Categories > Games > Zelda > The Black Mist0 Reviews
Chapter I of The Black Mist, in which we are introduced to our hapless protagonist, Mireille Donovan.
-A Junctioner: Hylianis Story-
DISCLAIMER: The Legend of Zelda, and all related characters, places, concepts, ect., mentioned within are property of Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto. All other original concepts presented within are property of me, myself, and I.
Dim lights fluoresced over the myriad bathroom stalls, highlighting the grime that covered the floor and stall doors. One or two flickered on and off, the bulbs within on the verge of going out. Dust, cobwebs, and other debris accumulated inside the fixtures. Moths darted around each of the lights, seeking escape from their confinement like frightened children in the night. The restroom was empty, save for one occupant. From one of the bathroom stalls the sound of heaving echoed throughout the room as the lone occupant remained hunched over a toilet.
As the waves of nausea ceased the figure slowly lifted her head up and gazed at the stall around her, noticing the bits of dust and dirt that blanketed it. She closed her eyes while trying to catch her breath. It was not long before her stomach churned and her evening meal made its way out into the toilet. The woman's arms locked in place as the rest of her stomach's contents were emptied.
I have never felt so sick in my life, she thought, not even Grandpa's cooking could make me feel this bad....
With a sigh she grabbed the roll of paper beside her, wiped her mouth, then flushed it away. She pulled herself back onto her feet and walked out of the stall towards the row of sinks in front of her. Like the rest of the restroom, the mirrors above the sinks were marred with grime, fingerprints, and other stains around their edges. She twisted the grime-covered knobs, watching as clean water flowed from the faucet.
She closed her eyes as she splashed water on her face. Within moments of doing so, her skin felt better. As she stood there washing her face, she couldn't help but feel a familiar sadness creep up from the countless emotions she felt in that instant. Her gaze turned to the mirror in front of her. From underneath the hood of her white sweatshirt, golden blonde bangs hung over each side of her face, while blue eyes peered back at her, mocking her.
The face that stared back at her was not the one she remembered. Everything about it was wrong; her eyebrows were too thick, her nose too angular, her chin too masculine. Only vague remnants of her once-softer features remained. This was not the face of a woman- this was the face... of a monstrosity.
It wasn't just her face that was transformed, either. Her entire body had under gone a similar shift in shape and form. Even as she gazed into her reflection from under her hood, she could barely recognize herself. She looked at her hands in sadness as memories played in her mind....
In the darkness of the night a young woman ran, a look of desperation etched onto her face. Panicked green eyes stared at the stretch of alley before her, intent on leaving the area as quickly as she came. Dark brown hair, once neatly kept, now flailed at the mercy of the breeze. Only a black demin jacket defended her against the cold of the evening air. A dark leather mini-skirt hung from her waist as a pair of matching boots thundered against the ground with each step she took.
The alley around her was in complete disarray. Paint peeled off the surrounding buildings while others were covered in copious amounts of graffiti. On the left side of the alley were several dumpsters, their green paint also peeling. Inside these dumpsters were overwhelming amounts of trash, some of which overflowed and spilled everywhere around them. Seagulls hovered in the air above her, eager to feast upon the delicious trash that littered the area.
Her thoughts continued to race as a throbbing pain shot through her left hand. A terrified expression formed on her face as she tripped and fell onto the ground. As she pulled herself back onto her feet, the sound of footsteps echoed in the air.
"Mireille! Mireille, wait!"
Mireille turned around, only to spot a familiar figure running towards her. From behind her, a figure with dark blond hair approached. Soft grey eyes peered into her own with concern. Covering his body was a tan letterman jacket, with "Ashland High" written on one of the sleeves. Jeans clothed his legs while boots clicked against the ground as he raced towards her.
"Darren... get away from me!"
"Mireille, please don't do this! If it's about what happened at school, they've dropped their charges against you!"
Mireille said nothing as Darren approached, clutching her shoulders in an attempt to reason with the distraught woman. This only served to make Mireille even more upset as a flood of tears streamed down her face.
"What would your grandfather think if you ran away, Mireille? Look, I don't know what happened to you at that party, but you're the only family he has. If he loses you, I don't think he could take it!"
Mireille said nothing as she continued to sob. Terror consumed the young woman's thoughts, and she wanted nothing more than to run away from the person she considered her friend. In the face of the hell that had taken over her life, she did not want to endanger her friend any further. She did not understand what was going on, but knew one thing- she was being devoured by something.
