Pumpkin King

Chapter 25

The first thing he registered was a pounding pain in his head. He tried to groan, but he was so weak he couldn't work up the energy to do even that. So he sat there in hopes that the headache would subside.

It never did.

So he decided to figure out where he was. He tentatively cracked one eye open, scared that any light would make his headache worse. But he immediately found out that wherever he was, the lights weren't on. It was completely black. Since there was no point keeping them open, he shut his eyes again.

Feeling a bit uneasy, he felt around to try to get his bearings. He was lying on something that was soft but sticky at the same time. His legs felt tangled in something so he kicked around until he felt them get free.

Struggling to his feet, he staggered against the wall he'd been sleeping against and found it was made of the same sticky substance he'd been lying on. Curious, he ran a hand against it and found that it was made of threads. Bunches of tiny threads all woven together.

He wiped some sweat off his brow. Wherever he was, it was hot and the air was thick with humidity. "I need some air." He croaked. His throat was completely dry.

He hadn't even taken a full step forward when he was stopped by another wall of thread. He took a shaky breath to keep himself from panicking. He groped all around him for an exit but he was completely enclosed in a cocoon of sticky, spongy thread. Then instinct kicked in. He grabbed the nearest threads and started pulling and yanking and tearing and scratching.

After what felt like an eternity of almost panicking, he finally tore through the cocoon and tumbled onto the tile floor outside. Cool air touched his sweat covered skin and he couldn't think of any time he'd been more thankful for it.

After a few minutes gulping lungfuls of fresh air, he managed to push himself to his knees and open his eyes.

He immediately wished he hadn't. The light caused his ever present headache to practically split his skull in two. Thankfully, his eyes adjusted quickly and the headache went back down to a dull throb in the back of his head. The first thing he noticed was that the light was coming from a single glowing lacrima that was hanging from the ceiling. It looked broken, with cracks and dirt smudged over it. The light it cast had a bluish hue which discolored the room.

The second thing he noticed was the room itself. Looking back at the cocoon he came from, he noticed three others just like it. The two to his left were still whole, but the one to his right had a gaping hole in the middle, just like he'd made in his own. The room was shaped like a circle with the cocoons covering all but one portion of the wall. And everything was covered in layers of that same sticky thread.

Spider webs.

He froze. The words just popped inside his head. He wasn't sure what they meant exactly, but they seemed to fit the threads perfectly.

Despite his better instincts, he'd managed to get himself standing up and was slowly making his way over to the cocoon on his right when he noticed light reflecting off something in the corner of his eye. Turning around, he saw a large mirror hanging on the wall. It was mostly covered in webs, but he managed to pull enough off to look at his reflection.

A boy with deep brown eyes and messy brown hair stared back at him. He wore a white shirt that had a black wing emblemized on it and a pair of grey pants. For some reason, he had a pair of goggles strapped to his forehead.

He didn't look injured so he went back over to the other cocoon with a hole in it. He took one step inside before his jaw fell open. Lying on the bottom of the cocoon was a girl. She had long dull, scarlet hair and what he guess was pale skin. The light from the lacrima tinted her blue.

And she was completely naked.

Blushing a shade brighter than her hair, he snapped himself out of it and quickly searched for something to cover her with. It wasn't long before he found her clothes. He found a short, black miniskirt, a black sleeveless shirt, as well as her underwear scattered throughout the inside of the cocoon. He quickly gathered them up and covered her with them…which was more difficult than it sounded since they were all pretty revealing. Oddly enough, he didn't find any shoes.

Raising an eyebrow, he wiggled his toes only to realize he didn't have any shoes either.

"What the hell are you doing?"

The girl slowly sat up, one hand rubbing the sleep from her eyes while the other held her shirt in place over her chest. She was looking at him pointedly and like his own, her voice sounded dry and scratchy.

He gulped a few times before he managed to say, "Better question, why are you naked?"

She rolled her eyes. "Because I was hot." She said simply. "It was like an oven in here." Then, with him watching, she stood up and started dressing herself.

"What the hell!" He shouted, covering his eyes with a blush.

The girl scoffed at him. "What's the matter? Never seen a naked woman before?"

He was about to answer no when something stopped him. I don't think I have…have I?

He choked back a yell and grabbed his head in shock. He started hyperventilating. "Who…am I? I don't...remember anything."

The girl made an impatient sound as she pulled her skirt on. "Good point, who are you exactly." Then she froze and scanned the room. "And where are we? I've never been here before."

"I…don't know." He managed to say. Taking in gulps of air to calm himself, he studied the girl. "Who are you?" He asked back.

The girl stepped out of the cocoon fully clothed except for her feet and stood next to him. She narrowed her eyes and stared at the webbing that covered the room. "No idea." She said flatly. Then she closed her eyes and grimaced like she was in pain. She massaged her temples. "I remember something, but I can't…" She fell into silence.

That gave him a moment to retrace his own memories. He remembered waking up in the cocoon. But before that, nothing. He tried hard. He thought with everything he could but nothing triggered a memory. But just as he was about to give up, an image flashed in his mind.

A crow. A black crow. It cawed and looked at him, but when it looked into his eyes its own eyes began to glow.

"I….know that bird." He muttered to himself. And as if it were waiting for him to say that, a word flew through his mind. Peeko.

"Peeko…"

The girl opened her eyes at the sound of his voice. "Peeko?" She asked. "Is that your name?"

The boy shook his head. "No. But I know it from somewhere…" He looked at her questioningly. "Do you know a crow named Peeko?"

The girl just stared at him before laughing. "A crow named Peeko? What kind of stupid thing is that?"

The boy blushed. "I don't know." He muttered. He tried again. I need something useful. He mentally told himself. He squeezed his eyes shut until he saw spots and focused for all he was worth. The girl said something, but he didn't bother listening. He could feel it. He was close. And then it came to him

Erk.


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