Written by Lacey Diluvio

‘Do you have the rock?’ I questioned, glancing up at the stone-cold monster that was attempting to bargain. He sat behind a grey desk with his human collectibles before him, a set of ears, a gnarly tooth, a fistful of hair, and lucky last, a black eye. He held up the glistening purple stone, so it came into the light, sharp fragments of the stone lit up the room, casting a luminous glow, basking us in its purple hue.

‘What are you going to do with it?’ he snarled at me, judging my appearance, a ‘little’ girl in all leather, clearly underestimating me.

He mustn’t think I can follow through, but I was given clear instructions; go see the creature behind the red door. Then, look for the little house with the yellow and red sign. I fully intended to fulfil this task. I carefully returned the sceptical looks, and I gawked at his black horns, his red eyes, and his scaly skin that sent shivers down my spine.

‘You know what the stone does, we both want the same thing, for the Hunter to wake up. I can do it for you.’

‘And what will you want in return?’

I paused for a few moments, tracing my finger around the table. ‘I want the worlds to merge.’

The creature’s eyes widened with surprise as the words left my mouth. No one had wanted to merge the worlds before, or no one knew how to … until now. The stone had been out of use for too long, now it had too much power, pairing the stone with its owner, the Hunter, would unleash its power, and merge the worlds.

‘What? That would mean more creatures, more monsters coming into this world! Is that truly what you want?’ he gasped.

My blue eyes glowed in excitement. ‘There is someone in the other world, in your prison that I need. And merging is the only way I can get to her,’ I said as his hand lingered on the stone.

‘If I give you the Hunter’s stone, you must instruct him to come back and work for me. The other creatures are trying to overthrow me, and I will not let that happen.’

I nodded gently, and he slid the rock over. I caught it in one swift motion and went on my way.

‘You’ll know when it’s done,’ I said over my shoulder as the red door slammed shut, leaving me in the dark alleyway.

Humans, inside their own heads, littered the streets, always thinking about nothing but themselves. I shook my head to clear my own thoughts—I couldn’t let myself get distracted. I needed to get to him and fast. I raced down the path whizzing through the crowds, knocking people over in the process. The sword was swinging against my leg. Sweat trickled down my forehead, dodging my small hidden horn, and into my eyes.Tthe neon signs became a mix of colour with a blur of jumbled letters. I started to lose focus for a bit. What was the place called again?  Think. Think. My brain ticked over and over, reciting the careful instructions. Go see the creature behind the red door. Did that. Look for the little house with the yellow and red sign. That was it. I slowed my pace to a jog on the lookout for my second chance. The colours danced all over the city, telling a story between every nook and cranny.

‘Looking for the small yellow and red house?’ a small voice whispered. I whipped around to find myself accompanied by an elderly woman. She appeared sweet and innocent, but I knew better. I took an extra step back, pushing my brunette hair out of my face so I could get a clear view.

‘Yes, where is it?’

‘You are standing right in front of it, sweetie.’ She pointed her delicate hand to a little cottage sparkling with light.

‘Thank—’ Before I could finish my sentence, the old woman transformed into a smaller version of the creature that I had just met earlier, but her horns were coloured green, and she had claws.

She latched onto my arm drawing blood. ‘Come now. We’ve been expecting you.’ She dragged me by my leather jacket inside the house.

The interior was covered in a fine layer of dust, the small lights cast a warm glow, and the furniture was surprisingly new and fresh, indicating that this was their most recent move. Alongside the green horned woman was a man, he had bloody holes where his horns used to be, blood still seeping out staining the carpet. I was thrown onto the couch, my heart pumping out of my chest, my nerves tingled and ached. I needed to get this done and fast. My head whisked around the room to find him.

‘Calm down. He’s not here,’ the hornless man stated, rolling up his jacket sleeves.

‘You’re lying. Otherwise, you both wouldn’t be here guarding it,’ I spat at them, ready to run and nab him. They both cast each other a suspicious glance then looked back at me.

‘Out of curiosity, why do you want to wake him? He’s been gone for a long time, Kat. None of us want him out.’

‘We all know why your kind doesn’t want to wake him up. He is the most famous hunter from both of our worlds. How do you think your partner over here lost his horns?’ I indicated, pointing to him. All of a sudden, there was a thud coming from upstairs, leaving a hollow ache inside of me. A small smile spread across my face.

‘I would love to stay and chat, but there’s someone calling my name.’ I made a run for it, whipping out the diamond incrusted sword, pouncing on the creatures. I swung my sword and plunged it deep into the woman’s leg, and blood spilled everywhere. I raced upstairs, hoping to lose the man, secretly praying that he would stay with the woman and help her, so I could get my job done. Skidding across the upstairs floor, my eyes frantically darted from room to room. I was filled with hope when I saw him peacefully lying in the bed. The purple stone was burning brighter than before, bathing the whole house in its warmth. I placed the stone on his chest, and it sunk into his skin, becoming one with the Hunter. It continued to glisten even after the Hunter began to wake up.

‘What price did you pay for my awakening?’ he blurted out as he came back to consciousness.

Just then the world began to shake, I glanced outside, and the sky was splitting into two, red rain pelted down and a sound similar to thunder came forward. A smoky haze clouded everything before the new world emerged. A thin smile spread across my face, and my heart became full when I realised, she was now in the same world as me, that I could now see her again. I turned to face the Hunter, who was delighted about the awakening, the eagerness to get back to his work twinkling in his eyes. I mirrored his expression and returned his weapon.

‘The merge.’

Lacey Diluvio is a second year student studying Criminology and Creative Writing. She loves to write about fantasy, horror, and sci fi. She also writes poetry on her Instagram @scribbled_sunshine.

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