Chapter I - Mani

Chapter I - Mani

A Chapter by Skywatcher

How it all began...



Part I

by S.J.Rene


Ethan’s killer was punished.

Apo now works for peace between humans and new species.

The white piece of tissue did belong to Mani.

His real name is Dimitri.

It was a cold night of February. Trees were without leaves, The suns hid behind cold breezes and mean hordes of clouds sucking out happiness like water would condensate and evaporate. Very few of us were left to witness the end of days. S**t went down, people died. It’s that simple. I know how us people of earth crave details. We think it helps get over our losses, erase what should have been made memories, have someone or something to blame but the truth is, I don’t know what happened. We went on living life thinking we only lived once and now we all wish we’d spend more time searching for immortality. Diseases, malnutrition, pain. This was our routine. 

I was alone. Since that day 347 nights ago, I walked the earth away from military bases, supporting communities or any other kind of potential home. I had a feeling they wouldn’t accept what I had become. With my overstretched legs long enough to cross rivers, the blue depigmentation of my skin shining like stars at midnight, my shaved head and the ugly red overlapping my iris, pupil and cornea, I looked like a freak. I always was a loner at heart, ducking friendship and love but now I was just plain lonely. I missed interactions, I missed love, friends, family. John Mitchell said it better than any of us. You never know what you have until it’s gone. And it definitely was gone. 

There I was, looking for anything that could warm my heart but never really hoping to find. I had settled by a creek somewhere in Europe, I couldn’t know. Orientation was never my strong suit. Actually, if it could be worn I would probably be naked. My building skills however were getting better. I had built some kind of shelter with the surroundings that held on quite pleasingly. All that was left to do before sundown was find wood to warm the place up a bit. 

So on this cold night, walking alone in the forest looking for wood, I heard a crack. Bow and arrows on my back in case of emergency, I pulled out and drew, ears as eyes. My heart beat on my chest like the ten-first push-ups of a novice. I try to get as low as possible, as from my three meters high, enemies could spot me from miles away. Another crack splits and I shoot my arrow to its sound. It hits the skin of a tree and birds resting on the first branches fly away from danger. Suddenly a tall figure makes itself scarce from the scene. Distracted by the birds and my opponent as fast as I had become, all I saw was a blur of blue on a green background. I chase after it intrigued. The only good about this form of mine was my strength and speed. Not superhero kind of fast or strong but faster and stronger than any normal humans. I sprinted a hundred meters through the forest in the direction of the blur, in other words ran for five-seconds or so and stopped my progress. I had no reason to run after it. I believed it was just curiosity and curiosity was a dangerous attribute for a monster. I turn around and left the scene, toning down the sound of my instincts bubbling out like boiling water. Retracing my steps through the forest, I passed by the tree my arrow hit earlier. 

I didn’t notice it before but on its other side, ripped by the tree as it ran away, was a piece of tissue. It was white, really white. “Wedding dress” white. It felt soft on me fingers, and its smell was nothing I’d ever tasted before. There was a touch of lavender, or it may have not. It smelled like freshly made vanilla but I knew this wasn’t it. Whatever it was, it hooked me. I had it stuffed up my nose the entire way back, trying to figure out what that fabulous smell could be and who was that blur in possession of such a beauty. I arrived home knackered. I had my brains working too hard too much and I was overloading. Fire wasn’t necessary. I lied down on my mattress made of leaves, grabbed the only blanket left in my possession and went to sleep, folded like an origami only to fit all of my body under the warmth of my cover. And so I fell asleep, the white piece of tissue tightly held in the palm of my hand.


The morning rose and came along the rain. I felt the first raindrops slip through the cracks of my hand-made home and trip slide along my cheek as it woke me up like the touch of an angel’s wings. Something I didn’t expect but enjoyed nonetheless. I stretched my body back into its normal stance, my knees sticking out of my blanket. A cold breeze makes the hair of my leg stick out like claws. I lie there for a bit, listening to the rain crackle like tiny fireworks and thought about life before. I was transported back two years and nostalgia hit me right where it wanted. 

Me and myself in a crowd of people looking at the sky light up in a succession of bright colours, and the sound of festivity around, the cheering and laughter, back when life just meant living. I shake my head and get up. It’s not like I could waste time in bed watching TV series or surf the internet like it was nobody’s business, no. This time seemed long gone. I put on shorts, fitting me like a forty years old man would fit in a ten year old trousers and left off to wonder in the forest, the white piece of tissue safe inside my pocket. 

I traveled north, past the forest and rested for a while in the grass in an empty field, daydreaming. I then figured it was time to go home to shower as my own smell was making me nauseous. Walking back, smoke appeared in the sky. SMOKE. I knew this wasn’t accidental and just hoped it wasn’t my home burning. I ran as fast as I could and entered the forest legs paddling like Bip Bip, the cartoon character. Dodging trees, jumping over tree trunks speeding like a bullet. I burst out by the creak and watch fire eat home. Three humans dancing around like they were completing a ritual. All those days of hard work, those objects I found and recovered, GONE. If my eyes weren’t already red, they would have been now.


“Aaaahhhh!” I screamed like a monster would. 

My loud voice broke their spirits, freezing the moment like winter took over the fall. They froze of terror and that I saw through their tiny eyes. I run up to them and with one swing of my arm kicks the tallest off his feet. I grab the second, a little bit overweight but not enough to stop me from throwing him inside the flames. The fatty rolled over and knocked his head against a rock, lying unconscious away from danger. The third one, ginger like a Weasley went running screaming for help. I was going to go after him, I was. Only when a loud ‘bang’ rang across the forest, I felt a sharp pain in my right shoulder. BANG again. Now it was my left leg who was the victim. I turn around and watch the tall one pointing a revolver at me, shaking like a pussycat. 

