sense, but they were as one for the next 800 years.

The [[Witch]] felt Love .

~~~

“Amelia would love to talk, but we have to get out of here. Follow me.”

The anxious girl turns quickly and heads back into the alley. Moving away from the colorful glass, I follow her. A few steps in and I’m grabbed by the collar of my cloak and pulled behind cover.

“What’s the deal here, you trying to get your head mushed or something?”

The anxious girl who has pulled me in the alley whispers quietly and sharply. Getting a closer look, she’s around 4 ft, short blond hair hidden beneath a puffy white hat, and green eyes. Wearing some strange, long blue trousers and simple grey shirt. This outfit is unlike anything I’ve seen.

“U-um I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here… What do you mean mushed?”

“Hm… Amelia thought you were dressed weirdly for a native, and you certainly lack the sense of one. Amelia’s place is nearby, let’s save the small talk for when we’re safe.”

With that, she lets go of my collar and begins to briskly walk deeper into the alley. I follow behind as we take alley after alley, taking turn after turn. As if the girl is trying to lose someone.

“[[Illusion]].”

It can’t hurt to help, I whisper a spell. Our tracks are erased, and new ones are placed heading in another direction.

20 minutes later we’re at a two-story building with lots of doors and a staircase leading to another level. It seems to be built for normal sized people rather than the giants I saw earlier.

She leads me up a set of steps, unlocks a door with the numbers ‘203’ on it, and waves me in. It’s decorated pretty sparingly, but everything seems very expensive. A comfortable looking couch and chairs surround a short table, across is a squat table with one of the screens I was investigating earlier atop it. There’s at least two other rooms but they’re closed off with doors.

The girl locks the door behind us and deflates on the couch. She pulls out a small rectangular device and begins to tap away at it. I decide to speak up.

“Thanks for helping me, I guess. You could say I’m pretty clueless about what’s going on.”

“Sheesh, that’s for sure. You almost got nabbed big time. Amelia’s name is Amelia. How about you?”

“You can call me [[Witch]], it’s my pleasure.”

“[-i-c-], what? How are you saying that!?”

That’s odd. And Interesting. I hadn’t realized it before but we’re speaking the same language right now and I’m not using magic to do that. [[Witch]] was not a word of the modern language of my world, it’s a dead language. Does that mean that when I transferred over to this world my common tongue became translated to this world and vice versa?

I’m confusing myself and Amelia has been staring at me expectantly for a few seconds, I should probably return to the conversation.

“Ah sorry, that’s a really outdated name from my world. The closest translation would probably be Witch.”

“Are you from Earth? Amelia’s met a few Earth littles but none of them had names that difficult to pronounce. You one of those sleight of hand magicians?”

“Hmm… I’ve never heard of ‘Earth’ before, and you could say I’m something like a magician.”

Two loud thumps on the door halt our conversation. Amelia hops off the couch and walks to the door. She looks through a small hole, unlocks, and then opens the door. A giant woman ducks in and uncomfortably shuffles over to one of the larger chairs.

Roughly 12 ft, brown hair in a ponytail, brown eyes, and athletically built. Wearing a loose grey shirt without sleeves, and baggy trousers. Once settled, she gives me a once over and begins speaking.

“Hello Witch, and welcome to Elmsbury. My name is Gale. I heard from Amelia that you somehow managed to make your way to this dimension. What are some of the last things you remember before arriving here?”

That’s a tough question to answer and frankly it puts me on the spot. I want to form connections. I want to make friends. I want to stop feeling so empty. I… I really do. But how would they react if they knew what I am? And even if they accepted that… They’d just leave me behind too… I truly am hopeless.

Half-truths for now. If they find out what I am later, then so be it.

“I went to sleep, and the next time I woke up I was in a field just outside this city.”

“And what was your world like? We get all sorts of people from all sorts of dimensions here. Perhaps someone who also came from your dimension can help you adjust?”

“Well, it was certainly not as advanced as this place is. We didn’t have those moving pictures on the glass, or the giant metal carriages or the metal trees. Pretty much everything here is shocking to be honest.”

Amelia sighs loudly and takes hold of the conversation.

“Damn, sounds like a really primitive world. Those are usually off-limits because littles from those worlds don’t adjust well. Also, if this dimension were to be discovered by a primitive world, it would be catastrophic in terms of their development.”

“Amelia, I don’t think odds are good that we have someone from her world. We aren’t in contact with many free primitives and odds are pretty poor that they’d be from the same place.”

“Amelia can take care of Witch for now, show her the ropes y’know? We’re between jobs right now anyway.”

“Perhaps I’m lost here, but what do you guys exactly do?”

Amelia smiles broadly and strikes a pose.

“Amelia and Gale, we’re members of LRS - Little Rescue Squad!”

~~~

“Welcome to Elmsbury sir. I am sorry we have to meet under these circumstances.”

The well-dressed man quickly jumps up from his seat, at attention to his freshly arrived superior. The superior gives off a menacing aura despite being a little. Short black hair and grey eyes. Muscles barely contained and bulging from his Hellcats uniform.

He commands absolute attention.

“Cut it out, you know I do not appreciate that. And drop the ‘sir’ shit. You know to call me Thomas.”

“Er, right. Sorry si-Thomas.”

“Well spill it, what happened for you to call me over to this small island? Did a scary Amazon look at you funny?”

“Ha ha, maybe if your admin role in Hellcats falls through you can do stand-up. We got someone new in town… And a weird one at that. It will be easier to show you.”

Thomas sits at the monitor and begins to look over the footage. He goes through it several times, at varying angles. He begins to rub his chin in deep thought.

“Hmm… Do these cameras have any other filters?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Just a hunch, or more of a hope really.”

He begins switching the filters on the camera. Eventually he gets to thermal imaging. This time instead of disappearing the person on screen is seen walking towards the city.

“Bingo, our mysterious friend did not take thermal cameras into account. I want IT to get on fixing these cameras up to detect when thermals are triggered without normal footage being triggered.”

“I will get them right on that sir. Thomas, sir… Thomas.”

Sigh right. You were correct to bring me in, my interest is peaked. I also want a team to investigate power usage during this time. It is not often someone just drops in without portal activity. And if there is someone running illegal portals, they are putting this whole dimension at risk.”

Thomas turns back to the footage, murmuring to himself.

“Let us all hope that this little’s odd tech does not blow this island sky high.”

~~~

I’m sitting dazed between Amelia and Gale. It’s been an hour since they started giving me a rundown on this place and what they do, and I’m doing my best to put it all together.

“So let me get this straight. This is a dimension. Where giants called ‘Amazons’ and ‘Littles’ exist. And most amazons see littles as being nothing more than babies. Littles have some rights, but it’s weighted in the amazon’s favor.”

“Right.” They confirm in unison.

“Threats exist all around to littles, including but not limited to this thing called ‘T.V.’, a ‘quick food’, getting grabbed off the streets, and abduction from other dimensions.”

“Right.” Another confirmation.

“You two alone operate a local branch of an underground agency which seeks to assist littles by freeing captive littles if possible, giving free littles assistance, and trying to improve captive little’s lives.”

“Right.” Maybe I’m understanding alright.

“Sometimes members of LRS need to go undercover so they pair up sympathetic amazons with littles to operate together. Meaning that Gale has had to… treat Amelia as one would treat a baby…”

Judging by how red Amelia’s face is, I’ve hit the mark.

“Pardon my blunt remark, I didn’t mean to poke fun at you or anything.”

“It’s okay, my widdle Amelia doesn’t hold grudges for long. I’m not little crazy but she’s the most adorable little cutie around!”

This seems to be the killing blow to Amelia. She has buried her face in her hands. Her body dyed red. Gale is trembling as she attempts to hold back a laugh behind a wide grin. These guys have quite the routine. Seeing them being such good friends sends a sharp pain to my heart.

“Alright, thanks for the explanation. I think I understand.”

“Wait really? That’s it? No big freak-out, no stages of grief, nothing?” Amelia sobers up quickly, abandoning her embarrassment in favor of shock.

“I don’t have much to go back to in my old dimension, and it… could be a really, really bad place sometimes…”

“Do you want to talk about it or….?” Gale interjects between Amelia and me.

“I… It’s alright. Maybe after I settle down. What’s in the past is in the past, I’m over it.”

I smile sincerely hoping they can see the gesture from under my hood and try my best to believe the lie. The first step to fooling someone is fooling yourself first.

“What about your cloak? Amelia hasn’t really seen you yet, mind taking it off?”

Amelia’s innocent question causes my back to stiffen in response. Gale peers over my head at Amelia and shakes her head disapprovingly.

My hands tremble slightly beneath their gloves as I grip the edge of my cloak’s hood. I reflexively pull it tighter around my head. A mixture of anxiety and grief fill my empty vessel.

“It’s okay Witch, you don’t have to take it off if you don’t want to. People have different circumstances. Amelia is sorry she asked, right Amelia?”

“Amelia is really, really sorry, Amelia didn’t mean to say anything to hurt you!”

Amelia and Gale look concerned and worried. A small part of me is happy that they would feel this way for me. But an overwhelming part of me feels unworthy of such emotion. I stop the trembling in my hands and force myself to speak.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. I’m fine. I can’t take it off right now. There’s a lot I’m ashamed about right now. A lot I can’t show. And this was made by someone dear to me. It’s really all I have…”

The silence draws for a few moments. I feel as though Amelia and Gale can see right through me now. It’s been some time since I’ve last been even slightly vulnerable. Finally, Gale slaps a smile back on her face and picks up the mood.

“Alrighty then, now that Amelia and I have told you about some of the worse things about this place, let’s move on to the good stuff! Popular culture and food!”

Hm… Not quite sure about this ‘popular culture’ but food is one of the few joys I have left. Enjoying the evolution of food is one of the few things to make living through eternity bearable.

“Since your world was on the primitive side, let’s start with something pretty popular right now that takes place in a kind of olde/fantasy setting. It’s called Lord of the Rings!”

“A portal little brought it over and it’s become a huge hit with native littles and amazons alike! Us natives here love it because it shows that littles are capable of creating and having jobs too. It’s even received a few revolutionary movie adaptations on this side. Littles were chosen to play dwarves and hobbits to make it look a little more realistic, and even allowed to wear pullups on set to further the setting’s realism. Something like that is rare and a huge step for little actors! Amelia couldn’t be more happy for the industry!”

Dwarves? I’ve known a few of those long-bearded craftsmen. Their long lifespans made them great companions… I wonder how Amelia and Gale’s story will compare to my world?

~~~

Several hours later, night fell upon what I discovered was an apartment complex. Gale had to head home to her larger house to sleep but promised to come hang out tomorrow. Amelia gave me a spare pillow and blanket to sleep on the couch while she went to her bedroom and closed the door.

I appreciate the gesture, but I can’t sleep. I could. But I can’t. My dreams are nothing but nightmares. Haunting me eternally. The voices of those long past, their faces mocking me. I haven’t slept since… Lumina. So, so long ago.

All humans sleep. Nearly all demi-humans need to sleep, at least partially. Maybe that’s partially why I feel like such a monster all the time. An immortal monster that doesn’t even need to sleep…

I shake my head to banish the thoughts from my mind. I strain my ears to listen in on Amelia’s bedroom. I hear her gentle and rhythmic breathing mingled with an infrequent crinkling sound. She’s asleep. I quietly stand and head to the door.

“[[Phase]].”

With those words I slip through the solid door and feel the fresh night air on my face.

I climb up a ladder to the roof and sit. My legs dangling over the edge. I lean my upper body back, to half lay on the roof and see the night sky. Between clouds I see the various stars that litter the sky and the single bright moon.

“Goodbye everyone. I didn’t mean to leave you all behind. I swear. I promise.”

My weak words echo quietly into the night. Silence quickly filling the void. The bad thoughts begin to creep in as they inevitably do. The previous fun with Amelia and Gale providing only a short reprieve for my battered and weary spirit.

“If somehow I died here… Would my soul even reach you all…?”

At this quiet, tucked away apartment in the city, the only sound that could be heard was that of water dripping onto the apartment’s roof.

~~~

Time marched on for the [[Witch]] and Lumina. They had good times. They had bad times. But they had them together. They could overcome any trial so long as they were together.

However, it became increasingly clear to the both of them… That Lumina wouldn’t be around much longer. 850 years is good for an elf. 100 years over the average. But no amount of time is long enough to be with a loved one.

Afraid of losing someone so close and dear to her heart she begged asked Lumina if she would accept immortality. Surely if they became each other’s reason for living, immortality wouldn’t be as burdensome as it had been before.

Lumina couldn’t do it. When elves die their souls return to their god in the elven pantheon. They remember their past lives, meet with the dead, and make a choice. Reincarnate into a new elven life to continue the cycle. Or retire from the cycle and remain in paradise.

She couldn’t choose to throw that away. She couldn’t choose me the [[Witch]].

The [[Witch]] was sad, incredibly so. But she understood.

And Lumina forced the [[Witch]] into a promise.

“I will choose to reincarnate… So please [[Witch]]… Find me again. I will always love you, to the next life and beyond.”

And so.

Lumina died peacefully.

No sickness.

No despair.

A smile on her face.

Surrounded by friends.

The [[Witch]] by her side.

The [[Witch]] felt as if her world had stopped. Their joy had come crashing down, raining shards of broken glass on her heart.

Somehow this hurt more than Olivia and Henderson. Lumina and the [[Witch]] had significantly more time together. Lumina died peacefully. She should celebrate Lumina’s life. Right?

But why?

Why won’t the longing in my her heart stop?

W h y.

W o n ‘ t.

I t.

S t o p.

The [[Witch]] loved her too much to uphold the promise. She couldn’t force herself on Lumina again and again. Reincarnation after reincarnation. Filling her lives with endless partings.

The [[Witch]] prayed that Lumina would forgive her.

Chapter 3: Friends and Family

Another chapter done, and this was a doozy. A good bit longer than the others, and I had to write on and off since my girlfriend’s family came to town.

1 Like
- Introduce Yourself -

“M-my name ish AmewiMMMPPpphh!”

Electricity courses through the little’s body. Her eyes twitch and roll beneath the black blindfold, her teeth chattering behind the pacifier used to keep her tongue from being bitten off during the shocks. Fingers frozen in shock and digging into the cold, metal chair’s arms.

The little’s pained screams echo off the walls of empty room. Empty of course save for the little tied to a chair rigged with menacing devices.

- Introduce Yourself -

“Ha… Ha… A-Amewia’s name ish Amewia…”

The little goes rigid, fearing more torment. But nothing happens.

Why didn’t I-I- mean Amelia listen… Amelia’s parents told Amelia not to attend high school on the mainland. Amelia could be back home right now. Living a peaceful life. No Amazons. No round the clock torment.

What did Amelia do to deserve this…?

Amelia had done her best. Graduating near the top of her class among littles and Amazons alike. Always on her best behavior. Not a single accident on her record.

She should have been set.

But a mere several hours after graduation she was nabbed off the streets. A long, black car began rolling alongside her. Two Amazons jumped out and dragged the screaming girl into the dark car with ease.

Amelia had mentally prepared herself for this. She’d heard how Amazons molded littles into what they wanted. She’d seen for herself what Amazons could do to littles. Seen the mindless, drooling littles being pushed along the sidewalk in strollers.

But nothing she had heard could prepare her for what was going to happen.

She was blindfolded, given a locking pacifier, tied up, and diapered in the car. After driving for an indeterminate amount of time, they stopped. She was carried into a building.

The girl could hear nothing but footsteps and the dull hum of machines. The people that grabbed her remained absolutely silent. Amelia was afraid. Her heart thrummed frantically in her chest. She hyperventilated.

Amelia was then tied to a chair.

And that.

And. That.

Was when the ‘fun’ began.

The few times her blindfold was removed was to expose her to a mild hypnosis. She didn’t know what it did, but she could tell it was slowly breaking her down.

Occasionally a mushy food/liquid was funneled through her pacifier. The taste and consistency made her gag, but she could only swallow it down.

While at first, she tried to hold her bladder and bowels in a feeble attempt to retain some control, she soon freely wet and messed her diapers. Changes were not frequent.

And worst of all. The shocks.

Randomly throughout the day and night, a robotic voice would ask her questions. It would ask her questions until she got them right. And when she got them wrong… She would be shocked. The shocks could last anywhere from 5 seconds to several minutes. All at varying pain thresholds.

The girl was unsure how long she’d been here. With her sleep cycle constantly disrupted by the robotic questioning the only thing she could keep track of was her feedings. If she was being fed twice a day, then she estimated she’d been trapped this way for over a month. Roughly 60 feedings.

Whoever had grabbed her was sick and demented. They didn’t simply want obedient and mindless littles created through hypnosis and surgery. They wanted to break littles. Slowly. Painfully. Cruelly. Sickeningly.

- What are you -

Please stop.

No more.

“Amewia… i-ish… a baby? MMMMPPPHhh”

- What are you -

Just hypnotize me already.

Kill me.

“Hk… Amewia… i-ish…”

“… Amewia… ish…. NOTHING…”

Satisfied, the machine remains silent. Amelia sobs into her blindfold, her nose runs freely and drips down the back of her throat. Her diaper warms from a fresh wave of urine spurred on by the electrical stimulation.

They’re going to brbrbreak Amelia. Sshe cannnot continue liike this. What can Ammelia do. How can Amelia essscccaaaaappppeeee….

The girl goes limp, her restraints holding her up. The reality of her situation finally catching up with her. No hope of freedom. No hope of escape. No hope of rescue. Her mind feels like it’s teetering on the edge of a deep chasm.

Amelia is alone.

Sorry Mom. Sorry Dad. Amelia gives up. Amelia… Will see you soon.

Amelia bends her upper body forward as far the restraints allow and shoots back as quickly as possible, slamming the back of her head into the chair’s metal headrest. Again. And again. And again. And again. And. Again.

The back of her head begins to feel sticky, and she starts losing strength and focus.

Almost. There. Just. Keep. GOINGGGG.

She forces herself on, doing her best to keep slamming her head against the now crimson metal.

A door opens in the room, multiple footsteps flood the room in a mad dash. Amelia’s attempt at death is stopped as she’s grabbed by multiple sets of arms.

NOOO LET AMELIA DIE!

Despite the arms holding her down she continues attempting to finish the job, snarling and bucking. She feels a prick on her arm and sleep begins to quickly overtake her.

With a last burst of energy, she howls out in agony and torment.

DAMN IT STOOOOP …!”

