's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" From the Desert We Came"

Submitted by DNotA (Andrew Howard)(Also Greater Monkolian)

For as long as I have been, I've known few things. One of those things was that we came from the desert.

On the day that I was born, something you may not remember, I remember my mother holding me in her arms. In her deep blue eyes, I saw love. Family. Hope. I knew not what these things were, or how I might express them, but I knew exactly how they felt. From the day I was born, I knew these things.

Mother and I always wandered the desert. For as long as ones eye might reach, a fine grainy substance that I now know is sand extended off into the distance. Above us, was a bright sheet of colors, some overlaying others, creating a blanket of light over our heads. This, I learned, is called a sky. It is not like your sky. Your sky is all one color, a bright color known as "blue". Our sky, in most parts is also such a blue, but in others it is a duller, more complacent color, that I learned is a shade of red. The red in certain places overlaps the blue, creating a lovely pattern in the skies above. Clouds flow just as easily from blue to red and back again, unimpeded in their travels, much like Mother and I.

Mother and I were always moving. There was almost no time to stop in the desert, unless you wanted to be attacked by ravenous creatures, each more powerful and complex than the last. Some flowed through the sands, with no limbs to slow them, and burst head first from the dunes to try and swallow you whole. Other stalked the beaming days, large talons made of hard flesh striking at you, trying to slice you apart. It was almost never safe, except at night. Night is when the day light dips beneath the farthest reaches of sand, and the night light travels upwards into the calm skies above. All the hungry creatures of the desert simply stopped hunting, and Mother and I could rest and recuperate. Ah, yes. Mother and I.

Mother and I are like you, and not like you. Mother and I are like each other, and not like each other. I stand on two legs, Mother stands on one. My legs are made from hard flesh, as is Mothers. My legs are jointed, whilst Mothers leg is not. My body is made from soft flesh, as is mothers. My body is lean and small, whilst Mothers body is curvaceous and wide. My arms are made from hard flesh, whilst Mothers are made from soft flesh. My head is made from soft flesh, as is Mothers. On my head is perched two ears and two eyes, much like Mothers. My hair is long and free flowing, and black in color. Mothers hair is longer and tied back, and also black in color. My eyes are two different colors, white on the outskirts, a livelier color farther in, and a dark abyss in the center. I eventually learned that livelier color to be called "green". Mothers eyes are a single color throughout, which as I have mentioned is a deep blue. She has no abyss in her eyes. On each hand, I have five fingers, whilst on each hand, Mother has seven. These are the likes and nots of Mother and I, and the likes and nots of us and you.

The story I am telling is not a recounting of recent events, but a story of long ago. In that time, I was a small child, and Mother was much younger then than she is now, not that you could tell if you gave her only a passing glance. In this story of long ago, I was a very small child, and Mother only recently became such. We always wandered the desert. In this story of long ago, I had yet to learn much of the world around me. I was always curious, looking about to and fro with my green eyes. I saw many things that I did not know. If I did not know of something, I would ask Mother, and she would tell me. "What is that?" I would ask, and point towards a tall green shape, the likes of which does not appear often in the desert. "That is a plant." Mother would answer. "What does it do?" I would ask. "It is a thing that grows." Mother would answer. "It is simply attempting to survive, like you and I." From that day forward, I had a deep respect for plants. They were much like Mother and I, living off the land and surviving. I asked many questions such as this, and Mother answered all of those she could. We continued across the desert.

One day, Mother and I came across someone else in the desert. This someone was like Mother and I, and not like Mother and I. This someone, who I will refer to as Stranger, stood on four legs. All of her legs were made from hard flesh, and ended in talons that dug into the sand. Strangers body was tall and lean, with somewhat narrow hips and rather small breasts. Mothers body was and is very wide, with wide hips, and she has very large breasts. Strangers arms were long, and were made of soft flesh. Her head was much like mine, with two eyes and two ears. Her hair was rather short, only reaching down to her neck, and was a bright, soft color I later learned is called "pink". Strangers eyes were two different colors, like mine. White on the outskirts, the same bright soft color as her hair farther in, and an abyss in the center. These abysses were taller than they were wide, and stretched from the tops of her colors to the bottoms. Mine are perfectly round. On each hand, Stranger had three fingers.

