Chaos & Kuryo (novel 3) Chapter 6 part 1

Kuryo’s POV

We were traveling, whizzing in crow form with the Academy’s subconscious within me. We had long ago left the pocket from which the Academy had created its little haven and we were now whizzing through one dimension when – WHAM. Something smashed into us, completely out of nowhere.

It was a soundwave, that I was aware of. It ricocheted off us, sending us reeling to the left.

“Oh no!” squealed the academy – who I’ll call Suzy for simplicity’s sake – inside my head. “It’s them!”

“The rebellion?” I thought just as I righted myself and turned around. And no, it wasn’t the Rebellion. Those bums had never pulled themselves together like this. Instead I was faced with a giant ship of the interspace travelling thing.

Now, traveling between dimensions should have prepared me for actually meeting an inter-dimension traveling thing, but I had never met one before. It was an absolute shock. Which was why I got caught.

A laser, light beam, whatever you want to call it, burst out of the ship and zapped over us. It tingled like ants on fire over my skin and between my feathers, and suddenly I was no longer in the ship. Instead I was in a tube full of green-ish liquid, in my human form.

“Oh no, no, no,” moaned the voice in my head (suzy) as I got a good look at what was outside of this huge tube.

There was rows upon rows upon rows of other tubes, all upright like mine and capped with a lid, filled with sleeping creatures and, mainly, humans. Between the rows marched – not humans.

“It’s them,” wailed Suzy within me, curling up and sobbing in the back of my mind.

Oh, them? The tall, not quite proportioned correctly not-humans? Because, they looked like humans at first glance. But they were just a smeedge too tall, too lean, too… ethereal looking?

Placing my palms on the glass, I sensed the world with my powers. I felt the lives in all the tubes, all pulsing and asleep. I sensed the life within all those non-humans, calm and placidly watching me like I was the latest curioso. They were remarkably the same, just in different casings. Like all life, really.

Two of them, dressed in long burnt red robes, came to stand before my tube. One placed a palm upon the glass.

“Where is your traveling device?” they asked, and it reverberated through the tube.

I gasped for air – and found the liquid breathable. I choked on it, gulped, and found myself breathing in liquid. Whoah. Weird.

“Your device,” the creature repeated starchily.

I made a point of looking down at my hands before back up at them. “I dropped it,” I lied. No need for them to know I didn’t need one.

They both cocked their heads as if smelling the lie. I held up my hands, defenseless. In the back of my mind, Suzy hadn’t stopped her wailing and it was seriously distracting.

What looked like a taser was set against the tube and – zap! It was a taser.

My hairs stood on end, my limbs quaked, and my brain was dizzy. Wow, that was a high voltage.

“Your device,” they repeated.

I turned out my pockets. Shook out my sleeves. “There’s nothing!” I exclaimed furiously.

The taser was approached to the tube, but the other alien shook its head. It said something dismissively in their language, which was melodious and sweet. Noxiously sweet, like your aunt promising to give you candies when she was really taking you to the dentist.

I banged a fist upon the tube. “Can you let me out now?” I held out my arms. “I got nothing on me! I have somewhere to be-”

They both started laughing. Again, they spoke with each other, and they casually pressed a button at the base of the tube.

ZAP! Lights out for me.

Except, Suzy woke me up. My body was asleep, but I was sitting above it, tied to it but still alert. Suzy was sitting beside me, on the top of another tube. This one contained what looked like a wild pig.

“They’re slave traders,” she sniffled. “We shouldn’t have come here. They’re going to sell us!”

“Who are they?” I asked as calmly as I could.

“They’re from the Arka dimension. They finally figured out the dimension jumping, and,” she sniffled dramatically, “they’ve been invading everywhere and taking over dimensions. They’ve even attacked the Academy. It’s a mess.”

“Oh,” I said. Suzy sobbed, covering her face with her hands.

“I’m scared,” she squealed.

