Bloodlines, Chapter 8

From: Dan Drazen <>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 1995 18:39:03 -0500 (EST)


                        A Sonic the Hedgehog story

                            by Daniel J. Drazen

                                 Chapter 8

     He wasn't sure how he had gotten there, but Sonic found
himself heading toward Robotropolis at full speed. Above him,
the sky had grown darker than it had ever been, with the clouds
swirling around in no particular direction, like water boiling in
a pot.
     Jamming past the buildings, he noticed out of the corner of
his eye that they seemed older than he'd remembered, and on the
verge of falling apart. "Ol' Buttnik's really letting the place
go to seed! Well, after today it'll be all over."
     Sonic turned a corner and screeched to a halt. There was
Robotnik, standing alone in the middle of the street. Not a bot
anywhere in sight.
     "This is it, Robuttnik! It's game over for you!"
     But Robotnik didn't seem very concerned about Sonic. Nor
did he seem to notice the wind whipping down the streets, or the
mad tempest in the sky. And when he spoke, his voice was distant
and cold as a stone:
     "You don't understand, hedgehog. You can't win. Nobody
wins. We all lose."
     In that instant, a change came over Robotnik. Starting
with his feet, it was as if every molecule in his body suddenly
came unglued. He began to disintegrate, fragmenting into
thousands of particles that were caught by the wind and
scattered. The last to go was Robotnik's face, with a look of
hopelessness that Sonic had never seen before.
     But then Sonic had something new to think about. For as he
looked about him, every building in Robotropolis began to fly
apart in a similar manner. Even the ground beneath his sneakers
dissolved into a black, seemingly-endless nothing. In a cold
panic, Sonic turned and raced back to Knothole, trying to put as
much distance as possible between himself and the approaching
nothingness behind him.
     He reached Knothole, but he was too late. The sky above him
was the same swirling madness. In the wind and gloom he could
see Sally silently sinking into the ground beneath her. He had
to do something. He raced over to her, grabbed for her hand, and
felt it melt away in his own as if it were ice. Then he watched
as the last of Sally, her eyes silently pleading for help,
slipped into dust.
     Then the last trace of Mobius disappeared. Sonic was
surrounded by a formless darkness. He felt himself falling--not
falling down or in any particular direction, just falling. And
he knew he would fall forever and ever.
     With a start, Sonic awoke from his dream. He was shaken,
sweating and exhausted. This wasn't your usual one-chilidog-too-
many nightmare!
     Then he heard it, the sound coming from a nearby hut, one
with lights inside. A voice...Sally's voice...trying to scream
out the word "No" over and over, repeatedly hindered by her own
     Sonic saw his Uncle Chuck standing at the window, looking
out. He got out of bed and walked over to him. Sonic bowed his
head and felt his eyes filling with tears, as he also felt Uncle
Chuck's hand resting on his shoulder.
     "It's over, Sonie," was all he could say. "It's over."

     In a better and more peaceful time, the death of the Queen
of Mobius would have been a solemn state occasion. The sparkling
white buildings of the city would have been dotted with black
banners. A large canopy would have been erected in the palace
gardens. Beneath it would have rested the handcarved wooden
casket of the Queen, covered by an elegant white pall embroidered
with the name of the deceased and the symbol of her family's
house--in the case of Queen Alicia, the House of Twin Trees.
There it would remain for a day and a night as mourners from
every corner of Mobius and from every walk of life would file by
to pay their last respects. Then the casket would be carried by
mourning family members into the Great Hall of the palace.
There, a massed choir would sing the "Return," the traditional
Mobian requiem, in the seven-part harmony reserved for the
occasion. Finally, the pall would slowly be raised to the
ceiling of the Great Hall, where it would hang as a banner from
that day forward, while the body of the Queen would have been
laid to rest in the royal burial chamber beneath the palace.
     But there was no more palace, no more city, no world as it
once had been. Still, the Queen was dead.
     As dawn broke over Knothole, it was clear that nobody was
asleep. Everyone knew what had happened during the night and
they were now outdoors in the cold of the early sunshine,
     Inside Sally's hut, she and her sister had spent the evening
preparing their mother's body for burial. Mobian custom dictated
that only the family perform this rite, so as to put no barrier
between them and their grief. Even if it meant breaking down in
tears every few minutes, tradition compelled them to perform the
     Once the body had been washed, it was wrapped tight in the
bedsheet. Sally held her mother's cold face in her hands and
kissed it one last time before it was covered. Shorter strips of
linen were used to tie the sheet together at the ankles, knees,
waist, below the shoulders, and across the forehead.
     Sally and Sandy each had in their possession a bakhat, a
long black band of cloth wound many times about the waist in such
a way that the ends could be tossed over either shoulder. For
ten days after the burial of a family member, mourners were to
wear the bakhat at all times. With this article tied in place,
the two sisters took hold of the body and placed it on the litter
that had been used to bring the Queen into the hut. Someone had
left a quilted comforter on the porch, and this was draped over
the body; this was the most fitting pall they could find. Then
the two sister began to bear the body to its final resting place.
     Outside, they passed the Knothole freedom fighters, gathered
silently in two rows to watch the body pass by. As the
sisters walked past, the mourners formed a line behind the body,
moving in solemn procession. Rotor stood with cap in hand and
with his head bowed. Sonic saw Tails standing next to him and
looking up at the hedgehog with pleading eyes. Sonic guessed at
Tails' unasked question and gently said: "Hey, it's cool to cry."
And as Tails did so, Sonic did something he hadn't done since
Tails was a cub: he picked up the heartbroken fox and cradled him
in his arms.
     As Sally and Sandy neared the grave site, there was a
rustling of the bushes nearby. They parted, and into the
clearing stepped Lupe' and the other members of the Wolf Pack
freedom fighters. As they did so, they each dropped to one knee
as the body passed by. Bunnie smiled, glad that her message to
Lupe' had reached her in time and that the Wolf Pack had been
able to come.
     At the grave, the ceremony continued in silence. Sally and
Sandy each unwould the bakhat from around their waist and slid it
under the body. With these they lowered the body of Queen Alicia
into the ground, thus recalling the ritual item's origin.
     There was nothing more for Sally and Sandy to do. Custom
dictated that theirs was not the task of filling in the grave.
That was left to the others who, one handful of dirt at a time,
solemnly buried their Queen. As they did, many of them came over
to Sally and embraced her. The Wolf Pack let out a mourning
howl. And Antoine, wearing his finest dress uniform, stood
saluting at the graveside, his body at rigid attention except
that his shoulders heaved with sobs and his face was contorted
with grief. He was torn between duty and emotion, and Sonic
later said it made him look ridiculous. "Ah know," Bunnie said,
"and that's what made it so sweet." Few noticed it at the time,
but there was a calmness about Sandy, a serenity that was not at
all reassuring.

