Lost Dreams is the third chapter in the Lost Dreams series.
Brutus Fortitude and Nightwatch were walking around. Nightwatch had wanted to go for a walk to clear his mind, but Brutus was very intent on not allowing that.
“So, I’m just trying to have a nice time, you know? But this guy, he comes running in to the bar, and just starts wrecking the place!” Brutus started to laugh. “I was off-duty, and I just wanted a drink, but I figured, ‘Hey, might as well have a bar-fight now rather than later!’ So, I clock the guy across the face, and he clocks me back. Thing is, his arms have got rocket boosters on ‘em, so getting clocked from him is a lot like being hit in the face with a wrecking ball.”
“Remind me why I’m listening to this story, if you would?” Nightwatch rubbed his forehead.
“Because my story’s great! Anyway, I go flying through the back wall, and I see the manager cutting a deal with XPlode. Then things started to get really hairy. So, while I’m shooting ‘Bigarms McGee’, I’m also fighting XPlode with my sword, and suddenly—” Brutus was interrupted by another hero suddenly landing on him.
“What just happened?” Nightwatch asked as he processed the information.
Quin was sitting near a river while dumping water on Penny’s back. She was currently covered in a foamy substance that Quin was slowly rinsing off her.
“You’re lucky I always carry a few bottles of anti-rust on me.” Quin smiled as he washed the anti-rust off of Penny. “You should be grateful.”
“I am grateful.” Penny smiled back. “I can’t even put into words how grateful I am. You have no idea how good it feels to move my limbs.”
“And you have no idea how good it feels to not have an over-charged Hero Core…” Quin patted his chest. “I wonder if that’s what a heart attack feels like for organic beings.”
“You know, I hadn’t taken note of it before, but…I don’t think where on Iotren 7.” Penny looked up to the sky and stared at the stars. “I don’t think we’re even on our own planet!”
“What?” He looked up. “Oh…oh by all that is heroic…we’re not anywhere in the charted universe…”
“Then…where are we?” She looked to Quin with worry in her eyes.
“…I don’t know.” He looked down to Penny. “I have no idea.”
Alaster hated the rock he was on. He utterly despised it. He could’ve been here for days, maybe weeks…there was no way of telling how much time had passed. There was no day or night; it was just him, floating through space on a rock.
“Quaza…quaaaaa….zaaaaaa.” Alaster rested on his back and kicked his feet in the air. “What an odd sounding word…qua…za. I wonder who named it that?”
Alaster stared a small star off in the distance. It was a few trillion miles away, but it was still the closest thing to him.
“Hello little star.” He waved to the star. “I’m dreadfully worried that I’m going insane from loneliness…are you really insane if you realize that you’re insane, though?” Alaster decided to ponder that question. He pondered briefly. “No, you’re probably still insane. I’m not insane though. I know that much.”
The star listened to him as hard as a star can listen to anything.
“You know, I’ve always had this intense worry about telling people who I was…who I really am.” He sighed. “I don’t think I could even tell my team members who I am. They’d hate me for it.” He frowned. “Sometimes I wish being a ghost wasn’t so hard…”
The star silently took in the information.
“It’s nice to have someone to listen. Someone who doesn’t interrupt you, just listens to your troubles…” He then realized something. “You don’t care who I was! You don’t care that I’m dead, that I took on an entirely new identity, just to make sure no one knew who I really was.” He smiled. “I can tell you who I really am. I can tell you that I’m not Alaster Wrathe. I was never Alaster Wrathe. I know you don’t care, but I need that reminder, to tell myself that I haven’t always been like this. That I was real once.” He took a deep breath. “So, I used to be this really great guy. You have no idea how great I was! I used to take down all the villains…”
Joseph was not really sure if he was there any more. Where was ‘there’ anyway? He didn’t know. He didn’t know anything really. He had realized that he knew so little. He knew almost nothing. But he was learning. He was learning everything.
Learning would hurt sometimes. And when you learn everything, learning hurts even more. It hurt so much.
Joseph wanted his mom. He remembered her name…but names were so meaningless, weren’t they? He had realized that a few seconds ago. Or maybe it was years. Time was meaningless too.