When Mother and I came across this Stranger, I had not yet seen any other people besides Mother. "What is that?" I asked Mother. "She is one of us." Mother answered. As of now, a thought like this seemed silly, but back then, when I was a child, I did not understand how she could be one of us. She was not Mother, and she was not I. How could she be one of us? When I asked Mother this, she let loose a sound that I later learned was "laughter". After she calmed down, she said to me "No, my little one. She is one of our people." I knew not what Mother meant then, but I would soon learn. She was one of our people, the people of the desert. Like Mother and I, Stranger came from the desert.

Soon, Mother approached Stranger, and I toddled after her, unsafe alone in the desert. Mother started a conversation with Stranger, while I had my mind on other things. "Highest lights, friend." Mother said. "Warm winds, friend." Stranger replied. While Mother and Stranger carried on their conversation, I looked at Stranger. On her head she wore a hood, which then drapped down from her shoulders far enough to cover her breasts. In her hands, she carried two items. In her right, a long piece of a material that I later learned to be "wood". Held onto the far end of the wood with rope was a sharp object, made of a material known as "metal". Although to our people the difference between the two is incredibly obvious, it amuses me to think that your people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this metal, and the hard flesh on our bodies. In Strangers other hand, she held a canister made from wood. Inside this canister was water, a rare commodity in this desert, much like wood itself. Behind Stranger was a number of small dunes, each trench between about as wide as the edge of Strangers' tool. Laid about rhythmically in these trenches were a number of small green objects. Being so young and new to the world, I knew not what these things were, or what Stranger was doing with them. "What are you doing?" I asked Stranger. "Talking with your mother." she answered. "What do these little trenches have to do with talking to Mother?"

After I asked that question, Stranger understandably burst out laughing. After she regained her breath, she turned around and lowered herself until she was as close to being eye to eye with me as she could. "No, little one, this is something different." She said to me. "I am farming. I use this tool" She said as she motioned to the instrument in her right hand, "To carves ridges into the sand. Then, I put down these little seeds. After such, I water them." She motioned to the canister in her left hand. "What do they do?" I asked her. "They grow into plants." She answered. "You mean the plants that pop up around the desert?" I asked. "Well, not the same plants, but yes, plants like that." Stranger answered. For a moment, I thought about this. Then I asked "What do the plants you grow do?" "When the plants grow up, they can be made into food and clothing." She looked at me for a moment before continuing on "Although it looks like some people don't want to wear them." She was right, of course. I've never seen the point in clothes.

After Mother had finished talking with Stranger, and also traded for supplies, we set off again into the desert. As I walked along beside Mother, I looked around at the desert. The region we were in was deeply populated. Not by people, or plants, but by leftovers. Every now and then, one of the great beasts of the desert, like all things must eventually, would die. It left in this world a corpse above the sand, which would remain until it became a part of the sand itself. Though normally these bodies were sparesly placed among the desert, it was here where they grew dense. It was as if creatures simply came here to die. I asked Mother why there were so many. She replied that she wasn't aware of a reason. Regardless, we kept traveling. Most of the corpses had been here long enough to be worn down to their cores. The soft flesh on their bodies was gone, and underneath was a hard substance that I came to know as bone. It was not as hard as hard flesh, but strong nonetheless. As a small child, I felt conflicting feelings about this place. I was first and foremost scared, and I clutched to Mother's side as best I could. But part of me was curious. Inside the bones there were many hollows. What could one find within?

As Mother and I trekked across the field of corpses, the balance of fear and curiosity slowly tipped in curiosity's favor. I asked Mother if I could go and explore the bones. She looked down at me with a skeptical face. "You seemed afraid before. Why do you want to explore now?" She asked me. I told her that I was curious. Mother paused to think for a moment, then chuckled. "Alright. But don't stray too far, okay? And come back to me soon." She said. So I went out into the bones. As a small child, it was no problem for me to simply toddle into small spaces that Mother would need to crawl to get into. I explored around inside the bones quite a bit, looking about inside ribcages and entire skulls, composed of bone and hard flesh alike. Some were sharp and taloned, while others were smooth and reflective. They were all much bigger than I, and in the back of my mind I wondered what they were like when they were alive.

It seemed, however, that my little adventure would not end there. As I tried to find my way back to Mother, I became lost. A sense of discovery was quickly replaced with looming terror, and I started to panic. I called out for Mother to the best of my small lungs' abilities. Mother wasn't the only one to hear. As I ran about trying to find a way out of this maze of bodies and back into Mother's embrace, I was very rudely interupted. Something reached down into the labryinth of bones that I was running through, and pulled me up roughly.

