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in this chapter, the italic parts are the flashback parts.

flashback as in an actual flashback. not the book, haha.



It had all happened so suddenly.

One second, he was in Loamnore, struggling to make sure his mother didn't hurt Sophie, and the next? He was in a pit of inky darkness. And the only other things in the pit of darkness were....cookies.The elf-shaped cookies she'd brought back for him from the Forbidden Cities.

Why the heck were there cookies in this....whatever this was?

Keefe really didn't want to think about it. His head throbbed like someone had just swung a sledgehammer at it, and even the slightest thought brought on a raging headache.

So, he found himself stumbling through the inky black.

Was it just him, or was it somehow getting darker?

It was definitely getting darker. He could barely see his own arms anymore, and felt the overwhelming urge to keep patting his shoulder joints to check if they were still there. It was mid-pat when the voice cut in, like a blade of sound.

"E-elwin, what's happening? Oh, crap, Bullhorn's lying down next to him...do something!"

"Calm down, Sophie, I'm doing all I can. Even though that isn't really a lot... it's really Keefe's thing from here onward. Clearly, he's slipping away, but we can try to tempt him back. You do that, and I'll call in some backup."

"O-okay..." The tremble in Sophie's voice was obvious. "Keefe, it's Sophie. Can you hear me? Never mind, you can't respond anyway. If you can hear me...please. Come back. Come back to us. Come back to me. We miss you, Keefe. I miss you, and I can't...I..." the voice broke off into sobs, and Keefe heard the sounds of Elwin comforting her.

But... he couldn't turn around. Some invisible force pushed him on, further into the darkness, like a gigantic magnet was slowly moving him towards...he didn't know what.

"E-elwin...w-what's...happening?" A new voice- one that Keefe knew- spoke. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up; he hadn't realized this was who Elwin had meant as backup.

"T-tam..." Sophie was hiccuping now. "Please...help. He might listen to you...j-just say something to him..."

"Okay..." Keefe could hear Tam take in a deep breath. "Um...hi, Keefe..."

And then, like someone had flipped a switch, the pulling force stopped. He was no longer moving.

"I honestly don't know what to say except... well, except don't die, of course. I don't think we could handle that right now."

And slowly, ever so slowly, Keefe began to turn.

It couldn't happen fast enough. The moment he'd turned around fully, he tried moving his feet.

And to his surprise, they listened to him this time.

"But at the same time, if you died- don't look at me like that, Sophie!- if you died...I'd miss you." Tam's voice had dropped to a whisper. "Please, Keefe. Don't make me lose someone else."

Keefe was running now- as fast as he could. Which was pretty fast. As he sped past, he could see the elf cookie things, forming a sort of pathway. They flanked a makeshift path for him to sprint across.

Someone bless those cookies.

"I-" a short pause. "I...if you died, I'd probably go crazy. I'd probably regret not having been nicer. And- I'm sorry, Keefe. I'm so sorry."

Keefe really wanted to tell Tam to shut up. Bangs Boy being nice was honestly a bit unnerving. But all he could do was speed along and hope that Tam never finished his little speech.

He was almost there; he could feel it.

And right on cue- the path ended. What then? He didn't stop to thinks. His momentum carried him on, straight through the black fog-like darkness, which evaporated as it made contact with his skin.

Now? Keefe was falling.

Falling through cloudy white nothingness. Tam's voice continued in the background, suddenly shifting from loud to soft, like a broken human music player.

And then, he was back in his own body, feeling sore all over, as if someone had thrown him against a stone wall. Gasping for breath, Keefe found that he didn't have the strength to sit up.

His eyelids cracked open, the bright lights of the healing center flooding his vision. All Keefe could make out was the faint outline of Bullhorn sitting on his chest, peering into his face with a look of mild curiosity.

What happened next...he wasn't sure if he'd imagined it...

Bullhorn had turned into stone and Keefe now had a blistering headache.

The last thing he saw out of the corner of his eye was Tam's frightened face before the darkness took him back.





woot woot! two chapters in one day!!

so...i reread this...and i feel like some bits might not have been that clear? idk.

-miyu

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