Zeniths face was ghastly pale. His heart felt like a frozen chisel stroked it over and over again, making his chest feel cold and painful.
An awkward silence ensued with the girl and Zenith having their eyes locked on each others appearances.
Zenith was scared shit-less and his body was frozen solid; his body refused the commands of his brain. Zenith could only observe the quivering girl, who too was frightened by the appearance of an intruder. Taking a closer look, Zenith was soon entranced by the girls exotic appearance. The girl looked a bit older than him, about 9 years old, she had pure white hair that flowed gracefully in the autumn breeze and seductive crimson red eyes. Her delicate skin was pale and smooth, making her look very innocent and harmless.
Suddenly she moved her dainty feet closer as she got used to Zeniths presence.
Seeing the girl move closer, Zenith flinched and tumbled butt-first onto the floor.
”Wh-what are you trying to do?! ”
”Don come closer! Please don come any closer! ”
The girls graceful appearance in this abandoned place made him feel uncomfortable. He also had a feeling that something was very wrong but didn know what it was.
The girl gave a strange giggle to Zeniths desperate plea. This giggle greatly annoyed and scared Zenith as he took it as a form of mockery, but he unknowingly suppressed it due to his ”tough ” nature.
Then the girl pulled Zenith back to his feet with incredible strength. It felt like the strength she exerted was close to that of a full-grown adult.
Zenith stared at the girl goggled-eyed, there was a crystal clear discrepancy between her bear-like strength and innocent appearance.
”Ehe…Uwaa I-I-I…don s-speak language…good. ” said the girl struggling to sound out the words.
The girls gentle and sweet voice broke Zeniths awkward staring, and his mind scrambled to look for a response.
”Uhh…uhh… Ok… good? ” said Zenith blankly.
The girl giggled slightly while covering her mouth.
”Wwwhhhaaats yyyoouur n-nnnammmme? ” said Zenith slowly thinking she could have an easier time understanding him.
”Name is Alice! ” said the girl with great enthusiasm.
Alice what a pure and beautiful name thought Zenith as he slowly drifted back to a trance.
Alice annoyed by Zeniths behavior, poked his cheeks repeatedly and asked ”Your name? ”
Despite the innocent act of merely poking his face, the strength that followed crushed his illusory daydream and turned his cheeks red.
”Ouch, stop. ”
”Name. ” repeated Alice.
”Myyyy nnnnammm-. ”
”Please, no slow. Its bad. ” interrupted Alice with an indifferent face.
”Ahem. My name is Zenith. ” said Zenith rubbing his cheek.
”Wh-what is Zenith… doing h-here? ”
”I… I got lost and I don know my way back, so I decided to take a look at my surroundings to guide me home. ”
”Home… ” Alices eyes dulled and her lively attitude immediately dispersed as her bright smile transformed into quivering lips. Tiny droplets of tears soon displayed themselves in the corner of her watery crimson eyes.
”I-Im sorry!? Are you ok?! ” asked Zenith worriedly.
”Fine… ” said Alice rubbing her teary eyes.
Having told him that she was ”fine ”, Zenith obviously doubted her statement but decided to not disturb her. He could only hopelessly stare at her and occasionally give her words of assurance. While watching the scene unfold, he felt oddly familiar with the scene and recalled his own predicament moments ago.
”C-can y-you give hug? ” said Alice in a sudden soft voice.
”Ehhh! P-p-pardon? ” Zeniths face was slowly blushing into a bright red.
”H-hug. ” repeated Alice with a pout.
Zenith hesitated but seeing her needy face, he leaned forward and spread his arms toward Alices fragile body. As Zenith leaned closer, a sweet wispy fragrance drifted into his nose. A smell with a tinge of richness, but not overpowering aroma left a deep impression on his mind.
However, before Zenith was able to reach Alice, a foot tripped him and he fell tragically onto the floor. Luckily, he landed on his hands and quickly recovered.
Zenith hurriedly turn around with agitation and saw a woman wearing a rough leather cloak with a glowing symbol of a moon in the center of her voluptuous chest.
”What are you looking at? And who are you? ” said the woman with contempt.
Zenith turned his face embarrassingly from her chest to her face and was shocked to see a maturer version of Alices face. The woman had similar soft white hair, except it was of a chignon hairstyle. She also had similar smooth pale skin that was soft to the touch. However, there was still a major difference in their appearance. The woman lacked the seductive crimson red eyes of Alice, instead, she possess calm silver-colored eyes.
”Who are you? ” repeated the woman in annoyance. She stared at Zenith with a reproachful look and moved closer to Alice who had a surprised face.