It was another of our people. He was large and muscular, with four long, powerful arms, with forearms wrapped in hard flesh. Below his waist was a trio of thick, muscular legs, two in the front, one in the back. They ended in thick pillars of flesh, with no digits. On his face was arranged a number of features. On the upper half was a casing of hard flesh, protecting his head. There were six identical eyes attached to the surface in a circular formation. Each eye was small, perfectly round, and glowing a faint yellow. To the sides of his head were two ears, split down the middle like they had been cleaved in half. On the bottom half of his face, painted onto the flesh was a strange pattern. White triangles, arranged into two rows. The points on the upper row faced down, the points on the lower row faced up, and they were interlocking. It struck me as the most interesting part of my assailant. I heard him speak as he hauled me into the light, his voice growling and bitter. "Finally! This morsel should make a good servant! For now I'll keep it as a pet." His words were interrupted when Mother came up behind him and pulled him around by the back of his neck.

"Drop my child now, bandit." She said. Bandit, as I thought his name was, backed away from Mother. "Not a chance. My slave now. Should have kept a better eye on him." Mother stood still for a moment before reaching to the right of herself and pulling a weapon out of one of the skulls. It appeared to be a spear, with a wooden shaft and a metal head. It had four tips arranged in a circle, and was extremely sharp despite being unclaimed for so long. Mother spun the spear in one hand and glared at Bandit. "I said drop my child. NOW." Bandit backed farther away. Mother moved forward, and without pause stabbed at Bandit, lunging the spear directly at his face. Bandit moved his head to the side as the attack came forward, barely dodging the strike. He pulled me in front of his body, using me as a living shield. With his other three hands he drew short blades from the belt he wore. "You wouldn't harm your own child." Bandit growled at Mother. Mother stood still for a moment before responding. "That is correct. However, I will KILL you." Mother continued to strike towards bandit, again and again and again. Some attack bandit dodged, but others he did not. Mother sliced open his front left leg, stabbed his belly, and cut one of his hands very deeply. The entire time, Mother pushed Bandit farther and farther back over the large skull the two were fighting on. When he reached to very edge, Bandit stumbled. He had almost fallen off the edge of the skull. In one last act of defiance, Bandit did something horrible. He pulled up one of his knives and swung.

Bandit stabbed me in the eye.

I fell to the ground and started screaming. The pain was unbearable. I didn't see anything else that happened, but I heard everything, even over my own pain. I heard Bandit screaming as loud as he could, and the sound of tearing soft flesh and breaking bones. Some time later, I felt Mother pick me up off the ground. I looked up at her with my remaining eye and saw fear and worry in her eyes, but also relief. Relief that I had not died. I hugged into her chest and tried as hard as I could to stop crying. As we traveled on past the yard of corpses, Mother continued to hold and embrace me, comforting me to the best of her ability. Eventually, night fell. Mother set me down on the side of a dune and looked at my damaged eye. She did her best to repair it, but to no avail. Mother resorted to attaching a piece of metal over my eye to shield it from the light. After time spent resting, Mother and I carried on through the desert.

Much time has passed. Mother and I have been to many places together. On occasion, we would find other people living in the desert. We would sometimes spend time in their camps and homes before moving on with our own travels. Mother took me to many places besides the desert. After traveling long enough, Mother showed me something incredible. A massive body of fluid. Water, like the sort that Mother carried in her canteens, the sort that we drank when we were thirsty. I asked Mother what it was. She told me it was called the ocean. We could not stay for long, however. Mother told me that the beasts that wandered near and in the ocean were even more dangerous than the beasts that roamed the desert. After traveling to other places, Mother showed me many things. She showed me a place where plants are much more large and numerous, and the sands were replaced with smaller plants. I asked Mother what it was. She told me it was called a forest. We could not stay here for long, either. The beasts in the forest move fast, and unlike the beasts of the desert, slept much less often. We were attacked by one as we set to leave, a massive creature with a hard flesh shell and many many limbs. After we fled far enough into the desert, it left us be.

Although we could not see them, Mother told me tales of many other places. She told tales of places where rocks grew from the ground and great spires of many metals reached for the skies. She called them mountains. She told of places where the air was cold, not hot, and instead of sand, the ground was coated in a fine white powder. In these places the largest beasts lived, plodding through the powder, and the skies were many different colors, not only blue and red. Mother called them tundras. I asked Mother how she knew of all these places if we had never been there. She told me "Long before you were born, I traveled the world over. I have seen many places, and many people. I have seen many beasts, and slain some as well. But these places are not as safe as the desert. Some day, when you are of age, I will take you to these places, but for now, we will remain in the desert."

