A/N: Welcome to my first story on here. This story is anime/manga inspired, but takes place in a westernized setting.
I have no name.
I have been trapped in this prison for all my days.
One day, I will finally break free from this hell.
And when I do, I will make this world fear me if that's what it takes to acknowledge my existence!
Leon snapped upright from his bed like a springboard, awakening from a frightening dream. He had broken into a cold sweat, dampening his comforter. Reluctantly, he lugged himself out of bed and shuffled towards the bathroom. He splashed water on his face over the sink, neatly combed his short, dirty blonde hair, and downed a set of pills from a pill organizer labeled with the days of the week. Afterwards, he quickly dressed himself in a light blue button down shirt and khakis and left his bedroom. The sound of music playing from their home assistant device filled the living room.
"Ellie!" Leon widened his azure eyes in surprise when he spotted his twin sister emerge from the kitchen. "What did you do to your hair?"
A petite girl with dark auburn hair and verdant green eyes stepped out into the living room. She had a long pixie cut with choppy, staggered layers and side swept bangs towards the right of her face that reached her jawline. "I cut it shorter. Why? Does it look bad?"
Leon waved his hands in a flustered fashion and stumbled over his words. "No! It looks great on you!"
"Thanks, Leon," Ellie sighed placidly, combing her fingers through her shortened locks.
He headed over to the kitchen and swiped a slightly over-ripened banana off the counter.
"Do you think you're ready to go back to school?" Ellie's brows knit in concern. "Maybe you should stay home one more day?"
"I think I'll be ok."
Although Leon beamed her a sunny smile, she wasn't completely assured he could manage returning to school so soon after his hospital stay.
Ever since Leon was a small child, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, even though the disorder was unheard of at such a young age. He regularly complained of hearing voices and became paranoid that the voice would one day compel him to act out violent thoughts. Despite constant trial and error with different medications, his symptoms remained unalleviated. Ellie wholeheartedly believed his symptoms were only worsening with time.
Since Leon's schizophrenia made him a susceptible target for bullying, a classmate named Bret Spencer harassed him at school and online through social media. Bret used a photo of Leon having a panic attack and started a meme to ridicule him for his mental illness, which spread quickly over the internet. Consequently, Leon was admitted to the psychiatric hospital for extreme paranoia and suicidal ideation for four days. Although he was discharged back home two days ago, Ellie worried that the vicious meme was still fresh on the minds of their classmates.
"Did Mom leave early for work today? Where did she leave our lunches?" Leon changed the uncomfortable topic and combed through the refrigerator.
Their mother, Katrina Katona, was a single parent who worked multiple jobs in order to make ends meet for her two children. She worked a full-time day job at a coffee shop as a barista and a bartending job at night with limited time in between both shifts. She often arrived home late past midnight and rose early in the morning to return to work, hardly ever seeing her children. As the older twin, Ellie assumed responsibility over the household in her mother's stead.
She nodded and held up a brown paper bag. "It's right here. Now let's get going!"
Without wasting a minute more, the twins hurried off to school. Once they arrived at Alleron High School, they seated themselves at their assigned desks in homeroom class and seized the opportunity to socialize with their fellow classmates before the teacher arrived.
"Hey, Leon!" Leon's best friend, Sid, waved animatedly. "Do you and Joey want to come over to my house and play board games?"
"Sorry, I can't come tonight," his other friend, Joey, answered. "My dad is filming a new TV show today. I told him I'd be there."
"Sure, I'd like to come," Leon's voice trailed off as he fixed his eyes on a longhaired brunette entering the classroom. She wore a flowing purple ribbon in her hair and glittery bracelets around her wrists.
"Checkin' out Naomi again?" Sid laughed knowingly, jolting Leon out of his smitten reverie. A rosy hue crept to the apples of Leon's cheeks.
"Morning, Leon!" a ponytailed girl chirped as she pressed her hand down on the surface of his desk.
"Hey, Harmony," Leon returned her greeting.
Harmony seated herself at the desk beside Ellie's and asked her, "Did you already launch the cyberbullying prevention campaign?"
"Yeah," Ellie replied in a soft voice. "I posted it last night in support of my brother. I can text you the link so you can boost it."
