There is a fine line between the world of the living and the world of the dead. The threshold is finite, eternal and strong. As we die, our spirits ascend into a higher form of existence. An existence free from all the burdens and pains of a mortal life. As we reach our ultimate destiny, our spirits, the essence of our being, is freed from the vessel, which contains it. It is truly a joyous occasion when a spirit can ascend into the greater beyond.

But there are times when a spirit refuses to ascend. The essence is retained in the mortal realm and refuses to ascend. Some spirits don't know that they are dead or refuse to accept it, and go about their normal lives, as if something never happened. Others are bound here by a grief of someone the have to leave behind. Their pain transcends mortal limitations and penetrates the soul of the departed. That is why they remain, in a feeble attempt to console the one in pain. Some on the other hand, remain because something in their life is still incomplete. They still await something and refuse to ascend because of this. Their spirits long for justice, companionship, a promise or even an answer. That is why they remain, torturing themselves for this thing which they failed to achieve.

Then there is the last reason why spirits remain. Perhaps the most…intriguing reason… Indeed the threshold is strong. When a spirit leaves this plane of existence, they cannot return. They can never return. The threshold is too strong. But, if a spirit is strong enough, if the will of the spirit is powerful enough, it can break through the shield that divides this world from the next. But that alone is not enough to cross the threshold. For a spirit to break free, it needs the help of a special individual, a special…mortal. These individuals must seek the spirit in one way or another. Whether it is subconsciously, inexplicitly or even openly, they have to want the spirit so badly that it is their will they're… calling that gives the spirit enough strength to break the threshold that separates the living from the dead. A call for helps, a cry for vengeance, a thirst for blood, an insatiable greed, these are the things can be heard even in the spiritual plane. There is a rare occasion when a spirit decides to heed the call.

But not just anyone can call forth a powerful spirit. These individuals posses a great power… The spirits of these characters, although still contained within a vessel, have already ascended to a higher form of existence. Of course, as it is contained in a shell, this "evolution" cannot be seen. "Evolution" is an apt term because their spirits are for less…tangible as others. Like water, other ethereal existences can seem to pass through, or even fuse, with these spirits. Their spirits have the power to diffuse with another. They say that two heads are better than one, but two spirits can create thing that can only be described as miraculous. These things aren't necessarily good, but they ARE great.

For years the power of these people have lain dormant. Even they themselves are not aware of their power. But that is only one reason. As stated, for the miracles to occur, another spirit must be with them. And although these individuals are rare, a spirit that can transcend the threshold is even rarer. But sometimes, a little push is all they need to get to the right direction…

Synther Stories
An original story by InvaderZam4

Canto One: The Knight

RING

"Aw finally! Class is bloody over! I thought Lancer would never shut his bloody trap up about bloody mitochondria!" cried the young girl. The other young girl giggles.

"Wow Alicia, you broke your record for the number of times you said, "bloody" in one stream of conversation."

"I'll say bloody as many times I want Jaime! Christ you are starting to sound like my mother!"

"hahaha"

My name is Jaime Sunderland. I'm 17 years old and studying in Oakland high school for girls. And this charming young lady would be my friend, Alicia.

"C'mon Jaime lets get out of here. If my I'm late the old hag'll have my bloody head!"

"Oh. All right Alicia. Lets go…"

"Would you look at them?"

"At who?"

"Those stupid punks looking over the fence. Man, it just makes me sick on how they stare out the school fence hoping for a strong wind! What? They never seen a panty before? Bunch of losers… Of course, we wouldn't have this problem if the school would just abolish the whole school uniform!"

"But Alicia, you almost look decent in that uniform?"

"What are you saying?!"

"Hahaha! Come on. Lets go…"

We passed through the halls with the giggling girls and passed through the school's gates, where the sleazy boyfriends of my…more liberated schoolmates. They day was dying. Boy, the days sure don't last long here in England. Alicia and I started down on the road home. New Hampshire is a pretty quiet town. I've been living here since I was 13. Up until then, I was in America. But I have adapted well to life in Europe. Once you get passed the first four weeks giggling at the accent, you get used to it and it's pretty easy from there. One thing I do like about New Hampshire was that it isn't so busy, not like Los Angeles. I couldn't really get used to Los Angeles because everyone was so…open. I'm pretty conservative so something always shocked me there. We reached an intersection on the road.