Over this passage of time, I have not only seen many places, but I have seen many new things in myself. I am no longer a small child, but a young adult. Before I was small and stubby limbed, but I have grown taller, thinner and stronger, although not as strong as Mother. Before I had short hair, more like a fine down on my head. Now my hair grows down to my shoulders. Mother too has changed, although not nearly as much. Before, her hair was short, only growing past her ears, although long in comparison to mine. You might refer to it as a "bob". Now, her hair is long and flowing, and drapes all the way past her hips. She ties it back with a small piece of cloth. Other things have changed about Mother.

Some time ago, although not nearly as long ago as when I was a small child, Mother and I still roamed the desert. At this point in time, however, Mother was intent on something. She moved faster than before. Eventually, I asked her what was wrong. She stopped, and turned to me, and looked into my eyes with a look of truth. She sat me down on top of a dune, hugging me close, and spoke to me. "Look out upon the desert. What do you see?" I looked upon the desert, and saw what I usually saw. "Sand. Dunes. A skeleton. A plant." I answered her. She nodded. "It is not much. There is not place for much. You do know why we roam, don't you?" I answered "Because if we stop for too long, we will be attacked?" Mother nodded again. "This is a problem that has plagued our people for centuries. I am tired of running. Now, I will tell you why I am so intent."

Mother told me where we were going. "Not so far away, in that direction, there is an ancient artifact lost in the desert. It is said that this artifact can repel the beasts, and create a safe haven for people in the desert. I wish to find this artifact, and create a safe haven. For you, and for me, and for anyone else who wishes to find a safe place." I listened to what Mother had to say, and then nodded. "Okay. I will help you retrive it, Mother." I said to her. Mother looked at me with a look of pride and joy in her eyes, and put her hand on my head. "Thank you, my child." She stood up, and I too stood with her. On that day, we both vowed that we would do everything in our power to create a haven in the desert.

Mother and I traveled for a short time. Mother seemed more urgent as we grew near to our destination. Eventually, after crossing over a particularly large dune, we found what we were looking for. The sand here was shaped into a massive crater, perfectly rounded, like a bowl. Down in the very center of the bowl was what appeared to be a small altar. We proceeded down to the bottom of the depression, stopping at the edge of the small structure. Mother climbed up the side, and pulled me up after her. In the center of the altar, surrounded by small pillars, was a bell. As large as I was when I was a small child, crafted from polished earthy metal, with an impressive curvature. Mother moved over to it and lifted it under her arm. She turned to me with a look of accomplishment on her face. She said "We have done well. Now, we need to find a place to hold this artifact. I believe I know a fine place to keep it."

After traveling again for some time, Mother and I eventually found our destination. Over a small dune, in the middle of a small patch of desert, surrounded by larger patches of desert, was a very specific place. There was nothing special about it. Simply left alone in the dunes was a small shelter, built from wood and metal, with a pelt draped over the top. It wasn't significant to anyone. Except Mother and I. It was my birth place. It was under this small shelter that I was given life, allowed access to this world. I believe Mother very intentionally chose this place to keep the relic. How she found it again after all this time, I do not know. Within a short amount of time after arriving, Mother had managed to build a small tower out of materials lying about. Mother picked up the artifact and climbed to the top of the tower. She hung it in place on a beam set up in the rafters of the small structure, and looked out into the sands. Then, she picked up a stick and struck the artifact, letting out a harmonious sound into the wastes. Far and wide, the people heard this bellow of precious metal. They knew that a safe haven had been made.

In time, people came to the place where Mother had rung the bell artifact. People from all walks of life. Metal Layers, Beast Finders, Metal Weavers, Plant Tamers, Flesh Menders, Defenders, and many others. Those who came swore to serve Mother, as she had retrieved the artifact bell and called out to the wastes with it. Mother took it very well. Within a small passage of time, an entire settlement had grown out of almost nothing. First it was rows, thee columns, entire mass congregations of shelters and places of buisiness. Places where peoples could exchange goods and services, places where the young could learn new, exciting things, like I myself learned in my youth. Truely, Mother and I had created an oasis. A safe haven in the sands where people could live, never worrying that the beasts of the world would threaten their lives without them going out into the wastes. It was not perfect, of course. On occasion, crimes might occur, and on occasion, people needed to be disciplined, but most of the time, it was for better than anything the desert could offer. It was a place of prosperity.