     Bunnie was taking a big chance, but she quietly rapped on
the door of Sally's hut.
     Nothing had been seen of Sally or Sandy since the burial
earlier that morning, for custom dictated that the family go into
seclusion for a day and a night. Still, Bunnie felt she had to
talk to someone, and could think of no one better than her best
friend. When there was no answer, she slowly opened the door.
     Sally lay in her bed, still wearing her vest and boots in
addition to the black bakhat. That Sally would have gone to bed
with her clothes on was unusual enough. She was half-curled in a
fetal position, and her face was still streaked from tears
recently shed. She breathed in the steady rhythms of sleep.
Nicole sat on the nightstand next to her, open and with one light
     There was no point in waking her up, Bunnie thought. The
physical and emotional exhaustion of the last few days had
finally caught up with her. Bunnie gingerly started to pick up
Nicole to shut the case.
     "Shhh!" Bunnie whispered. Nicole repeated the question at
     "What was she doin'?"
     "That's OK, Nicole. Just...uh...just mark the spot and
she'll get back to it."
     Bunnie shut the lid and was about to set Nicole down on the
table when she noticed a piece of paper stuck to the back of the
door. It was written in an alphabet that was foreign to her. It
was then that it occured to her to look around the hut again.
     Sandy was nowhere to be seen.
     Taking the paper down from where it had been tacked up, she
quietly left the hut and the still-sleeping Sally.
     Bunnie wondered what to do with the letter. She couldn't
show it to Uncle Chuck because Dulcy had taken him back to
Robotropolis a short time ago. He said he'd wanted to get back
and search Robotnik's computers to see if there was any more
information they could yield on deroboticizing technology. Sonic
hadn't wanted to see his uncle go back to living in Robotnik's
shadow, but Uncle Chuck was firm: "Sonic, we're not just fighting
against Robotnik anymore: we're fighting against time."
     A shadow passed over Bunnie and she looked up. It was
Dulcy, getting ready to land. That meant anything could happen.
Then Bunnie noticed that Sonic was seated on a nearby tree stump,
his chin resting on his hands. He appeared to be in Dulcy's
landing path, but was too depressed to notice.
     Before Bunnie could say anything, Dulcy hit the ground and
skidded to a halt just inches away from Sonic's sneakers. The
hedgehog didn't move.
     "Hey, Dulc," he said listlessly.
     "Hey, Sonic. I got Uncle Chuck back OK."
     "Yeah, swell."
     "Hey, Sonic," Bunnie called out now that it was safe to walk
toward him, "you seen Sandy anywhere?"
     "Isn't she with Sal?"
     "Nuh-uh. Sal's all by herself. But Ah DID find this," she
said as she produced the handwritten note. Sonic studied it for
a second.
     "I give; what's it say?"
     "How the hoo-ha should Ah know?"
     "Hey, maybe Nicole can read this."
     "Oh mah stars, Ah completely forgot! Ah've still got her."
She gave the handheld computer to Sonic, with whom Nicole was
on "speaking terms."
     "Yo, Nicole! Front and center!"
     "SONIC...WHAT UP?"
     "Can you read this?" He held the note up close to Nicole.
     "SCANNING NOW." A second later, a torrent of consonants was
coming out of Nicole's speaker.
     "Yikes! Nicole, you flip a chip or what!?"
     "Well, then just give me a translation; something *I* can
relate to."
     "YOU GOT IT." There was a pause of several seconds.

                              to be continued

Received on Mon Mar 20 1995 - 18:31:12 PST

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