Have you ever wondered about the things that go bump in the night? Ever wondered what they look like, what they can do, what they're called? Have you ever wondered about why these things don't just kill us all and be done with it?
This is my story. I'm not giving you a load of crap, I'm giving you what I experienced over the past 7 months of my life.
That day started just like any other day would have. Went to school, went through the day, still bored out of my mind. Didn't think too much of anything. Guess I shoulda known. Normal just isn't part of my life. I get home, same boring routine. I pull up my laptop, pull the same old stuff up, go through the same routine. Finish this assignment, send that email, so on and so forth. It's now about 7 o' clock at night, and I'm hungry. I get up and get my dinner. I come back into my room and get ready to sit back down on the floor where I do all of my stuff... And one of the veins in my arm explodes.
I hurriedly set my plate down on my desk and dash off into the bathroom before my parents can see it. How the hell would I explain my bloodsoaked arm to them? I grab some bandages and wrap my arm up as quickly as I can, then hide it under the sleeve of my shirt. At this point, I'm just wondering what the hell's going on.
I finish the day, go to sleep, and wake up the next morning. My arm's still bleeding, and now I'm starting to get worried. Am I going to bleed out? Should I go try and explain this to my parents? Should I show somebody at school? I shake my head, quickly throw on some clean clothes, and get on my way to school.
Middle of Geometry class, almost done with the day. I'm shooting quick glances at the clock, waiting for 3:30 to roll around so I can clear out. I'm half-working on my homework, not really focused on it at all. And suddenly there's something running down my left leg. I ask to be excused to the bathroom, and I grab the pass and walk as fast as I can to the restroom. I throw open a stall and pull down my jeans, to find that another blood vessel has burst on my left thigh, and there's blood streaming down my leg. Now what the hell am I supposed to do? I take as long as I can in the bathroom, trying to push off as much time as I can until I decide to run back to the classroom and try to wait out the rest of the day.
The bell finally rings, and I'm the first one out the door. I don't even stop to say hi to my friends as I dash on past, and walk the mile trip home. I get in the door, say hi to my parents and then I'm immediately dashing into my bathroom. I bandage my thigh, and clean up all of the blood that's running down my leg. I see blood starting to pool under my feet, and I wet down as many sheets of toilet paper as I can and mop up all of the blood I can. I hide the rest of it under the bath mat.
Well, this is great. Now both my arm and my leg are bleeding to no end, and I can't tell anybody about it. If I tell my parents, they'll think I'm cutting myself and try to get me into counseling. If I tell a friend or another adult, they'll think I've got abusive parents and they're gonna try and get me taken out of my home. So for now, I've got one big secret to keep.
Over the next two weeks, things just keep getting worse. At this point, I've got cuts on both my arms, both my legs, all over my chest and my back, and a couple small ones forming on the back of my neck. Praise the Lord above for my hair, if it were any shorter it'd be impossible to miss. None of the cuts stop bleeding, and I'm amazed that I've managed to survive this long with all of the blood loss.
It's now nine o' clock at night on a Saturday evening, and things are bad. I've got cuts all over my body, I've been bleeding nonstop for the past two and a half weeks, and I have no idea what's happening or how I could possibly stop it or make anything better. Things can only get worse from here.
Now I'm starting to feel weird. Everything is heavy. It's an effort to simply keep my eyes open. I lie down on my little hovel under my desk, and think to myself, 'This must what it's like to die'. I close my eyes, and sharp pain rips through my body, stemming from my back. My eyes don't open again for a while.
When I finally manage to rip my eyes open, I shoot a look at the clock. 2:37 AM. I've been out for a while. I check my upper arm, and I find that the bleeding's stopped. I slowly unravel the bandage, and find that there's no sign of the cut left over. It's now that I also notice that I'm not wearing a shirt. The tattered remains are lying at my side, as if something has torn it off of my body. I go on and unravel all of the rest of the bandages, and find that all of the cuts are gone.
