Lost Grace | Chapter 1: Greeting
Chapter 1: Greeting
On the outskirts of a city-state known as Vanad lies a young man who is on the run. He was once part of a police force, but one thing led to another to now become a wanted criminal. He spots a farm and a home, with a field full of crops, wanting to go there to ask for any food or water. The man was poor and always moved from one shelter to another so as to not be found by the authorities.
"I can see it, but it's still far away." The man was wondering how to go about asking whoever was in the home for aid. Could he possibly spend the night there if he offers to work for them? No way I'm letting this chance pass by! He thought to himself. This was probably the best time to head over to the farm before someone recognizes him.
The man was now closer to the home, he was still ways away as he was simply walking. Wild animals in the barn kept making loud enough noises to bother the man, but it would serve to be useful in possibly distracting anyone who is in the home, until the man gets to the front door. He doesn't want to be seen sneaking into someone's private property in the slightest. Passing by a scarecrow, he can see bright lights through the window. And talking—or rather, shouting.
What's going on in there? This had better not be a bad idea coming to this place. He thought to himself again. Suddenly, "What the hell?!" The scarecrow he had passed moments ago fell on him. "Wasn't this further away than I thought? Who's out here besides me?!" He couldn't get up at all, and was stuck.
Inside of the very home, much arguing was happening. "Johnny, we have a visitor, I believe."
"What are you talking about, woman?! It's a trespasser for crying out loud!" shouted the man. "Where's the dinner already?!" Johnny had an unpleasant voice, he was the owner of the whole property. Somehow, he knew someone was getting closer.
"I know I've told you hundreds of times not to call me 'woman'! It's Anna!"
"Just bring me my damn food already!" said Johnny.
"Good evening, mom," said a teenage boy, coming down the stairs to then be bombarded by his father's constant yelling. "Boy! I told you to make sure there wasn't anybody sneaking around my fields!" Johnny exclaimed.
"Get off my back pops. You're just mad because you ain't got your food," said Nate.
"Get your ass over here right now and say that to me again—" suddenly, the loud sound of something shattering entered Johnny's ear, slightly catching him off guard.
"Anna! Go see what that stupid girl did again," Johnny shouts, slamming his large hand on the table.
"Pops, that's my sister. Quit bullying her like that." Anna, the mother, goes to the kitchen to see what the shattering sound was. There she sees a young girl, hastily picking up pieces of a broken plate with a worried look on her face. Anna approaches her. "Calm down sweetheart. You didn't do it on purpose."
Putting her hand on the girl's head, she comforted her and caressed her soft silver hair. Strangely, there was a quick and sudden shift in the mother's mood. She began pulling strands of her hair violently out of annoyance. The girl dropped pieces of the broken plate as she was in pain caused by Anna.
"But you're making us lose money we have to make back while you do nothing in this house!" She didn't cease to pull her hair until she gained her composure. Sighing, she tells the girl to take the dinner to the table, that she would be one to bring the plates.
"Good for nothing girl," said Johnny. "You're breaking my stuff again. For that, you're not having any dinner."
As Nate was already sitting, he sprung up from his seat to defend her. "That ain't fair! It's not like you cooked or anything!" Grabbing his son's entire face with both of his hands, Johnny gave a stern warning not to test him again. Striking fear in him, Nate was reminded of the cruelty of his father and sat back down.
Opening the grand pot, an abnormally large, baked chicken was to be their meal. The young girl was forced to stand in the back and watch the others eat. The chicken was big, burnt, and steaming, just how Johnny liked. The food was impossible to chew for the likes of Nate and Anna, whereas Johnny had no problem eating burnt food. Minutes went by and knocking was heard at the door.
Johnny was wary of who it was and prompted Nate to open the door. It was the wanted man who was making his way to the house, now at the front entrance. "Hello, forgive me for disturbing you all," he said, speaking clearly. "May I please have some food to eat? If not, then just a simple glass of water and I'll be on my way."
Nate stopped to think and looked at the man for a few seconds before replying."I'm sorry sir, but you need to leave this place immediately. I mean it."
"Is there something wrong? I didn't mean to sneak in here. I'm not trying to rob you people or anything."
"I said leave! You can't be around here for too long! It's dangerous!" Nate then said something that should have never left his mouth. "Wasn't that scarecrow enough of a warning to you?!"
The man was confused by what he was saying but pondered very briefly and came to an unsure conclusion. "You mean someone else was out there that moved the scarecrow and threw it on me?"
"No sir! It moves on it's own!"