"This isn't you, Mireille. What happened to the happy-go-lucky girl I used to know?"
"Darren... please... I can't take this anymore...."
"What can't you take? Are you scared of something?"
Mireille looked away, unable to bear the look in her friend's eyes. Darren returned a concerned look at this action. It had been years since he had seen his friend behave in such a traumatized fashion. He recalled her strange behavior at school the other day, and the distant, possessed gaze she held.
Their school had come under attack from monsters. Nothing more than inky black shells, they preyed on anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path. In an effort to protect the school, the staff and faculty evacuated the panicked and screaming student body from its halls. Everyone ran as fast as their legs could carry them out of their once prestigious halls- everyone except for Mireille.
He did not know what had taken hold of his childhood friend, but she had not been herself that day. It was as though another had taken her place. To his horror, in place of her vibrant green eyes, he found a willful azure in their place. Though he had tried to push her out of harm's way, it was her who shoved him aside with little effort.
Darren watched as she approached the monsters, the mysterious mark on her left hand glowing a brilliant gold. The lower right portion shimmered the brightest, like a divine brand on her hand. A pair of lights somehow manifested in her hands as an ethereal sword and shield took form. They crackled with energy, as if unstable. Like a demon possessed, she charged at the monsters, attacking them with strength and skill she had never possessed, and when the madness was over, there were only unconscious human bodies in her wake.
Her cries of anguish haunted him to this day. Ever since then, she had shut herself away, unwilling to venture outside of her own home, scared of what she might do. She had confessed to him that she had been having strange dizzy spells since the night of the Broadway Hotel massacre a month ago. The terrified woman he gazed at now was a shadow of the chipper girl he knew and grew up with.
"I don't know what's going on anymore... ever since the night of that party, nothing in my life has made any sense...."
"What are you saying?"
A terrified expression formed on Mireille's face as she stepped back. Torrents of emotion continued to pour from her face as she gazed frightfully at her hands. She no longer trusted her hands, or any other aspect of her body. The young woman felt a growing presence in the back of her mind, and squeezed her eyes shut as a lone tear ran down her face.
"There's something inside me... and it wants out...."
Pain shot through her left hand as she stumbled backward. She felt a familiar burning sensation form on the back of her hand. A terrified expression formed on her face as she held the back of her left hand up to her face. On its back was the symbol of three triangles, arranged to form a larger triangle. It appeared akin to a birthmark, the darkened patch of skin barely visible in the light of the buildings closeby.
"No! No! Please no! Not here! No, stop!"
Mireille watched in horror as the mark shone a golden light, the lower right triangle shimmering the brightest. A blood hurdling scream escaped her lips/. /As she continued to scream pleas incoherently, she darted down the alley. Darren's eyes widened at the spectacle before him.
Before Mireille could get very far, a pair of shadows danced in the air. She froze in her tracks as dark entities manifested before her. As she gazed at them the glow of the mark on her hand intensified. Images of similar creatures assaulted her mind as the image of people in a marketplace running in terror from them. Darren watched as the creatures dashed towards Mireille.
"Mireille, get out of here!"
Snapping out of her trance, Mireille could only scream as the monsters tossed her through one of the building nearby. Rubble fell on top of her as pain wracked her body. As her vision blurred, all she could hear was the sound of her friend screaming and the roar of the monsters....
Mireille lowered her hands while her gaze turned back to her reflection.
What has happened to me?
Not wanting to remain within the restroom any longer, she turned the water off on the faucet and made her way outside. The air was cool and moist as a thick fog shrouded the rest-stop. In the large parking lot just down the path in front of her, only a dozen or so jeeps and cars remained parked. She spotted a small family walking a small dog. Small picnic benches were scattered throughout the rest-stop amidst miles upon miles of trees and shrubbery.
Amidst the fog, only the dim lights of the street-lamps around them lit up the area. As Mireille walked down the path in front of her, she spotted a small sign on the freeway beyond. Realizing it was just a food and hospitality sign, she sighed.
My God. I didn't realize it was this late....
Mireille's thoughts began to wander as she stared at the moon above in contemplation. She had never been away from home this long, and she already missed having a warm bed to sleep in. Outdoor enthusiasts be damned, she wondered how they could ever keep up such a life. There was the occasional camping trip she had gone on as a child, but it was nothing compared to this nomadic existence.
