Rain poured down hard against the pavement causing a rippling effect on the puddles that scattered here and there. A black leather boot stepped into one of the puddles causing the water to disperse. A man in a large black trench coat and a grey hat walked two small boys down a dimly lit street way. Several of the street lamps on the road were broken, meaning the narrow road was scarcely lit. Even those that worked flickered on and off, lighting the street for a few moments before casting it into darkness once more. Either side of the narrow road was a long row of terraced houses. The man walked the boys along the street a little further before coming to a halt outside one of the houses. The front door had a golden plate towards the top of it upon which the words ‘Bel Grave Orphanage’ were engraved. The man reached for the doorknob and gave it three loud knocks. The door remained closed. He knocked again three times. A hatch on the door opened up revealing an old looking woman. She looked carefully at the man before closing the hatch over. The sound of several bolts being unlocked could be heard. The woman opened up the door and stood at the entrance staring at the man and then down at the two boys.
“I have a delivery,” said the man.
The woman looked down at the boys, who looked totally bewildered as to what was going on. The old woman looked at the man once more. “Let me see your papers.”
The man reached into the inside pocket of his trench coat and pulled out a set of documents. He handed them over to the old lady who read through them as best she could in the dimly lit doorway. After a few moments, her attention went from the documents to the two boys.
“Come with me,” she said to them.
They all entered the orphanage apart from the man who departed immediately without so much as saying goodbye. The woman took the boys coats off and threw them into a nearby basket before leading them down a long corridor. Darkness filled the corridor apart from the odd glimpses of moonlight that shone through small windows in the distance. They reached a large door at the end of the corridor and came to a stop. The lady reached into her pocket, revealing a rusty old metal key. She put the key into the lock and turned it slowly before opening the door.
Inside the room were several rows of small beds. The old woman pointed into the room. “Inside.”
The two youngsters looked at each other, a mixture of confusion and fear was edged upon their faces.
“Go on,” urged the woman, in a not too pleasant manner.
Reluctantly, the boys began to walk into the room. The woman walked in behind them and closed the door.
“Follow me,” she said and began to walk down the middle of the room.
The two boys hurried after her and on the three of them walked, beds either side of them. The boys curiously looked around the room. They began to notice movement from a few of the beds. Inside them lay small boys; some of who had been woken up by the old lady and the two boys when they entered. A few of the boys began to whisper to each other from inside their beds.
The old lady picked up on the whispers. “Go back to sleep,” she told all of them.
The boys did exactly what the lady asked of them and put their heads on their pillows. Some even hid beneath the covers, afraid of the consequences should they not obey.
The old lady and the two boys reached the far end of the room. In the corner stood two empty beds. The woman pointed to them.
“Go to sleep,” she said in a tone that offered no argument.
The boys did as they were bid and got into bed. The woman walked back down the room and to the door, which she shut behind her. The sound of a key turning in the door lock could be heard.
The two boys slept side by side in their beds. As they did so, and the realm of dream came to them, so did other images. However, the content of each dream was drastically different.
The first child, of whom had dark hair, dreamt of a land of eternal darkness, a hell. This was the realm of Underworld, a land of eternal night. In Underworld, the people are slaves to the King of the dark realm, Kanto. Some of the inhabitants lived their lives in hiding, whilst others followed the King, although they did this more out of fear rather than loyalty. A section of the Underworld was cut off from the rest. This place is known as the land of the damned, the forsaken lands, a place where the undead or the cursed are said to wander. However there is no rest for their souls as even in death, they are slaves to the dark King of the Underworld. The entire world is prison like, ruled under the brutal regime of martial law. The King uses the power of telekinesis to control the minds of his people. This power enables him to have telepathic links with any being, anywhere, allowing him to attack the subconscious of any Underworld native by simple thought alone. The world is a dark place by nature, a shadow world that harvests evil doers. Its inhabitants are generally dark willed by nature and serve the King unconditionally until their dying day.
The boy who slept next to the dark haired child, who had long locks of blond hair, dreamt of another place entirely. This was the neighbouring realm of Alexandria, a world of continuous daylight. The land was the complete opposite of its counterpart. A tropical paradise, the world is full of life and represents what is good. Free will and opinion are encouraged on the world compared with the dictatorship rule of Underworld. The king of Alexandria, Zeris, cares deeply for his people and he rejoices with them in times of celebration, as well as consoling them in times of hardship. The people are his children and he is their father.