The noise in the classroom seemed to dampen as a statuesque platinum blonde girl and a boy with sandy light hair entered the classroom together. A tan-skinned girl named Adela ogled the boy, whose sinewy physique was evident beneath his shirt.
"Bret Spencer. Oh, if only he'd ask me out," Adela sighed glumly under her breath.
"Oh, dear!" the platinum blonde gasped theatrically. "What on earth did you do to your hair?"
"I cut it, Tamra. Ok?" Ellie grumbled, scowling at the blonde.
"Well it looks terrible," Tamra scoffed.
"So Leon Katona was brave enough to show up to class." Bret honed his gaze on Leon as if stalking easy prey. "What are the voices telling you today?"
"Kill him already," Leon heard a voice hiss callously within his mind.
Leon's arm began to rise as though it were being pulled by an invisible string. Like a marionette puppet, his body betrayed his will and there was nothing he could do to stop it. With an unwelcome smirk on his face, he aimed the palm of his hand for Bret's face as though the gesture would somehow quench the sudden onslaught of bloodthirsty thoughts running amok in his mind.
"Or I will," his voice assumed a deeper tone as the words escaped his lips.
Leon suddenly toppled from his seat and collapsed to the floor, eliciting a horrified gasp from his sister.
Sid lightly shook him by the shoulders, noting the dull glaze over his friend's blue eyes. "Leon? Leon? Do you want me to take you to the nurse?"
"No, it's just a headache. I'll be fine." Leon carefully sat up and shook his head, declining Sid's offer. Despite insisting that he was alright, the very feeling of his body acting of its own accord sickened him to the point of overwhelming nausea.
With unbridled rage flaring in her eyes, Ellie jumped up from her desk and lunged for Bret. "Leave my brother alone, you asshole!"
He narrowly skirted her fist, which collided with the wall next to his head and created a hole in the plaster. A series of hairline cracks branched out from the hole and raced down the length of the wall towards the other side of the classroom. The students shielded their eyes from the suffocating dust that enveloped the room when the plaster crumbled apart.
"Holy crap," Sid uttered with his mouth agape. "You're gonna be in so much trouble, Ellie."
Ellie stared fixedly at her loosened fist and muttered beneath her breath, "How…?"
The teacher bustled into the classroom in a fury, startling his students. He sat down at his desk and buried his face in his arms, ignoring the thick blanket of dust on the surface of his desk and the conspicuously demolished wall. "Why? Why is she doing this to me?"
An awkward silence hovered over the classroom while he silently sobbed to himself. The teacher finally raised his head and stated casually, "Ok, class. Get out your textbooks and turn to page forty-eight."
"When will Mr. Santo stop bringing his divorce to class?" Joey whispered to Harmony. "Does he not notice the wall?"
"I heard that, Romano! Detention! After school! In my office!" Mr. Santo shouted angrily, waving his finger at the teenage boy.
"But, my dad is filming his new series tonight! I can't miss it!" Joey protested defiantly.
"Make that two days."
Joey reluctantly conceded with an exaggerated groan.
At the end of the school day, Ellie and Leon walked home together on the narrow gravel roadside bordering a steep embankment.
"Ellie!" A bespectacled male flagged her down. Once the twins halted in their tracks, he took a deep, calming breath, readying himself for the request he was about to make. "Will you go to homecoming with me?"
Ellie plastered on a false grin and gave him the first excuse that surfaced to her mind. "Sorry Andy, but Harmony and I will be attending a rally that night."
"Please," Andy insisted with broadened, imploring eyes.
He approached her. Ellie took a step backwards in kind. She shrieked as the gravel beneath her feet suddenly gave way without warning.
"Ellie!" Leon hollered when he witnessed his sister somersault down the embankment into the thick overgrowth below.
He skated down the side of the gravel ledge after her into the thorny overgrowth. To his dismay, his sister did not respond to his calls. He and Andy frantically scoured the area in search of Ellie for over an hour. Unfortunately, her dirtied phone was the only trace of his sister Leon was able to recover. As he parted the dense shrubs, he felt the feeling of fur brush up against his hand. He gripped the animal and removed a ginger colored cat from the bushes.
"A cat?" Leon said as he gently set the cat on the dirt, releasing it. "Maybe she made it home already?"