~~~

STOOOOP…!”

I jump a little in shock, looking towards Amelia’s room. It’s been several days since my arrival. Gale, Amelia, and I have been hanging around Amelia’s place. They’ve been teaching me more details about this world to be safe before we go out and do anything in public.

The scream coming from Amelia’s room is a first, however. I run to her door, worried that someone has broken in. I try the knob and it’s unlocked. I fling the door open.

“Amelia! What’s wrong, I heard-“

I stop mid-sentence. Confused by the scene before me.

Amelia is sitting up in her bed, drenched in sweat and tangled up in her sheets. Her face is warped by sheer terror. She’s breathing rapidly and her chest is heaving beneath a light pajama shirt. Wrapped around her waist is a thick and objectively cute diaper with floral patterns. Even with my lack of knowledge about such things, it’s easy to tell that it’s soaked.

I freeze. Amelia freezes. We lock eyes. Her look of terror disappears quickly and is replaced by embarrassment as her face flushes bright red. She quickly attempts to throw a blanket over herself.

“G-Get out… DON’T LOOK!”

“I’M SO SORRY!”

I swiftly turn around and escape back to the couch, closing the door to her room behind me. I’ve seriously messed up, haven’t I?

One change of clothes later, Amelia enters the living room and sits on one of the chairs. Neither of us are capable of looking at the other in the eye.

“So… Uh…”

“If it makes you feel any better you did look cute…”

“That really didn’t help y’know?”

“I’ll hold my tongue.”

We sit in silence; Amelia has a conflicted look on her face but seems like she has something on her mind. I’ll push her a bit to see if she’ll continue.

“I really am sorry, It’s just… I heard you scream and was worried that something happened. If you want to talk about it or anything I’ll listen.”

“Well, the cat’s out of the bag now so Amelia might as well come clean. It was nearly five years ago when Amelia got grabbed off the street. They… They broke Amelia. Amelia even begged for death, and tried as well. But Amelia was saved by the LRS. The organization has helped a lot, only a few mental and physical scars remain. Amelia can only talk and think in third person, and Amelia’s nighttime continence isn’t coming back anytime soon. Nightmares have been infrequent as of late, but still sometimes Amelia thinks this life is a dream. That Amelia is still back there, trapped…”

Poor Amelia. Beneath the hood, my face is trapped in grief for the poor girl. I sympathize with her situation. I know far too well how it feels to be used up and broken. But she’s a good person, and undeserving of such treatment. Unlike me.

“I understand Amelia. Not the exact situation, but your feelings. I… I’m afraid of getting close to people. But if it’s to help someone as kind and amazing as you, then I’ll listen whenever you need to talk.”

“Thank you, Witch, that makes me happy.”

“There’s something I want to show you.”

Inspired by Amelia’s courage to share, I lower my hood revealing my face and the tattoos carved on nearly every inch of available skin. Amelia winces, imagining the pain.

“What are those tattoos, if you don’t mind Amelia asking?”

“They’re an old language from my world. I did this to myself, all over my body, when I was at my lowest point. Carving my body up like this hurt, but I thought it would help me take control of my destiny, of my life. But things only got worse.”

“I guess it’s Amelia’s turn to be sorry now huh?”

I chuckle as I raise the hood back over my head, hiding my mistakes once again.

“Heh, rather than being sorry, rely on me and Gale when you need to. We’re here for you.”

“Hey, that goes for you too! Amelia and Gale haven’t known you for long, but we already consider you a friend!”

Joy and fear blossom in my heart at this revelation. The happiness and peace of forming new connections, but the crushing weight of the inevitable.

Swallowing my weak feelings, I force myself to my feet and reach a hand to Amelia to help her stand.

“Well, we should probably get a move on ‘friend’. Gale’s probably waiting at the diner for us wondering if we’ve been grabbed.”

~~~

This is the first official outing since meeting Amelia and Gale. My late-night excursions notwithstanding. What the two ladies have taught me puts my first experiences here in a bit more perspective. The streets were mostly empty since it was typical weekday work hours. Those strange glasses I viewed were storefront TV’s playing hypnosis laden programming.

Now however, I feel like I’m getting the full experience of this dimension. We’ve made our way past the labyrinth of back-alleys that hides the little’s only apartment complex and we’re on the main street. It’s a weekend so it’s very busy, much busier than even a capital city in my old world.

Amazons pack the streets but among them, I see littles in various states. Nervous littles still holding onto their freedom, trying to look unappealing. Captured littles being carried or pushed around; some blushing and embarrassed, some altered by hypnosis, and even one or two that seem to be impartial if not enjoying the treatment.

Amelia is sticking close to the walls, looking down and texting on her phone to avoid catching the gaze of anyone. Her hat is pulled down to hide her features. I’m following close behind, my outfit concealing me nicely but still kind of out of place.

Uneventfully we end our 10-minute walk as Amelia stops before a sign, ‘Solstice’. The place is sandwiched between shops but holds an interesting aesthetic. The place is built of brick over the more common metal that I’ve seen so far, with a large and heavy looking dark wooden door.

“This place is really, really good. Gale and Amelia come here all the time, and best of all littles are treated well here.”

“Interesting, is that rare?”

“Very, especially establishments run by Amazons.”

Amelia pulls a smaller door handle below the larger, Amazon made one and the door seemingly opens with ease. We step inside to a candle-lit entrance. Standing close by is an older Amazon gentleman with steely grey eyes and white hair, wearing a tailored suit that wouldn’t be uncommon of butlers in my former dimension. He wears a carefully crafted neutral smile and gives off a certain aura.

I’ve seen people like him before. He’s a dangerous man.

“Hey old man Franz, is Gale here?”

“Welcome Amelia and young miss. You have kept the fair lady waiting. Allow me to accompany you to her table.”

“Thanks Franz, it’s great to see you again. Sorry that it’s been a while, as you can see we have someone new in town.”

“It is always my pleasure. The two of you are my favorite and most valued customers. Especially since you both bring in so many new faces.”

The two chuckle, their interaction seeming commonplace. It’s quite disorienting to see the menacing looking giant acting so amiable. Perhaps this Franz is just that kind of person.

Making our way through the dark interior of the diner, Franz gets us to Gale’s table. She’s sipping a coffee with two more beverages set on the table. One next to her and one across.

Wordlessly Franz presses a button on the booth and the seats with unclaimed coffees raise to comfortable levels for a little.

“If I may, madam?”

“Of course, Franz.”

Franz carefully picks up Amelia and gently deposits her into the seat next to Gale.

“If I may, madam?”

“Um, alright. And thanks.”

Franz quickly performs the same movements with surgical precision. A gentleman to his core. If I were a few thousand years younger my heart might start to throb.

“A member of our staff will be with you shortly. If you need me just say the word, ladies.”

He turns around and heads back to the entrance. Leaving us in the candlelit corner of this fine establishment. Gale has a look on her face, I decide to speak up.

“So uh… Sorry about being late. You’re not upset, are you?”

“Whaaaat, me upset. Nooooo…” Gale is clearly pouting.

“Someone of your size shouldn’t be pouting, at least Amelia thinks so.”

“Grrr… You’re paying for lunch.”

“Fine, fine. Amelia guesses she deserves as much.”

“Sorry to break up your old married couple routine, but what would you recommend?”

“Since this place caters to Amazons and littles there’s a separate menu for each. I usually get a salad, a turkey club, the house chips, potato salad, coleslaw, and the pie of the day.”

“I-isn’t that a lot!?”

“Heh, these muscles take a lot of energy. My hunger will never be quenched!” Gale flexes her arms, annoying Amelia who ducks in fear of getting swatted.

“If only some of that energy went to your chest.” Amelia snickers.

A vein pops on Gale’s forehead.

“I see someone is eager to pay for dinner as well, and I’m not holding back.”

“N-no, Amelia’s wallet!!!”

They start to laugh, and their infectious energy gets me laughing as well. Its been quite a long time since I’ve done this. Hanging out with people and having a good time. It warms me up.

We calm back down, and they help me choose my order just in time for a young Amazon woman in a black dress to arrive with a clipboard to take our order.

“Hello, I’m Heather. It looks like we got a couple of widdle cuties here. Is your mommy taking you out for lunch today?”

“Excuse me?”

Surprise and shock are obvious on Amelia’s face. This seems to be unusual treatment for this establishment.

“Aw is somebody a little grumpy girl in need of a change?”

The over eager waitress reaches down towards Amelia, likely to check her choice of underwear. Gale’s hand shoots past Amelia and grabs the waitresses’ arm like a vice.

“You got some real guts to talk to my friends like that and try to touch them with me here. What did you get out of Franz’s training?”

“What do you think you’re doing! I’ll have you kicked out for this kind of behavior!”

“Hey Franz, get over here before I break this chick’s fucking arm.” Gale shouts out towards the front of the diner.

In no time at all Franz is at the booth, the scene reflected in his eyes. Gale shoves the waitresses arm away.

“What seems to be the problem here?”

“One of your newbies here is getting a little handsy and overstepping her bounds with my friends.”

“S-she attacked me, get her out of here!”

Franz strokes his chin in thought, eyes narrowing in on Heather.

“I am quite aware of the situation Heather. We have had several complaints about you from other patrons despite your short tenure here.”

“I-it’s not what you think, I can explain-“

“Be silent.”

Franz cuts her off, his words sharp as knives. It’s brief, but for a moment I notice his neutral smile transform into a demented sneer. He quickly covers it up again, but it’s clear he’s enjoying himself. Like a predator that has found its choice prey.

“You work at my establishment; you follow my rules. Are we clear?”

“Yes s-sir.”

“You disregard my rules and treat my dear customers in a way unbefitting our image. It makes me, this restaurant, all of us, look like utter fools.”

“Yes…”

“You are going to be retrained . From the ground up. Go to Jess in the back, she will sort you out.”

“I… Yes sir…”

Heather escapes to the back, embarrassed and frightened over the interaction. I would be frightened too; he is certainly an imposing man.

“My utmost apologies. As thanks for not breaking another of our… less trained… staff’s arms, your meals are on the house today.”

“Hell yeah, you the man Franz. Amelia and Amelia’s wallet are ever grateful!”

“You seemed to enjoy that interaction perhaps a bit too much, Franz.” I blurt out, my inner thoughts leaking.

“Ha, you could say that newcomer. I am not like other Amazons. I was never one to enjoy bending littles to my will. I fought with and against too many during the war. I prefer to best those my own size with my own will. Challenges are oft too hard to find.”

Truly an interesting man. How did Gale and Amelia meet someone like him?

Franz writes down our orders and takes them to the back. Our conversation returns to normal.

“How did the two of you find this place?”

“To be honest, this place is one of the food joints recommended by our organization. Amelia and I have a list of the safest restaurants in town for littles to eat at. Solstice in particular was highly recommended. We hit it off with Franz and the rest is history.” Gale lowers her voice, not wanting to attract attention or let loose their secret in public.

“Since the two of us have arrived here, Amelia hasn’t been poisoned once thanks to that list!”

What a strange place, to be so worried about getting poisoned in your day-to-day life. In my old dimension you’d just have to worry about your ill prepared food not making you sick.

~~~

The little woke up. Asleep for days. A well-lit room.

A nursery room.

New sensations. New sights. New everything.

New world.

All unfamiliar. Scary. Wrong.

The little cried out.

Help.

Help me.

Someone, anyone? Please!

Help me…

[[Witch]]…

But no one could hear the little.

No one able to help could hear.

And no one came.

No one.

~~~

The food was amazing. Nothing I’ve had here so far compares and it’s obviously superior to what I ate in my world. I almost had tears streaming down my face as I ate my sandwich.

As further thanks, Franz brought us a bottle of some fancy wine I couldn’t begin to pronounce. With my constitution I’m incapable of becoming drunk without constant and heavy drinking; even then, the feeling goes away quickly. Gale had 4 Amazon glasses but with how much she ate, I doubt she’s tipsy. Amelia though… She had around 6 little-sized glasses and was not taking it well.

We spent the day eating, drinking, and enjoying our time together at Solstice. Franz even came back and had a drink with us. However, after demolishing two or three bottles we bid Franz adieu and made our way back to Amelia’s apartment. Not before seeing the now blushing waitress Heather, shuffling around with a noticeably different gait, and accompanying crinkling sounds. I think I understand what retraining means here.

Gale carried the grumbling and drunk Amelia home, thrown over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. She is truly a gentleman.

“Can you be coherent for a minute and fork over your keys?”

Gale shakes Amelia, attempting in vain to bring the girl to life. In reply she mumbles and points to her pocket. Gale digs around and pulls out a set of keys that look ridiculous in her large hands. She tosses them over to me since she’d have a hard time.

I open the door and we shuffle in, Gale forced to hunch. She carries Amelia over to her room as I plop down on the couch. I hear more Amelia grumbling mixed with Gale’s voice. I also hear crinkling sounds, embarrassingly realizing that Gale must be helping Amelia with her ‘problem’.

Gale backs out of Amelia’s room, moments later. Turning off the light and giving the girl a final gentle and loving look unlike any other I’ve seen her wear this past week. I’ve worn that look myself at certain points in my life. It’s obvious to me that despite their teasing they are very close. Truthfully, it makes me feel a little lonely and envious.

She faces me again, appearing surprised to see me for a split second before realization dawns on her face.

“Ah, sorry. Perhaps I had a bit too much to drink, I forgot you were here haha.”

“Is Amelia aware of how you feel for her?”

“…”

Gale runs her hands through her hair sobering up at the question. She looks conflicted before continuing.

“I don’t really understand how I feel myself.”

“If I may, it’s my recommendation that you sort that out and tell her. Just so that… You don’t have any regrets.”

“Hm, I didn’t expect to get such advice from Witch, the emotional brick wall herself.”

“I know what I am. I do. I’m a coward who refuses to face her past.”

“I… I didn’t mean it like that.”

“It’s okay, I know you don’t. Amelia called me a friend today, it meant a lot. More than she knows. I’ve started to see the two of you in the same way. Despite myself. And I just can’t help but to meddle, after seeing that look on your face.”

Gale makes her way over to the couch and sits next to me, the couch made for littles screams in metallic pain as it adjusts to unfamiliar mass.

“Amelia texted me on the way over to Solstice. The reason you were late, she told you about her confinement. I was the one who saved her.”

“She didn’t tell me that…”

“She probably doesn’t know. She was out of it, half alive when I carried her out.”

“…”

“I was tasked with infiltrating and investigating a certain group. They were the ones that kidnapped her. They were suspected of excessive cruelty, and I was there to shine the light on it. My first day was the day Amelia attempted suicide. I heard her dying howls through the concrete wall. And I was one of the first to enter her room. The sounds she made still haunt me. If only I had arrived weeks or months sooner, stopped them sooner. Would Amelia have been driven to such extremes? Would Amelia suffer to this day as she does? I hate myself for not being there sooner.”

“You did a good thing, Gale. You don’t have to finish this story…”

I don’t want to hear any more. Right now, at this very moment. I see myself reflected in Gale. The tears and pain swelling in her eyes as she recalls the horror. I want to reject it. Reject myself. Throw it away. Get it out of my h e a d .

“I need to finish. You are our friend. You live in this world. You are involved now. Please.”

“I… Understand.” I don’t want to, but I do.

Gale thanks me and takes a moment to compose herself. She looks back at me with focused, unflinching eyes.

“I knew after that incident saving Amelia took priority. I’ve failed people before, and I wouldn’t let it happen again. Working under that group for another several months was hell, the things they did were sick and depraved. Finally, I had enough privileges that I could make my move. I grabbed what documents and footage I could on a drive, grabbed Amelia under the guise of moving her to a new location, and took her to an LRS affiliated hospital.”

“…”

“Amelia made a near full recovery. The one good thing about the way they tried breaking her, is that the hypnosis they used was minimal. Her speech mannerism and nighttime accidents are the only lingering remnants. She saw the work we did to help her, and wanted in. When I heard that, I requested to be partnered with her.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know myself… When I saw her for the first time, the sight was more than I could bear. I felt that I would do anything to save her. Perhaps this feeling was an attempt to atone for past mistakes. I don’t have the hormones or genetic whatever that makes Amazons go little crazy. But that feeling to protect her bound me instantly to her. We are connected, her and I.”

“You feel responsible for the life you saved.” I’ve felt this many times before.

“Yes but it’s complicated. The years we’ve spent together since has evolved our relationship. I take care of her; she takes care of me. I can’t imagine life without her now. She’s saved me just as much as I saved her. And I wouldn’t want to ruin anything by telling Amelia any of this. I see how she looks at Amazons after her traumatic experiences. I… I couldn’t stand her hating me. Anything but that.”

“I don’t think she could hate you, even if you told her how you feel.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. I’ll think on it and try to find the right words. But you have to promise to work on your feelings too, Witch. We notice how you keep us at arm’s length. You don’t have to be alone.”

“I’ll try. I’ll try. Amelia said much of the same.”

“That’s all we can ask, I suppose. Let’s cut it with the sappy shit here. I’ll see you guys tomorrow. And if you ever need to talk, I’m here. We both are.”

“Sounds good and thank you.”

Gale leans over and quickly grabs me in a huge, crushing hug.

“Ack, t-this is n-nice but ghk I can h-hear my bones creakinggg!”

“What’s that, I can’t hear you over this odd creaking sound?”

Gale puts me back down with a laugh and exits the apartment, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

There were some tough conversations today that brought about a little grief. But they were necessary evils. I see myself in these women and their struggles. The short lives they’ve lived have been harsh, but they’ve carved lives for themselves. Perhaps I can carve a life for myself here amongst them.

I settle down on the couch and flip on the TV. Time for some more ‘research’ on yet another sleepless night.

