“Could you tell me that story again, daddy?”
“I’m tired, Caddy. Go ask your brother”
“But I can’t sleep!”
“I’m serious, young lady. I don’t want to hear it”
“Quinn won’t tell it correctly!”
“Young lady, I don’t want to hear that excuse again!”
“But it’s true! He’s just going to be all moody. I don’t like it when he tells me stories!”
“Have you ever heard his version of my tale?”
“Exactly. Now sweetie, remember what I told you?”
“Always wash my hands after each meal? Go talk to those terrible girls across the street?”
“No, but you ought to do both of those anyway. I only want the best for you, Caddy”
“So what do you want me to know?”
“Every story has more than one side. I think you of all people should know that. Sometimes, perspective is the truest art”
“Okay, Daddy. Should I go talk to Quinn then?”
“Did I hear my name”
“Go tell her the story. I’m going to be in the other room with your mother. We’ve got to catch up on our shows; she can only keep up the appearances for so long”
“You don’t need to spend all your time thinking about what everyone else thinks, dad”
“Yes... I’ve been considering that”
“Come tell me the story!”
“Fine. Dad, don’t you have somewhere to be?”
“Yes. I’ll leave now. Thanks, Quinn”
“Listen, brat; I’m only telling you this story to get my phone back. I’d rather be out right now. My boyfriend’s been pestering me to get out more anyway”
“I miss when we were younger. You used to tell me stories all the time”
“I’m 14, Caddy. You’re only 10. You wouldn’t understand what life is like”
“Stop pretending you’re a grown-up, Quinn! What would you be without your boyfriend and fancy friends! And that phone too!”
“Do you want to hear the story or not?”
“‘Kay. Alright. I’m just going to look back to see if I can remember how it began”
“Make it up!”
“Make your own ending. I want to hear what you want to tell”
“Sure... it started over 3000 years ago. The world began with only one god. At least, people believed that. Back then, there was only one element”
“Only one? But I thought there were more! That’s not what daddy tells me”
“Didn’t you want to hear my version? Anyway, Anima was all the elements. Does that make sense?”
“Don’t lie. Think of Anima as the creation of all other elements. Anyway, the Anima goddess created all the other gods after her”
“Were they the elements?”
“Not exactly. There were more gods than elements. They embodied certain domains. Do you remember the main ones?”
“I think... there was Aman, the sun god!”
“Yeah. After the creation of the gods, the Anima goddess faded into the background. It’s said that she could still be watching us today, watching it all play out”
“So she’s watching me do this?”
“Hey! Get down from there. I’m serious, do you want me to tell the story or not?”
“I don’t know, is it gonna lead anywhere?”
“If you’d let me continue, yeah. Aman grew to be the most powerful god of them all quickly. It’s said he made a school for the other gods”
“That’s so stupid! If he was so powerful, why’d he make a school? I would've made-”
“That’s not how Aman was. He wanted to have the supreme rule over the other gods, but he wanted a council. He had to train them to make them meet the necessary requirements”
“Like maths and English?”
“No. More like magic and creation”
“I wish they taught us that! But wasn’t Anima the creating thingie?”
“Yeah, but all the other gods had a small portion of her power too. Especially her one true daughter, Toruń”
“She was in daddy’s story too! I don’t like her; she sounds mean”
“She used to be a kind and gentle soul. Then Aman married her, attempting to use the marriage license as a way to get Anima back to him”
“No one really knows. That’s just the way Aman decided to rule. Toruń grew bitter with the cold marriage, eventually ruling her own land”
“What about the other gods?”
“Oh yeah. There was Gin, the peace one. Johan... war. Lucifer reigned over death. And then the time traveler came”
“Time traveler? But daddy says they aren’t real!”
“I never said this story was real either. The time traveler used to be a member of the dragon race. She was told to protect a girl with the power of Anima embedded inside her to smooth the timeline”
“More people have Anima?”
“Torun’s descendants. Never with Aman”
“Not if you think about it; she never bore children with Aman because she knew he was using her. Before he married her, she used to be the goddess of knowledge”
“That’s what daddy says. How’d you come up with the rest of the story?”
“Dad told me the story too. I’m just trying to finish it.
“The time traveler’s name was Quardiż. She had a kind heart, but it took a while for her to warm up to people. Especially kids. The little girl she was supposed to protect soon became her best friend, almost her child”
“What happened to the child? I don’t like how you’re talking about her”
“Well, you’d be right. A different time traveler was sent back in time rapidly. She had been a student of time traveling, only just starting out. She killed the girl instantly through her mistake”
“It was worse for Quardiż. She took it terribly, throwing fits all day long. Eventually, she knew what she had to do.
“To time travel, one must be a time traveler. However, to make difference to the natural timeline, they have to be a time god. You can’t do the other without sacrificing something great”
“What did she do?”
“Quardiż murdered nearly every member of her race”
“No! Is that why we don’t see them today?”
“Nah. That’s at least a thousand years ago, Caddy. Anyway, that was enough of a sacrifice for her to abandon her time. She joined Aman’s school as a new factor. The Anima goddess hadn’t created her, and Aman didn’t know what to do with her.
“That is until a new problem came up. Aman had been cultivating his time wisely, trying to muster up the strength to create a court that would play to his strengths. That was when he revealed the impossible:
“He was going to bring humans from another world”
“Another world? What does that mean?”
“No one really knows. The Anima goddess gave him only immortals to rule over. I guess Aman just wanted to have a true rule. The obedient humans would assume similar roles to their old life.
“I’d rather not talk about what happened to the others.
“Toruń ran away from Aman in the fear that power was making him crazy. She soon found a young man creating a blade for Aman, one that could slay even the immortal. Under a clever guise, Toruń seduced the man.
