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Twisted Fates: A chaotic prologue

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All good things must come to an end they said, but why did it have to be the holidays? The only time Katsumi could get away from the judgmental stares from her peers was during these treasured days. With her nose in a book most of the time she was classed as a nerd, unpopular, quiet and an eyesore. But no matter what people said she'd always have a smile on her face.

She gazed out her window looking over the lake, wondering if this time it would be different. For once not being looked down upon for striving to be the best she could be. Not having her dreams crushed over and over again by her teachers saying that a girl could never become something more than an assistant making coffee for the men who ruled this world. She longed for equality and the ability to be able to have her dreams and aspirations. She didn't walk around the halls saying that girl who thinks she could be a model that she couldn't because she didn't have the right figure. Nor would she tell the quarterback that he would never make it big because his grades wouldn't allow him to. It wasn't her place nor business, yet that didn't apply to her.

A sudden gust of wind blew through the window and with it wiping all her thoughts. Slowly standing up she found the strength to shut the window and make her way down the creaky stairs for breakfast. There was no point in pondering over something she couldn't change.

On the other side of the house was a different story. There laid a boy staring at the ceiling. Haru was very different from Katsumi, he was confident and had friends. He was known as the reckless one out of the twins, he tended to do before thinking. Because of that, he manages to always find himself in trouble. While most people might see him as multiple different things, he was fairly harmless and more of a danger to himself than others. But the one characteristic that shines above all the others is his loyalty and love for his family. He doesn't spend much time with Katsumi at school but he loves her dearly. Whenever he heard someone even speak about her in a tone, he disliked he would give them a harsh glare.

Yet he could never do much more. Katsumi was independent and she made that clear to him on multiple occasions. But he could never stop protecting her, she was his little sister even if it was by 4 minutes.

The sound of someone walking down the stairs dragged him out of his thoughts. Hauling himself out of bed he stands in front of the mirror and runs his hand through his hair.
The first day back always sucks.
Little did anyone know that the shadow of a figure appeared in the mirror after Haru left the room.

Back in the kitchen sat an unusually eager looking Katsumi compared to the mood she was in when she entered the room.
Haru walks past her and grabs the toast that was long abandoned and started eating it.

"You know I was going to eat that right?" Katsumi looked up from her phone and looked him in the eyes.

"Oh really now," he said before taking another bite. "The poor piece of toast was sitting there on its own growing colder by the second." He paused to add dramatic effect as he threw his hand across his head. "I am only being the kind person I am by putting it out of its misery."

Katsumi stared at her brother in astonishment before looking back down at her phone. Though Haru could clearly see her shoulders shaking as she fought back against her laughter.

Before he could start again with the theatrics a woman in her early 40's walks in.

"What's with all the smiles in this room?" The lady said as she carefully examined the faces of the twins that now looking at her. "Are you sick? Do I need to take you to the doctor?" She mumbled as she walked over to Katsumi and put her hand on her forehead.

Katsumi let out an exasperated sigh before putting her phone down.

"Mum, I'm fine and so is Haru." Her voice softened as she looked into her mother's eyes.

"Yeah, I mean I smile all the time so no need to worry about me," Haru paused before glancing back over at his sister "But I'm still not convinced with miss independence over here."

"Yeah, Haru's right sweetie, what's gotten you in such a good mood?" You could see a glimmer of hope in her eyes as she asked her daughter.

Once again, she sighed before answering.

"I just feel like something is going to be different this year," she then looks over to her brother. "This year I'm not going to let anyone get me down and most importantly..." she stood up and walked over to Haru and took his hands in hers. "I'm going to ask for your help when I need it, sometimes you need to be able to rely on others." A smile grew across both faces in a sweet and heartfelt moment. Before it got rudely interrupted by the sound of sobbing.

The twins turn around to see their mother sitting down and sobbing at the breakfast bench.

"Look at *hic* how much my little *sob* babies have grown up!" She cried out whilst pulling a handkerchief out of nowhere.

Katsumi looked at her mother with no idea how to calm her down without ruining her school uniform and Haru stood there shaking his head.

"Oh well, look at the time," Haru pointed to his watch. "It seems that I need to finish getting ready!" An evil grin appeared across his face as he dashed up the stairs leaving a stunned Katsumi to look after their crying mother.

"HARU ITO GET BACK HERE NOW!!!"

———

Once he was secured back in his room. Haru went over to the mirror to clean up his appearance. Tucking his midnight black hair behind his ear and straightening his crooked tie to look more presentable.

He was no longer the young boy who would get his sister to tie his tie and remind him constantly to fix his hair. He then proceeded to straighten his vest, with slow fluid movements making sure that there were no creases. His carefree reflection staring right back at him gave him the signal that it was time to grab his suitcase and start a new adventure.

