This is a random story I just started writing. It’s pretty non-canon, taking place several years after Last Recode Vol.4, pretty much ignoring all the other canon stuff that happens with Link, Quantum, and beyond.
So, anyway, enjoy! I’ll try to update this with more “bits” soon. I’m pretty much writing this on the spur of the moment, so I don’t really know where the story’s going to go. xD I’ll try to keep it somewhat short, though. lol
I can’t give it an actual title yet, either, since I really don’t know where I’m going with this…
It was several years after the R:2 servers had shut down for good when the voices began.
At first they sounded like nothing more than mere static on the other end of a telephone or a muffled voice from the other side of a thin wall, but gradually—he couldn’t remember exactly how long—the voices grew more and more incessant and…demanding. It spoke no clear language that he could understand, but through feeling alone, he could understand what it wanted perfectly.
It wanted out.
At any cost.
Eventually, the voices grew so overbearing, he had difficulty thinking clearly. His own inner voice began to get lost in the fog of sound. Not only that but almost daily headaches and migraines threatened to cripple him physically as well. He tried to stay afloat in the sea of swirling chaos in his mind, but it was exhausting. He knew if nothing was done to quell the voices soon, he would eventually lose himself entirely.
It was about a week before Christmas when he nearly collapsed on the way out of the NAB office and fell down a flight of stairs.
“Whoa,” said someone, grabbing his arm just in time before he fell. “You all right?”
His vision was suddenly very hazy as though someone had applied a blur filter to his entire field of vision. He tried shaking his head a couple times to rid his sight of the fog and continuously buzzing voices in his head, but it didn’t seem to help much.
“Yeah, I… I think so,” Ryo said as he turned to rest his back against the side of hallway. He could hear his own voice come out of his mouth in sharp gasps as if he was suddenly winded or out of breath.
Skeptically, Masato shook his head. “Ryo, you don’t look well…”
Somehow Ryo managed a reassuring smile but he still couldn’t completely stand on his own without the aid of the sturdy wall supporting him from behind. “I dunno; maybe I’m just tired.”
“How long has this been going on?” Masato asked, his brow wrinkling with concern.
Ryo shook his head slightly as though he didn’t quite understand what Masato said. “What? No, I—“
Again another wave of fog washed over him, stealing the light from his eyes. Not even the sound of Masato’s voice calling his name seemed to be able to reach his ears from the place he now found himself…
It was like waking from an elaborate dream. Lying flat on his stomach on the dusty ground, he felt like the weight his own breath would crush him. His eyes burned in the twilight haze as he tried to stir his stiff body and stand. Everything was dark with dusk; the ground and air, chill as death. Groggily rising to his feet, he glanced around him to find absolutely no trace of the hallway where he had just been standing beside Masato—
Masato? Wasn’t he just here—?
Suddenly, a sharp flare ignited in his head as waves of pain coursed through his entire being. A moment later, he found himself on the black ground once more, both hands gripping at either side of his head as a silent scream slipped past his lips. It was the voices again, but this time it sounded eerily nearby.
Hello again, said the voice. I’ve missed you… Haseo.
He instantly recognized the voice as his own. Images of “him” exploded painfully in his memory. He knew what this shadowy figure represented—his own dark past and yet… something was different, new even.
“He” shouldn’t exist anymore, Ryo thought, the buzzing in his head throbbing along with his rapidly beating heart.
As he slowly rose to his knees, one hand firmly on the dusty ground and the other instinctively grasping at his chest, Ryo gazed upon the shadowy figure standing before him in the dim twilight. But that’s all it was—a shadowy figure with hardly any fine details. He couldn’t see the figure’s face, eyes; he couldn’t tell what sort of hair he had—if it even had any. All he could tell was it’s nondescript outline like a smudge of black chalk on a canvas. And yet Ryo knew who it was… and that alone struck fear into his entire being.
“How… How can you be here?” Ryo asked with an unusually raspy voice.
The figure roughly brushed a hand through its undefined hair in confusion. ‘…As though I know where “here” is…’
Shrugging it off, the figure stepped closer before kneeling in front of Ryo. ‘How long has it been? Then again, I suppose the concept of time is different for you than it is for me. Still… It feels as though ages have passed since we were together… I’ve missed you. Truly, I have.’
Feeling utterly drained of energy and struggling to suppress the tight feeling in his chest, Ryo simply shook his head in tired confusion. “Who are you?”
Seemingly exasperated at the question, the figure rested both hands on its hips. ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. You need me to spell it out for you?’ The figure shook its head, disappointed. ‘Well, I guess I can’t really blame you. I looked a little different the last time we saw each other.’
Ryo could only continue shaking his head in restless bewilderment. Even though this figure felt similar to his shadow with the memories of Sora that he confronted before, the pieces of the puzzle still didn’t quite line up. There was something else—almost like another presence—lurking behind the figure’s vail of darkness.
‘You know, I should thank you,’ the figure continued. ‘Without your help—and, well, maybe that idiot’s death wish helped a bit, too, but… Without you, I’d still be that fragmented string of data with no other purpose than to destroy and strike fear into those who dared to cross my path.’
And just as the words reached his ears, Ryo felt the throbbing pain in his head and chest merge into perfect terror that gripped him tighter than even death itself.
The nebulous figure appeared to bow politely.
‘Hello, ‘tis I,’ the figure said, comically, ‘the great “Terror of Death”. At your service, sir.’