Now Nate realized that he revealed too much and started trembling. Johnny was furious. Getting up from his creaking chair, Johnny pushed the man to the floor and once again grabbed Nate's face but this time with one hand. "You dumb boy! Are you trying to blow our cover?!" He kept tightening his grip more and more to the point where Nate was becoming unresponsive. He was barely conscious but Johnny proceeded to land harsh blows on the kid. The man recovered from being pushed and intervened in this situation.
"Abusing your own child— or any child, is illegal." Pulling out a pistol aimed straight at Johnny, the man was not hesitant as he had proper experience with firearms when he was still an officer. "How about you get me some water, leave your son alone, and I go my own way?" he said in a more threatening voice.
Anna was simply watching everything unfold while eating and the young girl remained where she was, not moving an inch. Johnny paused from beating Nate to calmly talk to the man, "look behind you, and then look back here." The man couldn't believe what he saw.
What used to be a large field, now was a wide, flat, and barren wasteland. How did this happen? The man was taken back but when he turned back around to face Johnny, his heart sank.
"You probably didn't suspect much, but I'm not taking any chances," said Johnny.
How is he changing? Is he not human?! Being completely stunned at what was happening before his eyes.
Johnny appeared to be growing larger, growing more hair around his face and on his arms, and with his voice deepening and his shirt slightly being ripped, he really wasn't considered to be a human anymore. "This is what will happen to you."
Johnny stepped on Nate, disfiguring his entire head. Now he was no longer moving. The man was soon next if he didn't react in time. "S-Stop! I'll shoot!" Johnny was quickly approaching until the man pointed the gun at someone else— at Anna. Johnny chuckled and did nothing when the man aimed at Anna.
Anna put her food down, and stared at him creepily, with a growing smile. Her skin slowly began to fall off, like a shell that was breaking open. Except here, underneath her shell was nothing, her entire body was hollow.
The man was taken back even more. "No...that isn't possible, what just happened to her?!"
Johnny, in his grotesque form, answered him in an ambiguous way. "She left." Walking towards the man in a confident stride, Johnny opened his mouth wide. "This is a nightmare.." The man needed to come to his senses and think of a way to catch him off guard.
"I know who you are," said Johnny "You're a criminal on the loose, but don't worry. They won't find you here, since you'll die."
Nate coughed up blood in an attempt to speak out to the man once more. "Get out of here! You still have a chance to live!" Upsetting Johnny even more than before, he roared at Nate. This roar was so loud it somewhat deafened Nate's hearing. It even caused rumbling in the home making the young girl, standing in the back, lose her balance and fall to her knees. Even after falling, she still didn't move an inch.
"I got you, bastard." That moment when Johnny briefly turned his attention away from the man gave him enough preparation time to fire. Two bullets met their target: one in the eye, and the other in his mouth.
"You will regret that—"
The man shot again, getting his other eye. Now Johnny was blind and the man could be more at ease while still being cautious. Grabbing the sharpest utensil closest to him, he aimed for his neck and left terrible cuts on him. Johnny then retaliated by forcing his entire body onto him to try and crush him to death. However it was too late.
This gave the man a close and easy target on his heart, rapidly shooting him in that area in his chest. "Damn...did I do it?" Barely crawling out from under Johnny's body, the man survived, killing him. He had many things going through his head, and couldn't make sense of anything. "Hey, kid, are you still..?" Looking at Nate's body on the floor, with flies and large insects gathering around it, he deduced that Nate was most likely gone as well.
"This is completely screwed! All I came here for was to get help! Whether it was food, water, or anything!" The man didn't know what he was going to do next other than to run away from the area. Until he noticed that one more person was still alive. "You..." He didn't know what to say to her, to the young girl. Not a single sound came out of her mouth, staying mostly idle, on her knees. "That was your dad I killed, wasn't it?" The young girl stared at him blankly, remaining silent.
"Hello? Can you hear me?" He moved closer to her to repeat what he said.
It was then that she stood back up on her two feet, and made her way to the kitchen. She looked at the floor and stared at it for a few seconds, she saw her hair that was pulled off, then picked it up and held on to it. She walked towards the man and stopped, both of them were face to face.
"Aren't you freaked out at what just happened?!"
The young girl kept on looking at him without saying a single word. "Is there something wrong with you?!" This continued for some time. Once in a while she would blink. With each and every blink her expression changed a little bit to a slightly happier look. The man didn't know what that was supposed to mean.
What was the meaning behind all of this? What was the man going to do next? He knew he needed to leave the area as quickly as possible, but in doing so he would leave the girl by herself. Who was this girl who seemed to be unfazed by this tragic scene?