Chapter One: Broken Free's POV
I stood in front of my old home, slightly hesitant to go inside. To remember the good times mingled in with the bad. To happiness and the slowly increasing lost of sanity that still plagued my family, the Shadow Red. My fingers began to play with my thin blue sweater sleeve as I chewed on my light brown hair as I glanced at the white house. Ten years since I was last here. At that time I had sworn never to return, but here I was on the promise I owed to my brother and leader, Shadow.
I could remember freshly that horrible day. I could literally feel the pain in my chest and hear the haunting screams of overwhelming sadness that darkened our very world as we lay to rest our brother and trusted friend, Unleashed Hollow.
I stared at my hands, half expecting to see the ruby blood that still stained my hands as we had buried him. I felt floods of memories searing my mind. One truly showed how close my mind had completely broke apart.
It had started out as a rather normal day for our gang. Shadow had woken Flames, Nightfull and I for school.
I was rummaging through the cereal as Flames sat on the counter, swinging her legs back and forth, absently singing as she smiled at me. I smiled back and fixed our typical breakfast of cereal and orange juice.
Nightfull walked in, rubbing his eyes, "Morn' sis. Waz for breakfast?" he asked sleepily.
I smiled at him, my twin, as I said laughingly, "The usual, Mr. Sleepyhead."
He grinned at me and said, "Should've known."
We stood grinning at each and turned when Unleashed Hollow walked in the saying quietly, "Tonight at 8:00 we are having a meeting."
None of us asked why. It just was. If anyone said there was a meeting there was, no questions asked.
Shadow nodded as my older brother, Raven, came into the kitchen wearing his doctor's coat, a chart in his hand. He got a glass of water and glanced at the chart that told what medicine he took each day.
As he finished, he kissed me on the forehead and wished us luck on our biology test he had helped Nightfull and I study for. He was out the door and off to the hospital as we headed to our rooms to get ready.
At 7:46 Flames and I came out. I had pulled on a blue T-shirt with red writing saying, "Protect and Love those you care and be kind to everyone." I had on dark pants and a dark blue jacket. My brown hair was let loose so it reached my back and I held several textbooks.
Flames was wearing a light pink skirt with a red shirt covered with white swirls. I held her in front of the large mirror outside my room and carefully tied her red hair in a braid.
"Em, Free do you think Mrs. Apple will like my poem?" Flames asked me as she squirmed wanting to run off.
I smiled at her and said so filled with love, "Of course she will. Besides I loved it because my little sister created such a beautiful masterpiece."
She grinned as Nightfull joined us, as she said, filled with child filled admiration, "There's no way I can be better than you Free, you're amazing at writing."
Nightfull smirked saying, "Of course she is she is our little wanderer."
I whacked him in the head as we went on the bus, laughing at his glare. As we all sat together I pulled free my phone, seeing that Darkness had sent me a message that thing would be ok and to not panic.
I smiled at her concern, once again making me feel as if she was more my mother than my older sister.
Nightfull wrapped his arms around me as we talked quietly about old memories. We were talking of his orphanage when I noticed the tell tale signs of the dark side of him surfacing.
I smiled at him saying softly, "Nightfull do you remember how we met?"
He grinned at me cheerfully, "You had happened to chance upon me in the corn fields outside our town. You had been worried about the bullies in school."
I smiled and nodded as the bus parked in front of the school. As we piled off we took Flames' hands and walked her to her third grade class.
As we headed to class we were stopped by the cool kids a.k.a. Kyle and Mark. They grinned in that way you just knew things wouldn't end pleasant. I glanced around for a teacher but of course we were all alone, go figure.
As they advanced Nightfull moved in front of me, his dark side persona had broken free. Gone was his laid back and cheery self and was replaced by an angry and dangerous side that which he could never remember what happened once it was out.
They grinned like wolves stalking their prey as they lunged. Nightfull quickly caught them and pushed them away and motioned for me to go ahead.
I scowled wanting to help but knew that neither of Nightfull's personas would allow me to get hurt.
I moved on to Algebra, worried about him. Classes dragged on and still he hadn't returned. As I walked into Biology, almost frantic with worry, I saw him sitting in our table grinning, cheerfully.