~~~

It was a month after Amelia’s attempted suicide that she was strapped back to the chair. She was given a minimal amount of time to recover before being sent back. This time with sufficient padding on the chair to prevent another event.

After another month of torment, Amelia had largely given up. She said what the machine wanted to hear. Wet and messed herself freely. Ate the food sludge. And got shocked. Again and again.

When suddenly the door opened. Amelia suspected it was for another change, but she had been changed a short time ago and was only a little wet. She tensed up, hearing the footsteps draw closer. They stopped right before the girl. Amelia felt the restraints and her blindfold loosen, dropping to the floor. She blinked and cowered away, seeing light for the first time since her kidnapping.

Amelia felt herself being gently grabbed and propped up against the Amazon’s body. Much different than the rough treatment she’d received all this time. She felt something drip onto her face.

“I’m… I’m so, so sorry. I couldn’t save her, but you’re still here. I’m still here. I can save you…”

For the first time in a long time Amelia felt safe and warm. Consciousness failed her and she blacked out. The stimulation and shocking feelings of safety proving too much for the weakened girl.

The Amazon wiped her tears and put on a strict business face. She left the room, then the building. Arriving at her car, she deposited the battered little into a car seat.

Gale drove away.

Finalizing Amelia’s escape from her living hell.

And hurtling the two towards their new lives.

Together.

Chapter 4: (Un)Certain Love

Sorry for the wait, this one was even longer! But it was fun to write. I hope you all enjoy the read.

1 Like

The [[Witch]] left the Elven forests. She wanted solitude, a place she could ignore the world. She went east and eventually found herself at a large open prairie. Miles away from any civilization.

From the earth she summoned a tower tall enough to pierce the sky. The [[Witch]] sat at the top and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And wai-

A thousand years passed in the blink of an eye.

The [[Witch]] lived a meaningless and meager existence. Running through the motions, doing the bare minimum.

But civilization continued. Growing. Expanding… Encroaching.

Eventually her tower was within a day’s carriage ride to a fairly large city. Her residence had unwittingly become a legendary tale. The residing Duke sent all sorts of people to the [[Witch]]’s tower to learn her secrets. Knights, adventurers, scholars, everyone. She turned them all away and repelled attempts at violence with ease.

Until that fateful day.

A group had come to assail her tower and the [[Witch]] went out to greet them. They were wiped out in an instant. But as she turned to leave, her eyes couldn’t leave the face of a boy. A boy barely old enough to swing a sword. He had dead eyes. Like hers.

She approached him and asked him about his circumstances.

His village was wiped out by monsters. He was the sole survivor. To avoid being a starving beggar he picked up the sword.

His name was William.

The [[Witch]] was moved, and not unlike a stray animal she brought him into the tower.

Having lived impossibly long already, the [[Witch]] was familiar enough with swords and had done her fair share of reading on the subject.

She trained him.

Over the years the boy became a man.

And that man became her knight.

He vowed to protect and serve her. To make the impossible, possible if it meant making her happy. To love and treasure her.

His name was Sir William.

The [[Witch]] was besides herself with happiness. Never had she been the protected.

~~~

My eyes shoot open. From the light filtering through the blinds and the sound of birds, it’s morning. The television is still on from my research the night prior. I had fallen asleep. Even more unusual, it wasn’t exactly a bad dream.

That old fool… Why would I dream of him?

I flip the TV off just as the door to Amelia’s room swings open. The girl is simultaneously yawning with one hand and holding her head with the other. Her white pajama shirt doing nothing to cover the sagging flowery diaper around her waist.

“Uh I’m no expert but I think you should change.”

“Ow ow ow Amelia’s poor headdd… Amelia needs to get food in Amelia before anything. Then a shower because Amelia feels disgusting from all that drinking.”

“Alright, I’ll make an early lunch.”

“Amelia’s hero!”

The hungover little gets to the kitchen table and deflates into a chair, head planted firmly on the table. I get off the couch, turn the coffee machine on, pull out some grapes, and start putting together sandwiches.

Once it’s all done, I bring our plates and mugs to the table. We both dig in with gusto.

“What’s the plan today, Amelia?”

“Ah shit, Amelia forgot… Gale and Amelia need to attend an undercover event.”

“Why, I thought you didn’t have any ongoing jobs right now?”

“We still have to sometimes dress the part and go to some Amazon gatherings. If the people at the top of Elmsbury don’t see us playing our undercover roles sometimes, then we can’t build trust. The two of us are playing the long con here.”

Amelia quickly finishes her lunch and dashes back to her room to get showered and changed. I turn the TV back on and turn my attention to that. An advertisement for a daycare? A mixture of genuine Amazon children and littles are featured, all of whom appear happy to be there. I can’t imagine that isn’t compulsory. After the ad finishes the next program appears. Some sort of movie about an Amazon scientist and his little assistant with a time travelling car?

Engrossed by the movie I jump in surprise as Amelia’s door clicks open. I look over at Amelia and my jaw drops in surprise.

Amelia is wearing a cute short pink and white dress with lots of frill. The dress does nothing to hide the puffy pink diaper wrapped around her bottom. Pink shoes with frilly socks adorn her feet. Her short blond hair is tucked under a long brown wig, the white puffy hat still atop her head. Green eyes now covered by dark brown contacts. A large pacifier dangles from a ribbon attached to her dress. Amelia’s eyes narrow at my reaction.

“You wanna shut your mouth before a bug flies in?”

“Sorry, I was just… Surprised.”

“This is our cover, Amelia is Gale’s little and Gale is Amelia’s mommy. And obviously we need to wear disguises.”

There’s a knock on the door. Amelia rushes over and looks through the peep hole. She quickly unlocks and opens the door.

An Amazon wearing a long-sleeved, flowing red dress that struggles to contain a large bust stoops in. Long platinum blond hair. Blue eyes behind a pair of glasses. I’m completely confused until the Amazon speaks up.

“Hey guys, you ready to go?”

“G-Gale!?”

“Hahaha, do I really look that different?”

“You’re an entirely different person! That dress is doing an amazing job concealing your muscular build and what’s with those boobs!? You could kill someone with those.”

“We have to be very careful about our identities. Looking as different as possible keeps us safe. And can we please stop talking about my breasts or lack thereof, I still haven’t mentally recovered from yesterday.”

“So… Should I just stay here and hang around Amelia’s place while you guys do your work?”

“Well, Amelia and I are going to run over to the house we use as cover and put some finishing touches on. You can come with and hang out there while we work if you want.”

“Eh sure.”

Gale grabs Amelia and I follow them out the apartment, locking up as we leave. A short walk to the main road and we jump in Gale’s car. A booster seat prepared for me and a car seat for Amelia.

~~~

Thomas is once again lounging in his temporary Elmsbury office. He holds a framed picture in his hands, his usually stoic face contains a hint of sadness. A preteen Thomas next to a slightly older girl. They bear a resemblance. They look happy in the picture.

His phone rings and he sets the frame back on his desk, turning it away from him. He takes a quick look at the caller ID and answers.

“Any new information?”

“Yes si-Thomas. The team got the cameras working shortly after your orders. The past several days we have had hits for a little showing up on thermals but not visuals. Notably the anomaly was spotted walking with another little and an Amazon just yesterday. They entered a place called ‘Solstice’. Previously the anomaly has been spotted leaving and entering alleys leading to the predominately little part of town late at night.”

“I want any data we have on the little and Amazon the anomaly has been spotted with, as well as information on ‘Solstice’. Then I will be heading out for my investigation.”

“Right away.”

“Any update on the power usage?”

“We have sent several requests to the main power supplier on the island. They are holding firm on not supplying the information.”

“Hm. If they want to refuse us so badly, they must be hiding something. Push harder and get that data. If someone high up is involved with this, it will not end well…”

“That is what we are thinking as well. I will email you shortly with what we have on those with close contact to the anomaly.”

“Thanks.”

Thomas hangs up and leans back in his chair. Throwing a quick glance to the picture he’s turned away from himself, he returns to his stoic expression. Ready to get to work.

~~~

On our car ride Gale and Amelia explained about the house we were heading to. Officially it is the house where Gale and Amelia’s false identities live. Gale lives there full time acting as a live-in maid for anyone asking around about their cover. While Amelia’s apartment is provided by the LRS, Gale apparently is well off. Her parents left her quite the fortune when they passed.

A 15-minute drive away from Amelia’s apartment and we arrive. It’s on the edge of town with plenty of yard space to keep neighbors at bay. The place is huge , essentially a mansion. We pull into the garage to avoid me being seen by any nosy neighbors.

“Uh, I didn’t know Gale lived in a mansion.”

“To get buddy-buddy with the high society types causing trouble for littles Amelia and I need to act the part. I may be well off but I’m not a big home kinda gal. Less money for training equipment and food!”

“Trust Amelia, all Gale cares about is mixed martial arts and gorging herself.”

“Gah, when you put it like that I sound like some sorta monster!”

Amelia and Gale continue to tease each other as I get the short tour of the house. Living room, kitchen, master bedroom, several guest rooms, stocked nursery for appearances, 2 bathrooms, Gale’s training room, and attic. All of which are huge, each room easily the size of a small home from my world.

We return to the living room, and I sink into the comfiest couch I’ve ever sat on. The cushions engulfing my body and sending me to eternal bliss. Gale throws me the remote to the large TV on the other side of the room mounted above the fireplace. Amelia went to the garage to wait for Gale to finish setting me up.

“We’ll be back after the event. Try not to have too much fun. Feel free to take a bath in my room, it’d be like a pool for you.”

“Thanks, I might take you up on that. Good luck and be careful.”

“Ha, careful is my middle name! And… About our conversation last night…”

“Yeah?”

“… Never mind. We’ll talk more later. See ya.”

Gale departs for the garage, from my spot on the couch I couldn’t get a good look at her face. I’ll ask her about what she wanted to talk about next time. Minutes later I hear them pull out and down the street.

I fiddle with the remote for a second before managing to get the TV turned on… Not. Who in their right mind would watch TV when I could be watching Gale and Amelia’s event?

With little effort my soul exits my body. A pale and invisible form looking like my physical body. My astral body. A thin silver cord connects my body and soul. I depart after the car, sliding through walls and trees.

What better way to learn about this world than watch Gale and Amelia in the field?

~~~

Thomas sits in the back seat of his chauffeured car, looking over the documents his subordinate has given him. Amelia Arte and Gale Renar. He is chuckles to himself; the anomaly has become involved with interesting people.

He steps out of the car, signaling to his driver to wait. Just a few steps away is the entrance to Solstice. He opens the door and steps inside, the dark interior greeting him alongside a young Amazon woman in a short black dress doing little to hide her padded condition. Her nametag reads ‘Heather’.

“Welcome sir, would you like a seat?”

“Yes please and tell Franz that he has a guest.”

“Of course, sir.”

Heather leads the man to a quiet section of the establishment, towards the back. She leaves him with a water and the promise to deliver his message to her boss.

In no time at all, Franz swiftly materializes before Thomas. The old Amazon appraises the little with his eyes, digging through him.

“You have my greetings, what can this old man do for a member of the Hellcats?”

“You know who I am?”

“You have the appearance of a capable young man. Few littles dedicate themselves to training their bodies so harshly without reason.”

“I should expect nothing less from you, Franz. Or should I say the Grey Phantom .”

A wry smile graces Franz’s face.

“It has been quite some time since I was called that… May I have your name as well?”

“Thomas. Mind telling me what a master assassin is doing operating a small restaurant like this?”

Franz puts a hand to his chin and begins to stroke it thoughtfully, appearing to think hard.

“Hmm… I don’t think I will.”

“That is alright and expected. Just my personal interest. Actually, I am here on business.”

“Oho, what may that be?”

“I want you to tell me about the three women who visited yesterday.”

The smile on Franz’s face disappears. Blank face, the slightest hint of controlled anger.

“My apologies but I cannot give up information on my customers.”

“Cut the shit, Franz. We know about Amelia, Gale, and Solstice. The Hellcats let the activities of the LRS go because they are a small-time group, and no love is lost on our end as far as Amazons are concerned.”

“What are you planning? If harm is brought to those ladies…”

“The last thing I want is you as an enemy. I am confident in my abilities, not foolish. We only care about the thing Amelia and Gale were with. Those two will be unharmed.”

Franz’s overbearing presence settles slightly. The veiled anger now replaced with agitation.

“Thing?”

“The other little in a cloak, long black skirt. Look, you give her up and we interfere no further. With you and the other girls.”

“I… Do not like this. That lady, Witch, is their friend and a kind person. But if it is to protect Amelia and Gale… What do you want to know?”

“All I need to know is the location of the house they are staying at. Cameras are limited around the little part of town; we have not been able to find its location. Also, any information you have on this ‘Witch’.”

Regretfully Franz gives Thomas what he wants to know. Afterwards bidding the member of Hellcats farewell. Franz walks to the back office, feeling unusually irritated. Not even the sight of the formerly overconfident Heather begging her supervisor for a change could rouse the sadistic side of his personality. He was mad with himself.

How soft have I become?

At his desk he unlocks a secret compartment. A file is pulled out and opened, documents spill forth. A picture of Amelia and Gale. Franz begins to make new notes in the margins.

Giving up someone to save another, how foolish. But… Those girls. They are like grandchildren to me. Forgive me, Witch.

The file and its contents are returned to the compartment and locked away. Franz sits in silence a moment longer, before getting back to work.