Zenith who was still shocked, gave a hesitant answer ”I-I-I was lost… S-so I decided to climb to the top floor to gain a better view of my surroundings… ”
The woman gave Zenith a suspicious look and kept her gaze on him like a hunter eyeing its prey.
”S-sister he means no harm. ” said Alice in another language as she tugged on the womans cloak.
The woman patted the girls head and gave Zenith another meaningful stare.
Zenith felt extremely unpleasant within the womans presence. His body was stuck in place and his heart was thumping loudly in the quiet room. Based on the instincts he gained on the streets, he was able to easily tell that this woman must have killed before or at least committed some type of atrocity.
”Hmmm… So it turned out that you
e lost. ”
”… ” Zenith couldn muster enough strength to open his mouth and could only stare at the woman with frightened eyes.
”Are you deaf, kid? ” said the woman in a cold voice but smooth voice.
”I-I-Im s-s-so-sorry. ” said Zenith with great difficulty.
”Hmph… where are you from? ”
”N-n-north of tow-town… ”
”North of town? Thats pretty far from here. Do you know this is the south of town? ” the woman was momentarily surprised; How can some random kid from all the way north run all the way here?
”N-n-no. D-do y-you know which way is n-north of t-town? ” Zenith mustered every bit of courage within him to attempt to ask this question.
”Just keep going to your left and youll eventually get there. ” said the woman happily. She was satisfied that this brat is willing to leave.
”T-t-th-thank y-you ”
”Ah, before you leave. I would advise you to not tell anyone what you saw tonight or else there might be consequences… ” said the woman with a sinister smile.
After the woman finished speaking she pulled Alice, who had a dissatisfied and confused face, downstairs and walked away into the dim orange streets.
As if they never existed, the two figures silently disappeared from Zeniths view.
Zenith still in the oddly clean darkroom finally gained his composure and gasped audibly as he recalled the womans menacing aura; It truly felt like he was within the grasp of a serial killer.
Soon Zenith closed his eyes in an attempt to comprehend what just happened, but the more he thought about it, the more his head hurt. Thus, he decided to just leave after giving a deep stare at the abandoned apartment building. In truth, he was both annoyed and agitated because he missed the chance to hug Alice.
If only I was a bit faster…
The night had fully blanketed the sky and worn-out street lamps lit up in a disorderly fashion. The street was eerily silent, no one could be seen and the flashing street lamps made it even eerier. However, Zenith felt rather comforted when drowned in absolute silence.
Following the womans instructions to walk straight left, Zenith found that many abandoned buildings were soon replaced by apartments filled with bustling activity.
Sounds of cheering and laughing blasted from street corners, where old men gambled and drank to their delight.
Following that, Zenith saw a couple having a romantic dinner on their balcony.
It must be near dinner time. thought Zenith.
Zeniths stomach growled as a result of his thoughts looming over a nicely cooked meal. He hadn had one ever since his mother committed suicide.
Loud footsteps of children running could be heard entering their homes with their mothers welcoming them home.
Upon hearing the lively sounds, Zenith could only lower his head in an attempt to keep them from reaching him. He only wanted to continue living with what he had, not relive the terrifying past. He walked faster with his discontented face staring at the cobblestone floor and his hands deep within his pant pockets.
”Zenith? ” said a sudden voice in front of him.
Astonished, Zenith raised his head to see Lucy and Liliana running toward him.
Lucy was rushing towards him with a relieved expression, while Liliana was panting heavily as if she ran a marathon.
”Zenith! ” said Liliana with her hands spread wide apart.
She then gave Zenith a big motherly hug. When she hugged Zenith, her mood changed and she felt a heavy pressure slowly disappear from her body.
Liliana was devastated to see a newly admitted child go missing so soon after admission. She had desperately searched all morning and into the evening, yet there weren any fruitful results.
Liliana could confidently say that she had searched most of the entire town except for the southern abandoned parts.
Luckily, her persistence and dedication paid off. Lucy and Liliana were extremely excited when a couple of people pointed out that there was a child walking alone who looked exactly like Zenith. This prompted them to rush to that area immediately and, lo and behold, they found Zenith.
”I-Im s-sorry. I-Im sorry. Im sorry. ” whispered Zenith over and over again, while he looked over Lilianas smooth shoulder with teary eyes.
At that moment, Zenith had an urge to run away again. He wanted to run away, and forget this ordeal. However, he was in conflict with this desire. After meeting Alice and that woman, he learned how to endure the natural desire to flee once trouble arises. Thus, Zenith just stood there with glittering tears flowing uncontrollably down his tired and sweaty face.
”Its alright. Lets go home and have you cleaned up. ”
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