I smiled at him, analyzing every inch of him, looking for injuries. Seeing he was okay the teacher began to speak, "Spread out and clear everything off your lab tables except for a writing utensil. No talking until the test has been completed by everyone."
We began to work silently with only a few kinds messing around. I finished my test and handed it in. As I reached my seat and pulled out my journal the announcement beeped and Mrs. Sander's voice rang out over the school, "Will Maya and Malik please come to the office."
Nightfull and I looked at each other, confused before leaving, our minds running through all the possible reason we were being called in. We knocked on the door and saw Darkness standing by the counter, her hands fidgeting nervously.
She looked at us and I knew something happened. She thanked the principal and told us, "Get your stuff and find Flames we need your help at home."
I nodded and went in search of Flames, finding her in the playground, swinging, by herself. As she saw me she ran up to me, her braid bouncing as she did.
"Free is something wrong?" She asked, as she stared at me with eyes too understanding of the dark side of our worlds.
I picked her up and headed back saying, "Darkness says we are needed. So we are going home early, little butterfly."
She fell silent as we reached Darkness. She wrapped her arms around her neck and I allowed Darkness to hold her, but feeling jealous and protective in doing so. Guilt ate at me as I reminded myself that Darkness wasn't a threat.
We entered our house and Shadow glanced up relieved as he gave a nod to Darkness. She allowed me to take Flames, who was asleep.
As I put her to bed I saw Unleashed Hollow walking to the shed. A sudden movement to my right and he fell to the ground.
Fear slammed into me as I ran out of the door, into the cold, just to see the other gang's second in command running off. I knelt down beside him, trying to stop the bleeding as Shadow and Darkness rushed to us.
As we struggled to keep him with us he whispered, "Don't bother. It won't work. It won't stop."
Shadow glanced at him saying, "Don't say that brother."
Hollow gripped Shadow's arm tightly saying, "Watch over them Shadow. Promise me you will keep them alive."
Shadow went stiff as he said firmly, "I will Hollow would never let you down."
Hollow glanced at Darkness and said, "Love them Darkness they will need your help through this."
She nodded tears filling her eyes. Hollow turned to me and gently stroked my cheek whispering lovingly, "Don't blame yourself, Free. It will destroy you. I want you to live life to the fullest. Nankurinisa nee-chan."
Tears fell to the ground as I promised, my emotional barrier cracking as Hollow struggled to say one last thing, "Shadow…if you add someone…protect them with everything….don't let anyone know s/he is of us."
Shadow managed to swear our oath that he would do so before Hollow passed on. Shadow stood up saying, his voice shaking, "We must tell the others of our brother's passing."
I pushed the rest away as Shadow opened the back door saying softly, "Come on kiddo. We have been waiting for your return."
Tears spilled down my face as guilt crushed me, that I had ran away, leaving behind my family and the only place I belonged. I struggled to say something to make up for all the things I did but all that came out was a cry of despair.
Shadow swiftly hugged me, stocking my hair whispering, "Oh lil Free don't cry. Shush its ok. We love you lil Free and so happy you're back."
Shaking I pulled at his sleeve, motioning to my own. He needed to know how badly I fell when I left. Gently he cradled me and walked back into the house, safe from the gossiping eyes of the people that lived here.
I sat on the couch, curled in his lap as Darkness gently stroked my hair. I shakily pulled up my sleeves, revealing the thin almost unseeable scars. Only way to see them was if light hit them in the right angle.
Shadow sighed softly and said, chidingly, "How many times will we have this talk before you finally take it to heart, Broken Free?!"
I winced and whispered feeling very much like a guilty child, "I couldn't stop thinking. I couldn't handle it, Shadow."
Darkness gently said, "Free its ok. We love you, you don't have to hide anymore."
Crying I began to tell them everything that happened since I vanished.
"I first went to Cedar Raids. I stayed there long enough to earn enough money to get farther away and a few months of rent of an apartment."
I paused to see the door open and saw Nightfull walk in. He stopped and gave me an icy look of hurt, "Welcome back, Free."