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Haunting Memories in a Broken World

One Piece
Dragonheart287 - Fanfiction

With winter came night that fell quickly, casting its dark shadow over towns and countryside within the early hours of the evening. Had this been a normal world, this would have meant that the nightlife of the towns and cities would have begun. Nightclubs would have started playing music to make the very ground beneath it vibrate. Pubs and bars would keep a wary eye out for any drunken behaviour that may disrupt the atmosphere and their general reputation. At later hours police patrols would be set up at designated ‘hot spots’ to keep a lookout for any anti-social behaviour or prostitution. Such would have been the norm for a large place like West City.

However, this wasn’t a normal world. Not anymore. The thumping nightclubs and drunken singing in the streets had long since become a thing of the past since they had come. Two monsters with human form had come from an unknown place and had begun their long reign of terror over the human race. It was mind boggling to think of how two creatures that looked like ordinary humans could cause such worldwide panic. Unfortunately for most, it had been something that they hadn’t believed until it was too late. Those monsters in human skin, wolves in sheep’s clothing, convinced them in the worst ways possible.

Such a grip of fear was achieved by never completely leaving one place. A city may be attacked and, just as they thought that things were safe and started to rebuild their lives, they would reappear and tear things viciously down again.

The ‘Earths Defenders’ whose legend had started to spread after the mysterious appearance of two aliens years ago, had never come. If they had, they had fallen.

But now, even three years on since the monsters had been brought down, the world was breathing a sigh of relief. Somehow, and no one knew the exact details, the monsters had disappeared. Rumours had quickly spread. Some said that they had become tired and moved onto another world to torture. Others said that hell itself had opened up to swallow them straight into its fiery depths. One man speaking to the media had told of one of the ‘Earths Defenders’ coming to save him from death at the very hand of those creatures. A golden saviour sent finally from heaven who had finally put their rampage to a stop.

What people chose to believe was irrelevant to them; all that mattered was that they were now gone and so lives could start rebuilding. The cities torn down could be rebuilt and the dead could finally be laid to rest in peace in the proper way that was wished by the surviving members of their families.

This may have happened three years ago but some old habits die hard. Very hard. Night still marked the time for those who were brave enough to venture outside to find shelter. The monsters had never slept and an attack during the night was on of the most horrifying experiences known to any man at that time. When the nightlife that had once been would start again, no one knew. For now, when night fell, the people hid from the darkness like cockroaches fleeing from the light.

Uneven sleep patterns and waking up in the night a lot had become a regular occurrence for many people and Bulma Briefs of the half standing Capsule Corp was no exception. Currently, at the hour of two in the morning, she was stood in her kitchen, which she had always prided herself in being able to keep clean, pouring hot water into a cup of coco mix.

Almost as if she were doing it in her sleep, she pushed a small spoon slowly through the water to allow it and the powder to mix together. Too tired for the simple task of opening the fridge and adding some milk, she decided to leave it for now and go back to bed. Some things were still in ration after all.

With eyes still half closed, she set the teaspoon by the sink ready to be washed later and started up the small flight of stairs that would take her to her bedroom. A couple of steps down the hallway would take her past the bedroom of her son, Trunks, and the only surviving member of her family. There were just a few more paces then until she would reach her own door. The two had long ago moved their bedrooms together to be closer to each other. Both had lost people very dear to them so the closeness of their bedrooms had proved to provide great comfort in the past. They were only a door away from each other after all.

Bulma’s sleepy state was suddenly shattered by a violent sounding scream coming from behind Trunks door, followed by a load crash.

“Trunks?” the mug of coco fell to the floor to chip the plaster and stain the carpet with hot brown liquid. But that was of little importance now.

Hastily pushing the door open, fading blue eyes took in all they could within the short amount of time given. The bed and a small cabinet beside it had been overturned and whatever had been on it was now scattered all around the floor. Rumpled bedsheets lay in a disorganised pile near where the bed had fallen, tangled within each other. Poking out near the middle, by a fallen pillow, the top half of a small stuffed bear could be seen.

A lamp had fallen near the top of the cabinet and had obviously broken the bulb or been yanked from its socket seeing as it no longer shone. Trunks always slept with it on. Objects such as photographs in frames, books whose pages were tattered at the edge and odd pieces of mechanics that he had been fooling around with lay scattered over the floor where they had fallen.

This was all lit up with a golden light coming from Trunks who was crouched in the middle of the mess. His hair had grown to his shoulders again, signalling to Bulma that it was time to have it cut seeing as it had a knack for growing fast. Right now it had fallen over his face and had hidden his eyes. But Bulma could tell, as a mother always could, that he was silently crying.

