Hello to anyone who's reading this. This is my first original story, so that's why it might seem amateurish. Without further ado, here's chapter one.
The back of Leon's head smacked the window behind him, waking the boy from his not so peaceful slumber. No one else noticed, save for Kale, Leon's best friend. Leon and Kale weren't very much alike, physically speaking. Kale was tall and thin, with square glasses and long brown hair. Leon, on the other hand, was about average height and weight with blond hair that always seemed to stick out at odd angles.
"You alright?" Kale asked, adjusting his glasses.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Leon groaned, sitting up. "How long was I asleep?"
"Eh, about two hours, give or take. I forgot my watch at home. Either way, we've still got quite a way to go."
Leon sighed and slumped back into the seat. It wasn't the first time he'd fallen asleep on a school trip, and he was quite sure it wouldn't be the last.
Leon's high school was well-known for its rather boring field trips. Once, the students had been subjected to the torture of having to listen to a three-hour lecture on the history of thatch and its uses.
Their current trip was to an ancient history museum. Leon figured it couldn't be that bad, considering the museum housed the world's largest collection of artifacts relating to the Akari, a long-dead warrior civilization that had created multiple devices of strange design, the purpose of which no one was certain.
To be honest, the only reason he had come along on the school trip was because Kale was fascinated by the Akari, and had convinced Leon that there had to be something that would interest him. The majority of students had elected to stay home instead of coming along. It was the first time in years that students had been given the option to attend or simply skip the entire trip, and most had pounced on their chance.
At the moment, Leon was beginning to think the trip was a waste of a perfectly good Friday. Yawning, he decided that catching up on his sleep was as good a way as any to pass the time.
"Leon. Hey, Leon, get up!" Kale's voice woke the boy from his slumber.
Well, it partially woke him.
Leon, still drowsy, muttered, "Mmpf, five more minutes…"
Kale frowned. "Get up, you fat tub of lard!" he shouted, pushing Leon out of his seat.
"Gah!" Leon exclaimed, landing heavily on the dirty bus floor. "What the heck, man? I was having a great dream!"
"Oh. Well, that was faster than I thought it'd be."
Kale rolled his eyes. "Yeah, for you, maybe. But for the rest of us, it was a five-hour bus ride with no bathroom breaks."
"Hey, that reminds me- I really have to use the toilet!" Leon hurriedly slipped on his jacket and backpack and ran for the bus door.
Sighing, Kale shouldered his own pack and followed his friend. "Well, at least I can see those Akari artifacts…" he thought.
Inside the museum, Leon was seriously considering suicide as the tour guide- a short, stocky man with thinning hair, a greasy beard and a baton on his belt- once again told them to, "Take out your pencils and make notes of these amazing archaeological discoveries, because you'll probably never see anything like them again."
Leon rolled his eyes. The "amazing archaeological discoveries" were just single bones from dinosaurs. There wasn't even an entire skeleton, just random leg bones and a few teeth. He raised his hand.
"Excuse me, Mr. Tour Guide? When do we get to see the Akari stuff?"
The man gave a broken-toothed smile. "Ah yes, the Akari. The pride of our museum. Don't worry; they're right over here, in the next room."
"Yes!" whispered Kale. Most of the other students groaned or yawned, probably hoping that the trip was nearly done. Leon just grinned.
"Alright, then. Follow me, single file!" The tour guide held up one hand and waved to make sure he had everyone's attention. Then he turned and walked through the doorway. The class followed close behind, eager to end the tour.
As Leon entered the Akari room, he couldn't help but gaze around at all the exhibits. Kale, on the other hand, couldn't contain his excitement. "Look at all this stuff! I could be in here for hours and not see all of it!"
"Calm down, Kale. They're just old relics."
"Are you kidding me? These are more than relics! These are ancient works of art!"
Leon shook his head, smiling. "Works of art, huh?" He gazed down at a blade on display. It was orange with rust, dust, and something else that Leon couldn't quite put his finger on. The handle was just a simple piece of wood wrapped in decayed leather, but the blade itself was wickedly curved and held to the handle by a leather strap, also almost completely decayed. Leon tried to imagine what it would be like to fight someone using a weapon like that.
"As you can see," the tour guide said, gesturing around the room. "The Akari were a very warlike civilization. Most of the artifacts recovered were weapons or strange devices that we assume were used in rituals. Their weapons appear to be made to maximize the amount of blood that their opponent lost. From their carvings, we can learn more about their culture. If you would all look over here, you will see one of the carvings that we found etched into the walls of a cave."