I stand up, overjoyed to see that it's all over. But then I feel extra weight on my back. I sneak my way into the bathroom again to try and figure out what's going on. I close the door, then flick on the light to make sure my parents don't see it and wake up, then look into the mirror. Everything looks the same, until I see the four huge, golden wings sprouting out of my back.
What the hell's going on? Am I high or something? I reach back, and I can feel all of the wings. With a little effort, I find I can move them, even flap them. They're a beautiful golden shade, and they look like the wings of eagles. I turn off the bathroom light then make my way outside, careful not to wake my parents up. I flap my wings as hard as I can, and I feel my feet leave the ground. I immediately stop flapping, and fall face first into the dirt. I pick myself back up and try again, and find that I can control myself in the air. I fly around my backyard, then land softly.
At first I find the whole thing to be absolutely amazing. Then I think about it a little harder. What would the rest of the world think about a boy with wings? I'd be a freak of nature and an outcast of society. I'll have to hide them. With a little effort, I find I can fold my wings comfortably on my back, so nobody can see them. I walk back into my room and pull a shirt back on, and hide the remains of the other shirt.
I wake up the next morning, and I feel better than ever. Every part of my body feels energized, like new life had been poured into my body. My vision's sharper, my hearing is better, every one of my senses are heightened. It's an amazing feeling, and I walk out into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I get my breakfast, and treat everything like it's normal. For some reason, I feel compelled to go outside. I pull on some jeans and tell my parents I'm going out. They kinda give me a funny look. I guess I don't go outside too much, unless I have to.
I step out into my breezeway, and feel myself called into my garage. I pull open the door, and step inside. Nothing's changed. Still the same old clutter in there. I poke around a little bit, finding myself drawn to the far corner of the room. As I make my way back there, I get an increasing sense that something that's very important is back there. I pull off a few boards and boxes, setting them down carefully behind me, and I find a large, old, broadsword with a blackened blade.
I can remember it from my childhood, picking it up with my brother and swinging it around the room. The sword is almost four and a half feet long, with a large handle to fit both hands. I pick the thing up, and it feels lighter than what I think it should. As I bring it level with my eyes, a small light begins carving words into the blade. They're in some dead language that hasn't been used in hundreds of years, but somehow I know what they mean. 'The Blade of the Ancients' I read. As I swing the blade, the side of it is set ablaze with light, illuminating the entire garage.
My ears perk up, and I see something crash into the road out of the side of my eye. It's large, dark, and covered in blackened scales, the kind you'd think to see on some sort of lizard living in the Amazon. It stands up, and unfurls enormous wings, and opens up two massive yellow eyes. I look at it with my mouth opened wide. A dragon just landed in front of me. A freaking DRAGON.
Its eyes swing around towards me, and I feel very exposed. The thing's looking at me like it wants to eat me. It charges at my garage, and I dash my way out of there as quick as I can, sword in hand. The dragon bashes straight through our minivan, bashing it out of the way and flipping it into my front lawn. It decimates the garage, crushing everything in it under its legs. I just barely managed to get out in time. If it'd been even half a second earlier, I would have been crushed along with everything else.
My parents come flying out the front door, obviously wondering what's going on. They see me, staring at the wreckage with wild eyes, sword in hand, and start yelling questions at me. I turn around, yell at them to get my siblings and run, but they're not listening to me. It's not until the black dragon pulls its head out of what used to be my garage that they understand that everybody in the general area is in extreme danger. I see them dash into the house, yelling for my siblings, and I turn back to face the dragon. I hold my newfound weapon in front of me, carrying it like I knew exactly how to use it.
I spread my wings, and destroy another one of my shirts. Note to self: start cutting slits in my shirts. The dragon hisses at me in the same manner as a snake would, and it bares its pearly white teeth at me. I can see what I think are tiny remains of human bones jammed into its gum, and I can tell that this thing wants me dead. It lunges at me, and I take off into the sky, barely dodging the bite.
