Chapter Sixteen: Chaos

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Splitface awoke in chains, but his hands and wrists were almost entirely gray and looked intensely delicate and liable to break right off of him. His breath caught in his throat and he pulled against his ties, but he was truly stuck.

"Be still, little Splitface."

Maddie. Her voice floated from his right, and he turned. She was right by him, but not chained like he was. "If you move, you'll continue to disappear."

That was warning enough, and he stilled. He wanted to know where they were, but his throat was tight and refused to move. Maddie answered the question he was unable to ask.

"You cannot speak in this world, little Splitface, do not attempt to try."

A huge, booming voice echoed from in front of them, causing Splitface to freeze in fear. He could not understand.

*****

"The Nameless one. You have brought chaos to this world. It is evidenced on your very person, and you intend to wreak destruction with this pet you brought with you."

Maddie glanced at Splitface, at his ever disappearing form. He looked back at her with fear in his eyes, powerless in this world, even more powerless than she had been in his. They were so close to the rift, but now they faced of the wrath of her world.

Their captor was an emissary of the Ones by the name of G'jarka: a huge, lumbering beast, dark gray in form and almost entirely shapeless. He had no face to speak of, and the colors of the sky above him were almost being sucked into his vacuous being.

"Do you know why the Ones built me? To maintain order of what we worked so hard for. It took millenia for our realm to separate itself from the physical world, yet you opened a tunnel and now the chaos leaks through. Entropy takes time. Time is our only weapon, and you took that away from us."

Maddie glared up at G'jarka. "Are you dense or just just much of a puppet? I was forced to flee before the Ones used my body to traverse the realm themselves. They wanted disparity and chaos, they wanted to harness it."

"Blasphemy!" He smacked Maddie across the face, before staring at what could be construed as his hand. "I touched you. The chaos is already here, it's taken a hold of me." His hand was aflame with light and color. "You carry the weight of chaos within you!" His hand began to crumble.

Maddie only now saw how powerful chaos was, and what she harnessed within her. She shoved G'jarka with both hands as the manacles similar dissolved into ash, and he did too. He became a mound of glowing fire, crackling and sending the noise out into the air. Maddie realized something: with the disparity she held within her, thanks to Splitface and his world, what would happen if they touched? She looked at him, still held by his own chains he couldn't remove by himself, and with the tip of her finger, dissolved the chains. Splitface look up at her, and she could see his ears had turned blackish gray.

"I cannot carry you anymore, little Splitface. I fear it may kill you. You have to make the journey yourself."

A gaping fear had swallowed up any other emotion that may have lingered on Splitface's expression, which seemed to set on fire as the noise of a throng began to descend upon the plain. He looked around frantically, eyes wide and alarmed.

Maddie similarly searched for the origin of the noise, but there was too much light, too much color. Her presence was fading from this world.

*****

Splitface wasn't sure he'd heard right. In all truthfulness, he was far too terrified to move lest something crumbled off of him. His fingers were already looking like they might blow away in the wind, and the ends looked brittle and liable to fall. Was he turning into ash? What was left after a fire ate everything in its path?

He looked at Maddie, at her glowing form. Fire had burst from her back and she looked like a goddess. That was him. What was fuelling her, had been what he was. And the fuel he had given her unwillingly or otherwise was now having a profound effect on his body. Maddie pointed to the sky.

*****

Molly had Ash's head in her hands as he shivered on the woman's lap. She was touching their foreheads together, Kal and the woman completely forgotten.

"Please hear me, Ash. It's Molly. Are you in there? Just, answer me." Her cheeks were streaked with tears.

The flickering woman gasped, and her eyes rolled as Molly jerked back in fright. She seemed to be glowing even more now, and Kal held Molly's shoulders in an attempt to pull her back. Molly held fast.

"He's disappearing, and they're coming for him. The Ones approach."

Molly glanced at Ash's blackened ears, and she could see the ground through the translucent flesh. "What do we do then?" She demanded.

"Grab him." And the woman sliced her hand across her face, making the scar glow and her face began to disappear, becoming engulfed by her scar that matched Ash's.

Kal began to scream in panic as the woman's face completely opened into a jagged window of light. It stretched wide, tendrils coiling out from the glowing void. Within an uncomfortably short amount of time, it grew twice, three times the size. Molly watched the grotesque scene in a kind of fixed fascination of horror as it continued to grow upwards, creating a hefty and tall slit of light. The very middle began to burn and sear like paper in a fire.

Ash was in the middle of it all, cheeks gray and partially crumbled, eyes shocked and glazed, but it was him. Molly glanced at the counterpart in this world that she still held. He was completely drenched in sweat and blood was beginning to leak from the corner of his eyes and mouth. The blood looked like pitch.

Kal called to her, but Molly barely heard him. Almost like an instinct, she reached up and into the glowing, burning rift. Her skin begin to bubble and burst but strangely, she couldn't feel it. She reached for her friend.

And Molly was no more.

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