In the peace of our new home however, there were things I couldn't forget. That day long, long ago, when I was attacked. Bandit. I knew not who he really was, or what happened to him, although I imagine it to be unpleasant. He was vile, that was all I knew. And yet, he was strong. I did not seek to be like him, but for some reason, I felt as though, in a way, he had become a part of me. One peaceful day, when I had nothing else to do, I traveled out into the desert. I found bones from a beast long deceased, and brought them back home. I ground them up into a powder, fine and white. I mixed the grounds with water, creating a fine paste. Using a very reflective piece of metal, I applied a certain pattern to my face. White triangles, arranged into two rows. The points on the upper row faced down, the points on the lower row faced up, and they were interlocking. I still know not why I did it. Perhaps as a reminder. To be vigilant for people who might harm those that I love. To know that I was not alone. I knew not for sure. I only knew that it was important. Sometimes people from town ask me what it means. I tell them that it is a reminder. The day I put it on, Mother caught a glance at me, and stared. Then, she nodded, as if she knew exactly what it meant to me. From that point on, things proceeded as normal in our settlement.

However, very recently, only a few turnings of light ago as I tell you this tale, something out of the ordinary occured. I remember being at a seminar that Mother was holding, about something I wasn't paying attention to. Whilst the seminar was still going on, one of our citizens walked into the hall late. He was always late, it seemed, so no one found it out of the ordinary, but today he seemed unsettled. After Mother adjourned the meeting, everyone left. As I looked about outside the hall, I saw something very strange. She was like our people, and yet not like our people. A living thing, peering out from behind a wall. In many ways, she was similar to myself. She had a head, with two gray blue eyes, two ears and warm brown hair flowing down to her shoulders. She held a hand with five fingers on the wall. But there was something very wrong. On the lower half of her face, there was a strange crevice. It was as if someone had cut a groove into her visage. I continued to look at her, and she continued to look at me. Eventually, a friend of mine walked by and caught my attention. They invited me to play a game with them, and so I did.

Later on, as I was walking about through town, something caught my eye. A building I didn't quite recognize in a place it hadn't been before. It was a small building, and most would not notice it. I approached the front of it, and saw the door. It was a small door, small enough that many people here could not fit through it. Mother herself would need to crawl to get in. Although I had grown much since I was a small child, I was still somewhat small in comparison to many of my people. I could walk in just fine. Inside, a small hallway, with many twists and turns. It was strange, and poorly lit. I continued to walk through it. Inside, I heard grinding, buzzing sounds. Sounds like the beasts of the desert, or like machines constructed by my people. However, these sounds were slightly different. They had a different pitch, and droned far more roughly. They were unnatural, unlike anything my people had ever truly created. As I continued farther in, the hallway adjoined another hallway, going perpendicular. To the left, it extended a short distance and then stopped. The end of the hall was featureless. To the right, the hallway extended onwards for much longer than I could see. I walked in this direction. As I walked, the droning became louder and louder. As I walked, doors began appearing to my left, all identical. They were the same size as the door outside. All of them were dark inside. However, one of them was not. I looked inside, and saw something horrible.

It was a massive room, filled with blinding light. There were doors all around, positioned evenly on the walls. Hanging directly in front of the door I was looking through was the creature I saw earlier. She was being held up above the abyss below by strange harnesses, facing away from the door. She wore strange garments, and the back of the garment covering her body was torn, revealing her back. Small pieces of hard flesh had been inserted into her body. She hung there limp, unmoving. Something told me I needed to remove her from there. I opened the door and pull her into it, removing her from the strange harnesses. She seemed to be in pain. I gently put her down on the floor and let her rest.

