Rewriting Reality (A Sonic 06 Rewrite)
“There is no one reality. Each of us lives in a separate universe. That's not speaking metaphorically... Reality in a dynamic universe is non-objective. Consciousness is the only reality.” - Professor M. R. Franks
It is a time and place much like our own in many ways, a society that was reaching for a future of enlightenment but yet was hovering on the edge of ruin. Two brothers wandered the city streets, taking what little comfort they could in each other's presence as they wondered how they could possibly scavenge up enough money for a meal.
Or, more accurately, one of the two brothers was wondering about money, the other was talking about hijacking a hovercraft.
“Ian, I think food is a bit more important than potentially stealing some sort of mode of transportation,” the shorter of the two said. His fur and spines were jet black, and his eyes were a burning, neon sort of green. He and his brother both had five spines on their head, the uppermost of which pointed up while the others pointed down.
“But I'm tired of walking, Mikey!” whined Ian. His fur was a burnished gold, and his eyes were a soft maroon. His gloves were full of holes and stained, and his shoes were literally held together with dingy duct tape he and his fraternal twin had scrounged from bins around the city.
Michael winced; he hated being called Mikey. “Too bad. We don't need the law after us right now.” Ian hissed in annoyance as Michael continued. “Someday, I promise, we'll be leading this sorry place; we'll make it better.”
“I just wanna leave! I heard there are places with no skyscrapers, and clean air-” Ian began, his nasal voice coming off as childish and contrasting with his appearance.
Michael glared Ian into silence. “Don't. Don't start this. We can't leave-”
Ian grabbed Michael by his shoulders and shook him as he shouted, “But mom's as good as dead, anyways! We- we'll never- ever- ever find her!” The grungy, golden hedgehog then burst into sobs, and Michael had to hold him, just as he always did.
It wasn't right; Ian was older by five minutes, but Michael was the one to quiet his fears, to help curb his michievous impulses. But the very incident that had taken their single mother from them had damaged Ian permanently.
It had been movie night. Michael and Ian, age twelve, got to stay up way past curfew and spend time laughing and crying at family favorites with their often over-worked mother. Not that they ever admitted it to anyone else, but this made Fridays their favorite night of any week.
But that night in particular was to be disastrous. It had started out like any other Friday; popcorn on the way, a debate over which movie to watch, with Ian arguing for action and Michael hoping for a mystery.
CRASH! A big black something broke through the window to their cruddy, second-floor apartment. Before either boy could react, the form rushed them and lifted -was that a crowbar?- and conked Ian over the head. Michael just barely leaped out of the way as the stranger took a swing at him.
But Michael tripped over something on the floor, perhaps a book. He landed on his rear, and a sharp pain shot up through his spine from his short litle tail. “Michael, Ian, wha-?” their mother began, entering the room. The stranger panicked and kicked Michael in the jaw, causing the young boy to black out.
Hours later, when the tween at last stirred, he found his mother gone and his brother damaged permanently both emotionally and physically. Michael held it together long enough to contact authorities, but there was never a thorough investigation; no one cared for another missing minimum-wage worker.
They bounced from foster home to foster home, each one worse than the last, until Michael and Ian ran away at the age of fourteen. They'd been wandering the streets ever since.
After reassuring Ian, Michael moaned about never getting money for food; they'd not eaten since lunch the day before, and the pangs of hunger were particularly painful by now. Suddenly, Ian perked up. “That stupid museum, doesn't it get some weird stuffs in tonight?”
“Yes, but we shouldn't steal from such a high security-” Michael began to protest but stopped when his older twin took off at near-record speed toward downtown. Michael cursed like a sailor and raced off after his brother, struggling to keep up.
Of course, as luck would have it -whether that luck was good or bad depended upon the viewer- the shipment of artifacts from Mobigypt were just arriving, and some workers were unloading it at that moment. “YAAAAAHOOOOO!” Ian cried. He zipped by and snatched both boxes almost effortlessly, grinning like a madman all the while.
“STOOOP!” Michael called breathlessly, racing after his brother. Heaven help us, we're SO sc.rewed, he thought pessimistically to himself. He followed Ian practically to the other side of town, where Ian finally stopped in a dark, dead-ended alleyway that was mostly uninhabited but for a few rats.
Michael collapsed to his knees and gasped, his sides heaving and brow covered in sweat. He couldn't even yell at Ian for pulling such a stupid stunt; Ian was a true speedster, but Michael was just above average, and just keeping his brother in sight was taxing.
“Geez, Mikey, you're sloooow,” Ian said childishly with a cackle that was both mean and innocent. His wide, reddish eyes twinkled at his brother. “See, we're gonna get lots for these! They're shiny old things! Dunno why people pay for 'em, but they do, and we'll never be hungry again!” He grinned and nodded fervently.
“You- idiot. Police will be- after us,” panted Michael as he struggled to stand on trembling limbs.