Hmph, the Grey Phantom a grandfather. Hell hath frozen over indeed.

~~~

I followed their car for some time before their arrival at a mansion somehow even larger than Gale’s. Numerous cars line the long driveway. Must be a big turnout.

Gale exits the car and heads to the backseat to unbuckle Amelia from her car seat. She picks her up and they make their way to the front door being manned by a servant. They whisper to each other quietly while outside the range of others.

“Alright Amelia, just like we’ve done before. I’ll drop you off with the other littles. Look for signs of abuse and blend in. I’ll mingle with the Amazons and listen for anything on my end.”

“Augh let’s just get this over with. Amelia hates these sorts of events. Be careful yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t get your diaper in a twist. Time to get in character.”

Amelia pops the pacifier locked to her dress into her mouth and does her best to look the part of a brain drained little. They arrive at the door where the butler greets them with a slight bow.

“Good evening, Ms. Farston and little Allie as well. Need I show you the way?”

“Good evening to you. I can manage on my own, thank you.”

With that, Amelia and Gale… Or should I say ‘Ms. Farston’ and ‘Allie’… make their way through the fancy and elaborate hallways of the mansion. The pair reach a door and Gale knocks. The door is opened by an Amazon dressed as a maid, further in the room are other littles dressed similarly to how Amelia is and a large nursery. Gale steps in, gently depositing Amelia on the ground and giving the little a peck on the forehead.

“Mommy will be back soon sweetie, play nice.”

Gale throws Amelia a quick look of concern before turning back to the maid, nodding, and leaving the room. For now, I float after Gale as she continues forward, towards a larger set of elaborate doors also manned by two butlers.

The men give Gale a once over before each grab a handle, pulling both doors open simultaneously. Gale steps into what could only be described as a large open ball room. Food and beverages line one side of the wall. Tables surrounded by chairs close by, and an open space where numerous Amazons stand and talk amongst themselves. A live band plays soft music from a stage at the far end of the room.

This is like some kind of King’s castle! What sort of insane luxury is this!? I unconsciously drift over to the food, their wonderous scents reaching my astral form. Internally I cry out in torment as I can’t eat like this. I can only look on in agony as I watch others consume the heavenly bounty before me. I turn away spectral tears in my eyes, looking to find Gale in the crowd.

It isn’t long before I see her again and zip my way over. She’s talking to a fancy pair of Amazons, a husband and wife by the ring on their fingers and their body language.

“Thank you for the invite to this wonderful party, Mr. and Mrs. Eroldt.”

“It is no trouble dear; we cherish your company. How is little Allie? She is such an adorable little girl; you are so lucky.”

“Allie is great, very well behaved and cute. What about you Mrs. Eroldt? Have you found ‘the right one’ yet?”

“As a matter of fact, we have! She is the most darling little thing. I picked her out myself, and the moment I saw her I knew it was destiny. We almost missed our chance to get her too! Hopefully, we will be able to show the little angel off soon. Not quite ready yet.”

“Well, that’s great to hear. I will leave the two of you to greeting the other guests. Good evening.”

Bidding her depart from the conversation they amicably break up, Gale going her separate way to speak with other partygoers. It’s amazing to see how well Gale is blending in, it’s easy to tell she’s been doing this for a while. The other Amazons adore her and suspect nothing.

Wanting to get away from the… Amazing food… I head back towards the nursery Amelia was left at. See how well her side of things is going.

Amelia is sitting on the plush floor, playing with blocks with several other littles. With her back to the maid, she’s looking through the crowd of littles and seeking out signs of abuse. Seeing such a stern face on someone dressed so cutely is quite the contrast, I barely contain a laugh.

I drift through the crowd of littles getting a close look at them all. They’ve had all their personalities removed. They’re nothing more than babies now. I feel a pang of sadness. This is basically death. Death of the mind. Of the soul. What will become of them when they die?

I leave these morbid thoughts behind me, better not to think about it. I refocus my gaze back to Amelia.

She seems to have got a good look at every little, she settles down and does her best to blend in. Playing quietly amongst the others.

Suddenly the nurse speaks up.

“Alright children, it is time to watch TV!”

Amelia stiffens up at these words, this seems to be unexpected. A look of fear flashes on her face quickly but she manages to suppress it to avoid causing a stir. One by one littles are grabbed and lined up before a large TV.

Amelia attempts feigning sleep, but the Amazon rouses her enough that she cannot pretend any longer. The girl does her best to avoid looking at the flashing colors and screen but the compelling audio forces her eyes ahead. I see horror and panic reflecting in her eyes. The knowledge that she was damned if she looks and damned if she speaks up. An inescapable nightmare.

Satisfied that all littles are watching, the Maid begins typing away at her phone.

Amelia’s eyes begin to glaze over, her mouth opening enough that her pacifier drops, hanging by its ribbon. A little more and she’ll be sucked in completely. Oh shit oh fuck, I should probably do something, right???

“[[Sleep]]”

The moment the word exits my lips, Amelia’s glazed eyes droop closed, and she nods off. Hopefully, no damage done as quickly as I put her under. Satisfied, I return to my body. Gale will continue her networking and Amelia should sleep the rest of the evening away. Job well done if I say so myself.

I stand and stretch my physical body, once again acclimating myself to the constraints of a fleshy form.

That place and the people were interesting. So many Amazons treating littles like dolls. Toys that they could mold and reprogram. My heart goes out to those poor littles, but a small part of me feels… odd.

Perhaps it’s the idea behind that kind of treatment, being protected and treasured. The positives without mental death. Perhaps it’s why I dreamed of William. A reminder of one of the few times I felt that way in my life.

Gale has a nursery here for show… Would it be bad to take a closer look?

I rush over to the nursery and open its doors. Pastel colors adorn the walls and the contents of the room. Crib, changing table, toys, everything. I climb up the crib walls and fall in, landing on the soft bedding.

Ah, this is comfortable.

It feels wrong, but it also feels very right. Safe. Comfortable.

Since coming to this world, I’ve been thinking about those I’ve known before a lot. Olivia and Henderson. Lumina. Now William. Back home I banished those thoughts to the very dark recesses of my mind. But now they surface again. Why?

I wrap myself in the soft, warm blankets in the crib. My weary eyes have grown heavy. Perhaps I will willingly offer myself to sleep tonight. Maybe I can see Sir William… One more time…

And with that I allow sleep to take me.

~~~

William kept his vow; he was a knight among knights. He repelled all attempts on the [[Witch]]’s life. For decades he did this.

Whenever the [[Witch]] asked if he wanted immortality, he would reject it. His honor as a knight would not permit it.

In his old age his hair greyed, and wrinkles dotted his face in the right places, but his ferociousness with the sword never dwindled. Physically the Franz that the [[Witch]] knows today bears some resemblance to this knight.

She was preparing a gift for his 63rd birthday. He was outside defending his lady from another kingdom’s onslaught.

Unusually he cried out in pain, transforming it into a bellow of effort. The sound of his shout echoing throughout the plains. After it died down, there were no more sounds outside.

The [[Witch]] jumped from the tower, quickly going to William’s side.

It was too late.

He had been pierced through his stomach. But even then, he had fought on, ensuring the last of his enemies laid still before succumbing to his wounds. His pale face wore a sweet smile.

This was his knight’s honor.

Dying for his loved one.

She carried William up the tower, their home.

Weeping bitter tears and cursing his knight’s honor.

What point was there if I she could not see him again. The [[Witch]] would rather he live on with her than for him to throw his life away for her.

Gingerly she held him close. At the top of the tower, she watched the beautiful sunset.

And countless years later… In another dimension… The [[Witch]] cried out in her sleep.

For the greatest knight, Sir William.

Chapter 5: To be Protected

I think I’m going to try to pump out a chapter a week. Thank you all for your continued readership. I hope it’s worth the wait!

1 Like

Gale has always been strong and active. Even as a child; she ran, climbed, jumped, and fought. Taking up various martial arts in her early teenage years. While this is not unusual (especially for an Amazon), Gale has always taken her fitness to a level exceeding the norm.

Perhaps it’s due to her unique Amazon biology. At least that is what some of the doctors throughout her life would say. Gale lacks the hormones that drive many Amazons crazy for littles and babies. Maybe to compensate, her physiology worked double-time in boosting its physical attributes.

It is due to this as well as her vicious intellect, that Gale excelled in every sport and martial art that she tried.

There was no one that could face her. She was the very best.

That is, until she reached high school.

Gale had met her match in the form of a 5ft little. A girl with short black hair and grey eyes. She exuded confidence and strength in waves. Too strong to compete in the little leagues, she had to compete with Amazons. And she excelled.

The two undefeated champions clashed. Both feeling refreshed at finally having an even match.

Finally feeling less alone.

They were the best of friends and the greatest of rivals. The two were the pride of the school and as such, the little was off limits. At least during school hours. Not that any Amazon could grab her.

Then, it was graduation. The girls had one last chance to settle their rivalry. A scholarship sponsored mixed martial arts tournament to decide which of the two were superior. Obviously, they both made it to the top over the course of several days. Demolishing the competition.

A major match was to be held between the two victors. The fight of their lives.

Gale entered the ring.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

But the little – her friend – never came.

~~~

This old memory forced itself to the front of Gale’s mind as she entered the nursery to collect Amelia. Walking past the maid still on her phone. The sight before her triggered this memory.

Time seemed to halt for the Amazon. Looking down at her friend nursing a pacifier, in deep sleep. The TV in front of the small girl, blaring programming meant to reprogram littles. The other littles in the room seem to be in a similar state. Something trickles down her lip and drips onto her hand. Blood. She’d bitten down too hard and split her own lip.

Gale felt a lot of things well up, all at once.

Sadness. Grief. Worry. Panic. Anger. Rage.

She slowly turns to the maid still oblivious to the situation. Gale quickly moves to stand before her and roughly grabs her by the jaw. The shorter Amazon is forcefully stood up and made to look Gale in the eyes.

“What did you do. To. My. Girl.”

“W-what’s the matter, it’s just a hypnosis show?”

“Wrong. Answer.”

The maid struggles to break from Gale’s iron grasp. After a few attempts Gale uses her free hand to roughly pin one of the shorter Amazon’s arms to her side.

“When I left Allie here, I expected to retrieve her later in the same condition. No doubt the other parents felt the same. Should I or anyone else be thrilled to find the maid in charge of the nursery playing on her damn phone and exposing our littles to god knows what?”

“I-I’m sorry, please let me go. I’m new, I didn’t know!”

“What effects. Were on. That. Show.”

“E-everything… I think…”

I’m going to kill her. Break every goddamned bone in her body.

Gale’s hand slips from the maid’s jaw and quickly latches onto her neck.

“Hk pplease sto…”

The maid manages to gasp a plea to the enraged Gale. Though she doesn’t seem to hear or care. The maid’s attempts to free herself growing weaker and feebler as the seconds tick away.

She’ll pay for what she’s done. She’ll pay. She’ll pay. She’ll pay. She. Will. Pay.

“Ughhh…”

Suddenly a groan from behind stops Gale in her tracks. Looking over her shoulder she sees Amelia stirring in her sleep. The fog of rage begins to subside, leaving Gale empty. She lets go and the maid drops to the floor gasping and rubbing her throat.

Gale carefully walks over to Amelia and picks her up. They head for the door, Gale stopping to throw one last warning to the recovering maid.

“You slack off or pull some shit like this again with my girl and you’ll look back at this experience like it’s a fond memory.”

They leave the luxurious mansion. The butler manning the door bidding them a good evening on their way out.

Gale hurries to the car, gently strapping Amelia into the car seat, jumping into the driver’s seat, and turning around to the little. She begins poking and prodding Amelia, trying to rouse the girl.

“Hey, Amelia. Come on, wake up. Please, Amelia. Please.”

I should have been more careful. Am I really going to lose someone else again in the same fucking way? I can’t do this without you Amelia, don’t leave me alone.

Just as Gale’s emotions start to swirl and rage inside her, Amelia’s eyes flutter open. She looks around confusedly, eyes still containing her usual intelligence.

“Um, what’s wrong Gale? Are you crying?”

“Amelia! Oh, thank God you’re alright! What the hell happened in there!? I thought you were gone!”

“Gone? Well, the last thing Amelia remembers is doing the usual, checking the other littles for abuse, when… Oh shit, the maid turned on some hypnosis show. Amelia couldn’t stop looking at it, when suddenly Amelia heard a voice and then Amelia fell asleep.”

“I’m just glad you’re alright. No side effects? Do you feel any urges, can you still count, spell, and tell time?”

Amelia quickly runs through the alphabet, counts, tells time, and does whatever else she can think of to rule out effects.

“Thankfully, it seems like you fell asleep at just the right time. We must be more careful moving forward. You almost gave me a heart attack!”

“Amelia agrees, we need countermeasures for sudden hypnosis. Maybe we should ask our superiors about that?”

Gale pulls out of their parking spot and begins driving back towards her place. The pair discuss their options on the way. Looking through the rear-view mirror Gale sees Amelia stop mid-sentence, her face growing pale and then flushed.

“What’s wrong Amelia? Are you okay?”

“A-Ah… Amelia just wet without knowing… While awake…”

“Well… Hopefully that’s the extent of the hypnosis. Small price to pay for you to still be… You.”

“That’s easy for you to say! Amelia’s the one wetting herself here!”

“Yeah, yeah. Mommy Gale will do her best to take care of you while you recover.”

“That’s not the point!”

Amelia shouts indignantly while Gale laughs. Both women ultimately happy that things didn’t go too wrong tonight. Eventually their exchanges lead to silence as both fall into deep thought. Amelia thinking about her close encounter with hypnosis and Gale thinking about her old high school friend.

I won’t fail again. I swear it.

~~~

Gale was crowned victor by default. A trophy and the scholarship were hers.

She was devastated. She wanted nothing more than one last fight to prove herself against her friend and rival. Winning by default was the worst possible outcome, defeat would have been preferable to this.

The trophy was thrown aside, and she gave the scholarship to third place. She couldn’t accept any of it.

This cursed hollow victory.

Her motivation was gone. She felt lost and defeated. And that is how she would remain for several months. Until she found out the truth.

It was a relatively small town; most knew of the rivalry and friendship between Gale and the little. A shopkeeper on the main street was reviewing his tapes from the last few months before throwing them out. On those tapes he discovered the fate of Gale’s friend. He reached out and showed Gale the footage.

It was a weekend evening. All shops closed early. The little was walking home from her penultimate victory in the tournament. The bout between her and Gale would have been the next day.

An indistinguishable van started following the little.

She was smart, it was clear from the footage that she realized what was going to happen. Her pace picked up, and the van matched it. Keeping even with the girl.

A man in black wearing shades jumped out and attempted to grab her. With the girl’s skills he was easily beaten to submission. As he fell to the pavement, more men and women in black jumped out. Some carrying tools.

Against one or two the little had an advantage, but their sheer numbers worked in their favor. Ultimately a woman in black got the little with a clean hit from a shock baton.

With the lack of audio, the little screamed wordlessly and collapsed. The men and women in black who got dropped by her dusted themselves off and reentered the van with her in tow.

They took off fast down the street.

She was gone.

Fate unknown.

It wasn’t Gale’s fault. Logically she knew that she couldn’t have known or done anything. But that didn’t stop her from feeling responsible.

What kind of friend was she that this could happen on her watch?

What was the point of her ridiculous strength if she couldn’t help those beside her?

This wouldn’t happen again.

This wound engraved itself on her heart and spurred her on.

She couldn’t save her friend, but she could save others.

This wouldn’t happen again…

Chapter 6: Again

Here we are, I managed to make my deadline! Some with a close eye may notice that this chapter is a wee bit short. Late last week and into the weekend I had a bit of a health scare and couldn’t focus on writing. Thankfully rather than a fracture, it’s just a sprain! Next chapter should be more the usual length.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone enjoys this next chapter.

1 Like

While I understand the benefits of a self-imposed deadline, please feel no pressure to meet it. Put your health and other commitments first; although we do want to read more, we can wait.

Thanks for the concern and don’t worry. I didn’t resume writing until the issue was resolved. The chapter I was able to post is what I had completed in the time I wasn’t panicked about a potential break.

The [[Witch]] sat atop the tower she and William had lived in. Clutching the man dearly to her chest.

It was not long before the Duke heard word that the companion of the [[Witch]] was finally bested. He ordered a new expedition to assail the tower.

And so, they assaulted the tower one last time.

They broke down the door.

Grabbed anything of value and smashed everything else.

Then they reached the top and found the immortal [[Witch]]. All according to legend. And all that was left was to subdue her.

The knights of the expedition moved forward against the still girl. With their swords and spears they gouged her flesh through, pinning her to the tower’s stone roof. They began to make preparations to take her with them.

The [[Witch]] had made few sounds to this point. Only a light gasp as the air was forced from her pierced lungs. Meanwhile her mental state was quickly deteriorating.

Alone again. Why her. Why William. Why now. These greedy humans. That greedy Duke. They all want to take everything from me the [[Witch]]. If not for them. If not for them all. It should just disappear.