Whilst she was there, I took the time to look her over. She was like me, and not like me. She had two arms and two legs. Her arms ended in five fingered hands, much like my own. Her legs ended in strange knobby appendages, made of cloth and a strange substance I didn't recognize. It was springy like a soft plant, yet firm as well, and black in color. Then I realized this was a garment, and removed it. Underneath, more cloth, wrapped around something else. I removed this piece of cloth, and found a foot, with five toes. I put the two garments back onto the foot. I looked back up to her head and noticed the strange crevice. Overcome by curiosity, I touched it with a finger. It moved. I jumped back, not sure what to make of it. Curiosity arose again, and I touched it again, this time pulling on it farther. Inside was a small cavity. I can't say that the strange gaping hole in her face didn't bother me, but I kept inspecting it. It didn't seem like an injury of any kind. It seemed like it had grown naturally on her body. I was uncomfortable, but I explored farther. The cavity opened wider, and I saw things inside. Small white objects were imbedded inside the lining of the cavity, colored like bone, but much smoother and reflective. At the bottom of the cavity was a strange organ, covered in tiny bumps. At the very back of the cavity was a small tunnel going down into the creature. The entire hole was coated in a thin layer of sticky liquid. I found it disgusting. I quickly closed the cavity. Farther down on her chest were small bumps. They were similar to Mother's breasts, but significantly smaller. Mother told me that it's rude to touch people breasts without permission, so I stayed away. During the course of this inspection, I noticed that she had no hard flesh on her entire body, only soft flesh. The pieces in her spine were very clearly foreign. They didn't match her at all.

After I finished inspecting her form, I noticed that she had small pockets on her clothing. Some of the pockets had things inside. Overcome by curiosity again, I looked into the pockets and pulled the items. One of them was a small box. It had rounded edges and tiny squares embedded in the surface. It was made of another unfamiliar substance, this one hard and reflective, but not metal. On the front was a small square of a different material, similar in properties, but translucent, like water. There was also small text printed onto the item, but I did not recognize it.

The next item was a small metal ring, with a small number of tiny metal objects attached to it. They were all jagged, with specific patterns cut into the metal. I wondered if this could be a weapon, but it didn't seem to have any practical holding point.

The next object was a small square item made out of tanned hide. It opened like a small hinge, and inside were many small slots and tiny square things made out of the hard not-metal. One of them even had a picture on it. It was a picture of the creature that the item belonged to.

The next object was a small cylinder. It was made of metal, and was open on one end. There was a small disk in the end, made of yet another material I didn't recognize. This too was like solid water, but much tougher than the last material. There was also a small knob on the side of the cylinder, made of a pliable material. I gently pressed on it, and it made a small click sound. The end of the cylinder spawned a beam of light. It was like a small metal lantern. I pushed the knob again, and the light went out.

The last object was a small item. There was a small notch on the side. I pull on it, and a blade swung out. It was a small knife. Too small to be a weapon, and most likely a utility piece.

I took all of the items and put them back into the pockets where they belonged. Then, I stood over the creature, inspecting her more. I didn't know why she was here. I didn't know why this place was here. Was she okay? What is this place? There were so many questions swimming through my mind. Then she woke up. Her eyes opened and looked at me. She had a look of terror on her face, and the strange orifice bent downwards. She stared at me, and I stared at her. This went on for a short time until I decided to reach a hand down and help her to her feet. She looked at me, and then reached up a hand to grab my own. I lifted her off the floor, noting her lightness. She rubbed her arm after I pulled her off the floor, apparently sore. I wondered if she'd known how long she had been unconcious, but she didn't seem to know she was unconcious at all. I had a feeling she wouldn't understand anything I had to say, so I simply went back where I came from, hoping she would follow me. She proceeded to do so, and I navigated back outside, making sure she was still behind me. She kept up very well despite the twisting turning hallways.

However, I became lost without knowing. I found a door identical to the one I entered through, but when I opened it and went outside, it was different. We were in a statue garden. The statues were made of flat sheets of metal, arranged into the shapes of desert beasts. I walked to the other side of the garden, and looked outside. I recognized this part of the town, although it was far away from the part I entered at. I turned around, and the creature was still on the other side of the garden. I beckoned her over, and she followed. At this point I decided it would be rather suspicious if I was seen with the strange creature, and so I decided I would go where I needed to go in stealth.

The place I needed to go was a general research facility. Designed with the purpose of researching all things. I knew I would find something there that could help this creature. Something told me, I knew not what. From here, I could simply climb the buildings to get to the facility, much like I did in my free time. The creature followed me quickly, and I started climbing. After much travel, we reached the roof of the facility. The creature struggled at times, but she eventually made it. She then collapsed on the roof, breathing heavily. I gave her some time to recuperate, while I attended to something else. I looked down over the side of the facility looking for Mother. Mother was in charge of everything in the settlement. She had to know about this. After being unable to find her, I decided to go into the facility and find what I was looking for.

