Alice in the Massacre - Chapter 5
Black rain was pouring down. From the endless black clouds, the black rain kept on falling continuously.
“This world has been contaminated.” The person standing next to me said. I looked up at his face. Intriguingly, his face was a mosaic, as if he had been scrubbed with a soggy wire mesh. Under the tree where we were standing, he caught a black raindrop with his hand before carrying on in a sorrowful voice.
“It’s the end of me and your utopia too. Alice… Unfortunately, all things will meet their demise.” He turned his mosaic-covered face towards me and stared down at me.
Grabbing the hem of his shirt, I desperately said. “That’s… There’s still time before the Apocrypha. I’ll find your soul for you. Then neither you nor this world will have to disappear!”
He studied my face down for a moment, then slowly shook his head. “That’s impossible, Alice. The demise is upon us. You’ll end up just like me.”
“But still…!” I clung to his clothes. Then I pressed my head against his flower-scented shirt.
I didn’t want to be separated.
I didn’t want to be apart from him.
A world without him was beyond my imagination.
“Please… don’t say such a sad thing that it’s over. Take me with you too…”
After a brief silence, he remarked in a stiff tone. When I raised my head in a stunned manner, he proceeded in a resolute tone.
“You mustn’t be like me. You were never meant to be a part of this world. You have to wake up sooner or later. Even the labyrinth is not eternal. There will be a time when it will collapse.”
“I should have known that when I spit out the error. A world like this should never have been contaminated this way. But…” He lifted his hands and brought my head to his chest. Then he leaned his back against the tree and whispered to me. “Because you are here… I couldn’t stop the Labyrinth. The truth is, I should have disappeared along with the system when I did that…”
“That’s not… That’s not true. You saved me! You saved me so many times! You shouldn’t be dying, you deserve to live!” I shouted frantically. Grabbing his clothes, I struggled not to be drowned out by the black rain. I wailed and screamed.
The young man with the mosaic head turned to me and offered a small nod. “Don’t cry, Alice. I like you too. I love you. So, I’m not going to let you rot away and do nothing.”
“You have to return. Leave this contaminated world behind. You have to go back to your own world.” He said distinctly, patting me gently on the head. “I love you, Alice. This is where we part ways. You must return to your wonderland quickly before the Labyrinth ceases completely.”
She slowly opened her eyes. For a while, she was uncertain of where she was.
A lot of people were wandering around. Shifting her gaze to the side, she observed a group of people wearing thin protective suits and helmets operating some sort of instrument around her. She pushed aside the blanket that had been covering her body and raised her upper body. The tattered hospital gown had been removed and a loose pair of pants and a shirt had been placed on her.
She looked around in puzzlement. It was a slightly larger room, like an emergency room. The room was surrounded by glass walls. Upon noticing that Alice was awake, a man walking nearby yelled out.
“The Angel is awake!”
Hearing his voice, all the adults around him simultaneously switched their attention to her.
“Oh… Thank God!”
“Let’s get you some air! The contamination level is low.”
“Bring her some food!”
Alice watched with perplexed eyes as the people around her began to flutter about, and glanced at the approaching man. The man took off his helmet and greeted Alice. He was a mature man with a deep cut on his face. There was a single scar running across his eye area. The man hurriedly smiled at Alice, who seemed to be frightened, and said tenderly.
“Good morning, little angel. We’re in the Fifteenth Shelter. How are you feeling?”
Slightly reassured by the calm voice, Alice uttered a small word.
“We found you lying outside. I’m glad we were able to save you before nightfall. At any rate, the area is in a severe state of collapse.”
“Oops, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Jack. The administrator of this shelter.”
“Yeah. Can you tell me your name, please?”
When asked, Alice hesitated slightly. In her vision, she could discern Raffi curled up in the corner of the bed where she was laying.
Raffi glanced up, eyed Alice, and opened his mouth. “It’s okay. These humans are not nightmares. They are harmless.”
Raffi’s voice didn’t seem to be heard by the others. On the contrary, they didn’t seem to be aware that there was a cat there, as he had said beforehand. Alice took a breath and raised her eyes to Jack.
“I… am Alice…”
Her voice faded away as she slumped down, her confidence waning. Jack gazed down at Alice, who had dropped her head, and scratched his nose with his fingertips in a troubled manner.
Then another man brought in a tray with a loaf of bread on it, a glass of water, and a bowl of soup that emitted a delectable smell. At the smell of it, Alice’s stomach growled. Her throat was parched and she was starving. She felt her body was extremely dull.
“I also treated your wound. It took a few stitches, but I expect it will be healed soon.”
When Jack said that, Alice examined her shoulder. The bandage was neatly wrapped around her shoulder. No more pain was felt. Her leg was bandaged as well.
“For now, you can fill your stomach. After that, would you mind sharing your story with me?”
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