I put an arm around her shoulders, but took a moment to look around. There were many of those species strolling around, patrolling and checking on the tubes. They weren’t very magical though, if they hadn’t noticed us sitting up here.

“It’s going to be fine,” I said, honestly believing it. The Academy wouldn’t let its subconscious be gone for long. At worst we’d be re-kidnapped.

But Suzy was growing hysterical. “We shouldn’t have left home!” she wailed.

I squeezed her shoulder tighter. “It’s going to be just fine,” I whispered, kissing her gently on the side of her head. I could feel her panic and fear, so I tried to press calm and happiness into her. At least we were together. We were each other’s tickets to freedom. The Academy would come for her, and I’d escaped everywhere I’d been trapped before. I could certainly do so again.

Chaos & Kuryo (Novel 3) Chapter 4 Part 1

Chaos’s POV

With a thud I landed in a blurr of brown and beige and green. My feet dunked down into slushy mud. I lost my balance and toppled over, arms flailing. I landed face-first in mud.

Ugh. What an entrance.

Spitting and cursing I propped up on my elbows. Before me, a breathtaking view of valleys and farm houses stretched in spring hues with mud spattered here and there. It was where Bella had once taken me to see the view – except now it was spring.

A lump rose in my throat. I crawled up to my feet, feeling betrayed by myself. I just had to come back here, didn’t I? Well, bugger it all.

I looked down at the black box in my hand, cursing myself and my squishy sentiments. I would go back and – something appeared behind me. My hairs stood on end. My magic senses went ‘warning! Warning!’ and I whirled, swords out.

Sparks skittered as I struck a magical shield. It shimmered with pastel colors in a bubble around a very un-pastel person. Lucifer.

Lucifer was all decked out in horns and black robes and the usual tall-as-hell-was-deep high heels that levitated above the mud. There was even the semi-permanent smug look to his face.

“Oh, it’s you,” I said, lowering my swords. I picked up the black box that I had dropped to defend myself. I wiped the mud off of it, then looked back up. Those crystal-like blue eyes were shimmering with amusement.

“Chaos, Chaos,” Lucifer tutted, bending over as if dealing with a child. “What are you doing here, hmm?”

I held up the box. “It was a mistake. I uh- just – wrong place. Don’t worry, I’m leaving.” Like I wanted to stay around here!

Lucifer held out his hand amiably. “Need help? I’m pretty good at fixing things.”

“Really?” I held out the box without thinking twice. Or rather, I thought too late. It was when the box left my fingers that I thought -hey, wait a minute.

“Thanks!” said Lucifer so cheerfully as he straightened, taking the box with him. “And thank you so much for coming back.”

“I need to go,” I said in a blurt “my friend-” but Lucifer was giving me that pitying look he reserved for… unfortunate people. I gulped, feeling screwed.

Lucifer snapped his fingers. Behind him in a semi-circle appeared a whole host of angels. “Take him,” he ordered, a nasty grin sparkling across his face.

I cursed under my breath. There was no way I was fighting my way out of this.


Kuryo’s POV

“Hey,” I was dangling in nothingness, still. Time had passed, and yet it hadn’t. I’d dozed off – or had I?

I wondered if the other bodies that were dangling around were conscious. “Hey!”

But my voice didn’t seem to go far, nor to even echo. It was just absorbed by this lifeless darkness. No answers. Except- a twinge of amusement that came down the umbilical chord.

“You’re alive,” I mumbled, looking up at the thing that was above me. At the dark mass of the Academy’s depths.

A sliver of laughter came down the chord to ripple out through my mind.

Hi, I thought dryly.

Welcome to my world, the voice cooed in my head.

I squeezed my eyes shut, trying not to think of everything and anything. I needed to find a way out of here!

Laughter echoed in my mind. There is no way out, you sad little thing. We will digest you. You will end.

And, like the proverbial villain who never shuts up, the rant began.

It was a mistake, incorporating you so quickly last time. This time, we will do it slower. Yes, yes,.