Out of the corner of her eyes, she spotted a series of black cars driving into the rest-stop. She tensed as they drove by her. Looking inside, she realized they were merely separate families driving into the rest-stop. Her tension ceased as relief poured over her. As she turned around, she spotted a man going towards a vending machine. Before he could walk away, she ran up to him.
"E-Excuse me," she stuttered.
She couldn't help but cringe at the sound of her voice; it, too, had been transformed. Gone was the gentle feminine voice she once possessed. In its place was a deep, willful masculine voice. To her, it was yet another sad reminder that she was not what she once was.
"Yes?" the man replied in a gruff tone.
On his head was a black fedora while long gray hair ran down his back, which was tied into a ponytail. Covering his body was a matching trench-coat. His face was burly, as if he had not shaved in weeks. A lit cigarette hung from his mouth as his dark eyes turned toward the young woman in front of him.
"I... I was wondering- do you know which direction Ashland is from here?"
The man closed his eyes as he thought hard. He didn't know what to make of the person in front of him. His sweater was covered in countless stains, as were the blue jeans that clothed his legs. From underneath his jeans were a pair of leather boots. On his hands were what appeared to be leather gloves of a similar make. Upon closer inspection, they appeared to be gauntlets.
"You mean way up in Oregon? Heh, you might as well find a place to stay for the night. You're miles away from the state border."
"Please, you don't understand... I have to get back to Ashland. I'm not really all that familiar with the area, so if you could just point me in the right direction, I would be so grateful to you, sir."
Mireille gazed at the man with a nervous expression. She did not want to explain how she ended up so far away from town, as she did not know that answer herself. While she did not want to do another trek through forest after forest, she was prepared to do whatever was necessary to return home. Her voice quivered with worry and anxiety as the stranger pointed towards the freeway.
"Go up the freeway, then after the next three exists, make a right onto the next one. That'll get you there right quick."
Mireille frowned, unable to act on his instructions. The idea of travelling on foot down the freeway was nervewracking to the girl. While that may have been the easiest path to take, she recalled the memory of her trek to the rest stop with gruesome detail. Not wanting to relieve her harrowed journey to this point, she opted to find another route away from the rest-stop.
"I mean on foot, sir."
The man raised his eyebrow as he took a puff of his cigarette. Mireille found herself resisting the urge to cough around the man as the smell overwhelmed her senses. The man walked beside her, even more confused by the stranger in front of him.
"You didn't drive here?"
"I don't have a car."
Mireille watched as the man's cigarette fall out of his mouth and onto the ground below. An incredulous look appeared on his withered features as he looked her in the eyes. In all of the time she had found herself in the Sacramento area, she had been without a vehicle. The very thought of someone trekking throughout California on foot was mind boggling to the stranger.
"...You mean to tell me you walked all the way here?"
A puzzled expression appeared on the man's face as Mireille shifted her weight nervously. She did not like the strange expression the man was giving her. The young woman was not proud of what she was doing, or what she had to do to reach her current location. While a part of her would have wanted a ride from this stranger, the risk of entrapment was too great for her to consider.
"You'd need to pass through the woods over there," the man said while pointing to the large forest behind the rest-stop, "and pass through a small town just outside of there. Go northwest from there, and reach the highway. That should get you where you want to go."
The fog became thicker as she peered into the woods from where she stood. She closed her eyes; beyond traveling through even more forest, she saw no other alternative. The roads and the freeways were no safer than these woods.
At least they won't be able to find me as easily if I go through here....
Mireille turned and walked towards the woods. Before she could get very far, the man faced her. She stopped and listened, wondering what else he had to say. A look of awe and curiosity formed itself on his face.
"I'd be careful out there if I were you, /son/," he called out one last time, "Things aren't quite what they used to be!"
Mireille winced at the sound of him addressing her as "son". A sigh escaped her lips as she turned to face him. Though she did not fault him for his words, she felt disheartened at his words. She hated her androgynous form more than the man could know.
You don't need to tell me that, Mireille thought before replying, "I'll be careful."
"There's a small hotel just through the woods. I'd see about finding a place to stay for the night if I were you."
From out of her pocket, she pulled out an old flashlight. It illuminated the darkness in front of her as she turned it on and darted into the fog beyond. As he watched her disappear into the woods, he lit up another cigarette and continued to stare into the woods. A strange smile appeared on his lips as he took a puff.
"Stay safe, son."
Author's Note: Mireille is a French name. For those of you who do not speak French, it is roughly pronounced "Mee-Ray".