“They can't catch us we're too good,” Ian sniffed. “Lets lookey at our treasure!” He giggled, grinned, and opened the box up, revealing some sort of worn scepter in silver with an amethyst gem at the top and what appeared to be wings on either side of the large, somewhat clouded gem. The other was a golden pendant of an eye, normally associated with protection, but this one looked wrong, and the pupil was colored red. While the red was faded now, it had once clearly been blood-red, a color associated with evil by civilized peoples during Mobigypt and long after.
Ian stuck his tongue out at the scepter and declared it “ugly” before giving it to Michael, then picked up the pendant. “Red's my favorite! It's kinda creepy-cool, y'know?”
But Michael didn't respond, he seemed to have become captivated by the tarnished scepter, especially the clouded amethyst. It was odd; when he stared at it for a while, it seemed as if they grayish 'mist' within the stone swirled like real smoke rather than sitting still like impurities. But that was illogical and impossible in far too many ways.
But he felt this call, almost like a longing, so he kept staring. Before his eyes, the impure grey color within the semi-precious stone began to swirl faster and faster, vaguely following a sideways figure eight. Isn't that the symbol for infinity? Michael thought vaguely. It was then that the thing really did call out to him in his mind. It seemed to tell him, “I can give you the sort of power you've always craved, the power you need to make the people that made you suffer pay dearly. I can make you a great leader, together we can change the world...”
Michael gasped and almost threw the thing, but then he foolishly considered the insane offer. “What do I have to do?” he whispered under his breath.
“Just touch this scepter to your forehead. We will merge as one; my knowledge and powers will be yours, but you won't be the same person you are now... however, if you trust me implicitly, I can make all your deepest desires come to fruition,” came the response, oozing and sliding through his mind like an eel. It was a mite bit unpleasant, but Michael was a desperate kid, tired of the streets and struggling for survival each day. “What do 'implicitly' and 'fruition' mean?” the boy asked, licking his lips nervously.
“'Implicitly' means more or less 'completely', and 'fruition' means that your desires will come true,” it explained. Michael shivered at the cold presence in his mind, but nodded eagerly; hadn't he always wished for a miracle? What else could this be? So, guilelessly, he touched the scepter to his forehead, allowing the black ice-like presence to flood his mind.
As predicted, Michael's sense of self... shifted. Righteous anger at his oppressors was replaced by mindless, senseless hate, the desire to lead in order to make positive changes was ruthlessly replaced by an unsatiable desire for absolute power over all life. The evil within that artifact had taken all of Michael's traits and poisoned and per.vreted them beyond repair, turning him into someone entirely new and entirely without heart.
“I said why are you talking to that thing?” Ian asked in tones of extreme exasperation, his tone implying that he'd asked it several times before and Michael simply hadn't noticed.
The raven-furred hedgehog look up at his brother, his emerald eyes entirely without warmth or love for his kin. “You'll see; yours is similar to mine. Look at it closely, Ian,” Michael instructed.
“You're nutzo,” Ian muttered but did as Michael asked. He seemed shocked after a moment. “I see fire,” he said.
“That's right. Now be quiet, listen,” Michael coached.
Ian scowled. “For what?” he asked, then stopped dead, seemingly intrigued by something, but only Ian himself could hear the words burning and raging through his mind. “Wha- what the f*ck?” he gasped.
“Accept it, Ian. We've finally found everything we could have wished for; the power to climb to the top,” Michael insisted.
“...oh.” Ian's strongest weakness was his absolute trust in Michael; Michael always knew what was best, even if he didn't like it, even if it didn't feel right. So Ian brought the eye-shaped amulet up to be level with his own left eye and closed his right. He gasped as the scorching evil of the amulet pierced his very soul and morphed him from merely a reckless thief with a slightly manic personality into an utterly mindless brute whose only desire was to cause as much pain and destruction as he possibly could.
Michael smiled cooly with dark satisfaction when he watched Ian's face, posture and very self seem to shift. “Good. It's been too long,” Michael said with a low chuckle.
“Uh-huh. Can I start the fires now?” Ian asked impatiently, hopping from foot to foot.
“Not yet, no, but very soon. Come, then, brother; the world is our oyster now,” Michael said before tossing the priceless scepter upon the ground and stepping on it, effectively ruining it. Ian took his amulet and literally melted it in his hand, and he'd never been the least bit pyrokinetic before.
Both boys cackled as they left the alley and their previous lives behind forever. For the two young hedgehogs were no longer merely Michael and Ian, but hosts to two wretched demons, powerful forces of evil that had been sealed into those ancient artifacts thousands of years ago by one of Mobigypt's most powerful kings.
Said pharaoh had had to sacrifice his own life for the spell, a spell designed to keep Mobius safe from the most potent forces of chaos of all time, Mephiles and Iblis.
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