He decided he would call the police and file a missing person report if she wasn't home. The ginger cat persistently followed Leon the entire trip back to their townhouse in the southern end of the city. Leon wiped his shoes on the welcome mat, drew his keys from his pocket, and unlocked the front door. The cat swiftly snaked through the cracked door and scurried inside faster than he could react.
"Mom's allergic to cats!" Leon panicked as he attempted to chase down the cat.
Quickly tiring of his fruitless attempt to wrangle the stray cat, he placed a slab of leftover chicken breast from last night's dinner on a plate in the living room. The cat ignored the bait and struggled to open the refrigerator door with its tiny paw. A bowl of water spilled onto the cat as it opened the door. Leon gasped loudly and instinctively covered his eyes as Ellie lie naked on the kitchen floor with the overturned bowl on her head.
"Ellie!" Leon hurried to the bathroom and retrieved a towel. "You're a cat?!"
Ellie wrapped herself in the towel Leon handed to her. She retreated to her bedroom and quickly dressed while Leon paced around the living room.
He chewed his fingernails and uttered, "This is bad. Like really bad!"
Ellie curled her fingers into a fist and released them absentmindedly. She flashed her brother a cheerful grin. "Actually, you know what? This is pretty awesome! I somehow feel faster, stronger, and more limber." She jumped ecstatically on the couch like a child. Leon shrieked as Ellie blindsided him with a smothering hug and shouted, "I can become a superhero with these powers!"
"What about me? I don't seem to have any cool powers." He lowered his head in a downcast manner.
"Maybe you can become my sidekick?" she suggested, placing a contemplative finger to her lips. "Or my PR strategist?"
Leon scooted over to the recliner and grabbed his laptop from the coffee table. "What if you've been exposed to too much radiation or something toxic? I think we should research this before we jump to conclusions."
He flipped the monitor and logged onto his laptop. When he opened the internet browser and brought up the search engine, he noticed his inbox was full. Despite the pit that settled in his stomach, his gnawing curiosity overrode his suspicions. He opened his email only to find his inbox inundated with the vicious meme Bret had created. Sweat beaded his brow as a sudden pallor washed over his complexion.
"Murder the damn bastard," the malicious voice urged him.
His laptop plummeted to the floor with a noisy thud. He clutched the sides of his throbbing head, feeling as though it would burst open any second.
"Leon, are you alright? You don't look ok," Ellie asked worriedly, watching him stumble clumsily in his frantic haste towards the bathroom.
"It's the voices again!" He slammed the bathroom door forcefully, knocking a picture frame hanging on the wall to the floor. Leon washed his face in the sink and scrubbed his skin raw in an attempt to rid himself of the violent thoughts cascading through his mind. "I feel like there's someone else living inside of me! These aren't my thoughts. These can't be my thoughts."
"Of course there is, you idiot," his reflection answered him caustically. However, he didn't recognize the reflection in the mirror gazing back at him.
Leon unleashed an ear-piercing scream as the throbbing intensified tenfold. Ellie pounded on the door, though it remained locked.
"Ellie, help me!" her brother's voice cried out.
"Did you forget to take your pills today?" Ellie continued hammering her fists on the door. "Leon! Leon, open the door!"
Leon panicked, noticing his short blonde hair had somehow grown past his shoulders and become wavier in texture. He let out yet another agonized scream as two white, feathery wings emerged from his back, shredding the back of his shirt. Ellie ceased pounding as the door finally creaked opened. Instead of Leon, she faced an unfamiliar winged male who possessed striking green eyes and long blonde hair that fell below his shoulders. He stood at least half a foot taller than her—approximately the same height as her twin brother.
"L-Leon?" she stammered, stark fear in her widened eyes.
"No, I'm not him," the young man answered bitterly.
"Burglar!" Ellie instinctively balled her fingers into fists and vaulted forward towards the mysterious intruder in their townhouse.
She was buffeted by an unseen force and cast into the side of the wall, nearly rendering her unconscious. Shakily, she rose to her feet and focused her bleary vision on the intruder standing before her. "Who the hell are you?! Where's Leon?"
"I'm your brother." A smirk formed on his lips, prompting a bewildered look from her. "Besides, my captor has been in control of this body for far too long. It's my turn now."