Ah, my beloved,

Haru pauses as a hint of confusion washes over his features. Did someone turn on the TV? Is there even a TV upstairs? Questions flowed through his mind until he notices a dark shadow forming in the mirror.

"I must be hallucinating" Haru takes a shaky breath as he goes to collect his suitcase once again.

The noble and beautiful flower of evil,

You are the most beautiful, one in this world.

This time the voice spoke louder and the echo from it made Haru jump. Surely this was a prank, right? Maybe Katsumi was trying to get back at him after eating the toast. It was unlike though as she never left the kitchen.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most...

Mirror, mirror? Isn't that from a Dixney movie? Haru turned around gingerly to see the mirror glowing with a dark aura surrounding it. Sudden bursts of green tiny lights, almost like fireflies, swarmed around the mirror after escaping the surface. Haru sucks in a gasp as he falls over the now discarded suitcase.

For thee, guided by the Mirror of Darkness,

The reflection in the mirror changes once again to show a sea of stars glistening in the night sky as many birds... maybe crows or even ravens fly through the woods.

Was the mirror calling him?

Before he even has the chance to recollect his thoughts, a new sound makes its way into the room. The sound of creaking, maybe it's just the floorboards? Then another loud sound assaults his now abused ears. The sound of hooves on the ground approach. He rushes to the window to look outside to see if there was some sort of carriage in the street. Yet to his dismay there was nothing. How could you hear something so clearly without it even existing?

Follow thy heart and take the hand of the one reflected in the mirror.

The voice echoed once again through the room. Haru tenses and whips his head around to focus back on the mirror. His eyes widen when he sees a carriage with two pristine black horses pulling it. Never in this world had he ever seen something look so magical. Even if it wasn't real.

Flames that turn even stars into ashes,

Ice that imprisons even time,

The scene flicker's, showing a forest set alight with a sea of green flames and screams of terrified people ringing in his ears. Horror flashed across his face. Then a young man is shown running from the scene in a black and green cape while holding a crying baby covered in soot. The young-looking man looks at the child with pity while he tries to rock him as the flames grow smaller in the distance.

The scene changes again with a ripple-like effect on the glass. This time Haru is faced with the deep blue ocean. Part human and part sea animal creatures, somewhat like what you'd call merpeople in fairytales, swam in all different directions. Ice was starting to form deep below the surface where it wasn't thought to be possible. At the same time, black ink started to flow from the land above, obscuring the vision of the ones below. Haru wasn't able to move. Nor did he believe that he could breathe.

Don't be afraid of the power of darkness,

Still shaken from the visions that Haru had just seen before him, it took a while to register what the ominous voice has just spoken. The power of darkness, what even is this and how is it possible?

Come now, show your power.

What power do you mean? The only magic he knew of was the one in books that every child wished would come to premonition.

Mine, theirs, and yours,

Other people have magic as well? Nothing makes sense. Haru starts to walk closer as frustration and desperation start seeping past his carefree facade. He takes guarded steps towards the mysterious mirror that had now changed back to the black fog with green tiny light floating around.

"Haru!" a voice erupted from the other side of the door. Haru looks to the door as he raises his now clenched fist, preparing to smash the mirror.

"Katsumi," he hesitates "is there still the first aid kit in the bathroom?" a dark tone could be heard in his voice from the other side of the door.

"What did you say?" Katsumi quietly asked. “I couldn't quite hear you." she finishes softly.

Before Haru replies, he slams his fist into the mirror whilst bracing for impact. Yet the pain never came, nor the sound of shattering glass. Instead, he yelps as a cold leather glove latched onto his wrist and starts to pull him through.

There is only a little time left for us.

Do not let go of that hand, at all costs.

He froze in place not knowing what to do as he was slowly pulled into the mirror.

———

On the other side of the bedroom door stood an anxious Katsumi. She swore she heard Haru say something about the first aid kit in the bathroom so she asked again. Yet, she never got a reply. Worry getting the best of her she opens the bedroom door. Then she laid her eyes on the scene in front of her. Her brother's face was drained of any colour and a hand started to drag him into his mirror. Katsumi didn't know how to react. She was never the brave one. In this scenario, she would just run away. But she knew true and well that she couldn't do that.

She couldn't grasp the idea that this was real. Maybe she was still asleep in her room and this was all a terrible dream. Because in reality you can't be pulled into a mirror...right? Katsumi still believes that she's dreaming. So, with a trembling hand, she reaches up and slaps herself across the face. Not a smart move.
Her eyes widen instantly. Not just from the stinging sensation and her now watery eyes. In reality, it's because everything comes crashing down on her. This was real.

Her eyes were now glued to the hand as inch by inch her twin was dragged into the mirror. It was something that deserved to be in a horror movie. She couldn't stand there and do anything. So, she lunged forwards to grab his hand but tripped over the suitcase that now had its contents spilt across the floor like it was laundry day.