The man gestured to a huge slab of rock in the back of the room, remarkably well-preserved carvings covering the entire surface. In the middle of the rock, it showed two warriors fighting. The one on the left appeared to be wearing intricately decorated heavy armor, and swung a curved broadsword straight toward his opponent's head. The man on the right appeared to be wearing similar armor, but the designs were quite different. He wielded a single-handed sword, the blade swinging upward- presumably to meet that of his opponent.
In the background, a battle raged between deformed beasts and humans. The beasts were of all shapes, and most wielded single-handed swords and axes, while the humans fought with weapons as diverse as the demons they battled. In the exact center of the slab, what appeared to be a glowing orb hovered between the two armies.
"We are not sure exactly what this carving means. What we do know is that it is depicting what appears to be a battle of epic proportions. We also found these in the same cave." The tour guide walked over to a display case in the center of the room. In it were two swords, both only slightly rusted and of great craftsmanship. One was a curved and jagged broadsword, the steel still slightly blued. The other was a straight and double-edged one-handed weapon, the blade pitch-black. Between them was an orb, about the size of a basketball and gleaming pearly white.
"It is truly astounding," the guide continued, "that these relics were as well-preserved as they were. It's almost as though the Akari wanted us to find them."
Leon paid no attention. He was too busy staring at the center display case to care. The orb was spellbinding, almost as if it were drawing him in. The more Leon stared, the more he realized that he wanted it. It was almost begging him to take it. He reached forward, longing to touch it, when Kale snapped him out of his state.
"Dude, what the heck are you doing?! You can't touch the displays!" Kale shouted in his ear. Leon's mind cleared, and suddenly he felt a stabbing pain in his head.
"I don't know what happened to me. That orb thing… There's something weird about it. It's like it's calling to me."
Kale shook his head. "Did you eat something funny last night? Or maybe when you got bumped on the bus it damaged your brain."
"I'm serious! There's something very wrong about it."
Kale shook his head again. "You're dreaming. It's a cool relic, but that's all there is to it."
"Oh, yeah? Then how about you go and touch it?"
"Fine, if it'll shut you up." Kale took a step closer to the display and checked to make sure no one but Leon was looking. Then, in one swift motion, he flicked up the glass lid of the case and placed both hands on the creamy white sphere. He smirked at Leon.
"See? Nothing happe-" Kale's sentence was cut off by a long, screeching note. It shouldn't have been possible, but wind roared inside the museum. Glass shattered, the lights flickered, and screams cut the air. In the middle of it all stood Kale, his air blown back by the wind and his glasses shattered, shock written all across his face. Then the orb flashed, and Kale was thrown to the wall, a scream of pain following him.
No one moved. No one so much as breathed, shock freezing them in place. And then, the floor began to bubble and boil. Toxic green sludge spilled across the ground, sizzling as it spread. Leon instinctively backed away, painfully aware that he hadn't even gotten up yet. He scrambled to his feet.
The lights flickered once more and then died, the only illumination coming from the green ooze on the floor. A scarred red hand reached out of the pool, clawing and grasping for a hold. Then came a shoulder and head, the face burned and torn. Then another arm, and finally a pair of thin legs.
The creature stood about four feet high and carried a notched axe in its right hand. It wore only a dirty loincloth and its skin was blazing red, slime still dripping down the scarred body. For a moment it did nothing but stand in the middle of the room. Then it raised its head to the ceiling and let out a cry, like nails on a blackboard. It squatted down, raised its axe, and charged directly at the tour guide.
The man moved with surprising speed. He quickly drew the baton from his belt, sidestepped the slashing axe, and brought it down with crushing force on the beast's head, probably cracking its skull. The monster fell limply to the ground, still holding its axe. The tour guide stood with a dazed expression, as though he had surprised himself with the move.
Their relief, however, was short-lived. For more monsters were climbing out of the pool. They were like something from a nightmare. Each one was different, ranging from two feet tall to well over six feet. Most carried weapons, although the smaller ones seemed to only have a mouthful of sharp teeth to fight with.
The monsters charged. The students and teachers alike screamed, and most attempted to run, only to be cut down by the faster beasts. For a moment, Leon was stunned. Then he realized that he would have to fight to stay alive. Frantically, he scanned the area for a weapon. The black blade had been thrown from the display case and had landed a few feet away. Leon scrambled for it and picked it up, surprised at how light it felt.
"Gah!" he shouted in sudden pain. A monster had taken advantage of his break in concentration and had sunk its teeth deep into his leg. He slashed the sword wildly, trying to cut the beast off. A lucky strike cleaved the monster in two, black blood gushing from the corpse. Leon suppressed the urge to vomit and instead turned his attention to the massacre. Most of his classmates and teachers had already been killed, but he saved the grief for later.
