About eight months passed. Nothing too terribly strange happened within that time. There were a couple things, here and there that Zalgo questioned. But not too much though, he’s learned not to ask questions anymore. They most likely won't get answered.
One of the strange things was that dark look he noticed in Esmaraldo’s eyes, he’s been seeing it. More and more often. Zalgo found himself avoiding Esmaraldo because of it. It, scared him a little bit. He didn’t know what these looks meant or why he even saw them. In his attempt to avoid Esmaraldo and these dark glances, he started spending most of his time out of the cave. Whether it was playing in the woods, or going into town to play with the kids his age. Or, at least try to. Zalgo was much stronger than the other kids, but he never realized how strong. More often than not, other children got hurt while playing with the young monster.
Meanwhile back at home Esmaraldo has stopped smiling. He almost seems, emotionless now. He’s been talking about the Great War a lot more. Just, out of the blue, he’d suddenly break out into some old war story, or starts ranting about an occurrence during it. He keeps talking about this guy, Kailik. But sometimes he’d talk about how much Zalgo looks like Kailik. Apparently Esmaraldo hates this guy, but he hasn’t told Zalgo much on why. All he would say was something about how his village was destroyed because of him. Zalgo never knew Esmaraldo once lived in a village. He wanted to know more, but Esmaraldo wouldn’t even acknowledge him during these episodes. So, Zalgo would just sit and listen until the episode was done. It was strange that he was having these random outbursts. They’ve never happened before, it’s like, there’s something coming up in the near future and he’s remembering everything connected to it.
Esmaraldo’s also been locking himself in his room. When he wasn’t having an episode or doing chores, he would be in his room with the door shut. Of course, Zalgo wasn’t allowed in there. Still, Zalgo couldn’t help but linger around the room. From inside Zalgo heard strange voices along with Esmaraldo’s. He was obviously talking to someone, but Esmaraldo never mentioned anyone coming over. Nor did Zalgo see anyone ever enter the cave. Zalgo tries not ignore the fact that strange people were in the cave, but he always got a bad feeling whenever he heard the voices. It was as if this was the calm before the storm. Zalgo hoped the “storm” would miss him.
* * * * *
That morning in the springtime Zalgo awoke with a start. His eyes snapped open, growing huge with fear and bolted upright. His eyes frantically darted around the room, scanning the entire area for anything sinister. The nightmare he’d just had still fresh in his mind. After doing several sweeps of the area, he sighed in relief. He was in his room, safe and sound. The young monster rubbed his face, pushing the terrible nightmare to the back of his mind. He’d been having an abundance of nightmares lately. They all seemed to revolve around a terrible being or just being alone. Utterly alone.
Once Zalgo’d calmed himself down a bit more he threw his arms in the air and stretched. His small wings snapped out and quivered as they stretched outward. Allowing his wings to fold halfway he slipped out of bed, rubbing the remaining sleep from his eyes.
Like he’d been doing for the past month and a half Zalgo walked straight out of the cave, hollering over his shoulder, “I’m going out to play with the village kids.” Esmaraldo barely responded to his words, he was too busy doing morning chores. Zalgo didn’t wait around to see if the older monster had heard him.
The little monster made his way to town, excited to play with the other children again. He wondered what they’d be playing this time. Hide and Seek? Tag? Or maybe, they’d be playing a completely new game! The thought of being taught a new game made Zalgo more eager to get to town. The trees around him twitched slightly as they seemed to wake up, their branches straightening out for a moment like they were stretching. The little monster glanced at them, not giving them much thought. These trees were normal to him now. He’s been living so close to them, seeing them move or snatch up a underrealm rat wasn’t anything new. He strut into Pastatown with a smile on his face. It was still pretty early so only a few people were on the streets. Even fewer were kids. But that’s okay, Zalgo didn’t like large groups.
The young monster searched for the one child he knew by name. Shadowlurker. The tiny hooded monster would secretly play with him, despite his parents strange hatred for Zalgo. Shadowlurker is Zalgo’s one and only friend. The other children either don’t care for Zalgo, or their parents told them not to be friends with the young monster. Zalgo didn’t know why their parents said this but he’d gotten pretty used to it.
The little monster spotted Shadowlurker in the shadows of the blacksmith’s shop and ran over. “Shadowlurker!” He smiled down at the child.
A smile spread over Shadowlurker’s chubby face when he saw Zalgo, “Hello Zalgo!” He chirped, bouncing up and down. “How yah been?”
Zalgo shrugged, “Not too bad.” He added, “I guess.”
“Same here.” Shadowlurker then took Zalgo’s hand, “C’mon lets play a little before the other kids come out.” With that he ran out into the streets pulling Zalgo along.