"Well, this is my stop Jaime. See ya later. Hope the old hag doesn't have my head on a stick by tomorrow."

"Haha. See ya later Alicia."

Somehow, I feel envious of Alicia whenever she talks about her parents, most especially her mother. You see… I was orphaned when I was 12. My parents both died in a tragic car accident. I have been living with my Uncle Khrushchev ever since. He's very nice, for a Russian. I'm only half American. My mom and her family migrated to England shortly after the Cold War. She eventually moved to the United States for a job opportunity, that's where she met my father. Uncle Khrushchev was kind enough to take me in, even with the little he earns. He makes a living by teaching judo at one of the local gyms. He offered to teach me once, but it seemed to rough, so I declined. The only thing weird about him is that he is pretty jumpy. As if someone is always out to get him. He's not paranoid, just jumpy. The slightest noise would make him turn serious as fast as lightning.

On my way home, I decided to stop by my parent's grave. There is a short cut through the cemetery. Mom and dad were planning to return here one day, with me. So their bodies, after the funeral were flown here to be buried. I picked up three flowers on the way. I stepped on the cold walkway to their headstone. The sky had turned dark blue and the winds were blowing pretty strong. Each step I took, the weather got colder. But I didn't mind. After all, I was visiting mother and father. I remembered all the times we had together when I was a kid. Mom, making those dishes, Daddy coming home late. You never really do realize how much something means to you until it's gone. Finally, I reached their tombstone.

Rest In Peace Here lies Dante and Yvonne Sunderland

Died June 15, 1999

May the Angels sing thee to thy rest…

"Hi mom. Hi dad. I'm here again. I hope your happy…It's funny. Do you all remember on how we would plan coming to live in England? That we would live so that we could be close to mom's relatives? That we would spend picnics on open fields together? …Well…here we are. This isn't exactly a picnic or an open field. But… at least we…were together…No. I swore to myself I would never cry. I have to be strong now that your both gone…OH! I brought you some flowers… Here you go. One each. Well, I had better get going. Uncle Khrushchev is probably worried about me. He's like you said mom. He's a big teddy bear that you can just grab. Haha. Goodbye then…"

I then turned around to face this other tombstone. It was just a very old blank head stone. It was old, crumbling and vines were growing on it.

"Dang! I just cleaned this last month! Don't you worry! On the weekend I'll clean all the vines okay?"

I clean this headstone because it's pretty sad. When I first saw it, it was really run down. It didn't look like anyone was visiting this grave anymore. But that wasn't the sad part. The sad part was the fact that this tombstone…was blank. There was nothing written on the stone. It was just a grave marker. No one must have cared for this person. This person may have been evil…but I don't care. No one should ever be treated this way, especially in death. No one may care for you anymore, I do.

"Oh yeah! This is for you. Goodbye then…"

I place the third flower on the headstone and went on my way.

"Uncle! I'm home!"

"Ack! Jimmy! Welcome home!" Uncle said in his usual rough tongue from the kitchen. "Dinnah'll be ready soon! Go upstairs and freshen up!"

I climbed up and changed. I threw my uniform to the laundry and put on some more comfortable clothes. As I put my shirt over my head, I caught I glimpse of myself in the mirror. My father's blue eyes and my mother's burgundy hair. That's how people would describe me. I guess burgundy is pretty dominant in my mom's blood, as even uncle Kruschev has burgundy hair. The only difference is, it all over his face! Haha. I went down to cause I was starved.

"Come and get it Jimmy!"

Uncle was eating in front of the television again. I decided to join him. Besides, Friends was on. One thing the two of us enjoy. I looked at my food. Chinese take out. Again. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers.

I grabbed the small take out box and sat with him.

