The Darkness Within

The Garden - Act I

"Everyone who has ever built anywhere a new heaven first found the power thereto in his own hell."

-Friedrich Nietzche

The ride through the city was silent. I imagined that there were all sorts of sounds outside, but inside, in Sayer's black limousine, everything was silent. Even though this was the limo-ride to freedom, it felt off.

As I leaned back onto the black cushioned sofa, I breathed in the air. It was dry, cool and fresh, unlike the coarse, soggy air I breathed in on Satellite. For the first time since I woke up in the concrete facility, I felt relaxed and comfortable.

The ride seemed like it took an eternity. And I think it did, seeing as I soon fell asleep in the back, and the only thing that made me aware that I had reached my destination, was the driver who made me aware.

"Hey, kid. We're here." His harsh voice said, breaking me out of my dreamless sleep. I staggered awake, and slowly got out of the limo.

The building before me took me by surprise. I expected it to be like an apartment complex or something similar, not a massive towering skyscraper! It looked sleek and thin, yet massive and solid all at the same time. I took a moment to let it all sink in.

There was a place in the world where I could be.

"However unlikely it seemed."

Of course, Akron had to ruin the mood, or at least try. But right now, I felt happy. Happy knowing that I had finally found somewhere I could live. Somewhere where I wouldn't be judged by what I am.

The metallic shaking from my boots seemed a little quieter today. Maybe it was because of me being happy, but I didn't care then. All that mattered to me was that finally, I was safe.

'Woosh', the automatic doors said as they swiftly opened themselves for me, so that I could enter the building. And my eyes went wide as they met the spectacular sight inside of the doors.

The foyer I had walked into was massive; no other word could really describe it properly. It was decorated with wood, probably oak or something. I wasn't the biggest knower of wood sorts. But it was beautifully carved and decorated, in a Victorian style. I found it to be rather well-looking. It spoke to me in a manner I can't really describe.

Ooh, look at Jay, using big boy words now!

"Ah, Jay." Sayer's serpentine voice rang out. I looked to my left, and saw the elegant man with his stupid haircut walk over to me again. But I have no reason to believe him to be a bad person. In fact, he's only done well to me for now. He's the one who brought me here, and damn it, I was grateful for it.

"Good to see you made it. How do you like the building?"

"It's… wonderful…" I trailed off, lost in all the beautiful artistry that was painted on the ceiling.

"Glad to see you like it. So, ready to see your new home?" I nodded, and he led me over to an elevator made of metal that seemed way too shiny. It was so shiny, I could see my reflection in it. That one look on my face made me remember. I felt like I had finally found somewhere to be, somewhere to be safe.

Something I had longed after tremendously.

We rode about a floor or two up, and Sayer led me out of the elevator, and down along a corridor. We passed by several doors until we arrived at one specific door. Sayer inserted a key into the lock, turned the handle, and the modest door creaked open.

Inside, was a modest room, with a TV, sofa, table, a bed, and a bathroom. I had a home, and I just stared at it for a few minutes, until Sayer broke me out of my trance.

"I see you like it."

I just walked inside without a word, and fell down onto the bed. It was the most comfortable thing I had ever lied on in my life. But then, the only other place I have slept was on factory-carpet in a sleeping bag. Not the most comfortable of things.

"We'll begin your training tomorrow." Sayer quickly ended, as he walked out of the room again and closed the door behind him. Then my eyelids fell down, and I was sleeping.

A few hours later…

'Knocknock', I heard a little away from me, as I raised my head and looked around. Oh yeah, I was at Arcadia now.

"Hello?" I heard a muffled voice from outside my door. It was hard to distinguish, but it sounded bright and smooth, even if it was muffled behind my door.

"Yeah? What is it?" I spoke, as I slowly got up from my bed and took a deep breath to help me wake up. Again, my Duel Disk was still fastened tightly. I probably won't get it off without breaking it.

"There's dinner in the cafeteria in 10 minutes. Sayer asked me to tell you." The voice responded, as I stretched my arms and legs, and went for the door. I put my hand firmly on the door, and opened it quickly.

I was about to say something in response, but the sight behind the door smashed every single thing I had to say to tiny little pieces, along with whatever I was thinking.

For behind that door, stood a woman. Just about my height, and my god, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen or could imagine. My eyes met a pair of burgundy eyes, with pale skin and rosy-red hair surrounding it.

She was... so pretty. My brain was going haywire, and if I hadn't been pulled back to reality, I probably would have stood there for a long while.

"Uhh… you're staring." I blinked, and my brain felt like it was about to explode. "Oh, sorry, I… I didn't mean to… stare." I managed to stutter out.

"…Right. Well… the cafeteria is that way. Enjoy."

As she began to walk away, I couldn't stop myself from staring at her as she walked somewhere else. I wanted to resist; I really did; but my damn brain kept telling my eyes to stare and observe. Every. Single. Step.

Not only are you violent, you hear voices, you look like a demon, and now you're hopelessly in love with someone who will obviously not love you back? You're real special, Jay Alkain.

I did my best to ignore Akron's grating fucking voice, but it didn't hide the fact that he was absolutely right. And damn him for that.

Okay, I was going nuts now. Great. I hurried my meal down, and went back to my room, and wasted no time in burrowing my face into my pillow. I knew that it would not keep Akron away in any way, but I did it anyway. Arrest me.

I tried to fall asleep, but every time I was almost in dreamland, Akron's laugh would ensure I didn't get any sleep. I couldn't tell if my mind was playing tricks on me, or if he was really laughing.

Probably both.

The next morning…

I was asked to go to Sayer's office first thing in the morning by some guy in a suit. Initially, I told him I was tired and to go away, but he and his pals wouldn't have any of that.

So they opened my door, grabbed me from my bed, and dragged me to the elevator, and led me to the top floor. We arrived at a set of big, wooden doors. They opened them, and threw me in, and then proceeded to lock the doors behind me.

I got up and saw Sayer sitting behind a Maplewood or whatever desk looking right at me. I dusted myself off, and looked Sayer in the eye.

"Sit down." He ordered, and gestured to a chair beside me. I sat down on the chair. It was lowered, so even while sitting down, Sayer towered over me. I guess he liked to look down upon people.

"So," Sayer began. "Are you ready for your training?" I nodded quickly.

"Excellent. So, here's what you do. You go out, and you beat a few duelists in a Duel." Sayer said, while I cocked my eyebrow. What had Dueling to do with training my powers?

"Why?" I asked. I could see that Sayer almost popped a vein at my words. "No questions! Just go out and do it!" He practically yelled, and I doubt not a single person in this building didn't hear his outburst.

Right now, one thing was clear to me already about Sayer.

He was an asshole.

"Alright. I will." I replied, my ears were still stinging from Sayer's violent outburst. I was a hair's width from just letting Akron take over and do with him what he wanted to, but then what? This was my last sanctuary, and even if Sayer is like that, I really don't have a choice. All I can do is do what I'm told, right?

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