The tour guide was still alive, barely managing to keep the monsters back with his baton. Kale was getting to his feet and trying to get his head into the game.
As Leon took in the sight of his classmates' bodies, something happened. A primal rage began to burn; adrenaline began to pump through his veins. With a yell he ran headlong into the fray, slashing this way and that with only one thought in his mind: Kill.
The monsters were caught by surprise- they had not expected a counterattack, let alone a single boy fighting through their ranks. But they regained composure quickly, and struck again and again, trying only to destroy the human.
Leon was barely capable of thought at the moment, but in the back of his mind, he wondered how he knew anything about swordsmanship or battle in general. He'd been in a few fistfights, sure, but nothing with real weapons or against such odds. Yet somehow he was staying alive and dishing out punishment.
But there was no time to wonder about it. Leon's attack had no real strategy; he was just fighting on instinct. And the monsters, though somewhat sloppy, were born for war. Their blades ripped his jacket and pierced his skin, blood dripping from the black fabric. Leon quickly realized that he had no hope of winning, and decided to make a run for it. He decapitated a monster on his right and ran through the opening before it closed.
He tried to see where Kale and the tour guide were, but the monsters had completely overrun them. Most of the beasts were focused on the guide, the man desperately trying to stay alive. Kale had managed to get out of the main fight, a hammer in his right hand. He was panting hard, having used all the energy he had.
What happened next would haunt Leon for the rest of his life.
The tour guide was overwhelmed, but he let out one last defiant yell before a sword pierced his gut. A demon at the edge of the crowd howled in disappointment and searched for a new target. Its glowing yellow eyes found Kale, the boy still trying to regain his strength. It seized its chance and lunged.
"Kale! Look out!" Leon shouted. He sprinted to his friend, but he was too late. Before Kale could even raise his hammer, the demon struck. The blade sunk deep into Kale's stomach. Blood poured from the wound, coating the sword. Kale coughed once and then sank to the floor. A triumphant scream rose from the monster's lips, proclaiming its victory.
"No!" Leon's blade plunged into the demon's heart, cutting off its screech. The boy yanked his sword out and turned, eyes wide and bloodshot, to the monsters that still thirsted for blood. He yelled like an animal and rushed in, his weapon singing through the air.
This time, Leon's tactic- if it could even be called that- worked. Demons fell one after another, unable to defend against the berserker. For once, it was their turn to be shocked. Blades slashed his jacket to bits, but Leon paid no mind. All he could think of was Kale's limp body on the ground, the sword still lodged in his abdomen.
Soon, no monsters remained. The green pool of ooze gradually began to shrink until there was nothing left. But the bodies stayed, the only evidence of the battle.
Leon suddenly felt extremely tired, more so than he ever had before. He dropped to his knees and panted, his blade clattered to the ground. Sweat soaked his jacket and dripped from his face. For a moment, his mind couldn't comprehend what had just happened.
After a moment, Leon had regained enough strength to move, but his body still ached. He slowly crawled over to Kale. The boy's eyes were still open, but his glasses had been broken, leaving nothing in the empty frames. Tears streamed down Leon's face. Kale had been his best friend since they were little kids. They'd done everything together. And now Leon was kneeling over Kale's body, lying in a pool of his own blood.
"This was all my fault!" he screamed, his voice breaking. "If only I hadn't made you touch that damned orb! Then none of this would have happened! Then you'd still be alive! I swear I'm going to find a way to reverse this! I swear it!"
He couldn't help it. He cried. He cried for what seemed like hours, until exhaustion eventually overcame him and he passed out.
Sometime later, Leon woke up. "Please let it have just been a dream!" he thought, then opened his eyes.
It was not. The bodies were still there, and they were beginning to smell. Leon set his jaw and picked up his blade. He had to get out of here. Holding back tears, he walked out the doors of the museum. What he saw shocked him.
Everything had been destroyed. The walls, the windows, the very building itself had been torn apart. Leon could see a city in the distance. He decided that there must be someone in the city who could explain the incident. And reverse it. But first he'd need transportation. There was just a single car in the parking lot: a large pickup truck which Leon assumed had belonged to the tour guide. He'd have to go back in to get the keys.
Leon let out a long sigh. He'd find a way to reverse the massacre, even if it killed him.
So yeah, there's the first chapter. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll explain more about the Akari and everything later. For now, a review would be much appreciated, as would any and all constructive criticism. Thanks for reading!