"So, what happened in school Jimmy?"

"Nothing much unc. How bout the gym?"

"You really want me to talk of all the sweaty guys flexing their oversized muscles in hard machines? Don't answer that…"

"Hahaha…"

It's like your always stuck in second gear… Well it hasn't been your day, your week your month or even your year…BUT

I'll be there for you

When the rain starts to fall

I'll be there for you

Like I've been there before

I'll be there for you

Cause your there for me too…

I went up to my room and turned on my PC after I helped unc clean up after Friends. I wonder who is online? I opened up and logged on in Ragnarok. Good thing uncle lets me use his card to play. I can just pay him through my allowance. I just cant resist those cute characters! I played my Crusader, J. Arc. That supposed to be a pun for Joan of Arc, kind of like J. Lo. When I checked my guild, no one was on. Oh well, I guess I can use this time to get some serious leveling up! Okay Bathory! Get ready to taste Grand Cross!

As I was wailing on the evil witch, I saw uncle Kruschev walking out to the yard. Huh? For a second I thought I saw something move in the shadows. SEE! There it goes again? Why the heck is uncle raising his hand? Okay…now he's putting it down. Wait! What of the shadows? Huh. They're gone. Freaky. Oh shoot! I'm dying! Potionpotionpotionpotionpotionpotionpotionpotionpotionpotionpotionpotion…

Huh? A green haired assassin? Hey! That's Carson

J.Arc: Hey Carson! See your online!

SlAyEr: Jaime! How ya doin?

J.Arc: Ah just fine! How about you?

SlAyEr: Fine. Hey, I was fighting some Evil Druids…

J.Arc: WOW! That's pretty cool, especially considering they can cast Heaven's Drive now! You must have a real high level!

SlAyEr: Aw shucks, it was nothing. Anyway, one of them dropped a bible. Do you want it? For your battle priestess?

J.Arc: Really? Wow! That's nice of you Carson!

SlAyEr: Like I said. Its nothing. Here you go…

J.Arc: Thanks again! Whoops! I got to log off now!

SlAyEr: Aw. I was hoping we could hunt together.

J.Arc: Maybe tomorrow Carson. Thanks again! See ya at school

SlAyEr: Okay…

I gave him the kiss emoticon before I logged out. I bet he just fainted. Carson, he's pretty nice and smart. He's just really shy. How long has he had a crush on me? Um…a year I think? Why doesn't he just ask me out? Oh well. Maybe when he is ready. Giggle.

As I was walking back home the next day, I couldn't help contemplating what uncle Khrushchev told to me before I left.

"Jaime…do you rremebah your auntie Matilda?"

"You mean that friend of yours who also works at the gym?"

"Aye. Do yah remember where her house is? Do you know how to get thar?"

"Uh…yeah uncle Khrushchev, I think I do. It's in the next town, just take a bus."

"Good. If something happens to me, I want you to go to her."

"Huh?"

"Promise me that you'll go to her if something happens to me."

"Uncle…why are you saying this?"

"I…I just got a bad feeling for today. Promise me you'll always stay as benevolent as you are right now."

"Why?"

"Just promise me, Jaime."

"Okay uncle. I promise…"

I wonder why he said that. It doesn't look like he is dying of old age or of some terminal sickness (although he has been developing arthritis lately). I mean, he's 31 and he's in great shape! He hardly ever eats any meats, unless its take out. His diet always consists of vegetables. I don't know why he's acting like he is on his deathbed.

It was getting late and I had so much homework to do. I finally reached the house. I knew I should have taken the shortcut through the cemetery again.

"Uncle Khrushchev? I'm ho-"

I stared in shock at what I saw. The house was in shambles. The furniture was tumbled over. The windows were broken. Some vases and plates were broken. It looked like there was a struggle. But what caught my eye were the four dead bodies lying in a pool of their own blood.

It couldn't be. It just couldn't. Uncle isn't a murder. He couldn't have…Judo is a defensive. You don't kill your enemy…you…you aren't allowed to…uncle….uncle…

"UNCLE!"