Seeing his sister in trouble Haru tries to reach out and catch her as she starts falling headfirst into the mirror.

Another hand wearing an identical glove to the other one reaches out and grabs her before she falls in.

Katsumi turns around to face Haru before she is completely submerged into the mirror. Regret and hopelessness were painted over her face.

"I'm sorry..."

That was the last thing the twins heard before they were completely sucked in and the world went dark.

I didn't expect two, but it does make sense

As there would be no light if it wasn't for the existence of darkness...

———

Is it morning yet?

Haru stirs from his coma-like state to face nothing but a black void. What happened to me? The last thing I remember is being... SUCKED THROUGH A MIRROR, HOLY SMOKES!

Panic starts to set in as he tried to work out if it was all a dream. In an attempt to roll over he runs into a cold wall.

"What the-" Haru exclaims in frustration.

"Darn, people will come soon!" A voice says in a muffled tone. People? I'm not in my room, am I? Haru stayed with his face pressed up against the unknown wall. The cold feeling that accompanies it was calming.

"I have to wear the uniform, fast..." What uniform? Haru grows more anxious as time goes on. Haru tries to stretch out when his hands hit a hard surface above him. Is it a lid of some sort? He tries pushing it off but to no avail.

"Nggggh!!!" The stranger's voice cries from the other side of the compartment.                  "This lid is so heavy!" Haru could understand what the kid was talking about. From his experience with trying to push it off. You'd have to be the hulk.

"Looks like I'm gonna have to use my last resort!" Haru still did not attempt to move or communicate with the kid on the other side. Instead, he sat there wondering what on earth is this last resort?

Suddenly the space started to become humid and smoke starting seeping through the crevasses.

"F-fire" he managed to choke out before the lid gave out and sent him tumbling. Whilst composing himself. A small creature with blue flaming ears and a pitch-fork tall appear from behind.

"Whhaaaaat!? you're not meant to be awake yet!" Haru turned around, still in a daze to see the creature. Now he did believe he was dreaming.

"A Tanuki?" disbelief laced in his words, the creature replies curtly and almost as if he was offended.

"You think I'm a Racoon Dog?!" Haru found it hard to take him seriously as the flames on his ear grew larger. "How dare you disrespect The Great Grim!" The cat-like creature now called Grim flashes his claw as if to threaten him, yet because it was a dream he couldn't hurt him, right?

"Well?" Grim taps his paw on the ground as if expecting something. "Aren't you going to give me the uniform?" he starts to become impatient and it was obvious in his tone.

What uniform is he talking about? Haru finally looks down to see that his pristine red blazer and black vest had been replaced with robes. These weren't any old robes either. They had a blackish blue fabric with purple lining, and gorgeous gold leaf patterns along with the trims. It looked like it was straight out of a book.

"Don't make me roast ya!" Haru snaps back to reality as he heard Grim threaten to burn him. Ha, imagine getting burned alive by a Tanuki in a dream.

He was caught up in the thought when a blue flame is launched at him, searing a small piece of hair on the top of his head.

"What the-!" Haru steps back as he pats his head trying to kill the flame. "Oww that actually hurt Grim!" Wait... it hurt. It hurt. IT HURTS! THIS WASN'T A DREAM!? Looking around the room Haru spotted a door that was cracked open. This Grim must have left it open when he came in. Looking in that direction he started too slowly back away. Sadly, The Great Grim caught on.

"Oi, human, you can't run away that easily!" And with that, the great chase began.

With the adrenaline rushing through his veins, he kept running. The door from the room before lead into a huge corridor that looked like something from Hogwarts. But there was no time to look around in awe, or else his hair wouldn't be the only thing lit on fire that evening.

Eventually, the pair find themselves in a large room filled with shelves of books. Katsumi would absolutely love this if she saw it. Haru never liked reading, but he sure did respect the effort authors put into writing stories. But with the current events occurring the thought of Katsumi never crossed his mind. What did happen to Katsumi?

———

A man walks into the room Haru and Grim were in previously. His face was covered by a mask that resembled a bird. Kind of like a plague mask during the black plague. Blackish-green hair was combed back messily and between the strands, pointy ears poking out. Shaking his head, he walked over to the toppled coffin. Looking inside he notices that there was no one inside. With further inspection, he realises that there were burn marks all over the lid. With a deep sigh, he grabs a pen with a gem on the top and righted the coffin and repaired the damage in one swift movement.

"It seems like we have some very excitable children this year." Physical strain could be heard in his voice. It was as if he was about to cry. "What will Crewel do if he finds out I lost a student already?" With a solemn look, the birdman walks out of the room in the direction of the central courtyard.