His mother…she wasn’t really his mother. He had already known that. But she was so much like a mother. It hurt to know that she couldn’t see him again. He wouldn’t let her. She could never come here, not ever.
Elysia woke up. She was in a bed. Either this was purgatory, or she was not dead.
“Where am I?!” she yelled.
A young man next to her bed suddenly fell out of his chair.
“Oh! You’re awake…I am now too, so…” He rubbed the back of his head. “Any reason you fell out of the sky?”
“Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m Oliver Peace.” He held out his hand. Elysia did not shake it. “Okay then. Listen, about 2 dozen people said that you fell from the sky. 6 people say that you dropped off a building. If you’re too traumatized to remember, then we’ll just have to go with the majority…’
She stared at Oliver with a blank expression. She then looked down at the sheets of her bed. She looked all around the room.
“Well, okay then…majority it is…” Oliver sighed. “If we knew why you fell from the sky, that’d be great…but clearly you’re traumatized to remember. I’ll check back later.” He got up and prepared to walk away.
“I fell from the sky, and then I fell from a building.” Elysia said. Oliver turned around.
“…how did you fall off a building after falling out of the sky?” he asked.
“I caught the ledge of a building and then I dropped.” She stared at the bed sheets again.
“Oh…did you slip? Did someone kick you?” he asked.
“I let go.” she said. “I wanted to die.” She looked at Oliver, a sad expression on her face. “I still want to die.”
“What?!” he shouted. “Why would you say that?”
“Everyone I have ever cared about is gone. Alaster is gone. Penny and Quin are both gone. And Joseph…” She started to cry. “Joseph is gone. He’s gone.”
“Listen, we can send out a search party for them. Where were they last seen?” he asked.
“Iotren 7. In the mountains. About an hour ago.” She wiped away her tears, before throwing the blanket off of her. “Send out all the search parties you like. They’re gone. I don’t know where to, but they’re gone. And no one can find them.”
“Where are you going?” Oliver ran after her as she walked out the door.
“Somewhere I can die in peace.” She slammed the door in Oliver’s face.
“HEY!” he yelled, rubbing his head. “COME BACK!”
1 year after the disappearance of most of the Omicron 12 Team members…
Elysia was sitting in one of the lower levels of the factory. She had been forced to recharge a few minutes ago, like she had been forced to yesterday. She had been forced to recharge yesterday, too. And the day before that. And every other day before that.
They forced her to live. She wanted to die…she deserved to die. But they wouldn’t let her. They even forced her to upgrade when her body became too broken to repair.
She started to cry. She had done it only once before Joseph disappeared. Now she cried every other hour.
Suddenly, the floor shook beneath her, and a loud boom came from one of the higher levels. She could hear screaming. A blue and orange hero came running down the stairs. He looked around, and then laid eyes upon her.
“…I’ll be honest, I’ve got no idea what you’re doing down here, nor do I care. Because right now, I really need some help.” He held out his hand. “The name’s Jude Flare, and I’d appreciate your help.”
Elysia looked at him. He shook his hand at her. She stared at his hand. He held it out further.
“Fine.” She took his hand. She felt like she had a purpose again. It was something she had been lacking for so long. “I’ll help.”
“Good to know!” He smiled and shook her hand. “Anyway, what’s your name?”
“Elysia Shocke.” She let go of his hand and ran up the stairs. “Now come on.”
“Quin…” Penny limped out of her hut. “We need to go to the field…”
“How low are you?” Quin said, his voice cracking from fear.
“Really low…we need to go now…” She nearly dropped to the ground.
“Penny!” He threw Penny onto his back and began walking towards the village. “Kala!” He shouted.
A small girl wearing a helmet ran out of another hut. She stared at Penny and Quin. She ran back in and grabbed a wheelbarrow. Quin lowered Penny into the wheelbarrow, bowed to Kala, and then pushed the wheelbarrow towards a large crop field.
Penny’s Hero Core started to blink, and Quin ran even faster. “Penny, we’re cutting this really close!” Quin yelled. He grabbed Penny from the wheelbarrow, and ran her up towards a large red crystal.
