How long has it been? A year. It has to have been a year.
October. Those occult monsters were adorning the shop windows again, and the air certainly felt the same as it was when he first came here with Spartypuss.
It was definitely a year since he had been in England, and a little less than that since he had last talked to Spartypuss. Daryl briefly wondered if he should attempt to summon Spartypuss just to talk about how he had gotten on in the year he had been in this place, but, remembering how Spartypuss could be, he decided against it. The cat god was far too bright, and Daryl had gotten used to the gloom this place usually offered. Heck, he welcomed it. He had never really pondered why, though.
And he had kept his Co-Op job for about a year too, though he did do the occasional odd job on the side. No monsters had emerged in Co-Op, nor did anything bad happen during the dog-walking or even that one job with the blender.
One day, Daryl had gone to Co-Op with a lot on his mind, having seen a movie about war the preceding night and the necessary lack of sleep getting to him, and had a hard time keeping still at the till. A co-worker slapped him on the shoulder because of it, and that only made the rumblings worse. Soon, he ran from the till and into the staff room, his head feeling like it was going to explode. It did explode too, creating a fat, hairy, giggling creature. One that spoke.
‘Daryl is a twit,
Can’t do nothing right,
He lets the monsters out,
And don’t put up no fight.’
The hairy blob then ran out of the staff room into the shop, with Daryl leaping through the door. ‘What the hell is that?’ he heard the co-worker say, which made his feet move in various directions. Where was that – oh no it went outside! Regaining himself, he ran through the automatic door, only to see the monster playing pattycake with a young child outside. This scene made Daryl pause for a moment before he approached the child.
‘That monster’s a bad influence,’ he told the child as he grabbed the monster by the scruff of its neck. Slowly, he walked towards the bin outside and threw the monster in. His stomach still sunk, he walked slowly back to the store, attempting to pretend nothing just happened.
‘What was that?’ said the co-worker as Daryl moved back to his till.
‘Oh nothing,’ said Daryl, moving his legs a little.
Nothing like that happened afterwards, at least nothing that Daryl could remember. He was pretty sure bad things happened to him and happened because of him when he was working for Aosoth, but forced them out of his mind. Or maybe Aosoth had forced them out herself.
Oh great. It had been months since Daryl had thought about Aosoth’s death and now she was disintegrating before his eyes once more. Shaking his head, Daryl tightly closed his eyes and repeated to himself a funny routine he had heard on television the other day. The castle and the dying witch had vanished, making Daryl sigh in relief. Getting rid of that was going to get harder, wasn’t it?
Still mumbling random humour to himself, Daryl pondered on whether or not he should celebrate a year here. A celebration would cost money, and Daryl was saving his money for a new accommodation. One of those nicer houses he kept seeing on the television. The reason he had to fill out all those boring forms at the bank. The reason he was always actively seeking more jobs.
The floor of his flat was covered in discarded newspaper pages from his frantic job searching, and while Daryl did very well know another purpose those were used for, he never did bother cleaning up. Either he had other things on his mind, or his mind was too blank to notice the newspapers.
Cleaning them up would be a good celebration, wouldn’t it?
On his hands and knees, Daryl collected all the papers and crumbled them up, chucking them into the black bag. Having collected them all, the room seemed a completely different place altogether. The carpet in particular seemed striking in how much more prominent it was.
Well, makes sense. The reason he had come here was to lead a different life.
What else could he do to make this place different? He rarely opened windows, and those usually let in a refreshing breeze. Off he went, opening every window in his flat, letting the air in. Should he? Yes, he opened his head, letting it be aired out. No monsters in a clear head. No.
Once more he slumped into his couch, this time not turning on the TV, but rather embracing the air he had let loose into the flat, allowing it to wash away his grumbling feelings. Ah, it was just like…just like the air back home really.
Should he forget Kirkalan completely? It may have been the place where he was rendered a pariah, but still, he missed some of the sights. There was a tree, a thick tree which sat atop a hill that he used to sleep under…that was a long time ago, wasn’t it? Before he even met Aosoth? He was pretty sure he couldn’t remember a time without Aosoth, so that tree’s sudden appearance almost set Daryl tipping his chair over again.
Oh yes, things weren’t completely awful. Another image entered his mind as he let the wind surround him. A sparkling pool, surrounded by powerful hills. Daryl, the adult Daryl, once sat there by himself, his feet dipped in the water. Oh yes, his mind was a blank there too, which was odd considering how clearly Daryl remembered it.
That water, there was something special about it. Daryl had run his claws through the tap-dispensed water of this world and it didn’t seem to cleanse him the way the pool did. Oh, that’s how he remembered the pool. He had just been to the house of a villager who had refused to give sacrifices to Aosoth, and had done something he would rather not remember. When he did the deed, he flew away, and had spied the pool.