If her instincts were correct, she knew what had brought this on but she couldn’t fully approach him. Not when he was powered up like he was now. The fearful blue lightning crackling around his body acted as a defence shield and would only harm her, even if it were completely unintentional. Instead, the first thing that she did was to go around to where the small bear poked out and pluck it out from the tangle of bedsheets. It was something that Trunks treasured, given to him on his very first Christmas.

Moving closer to her distressed son, what also caught her eyes was one of the framed pictures that had fallen. This particular one showed Gohan and Trunks on the day when the teenage Son had insisted upon having a party for Trunks’ thirteenth birthday. They were both smiling.

“Trunks? Sweetheart?”

She knelt down as close to him as she could get, holding the bear out a little as a sign that everything was okay. That there was nothing to be afraid of.

“M—mum?” the bowed head rose to reveal swollen eyes, rimmed red from the tears that he had been harshly crying. There was a moment as he appeared to take things in and then, almost as if by reflex, he came forward to take the bear from her and wrap and arm around her neck, like a small child who had just been wondering around lost in a crowded shopping mall.

He powered down, spiked golden hair falling back and transforming to its usual deep lavender colour.

The two stayed there for a moment, holding each other closely with Trunks clutching the bear to his chest as well. Bulma slowly stroked one hand through his hair, forgetting to fuss over any tangles, as she felt tears from her son fall onto her sleeve.

“Are you alright?” she spoke softly, knowing the answer that she was likely to get. There had been times when Trunks had woken her up from nightmares telling her that she had been screaming. And vice versa.

“That dream again,” his reply was a little muffled from where his face was buried in his mother’s shoulder. “I had that dream again.”

Her theory confirmed, she pulled him even closer and just held him, her hand still moving slowly through his hair to soothe him. There had often been times where Trunks would have nightmares about the Androids and the death of Gohan and would wake up in a fit of screams and tears. On a bad night, like this one, he would fall from his bed and bring half his bedroom to ruin without even realising it.

Before Trunks’ hadn’t really known the personal sadness that Bulma had. His mother had lost the close circle of friend whose bond had been as strong as if they were family. Maybe stronger. They had all been her world, every single one of them but that had all been torn down. First there had been the death of Goku; the greatest warrior in the universe brought down by a heart disease. Something that seemed so simple and small and insignificant compared to all that he had been through. In some ways it was almost mocking. Then the Androids had come and one by one the rest of the great Earth warriors had fallen; from the pale faced Chaotzu to the proud and mighty Piccolo. Other members of the group had slowly passed one by one, ChiChi being the last to go. Poverty and grief had become too much for her to bear and, despite Gohan’s care, she had slipped away in her sleep. Died alone in her bed. Many times Bulma had offered her a place at Capsule Corp but each time the woman had refused, unable to leave her old home. Now Bulma felt that of she had forced her to leave then maybe she would still be alive now. But, on the other hand, she knew how precious ChiChi’s memories were to her and also knew that she would never have the heart to pull her away from all of them.

But Trunks had never felt the loss of these people, not even his father. He had only been a baby when many of them had died and all he had ever known of them were photographs and stories that Bulma and Gohan had told him. He had seen ChiChi a couple of times but couldn’t understand the great pain that she held within her heart. Not because he was selfish but because he didn’t know how it felt.

Then the day had come when Gohan had been killed. Bulma could clearly remember Trunks finally coming home in a state of fear and grief. Tears had been shed from the boy for hours, almost two days. He had finally experienced what it felt like to lose a loved one and it had torn his young heart mercilessly to shreds.

Bulma had known of Trunks’ feelings towards Gohan, she had been the one whom he had questioned about it. There was no one left after all and he certainly hadn’t felt brave enough to tell Gohan himself. She had felt an odd pride for her son that day, he didn’t seem afraid of what he was; just a little confused as he was young and his first crush was towards another male.

It was sad, even infuriating, to think that society had evolved so much yet there were still certain people who were hunted down and hated like demons and witches purely for what they were.

Trunks had been preparing to tell Gohan that he loved him on that day. But that had never happened and now never would. With Piccolo’s death the Dragonballs had disappeared and the Namikian Dragonballs would only revive the souls who had passed within the previous year. Gohan, along with many other dearly missed people, were lost forever.

“I hate them,” came a sudden harsh whisper from Trunks. “I hate them so much!”

He had experienced so many extremes on that day. The shaking nervousness of thinking how to tell Gohan that he loved him. The ripping pain that came with the death of the man that he had fallen in love with. The burning hatred towards the Androids who had torn them apart in such a horrible way.