J u s t.

D i s a p p e a r.

It became too much. A pained maniacal laugh slipped from her lips. Thousands of years’ worth of negative emotions burst forth as the [[Witch]] formed curse after curse. Black ooze seeped from her tattoos, sliding down her skin and pooling beneath her. Her laughter came out choked as the tattoos carved in her mouth began to seep as well.

The physical manifestation of her suffering melted and consumed everything it touched. The weapons pinning her down, her clothing, William whom she clutched to herself, and the expedition party. All swallowed whole. Even the tower beneath her began to crumble under the unrelenting diligence of the curses.

The [[Witch]]’s laughter echoed unheard throughout the plains as her anguish spread through the duchy.

~~~

I sit up with a jolt, immediately awake. My breathes come out uneven and my mind is a jumbled mess. Anything but that horrible, terrible memory.

Panicked I feel myself to make sure my cloak is still on. It is, I sigh in relief.

It’s okay. I’m okay. Only a dream… A memory.

After a few moments I bring myself under control. Just in time as I hear the garage door opening. With ease I vault over the crib bars and head back to the living room.

Gale reenters the house with a sleepy Amelia in her arms, the garage door closing behind the two. The Amazon makes a motion for me to hold on as she heads towards the nursery. Minutes later Gale returns to the living room without Amelia.

“Sorry for the wait, I helped Amelia get ready for bed.”

“She sleeps in the nursery?”

“I’ve told her she can take the couch or share my bed but she’s in love with that crib mattress. I’ve felt it and I can’t say I blame her…”

We’re all in agreement then, that level of comfort is too dangerous to be in mortal hands.

“Anyway, how’d it go?”

“Ah well… Our investigation went alright. Nothing out of the ordinary on either of our ends. Amelia did get exposed to some hypnosis but thankfully no ‘major’ side effects.”

“That’s good to hear, hopefully you guys have some time before your next performance.”

“Yeah, yeah…”

Our conversation dies down to silence. Gale looks slightly awkward as she rubs the back of her neck.

“Before we left, you remember how I said we’d talk later right?”

“Yeah.”

“I was ready to come back from the party and tell you that I wouldn’t talk to Amelia about my feelings. That it would be better to just keep the status quo.”

“You were ready? What changed?”

“I thought I had lost her. It destroyed me. I can’t lie to her or myself anymore.”

“It’ll work out, you two get along too well for it not to.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. We’ll talk in the coming days. Maybe the next time we go to Solstice. I’m just nervous and talking about it helps.”

“I haven’t known you long but nervous isn’t really a word I’d use to describe you.”

“True, true. I guess I’ll rush forward with my typical overwhelming confidence!”

“Heh, you should get some sleep Ms. Confidence.”

“Goodnight Witch, have a good snooze.”

With that we part, Gale seeming satisfied by our conversation and looking less troubled. I hope their conversation turns out well. Surely it will.

I won’t sleep any more tonight, it’ll be another sleepless TV night. Using the remote I flick on the screen and make myself comfortable on the couch.

~~~

The little had no idea how long she’d been here.

In this unfamiliar place the passage of time seemed slow.

She had seen no other people.

Food delivered through a hole in the ground.

The foreign object around her waist could not be removed.

Forced to relieve herself in it; when she woke up it would be clean.

She paced the room like a frightened animal.

She cried.

She screamed.

She begged.

[[Witch]] please.

Save me.

But no one heard her.

No one that could help her.

~~~

Thomas lounged in the back of his chauffeured car, the tinted windows offering no view to those outside. Parked on a street with an alley that would lead to Amelia’s home, per Franz’s instructions. On a laptop, video footage from a drone pointed at the apartment played in real time.

They are still out? What a waste of time.

Just as that thought crosses his mind, his phone starts to ring. He picks it up.

“What have you got for me?”

“Si-Thomas we have an update. We leaned a little harder on the power supplier and we have a location. Some clothing store downtown selling little’s clothing for Amazon parents used a hell of a lot of power around the time of the incident. Sunny-Elms Boutique.”

“Would it happen to be enough power to open a portal?”

“Yeah… And a big one at that.”

“Alright, I want to know everything about Sunny-Elms Boutique. Get our men investigating that pronto.”

“Already on it, figured you would want as much.”

“Good, call me when you hear something. Our men on the stakeout will remain here until the evening they return. No engagement until nightfall they return.”

With a click Thomas turns off his phone. He settles down and closes his eyes for a quick rest. Nothing probably is going to happen tonight, and the drone will throw an alert if any of the suspects are caught on video.

~~~

Gale and Amelia woke up around 11 the next morning. Both wearing their usual, non-disguised outfits. However, Amelia had a noticeable bulge in her jeans. I look at her questioningly. She notices and quickly blushes before forming a reply.

“Side-effect from last night. Amelia should be able to fix it back at the apartment.”

“How about I throw together some brunch for us?”

Amelia and I voice our agreement while we head towards the kitchen. We stop halfway as Gale’s phone blares. She looks at it quickly before turning to face us.

“Never mind, it would seem that Franz is inviting us over for brunch on him. It would be rude not to head over and eat him out of house and home.”

“Amelia worries for the future of Solstice and Franz.”

Abandoning our trip to the kitchen, we head to the garage. We pile in and head back towards the city.

A fairly short ride full of Amelia and Gale bickering like an elderly couple later and Gale pulls the car in front of Solstice.

Entering, we see all the familiar sights. Same décor, same atmosphere, same Heather now wearing a short skirt advertising her padded state. I’ve only been here once before but… How nostalgic.

“Welcome to Solstice, how may I… Ah…”

“Hey, how’s our favorite server?”

Gale couldn’t seem to help herself. Wearing a wide shit eating grin, she teases the flustered employee. I can’t exactly blame her. Something about Heather just screams ‘tease me’.

“I-I am well. May I show you to your table?”

Mercifully, Gale lets her off the hook and she led us to the table we sat at last time. Gale assists us into our seats on the booth and she slides into her own. We order drinks and wait patiently.

“I think I’m going to make Franz regret picking up our tab today. What’s widdle Amelia gonna get?”

“Grr… Amelia is pretty hungry this morning. My apologies to Franz, but Amelia agrees with you.”

From the corner of my eye, I see Franz motioning for me from a doorway leading to the kitchen. In the blink of an eye, he’s gone again. I should probably go see what he wants. This should also be as good a moment as any for Gale.

I hop down from my seat at the booth.

“I’m going to uh… Take a moment and hit the bathroom before we order. I leave it to you, Gale.”

Amelia looks at me quizzically and Gale’s face briefly flashes red. I leave them to it and quickly make my way towards the back.

Entering the kitchen, I see several Amazons working in a fairly large and well stocked cooking area. To my left I see Franz looking out a one-way window towards Gale and Amelia. His normally stoic face wears a slight smile.

“Did you wish to see me Franz?”

“Welcome Witch, it is my pleasure. I am afraid you are right. A… Situation has come up. One that may very well concern you. Be wary of an ambush. I trust you can handle yourself.”

“Something like that… Who if I can ask?”

“Hellcats, a littles only wing of the military. They have a lot of leeway in how they operate and a fair bit of power.”

“Thanks for the heads up, Franz.”

“Think nothing of it. It is my arm that was twisted to give up information on you. To protect the two beautiful flowers out there, but that is merely an excuse for a foolish old man.”

“You did the right thing; I wouldn’t want them to suffer for me.”

Franz’s face lightens at this, perhaps feeling slightly less guilty about his actions. The Amazon offers a hand to me. I step forward accepting, Franz carefully places me on his shoulder so I may have a view through the window as well. We look out back at the two girls.

“It looks like quite the serious conversation, is this what I think it is?”

“Yeah. All we can do is hope it goes alright.”

“Certainly. I wish nothing but the best for those two.”

“You’re such a grandfather.”

“Hmph, I am just a meddling old man.”

We laugh to ourselves as we pray their conversation goes well.

~~~

“So… How about that weather…?”

“What’s the deal here Gale, you look like you’re about to puke all over Amelia and you’re asking about the weather?”

“Hrk… I guess I should be blunt then, just come out and say it.”

“…?”

“Amelia… I… I want to be with you.”

“You’re with Amelia right now, what’re you on about?”

“Ugh you’re dense, I mean I’d like to date you.”

“O-O-O-Oh… W-What brought this about?”

“I’ve felt this way about you for quite some time. I was so worried about what you would think and if it would ruin our friendship… But thinking I’d lost you last night made me realize that life is short. Happiness is something that won’t fall into my lap, I need to chase and grab it for myself.”

“…”

“I want to be your strength. I want to be with you, hold you, adore you. I want us to give it a shot. If you’d have me…”

“Are you not worried about what others would think.”

The combination of Amelia’s monotone voice and her downturned face hiding her feelings disheartens Gale and takes some of the momentum away. But she refocuses and finds her rhythm again. Determination gleaming in her eyes.

“I can easily say I don’t give a damn. The only others I care about, my parents, died years ago. They would want me to be happy. And as far as society goes, anyone with a problem can meet my fists. I care about you, Amelia. More than anything. More than anyone.”

“…”

“What… What do you think Amelia? I’m sorry to suddenly dump this on you… I’m sorry if you don’t or can’t feel the same way. And I know you hate Amazons… I’m sorry for being like this…”

Silence hangs over the women. Until Amelia slams her palms on the table, her face lifting to meet Gale’s gaze. Tears roll down the little’s face, dripping onto the table below.

“You idiot, you don’t need to apologize for anything! Amelia may hate most Amazons, but Amelia could never hate you, Gale. It’s because you’re an Amazon you were able to save Amelia when it mattered most! Amelia… knows you were the one who saved Amelia back then.”

“You… Knew?”

“Of course, Amelia knew! Amelia could never forget leaving that torture room. Being held in your strong arms and feeling safe. The feeling of being held so close and reassuringly to you will never leave Amelia. As soon as Amelia recovered Amelia asked the join the LRS and work alongside you…”

“Ha, I asked to be partnered with you as well when I heard you were joining.”

“So don’t apologize Gale, Amelia will beat you up if you keep it up.”

“Yeah, thanks Amelia. I… I’m glad that’s how you feel.”

“A-And as far as a relationship goes… Amelia feels the same… The time we’ve spent together has been the best moments of Amelia’s life. You mean the world to Amelia, and Amelia would happily date you, Gale.”

Gale pauses mouth agape. Seemingly surprised by this outcome. After her brain finally finishes digesting Amelia’s words she grabs the littles’ small hands in hers. Gale begins to tear up alongside Amelia, the two girls looking into each other’s eyes.

“You’ve made me the happiest girl in the world. We’ll never be apart, Amelia.”

“Amelia wouldn’t have it any other way. A-And don’t expect Amelia to say the ‘L’ word first!”

Amelia blushes deeply as Gale laughs. The sound echoing throughout Solstice, ringing a vibrant start to their new relationship.

~~~

The [[Witch]]’s curse spread through the duchy. Destroying all that it touched, leaving a large pool of black in its wake.

Eventually it had arrived at the city the Duke resided in. All the inhabitants were caught unaware. Before any spellcaster could utter a single spell to try and counter the sludge, they were swept up. Only few capable of flight were able to get to the safety of the sky in time.

Nearly all of the men, women, and children in the duchy were killed in the [[Witch]]’s sorrow. The Duke was no exception. Holed up in his mansion, curses ate through the barriers and safety mechanisms that protected him.

The man fell screaming into the endless pool of curses, having seen everything he had ever owned and worked for be consumed before him.

And when it was done, the [[Witch]] felt no satisfaction. She felt just as empty as before. Now the burden of having killed so many innocents hung deeply on her conscience.

She felt worse.

So insignificant, so small.

What a weak person she was.

Regretting her actions, she called the curse back into herself. She could not bring the duchy back, but she could prevent more destruction.

Except.

The endless tide of despair did not obey.

It continued to trickle forth from her, unending. It did not want to be sealed again within her.

This was it. The end of the world was nigh. Her curses would spread throughout the entire planet. Consuming all life.

The [[Witch]] cried out in earnest. Doing anything she could think of to stop the flow. Once again, she attempted to end her life numerous times in many different ways.

No matter what, her battered flesh would knit itself together and her tattoos would once again continue to spout her poison.

Finally, she had given up. She lay in the ruined rubble of her tower, the beautiful plains now a sea of swirling black. The world would be destroyed, and she would be the last thing left. Alone for all eternity with only the vile curses to keep her company.

Just as she deserved.

Then. The sky broke apart with a glorious golden light.

A shining figure from the heavens descended and stood before the [[Witch]]. In its arms was a black cloak that it soon draped over the girl.

Unlike everything else, the cloak did not melt. Rather it seemed to absorb the malice. It affected the [[Witch]]’s body as well. Her tattoos stopped leaking and began to suck up the curses that had spewed out.

While the duchy had been destroyed, the world at large had been saved. Her curses had receded inward, and the only reminder of this incident were the tales of those who had escaped and the remains of the duchy that had been razed to stone and dirt.

The golden figure helped the [[Witch]] to her feet and she slipped the cloak on.

The enigmatic figure looked at her and smiled warmly. It was an existence as incomprehensible as the [[Witch]]’s.

So would begin her friendship with a god.

Chapter 7: Feelings of Love

Nothing new to add really, back to 100% health! I hope everyone reading enjoys the latest installment.

1 Like

The shining figure introduced itself as [[Heat]]. It spoke the same ancient language that the [[Witch]]’s people had, long ago. Its form was that of a tall human made up of glowing energy. Its face was an empty glowing slate.

She was interested. And confused. Never had she seen a god in person. But the power and magic it radiated was unlike anything she’d seen. As for its origins… It called itself [[Heat]]. That must be the name that it was worshipped under.

To a primitive people fire and the heat it gives off could be considered life itself. The [[Witch]] strongly suspected that [[Heat]] was a god of life, perhaps one of the original and most ancient gods of this world.

[[Heat]] in turn was interested in the [[Witch]]. She was the first human it had seen to go beyond the limits of humanity and overcome mortality. It had watched her since the very day she had carved the spells into her body.

Only when her body went out of control, did the god decide to directly intervene. The cloak was infused with [[Heat]]’s divine essence. It would prevent her body from running amok and soak up curses.

The two sat and talked in the desolate wasteland of the [[Witch]]’s own creation. The god did most of the talking, since it had been watching it knew pretty much everything that had happened to this point.

[[Heat]] had a theory about the [[Witch]]. The curses that spewed forth from her were the accumulation of hundreds of millennium worth of negativity. Humans are built to bounce back from stress and emotional trauma by forgetting. The pain dulls due to the passage of time and new memories overwriting the old. But the immortality that the [[Witch]] had cursed herself with kept her body in pristine condition. Painful memories built up and built up. Never overwritten. Never forgotten. The good times she had with Olivia and Henderson, Lumina, Sir William, and the countless other companions she had met could only be momentary distractions from the tidal wave of despair that would drown her when they too were lost.

With the human lust for companionship, she would be trapped in an endless cycle of loss and gain.

Forever.

But that was only [[Heat]]’s theory. It spoke without malice, only keen interest. It could not comprehend the thoughts and feelings of living creatures, or so it explained. Therefore, while it too was immortal, it knew of but could not understand the [[Witch]]’s emotions.

This saddened the [[Witch]]. What a lonely existence [[Heat]] had lived. Even if it could not understand that, she felt compelled to do something.

She stood up and reached a hand to the god. Perhaps she could teach [[Heat]] about life and emotions. Perhaps their timeless friendship could fill the endless void inside her that had nearly destroyed this world.

Perhaps her greatest wish could be granted.