“Quin, I can’t move my arms.” Quin slowly stood her up. “I need you to put my hand on it…”
“Alright.” He grabbed her arm and rested it on the crystal. “Feel better yet?”
“Yeah…” She took a deep sigh as her Hero Core stopped blinking, and began to glow without stop. “Much better.”
“Penny, I know you believe that we need to run our Hero Cores down to the last drop, but…you can’t wait that long for a Quaza refill!” He frowned. “We’ve been doing this for a year...you need to learn!”
“We don’t know how long this Quaza crystal will last us! We need to save it for as long as possible. There’s no guarantee we’ll find another one!” She hugged him. “Besides, if you keep being as heroic as you normally are, I’ll be fine!”
“I don’t want to risk losing you.” He hugged her as hard as he could. “I can’t lose you.”
“I don’t want you to lose me.” She patted him on the back. “But we need to be careful with our resources…”
“Fine…whatever you want.” Quin smiled and let go of her. “Let’s go back to the village.”
“No…no!” Alaster could feel his body falling apart. He already lost his left leg, and his right arm had a tendency to fall off, but now his body was completing falling apart. He didn’t need Quaza like other heroes. He could go forever without it…but a whole year without repairs had finally taken its full toll on his body. “NO! This is Alaster Wrathe…I need this to keep being him! If I lose this…I become me. I can’t be me!” His head was falling off. “I CAN’T!”
Suddenly he was out of his body. He was staring at it now. His body was right there, but it felt so far away.
“…well, I guess I’m me again…” He sighed and stared out into distant space. He was so far away from everything. But a spirit could take as long as it wanted. He flew from the rock he had been stuck on for so long. He flew from the body…from the person he had been for even longer. “I guess I’ll go back to the factory…find a new body…become a new hero. Become another fake…”
He hated this cycle. He had gone through it twice now. He had ‘died’ three times now. The first time was for real. The other time he had ‘died’ on the battlefield. Now he was on his third.
“Maybe I’ll be better this time…” He said. Then he started to laugh. “No, I’ll always be horrible. A horrible hero with a horrible secret.”
Elysia was falling again. She was dreaming though. She knew she was dreaming. She didn’t know how she knew, she just did. She had had this dream so often.
She could feel that loss every time. That feeling of failing. Of not making it. The feeling was burned into her mind.
She had failed Joseph…she had failed her team. She had failed herself. Everyone…everyone she loved, she failed, in that one moment…why did she slip? Why?
Suddenly Elysia crashed. She had stopped falling. She was somewhere dark. She could see a purple light in the distance.
“JOSEPH!” It had to be him. Who else could it be? “JOSEPH!” She could see him, on his knees, head pointed up.
“Mom…” Joseph turned his head. His eyes were still purple…but they were different now. So dead, yet at the same time, all too alive…Elysia didn’t care. Joseph was here, it didn’t matter how he looked.
“You called me mom…” She started to cry. She fell to her knees and hugged Joseph. “I’m your mom, Joseph…and I’ll always be here for you. Always.”
“But you can’t be…you can’t always be here for me. I’m sorry…” Joseph stood up. Elysia let go of him. “I’m so sorry. You can’t be here. I have to make sure you can never see me again.”
“But this is a dream…I can always see you here!” She hugged him again. “Joseph, you’re all I have left…I don’t care if you’re only a dream, you’re all I have left.”
“Mom…I can’t let you see me here. You can always think of me…but you can never dream of me…not now, and not ever again.” He stared at her sadly. “I’m so sorry.” He disappeared. “You can’t see me here.”
“Joseph?” She was staring at empty darkness. Then there was ground below her…far, far, below her. She was falling again. “Joseph?” She whispered, her shock taking over. She was falling…just falling. Joseph was gone. The only thing left was the ground. “Joseph?” It was all she could say now. She was too shocked to say anything else.
Joseph was gone…even from her dreams.
Penny couldn’t feel anything…she couldn’t feel anything. It was like before. She didn’t want it to be like before…she didn’t want that. She couldn’t deal with it.
“Please…” She held her Hero Core. “Please…not again.”