That was followed by a whole chorus of sighs and laughs. Like every single piece that was shattered up there had its own voice for an instant. It gave me the creeps- yet I somehow understood it. I’d felt that shattered before.

“You do?” asked a tangible voice. I startled so bad, looking up.

A silvery head looked down at me. The skin was silvery translucent, the hair was white and thin, and its torso was child-like, the waist hidden in the darkness that was above me. Thin arms jutted from shrunken sockets to grip at the chord.

“Do you know what this feels like?” and that word, ‘this’ had been said by a million voices.

A strange eagerness was rippling from the being, from this infantile version of the Academy. It was like a heat oppressing over me. But I nodded, feeling a strange sort of sympathy within myself for it.

A sympathy that was noticed the minute I felt it.

“You like me!” the figure squealed, clasping its tiny hands together. It tapped and toyed its fingers together in excitement. “I like you too!” it blurted.

I laughed at this -creepy- but almost charming innocence.

The figure ducked back up into the darkness. Then, weilding a knife, it ducked back down. Knife held in its teeth, it swung down, gripping the umbilical chord with ease. I gasped, suppressing a wave of horror as the region beneath the hips swung down. It was a mess of octopus tentacles, all white and silvery and translucent like the rest of this body.

The being swung down straight before me, the tentacles wrapping around my stomach so the head was just a little above me. The knife was drawn out from the teeth and pointed at my throat. “I’ve got a knife!” the child giggled.

O-kay? I forced myself to stay calm, neutral, pushing all other feelings aside. “I don’t have one,” I said lamely.

The being giggled. The knife was waved in my face. “Just remember.” Then the knife was swung around and planted straight into their octopus hip. It jutted out, the skin torn but not bleeding.

“Now,” the being looked at me, tilting its head to the side. A sigh came from its lips, but I felt a rush of voices in my head. Questions, probing eyes, as if all my thoughts were being sifted through. A question was pulled out of me.

“Who am I?” squealed the being, as if so excited to have someone to talk to. “Well I- I never thought of that!”

“Ah?” I half-laughed, feeling giddy from my senses screaming danger.

It leaned in so close our noses brushed. Its fingers toyed with my ear, the one with the split lobe that had been so long ago. The being grinned. “I remember this. Your escape. I remember you. I remember everything, except -” it took in an angry breath, then hissed in my face. “I am nothing. I have no voice, I have no time, I have no feelings, no agency! I get no friends.” It leaned back, hands locked behind my neck as it arched back, back, back, until all I saw was the tip of its chin and its chest.

“I am alone in my multitude,” it crowed, half sobbing. “I have no friends.”

A feeling radiated from it, raw emotion that invaded me. It was wounded, miserable, shattered, and weak. Frightened, lonely.

I found myself pitying it. Hadn’t I felt that way after surviving the Academy? I’d had no one, not even Charr with me for the first little while. Even then, Charr could only understand so much. I collected partners, but they never filled that strange void within-

“Exactly,” cooed the spirit, drawing me out of my thoughts by rising up again to look down at me. “I’m so alone.

I gulped, not liking how I was seeing myself echoed in this being, this part of the Academy.

Chaos & Kuryo (Novel 3) Chapter 3, Part 2

Chaos’s POV

“Kuryo can NOT be transgender,” I blurted. “I’ve seen him naked!” Among other things! Hey, I was even in that body and I didn’t realize it wasn’t 900% male by birth.

“Yeah, so have we,” said Aaliyah flatly. “He’s had surgery. That’s all. Don’t make such a big deal of it.”

“Yeah,” muttered Jade as if I was a kid throwing a tantrum. And maybe I was. I mean, in the scale of things this was pretty small, but –

“Why didn’t he tell me?” I fairly yelled. “I mean-” my hands waved around. I caught myself guppy-fishing with my mouth. “He never told me!” My hands dropped down into my lap. I felt miserable. Hurt. Abandoned!

“Just,” muttered V2. “Maybe he didn’t want you to know.”