That day had torn him apart and, years later, nightmares that seemed as real as the day it happened would replay in his head again and again.

“I hate them,” the words kept repeating, growing faster and angrier each time. “I hate them! I hate them! I hate them!”

Hate. It was something that everyone in this world felt but what seemed so unreal about it was that all this hatred of Earth’s survivors was focused towards the same two people.

Not people, monsters.

That hate, that vile and distressing feeling was the one thing that united the people of the world for not one of them had escaped. Each and every one of them had suffered in one way or another at the hands of two monsters who looked like two totally ordinary human beings. And a world where the people were bonded by hate, such a raw emotion, was truly a terrible place to live.

Bulmer started to fear that Trunks would slip into his Super Saiyan state again but it never came. His screams slipped into cries until finally he couldn’t force the words out of his throat any more. In his deep distress, all he could do was cry heavily and silently as he clung to his mother. The only thing that he had left.

Said mother held him back, slowly rocking them back a little as she stroked his hair to try and soothe him. Her tears fell as well, brought on by his distress.

Both mother and son were all that each other had left. Old friends and family had long since perished and neither dared to make close bonds with other people for fear of losing them as well. Fear of rejection and loss from other people had tested many a relationship from others and most didn’t even attempt to build a friendship with a stranger anymore.

But there was also the fear of being alone and that was what made the two cling to each other so tightly. There was also understanding there, now they both knew the pain that each other held because each had experienced it. They had both seen the horrors that had been unleashed as well. Horrors that had tested man-kinds sanity.

Many had failed.

When Trunks was eight years old there had been an incident in West City. A group of people had become convinced that a middle aged man who worked part time at a bakers shop was the one who had created such beasts. Years later their reasons were still unknown. Madness had spread quickly through the crowd, the worst sort of virus. His cries had been laughed at, his pleas mocked. Slowly they had hacked him up with anything that they could find; rocks, pipes, keys, pieces of rusty metal lying in gutters. Cigarette lighters had then been brought out by the dozen and used to torch his clothes and melt his skin.

Finally he had been buried in the middle of the park. Whether he was still alive or not after such torture no one knew but at that moment the mob had hoped that he was still living so that the accused would suffer more.

At the time neither Bulma nor Trunks had been present, which she was grateful for. She was most fearful even to this day that she too might have been sucked into such insanity as well as her young son. She had experienced it once before, joining in with a group of taunting bullies when she was at school. She had neither meant nor wanted to; just found herself sucked into this spiral of madness and hurt.

Of course, when the attacks did not stop, people began to suspect others. People fled cities and the human race divided, everyone wanting to get as far away as possible from everyone else. It was only due to the high tech security at Capsule Corp and the fact that West City emptied very quickly that Bulma stayed where she was.

It was these horrors and the pain of loss that brought mother and son together in a strong bond. They both knew horror; they both knew fear, uncertainty.

Both had suffered the awful pain of loss. For Bulma it had not only been the deaths of her close set of friends who were more like family but what had really stabbed her heart was the death of the man who, for whatever bizarre reason, she had started to grow attracted to. The man named Vegeta. The man who had first come to Earth to destroy it but had ended up dying for it. It was an odd match, jaws dropping left, right and centre when people discovered who the father of baby Trunks really was. What the attraction was even Bulma herself did not know.

What she did know was that he had flown off to claim victory one day. After hours of just sitting staring out of the window, unable to do anything that might distract her, Bulma had suddenly felt a ripping pain shooting straight through her heart and down into her gut.

Deaths gun had shot its poison pistol into both Vegeta’s heart and hers; she knew what had happened even before the pain subsided and she was able to think again.

Vegeta, like all the others, had perished.

Now Trunks, her dear son, had lost Gohan to the same foe. The man who he had felt a growing attraction to but, like Bulma’s feelings for Vegeta, was unable to work out exactly why. The day Gohan died, Trunks had been gathering the courage to tell him that he loved him. The day that Vegeta died, Bulma had the same intensions.

Both had suffered. Both had lost someone irreplaceable in their hearts that had shattered their spirits and tore hope in humanity and even God himself into shreds. For what sort of God would allow such pain?

Now, even years after the defeat of two such terrible monsters, memories still haunted them as clearly as if they were travelling back in time to witness it all over again. At night they would rise, like demons that had been hiding under the bed or in the closet all day to taunt them about what had been lost. Nightmares would circle their heads, endlessly replaying and renewing pains that should have started to calm long ago.

Both mother and son stayed crouched in the dark together, holding each other with the teddy bear in-between them and the photograph beside them. Both needed each other, somehow drawn together by such pain.

Both mother and son. Forever doomed to suffer haunting memories in a broken world.