Of Monsters and Men

KenżaSheep

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What would you do if you woke up one day and realized the world around you had ended? Ruins of structures became the only nostalgic remnants of humanity, and the inhabitants of the world turned tide from man to beast. The beasts were the only ones to survive... and Kitty, too, apparently. Aside from the landscape now overrun with previously-fictional creatures, it appeared to the girl that she might be the only remaining human in the world. And being an only-human was not easy.

Kitty sat alone in the broken window of an abandoned building, three stories off the ground. It was on the outskirts of a long-dead human civilization, but a vantage point she used frequently. Her view reached quite a ways from here, stretching out across the woods before it was abruptly cut off by jutting hills; still, it was enough for her to see if she really was alone. Monsters were not something she wanted to come into contact with, a notion that grew especially pressing as night drew near.

Tennis shoes crunched against shards of broken glass when she hopped off the windowsill to inside; footsteps tapping against concrete as Kitty made a dash down the stairs and outside into the early evening light. She had one shot to make it home before dusk, so the quicker she ran, the better.

Within minutes, the city was well behind her, and a deep forest pressed in uncomfortably on every side. The girl adjusted the makeshift bag across her chest and tried to ignore the way it bumped against her back every time she took a step. Though she had since slowed from her initial dash, Kitty did not pause. The woods were not a place to stop and rest—much less a place she wanted to be when night fell. Unfortunately, it was starting to look like she would not arrive at her safe place before darkness overtook the woods and left her stranded without direction.

Shaking the thought from the forefront of her mind (though it continued to linger in the back) Kitty kept walking. She could only hope to survive long enough to make it there first—and in once piece.
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
Within the depths of said forest, news got to Ezra that there was a tresspasser.

"That's... terribly wrong, I'm certain. Humans cannot survive radiation, it goes right through them." He responded to a young scout.
a sequence of hisses and chitters came in response. They'd never seen the person in question.

"You're really going to make me go?. I'm busy, Zhe." He responded, almost with a growl but without taking his bright blue eyes off of the peppers he was cutting.

More hissing and spitting.

"Fine, but you finish dinner for everyone."He said, finally giving in and cleaning his hands with a kitchen cloth before going outside.

Outside, the fresh air of the night welcomed the humanized wisp. He sighed, shoving his hands in his pockets and heading for the Stag station. One of them was going to have to skip dinner as well.
In their settlement, most of the rudimentary homes still had light inside them, and people were slowly gathering around their nightly bonfire. It all seemed to human to him, but at the same time it wasn't. The comfort they found in the cold tones of blue fire, humans found eerie and unsettling. It was their nature. Opposite but so very similar.

Once at the station, he was glad to find Estraven offered to help him without thinking twice about it. They were old friends, the lot of them, and Estraven had just always been there. He was getting sort of old lately, but it was nothing the purple couldn't fix.They hadn't crossed over to this world only to die after a few years.

They both departed towards the area Zhe had pointed Ezra towards. Meg lived nearby, her neuronal network must have caught on to the human... but of course, she would not act on it. Ezra and Estraven disappeared into the night and the lush depths of the forest. It wasn't that dark outside, but the trees did not let much light through.


From her position, Kitty heard a grotesque howl, as if one opened their mouth to the fullest and lifted their head only to attempt to pronounce a deep "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH"
 

KenżaSheep

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She froze instantly, shoulders raising in fear as goosebumps pricked her skin. Had they found her? Were they coming? Perhaps it was only a monster nearby that hadn't noticed her yet and she would simply have to be careful. Kitty meticulously observed the area, but didn't take another step, terrified that the sound would draw attention—the last thing she wanted. Where was the sound coming from?
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
Another howl answered the previous one, coming from a completely different area.

From her position, she could hear movement around her. Growls and humming and heavy breaths. A monster without eyes, the size of a small pony, was breathing in her direction.

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" It growled.


"Damned sheep" muttered Ezra under his breath, they'd hunt down the trespasser if they didn't arrive in time, and swallow it whole. Estraven grunted, changing his posture.
"Hold on to me, we must hurry..." He said, agreeing with his friend. Ezra wrapped his arms around Estraven as the trees around them became a blur. How the stag could see where he was even stepping remained a mystery to him.
 

KenżaSheep

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Toast. That's what Kitty felt like. It was a funny phrase, not having remembered the last time she'd eaten crispy buttered bread, but her amusement was short lived, if lived at all.

Kitty was glad for the pressing ways of the forest, for once, since it meant the nearest tree wasn't more than a few feet away—or she could make a break for it, but by the sounds of the howls, there was more than one waiting. It was too dark for her to see much beyond the immediate vicinity, and it was growing darker by the second. Her adrenaline made the forest-scented air feel heavy, almost as if she could create visible ripples in it by moving. Whatever she was going to do, she needed to do it soon.

Eyes fixated on the silhouette of the one creature she could see—the one likely to end her life no matter what she did—Kitty slowly shifted into a position to run. If the creature moved towards her, she wouldn't hesitate to begin her dash early. Under no circumstances did she feel like dying.
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
Even after walking closer, the creature gave no signs of noticing her at all, until... it started roaring. A sound that echoed in your brain, so loud your ears were left ringing. Said creature roared as it turned from side to side.

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-" It stopped right when the monster turned in her general direction, and then it started moving towards her at a moderate speed.
 