Ow. Ouch. That hurt. I pressed a palm over my heart, where it was bleeding on the inside. I took a deep breath – and realized everyone was staring at me grumpily.

“This is really not the biggest problem we have,” said Aaliyah flatly.

“Yeah but,” hello? Need time to process?

“Lookit,” V2 held up the black box. “I have the black box. I’m going to go back and try and save Charr, my Charr. If you want, I can keep an eye out for your Kuryo too.” He said that with all the enthusiasm of someone who wanted to go deep sea diving with starving sharks.

“And we’re supposed to do what?” Aaliyah jiggled the bottle of whiskey. “Just sit around and drink? We’re coming with you.”

V2 pressed his lips together tightly and gave her a leveled, mature, look of disapproval. “The rebellion doesn’t take well to strangers. At best you’ll be seen as spies. You should stay here -”

I snatched the black box from him. “Who’s coming with me?” I asked, jumping up.

“Hey!” V2 jumped up, but I flicked a sword out between us. Nuh-uh, buddy.

V2 gave me another look that was, I don’t know, supposed to remind me to be mature? I put the black box around my neck all while keeping him at bay with the tip of my sword. “I’m going to find Kuryo,” I said loudly. “And I’m going to see what can be done about the Academy, whatever that problem is.” Because guess what?! No one ever explained what that was to me either! No one told me anything!

Like hell I was going to let myself be ‘temporary’. Or disposable. I was going to figure everything out and wring an apology from Kuryo for not having told me, ME!, that he was trans.

“You haven’t the slightest idea what you’re doing!” said V2, just a teensy bit furious, as I tugged the black box down around my neck. “Do you even know how that thing works?”

“Uh, yeah?” I fibbed as I looked around at the very nonplussed Aaliyah and Jade. They hadn’t even gotten up. They just looked on, expecting me to sit down and be proven wrong. I’d show them! Hadn’t I been in Kuryo’s body when something something, travel something? I was quite sure we’d traveled together once.

Let me see. I looked down at the box, remembering what it had felt like to travel within Kuryo, to feel the –

The room disappeared as the smooth feeling of travel overcame me. Of feeling the world pass you by, slip away, and the stars whirling around you.

Oh, shit, I thought dimly. I don’t even have shoes on.


Kuryo’s POV

I didn’t so much wake up as I gradually grew more and more conscious. I felt a low throbbing hum around me, a pulse if you will. Light glowed, not quite blinding but not quite comfortable either. It was a strange light. Synthetic. I couldn’t feel it like I usually felt the aether. This was lifeless light.

That thought jogged me from my stupor. Lifeless light? Light, energy, was supposed to be alive. It was life – but here it wasn’t.

I was suspended in what felt like a straight jacket, arms wrapped around myself and feet dangling straight down, suspended by a chord that seemed to be reaching up out of my spine at the base of my neck. All around me, at first glance, was a mist full of firefly-like lights. They sparkled, glimmered, and shifted slowly from here to there. But at second glance, there was more of us. To my left and right and all around, there were other shapes dangling in the mist, still and inert. I could not see the chords that they hung suspended from, but I had to look up.

My chord, if I arched my head back far enough, looked eerily like an umbilical chord. It was thick and fleshy, pulsating with life – life? I squinted, trying to see farther, but there were no lights above me, only ones beside and beneath. Okay. But there was a life and that I could work with. I closed my eyes, letting my feelings shift, letting my soul reach out. I ran my senses through myself, where I sensed the umbilical chord having attached itself to my spine, into me. It was like a soul that was piggy-backed onto me, if piggy backing merged you together like veins twisting into you.

Okay, that was gross. But I kept looking, sensing this frail soul, this fraction of a being that was just a thin tendril reaching up and up, connected to something beyond. Something that felt – broken. Shattered. In a million fragile pieces. Familiar. Far too familiar, like looking in a mirror when you’re not expecting it.

