"Hahaha." A nauseatingly sweet laugh greeted my ears. One that resembled a young girl's as she skipped around a field of flowers.
The source was far away but I felt like she's right next to me. Distant yet ever existing.
"Hahahaha... haha... haah." She ended her laugh with a sigh. "You're here already, huh?"
'Is she talking to me? She can't be. I'm just a spectator. This is just my dream.'
The last thing I remembered was a man carrying and telling me that I did fine.
If this was not a dream, this must be the afterlife.
Either way, I was satisfied... as he assured me, I already did everything I could.
"Oh well, you won't know what's going on right now anyway. Let's just send you back for now." A small girl with white hair and rags for clothes suddenly appeared in front of me. Her pearl-like eyes looked straight into mine. She knew that I was here.
"I am your ancestor. Welcome to my land, Eren Yeager!" She gently pushed me and I fell back into reality. "I will see you soon..."
"HAAAAH!!! HAA HAAA!!" I choked on my own breath as my body shot up from the bedding I was lying on top of.
WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!
"ACK!" My hand autonomously reached the side where I was stabbed, but there was nothing there anymore. My body was still aching but did the stab wound get healed already? How long was I out for anyways? My mind was a mess.
So I looked around for answers.
I looked around the hall. Large grey pillars, musty floor, injured people sprawled across the floor.
"EREN!" A familiar voice greeted me. I turned my head to Mikasa and Armin running towards me.
"Thank god those two are fine." I tried to speak but my throat choked up.
When they arrived, they put down the food next to my arm and jumped onto me. I could feel my back turning wet. There was some sobbing but no one broke out in a cry. This ordeal lasted a bit before I slightly nudged them away.
"Guys. My body still hurts..."
"Ah! I'm sorry." Before I could complete my sentence both of them backed off. Honestly, I could've done with a longer hug.
I took a piece of bread from the basket.
"How long was I out?"
"Three days?! If it has already been three days then- Mom, where is Mom?!" I jumped straight up and dropped the bread on the ground. She had to have survived right? That man carried her here. So she must be here.
I glanced in every direction looking for the bedding she was lying on. But she wasn't there.
Mikasa and Armin look at each other before Mikasa's lips finally parted ways. "Follow me."
She got up and started walking along the hall. I followed behind her and Armin followed me.
A few minutes later, I was facing a room.
"She's in here."
I gulped down my saliva and pushed the door.
With a creak, it opened fully.
A large window pane, and a woman looking out of it. The remnants of her legs were wrapped up with cloth but still bleeding.
She turned her head acknowledging our intrusion and faced me with lifeless eyes. The woman pursed her lips and started looking back out at the gloomy scenery outside.
"The doctors say that she can't live very long with her legs gone. They can't stop the bleeding or any future infections. It's only some time before she passes away." Armin broke the silence.
I stood there completely oblivious to his words.
"I said that's unfair!" I lost my cool.
"I know but they tried everything they could." They eyed me apologetically. That wasn't what I meant.
"No- not that... how could she ignore me after everything that happened." I walked up to Mom and grabbed her boney shoulders.
'Why does she look like this? It has only been three days!'
"At least look at me! Have you not been eating? Please get yourself together. We need to make it through this together. MOM!"
And Mom;'s eyes met mine... she looked at me with a dead expression on her face. I shook her.
Something grabbed my collar and Mikasa pulled me down on the ground.
"Eren, stop!" She said dejectedly. "Stop."
"Eren, it's not just you! She hasn't spoken anything ever since she found out that your father wasn't among the survivors."
Not among the survivors... Is that- Is that it?
The memory of me dissecting my father immediately came to mind. Blood, and guts flew around everywhere.
I rolled over to my side and barfed.
She was ignoring me... And had driven herself to such a state... because the man who was trying to kill her died? She just forgot all I had to do, because of that bastard?
I KILLED HIM FOR HER!
"Eren!" Mikasa let my collar go.
"Are you fine?"
"Yeah, just a little... queazy. I'll be back in a bit." My brain went numb as I got up to head outside.
This was all my fault. I was too naive, hoping that I could kill titans. What was with that dream anyways? Killing titans to get humanity its freedom? That was so stupid.
When push came to shove, I was nothing more than a rat in front of a real titan. Just a powerless brat.
They were scarier than anything I had ever seen. Looking down on me. I was just a bug for them. Not a one that could ever harm them, just a bug who would be fun to mess around with.
I never wanted to see a titan again.
I climbed up the stairs and onto the roof.
I didn't know what to think anymore. On one side it was Mom devastated from the murder I killed. On another side, it was the gripping fear of the titans.
Do I tell her the truth? Will she react? What if her state becomes worse? Will I have to tell her that I was the one who killed him? No, the truth would come out. I came out of the basement and Armin and Mikasa saw me leave with him.
Why was I so bent on hiding it anyway? He was the one who tried to kill his wife. He was the one who stabbed his son with a syringe in the neck.
And then on the side, there's Mom's worsening condition. And her inevitable death.
'What am I supposed to think? What do I do?!'
"Eren..." Armin followed me, huh? He looked tired. "How could you go up so many stairs like it's nothing? It makes me feel like I'm the injured one here."
"I was just lost in thought."
"What's going on with you?"
"I don't know, everything is just taking time to settle in."
I walked over to the side of the roof and leaned against the wall of cement. He joined me.
The streets were filled with some of the people from our town. Some were moving around frantically looking for family, and others were in pursuit of a new livelihood.
"Do you know what happened to your father? You were the on-"
"Uhh, w-we separated after... After I fell down near the house!" I averted my eyes.
"Ah, is that so? I see." He looked ahead. "Well, do you know what happened to us after we got separated?"
I forgot about their circumstances. That bastard threw them in the stream before taking me.
"Not many titans came into the stream... most of them were busy catching people on the land."
"We were shivering in the stream paralysed by fear. So scared we didn't even realise how dirty the stream was. Blood, trash, corpses. But none of that mattered anymore as long as the titans didn't come near us." He recalled with a surprisingly calm voice.
"But that's when he came... the survivors call him the armoured titan. He looked like bloody flesh covered with bones in some parts. He noticed us in the stream and start walking in. We swam and swam and swam but he only got closer to us."
"We hid underwater. Tried to reach the shore. Nothing worked. And when we had lost all hope Hannes came to rescue us."
"I see..." I replied. I couldn't think of any other reaction to his story. Hannes was surprisingly useful after all.
"What I mean by this is... things might have gone to hell back then, but we still made it out. So let's just get through this together too, okay?" His words gave me a weird sense of relief.
He was right. No matter what happened, or how bad things got... we survived still. All we needed to do was survive just a bit longer, together. I didn't save Mom yet. I still had to do more, until she could go back to the way she was.
I gritted my teeth and turned around. For now, I'll throw all my thoughts away. Just work on the now. The truths and lies will sort themselves out in the future.
"So let's go back Eren."