“Did you just shoot me?” I say to him, taken by surprise even though it was naive of me. 

“You little f****r!” I say angrier than before. Insensible to the pain I chuck his gun with a kick of my hand and puts the end of my feet under his neck, my toenails cutting through his skin like knife and butter. 

“Don’t kill me,” he says with distress in his eyes. “Please,” he begged.

I let him simmer inside the red of my eyes, show terror where it didn’t exist. I take off my feet and bend down to grab him by the shirt. I lift him to my height with one hand, the other bleeding red to my surprise. I always thought it would be blue, like the colour of my skin. 

“Leave and never come back,” I tell him. “if I see you again I will skin you alive and use it as coat. Are we clear?” 

The man cries out “I promise, I swear on my life.”

“That’s a good little boy,” I say. I throw him on the floor and as he turns around to run, I give him a little push with a little kick. The human trips but gets back as fast, too scared to look back. 

“F*****g pricks,” I whisper away as I look the fire die down, almost done burning all of my possessions. 

I walk around it trying to see if anything was salvageable but found myself forgetful. And so were the fatty’s friends. The poor guy was still unconscious on the rocks. I scratch the top of my hairless head wondering what I would do of him. I kick him a few times in the stomach, gently. I’m not mean enough to hurt an unconscious man. With no apparent change in his state, I put him on my shoulder and carry him away from the territory, in direction of where the other two ran off. If they ever cared about the man, they’d eventually come back for him. Not that I cared anyway. Feeling the pain creeping in I make my way back to my beloved burned home. I lay down in the water by the creek and try to think. What was I supposed to do now with two clandestine bullets in my body? The image of a TV presenter entertaining its public with his repetitive catch-phrase was going on repeat in my head.

“That’s the one million dollar question!”

I sigh longly, feeling down and down, and down by the minute. 

“Life f*****g sucks,” I say out loud when it was meant to stay in my head.

“I agree,” a female voice says.

I turn my head and sees a tall woman standing a few feet away from the water. I stand up and struggle not to trip on the slippery rocks in the water. I stood still looking at her. Blue skin, red eyes, long, long legs and a beautiful black bundle of hair tied in a one single braid running all the way down to her back. A beautiful, flashy yellow dress, stained nonetheless but I could feel her fashion sense. 

“You’re like me,” I say amazed.

“It seems like it yeah,” she says, letting out a tiny smile  by the corner of her lip. “I’m Mani.”

I aimed for an answer but strength seemed to have vanished. I didn’t know if it was the fact that a hot female version of myself existed or that I had two bullets inside me, probably both, but I was falling. I crashed in the water and saw myself go to sleep. 


I regained consciousness but kept my eyes closed. I was scared to be alone. I was scared she’d gone and left me. I lied there a few minutes, scared. I move my hand and feel the softness of her skin. My heart skipped a beat instantly. I open my eyes and look. Mani was there, lying next to me fast asleep her head a few inches from me. I wasn’t as attentive then but now I could feel the soft breathing against my freshly attended wound. I lied back down a smile on my face, a heavy weight lifted off my chest and felt like for the first time in almost a year, I could breathe. 

The night had fallen and there was no way I could tell the time. I just knew the stars were still up there, along with   a shooting one.

“I wish never to be alone again,” I wish to myself. 

A brightness in the dark suddenly disrupted me. Like a walking wave of bright fires advancing towards us, I looked but couldn’t discern what it was. 

“There, there’s two of them,” a voice screams. 

An arrow flies and sticks a few inches away from its target. The racket had Mani wake up just in time. 

“We need to go like now Mani,” I say in fear for our lives. Three were an easy handle but an entire village was suicide. She and I get up and start running. My leg still playing ill, my running was not as it should be. Soon we saw little lights shining all around us, coming closer by the second. 

“You are surrounded,” the same voice creeps through the forest. “Surrender or die, abominations of this new world,” he spits acid words as he appears bow and arrow raised. Torches in one hand, weapons of their choice in the other, they closed the circle and enlightened the forest like it was Christmas f*****g Eve. I recognised the tall and the ginger but the rest of them were unfamiliar. Mani held onto me and there I could feel her fear through her beating heart knocking against my arm against her chest. 

“Calm down,” I say for everyone to hear. “we haven’t done-“ 

A rock was thrown to my face and cut me off. 

“Grab ‘em!” one says. More rocks flew and soon torches hit us. I grab Mani and hold her away from harm as much as I could. Petrified, I could hear her cry of fear as they kept chucking stuff at us like animals. They pull me away from her but I resist and punches the first one coming. Two others grabbed Mani but got what they deserved. A broken nose and crippled nuts. She grabs my hand but we’re pulled once more away from each other. 

“Mani,” I scream feeling betrayed by fate. As if life had slowed everything down, I watched her be beaten, blood on her beautiful yellow dress. As I felt every single blow like thunder hit me twice, I felt like my end had come. 

Was this the outcome of my life? 

“Leave them be,” I hear a scream from afar, authoritarian from what I could hear. They let go of us as a woman ran to Mani. I try to crawl to her but all I could move was my arm, tendered towards her as an unknown weight was keeping me right where I was. 

My last words were as expected.


© 2015 Skywatcher

Author's Note

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Added on June 8, 2015
Last Updated on June 8, 2015
Tags: Mani, 347, nights, ago, blue, long, legs, red, eyes, human, lonely, alone, fire, chased, love, species



Paris, Ile de France, France

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