[[Heat]] accepted her hand.

~~~

Franz and I exit the kitchen and walk towards the table where Amelia and Gale are looking cute together. As our steps grow closer their eye contact breaks and the women appear embarrassed.

“What a show ladies, I am most certainly touched.”

“You aren’t even going to deny watching us!?”

I elbow Franz’s thigh and try to recover the conversation.

“We… Uh… Couldn’t help but notice what was going on? We weren’t exactly peeking…”

“Amelia is not entirely convinced by this.”

“I’m not buying it either.”

Franz and I are done for. I guess this is it. It was an honor serving with you.

Thankfully, Franz takes over again, sparing us a fate worse than death.

“Leaving all that aside, would it be a correct assumption to wish a warm congratulations to this new happy couple?”

“Yeah, Amelia feels the same as I do and we’re going to take our relationship slow.”
“Congratulations, it was about time the two of you got together. This old man has been exasperated watching the two of you so oblivious to each other’s feelings.”

“Oh god were we that bad?”

“I have known the two of you for some time, so it is no surprise for me. But for even Witch to notice in the short time she has been here, it was fairly obvious you both shared feelings.”

“Amelia can’t hear this anymore; Amelia is going to die from embarrassment!”

Amelia clutches her head in her hands, face glowing brightly. Gale wears a slight blush as well. The four of us laugh as Franz and I heartily congratulate the two. Heather returns with our drinks and we order a lengthy list of food. Franz gives no indication that our gluttony is an issue, in fact suggesting new items for us to try.

Heather crinkles away with our order, heading for the kitchen. With a little reorganizing at our table the happy couple are seated side-by-side while Franz and I sit across from them. Slightly curious about their new arrangement I speak up.

“So, what does this new relationship mean really, is anything going to change?”

“Hm… I’m not really sure. I’ve always been too focused on athletics and training to do much dating.”

“Amelia kept to herself throughout high school to avoid getting adopted, no experience here either.

It would seem that any progress made here is going to be extraordinarily slow.

“I mean the two of you have worked together and known each other for years now, right? What about moving in together?”

“I-Isn’t that too fast? Shouldn’t Amelia and I go out for a bit before that?”

“A-Amelia agrees!”

They’re too pure, they’re a blinding light before my eyes.

“Refrain from teasing the ladies too much, Witch. I am certain they will become adjusted to their new life together soon enough.”

So says Franz with a smirk. That smirk combined with the gleam in his eyes is all I need to know that he feels the same as I do. I sigh internally. Baby steps I suppose.

“Fine… I’ll relent for now. But you both are going on a first date sooner rather than later.”

“Why does it feel like the two of you are my concerned parents?”

“Amelia feels the same way, Gale.”

The four of us spent several hours like this, joking and talking amongst ourselves. Around 3 o’clock we decide to call it and leave Franz to his work. I urge Amelia and Gale ahead and turn to Franz once more. However, he beats me to the punch.

“You have my apologies again, Witch.”

“It’s alright, maybe they just want to talk. If not… Well, I’ll take care of it.”

“I figured as much, I pride myself on being a good judge of character and ability. You appear very capable for someone your age.”

“You’re quite the tease Franz, to continually regard me as some young woman.”

Franz furrows his brow, seemingly confused by my words.

“Hm… I have caught a few glimpses of you under that hood. You certainly do not appear any older than 24. Perhaps appearances are misleading…”

“Perhaps they are.”

With that I walk towards the entrance, leaving Franz behind me. However. Before leaving I turn around, impulsively I open my mouth.

“And no more apologies, Franz. But… If you really do wish to atone then perhaps, we could go out sometime. The two of us.”

His eyes and mouth contort in surprise for a short moment. The older man’s features settle on a slight smile that ever so slightly twists my heart.

“I believe that can be arranged, Witch.”

I turn and leave Solstice, walking quickly to catch up to Gale and Amelia. Internally I cheer and chastise myself over that impulsive request.

What has gotten into me? Is it being so close to Amelia and Gale’s budding romance? Is it the dreams of my past? Is it the resemblance he shares with Sir William? I shake my head, likely a mix of everything and more. Franz is sharp and skilled. He attracts me like a lantern would a moth.

We head back towards Amelia’s place; it’s only a few streets over. I walk behind the two girls whose hands are intertwined. This isn’t helping. They’re too cute.

It’s a fairly busy day out. Amazons pack the streets today. Eyeing Amelia and I but keeping their distance due to Gale’s uninviting presence.

I half pay attention to their conversation as I follow, mostly stuck in my own head. Thoughts of Amelia and Gale, Franz, and the people seeking me out all swirling around.

As we enter our usual alley leading to the apartment, I feel fresh eyes on us. It’s unlike the Amazon’s gaze, and it’s on me and me alone. Coming from a parked car with darkened windows. It must be them. Hellcats.

“Does that sound good to you, Witch?”

I snap out of it, looking back to Gale.

“Um, I’m sorry. What was that?”

“Ah no problem, we were just wondering if you were interested in watching a movie when we get back.”

“Sounds good to me.”

I hope they wait to get me alone. The last thing I want is to put them in any danger. No one is following us on foot at least, that’s good.

We get through the labyrinth-like alley unhindered and arrive at the apartment. In the open space I feel eyes on us again. It’s the same way I felt when first coming to this world. When I first experienced being filmed.

Once we’re inside the feeling goes away. Apparently, they haven’t gone as far as to break into the apartment.

Amelia and Gale settle down on the larger couch. Amelia leaning against the larger girl’s torso while complaining that Gale makes an uncomfortable pillow. I commandeer one of the chairs next to them.

Again, I half pay attention to the movie and conversation. Focusing most of my attention on scanning the area surrounding the apartment for unusual presences with my magic. I detect nothing. They must be waiting. While I feel anxious, I also feel better knowing that perhaps Amelia and Gale won’t be involved.

Around the halfway point of the movie, I drop my guard slightly and apply warnings to the area around us. Just something to alert me if anyone unusual draws near. I can start to pay better attention to the movie and loosen up.

It’s about the same time that Gale looks over at Amelia who is spread out half over the couch and half over her. She pauses the film, picks up Amelia throwing the girl over her shoulder like a sack of flour, and begins to head toward Amelia’s bedroom.

“H-H-Hey! What’s the big idea!? Amelia was watching that!”

“Yeah, yeah. I just couldn’t help but notice that a certain someone needs a change.”

“What do you mean, Amelia hasn’t had to go?”

“Amelia… Did you forget about the hypnosis? You haven’t been changed since this morning, you’re one more accident away from soaking the couch.”

Amelia quickly throws a hand down her jeans to check the padding around her waist. Her hand presses in with an audible squish. Her face goes bright red, and she goes limp; hiding her face in Gale’s back.

“P-Put Amelia down, Amelia will handle it.”

“I’m your girlfriend, if I can’t change your soggy pants, who can? Besides this isn’t our first rodeo.”

“Grrr…”

They enter the bedroom and despite continued loud complaints on Amelia’s behalf, the two reenter the living room after several minutes. Gale with a wry smile and Amelia hiding in her girlfriend’s arms. They’re too sweet, I’m gonna throw up if they keep this up.

We settle back down and continue the show.

~~~

Hours later, night has fallen and it’s about time for Gale to go back home. If anything is happening tonight, it’s going to be soon.

“Amelia is going to walk Gale back to her car. Do you wanna come, Witch?”

“It’s alright, I’ll let you guys have some time to yourselves.”

This gets a rise out of both women as they leave the apartment. I stand up from the chair and stretch slightly. I’ll give them a few moments to make sure they’re gone before heading outside.

Heart heavy, I step out of the apartment. Down the steps and I’m in the open area of the complex. It’s well lit with several lamps on the perimeter. Gale and Amelia are nowhere nearby. I feel the cameras still watching, aiming themselves at me.

Footsteps approach from one of the alleyways. A male little taller than me approaches from the dark. His muscular frame barely concealed beneath a dark combat uniform designed to camouflage in the city’s night. A helmet fully covers the man’s head. Holsters containing knives, weapons, and other tools line his waist and legs.

It’s impressive but I almost want to laugh. He looks like someone straight out of one of the shows I’ve watched.

I step forward as well and we stop roughly 10 feet away each other. We stare in complete silence. This is pretty awkward… I clear my throat and speak up.

“So… Should we trade names or something?”

The man continues sizing me up for a moment longer. Finally, he relents.

“My name is Thomas, a Major in the Hellcats; an organization charged with keeping the peace of this world. You would be Witch. Correct?”

“Yeah. I see you’ve done some research. Can I help you?”

“I would first like to start off with an apology for your abrupt transportation into this dimension. Understand that portals to other worlds are opened routinely here, sometimes people like you slip through the cracks and get brought in unintentionally.”

“It’s alright, I don’t have much to go back to anyway.”

Thomas pauses at this. It seems that answer is not what he had wanted to hear.

“I suppose I should cut to the chase then. We have two options for you moving forward.”

“Hm? What options?”

“One, come with us right now. We take you to our lab, we crack open a portal back to your world, and you leave in peace.”

“…”

“Two, you join the Hellcats. You live under our supervision, take part in missions, and are allowed to remain in this dimension.”

“What kind of options are these? Go back home or become Hellcat property?”

“Frankly speaking you do not belong here. There is no place for you here.”

Those words stab me to my core. My breath tightens and my hands close into fists.

“What… What do you know? You don’t know anything…”

“We know that the technology you’ve brought in with you far exceeds what we have access to at this time. Moments after arrival you knew you were being filmed and instantly evaded our cameras. Was it nanites? A brain implant? Something in your clothing? We have no clue. Frankly speaking you are a monster we are not prepared for.”

“It’s not… I’m not…”

“And that is the only thing we can confirm you are capable of. We can not let a liability run around with the ability to uproot the foundation of this dimension. Even if we trust you and allow you to go, what if someone captures you and figures out how you work, what then? Sorry, but we have no other choice.”

“…”

“You choose, Witch. Go back and take your tech with you. Or join the Hellcats. What will it be?”

I won’t go back. I’m not going back. There is no happiness there for me in that place. I’ve met people here. Maybe things can be different. I am not going back. I am not going to be anyone’s property.

“What if I refuse. What then?”

“I do not want it to come to that. But you would leave us no choice…”

“…”

I want to resolve this peacefully as well. Getting into a fight with the Hellcats could lead to trouble for Gale and Amelia. That’s the last thing I want.

Perhaps… There is a way.

Subdue this man and everyone he brought. It’ll take some time but if I tweak their memories, they won’t remember any of this or me.

Yes, it’s the only way.

Silently I strengthen myself and my senses with magic. I tense my body, preparing to spring into action. He wants a monster, it’s a monster he’ll get.

He must notice the change in me because he tenses as well. With my improved senses I hear him faintly communicating with others in his helmet. I can’t make out their voices. But there are others. I’ll make him talk, hunt them all down. Then everything will be alright. It will be okay.

Right?

“Witch…?”

Oh no. No. No no no no no.

Too focused on Thomas and the unfolding situation I failed to notice the footsteps sneaking up on us. Amelia is back from walking Gale to her car. She’s about 5 feet behind me.

I turn my head and shout at the girl.

“AMELIA GET BACK!”

“BACK THE FUCK UP.”

Thomas and I shout at Amelia, my panicked cry mixing with his forceful command. Amelia freezes in place unable to move in shock.

I turn back to Thomas just in time to see something far off in the distance. A quick flash of light coming from a tall building far off.

Amelia being here throws a wrench in things, I don’t want her to see me like this. Maybe Thomas can be talked down, he didn’t seem to want to involve them either. I loosen back up an-

“N-No, Witch!”

Amelia gasps behind me. I turn around, almost stumbling. My body feels sluggish and uncooperative. My eyes go wide as I survey the scene before me.

The ground as well as Amelia’s shoes and pants are splattered with fresh blood, the scent quickly filling the air.

Amelia is shaking and her eyes are tearing up. One hand covering her mouth while the other shakily points at me.

I follow her gaze and realization hits. There’s a small hole going through my left breast. A memory flashes through my mind of the shows I’ve watched these past nights.

A gun.

The bullet tore through my cloak and the leather armor beneath it with ease. Ripping through my heart and exploding out my lower shoulder. Blood pools freely from the large exit wound.

I fall to my knees with an audible squelch, the ever-expanding pool of blood coating my lower body.

The adrenaline must be wearing off because the immense pain hits immediately.

“Hrk… Guh……”

My face contorts in agony. My hands seem to move on their own and clutch the wound in a feeble attempt to contain the blood.

I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t.

I can’t think. It. Hurts.

But my body is already starting to stitch itself back up. The remnants of my heart already pulling themselves together.

I force my hands to move and put them on the ground in front of me. Have to push myself up. Have to end this.

“S-Stop… Please Witch, don’t… Don’t move. It… It’s going to be okay.”

Amelia reassures me, on the verge of sobs. Surely aware that this kind of wound with this much blood is fatal. At least to a normal person.

“Fin…Fine. It’s… Fine. I… Am……. Okay………”

“…”

Behind me I hear Thomas whispering into his helmet. If it’s anything like last time I know what to expect.

“[[Ssh…iel…d]]”

Quickly I throw a barrier around Amelia, barely able to get the words out through the blood cascading from my mouth. If they keep this up, she might get hurt. The barrier forms just in time, as a volley of bullets rain down on my body.

Flesh tears, bones snap, and blood flies. This is one of the worst torments I’ve had to endure.

But worse than the pain.

Worse than anything.

Is knowing that Amelia is watching.

“Stand down, target eliminated.”

I remain still, waiting for my body to pull itself together. He isn’t getting another chance to break me like this. Beneath the agony I seethe.

Thomas walks over to the ruined form of the [[Witch]]. He looks at the mess for a moment and then switches his gaze to Amelia.

“We’re going to have a talk. Has the individual you have been harboring done or shown you anything strange?”

Amelia has turned away from the carnage, gasping for air and dry heaving on her hands and knees.

“You… Why… Why this…”

“You will be coming with us, there will be time to calm down during the ride.”

Thomas begins to walk towards the girl when he’s abruptly stopped.

“You… Get the fuck… Away… FROM HER.”

My body has reformed itself enough for me to grab his leg. I pull his leg out from under him and he falls to the ground. I jump atop him. In a rage I rain blow after blow on him. Bruising his flesh and breaking bones. The helmet’s visor shatters.

He’s grabbed one of the knives on his leg and is carving me up. But I don’t care.

I don’t feel it anymore. I don’t feel anything.

Except rage.

Finally, the exchange ends as I stand, holding the bloodied and battered man up. He’s limp in my arms, having given up his futile resistance.

“You… Demon.”

“No, you did this. You’re the demon here, not me.”

“Tell that… To your friend.”

I freeze at his words. Shakily I turn my head to look back at Amelia.

She’s looking at me with wide eyes. Her entire body is trembling and pale. The poor girl oozes terror.

My grasp on Thomas loosens and he falls to the ground. I look at myself with a gasp, finally seeing what Amelia does.

My still forming body is covered in holes, wounds, and blood. My clothing is reforming but isn’t hiding the damage. My hood fell down earlier in the fight, exposing my bloodied and twisted expressions of battle and anger.

I look like a monster.

I am a monster.

“Amelia… It’s… I can explain.”

I extend a hand towards the girl, but she looks at it fearfully.

I’ve done it again.

I walk to the alley; Amelia shrinks away from me. That breaks my heart.

One last time, I turn my head to Amelia. Her expression changes somewhat, as I wipe my face with my hands. Blood and crimson tinged tears coming away.

“I… I’ll stay away. Thank you for everything.”

Before Amelia can respond I turn back to the alley and begin walking quickly away. My vision is blurry, and I can’t see well as I make my way.

“Goodbye…”

~~~

[[Heat]] and the [[Witch]] roamed the world together for four and a half years. She did her best to teach it how to live. Progress was certainly made, but slow going.

It was after that four and a half years that she realized something was terribly wrong.

The once blinding light that [[Heat]] gave off was slowly dulling.

She confronted the god and it revealed what was going on.

For some time now it had been losing more worshippers than it had been gaining. [[Heat]] was unsure what would happen when its following dipped low enough but sensed it would be an end.

For the remainder of its days, it wished to live in the world alongside the [[Witch]] and learn about mortality. This was partly why it approached her initially.

She couldn’t believe her ears. It was a god; it couldn’t just end . There had to be something they could do.

But [[Heat]] was adamant. This was its nature, the nature of a god. Others would come to take its place and the cycle would continue.

On the fifth year of their friendship, both knew it was time.

She sat with [[Heat]] already grieving their time together. It was calm, ready to greet what was to come.

It looked at her one last time. The glowing slate that was its face, shifted to a close approximation to a human’s face. It was beautiful and glorious.

[[Heat]] smiled warmly, the expression warmed her heart.

It thanked her, for teaching it how to live. Without her, it would have just disappeared knowing nothing. No one any the wiser.

It wanted to learn to live before it died.

And it was gone.

The energy that made up [[Heat]] dissipated and returned to the world. The only reminder of its existence was the [[Witch]]’s cloak and ancient tales carved upon stone walls.

That day she learned that even gods would disappear before the timeless [[Witch]].

Chapter 8: Life

Thanks for everyone’s continued readership. I hope you all enjoy this chapter.

1 Like

“Target spotted entering the alley with the two civilians.”

Thomas speaks into his radio, informing the other members of the team what he’s spotted from within his car.

The hooded little stops just before entering the alley and turns, staring at him through the tinted windows.

She knows.

He averts his gaze; the girl turns away and enters the alley, just steps behind the other two.

“We wait for the target to leave the apartment alone or for the other two to leave. No one moves without command.”

With his final orders issued he settles back into the seat. Thomas pulls open the drone footage, waiting for the moment to strike.