A hand rested on her shoulder now. She could feel it. She could feel everything again.
“Is that better?” She turned her head. Joseph was there.
“Joseph?” She smiled and hugged him. “This must be a dream.”
“Yes and no.” Joseph said back. Penny looked up at him, her head cocked in confusion.
“What do you mean?” Penny pinched herself. She could feel it, but she didn’t wake up. “I’m awake, right?”
“No. You’re sleeping. But your mind isn’t where it should be.” He looked about the void that he and Penny were in. “This is somewhere no mind should be. None but mine.”
“But…I want to be here. If this is a dream, then I want to stay in this dream.” She rested her head on Joseph’s chest. “I haven’t seen anyone from our team but Quin in so long…can Elysia come here? I haven’t seen her in a while.”
“No…Elysia can never come here again. And neither can you. I’m sorry.” Joseph put a hand to Penny’s Hero Core. “And Penny, I know everything…I know about your feelings for me.”
“This is a dream! Of course you would know!” she laughed.
“I think you know that this isn’t a normal dream…” he said. Penny turned her head.
“Yeah…but I want to keep pretending that is..." She tried to keep smiling, but she couldn't manage it. "And that way, maybe what I think is about to happen won’t happen.” She stared at him, sadness in her eyes.
“…I know what you feel for me…and now that I know everything…I think…I know I feel the same way.” He gripped her Hero Core. “I hope that makes you feel better.”
“It actually makes me feel that much worse.” She smiled and hugged him. “I have to say goodbye to the person I love most…and know that they loved me.”
“I’m sorry. I really am.” He ripped her Hero Core out.
And Penny was gone. She could still feel everything. She could feel everything but her heart.
“Bye.” And Penny wasn’t dreaming anymore. She was wide awake. And she was crying.
Alaster was still floating through space. It had been an eternity. This was just as bad as the time he walked across those fields of infinity.
“I wonder what happened to everyone after that…” Alaster sighed. “…I can’t believe that was the last time I saw them…” He continued drifting through space, but he started to close his eyes. “Whatever happened to Omicron 12?” he asked himself, before falling asleep.
Alaster and Elysia were sitting in an open field. Not an infinite one, but very large. They were sitting in the shade, holding hands, watching the rookies train off in the distance.
“Isn’t it funny how things work out?” Alaster asked Elysia. “I’m dead…you’re alive…I mean, this is just odd, isn’t it?”
“Maybe, but I don’t care…” Elysia smiled. “I love you. It doesn’t matter that you’re a ghost.”
“But…but I lied to you! I lied to everyone, about who I was! I invented an entirely new person, so no one would know!” He stood up and let go of her hand. “I don’t deserve you.” He looked at Elysia, tears in his eyes. “You’re too good for me.” He saw the other Omicron 12 Team members off in the distance.
“It doesn’t matter that you lied. I don’t care that you aren’t ‘Alaster Wrathe’. I care that you’re you.” She stood up and hugged him. “I love you.”
“And…and I love you…” Alaster cried. “But I can never deserve you. Not after all the things I’ve done. After all the lies I’ve told.” He looked to Penny off in the distance. “And I don’t deserve to be Penny’s friend. I’ve lied to her.” He looked to Quin. “I don’t deserve to be Quin’s teacher. I never even taught him the truth!”
He saw Penny and Quin look to him, before look to the ground in sadness.
“And Joseph…I’ve tried to raise him. I’ve tried to be like a father to him…” He cried more.
“You didn’t fail.” Joseph put a hand on Alaster’s shoulder. “I did. I didn’t realize how valuable the things you taught me were…I know now.”
“Joseph?” Alaster asked. He looked around. He was no longer in an open field. He was in a dark place. “Where are we?”
“Somewhere you shouldn’t be.” Joseph responded. “Those who dream of me bring me to them...so I have to stop them from dreaming of me ever again.”
“Oh…” Alaster said. “…you’re real, aren’t you? You’re the real Joseph?”
“Yes…and I’m sorry that I didn’t realize what you taught me. You taught me more than just fighting…you taught me kindness.” He hugged Alaster. “And that is what a father should do.”