Ellie charged at the intruder once again. He raised his hand nonchalantly, instantly paralyzing her body. He chucked softly as he watched her struggle against his hold on her.
"What?! Telekinesis?" Ellie grit out through firmly clenched teeth.
He sent her into the wall once more. She propped herself up to her elbows and gingerly rubbed her aching head.
"I'd continue playing around with you, but I want to go out and see the world for myself," he said, opening the front door. "I heard that annoying kid's dad is filming a TV show tonight. What better way to make my debut than an epic photobomb?"
"What?" she mouthed to herself, caught off guard by the angelic being's unexpected use of contemporary slang.
The blonde stranger bid her goodbye with a sardonic wave, spread his wings, and ascended into the night sky.
"You bastard!" Ellie raised her hand in a useless effort to stop him. She hastily grabbed her knitted pink cat-eared beanie off the coffee table and slipped out the front door, pursuing him.
The meandering angel scanned the city by air in search of the studio the father of Leon's classmate apparently filmed his television series at. As he neared his intended destination, the bright lights and large crowd gathered around an outdoor filming set became visible from overhead.
"Rebecca, I love you more than anything," a male actor purred, pressing his lips against the back of a woman's hand.
"Cut!" the director shouted with an irritated roll of the eyes. "How am I supposed to film a show with your lack of passion! Think dreamy! Not sappy!"
"This is getting redundant!" the actor objected adamantly, stomping his foot in frustration.
The actress gasped and pointed to the sky. "An angel! An angel! Look everyone!"
The cameramen immediately turned their equipment towards the angel hovering over the set. The cast and crew marveled at the surreal sight as the angel descended closer towards them. He squinted and shielded his eyes when stagehands simultaneously aimed the spotlights at him.
"Damn those lights." He warily lifted his eyelids open only have his eyes assaulted by the blinding lights.
The angel reacted defensively, unleashing a powerful shockwave from his body that rippled through the set. Screams permeated the air as the stage lights suddenly shattered and rained glass fragments down upon the crowd, casting the set into pitch darkness. Following a brief silence, a dull murmur spread through the alarmed cast and crew.
"Well, so much for that," the angel dully muttered to himself, quickly losing interest in the filming set.
"Leon!" he heard Ellie's voice arise from the crowd below. "Get back here!"
"How the hell did you make it here so fast?" The angel shot her a scowl of disbelief, though the darkness obscured his face. "I call bullshit!"
"No, it's called a car," Ellie retorted snappily. "You told me exactly where you were going."
"Whatever," the angel said indifferently. "I'm done here. See you at home, Sis."
She reckoned that at least five minutes had passed before one of the stagehands retrieved an intact floodlight and illuminated the set once again. Stray remains of cameras, reflectors, shredded backdrops, and various filming and electrical equipment littered the area as if a fearsome hurricane had blustered through.
"Crap!" Ellie blurted out, surveying the extent of the damage left in his wake. "Ok, this is bad. Really bad!"
"He's gone," she vaguely heard the feminine voice of the lead actress murmur to her associates.
The stage crew feverishly searched the studio for any trace of the angel, but to no avail.
Ellie exited the studio grounds and hailed down a cab in order to return home as soon as possible. She kicked her shoes off at the front door and stormed back inside the townhouse. The fuming girl flung the door open, spotting a blonde male passed out on the floor of the living room. She wrapped her fingers around the windpipe of the unconscious male and bellowed, "How dare you!"
"Leon?" She released him at once. "Is that you?"
Leon sat up groggily, awakening from an uncanny, realistic nightmare. "What happened?"
"Look at what happened!" Ellie drew her phone from her pocket.
She pulled up a video on her social media feed that appeared to be recorded with a cellphone. The video showed brief, shaky footage of the angelic being hovering over the set. The headline read, "Angel appears at the set of Ron Romano's new series, The Crystal Rose."
Leon blanched in sheer horror. "That's the guy I saw in the mirror!"
"What? Are you serious?" Ellie gripped his shoulders so hard he nearly yelped. "Who was that guy?"
"I don't know, but he's the voice who's been haunting me all these years!" he exclaimed, losing control of the volume of his voice.
Despair seeped into Leon's heart and spread throughout his entire body like a virulent disease. This was no nightmare—it was far worse than a nightmare!
"Ellie, what's happening to me?"