Eventually, after looking about, I found a door that seemed to line up with my thoughts. I had a theory: This creature was from another world, far away from our own. Some way, I needed to get her there. This was the place I needed to be. I had heard Mother talk of an invention by one of the residents. A gateway that could lead between worlds. It could be what I needed. I tried to open the door, and the door came off very suddenly and very loudly in my grip. The lock had broken. I looked around, trying to figure out if anyone had heard that loud noise, and also embarassed with myself. Regardless, I beckoned the creature inside, and shut the door. After looking around, I found exactly the door I was looking for. I opened the door. Sure enough, all of the inventions from a certain resident were kept in here. She was quite intelligent, but her creations were often unpredictable. At the very back of the room, I spotted the gate. However, this was not the end.

I felt Mother put her hand on my shoulder, and she seemed tense. I turned around, and saw her. Something was different. The Mother I knew had been supressed, and in her place was a raging berserker. She picked up the creature by the neck, and held her in the air, glaring at her. I knew Mother couldn't be reasoned with in this state, so I had no choice but to fight her. It reminded me of our old spars, back when we wandered the desert.

After a short battle, Mother had been knocked unconscious. I felt terrible, but I couldn't do anything else. I hoped she would understand. As the creature, an impressive fighter herself, looked over at Mother, I walked over to the gate and attempted to interact with it. I didn't have any knowledge of how it functioned. None of the controls seemed to serve any function. I tried pressing different buttons and throwing different levers, and I heard a growing sound of power. I do believe I was very fortunate to operate the device correctly. A door appeared in the frame of the gate. It looked to be built from solid metal, and was not so much as singed. I don't know why it mattered how singed it was. The creature... No, the friend, walked over to the door, and opened it. Beyond it I saw a strange, unusual world. Yours. The friend wept gentle tears of joy as she looked out into the other world. I had done it. I had succeeded. I felt proud.

The friend looked over to me, and appeared to speak. That strange orifice on her face moved as she spoke, and I felt slightly nauseated. That wasn't the most unusual thing about it, however. It was strange. I didn't understand the sounds she was making, but I understood exactly what she meant. She asked me if I was going to be okay. I tried to speak to her, tell her I would be okay as long as Mother understood why I did what I did. She laughed at me. I felt embarrassed, like I had said something I wasn't allowed to. Eventually she calmed down, apologized, and told me that she wasn't aware of what I was saying. That was understandable. I nodded and gestured, then looked over at Mother, and looked back. It seemed the friend understood my intent. The corners of that strange orifice curved upwards, and her face seemed to indicate joy. She said that it was good to know this. She then asked if the door would really send her back. I didn't know. It looked alien to me, and the friend reacted as though it was correct. I decided to just say yes, so as to not disenhearten her. Something told me the best way to convey this was to put my tumb upwards, so I did. She thanked me, and then asked if this was goodbye.

It felt strange. I had only known her for a short time, and she was mostly foreign to me, and yet I felt a strong connection. She was my friend. I feel as though we learned many things about each other in a short time. Perhaps some time we could meet again. The idea didn't stop me from being rather depressed at her departure. Then she walked over to me and wrapped her amrs around me. A gesture of affection. I was glad she felt similar to myself. When we let go, she implied that she might come back and visit. That statement made me feel much better. The idea that she might come back, and that we could learn more about each other. I looked warmly at her, and she returned the look. Then, she turned around and left.

Later on, after Mother had recovered and I explained to her everything that had happened, the two of us sat on the roof of our house and looked off into the wastes together. Mother said to me "I'm sorry about what happened there, my child. I just... I was scared. She was strange. I thought she might cause people to panic. She did cause people to panic. I thought they might run. Leave the city. That all our hard work would be for nothing. I'm sorry." I looked at her and said "I forgive. I understand what fear can do to people... Fear can turn into hatred. But I still don't understand. Why did you take her to that place?" Mother looked at me confused. "The prison? I took her there to hold her until I could figure out what to do with her." I was confused. That strange building was most certainly not the prison. "Are you sure she was taken there?" I asked mother. "Of course. I followed (-_) and (*,) there to make sure she got to the right place." At this point I was very curious as to what was going on. "But the room with all of the blades..." I spoke aloud. Mother put a hand on my shoulder, and looked at me with a look of sudden fear. "What room with the blades?"