Do they have pools in England? He had walked past a ‘swimming pool’, but he did not wish to use a pool to swim in. He didn’t even know how to swim.
The parks had good scenery, but rather constrained scenery. Surely there had to be something like what Kirkalan offered here. The city did have its own sense of beauty, especially when it was illuminated by those lights, but it did little to calm down the sensations in Daryl’s head and stomach.
That would be a nice celebration, wouldn’t it? In the year he had been here, Daryl had never really explored the city he had been living in. He did find some new shops here and there when out and about, but had never ventured further.
After a while of airing his flat, Daryl closed all his windows save one, and flew out of it. He hadn’t used his wings in a while, with his place of employment being in walking distance, and just flapping them had begun to clear up the tingling that had echoed through his gut. In fact, all his thoughts and memories had seemed to vanish in an instant.
All that existed was the sky.
He beat his wings faster, propelling him higher to the clouds; white clouds, in contrast to the usual grey. The city had now become a selection of grey blocks, all slightly indistinguishable from each other. More of that crisp, calming air.
After spinning around, to allow his body to fully absorb the air around him, Daryl darted away from his flat, away from the city, towards new and untold places for him to linger in. Descending slightly, a road became clearer, and Daryl followed it until shades of green caught his eye.
From above, he heard a slight roar, which made him lose his balance somewhat, being reminded of what usually emerged from his head. Out of curiosity, he flew upwards slightly, and upon getting a closer look, saw it was a thin white vehicle soaring through the sky. It had wings, yet did not flap them. An aeroplane, was it? Yes, he had seen several of those on television, yet had never really pondered them. He had never really thought about what it would be like to fly sitting down, because those things seemed so separate to him. While knowing that flying by himself obviously took more work than an aeroplane ride would, he knew that using his own wings would make reaching his destination seem like a reward.
Ignoring the aeroplane for a minute, Daryl flew down again to see the road framed by lampposts and green fields. In fact, Daryl was pretty certain he saw some wheat not too far away. Down, down he soared, landing on a patch of land. It did look like Kirkalan somewhat, even if the road, the lampposts and the cars broke the illusion somewhat. It was a different sort of Kirkalan, a calmer one, a private one.
Walking away from the road, he raised his arms and welcomed this new spot. After having walked far enough that the road had now become a blur, he stretched out his wings and lay down onto the ground. He closed his eyes, letting the soft moan of the air fill his ears. Just fall asleep…
Oh no! That’s precisely what happened back in that field, wasn’t it? Fall asleep and a monster comes out? Immediately, thoughts of relaxing left Daryl’s mind, causing him to leap up and stumble about for a while. Soon that trio of angry humans from back in Kirkalan appeared before him, and then promptly disappeared, leaving behind that feeling of unease.
Shutting his eyes again, Daryl shook his head quickly. If it didn’t stop a monster coming out, it would at least make the monster too dizzy to cause any damage when it did come out. After doing that, he opened his eyes to the quiet scenery surrounding him, and his mind was at peace again. This wasn’t Kirkalan, not barbaric, filthy Kirkalan. This place was capable of creating wonders the Kirkalanians could never have imagined, and all without magic too. And if they had better devices, it seemed logical that they should have better scenery too.
After lingering in the field for a while, Daryl returned to his flat, where he watched television, looked for employment and even took a little nap until night fell. Then, he opened his windows again, with that breeze entering his room once more. The breeze at night had a different flavour to it, one Daryl savoured. After allowing the air to waft through his home for a while, he closed the windows save one again, and flew out again. Closing the window behind him after making sure his keys were in his pocket, he looked down to see the array of lights in the city.
They all looked like sprites, swarming around the city to bestow illumination and peace upon it. Daryl had heard of sprites, those small creatures that were supposed to guide the people of Kirkalan when they were lost, but those stories were all myths. Yet now, Daryl saw these creatures of fantasy out and about, ready to guide him from his morass of doubts and confusion.
He followed the lights, and it led him back to the road, down where he found that pseudo-Kirkalan. His flight seemed to last shorter than it did during the day, and sooner than he knew, he was back in that field. Were it not for the slight yellow glow of the sprites, it would look exactly like the fields of Kirkalan at night too. That memory involving those villagers popped up again, but quickly melted and slipped away into the darkness.
So, what to do here? There were no sheep or any edible creatures, nothing to strike a conversation with. There was really nobody to strike a conversation with in the city either though, so that wasn’t too much of a problem. People did cause problems though, as incessantly watching the news proved to Daryl, so a place without people shouldn’t have any problems. Problems caused monsters and monsters caused problems, so a place without problems is a place without monsters…
Why was he thinking?
There should be no thoughts here either. Just a chance to relax under the watch of the sprites.