It took me a moment to recognize the academy’s soulprint. Once I did, it sensed me, in a sort of strange reflection of my sensing it.

For a moment, we looked at each other. Not with our eyes, but with our senses, probing at each other. For me, it was like looking at a tumor you had cast off. It was gross, disheveled, and broken and bleeding. Yet it was connected to me and I sensed it sensing me – like looking into a mirror reflecting a mirror. It was dizzying.

“You’re awake,” said another voice. Familiar too – but not bad.

Charr? I looked down, finding myself incapable of speech. My voice just wouldn’t work.

But there, beneath me, a ray of light beamed in as if from a door, except I knew there was no door. There was just a sliver of self-importance that shone down upon this being.

It was Charr, but there was blue gleams to her hair. Her eyes too, gleamed blue. The academy had chosen her, then, to carry it.

“Hello,” it said in Charr’s coldest voice. “How are you?”

It felt like my jaw was unhinged on command. I was ordered to speak. Irritated, I didn’t want to. But really, I wanted to. So I did.

“What the fuck?” I asked. “Seriously?”

Charr chuckled. “Seriously?” she echoed. She put fingers to her chin as if meditating deeply on my words. “Seriously,” she repeated. “I think we are very serious. Wouldn’t you say so?”

I rolled my eyes and kicked at the air. Nothing really moved. I felt bonds going down my legs, even on my ankles so my feet couldn’t flex. It was ridiculous. Okay, think. I had the Academy here (in Charr!), I had to get into its head.

“Ah- ah-ah,” Charr lifted a finger. “I heard that thought.”

I cursed under my breath. Charr chuckled eerily, crossing her arms across her chest with a satisfied grin. “I like this,” she announced, and I could feel the satisfied smugness through the presence above me. It was all connected, all throbbing with the same fragile life. But somewhere, if I focused really hard – there had to be a piece of Charr.

“Oh no, no, no, don’t think she’s going to rescue you,” the Academy sneered, lifting its chin arrogantly. “She’s been taken care of.”

“What?” I yelped. “What do you mean?”

Charr’s head tilted with that grin. “She was too much trouble. You know, you I like to gloat to. Her, well, she’s just a failed shield. I don’t want her sticking around. She helped you escape last time, you know. You’re pretty useless without her.”

“What did you do to her?” I yelled, jerking against my bonds. “You-” but I stopped, the laughter suddenly coming from so many different angles that it hurt my ears. It felt like the whole world was laughing at me.

The laughter dimmed into cackles from above. Charr wiped a tear from her eye and giggled. “Ah, this is fun. I’m glad I’ve kept you alive. Just for this.”

“To gloat? That’s all I’m here for? To stroke your ego?”

Charr shrugged. “Gotta get our strokes somehow.” and then she giggled at her own joke. I was nonplussed. My heart was hammering in my chest and my ears were ringing. Charr. I couldn’t sense her within the body. Had she been put safely aside for later use? Or was she… recycled?

Okay, time to think – but she was in my head so- no time to think?

“I want you here for your power,” sighed Charr. “You should know that already. You remember how souls can be like batteries? Well you’re a powerful one and I’m also taking you apart to use you to rebuild myself. So take that!”

Uh, kay. That made sense but … my mind drew a blank. I didn’t know what to ask, or how to weasel my way out of this.

“Because you can’t!” sang Charr, twirling on herself and doing a little dance step. “You’re stuck! Welcome to limbo, asshole!”

I would ask ‘what did I ever do to you’, but I knew all too well. Time to try another avenue. “Isn’t there some way we can work together?” I asked hopefully. “I’m in a bind here, you see?”

The dumb joke landed, and it made the Academy laugh. Wow.

“Nice try!” said Charr. “But I’m not an idiot! You stay here and rot!”

The light around her blinked out. Her presence vanished. I was alone again. Well. Alone.

I looked up again, at the throbbing presence above me. I should have been worrying about Charr, life, and hunger, but all I could wonder was ‘where are we?’.