This story is by Youmitsumi and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Death, destruction, loneliness, and despair. That’s all she knows. That’s all she ever knew. Her existence was an enigma.
Down a dark path she walked. The despair in her heart blocked out the warmth of the sun. She avoided people, for experience taught her that she caused them death and despair. Time gave her a name and a title, for all
she did was cause chaos.
Dried leaves crunched under her boots as she walked into a town to buy provisions. “Hurry,” she thought. “I can’t stay long.”
The town seemed to be small. There were no paved roads or sidewalks.
She noticed the beast people now. Some moved about, but most just stood there. Staring at her, whispering amongst themselves.
“Look at her ears,” whispered a woman.
“They’re pointed,” another woman whispered.
“A dragon-kind,” mumbled a man.
“Did ya see her hands…?” whispered an elderly man.
“Got dem scales on ‘em, I reckon,” replied an elderly woman.
A rock hit her on the back of her head, but her dense hair cushioned its impact.
“Get out of our town, dralog!” a man shouted.
Her eye twitched at the word dralog. No matter how much time passed, there were those who love to use the insulting word which once used to be a word of pride for the dragon kinds. She slowly and deeply inhaled and exhaled. “No,” she thought while she grabbed her chest as her heart pounded with a burning strike and continued to walk. “Don’t be their demise.”
Another rock hit her, this time squarely on her back. For a regular person, it would have hurt.
“Get out of our town!” shouted another person, and more voices joined as more items were thrown at her.
The pain in her chest became greater, her throat became hot. She fell onto her knees. “Don’t,” she said, in a low whisper as smoke escaped her mouth. She looked up at the sky. The late afternoon sky that was supposed to be blue and cloudy was now the color of twilight. “No,” she whimpered.
Someone in the crowd stopped throwing rocks long enough to notice the change in the sky.
“T-twilight,” they stammered. “But it’s not evening yet!”
“The Twilight of Destruction is upon us!!” someone else shouted, but it was too late. Looming in front of the crowd was a giant winged dragon. Its scales were the color of twilight and chaos followed in its wake.
She woke up in a bed in an unfamiliar room wearing a light blue gown. She sat up and looked around. Her chest no longer hurt and her throat no longer burned. The floor carpet was light brown and in a corner, there was a small plain wooden table and a simple wooden chair. A small square window displayed the starry night time sky.
She did it again. She brought forth death and devastation. Before she could wallow in her despair, the door opened and a tall man walked in and smiled.
“You’re finally awake. That’s good,” he said. She immediately noticed his round angular eyes and his pale skin that contrast his deep red colored eyes and long wavy hair that reminded her of a fiery sunrise.
“How are you feeling?” he asked as he moved the wooden chair to the bedside and sat in it.
“Um, fine,” she said as she looked down at the red brown blanket that kept her warm. For some reason, she couldn’t look at him. Her heart raced.
“That’s good. I found you unconscious in the forest close to Austran two days after….,” he trailed off. “Anyways, you’ve been here for four days.”
“Ah…” She cleared her voice while still staring at the blanket. “Um… thanks for helping me, but I should be going now. I’ve already caused you enough trouble.” She started to get out of the bed, but the man gently placed a hand on her shoulder.
“His touch is so warm,” she thought.
“No need to leave on an empty stomach,” he said. “Stay for a while. At least until you regain your strength. What’s your name? I am Akatsuki.”
She stared at him, but then quickly looked away. “Kindness… Perhaps for a day or two…”
“Twilight,” she said simply.
Akatsuki stood up. “Ok, Twilight, I’ll be back soon.” Akatsuki opened the door and closed it gently behind him.
Two weeks passed as the changing leaves started to fall, and Twilight remained with Akatsuki. Twilight wanted to leave, but for an unexplainable reason, she enjoyed being in Akatsuki’s presence and interacting with him.
One bright afternoon, they were taking a stroll on a small path in the woods. Twilight couldn’t remember how long it’s been since she felt such contentment.
“Ah! Yes?!” Twilight shouted, snapping out of her daydream.
“Where are you from?” Akatsuki asked.
Twilight looked up at the bright blue sky. “Someplace warm, I think. I’ve been wandering for so long…” She trailed off.
“Wandering or running?” Akatsuki asked, exiting the woods.
Twilight stopped and looked at Akatsuki, who walked toward the ruin of what had been the town. Smoldering black frames protruded from the ash that covered the ground like snow.
Twilight took a step backward and loudly gasped. Her heart raced. “No! I don’t want to be here!”
Akatsuki turned around, walked back to Twilight and grabbed one of her trembling hands. “Don’t run away, Twilight.” He held her hand and led her towards the destroyed town.
“You and I are similar,” Akatsuki said. The closer they walked to the ruined town, the more Twilight struggled to free her hand.
“How can we be similar?! I’ve caused so much death! So much devastation! Despair and loneliness!” she cried out. “No matter how much I tried, no matter how much I avoided people… their demise always came!”
“I was born and banished from the Realm of Perpetual Night. My very being brought pandemonium and almost caused the destruction of the Realm,” Akatsuki said. He stopped, released Twilight’s hand, and stared at her tear stained face.
“How…?” She asked.
“Because I am too bright for the Realm. There, I am the same as the rising sun, the harbinger of death. The older I got, the brighter I became.” Akatsuki sighed. “Stay with me.”
Twilight felt as if her heart stopped. “I’ve already stayed too long.” Her breathing became shallow. She had thought about leaving. She had to leave. “I-I can’t stay. I’ll just be your demise,” she said.
“You’ve stayed two weeks with me. During that time, you were smiling, bashful, and hardly left my side.” Akatsuki’s eyes felt like they were burning into Twilight’s soul. “Why?”
Twilight looked at the charred ground. “I… don’t know.”
“For the exact same reason why I don’t want you to leave,” Akatsuki said. “I first saw you a hundred years ago when you destroyed the old capital, Daislaugh. I could feel the despair and loneliness of your cries when you were rampaging. I’ve followed you since. Tell me, what comes before twilight?”
Twilight looked at him through blurry eyes. “Sunset.”
“Dawn,” Akatsuki answered. “What comes after twilight?”
“Sunrise. There are two twilights in this world. One leads to night, the other to day. You’ve been the twilight that leads to night for so long. How about trying to become the twilight that leads to day?” Akatsuki cupped the right side of Twilight’s face and wiped away a tear that was beginning to slide down her face.
“How can I?! I’m drawn to your brightness, but your kindness pains my heart! I’ve brought death and destruction for so long I don’t even remember the beginning. If I’m with you, then your kindness will be repaid with your death and my despair would cause the world’s destruction. I can never…” she trailed off.
“You can never change? Life is all about change. Look at the leaves,” he said. “Every fall, leaves change colors from green to red, orange, and yellow before falling from the trees. In winter, the branches of the trees are bare and the weather becomes colder. In spring, the trees begin to bear buds of leaves and flowers and the weather becomes warmer. In summer, everything is in full bloom, and the trees are all covered with leaves, flowers, and insects before once again returning to fall.”
“What does this have to do with me,” Twilight sniffed.
Akatsuki chuckled. “Fall is the twilight that leads to winter, which is the night. Spring is the twilight that leads to summer, which is the day. Like how you are currently the twilight that leads to night, you can also become the twilight that leads to day.”
Akatsuki held out his right hand to Twilight. “I also don’t want to leave your side. Let us learn how to live and love together.”
Death, destruction, loneliness, and despair. Until now, that’s all she ever knew. This was the day that the Twilight of Destruction met the Dawn of Redemption.