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Wonderland

By lauradinca All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy

Prologue

Every good fairytale starts with a ‘once upon a time’. For example…

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, everything was right in the world. Once upon a time, people were capable of showing mercy. Yes, some of them were flawed, but most of them tried, tried to do better, tried to forgive and forget, and to make the world a better place to live in. But happiness, sometimes, can only be an illusion, because once you learn the truth, you can never be happy again. People didn’t know as much as they thought they knew. There was happiness in not knowing, in not being aware of the truth, but it couldn’t last forever.

Many times upon a time, fairytales were just stories told around the fire, meant to scare children. But when it had been found that there’s a grain of truth in every story, many refused to believe it. A lot of them refused to get out of their safety zone, until proven otherwise

It was the year 2033, in a small town from Colorado, when Reed Conway, a 34 years-old man, decided to go hunting in a forest that many men didn’t dare venture into. The Oldgrass forest. It was said to be one of the strangest places on earth, it was the ‘powerhouse of the supernatural being’, as the elderly liked to tell their grandchildren in their stories. But, of course, being a grown ass man, Reed Conway didn’t believe in all those silly tales. He was a skeptic man. Therefore, he took his shotgun, got dressed in his hunting suit and ventured in the woods of Oldgrass. A day had passed since he’d left. Then one more. His mother had started to worry, was even about to report him missing when, eventually, Reed Conway returned home. Only he was not alone. Dropped over his shoulder was a naked, bleeding woman. After calming his mother, he started explaining the situation. He had been hunting in the woods, looking for a deer to shoot when a wolf had attacked him. Not just any wolf, but a massive, enormous one, with golden eyes and a predator’s teeth. He’d tried shooting the wolf, Reed explained, but nothing seemed to put it down, not even all of his bullets. His only remaining chance to get out of there alive was his silver knife. So when the wolf launched itself at him again, in a swift moment, he managed to drive a knife through its shoulder. The wolf fell to the ground, bleeding, and Reed Conway knew he could make it out of the woods alive that night. He was just about to gather his sleep bag, when he turned around and didn’t see the wolf lying on the ground. Instead, he saw a naked woman, with blood coming out of her shoulder. It was inexplicable. He told himself he was just tired, but even after rubbing his eyes countless times, there still was a woman lying on the ground instead of a wolf. So he tried helping her, tried to stop the bleeding, and when he saw he could still not wake her up, he dropped her over his shoulder and made it out of the woods, praying to God there was a reasonable explanation for whatever it was that was happening.

Hearing the story, Reed’s mother didn’t say a thing for a few seconds.

“Devil’s work,” the old lady hissed through her teeth eventually, touching the little cross she wore around the neck.

Knowing he could not reason with his superstitious mother, Reed took the girl to the nearest hospital. Only, after he put her in the backseat and returned from the house after he had forgotten his coat, the girl was gone. But in the distance, he saw the same wolf from the other night walking down the street, heading to the woods.

No one believed Reed’s story. Not the police, not his family, not even his friends. But, just to prove him that he was delusional and imagining things, a few of his closest friends agreed to return to the woods with him and see for themselves. Therefore, a few nights later, seven men, Reed and his younger brother included, ventured to the woods of Oldgrass. On their fourth night there, when they were just about to pack their things and go back home, something attacked them. Only it wasn’t just a wolf this time. No, it was a whole pack of them. Out of all those seven men, only Reed Conway and his younger brother, Oliver Conway, made it out of the Oldgrass Forest alive. They reported everything they knew to the police department, who wouldn’t have believed them if it hadn’t been for a wolf’s bite on Oliver’s shoulder. Three days later, Oliver Conway died. In a few weeks, the word spread. There were werewolves in the Oldgrass Forest. No matter how much the local police tried to tune down the crowd’s protests, no result came. Later after that, word spread further. Newspapers from all around the country wanted to tell the story of the small town boy who had discovered the existence of something that seemed unnatural. Eventually, after months of searching through those woods, a few hunters managed to catch a wolf alive. So they chained the wolf, put it in a cage and drove back to town. Only that, a few hours later, the wolf was no longer a wolf. The hunters saw with their own eyes how the wolf shifted his bones and turned human. It was no longer a rumor. Not even the most skeptical could deny it any longer. Tests had been run on that man-wolf, and the proof that they needed was right in front of their eyes. Every night, not only in a full moon, the man turned himself into a werewolf. He didn’t scream in pain as it had been told in stories and legends. In a matter of seconds, a human being became a wolf.

Now the questions started. If werewolves were real, what else was real? Vampires? Witches? People became more aware of their surroundings and of the people they passed by on the street. And that’s how the existence of the vampires was proven. In Chicago, a body drained of blood was found. Only this time, people didn’t find a logical explanation behind that incident, like an animal attack. Their first guess was a vampire. A researching group had been created, the P.A.O.A. (paranormal activity of America), with none other than Reed Conway as its president. In a matter of months, the first vampire was captured. There was another set of tests, of experiments, and only with torture could the P.A.O.A. drag information out of the vampire. The world was full of supernatural creatures. Not only werewolves and vampires, but witches and wizards and fairies and a whole lot of other monsters. They were all aware of the existence of the others. It was a community of them.