The two realms were as different as daylight and darkness. Their opposite natures ensured the pair were locked in eternal conflict, and it’s inhabitants, bitter enemies. Much blood was spilt and millions of lives were lost in the battles over the decades. The death and despair caused as a result of this enraged the god Trenkenth for the very universe he had worked to build had become threatened. Thus the Creator set his sights on the two warring realms.
The two heirs’ to the throne, Prince Valentine of Alexandria, and Prince Shadow of Underworld, both small boys no older than five, were to be banished from these realms, as punishment for the crimes of their father’s. The King’s were powerless to resist, for the wrath of the Creator was something none could withstand.
And so they appeared before the gateway, a doorway between worlds. The location was at the foot of two mountains, in a valley around sixty feet wide. The two groups came across a large stone-like structure.
The structure was made of the oldest stone they had ever seen, having the look of something that had stood since the beginning of time. It arched up to form a doorway that raised over fifty feet high. Thirty huge steps led up to the gateway opening and either side of the entrance were two statues. Both of them stood as if guarding the gate, and everyone present felt as if the two figures, which wielded a large stone broadsword apiece, were watching them.
“Father, what is that?” asked a small boy. He was Kanto’s son, Shadow. Aged five with thick dark hair.
“Be silent,” Kanto replied coldly, not even caring to look at his son as he spoke. The Underworld people were a passionless people and their King was a man who knew no mercy. This relinquishing of his own son meant little to him. As long as his kingdom was intact, as long as his dominion remained, it was a small price to pay.
A huge bolt of lightning struck the gateway and the two stone statues began to move. The stone creatures seemed to come to life and they both looked down at the group whose attention was quickly taken from each other, towards the stone figures who were now most definitely gazing upon all in attendance. And then he appeared, the Creator of all things.
The time has come,” Trenkenth said from the top of the steps. “Bring them to me.” The god referred to the two boys, the pair he intended to exile from this world.
Without hesitation or remorse, Kanto shoved his son forward. He pointed up the stairway, and Shadow obeyed.
Zeris, the King of Alexandria, held his son tight, rubbing the hair on top of his head. “It’s ok son,” he said to the boy softly. “Remember, you’re a hero. You have saved your people. Be strong!”
Prince Valentine, a blond haired boy of five, nodded to his father. A tear fell down his cheek. Zeris, fighting tears himself, brushed it softly from his cheek.
“Zeris release the child now,” commanded Trenkenth, who was beginning to lose patience with the Alexandrian king.
The two mammoth stone creatures raised their large swords up high and pointed the tips down in the direction of Zeris. The King and his son Valentine looked up at the guardians. I have to let him go. Zeris looked at his son. “It is time Valentine, I will always be with you here,” he said, pointing to the boys heart. The King gestured over in the direction of the Creator, “Go on.”
Valentine nodded and slowly approached Trenkenth, taking his place at his side.
Kanto and Zeris looked on as the Creator raised his staff. Lightning began to form in the sky above. They all looked up at the gathering storm. A huge lightning bolt appeared and struck the top of Trenkenth’s staff. Then he slammed his staff down hard, sending out a spray of white light that blinded everyone in the area. As the light faded, Trenkenth and the two boys were gone, and the guardians were stood motionless by the edge of the gateway, silently watching on.
Zeris looked up at the empty gateway one last time. My son, please forgive me.
Almost simultaneously, the two boys sleeping inside in the orphanage jumped up from their pillows, as if forcefully extracted from their dreams. It was strange, because as they turned to each other, the memory of the dream faded from their minds.
“Are you ok?” Asked the boy with the dark hair.
The boy in the bed beside him, this one with blond hair, nodded nervously.
“Hey, don’t be scared, ok?” Said the dark haired boy.
“I’ll try,” the other replied.
The dark hair boy smiled. “What’s your name?”
The boy with the blond hair thought for a moment. Why was it that he couldn’t remember his name? Who am I? Try as he may, it would not come to him. Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
Your name is James, a subconscious voice said in his head. “My name…is James.” Was it his name? He could not be certain.
The blond haired boy held out his hand. “I’m…” The boy hesitated for a moment, as if he had forgotten something. “Chad….my name is….Chad.”
“Nice to meet you,” James replied.
“Hey, you two better get back to sleep!” Spoke another boy in a bed on the far side of the room. “If Mrs Garner finds you awake, we’ll all be in for it!”
Chad winked to James. Both boys put their heads back onto their pillows and went to sleep.