“Their relationship started out relatively similar to the one with Aman; she was only after the power he held. Suddenly, it was as if he was the one with control over her. The human grew to be the only one she could trust”
“She loved him?”
“I think. When Aman heard the news, he went mental. The entire town was wiped out, leaving only Toruń and the sword.
“Aman never grabbed the sword. It’d still be standing now if the museum never took it. He brought Toruń back in shame, stripping her of her godly powers. However, he couldn’t steal her brain. She escaped quickly.
“She fell into the arms of an unexpected savior; the exiled god, Lucifer. He gave her a deal; if she would... love him, he’d let her see her dead lover and give her power”
“Love him? What are you talking about, Quinn?”
“Doesn’t matter. Anyway, Toruń didn’t see what she had wanted to; the man broke her heart. Maybe he didn’t really love her. Or maybe it was only Lucifer speaking through him. Toruń began to grow closer to Lucifer by the day until they had a child”
“What happened to Quardiż? I thought this was about her!”
“The child was part human, part demon, and part god. A super-being capable of killing Aman himself. He called the Anima goddess one last time to help him create a new land, one that would trap the newborn. Quardiż was told that it was a hero's duty to be locked in that world with her.
“In reality, it was a prison. Three other heroes followed Quardiż, plucked out of the past, future, and present. The heroes would start our younger than they came, aging as they went on to defeat the child. They failed each time, causing Quardiż even more problems. She had to reset the world back to ten years earlier each decade that they failed. She grew tired and weary, trapped”
“That’s awful! I can barely sit through ten minutes waiting for my phone to charge!”
“She grew insane. Most time travelers do. It’s tough work to be one”
“Still, I'd like to be one. Imagine if you could see everything before our time! Back when things were right!"
"Caddy, back then, the government through everything through hell-"
"Quinn! Don't say things like that!"
"Well, it's true. The environment was destroyed-"
"It's still like that"
"What are they teaching you today?"
"More than they taught you. At least they're understanding the fact that the ozone layer is basically dead!"
"Okay... that's not completely true. But yeah; it is dying"
"I asked you why"
"No, I know what you said. But what do you mean? They taught you that in school"
"Yeah, but I wanna hear it in your story"
"Do you really think that's all true?"
"Sorry... why? I mean, it's all from the past, but still; that's just ridiculous"
"Well, I'd prefer to be an optimist. Unlike you"
"Well, maybe I'd like the story to be real too! Wouldn't it be so much fucking better if I was in it instead of here? If I could get out of all this?
"Let's add another part. You know those heroes who got taken out of their time? Maybe it was rough there. Maybe they're afraid of bringing their boyfriend home because of their parents! Maybe they just want to have some money for once? Or free time, away from their little sister!"
"Quinn! Stop it!"
"Shut up. You're still too young to understand. Stories aren't real just because you want them to be. Get with the times, Caddy"
"Why do we have to fight?"
"Why don't you tell me? If you'd just gone to sleep like a normal girl, we wouldn't have to do this"
"But I wanted to hear your version of the story. Please, Quinn. Just tell me how it ends"
"Life doesn't end. Stories shouldn't either. Good night"
"You're just using that as an excuse to go off and-"
"What was that?"
"Quinn, I didn't touch anything!"
"I swear if this is another way to get me back-"
"Quiet! Seriously! Mom and Dad are talking to someone"
"We'll have the rent money tomorrow. Trust me"
"I don't want it tomorrow! We're all doing shitty, so you have no excuse! Just fork over the goddamn money!"
"We have kids! Our son's been trying to help us with his job. Everyone but the girl is working. It's your fault if you make us pay so much"
"Hey, Missy! Did ya think I was talking to you? I know my prices are high for the quality, but I have to. Anyway, ya got a separate house. That costs almost twice the amount"
"I don't want my daughter near any of those creeps you house on the other side of the lot. We need a separated room"
"Do ya really think you're the only one having a tough time? I need to get food on the table. And you're all a liability. I have at least ten more clients lined up, waiting for your room"
"Sir... please excuse my wife. She's just a little angry. Maybe we could sort this out later?"
"No. I don't want my money in the morning. I know you're hiding it anyway"
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm not letting any of you out of this room. I didn't want to do this, but you left me no choice. You're worth more dead than alive"
"Burn in hell"
"Get out! Please!"
"I can't leave without you!"
"Why'd the asshole burn down the apartment anyway? That's just destroying his own property"
"Quinn, nows not the time. Caddy, listen to me; you need to escape"
"I don't want to escape without you!"
"Quinn can take you. I didn't expect this to ever happen. But I need you to be safe"
"Listen to your father, Caddy. We'll be fine"
"What makes me more important than any of you?"
"Caddy, we need to get out of here"
"But they might be-"
"Caddy! They are dead! Now come with me. The fire's going to kill us next"
"I just wanted to hear a story..."
"This isn't your fault. At least, probably not directly"
"What does that mean?"
"Nothing. Just keep running"
"My legs hurt"
"I'll try to help you. But I can't carry you"
"Hey! Kids! Stop!"
"Quinn! Someone's running after us!"
"Run faster! C'mon, Caddy!"
"Stop! I ain't gonna harm ya!"
"He has a gun!"
"Caddy, just calm down! Please!"
"QUINN! I can't stay calm!"
"You don't need to scream. I'm still here"
"You're bleeding! He shot your leg"
"Just keep running. Find a place where they won't find you"
"Stupid kids! That girl told me they wouldn't run"
"Oh, I'm not running!"
"Quinn, you can't do this!"
"I'm buying you a few extra seconds, Caddy. Use them"
"You really wanna die, kid?"
"I'd rather it be me than my sister. Let's dance"
"I can't keep running. Quinn gave me so much extra time.
"So I have to use them"