I turn around and hurtle through the air towards the thing's neck, and I swing my broadsword with all my might, and find that it passes through the rock-hard scales like butter. I sever the thing's neck cleanly, and I hear it roar in pain as its neck falls off of its body and crashes into the ground, destroying my house and causing the rest of the street to rumble. I land, and see that there are people standing outside their front doors, staring at me and my wings, and marveling at what I'd just done.
I could see the stunned faces of some of my friends, and I realize that I'm not going to be able to ever show my face here again. My worst fears have just been realized, I'm now an outcast of society. I walk out to my backyard, not even bothering to cover my wings any more. I see the faces of my parents, the faces of my 8 year old, 10 year old, and 12 year old brothers and sister looking at me with fear and amazement. Tears rushed to my eyes, much like they are now just thinking about it, and I told them, "I'm leaving. "I can't stay here anymore. I love you."
I walked over to them and hugged them all, and I could see the tears streaming down their faces too. I didn't want to try to imagine what it must have been like for them, seeing me like I was. I hated having to say goodbye, but I didn't have a choice. As I turned to start walking away, my youngest brother ran to my side and started hugging my leg, begging me not to go. I gave up trying to fight back the tears, and just let them flow.
"I don't want to, trust me," I say. "I'll come back, I promise."
My mother walks over and pulls my bawling baby brother off of me, and our eyes meet. I nod to her, and she nods back, and I walk inside the remains of my house and gather some of my things. Somehow my clothes and laptop remained intact, as well as the charger cord that went to my laptop. I grab my backpack, throw as many things I'll need as I can into the bag, and pull on a shirt, then leave. I didn't look back, because I knew that if I did, I'd just stay, and I'd put the rest of my family in danger again.
For the next three months, I wander the country, hunting most of my food and trying to avoid major cities. Every chance I get, I try to plug in my laptop and figure out how my family is doing. I always email my mother, asking about how everybody is. Birthdays come and go, and I feel terrible for missing them. My brother turns 13, my sister turns 11. I manage to get Skype onto the laptop, and I wish my sister Happy Birthday from an alley.
After four months of running and hiding, battling off more seemingly impossible creatures, I finally decide to return home. One week later, I'm knocking on the front door of my old house, and I see my sister poke her head into the window, trying to figure out who's at the front door. She sees me standing there and her jaw drops, then I see her face dart out of the window and hear her run screaming down the hall. I see the door get ripped open, and she flies out and nearly runs me into the wall of the repaired garage.
I spend a week with my family with no attacks, then I have to leave again. I hug and kiss all of them, tell them all I'll be back in a couple of months, assuring them that I'm doing it to protect them. It's another goodbye full of tears, but I manage to make it through without succumbing to depression.
Two weeks later, I hear a knock on the door of the house I'm staying at. I pick up my sword and hold it carefully behind my back, and walk up to the door and open it. Standing before me is a fairly average looking teen, a lot like me. No real defining features, just the usual tall skinny guy. I keep my sword held firmly in my hand and ask, "Can I help you?"
"Yea, you Nick?" I blink a couple of times, and nod my head. A look of relief washes over his face, and he starts talking at about a million miles an hour. I tell him to slow down, and he finally manages to speak in a way I can understand. He says that his name is Derek, and that he was like me. He told me that there was a group of them in an old mountain cottage not too far from where I was staying, and asked me if I'd like to join them. Always cautious, I tell him to show me his wings. He asks to go inside, and I stand out of the way. He pulls off his shirt, and sure enough, there are his wings.
I decide to accept his invitation and follow him out of my door, hiding my sword and grabbing my things. We walk our way to the city limits, then take off and fly off towards the old cottage he was telling me about. I walk inside, and see a bunch of young teens a lot like me sitting around a room, all of them with weapons lying at their sides. I instantly feel at home. I learn names, and I make myself comfortable.
So, you wanna know why the things that go bump in the night don't kill us all? It's because there are people out there, people like me, who battle them off every day, making sure that none of the rest of the world ever has to deal with them. We are Ancients, and we fight your nightmares off. If you ever need our help, we'll be there.