~~~

The little had slowly become adjusted to this new solitary life.

In this strange room.

She climbed into a strange bed with bars to sleep.

She ‘played’ with the odd objects, toys, that littered the floor.

She ate the strange and mushy foods that were delivered through the floor.

She no longer cried out for the [[Witch]].

She no longer cried out for anyone.

Help was not coming. That was clear.

In her heart she knew she was someone’s captive now.

And this is how they wanted her currently.

But.

There was a break in the monotony.

A portion of the pink wall on the opposite side of the room faded away.

Leaving a doorway.

A well-dressed lady and gentleman in their late 30’s enter.

They tower over the little.

She shies away from the giants, afraid.

The gentleman then speaks.

“Elizabeth, you may call me Father…”

~~~

It wasn’t till night that Thomas saw Amelia and Gale leave the apartment and head towards one of the alleys.

“Move out, the operation is starting now. Snipers get in location. No one fires without explicit order.”

The little undresses in the back of the large vehicle. Quickly he throws on a Hellcats combat suit which conforms to his muscular shape. Made of lightweight and threaded metal, the suit is capable of taking quite the beating. It is also equipped with nothing short of a small arsenal – guns, knives, stun devices, chemical sprays, etc. The helmet’s visor offers real-time combat assistance.

Just to be safe. The last thing we want is a fight.

“I will be back shortly, with or without the target.”

Thomas throws those words to his Amazon driver and exits the vehicle. He jogs down the empty street to a different alley entrance, to avoid the couple leaving the apartment.

Time to get this over with.

~~~

Thomas stares at the target he has chased this past week. A little wearing a black cloak with leather armor poking through, a long skirt, and lace up boots. Features hidden beneath the cloak’s hood.

The two size each other up. Moments later, the enigmatic figure finally shuffles a little nervously.

“So… Should we trade names or something?”

“My name is Thomas, a Major in the Hellcats; an organization charged with keeping the peace of this world. You would be Witch. Correct?”

“Yeah. I see you’ve done some research. Can I help you?”

“I would first like to start off with an apology for your abrupt transportation into this dimension. Understand that portals to other worlds are opened routinely here, sometimes people like you slip through the cracks and get brought in unintentionally.”

“It’s alright, I don’t have much to go back to anyway.”

It would have been easier if she had been looking for a way home.

Let us get right to it then.

“I suppose I should cut to the chase then. We have two options for you moving forward.”

“Hm? What options?”

“One, come with us right now. We take you to our lab, we crack open a portal back to your world, and you leave in peace.”

“…”

“Two, you join the Hellcats. You live under our supervision, take part in missions, and are allowed to remain in this dimension.”

“What kind of options are these? Go back home or become Hellcat property?”

I mean when you say it like that, they are not the best options.

But it is all we can offer. All I can offer. The laws are absolute.

For the good of the world.

“Frankly speaking you do not belong here. There is no place for you here.”

This seems to affect the hooded little. She lets out a ragged breath and her hands clench.

“What… What do you know? You don’t know anything…”

“We know that the technology you’ve brought in with you far exceeds what we have access to at this time. Moments after arrival you knew you were being filmed and instantly evaded our cameras. Was it nanites? A brain implant? Something in your clothing? We have no clue. Frankly speaking you are a monster we are not prepared for.”

“It’s not… I’m not…”

“And that is the only thing we can confirm you are capable of. We can not let a liability run around with the ability to uproot the foundation of this dimension. Even if we trust you and allow you to go, what if someone captures you and figures out how you work, what then? Sorry, but we have no other choice.”

“…”

“You choose, Witch. Go back and take your tech with you. Or join the Hellcats. What will it be?”

“What if I refuse. What then?”

‘Negotiations’, if they could even be called that, are breaking down.

You are putting me in a bad spot here.

“I do not want it to come to that. But you would leave us no choice…”

“…”

The girl’s posture changes slightly, tensing up as if to prepare for a fight.

Thomas notices this change and he takes a stance as well. He speaks slowly into the microphone in his helmet.

“Be prepared but no one move. The target looks ready to fight but I will attempt de-escalation.”

From Thomas’ position he gets a good view of Amelia walking out of the alley behind the target.

Damn. I thought we had more time.

“Witch…?”

Actually, this might be for the best. Maybe she can help convince the target to stand down.

She needs to distance herself though.

“AMELIA GET BACK!”

“BACK THE FUCK UP.”

Both of them yell at Amelia, who is too shocked to move.

Then, suddenly. Before his eyes, the target is shot.

With the assistance from the helmet’s visor, Thomas sees everything in great detail. The bullet punches through the girl like nothing. A clean, perfect hit. From the trajectory it likely got her heart.

What. The. Fuck.

No orders were given. What is his team doing? He gets back on the coms.

“Delta what the fuck did you just do?”

“I-I-I’m sorry sir, I-I got nervous, and that girl appeared, and you yelled and…”
“For fucks sake, get back to the goddamned base. I will personally shove my boots up the ass of the next asshole that shoots without order.”

At this point blood is everywhere, and the target has fallen to her knees. Amazingly enough Thomas still sees vital signs from his visor coming from the mortally wounded girl.

“Hrk… Guh……”

She slowly and unsteadily places her hands on the ground. As if to push herself to her feet.

Must be nanites. And fairly strong ones at that. I do not believe our combat nanites would perform this well.

No matter how good her nanites are, they cannot regenerate a heart and all the lost blood in time.

“S-Stop… Please Witch, don’t… Don’t move. It… It’s going to be okay.”

“Fin…Fine. It’s… Fine. I… Am……. Okay………”

“…”

We fucked up here. This should not have gone down like this.

But… Finishing her off now is a mercy. Enough damage and her nanites should stop trying to delay the inevitable.

Thomas speaks into his comms once more.

“Light her up, end her suffering.”

The target speaks a strange, very foreign language. It is incomprehensible to Thomas. Whatever she said came out broken through bloodied lips.

A hail of gunfire is unleashed on the target. Her body goes still. Finally putting an end to the suffering outsider.

“Stand down, target eliminated.”

Thank God.

Thomas walks over to the fallen form of his target. A quick glance confirms her demise. He turns to Amelia, preparing to ask her a few questions.

I guess now we see how much damage has been done to the dimension already.

“We’re going to have a talk. Has the individual you have been harboring done or shown you anything strange?”

“You… Why… Why this…”

“You will be coming with us, there will be time to calm down during the ride.”

Thomas begins to walk towards the girl when he’s abruptly stopped.

“You… Get the fuck… Away… FROM HER.”

The target’s ruined hand grabs Thomas by the leg. His leg is pulled out from under him, and he falls to the ground. In a flash, the target is on him.

SHE IS STILL ALIVE!?

From his position beneath her, he takes in her form. Long, black hair and black eyes. Her cloak and clothing little more than scraps stuck to her thin but slightly muscular frame by the blood coating her body. Strange symbols are tattooed over most of her skin, visible through the crimson. Her flesh is dotted with holes, however not nearly as many as there should be given the amount of fire she was under. The expression on her face is one of great rage. A cruel smile warps her bloodied but beautiful features.

An angel. An angel of death.

The enraged girl repeatedly smashes her fists into Thomas’ body and head. His armor and helmet doing little to ease the results of her fury. The reinforced clothing bending and breaking under her diligence.

Gotta do something. Gonna die if she keeps up.

Thomas rips a knife from a sheath on his leg and starts slashing away at his attacker. She ignores this feeble attempt at defense and continues her carnage.

Finally, as if accepting his fate, he goes limp. No longer able to move.

The target holds him up by his collar.

This is it.

“You… Demon.”

“No, you did this. You’re the demon here, not me.”

Thomas looks over the girl’s shoulder. He sees Amelia petrified and sitting on the floor. Scared out of her mind.

This may be it… My last out…

“Tell that… To your friend.”

Thomas falls to the ground in a heap as the target drops him. A lonely and sad expression now on her face.

“Amelia… It’s… I can explain.”

The target extends a hand to the girl she believed to be her friend. But the girl looks at it fearfully.

The target moves for the alley, Amelia shirking away.

They share a final look with each other. From his position, Thomas can only see Amelia’s face. Instead of fear, now she wears a look of sadness, shame, and regret.

“I… I’ll stay away. Thank you for everything.”

The target makes her escape down the alley before the other girl can respond.

Amelia shakily stands and takes a quick step forward before falling to her knees.

“No Witch… Don’t go! A-Amelia is sorry… Amelia didn’t mean it… Sorry…”

The girl cries out into the empty alley, her words not reaching her friend.

~~~

Inside Thomas’ body, his nanites have been busy attempting to bring function back to his body. On the ground he shifts, still largely incapable of movement. He knows he’s certainly broken an arm, a rib, and bruised up all over. Maybe more.

Over the course of 15 minutes, Amelia’s sobs turn to whimpers and her whimpers turn to nothing. The girl shuffles back to her apartment in a catatonic-like state. Emotionally devastated.

It isn’t until an hour after the exchange that Thomas’ body has recovered itself enough that he can muster enough strength to stand. The man walks over to the alley, ready to leave. He surveys the remnants of the scene one final time and notices a phone where Amelia once sat.

I should just ignore it. It is none of my concern.

But…

I really, really fucked this up.

Against his better judgement he picks up the girl’s phone and cracks the lock. He enters her recent messages and shoots a quick text to Gale.

Need help, come back.

Satisfied, he drops the phone and slowly walks back to his waiting vehicle. Where he falls into the back seat.

“Take us back to base, I need a medic.”

“Your phone went off while you were gone, Thomas.”

Great. What else tonight.

He fumbles around in the dark, looking for his phone. He finds it and checks his missed calls.

The caller ID informs him that someone from his team attempted to reach him.

Thomas calls them back.

The phone rings for a moment before it is picked up.

“Thomas, are you there?”

“Yeah… I am, somehow.”

“You sound awful man, what happened?”

“More importantly what were you calling for?”

“Ah yes, well we have pretty big news in regard to Sunny-Elms Boutique.”

“Really? It has only been 24 hours. What did you get?”

“Actually, it was fairly easy investigating on our part. The clothing store itself is owned by some unassuming entrepreneur. Probably unrelated. The building owner, however, is by far something else.”

“Cut to the chase. I am not exactly in the mood to play games, who owns the building?”

“The most powerful and influential Amazon on the island. Descendant of Elmsbury’s founder, political powerhouse, and property mogul. John Eroldt.”

Chapter 8.5: Another Perspective

Thanks again for those who read, I wanted to push this out a little early while the last chapter was still fresh.

It’s a bit of a half chapter with recycled content, from another perspective. However, it’s a necessary evil.

Next chapter will release on the 21st, on the usual time frame.

2 Likes

Thomas’ parents were captured and adopted early in his life.

However, his sister was able to build a niche for them with her athletic accomplishments from middle school and into high school. Life wasn’t perfect for the two.

But it was as good as they could hope for.

Pride of the town, she was safe from adoption. And by proxy he was as well.

At least.

They thought.

Laura, his sister, was walking home from a scholarship tournament that could rocket her and her brother to an easy life. With one match remaining the two littles were, for once, excited about the future.

But she never returned home.

It wouldn’t be for another few months that Thomas learned of his sisters’ fate.

She’d been grabbed right off the street. She was gone.

Thomas vowed right then and there.

He would get her back.

He would do anything.

Anything.

~~~

The moment the name ‘John Eroldt’ graces Thomas’ ears, his face darkens and his phone creaks under his tightening grip.

“That rat bastard.”

“What? Did you say something?”

“No. Nothing. I will take it from here. Tell everyone they have done well and drinks are on me this weekend.”

“Aw hell yeah. Thanks, si- Thomas!”

He hangs up the phone and pulls himself into a sitting position. He pulls open his phone’s contacts and scrolls to John Eroldt. Mentally and physically steeling himself, he calls the number.

The phone rings for a while, but just before going to voicemail the call is answered.

“Hey champ, been a while since you last called me unprovoked. What pleasure do I owe this call? Need someone to tuck you in?”

Thomas lowers his voice. The glass separating him from the driver is up. Regardless, he takes precautions to prevent this conversation from being heard.

“Cut the shit John, I know you are operating illegal portals under a clothing store. What the fuck are you thinking?”

“Ooooh that? Just a little side gig, nothing to be so grumpy about. The wife wanted something special and who am I to deny her when it can also make me a buck or two.”

“Listen asshole, you are making a big mistake. Blatantly disregarding laws that have no business being trifled with. And a byproduct of your little portal opening escapades beat me half to death and escaped into the city.”

“I’m making a mistake? Listen, Tommy. I know you’re just a dumb little boy but try to use that head of yours for a minute. Try to remember that for all intents and purposes, I currently own you. Our relationship is simple, I give the orders and you obey like a good child. I tell you to bark and you damn well better bark. I tell you to jump, you ask how high and long before leaping to perfection.”

“You…”

The start of a condemnation blooms forth from Thomas’ lips. The word choked and angry. But John gives the little no room to enter.

“Sure, you’re an angry little tyke right now and maybe you want out of our deal because you got your head kicked around and aren’t thinking. That’s cool with me. Why don’t I just sell your ‘older’ sister to the highest bidder, how does that sound? Plenty of depraved Amazons out there who would love to get their hands on that cutie, and you’d never find her again. What do ya say, sport ? Ready to cut the dead weight loose and move on with your life? I’d do the same.”

Thomas’ face is flushed with anger. His free hand digging into the back seat of the car. A drop of blood drips from his lip as he bites down hard to prevent himself from misspeaking.

A moment later and he’s managed to regain control over himself. The volume of his voice ratches up slightly, still quiet enough to conceal the conversation from the driver.

“The deal… Is still on. You get five breaks and then I get Laura back. Unharmed and as herself. This ‘stunt’ is break number four, John. Opening portals to unapproved locations and in unregistered facilities is illegal .”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever kiddo. Give me the rundown, how’d you find out and what does my venture have to do with you getting a boo-boo?”

“Nearly a week ago, a secretive little in a cloak appeared in a field just out of town. She showed signs of having technology beyond our understanding. While tracking her down we checked with the power company to see where a portal could have been opened. It took a day or two of pestering and your building eventually came up.”

“Interesting… They cowered before your men far too quickly. I’ll have a chat with them later. Continue.”

“We caught up with the little tonight. Things went south, we dump countless rounds into her, and she pops right up and goes to town on me. She then fled into the city.”

There was no way Thomas was going to give John the satisfaction of knowing that his team’s screwup was what led to the meetup going sour.

“Huh, kind of sad I missed out on that. If you happen to have any video footage of that, let me know. Would love to see it.”

“Jackass. What can you tell me about the location of the portal you opened?”

“Hm hm hm… I’ll try to explain it in a way easy for you to understand. Mrs. Eroldt wanted a special little. A unique little. Anyone can grab a little off the street. Anyone can hire a portal agency to nab a little from a pre-approved universe. So, I hired a team of scientists to think bigger . We’ve broken through to another Dimension, and a unique one at that. There we found a collection of inter-connected worlds, almost self-contained in bubbles of sorts. After trying to access some of these worlds, we found one we could connect to.”

“What… What have you done…?”

“Revolutionized the portal industry, no biggie. Anyway, the world we were able to connect to was kind of like that ‘Earth’ universe we commonly grab littles from, but a lot less developed. They swing swords, pray to ‘gods’, and believe in magic or whatever. Bunch of simpletons. Huge variety of littles to grab though, it’s perfect. With a little more testing we’re going to make a killing pulling littles of all different types from this place.”

“Less developed than Earth? There is no way… Magic? She clearly…”

Thomas trails off into deep thought. The new information mingling with what he has personally experienced.

John as usual, interrupts.

“I’m gonna stop you right there. What’s more likely boy; that magic is real, and she smacked you around with some ‘hocus pocus’, or you just suck and got laid flat by some oddball little. I think we both know the answer here.”

“…”

“Anyway, long story short, we spied around the world for prospective littles and my wife found one she couldn’t live without. Some long black-haired twig named Elizabeth. We grabbed her in a crowd while the savages were publicly executing some criminals… Now that I think about it… I think there was a little on the gallows wearing a cloak…”

“So, you grabbed this ‘Elizabeth’ and the other girl was sucked in as well.”

“Huh… It seems like the power company might have to wait. I think some of the scientists under my generous employment need to be reminded about the consequences of failure. Don’t worry about little miss bullet proof. I’ll make sure the lab coats come up with something to fix their mistake.”

Internally Thomas sighs deeply. The conversation has pissed him off and drained him mentally.

If he can tie up the loose end, more power to him.

