Madgie, have you become misshapen as well?
I awoke to the sound of faint squeaks and the wind blowing. I sat up and found a pair of large eyes looking at me. It was hard to tell exactly who they belonged to but against the faint glow of the streetlight, I recognized them as Toki's. As she came more into the light, I noticed that there was something different about her. One of her cheeks appeared to have been swollen. Actually, by 'swollen' it seemed to have developed facial tumors, those near consistent with myxomatosis, a Rabbitwright's greatest fear if unvaccinated, or, for that matter, cancer.
She squeaked and said, "You needn't worry, these tumors are benign and have stopped growing. Actually, lots of people have them, especially since that radiation problem that happened over eight months ago. Small bits still linger, though."
I asked her what she meant, believing it to one of ramblings again, to which she responded, “The radiation is from a nuclear bomb that the government was testing on a vacant area for God knows what reason but they mis-aimed and hit this town, besides Cold War II will soon turn into a World War III, once North Korea carries out its threat to bomb California. Heh, they’ll be a crater, when this is over. In fact, everyone in North Korea already started to send their children to South Korea and many other places, as to make sure they survive that impending devastation.”
Whatever Madgie did in the past, must have got North Korea so pissed at us and I sure hope she had died when that bomb was tested. I asked Toki what happened to Madgie to confirm what I hoped, to which she responded, “Since she was at Ground Zero, she died two days later, her insides were practically fried, making it hard to believe she was even alive through that but she survived and became comatose, dying two days later at exactly 2:00 p.m. She never woke up." I promptly asked what happened to her body, to which she responded, "Her body was pretty much irradiated and when she was cremated it there was virtually nothing left of her."
In the midst of our conversation, we heard a siren. "That's our cue to get the hell out of here." she said, ushering me forward. We hurried to her house and met Doki, who also had benign face tumors, only on the opposite side of her face of medium size. She ushered us into the house and activated the dome shield. As we sat huddled in the cellar, we anticipated a great rumbling. In the midst of waiting, I heard Doki whispering in Japanese and I knew what she was whispering, a prayer, and her sister was tinkering with a radio. Once Toki was done tinkering with it, it was on long enough to for the announcer to say, "World War III has just begun and America is going to war with....North Korea."
Toki turned it off and whispering, "It seemed Kim Jong-Un made good on that threat, never did think he was going to make good on that threat. Funny thing, though, he said he had the missiles trained on California but he must have misaimed one and it hit this town." Doki finished her prayer and loudly snorted, before squeaking. Soon, a great thundering came and everyone was rendered silent. Of course, I wanted to know what became of Eglantine and Stinky so I gave Toki a sharp pinch on her arm, whispering, "If Madgie is dead, then what happened to Eggie and Stinky?" Toki narrowed her eyes and said, "They are fine and I must ask you not to do that again, as now is time to be silent aside from prayers and laments, not to ask me questions." I remembered to remain silent throughout the raid. Once the raid was over, we were allowed to speak but no one really did, in fact, it was virtually silent. Outside of the dome shield, we heard rain and then another rumbling.
After it was over, we went upstairs and Toki was whispering something about a great fire and loads of blood and was speaking cryptically, something Doki herself could only understand. Doki poked me and said, “She is referring to the war.” Of course, I didn't get the chance to ask her how is it I could reverse this and, with all of the crap going on outside of the dome, it was best I hadn't, not now, not at this time. When we emerged the next day, we emerged to a nightmare. As true to what Toki had predicted, there were loads of blood to the point it was hard to discern puddles of water from them. Everyone else in this particular part of this neighborhood were killed and blood ran through the streets. "Blood everywhere..."Toki said, as if in total shock and trying to grasp what had happened.
She staggered and fell about the bloodied surroundings, staining her white slip in blood. Doki gripped my hand tightly and whispered, "Look away if you must, however, I feel I must inform you that Toki is going through her 'spells'." Still, in her madness stupor, she screamed,"Madgie, are you there?! Where are you, Madgie?!" and seemed to be searching for Madgie futilely like a frantic mother searching for her long dead child where they had died. It was then Doki had told me that those episodes of hers are very frequent and that Toki cannot always remember that Madgie had died. We all knew Toki to be schizophrenic but, this, this is something that made her hallucinations more surreal and even more so horrifying. She continued looking for Madgie, until she broke down weeping hysterically, as if to beg for her to come back.
Nodding at me, Doki walked over to Toki and said, "There, there, Toki, Madgie is somewhere else and is safe, she may be back in due time." I never envied her for having not to tell her sister truth, as the truth may kill her. Of course, Toki is only hallucinating and telling her what really happened when she can't remember would only Sensing another air raid, we brought Toki inside and the hatch was shut.