Not only America, but the whole world lived in constant panic for a while. After all, how could you sleep at night knowing what hides in the dark? More creatures were captured, interrogated, and answers were brought into light. In the year 2050, the Great Wall of America was created, with the purpose to isolate themselves from other states. The plan was to annihilate each and every one of the “unnaturals” from their country and prevent other creatures from entering. What was once a mighty country became a cowardly state under quarantine. The government fell and the president no longer ruled the country. The P. A. O. A. took control, with one of Reed Conway’s children as its leader. America was no longer a presidential country, either. Soon after that, in 2063, America declared itself kingdom, with Allymius Conway as its king, and changing its name into the United Kingdom of Allymea.

In order to “disinfest” the new formed kingdom from the presence of the supernatural beings, King Allymius ordered the writing of a new book, a book where every knowledge they had about every supernatural creature had to be written down. In 2065, ’The Book of the Wicked’ was published, and every citizen was forced to buy it.

“This will be your new Bible,” Allymius Conway said in one of his speeches, after the publishing of the book. “Those who don’t have at least an exemplar in their homes will be banished from U.K.A.”

Every month, in every house of every city, the Restitutioners (the new established police department) checked people’s houses and made sure there was a copy of The Book of the Wicked under every roof.

In the year 2067, the last edition of the book was published. Every monstrosity they had to defeat had been discovered. As the book said, there were four categories of supernatural beings

The first category was the most harmless one. It included fairies and banshees.

Fairies were not like the legends described them to be, with little wings and wands. Sure, they could metamorphose into a smaller version of themselves and fly around like insects, barely detectable to the human eye, but there were no wands or magic dust. The only new thing that was real was the fact that fairies could only use their magic for honorable purposes. They could not practice dark magic, and any fairy that didn’t respect that rule faced immediate death.

Banshees were female spirits perceived as an omen of death, according to the folklore. They were also called the ‘messengers’, due to the fact that every time they sensed the upcoming of a death, they started wailing. They were not harmful, and neither were the fairies, but just like every unnatural creatures, they had to be eliminated.

The second category was divided into sorcerers and nymphs. Unlike the fairies, sorcerers could practice dark magic and that’s why they were a bigger threat. The most terrifying thing was that they could infiltrate in the society with no tribulations of some sort. Unlucky for them, wizards and witches knew no restrain when it came to practicing magic, that’s why they had been caught and killed countless times.

Nymphs were regarded as divine spirits that possessed an unnatural beauty and charm. Their only purpose was to kill unfaithful men, charming them with their beauty and lurking them to their death. They could not die of age or illness, and they could also metamorphose into animals, most of the time into birds. They could have complete access to their power and access to an everlasting beauty once they had gone through their first heartbreak. After a man had broken a nymph’s heart, she would start breaking men’s hearts, only in a more literal way. The only thing that could kill a nymph was a knife or any sort of weapon bathed in the waters of the rivers from the Oakum Mountain, a location that hadn’t been found yet.

The third category was formed of vampires and werewolves. They were the only creatures that matched the description of legends and myths. Vampires were indeed undead creatures that subsisted by feeding on the life essence, and that could be killed with a stake through the heart. The only new discovered thing was that they could walk in the daylight with no difficulty. As for werewolves, nothing untold in legends was discovered. They were still humans with the ability to shape-shift into a wolf. As for killing those, a silver bullet or poisoning with Aconitum, also known as the wolf’s bane, were the only solution.

The fourth category was the most treacherous, hazardous and harmful one. Demons and necromancers.

Necromancers were said to be the interrogators of the death. Unlike the banshees, they could not foresee deaths, but they could communicate with the deceased. It had been found along the years that some necromancers could bring people back from the death. They had been placed in the fourth category because practicing black magic to conjure up the death was the darkest of the darkest type of sorcery. Fortunately, there had been found only 5 or 6 necromancers for the past 100 years.

Least, but not last, were the demons. The deadliest of the wicked. The fallen angels. They were the incarnation of the evil, the troupe of the devil. They brought hell on earth, by possessing human bodies and taking control over them. That’s what made them the most feared, their ability to walk among humans with no one suspecting their true origin or power, and with the purpose to make humans sin. Most of the demons’ hosts were people of an exquisite beauty, used as an advantage lurk people, to persuade them more easily. After creating ’TheBook of the Wicked’, the hunters had dealt only with demons of the lowest hierarchy, demons who wanted nothing to do with hell anymore or with spreading the evil on earth, who only wanted to experience the human life. Torturing the answers out of those demons with holy water, it had been found out that the demons of the highest “rank” hadn’t made it out of hell since centuries ago, and were most likely to stay there and not get involved in the mess that the earth had become. Also by torturing those low-rank demons, the hunters had found that a demon could not be killed, only exorcized, leaving its host unconscious, possibly dead, and going back to the hell they had crawled from.

And those were the four categories. Now that they knew what they dealt with, the population of Allymea had to take action. They had to fight against the supernatural, the unnatural, to make the new kingdom a safe place again. And in order to do that, every citizen had to fight. And that’s exactly why a new law had been enforced by the King. At the age of 21, every man had to become a hunter and be initiated in the army by killing a supernatural creature. It was mandatory, no one had a choice. Those who didn’t obey and refused to kill paid the price with their own lives. Those who refused to kill became the killed. Until the age of 21, every man was instructed, trained, told how to proceed and what to do in order to pass their test. The masculine population of Allymea had no other choice than to obey the King and his will.

The story that I’m about to tell you starts in the year 2133. In the 22th century, King’s Allymius grandchild is the new King of the U.K.A. And the laws are pretty much the same. Kill to live. Live to kill. No other choice.

This story tells what happens after the ‘once upon a time’. This story tells the truth about what goes bumping in the night. The real question is: can you handle the truth?

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