When I woke up, I was in my bed at home. Amongst the soft red quilt and silky sheets, it was almost believable that it had all been a dream. However, the cuts all over my body told me otherwise. Kugel. I ran out the door, not even bothering to do anything to help my appearance.
I dashed down the hall, my torn, bloody clothes out of place amongst the beautiful cream wallpaper and azure carpets. I glanced in a mirror on the wall, one that the girls of the school often crowded around when they were in a hurry.
I stopped in shock at the sight of my reflection. My face was covered with ash and blood, my eyes haunted, my body skinny. I touched my cheek to make sure it was really me. How long had I been gone? I shook my head to clear my churning thoughts.
Right now, I just needed to find Kugel. I flew down the hall and came to a creamy off-white door. Taking in a deep breath, I hesitantly opened the door, a little apprehensive of what I would find behind it. My hand still on the knob, I pushed the door open.
Kugel was there, staring at his hand. He didn’t even notice me at first, until I stepped in and the door closed softly. He whipped around at the sound.
“Wh- who are you? What are you doing in here?” he stammered, backing away from me, his braids swishing across his back.
“Kugel, it’s me! Ladonia!” I frowned, tears welling up in my eyes. I knew that they had taken away his memories… why was I so disappointed? I should have been prepared for this. The younger boy just took another step backwards.
“La… donia…” he mumbled, as if the name meant something to him. His face was painted with confusion, just like the river painted on a canvas in front of him. I nodded and bit my lip, hoping against hope that he would remember, that we could be like normal again…
“I… get out of my dorm, please. I don’t know you.”
I woke up this morning covered in ash,grime, and blood. It took me a second, but then I remembered the star demons. The pain. The blood. I remembered leaving to go reverse a wish that was made. They didn't think what I had brought was my most prized possession, so they had tortured me. They had taken something away, something important. But somehow I had forgotten what.
But that name, Ladonia. It stirred something in my heart, but I couldn’t quite catch what it was. I didn’t understand the feelings that were barraging me from the inside when I saw him come in, or why he was crying. His tears seemed to tighten my heartstrings even more, and I couldn’t stand it.
“I…” I began, but my mind refused to finish. “Get out of my dorm, please. I don’t know you.”
He looked so crushed. His orange hair fell across his face as he ran out of my room, leaving an empty feeling inside me. And I still didn’t have a single clue as to why.
I didn’t feel like returning to my classes anymore. Really, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Losing the love of your life kind of has that effect on you. When I realized that I was hungry, three hours later, I stood up from my bed and trudged to the mini fridge in my dorm. Nothing there held my interest, and I knew I’d just end up throwing it up after crying. So, what was the point?
I heard a knock at the door, timid and quiet. At first I stayed put, not moving and hoping that whoever it was would run off like a good little annoyance. But then another knock came, a little louder. Then a third, strong and persistent. I sighed and got up to get the door, glad that I had taken a shower earlier.
A surprising sight met me on my doorstep, making my eyes go wide. Kugel stood there, that beautiful shy smile on his face that I loved so much, his hair tied up neatly in a two-braid ponytail.
“Kugel?” I asked, confused. He nodded unsurely, still smiling.
“Hi. Ladonia-kun, right?”
I silently moved my head in some kind of agreement.
“Oh, okay.” he sounded uncertain again. “Well, I was hoping-- er, wondering if you wanted to… I don’t know, hang out.”
I smiled and swept him up in a hug before I realized what I was doing. I opened my eyes and blushed, noticing that my arms were around him. “O= oh, sorr--”
Then he hugged me back. His thin arms were wrapped around my back and his face was buried in my chest.
“I feel like I’ve lost something important,” he muttered. “I hope you can help me get it back.”