“Well…at least I know I did a good job.” Alaster laughed sadly. “I can take solace in that.”
“And you are my father. I know so much now, and I learn more every second.” Joseph stared at Alaster. “I know who you are. And I know that you designed me.”
“…that was so long ago. I wasn’t even Alaster. I wasn’t even dead.” He rested his head in his hands. “I wasn’t a liar.”
“Yes…but you made me. You joined the Hero Recon Team, you found out about the prototype 2.0 models, and you wanted to make one.” Joseph smiled. “You wanted to create. You wanted to make someone you could be a father to. That was me.”
“…I wanted to be there, when you were made. But I wasn’t on the Hero Recon Team. I figured it would draw too much suspicion…at the time, I was almost exactly like I was when I was alive, just a different body.” He frowned. “I needed to change, but I hadn’t figured out how. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for your creation.”
“It’s fine.” Joseph kept smiling. “You may not have been able to say hello, but you’re here to say goodbye.”
“Yeah…but goodbyes are always worse, aren’t they?” He hugged Joseph one last time. “Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.” Joseph responded. And then he was gone.
Alaster was in a field again, but this time, nobody was there. That was what Alaster deserved. “I deserve nobody.”
Quin was happy. Here he was, back at Hero Factory, with all his friends…he had everything he wanted. Elysia was back, and a better leader than ever. Alaster was as kind as he usually was. Joseph had finally stopped trying to creep him out. And best of all, Penny was happy.
The team was back together. They were happy. Everything was right in the world...except…it wasn’t. There was something different about Joseph...he seemed…so different. Quin stared at Joseph, and his vision started to get cloudy…he couldn’t see Joseph properly. But Joseph was moving towards him, he could see that. Suddenly the world went black around him, and only he and Joseph remained.
“Joseph…what’s happening?” Quin asked as he fell to the ground, holding his head. “My head…it hurts…”
“I know. Mine did too...” Joseph placed a hand on Quin’s back. “I am truly sorry for what I have to do."
Quin lowered his hands to the ground and stared at the floor. “Why does my head hurt so much?”
“Because I’m here…” Joseph said. “And when I’m here, it means you shouldn’t be. My realm follows me, and I cannot escape it…people can’t escape it either, once it catches them.”
“Your…realm?” Quin asked. He groaned in pain as his head throbbed. It seemed like something was trying to get into his mind. “Your realm wants to get into my dream.”
“Yes. But my realm is a place beyond even dreams…” Joseph sighed deeply. “If you ever dream of me again, you will most assuredly be taken away, to my realm. Therefore, you can never see me in your dreams, ever again.”
“…did you do this to the others?” Quin asked.
“Yes.” Joseph lifted Quin to his feet, and stared him in the face. “And I’m sorry. I said sorry to them too…I miss them all so much. I will miss you as well.”
“My head…” His head felt like it would explode. “Fix it…please.”
“I'll fix your head…” Joseph gripped his head. "It's going to be unpleasant, though."
Then Joseph ripped his head off.
Quin woke up, gasping. Joseph had been real. Maybe his dream had been fake, but Joseph…Joseph was real.
He looked over to Penny; she had her head buried between her knees…he could hear her crying. He wrapped his arms around Penny while she cried. She only sobbed more when she felt his arms.
"He left me, Quin." Penny cried. "I can't even dream about him anymore."
"I can't either." Quin said. "He's gone...he's just...gone."
“So…this is my home…my realm.” Joseph said to himself, staring through the blackness. “This is where I’m meant to be. This is right…” He touched his Hero Core. “I don’t need this anymore.” He ripped his entire chest plate off, and let it disappear into the air. “I don’t even need this body. I am…I am beyond it now.”
Joseph’s body slowly changed to nothing, but his head remained. Then, he felt the chains again...those chains of darkness that had wrapped around him, and taken him here, so long ago…but the chains were now part of him. He was bound to this darkness, but the darkness was his now. Joseph looked upon his new form; this was right. This was who he was meant to be, and the darkness was where he was meant to be.
But…if it was right, then why did it feel so wrong?
- Brutus Fortitude
- Oliver Peace
- Jude Flare