I ran across the rooms frantically trying to find him.

"UNCLE!"

When I searched the whole house, I found that he was gone. I broke down on the floor. Tears started running down my face. What had happened? The most logical thing I could think of was that these men tried to kill uncle. He was able to take down four of them. Then they…there must have been more…they…no. Not uncle. Why? First my parents, now uncle Khrushchev…why?

Then I heard a sound.

KRGGR

KRRGGGG

KRGGGGGGG

It was like a dragging sound. With my body still shaking, I stared up. What I saw diluted my eyes. It made me want to wake up from this nightmare. Problem was, I wasn't sleeping. What I saw was one of the dead bodies. Standing up. Growling and inching towards me. Its clothes were drenched in blood. It was contorting itself in freakish ways. I backed up into the wall and tried to call out for someone to help me. No one came. I could barely hear what the…zombie was growling about…

"See…too much…kill…follow…orders."

Then, it pulled a knife from its suit. I screamed. What else could I do? It inched closer and closer towards me. My body paralyzed in fear, I could only move my right hand. I reached for…ANYTHING. Then I grabbed something. When the zombie tried to lunge at me, I swung whatever I held in my hands. It was uncle's cricket racket. It was enough to send the zombie back to the ground. I took this opportunity to make a break for the door. But as I reached the doorway, I stared in shock once again. The other three bodies were alive as well. And there were a few more zombies coming through the door. I turned around and ran to the back door. Screaming.

I was running. I didn't know. I just wanted to get away. Away from what I saw. Night had fallen fast and people had started locking their doors. I didn't know if the zombies had overrun the town, but I could feel them. In every street corner, I could sense their eerie presence. Any house I could go to, they would probably be waiting for me. I was alone again. Uncle was probably dead. I didn't know where I was going. I just needed to escape. Escape from this nightmare.

I found my way back to the cemetery. I saw mom and dad's headstone. I went close to it and crawled up in the fetal position.

"Mom…dad…"

I cried out their name repeatedly. I was crawled up on the floor. I had run out of tears so my eyes were dry. I could clearly see the edge of mom and dad's tombstone. As well as the hand that popped up besides it.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

I jumped back. I saw dozens of corpses popping out of the ground. Half decayed corpses with the flesh barely sticking on their faces. I just backed up, until I reached the unnamed headstone. They were closing in. I had nowhere to go. These things were gonna kill me and I had no way to escape the nightmare…I just crawled up again and put my hands on my ears and prayed to God that this nightmare would end. On the grave of the unmarked tombstone, I saw a plush toy of what looked liked a female knight, complete with the armor, skirt, shield and sword. I just grabbed it and held it close to me.

Why do you fear them?

"Huh?"

Why do you fear them?

"Because they are going to kill me!"

Why don't you fight them?

"I can't fight them!"

Why not?

"Because…because…"

Because?

"BECAUSE I CAN'T FIGHT! I DO ANYTHING BY MYSELF!"

Do you want to live?

"YES"

Well then. You have to fight.

"But I told you, I don't have the strength!"

If that is all you need, then I will give you mine.

"Huh?"

You have to fight to live. You have to fight to see all those people you love.

"Who are you?"

Just call me…your guardian angel

"What do I do?"

Pray child. Pray to God for strength. Strength that you can overcome this ideal.

I didn't know whom I was talking to, but I didn't anyway. I prayed to God, to Jesus, and to… mom and dad. I prayed them to let me live. I prayed to them for help.

All of the sudden, the plush toy glowed. I looked at it, and then it blasted into a flash bang. I was blinded, so was everything else. I stumbled backwards and tried to protect my eyes. When I had regained sight, I saw the plush toy floating above air. It was just…levitating. My eyes and attention were fixated on the magical event. It looked so… beautiful.

I tried to reach out to it. But as my fingers neared the floating toy, it got enveloped in a ball of light. Suddenly, it burst into several light rays and flew in different directions. The next thing I knew, all the light rays went into me!

