Author: S.N. White

Chapter 5
Waking up in Paradise

I woke up after what felt like seconds after. It was dark when I opened my eyes, and I was on land. I could taste the gritty sand, and knew that I was still near the waterside. My clothing was wet, and my hand was bloody.. I looked around and saw that the sand had glass in it, and I just punctured myself with a piece. I screamed in pain and got to my feet, grasping my hand. The glass was no longer in there, but my hand was bleeding nonstop. I was still half asleep, and staggered a little bit when I tried walking. “Oh my god.” I said, looking forward. I didn't recognize any of my surroundings, and I wasn't hallucinating. This was real life, and I am completely lost.

I walked up a huge dune, and over it I saw that there was a town. There was green grass everywhere, and there was beautiful houses. I couldn't really see anyone on the streets, but the place was completely deserted. I was so lost, I needed to find someone.

I walked on the streets. It was hot and the sun was beating down on my face. I was wanting to find some place to get food and water, and maybe a bandage for my hand. I walked forward and saw that the town was actually quite small. It looked like there was nothing odd about the place. I walked to the center of the town and saw many buildings. It looked western like, but in a green filled area. I saw a building marked Bar and walked towards it.

I limped carefully, trying not to hurt myself, to the door. Before I could walk up the staircase, a woman was thrown out onto the ground and a giant muscular man, holding a stout yelled at her. “You good for nothing whore! You don't do us any good as a barmaid, and you're not even pretty.” He shot a glance at me and had the most peculiar look. He looked at me as if I wasn't supposed to be here. The young girl was on the ground, her bonnet was almost off of her, and her dress was covered in dirt. She looked like a mess.

It occurred to me that they were not wearing any clothing from the modern day. I looked at my hands and saw that my right hand was still bloody. I looked at my clothes though, and saw that I was wearing clothing that was not in my time. They were still soaking wet. I could've sworn that I was wearing my hoodie when I washed up on the shore. I shook it off and walked over to the girl.

She was coughing up blood and her nose was bleeding. It looked like they were hitting her before they threw her out. Her skin was pale and her hair was black. She didn't look up until I spoke. “Ma'am, are you okay?” My voice was scratchy and I didn't know if she heard me. “Yes, I'm okay, young fellow.” The woman had a british accent to her voice, and she sounded hurt. “You better go run along now, an adult like me can handle myself.”

I looked at her and saw that she was struggling to get up. I walked over to her and tried grabbing her with my hand, and tried helping her. She pushed me away and cried out. “I told you I'm okay! May you please just leave?” I was startled but determined to help. “No.” I simply said. She got up somehow and stood up in front of me. She had a very serious glare in her green eyes. “I beg your pardon?”

She waited for me to say something. “I'm actually lost. I don't know where I am, and I was hoping that you could tell me where I am?” She half smiled. “You're at the place where everything goes wrong. The most horrible place that you could end up.” She cleared her throat. “Well, it's actually not that bad really.” She walked forward, limping even more than I. She looked like she was wanting to tell me something important.

“Okay, so, that doesn't really explain much to me. Where in Earth are we?” She laughed. “I don't think I could identify this location with 'Earth'. We're in a lucid outer world. A living hallucination.” She looked over to me and smiled. “The God of this place has been dormant for years, no authority has been taken over any criminal in that time either.” She looked very upset. “You're a stupid boy for coming here. Why do you think that you don't see anyone around? Hm?” I was very confused. “Because everyone is hiding underground. There are men with swords and weapons who want to kill anything in sight, because they hallucinate more than anyone else. Because when you keep committing crimes, the chemicals in your brain can't get enough of the rush.”

She stopped talking for a little bit. I didn't know what to say and I really didn't know if I wanted to question her. “The hallucinations get worse all of the time. I can't even remember my previous life that I had before here. You tend to forget it when you show up. You fell out of the sky, right?” She was right. I fell out of the sky. I remember nothing before that now. “And you probably can't remember anything either. Your past life is probably already wiped out of your head.”

I tried remembering stuff from before I fell out of the sky and couldn't. “And since there is a god to this place, you would think there would be an evil?” I looked at her and nodded. “There is a devil here. Except, the locals have given him a different name; Kione.” She shuddered. “He lurks about this world with wide eyes. Along with his pet serpent, Nyoka. He also has a wife named Lorelei. She is as beautiful as any human. He rules the night, and she rules the day.” She paused, waiting for me to speak. I had nothing to say. “They have made themselves gods. They were once humans like us, until the hallucinations got so powerful, and gave them power. They can make people see things, they can cause death in a number of ways, and there is no way of surviving if they have you under their grasp.”

She began walking slowly, I could see her face. It was soft and innocent. I had no feelings of infatuation or love towards her. Although she was a few years older than I, I felt like she looked at me as if I was a child. “So, why is the landscape so different? There is a huge lake over there, a lake that looks as if it could be an ocean, and tons of sand. But as you get up that hill there,” I point. “The grass comes in.” She tried to speak but I continued. “And why is it that you're wearing old timey clothing? Why am I for that matter?” I let her talk and she looked okay with giving me information. “You're the first outsider in 15 years. That's why Darius looked at you that way.” I think that she was referring to the man who threw her out.