“Yeah well, I will let you get to that then.”

“I guess talking with you wasn’t an entire waste of my time. Hell, I suppose I’m feeling pretty generous tonight. I’ll send you some footage of your sister on the house. Just to show that I’ve kept our end of the deal. She’s still here safe, and ready to be fixed up when you keep your end. We’re taking good care of her.”

“…”

“Adios Tommy. Always a laugh.”

The phone goes silent. Thomas finally releases the tight grip on the device.

Moments later, as promised, he receives a text from John. It’s a video file.

Against his better judgement Thomas plays the video.

A female little appearing physically to be slightly older than Thomas’ 23 is the star of the footage. The woman’s long black hair is done up in braid. Her grey eyes contain none of the intelligence, focus, or drive they held in her youth. She wears a childish, frilly, and short pink shirt that ends just above her bellybutton. On her waist is an overly babyish crawler brand diaper for littles. It’s pink, thick, and it’s been thoroughly used. The muscles she’d once been proud of and trained have softened through years of misuse. Laura babbles behind her pacifier as she lays on her back and shakes a stuffed animal in the air. The surveillance timestamp reveals the footage came from earlier today.

“GOD DAMN IT!”

Thomas throws his phone to the floor in anger, breathing unevenly. The action tearing open small wounds that his nanites had managed to barely seal. The phone screen shatters, now frozen on the image of the poor girl. Her dull eyes gazing at the camera.

This prick, he does this shit on purpose. A sick and demented son of a bitch.

The Amazon Hellcats driver hears his enraged howl and sends a sympathetic gaze to the young man behind him from the rear-view mirror. The night has clearly taken a toll on Thomas.

Pained by the reopening of his wounds, he winces but focuses on the cracked picture of his sister. Driven harder than ever before.

Hang on Laura, just hang on. It will not be much longer. I will be there soon.

Just. Hang. On.

~~~

And anything is what Thomas did.

He trained like hell for the next 3 years. While already muscular like his sister, he’d never taken it as seriously as her. But with intense dedication, the then 18-year-old had likely surpassed Laura when she was at this age.

Using his honed skills he appealed to the Hellcats, desiring to join.

He passed initiation with flying colors and was given a junior leadership role.

With these new connections he tried to uncover what had happened to his sister.

But…

The trail was cold. It had been 4 years now.

On the verge of despair, having nothing left, having worked hard for nothing, Thomas threw himself into his work to distract himself. He moved up in rank several times.

Time flew by, and on his 21st birthday he received a card in the mail.

It was a birthday card.

From John Eroldt.

Enclosed was a picture of his sister, clearly regressed.

The Amazon had come under ownership of her and sought out Thomas to make a deal.

‘Anything’. The little murmured to himself.

And a deal was forged.

Chapter 9: The Deal

Here we are, back to the grind.

I hope everyone enjoys this chapter, thanks for reading.

1 Like

After the death of [[Heat]] the [[Witch]] was left in a difficult position.

The god was right. She desired companionship, needed it. Humans are social creatures and her loneliness was unbearable.

But nothing could live long enough in her eyes. No sentient race could live longer than a couple hundred years at the most. And she had just discovered that even gods would pass with the fall of their favor.

And then, an idea.

Create immortals.

Like her.

Surely there are beings out there who would wish to join in the [[Witch]]’s curse. They could keep each other company.

Forever.

She would not have to be alone.

Despite the desires of the [[Witch]], she did not wish to curse anyone like she had herself. She knew how hard it was to watch time march on, leaving her in the dust. Never would she do that to another.

The [[Witch]] got to work. It was time to perfect the formula she had tattooed herself with. She could not save herself. Her curse was bound to her and she to it. But with a perfected method surely, she could give immortality to another for as long as they wished to live.

With the knowledge and magical prowess she had accumulated over these hundreds of thousands of years, this was more than possible.

~~~

Need help, come back.

The text from Amelia flashes across Gale’s phone.

Gale turns around immediately, swerving her car into a u-turn on the empty street.

Worries and fears swirl around her mind as she speeds back to her girlfriend.

What if she’s hurt. What if there’s a break-in. What if it’s an Amazon.

She tightens her grip on the steering wheel and banishes the thoughts from her head.

Don’t think, stay calm.

The Amazon woman hurriedly pulls up to the space in front of the darkened alley and sprints to the apartment complex. The dim light of her cell phone guiding her way.
Gale breaks through the labyrinth of alleys and steps out into the illuminated apartment complex. The woman breathes a sigh of relief upon seeing the lights inside Amelia’s apartment on.

She takes a few steps into the open area before suddenly stopping. The dull thud of her footsteps turning into wet squelches. Angling the phone light down she quickly realizes the sound is coming from the pool of crimson she’s stepping in. The splatter reaching many feet away.

“What the fuck…”

Dumbfounded confusion takes hold on both her mind and face. The girl is no doctor, but this much blood should definitely have left a body in her opinion. She was just here not longer than 20 minutes ago.

What happened?

Quickly investigating the ground, Gale spots a small shape a few feet away from the pool of blood. Picking it up and giving it a closer look, she confirms it to be Amelia’s phone.

“No, Amelia!”

Confusion gives way to fear as she runs past the horrid scene and up the stairs to Amelia’s apartment. Pocketing the phone on the way.

She tries the knob and finds it locked. With shaking hands, she pulls out her ring of keys and unlocks the door with Amelia’s spare.

Opening the door, she takes a tentative step in and immediately spots Amelia lying face-down on the living room floor. Splashes of red along the side of her lower body, concentrated towards the front.

“No…!”

With a surprised gasp, Gale hunches over and quickly makes her way to Amelia’s side. She gets on her knees and begins to check her over.

“Amelia! Amelia! Are you okay!?”

Gale checks for a pulse and finds one. Then gingerly flips Amelia over, pulling the girl into her arms.

Ah… I’m not finding any injuries. She seems… Fine.

She puts a hand to her girlfriend’s face and begins to stroke it; her Amazonian hand cupping the little’s face.

Amelia’s eyes blink open in confusion once or twice before opening wide, looking up at the Amazon.

“Are you okay?”

“A… Amelia’s fine. Just overwhelmed. How did you get here?”

“Ha, with my car and two feet obviously. But really, I got a text from you telling me to come back. Your phone was outside near a pool of blood, what the hell happened after I left!?”

Amelia’s face goes blank before remembrance and realization dawn upon her.

“Oh, that must’ve been him… The guy Witch was… Talking to. A lot happened while you were gone, Gale… A lot.”

“Well, shit. Let’s hear it then.”

“When Amelia got back from walking you to the car, Witch and a man dressed like a Hellcat were talking in the lot. It was tense and Amelia isn’t sure what they were talking about. But when Amelia walked out of the alley they yelled and… Witch was shot…”

“All that blood came from Witch? Is she okay!?”

“A-Amelia doesn’t know, there was so much blood and the wound looked really bad… Even like that… She still tried to reassure Amelia… And then she said something strange…”

“What do you mean?”

Amelia looks down, away from Gale and off in the distance. Her brow furrows in deep concentration, a hand to her chin.

“It’s weird, the language was off, but Amelia swears Amelia has heard it before… When… When Amelia was about to be regressed Amelia heard something similar…”

“I’m not following Amelia, what are you talking about?”

“Amelia thinks… That Witch has been helping us in ways we don’t understand… After she said those words, something seemed to surround Amelia. They shot Witch again and again and again. It… It was terrible. But with so many bullets flying, Amelia should have been hit with something. Chipped pavement, ricochets, anything.”

“You think Witch helped you fall asleep and saved you from harm tonight…?”

Amelia lowers the hand on her chin, now certain of her thoughts. She returns Gale’s gaze from her spot in the larger girls’ arms.

“Amelia knows… After what happened… Witch isn’t exactly a normal person… With all those injuries she still moved. She grabbed the man when he walked towards me, with a scary look on her face she beat him, till he gave up…”

“Damn. She took out a Hellcat? Those guys are tough and got the best tech.”

The little’s face darkens as she recalls the next part. Obviously close to breaking down. Tears begin to leak from the corner of her green eyes.

“It was over then… But Witch turned to Amelia. Amelia was so frightened and shocked. Amelia couldn’t do anything… She looked so sad. It was a pained expression on her face… She reached her hand out and… A-And… Amelia couldn’t help it… Amelia backed away.”

“…”

“Witch has saved Amelia twice now and t-this is how Amelia repays her!?”

Gale remains silent as she pulls the crying girl into a close hug. The emotional weight of tonight crushing the poor little. Gale wears a mix of emotions on her face, her mind a whirlwind. Concern for her girlfriend and new friend, and confusion over the situation are at the forefront.

The Amazon waits for her smaller girlfriend to calm down before continuing the conversation.

“What happened to Witch? It sounds like she was okay, at least physically, despite everything…”

“She ran away after Amelia rejected her, she’s out there in the city. Alone now…”

“Well, we’ll just have to find her then, won’t we?”

“A-Are you sure… Amelia hurt her… Witch may not want to see Amelia again…”

Amelia’s statement drops off into silence. It echoes painfully throughout the apartment. Gale looks at the sad expression on her face and loudly slaps her knees with the palms of her hands.

Be strong for her. Be strong for me.

Gone are the concern and confusion that clouded her heart. All that remains is focus and dedication.

“I don’t care about anything like that! She is our friend! We’re going to find her, you can apologize, and then we can talk about what’s going on! That’s all there is to it.”

“…”

“So, no more tears Amelia. Let’s make it right!”

Gale’s infectious positivity and energy seems to work its magic, and Amelia wipes her remaining tears on the sleeve of her shirt before looking up at Gale with sparkling eyes.

“Yeah, thanks Gale. For everything.”

From her spot in Gale’s lap, Amelia wraps her arms around Gale’s neck. She pulls herself up towards her girlfriend’s face and plants a gentle kiss on the Amazon’s cheek.

The very same cheek flushes bright red just seconds later as Gale blushes.

“A-A-Ah I-It’s nothing, no p-problem!”

Amelia giggles, obviously entertained by Gale’s embarrassment. Gale scowls good naturedly before continuing.

“As for tonight, it’s too late now to do anything. I’ll call Franz tomorrow in case Witch visits Solstice. We should sleep, tomorrow is going to be a busy day.”

Amelia agrees and the two prepare themselves for bed. It takes a short argument, but Amelia eventually manages to convince Gale to share her bed rather than have the Amazon sleep on the little sized couch.

However, the bed wasn’t particularly made for Amazon bodies in mind. Gale takes up the majority of the space, and Amelia cuddles close.

“You know, I didn’t expect our first time sleeping together to be so hectic… I certainly expected there to be a lot less blood.”

“You expected any amount of blood!?”

“Heh goodnight, Amelia.”

“Goodnight, Gale.”

As they embrace each other so too does sleep embrace them both.

~~~

I thought things could be different here.

I hoped they could be.

But I’ve ruined everything once again.

I’ve fled from Amelia and that man. Now I’m aimlessly wandering the streets. It’s night so no one is out for the most part; just typical night life.

In order to have some time to myself I’ve assumed a gaseous state. A spell to rid myself of my physical form and become something of a misty cloud. At night it’s near impossible to see me like this. And no one can touch me.

I’m really and truly alone.

I stop and sit on the sidewalk. Leaning my incorporeal form against a building. Looking up, there are no stars in the sky. Too cloudy or too far into the city. I don’t know.

My head shakes almost on impulse. My mind is a mess right now, I’m all over the place. I need to focus. I need to think.

What do I do now?

I can’t go back after showing Amelia that terrible scene. Gale by proxy is out of the question as well. And Franz… Is their friend.

It was only a week but being with these people has been the most at peace I’ve been in a long time. Before I knew it, they’d become dear to me.

So… Do I go back where I belong? There’s nothing for me there anymore. Elizabeth knows I can’t be seen with her anymore, considering everyone else thinks I’m dead.

But it’s not like I have anything here now.

It would be slightly difficult to create a gate back to my dimension. The distance between these places is massive. However, it wouldn’t be impossible. Not like I’d ask that man for help anyway considering the fight we just had.

My concentration and pained thoughts are broken by the sound of wheels rolling down the sidewalk. Despite being late at night, a younger Amazon couple are going for a late walk while pushing a stroller.

Something about the scene itches the back of my mind. I float off the ground and get a better look at the contents of the stroller.

Inside is a little. A young man no older than 25. He appears tranquil and happy. His eyes still hold the spark of sentient, intelligent life. Though he’s dressed and treated in a manner unbefitting his age, he is without a doubt enjoying his lot in life.

The family continues, leaving me behind.

What I would give to be so happy. So loved. So accepted.

I stop. Gears turning in my head.

The beginnings of a great. Terrible. Idea. Sprouting forth in my mind.

Wait wait wait wait wait wait.

Why not try it out.

If I’m going to leave anyway, I might as well give it a shot before I go.

Right?

Inwardly I smile, the idea taking root and giving me some measure of excitement.

Tomorrow I get to work.

I’ll need to find an Amazon.

~~~

With the perfected immortality completed, the [[Witch]] set out. Across the land and seas, she searched.

Seeking out kindred spirits.

Over the course of 20 years, she built herself a small family.

A human, a half-orc, and a dragonborn. These three sought companionship and a new life. They agreed to join the [[Witch]] in immortality.

With much glee she tattooed a single script above each of their hearts. It held all the power of her immortality but could be removed by and only with the will of the individual or the [[Witch]].

For thousands of years, they lived together. Through thick and thin, good times and bad, the four of them had each other.

Even as the world around them aged, mortal friends aged and died. The four of them still had each other.

Though. As good as things were. Eventually. It came tumbling down.

Hearts are fragile things. They can only take so much.

The [[Witch]]’s companions got to see the very best of what life had to offer. But with that, they also bore witness to some of the very worst.

Sentient beings can be extremely cruel to one another. Endless conflict. Crime. Destruction. It never ends. Across all planes and worlds, they visited. Ad nauseum.

The good times locked within their hearts only existed as shields to numb the terrible things they witnessed. Their hearts would be worn down, ground to the limit by the horrors of eternal life. They couldn’t forget.

Eventually it would wear the heart down to nothing.

The human and dragonborn broke first.

They sought to end everything. Bring about the finale to this godawful and cruel reality.

The [[Witch]] and the half-orc loved the two like family. They were supposed to be brothers and sisters in arms.

But they couldn’t let them go down this path.

The two fought through damned armies and reached their fallen brethren. The four fought tooth and nail but eventually the [[Witch]] and half-orc were successful. Her overwhelming magic combined with the might of the half-orc would fall any opponent.

The human and dragonborn kneeled before her, prepared to meet their demise. Heads lowered before their maker.

She forced them to look her in the eyes a final time. To feel what they felt. They tried to deny her, force their gaze away.

But.

I.

She saw.

What she saw caused her indescribable grief.

They were grateful. Happy to finally, finally go where their souls belong. To be with everyone they’ve ever known. Everyone that had passed.

At that moment she knew this whole event was all an act. It was a scripted play where they, the villains, would be cut down by the heroes.

The [[Witch]] knew them well enough by now. They couldn’t end their immortality themselves. They couldn’t leave her alone to grieve their decision.

The pair wanted to become heinous villains. Unforgivable in her eyes. And then be stripped of their power. Since that would be easier to swallow for the [[Witch]].

All this charade, for her.

She broke down. Collapsing to the scorched earth.

Her weakness. The [[Witch]]’s frail heart forced this fate upon her friends. Blinded by her own happiness. By her own joy at having companions like her. She was ignorant to the true and agonized thoughts of those closest to her.

With the scheme up, the two hugged the [[Witch]] tightly. Shedding tears as well. Apologizing for everything.

The two knew that they could not allow the [[Witch]] to kill them now. It would be too much.

Too much.

They broke the spell themselves.

Their bodies crumbled into dust. Finally freeing their souls after all these years.

Their cracked lips whispering a final goodbye to the one they had spent so long with.

This event profoundly affected the [[Witch]] and the half-orc. While the two would travel together for many more years, eventually the half-orc would express a desire to end as well.

This. This… T h i s. Was supposed to be different.

Is it really. Really so impossible for sentient life to remain forever.

If my the [[Witch]]’s companions could last for only but a small fraction of the time she’d been alive.

Tell me.

What did that say about the [[Witch]].

Was she even human anymore.

Was she more monster than man.

What am I.

Chapter 10: Alone Again

We’re only slightly late here. 30 minutes past Wednesday should still count. Right?
This chapter was a doozy to write. I’m particularly happy about it, and I hope everyone enjoys it. Hopefully you all find the quality worth the wait.
Thanks again to the readers and commenters following the story.

1 Like