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I could feel a burning sensation inside of me. It was as if my whole body was on fire. I tried to clutch my chest, but then an energy flowed through me and made my body stretch. In one of my hands, light gathered and formed into a rod. In my other hand, the light formed into a circle. As I clenched my fist, the rod became a majestic broad sword and the circle became a kite shield.

The fire subsided. I stared in disbelief at the weapons I was clutching. They were white, see through and…so beautiful. The ornaments on both the shield and sword were so intricate. Then I heard the zombies gurgling again.

"Synther…confirmed…threat…high…eliminate immediately…"

One of the zombies lunged towards me. I was shocked. I could see its yellowish fingers ready to tear my flesh. Then I raised the shield, blocked the attack, pushed him aside and then with the sword, cut him vertically.

"UAGH!"

The zombie burst into flames. I couldn't believe what I had done. I never knew anything about sword fighting. Except maybe for my Ragnarok knight. But then, I heard the other zombies rushing towards me. More of them were popping out of the ground. LIKE DAISES!

I put my left foot behind the other foot. Using it as a pivot, I swung backwards and did a strong horizontal slash, taking out three zombies.

SLASH

"UAH!!"

"URG!"

"BWA!"

I didn't even know there were three behind me. But more were charging. I charged with my shield and knocked four to the ground. Then, I just used the sword to shiskabob all of them. I then raised my sword to cut another one, then thrust another one, then spun and slashed some more. This was unreal. I never knew I had such great skill in swordsmanship. But…the way my body felt…it didn't seem natural. It was as if I was using someone else's…

"AH!"

"RR!"

"GWA!"

"EK!"

"URG!"

I cut down the last zombie and it too disintegrated. This was too strange. I stared at the sword and the shield again. Suddenly, a black blob came up in front of me. Suddenly, there was a shadow in the shape of a giant bull standing that appeared in front of me. It roared a fearful cry and it swung what looked like a hammer towards me. I was caught off guard; I was still looking at the…shadow in front of me. I rose up my shield to block it and my sword to support it. The hammer crashed down and I there was enough force to knock me down.

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!"

CLANG

CRACK

SHATTER

"AAAAAHHHH!"

The shield shattered then disappeared. Then I saw that the…thing was still recovering and thought this was my chance to kill it! As I tried to stand up to swing, thrust or even throw my sword, I just fell down on my knees again. It was as if my entire body was weighed down or something. I felt myself getting drowsy. What the heck was happening? I couldn't raise my sword, I couldn't stand and I could barely stay awake. Then I saw the thing winding up for a second whamming. Oh no. I got to move or else I am done for. But no matter how I willed myself, my body just wouldn't move. I could barely keep consciousness.

As the thing was about to fall its hammer, I thought that this was the end. My life flashed before my eyes. I saw mom and dad again, helping each other in the kitchen. I remember playing tag with my old friends in America. I saw the first time I met uncle Khrushchev and Alicia. Then I saw the thing swing the hammer at me…

"KANO! LETS GO!"

Suddenly there was a second flash of light. I could barely remember what happened next. I was too…tired. I saw uncle Khrushchev jump in front of me and blocked the hammer at the handle. Then, he swayed it to the side so as not to hit me, then he grabbed the thing by its arm and flipped it towards the other side. As the thing was flat on its back, he finished it off with a palm strike.

"HYA!"

BRACK

ROAR

The force of uncle's palm strike was strong enough to create a circular shockwave. The thing disappeared in the same nothingness from where it came. He then rushed towards me as I was falling asleep…

"JAIME! Are you alright?! JAIME!"

Many times in our lives, we come across…misfortunes that deter us off our course. These…invasions into the plans we have for ourselves is shunned by many and welcomed by some. We have no control over these problems and often, we are tempted to use these problems as an excuse for anything wrong that happens in our life. But that is not without logic, these problems could be considered the singular domino that lost its balance. Indeed, it does seem unfair when these misfortunes happen to us. But in the end, what matters more? How many problems we have? Or how we dealt with them?