She stopped walking, I didn't realize our surroundings, we had snow falling all around us, and there was a small cabin ahead. She turned to me, and began answering more questions. “The hallucinations give you what you most want in your heart. This is my small cabin, and I really like it. The sand around where you landed is the paradise that we saw when we landed here too. The old village is just what a few people agreed on conjuring up with their hallucinations.” She frowned and walked into the cabin. She took off her coat and sat on her bed. “The older clothing is just what you see right now. It'll go away soon.”

I frowned and sat next to her on the bed. “May I please stay with you tonight? I don't feel up to finding more things right now.” I looked outside and it was becoming darker. She looked reluctant, but nodded. “Yes, you may stay. I want to tell you a little more about this place anyway. It isn't common to see a new face here.” I was very calm, and my hand was still bleeding. I saw that she had a lot of medicine and bandages. I looked over to them and she spoke. “Oh, I keep those here because it is often that I am hurt here. People aren't as kind as they were at one point. This place was meant to be like heaven, but I guess humans had to destroy this place too.” She looked as if she was about to cry, but didn't.

I winced, and she looked at my hand. “Oh.” She said simply. The woman got some bandages and began to put them on my hand. I spoke up, after being mainly mute. “What is your name? You forgot to tell me.” She smiled and finished putting the bandages on my hand. “I'm Ashley. That's the only thing that I can remember from my other life.” Now that she does mention that, I can remember my name. “Well, I'm Aidan.” She smiled and shook my good hand. “Nice to meet you, Aidan.”

I could hear her voice start to sound American. “Why is it that I can remember countries of Earth? Even memories of school, but nothing personal. I cannot remember my mother, or my father. Or even any siblings, if I had any. Not even my teacher's names or faces. I just know what I've learned in life.” She took out a small book from her nightstand and showed me it. The book was black, with tons of detail on it, and what looked like old pages inside. “I can somehow answer that question.” Her voice was completely American now. It was like she was adapting to how I spoke. “Here, open up the first page.” I opened up the first page of the book and saw tons of pictures, and writings. I began to read some of the text out loud.

“Ashley Grand Lapin.” I began. “The Story of a Young French Girl.” She smiled and clasped her hands together. “It's my favorite story. The narrative of Ashley is so amazing. She is from the earlier 1900s. I think she is me.” She sat on the bed next to me and turned the page, reading it. “Ashley Grand Lapin (Mistress Lapin) was a Reverend of the Corbeau Church. She was left the church however, when she discovered the quantum theory, and many other scientific things.”

Ashley paused, looking at me. She was smiling, and looked so happy to share her story with me. “She was still religious however, and felt like she could reach heaven herself if she used science correctly. She felt like the two could combine, and reach not just heaven, but so many more answers. She has been missing for more than 15 years.” Ashley paused at that, and stared at me. “How did you find that book? And how do you know if it's true or not?” I looked back at her. “Well, I'm not sure if that's completely true or not. It's something that I would like to believe. As for finding this.. I just found it on my nightstand when I found this house. I've been deciphering it and finding more pages daily. They appear out of thin air when I have questions.”

I felt this hard to believe, all of the things that she has told me have been so crazy. I needed to sleep. I needed answers and proof. She was still looking at me. “There is more to this book then what I've shown you. And I do not believe now is the best time to explain. We need to find a way out of here.” I was beginning to think she was crazy. There is no possible way that this isn't real. But then I thought about falling out of the sky. That was real. I smiled at her. “All will be well, Ashley Grand Lapin.” And on that moment, I could tell she was not happy with me at all. Not one bit. Her mysterious eyes faltered, and she crossed her arms. “Aiden, do you know how long I've been 23?” She paused and looked into my eyes. I shook my head and looked away from her. She was beginning to make me feel uneasy. “I've been 23 all of my life here. The women cannot have children either. Nobody ages here, and nobody gives life here.”

I decided that was enough to take in for tonight, and I felt like the women was crazy. I didn't tell her this, but I could tell she knew. She looked at me in silence, until she spoke. “I suppose you want a bed. It is not an issue. Just think of one, and it shall appear.” I looked at her bed, it was ugly, and had very little blankets on it. I looked at her appearance, and her beautiful, elegant self was no longer there. She was wearing a tattered red shirt, with blood all over it. She was also wearing her black hair in a ponytail, and her green eyes looked as if she had seen a war. I was mortified and looked away. She looked deadly. She looked very evil, and not innocent at all. All of the holes in her jeans, and the combat boots weren't helping at all. I felt like in another life, I wouldn't be afraid. Looking at her now, scared me so much.

After a little bit of time of not speaking she was agitated. “What?” I looked at her straight in the eyes and spoke. “I know that you said that you'd be changing, into something else, but you look ruthless. You look like you've seen a hundred wars. You scare me.” She smiled a little bit. “I'm sorry. The beautiful women you saw was just what the hallucinations were made to do. To see the great side of things, and to make life beautiful. To give us a more beautiful place that isn't Earth. It was supposed to allure you to our village, to make you feel welcome. I'm afraid that doesn't work anymore, and well, it did nothing.”

She was so wise, and brilliant. For only being 23, I really admired her. I knew nothing about her, except of what she read to me, and that too didn't really seem believable.

I went to sleep on the floor, with a small sheet, and a book that I wrote a little bit of my experience in. Ashley told me that I'd probably forget today, and that it was a good idea to write it down. When I slept, I dreamt of a large bunny, that was parading through a wondrous forest, with trees, plants, and luscious grass. I wanted to be there so much. I dreamt about this for what seemed like days, but when I woke up, it was the next day.


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