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#84280
The Fledgling Artist
@the-fledgling-artist

Karra pulled away from Avery, bolting upright.

“Karra?”

She wiped the tears from her exhausted face. “Did you hear that?”

Avery stood slowly and paused, listing for any sounds from the numerous tunnels surrounding them.

Avery nodded as he picked up the glowing object, not wanting to leave behind what he hoped might be leading them to the exit.

“…Karra, you can’t just change the subject, you can’t just-“

Karra held up a hand to silence him as an eerie humming sound drifted through the tunnels. Listen, she mouthed.

Avery and Karra exchanged horrified glances as the quiet hum seemed to be getting closer.

Closer,

Closer,

Their ears pricked as footsteps became audible. They were slow, shuffling in time with the sorrowful melody.

The tune somehow reminded Avery of home. The lonely nights sitting in the snow, gazing up through the blue pines at the stars that didn’t want to twinkle.

Wait…

Avery’s eyes lit up with recognition. He knew that song. He had heard his father sing it before.

Karra blinked in confusion as Avery’s mouth gaped open.

He stepped forward, turning the corner. There was a figure in the shadows at the end of the tunnel, they had frozen in place, no longer humming the melancholy tune.

“Hello?…” Avery strained his eyes to examine the mysterious figure.

“Please don’t eat me!” An unfamiliar voice squeaked.

“Excuse me?” Avery exchanged a look with Karra, who just shrugged at him.

“Are you… UM” She coughed, stepping into the light. “Please don’t be cannibals- OH” Her eyes lit up in apparent shock.

Avery blinked in disbelief.

Standing a few feet away from them was a girl, who looked to be around their age. Other than the fact she was obviously a girl, she was the spitting image of Jake. Same mussed auburn hair, and warm complexion. Her eyes looked exactly like Jakes, aside from them being brown instead of gold.

 

“Vyn?” The girl spoke through her hands. “Vyn?? How did you get here? Do you know where we are?” She ran up to Avery and hugged him tightly.

Karra squinted at them, opening her mouth, probably to question what the buckets was happening right now.

“I was so freaked out, I literally thought you were gonna eat me. Doesn’t this look like a creepy cannibal cave?? Isn’t that hilarious? Whoa- you look different. What did you do to your hair?”

Avery winced as the girl started touching his dark hair.

“It’s all floofy! How did you do that?”

Avery and Karra blinked at her.

“Vyn?”

Avery pulled away from the strange girl. “… Are you… Karina?” No way. She was way too young. And way too alive.  

Karina frowned. “Don’t you remember me Vyn?”

Avery gasped. “Wait- do you think I’m- No- Wait, are you and Maxum engaged yet?“

The girl’s expression got dark. “No.” she spat.

“Oh- Sorry… I just-“ He gestured apologetically, surprised by her cold response.

“Don’t you dare start this again. I told you, I can’t. I just can’t. Besides, looks like you’ve already found a replacement for me.” She gestured to a horrified Karra.

Found a replacement?? “No way.” Avery breathed. This was Jake’s mother, or a past version of her.

Avery grimaced. Did his Father actually-

“Avery??” Karra looked back and forth between them frantically. “Who is this- and why does she-“

“Wait- you’re not Vyn??” Karina’s mouth hung open. “Who are you??” Hew voice rising to new levels of obnoxicity.

Avery’s exhaustion, thirst, and confused horror were just too much for the poor guy. He fainted.

____

Wow, I had way too much fun with that one. *wipes tears*

Sorry it’s so long. (sorry not sorry tho.)

"Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."

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