KenżaSheep

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That must have been her cue to run, since the rest of her moved before she could think about it. Kitty didn't look back, fearing to do so would be her demise.
Feet pounding, heart racing; she could almost feel its breath on her neck; a sickly-sweet scent that reeked of death, its spine-chilling call of the wild pressing against the inside of her skull every time it echoed again in her mind. These were monsters. They were dangerous, and she was not made to live in their world.
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
She could've kept running, if it wasn't for the massive animal that suddenly stepped in her way. The monster behind her stopped as well as a man got off of the... animal?, while shouting.

"HALT" He shouted, his face full of anger directed at the horrendous creature behind her, which... whimpered?.
The only tell that he wasn't human were his eyes, bright as neon lights in a city club at 3 am.

"Are you alright, little one?" Was asked to her then, from the big hooved animal that had appeared out of nowhere. It... he?, bent down to look at her more closely.
 

KenżaSheep

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Kitty slid to a stop so quickly, she ended up on her bottom and scrambling to her feet again. No, no, no, no– This could not be happening; she was too young to die like this!

Her mind was whirring faster than the rest of her, causing some dizziness while she caught her bearings again. The moment things cleared up, Kitty's backward scufflings turned into a frantic scurry towards any other direction, so long as it was away from them.
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
While Ezra stayed behind apprehending the idiot goop sheep that had almost made a snack out of the human, Estraven followed Kitty. It took him about two seconds to catch up and grab her by the shoulder with one hand. His size allowed for such things

"Human, you barely escaped that sheep. Why are you so eager to run into the mouth of another?" He said, with a loud, booming voice.
 

KenżaSheep

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Why was she...? Was this...? Kitty's feet froze on the ground, terror stricken. Something akin to a Minotaur but covered from head to waist in animal fur, was what stood before her. The rest of it was deerlike; four-footed and a larger than she was. Beneath the chin of an also deerlike head was a rather human face, but the girl was not to be deceived by that. This was a monster.
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
"...human?" Perhaps it was deaf. It'd very much explain coming into the forest and walking around like its race still owned the place. But then again, if it had been deaf it was unlikely that it'd have escaped the first sheep.

It was a few moments before Ezra caught up to them.
"That's handled, how are you, human?" Said the man, whose only feature that betrayed his nature were the neon blue eyes that shone like stars.
 

KenżaSheep

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Were they talking... to her? Was this a ploy? A trap? Was she dreaming?

Kitty hadn't noticed she'd reached to pinched herself until she looked down at her arm in shock when a sharp pain pricked her skin. Immediately, her eyes returned to the things that stood before her. The girl shuffled a half-step back, appearing as if she might bolt again.

"You're not gonna eat me, are you?"

Where the courage to speak came from, she did not know, nor did she care. It was more of a hoarse whisper, anyways. Such a cheesy line, too, but what was she expected to say? AAAAAH? No, that wouldn't do at all. Clearly they understood her... or at least, she understood them.
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
A low rumble came from the bigger creature. He was laughing.

"Not at all, and perhaps giving us a name to call you would improve your situation."Said Estraven.

" We were actually about to have dinner before you suddenly appeared. Where the hell did you come from?" Said Ezra then, in an annoyed tone.

" Easy..."Rumbled Estraven, hoping his friend would give the human a break.
 

KenżaSheep

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She looked them over, observing each as they spoke to her. Kitty wasn't at all convinced they weren't planning to devour her, but as she couldn't exactly do much about it at this point, she decided to play along— if only for a little while.

"What do you mean, 'where did I come from?' I could ask the same of you, taking over my home planet!"

Whoops. Her words went before her thoughts. So much for playing along....
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
"She has a point" Said Estraven, giving Ezra an amused glance.

"A point, sure. Look... You've already noticed how dangerous this part of the woods is, I suppose. So unless you want to get eaten, I suggest you come with us." Said the other man, ignoring Estraven's much more lax attitude. This was a serious matter.
 

KenżaSheep

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"So you can eat me?" She asked in return, taking another step back. "Yeah, right. No thanks. I've got enough to worry about already."
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
"Yeah you do, I don't eat humans. Mainly because I currently am in a human body and that'd be unhealthy. We've got a small village going on a few miles from here." Said Ezra, folding his arms.

"You can stay with someone for the night. Its warm, and I'm sure there'd be some extra food for you." said Estraven, now offering a warm smile.

"But if you want, you can stay here and play hide and death by being-eaten-alive with them instead." Finished Ezra, towards one of the goopy creatures that had just been about to eat her five minutes prior. Its mouth snapped a couple of times and it took a step forward.
 

KenżaSheep

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Both options were ghastly, but the fear of being faced with another blob monster was enough for her to reconsider any awful outcome going with these two might have.

"F-fine," Kitty spat, getting chills at the sight of these monsters."Better to die later than presently," she grumbled.
 

Machina Somnium

Dream machine
Benefactor
"Sure thing, humans do die of old age. So your eventual death is inevitable" Said Ezra with a shrug.

"You have two options now, girl. Either you step on the other side of Estraven's stapes... or he'll carry you over his shoulder." He continued.

Only now would Kitty notice the tall, deer like creature was wearing some sort of saddle. Except it wasn't a saddle, and it had two long stapes on the side plus handles to hold on to on the actual back. Where one would normally sit on a saddle. He had turned around so Kitty could get a grip and step onto the staple if she wanted to.

Ezra stepped up onto his side, now looking down towards Kitty with his piercing blue eyes. It seemed like he had little patience.
 
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