Once again, we were in the basement and, once again we were silent, Toki having needed to be drugged so she wouldn't cry out, as she is often prone to do. We listened all day to the rumbling and Toki's light breathing. She was asleep and only the right amount of sleeping medicine was needed to drug her. In the midst of sitting silent, I noticed Doki had such a regretful look on her face, telling me that she had no intentions of drugging her sister but didn't have a choice. By the time the rumbling ended, it was nightfall and Toki had started to awake.
Once she awoke, she cried bitterly and walked outside of the dome, into the bloodied night. She wailed and screamed against the rain, her wails bringing calling the heavens for their rage. The more she wailed, the more the storm persisted, until, Doki came from behind and covered my eyes, saying, “You must never look upon her in what is about to happen, lest you experience her madness for yourself.” She pulled me back and closed the door, slamming it shut. Toki’s final wail came to a strangling halt. Doki opened the door and Toki was lying limp on the bloodied ground, further covered in blood. She wasn’t dead but wailed until she couldn’t wail anymore. Why Doki didn't want me to look upon her hallucinating sister in that moment was something that did confuse me and I couldn't help but ask her. When I did, she answered, "It's because, when she first did that, I made the same mistake and what I saw is not something that would be fit for mortal eyes and it was like staring into the bloody gates of death itself." She wouldn't tell me exactly what she saw during that experience but I figured if it was from her overall description then I do not want to know, I had been here since the night before and I still have yet to know where to find the time transport.
Of course, the next day, more bad news came and that came in the form of an announcement on the radio. The announcer said that, as promised, just about everyone, besides us, in this state was dead and that half of California, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado's population was dead and the rest had started to flee, in addition to the fact that many of the other nations, even China, is attacking North Korea. It wasn't surprising at this point in that Toki had not bothered to wash that blood off and it probably didn't occur to her that she was covered in blood. Her madness worsened beyond what it already was and the fact she had not washed that blood off or even bothered to remove her bloodied slip made it inherently obvious not even her medicine could help her in that time. She started to grow weary of everything, running away almost at every instance there was a strange and or loud noise, and would often go deeper into the maze of hallways. By night, she wailed and screamed like some banshee and, by day, she would retreat, covered in blood and all, into the maze of hallways. She was like that to the point she wasn't 'Toki' anymore, she was just Lady Madness or, as if it were her name, just Madness.
After putting up with this sort of thing for a prolonged time, I got tired and wasn't playing games anymore. When Doki was alone, I caught her and, not too much without insult, said, "Listen, you bitch, I want to undo what has been done and, if you or Madness, won't tell me, then I'll watch Madness hallucinate and experience it for myself, reliving your nightmare." For once, I had seen a change in expression in Doki. Her expression went from usually solemn and sad to utmost surprised. Her eyes were wide and they gazed deeply into mine. I remembered to never to break my gaze with hers if I wanted something be answered. We were locked in that staredown for about 5 minutes and then she relented. "Fine then, if you want to know where and how to reverse this, we'll have to follow Madness, as only her deliriums take to where it is, of course, however, that is when the sky is clear and the moon is in its proper position." I asked her when will that be, to which she responded, "In two nights, no more, no less, as in two nights no bombs or things will be dropped and that is when she will wander freely." Of course, I wasn't in any sort of pleasantry to play games but patience is a virtue.
On the second night from the last, we went to follow Madness. Of course, this was not without one thing, something Doki failed to tell me, and that was experiencing Madness' visions. What I saw was something so horrifying that I wondered if there was any sort of words to really describe it and something unholy. What I saw was something out of a nightmare I had had before and was ten times worse.
What I saw was white hands reaching out of the ground, the sky a blood red, chains, and the very gates of death, decorated fittingly with skulls and hands reaching through the bars, desperately trying to claw their way out. What made that all the more horrifying was that the white hands were trying to get at Madness, trying to pull her in, made even worse by the fact there seemed to be large long thin glass shards impaling her and she was surrounded by corpses in a lake of blood, that was being filled by the blood that dripped from her slashed forearm. In experiencing that, I felt time had slowed quite so and, when it ended, I felt it was years. In coming out of it, we found Madness laying before a gate, the one that looked like the very gates of death in the vision. Underneath her was a pool of blood and her limbs seemed to covered in scratches and bloodied handprints.
In scrutinizing her, I noticed a small blood handprint in her palm, a child's. Madgie, did Madness join you behind the gates? In trying to wake her, a red and black butterfly landed on Doki's swollen cheek before flying over the gates. Toki was no longer with us and what happened to her was no delusion. It seemed she had 'found' Madgie, after all.
We turned and found the gates creaking. "In a time of darkness, there will be light."Doki whispered, and, with that, the gates swung open, revealing a bright light. "You go home now, Usagi." she said, pushing me forward. Not knowing what else to do I closed my eyes and walked into the bright light. I found myself home and all was well again. Yes, Toki had a swollen cheek but it wasn't because of tumors, no, she had gotten an oral injury and Doki didn't share a swollen cheek, rather she had a band-aid on the opposite.