The video of Grandpappy suddenly started up again as I stared at this newfound creature.
“You remember the legend of South Island? The land of intelligence creatures with powers beyond humans? Well, we found one. The military science division I work for, had captured him during World War III. We wanted to study him for ways to help win the war; and when it ended, the division was disbanded, and I was set for retirement. However, I had one last task: to let him die; unplug him so he would never wake up again, and turn against us. But I knew it was wrong. So instead, I brought him here-“
This was so much to take in. South Island was real? South Islanders were real? My Grandpappy was part of a science division where they did insane experiments? This one is the last of his kind? What happened to South Island? How was it destroyed? What happened to the others?
“-I was grieved for what we had done to him. He is a gorgeous creation like us, that we belittled and treated like a lab rat. But if I knew if I set him loose, he would die.”
Grandpappy leaned back into his chair for a moment.
“And now, I must entrust you with a very serious task.”
He took a deep breath, and leaned forward again. His eyebrows furrowed and he grew firm.
“By the time you watch this, I’ll be gone. You have my house. Hopefully you’ll decide to live here, and enjoy the legacy I leave behind-“
He folded his hands together as he hesitated to continue.
“-Lu, I need you to look after him.”
“What?” I gasped.
“I do not know what is in store for him, but I will not allow him to be imprisoned forever. He deserves to be free-“
His eyes saddened. He looked directly into the camera, straight at me.
“-He needs you, Luana. He needs someone to guide him through the world, give him the freedom we failed to. Love him. Nurture him.”
My eyes began to moisten with tears. How I desperately wanted to leap through the video, run into his arms and embrace him! Just one last time.
“It’s possible this will be too great a task, but I know if anyone can do it, it’s you…My beloved great-granddaughter.”
He looked up at me one last time, this time his gaze burrowing into my soul.
“I love you, Luana. All the times I spent with you, I will treasure always.”
I reached for the screen. However, the video cut off.
I stood in silence. Tears were now pouring my face. I clutched myself as I cried, just standing there, lonely, and overcome with anguish. I shivered with grief. I couldn’t even begin to process the task Grandpappy laid out for me. It was the first time I had heard his voice in two years. I missed him dearly in that moment.
Perhaps somehow he knew how poorly I would have reacted, because at that moment, a compartment opened by the monitor. Inside was an unlatched metal bracelet, with a red light off to its side. I sniffed and wiped my reddened eyes. I took the bracelet and examined it. I couldn’t make out its purpose, but I felt compelled to hold it up to my wrist to check its diameter.
Suddenly, it snapped around my wrist. I yelped with fright. The tank with the South Islander inside rumbled more loudly than before. The liquid began to drain away, and the South Islander began to lower. My eyes widened.
“W-wha-Wait-! I’m not ready!”
I scrambled to find a button to reverse it but no luck. All I could do was helplessly watch at the tank emptied.
His body softly lowered to the ground. Then, the glass door went up. There he was, unconscious and wet. I approached him cautiously. I got on my knees and knelt forward. A soft beep went off behind me. I whirled around and saw nothing. I returned my attention to the South Islander. I reached for his oxygen mask, and slowly pulled it up over his head, a bit of a challenge due to his quills. I laid my hand on his fur and carefully stroked it. It was slick, yet soft. My heart raced again. I was debating if I was dreaming. Surely this wasn’t real! I moved my hand up to reach his ears.
“Ow!” I hissed quietly.
A sharp ping of static electricity suddenly hit my fingers and I yanked my hand back.
“Yikes, that was strong…!” I whispered.
I looked back at the creature. I swear I could see a small burst of electricity blip up his quills.
Then, he started to stir. I jumped up and stood back a ways from him. I wasn’t sure how he was going to react. Whichever it would be, it probably wasn’t going to be good. He slowly moved his head away from me and pulled himself up. He must’ve opened his eyes, because he began to look around the room.
“Where…Where am I now…?” He spoke.
His ears spiked up. He suddenly lept to his feet and whirled around. I was breathing rapidly. His vibrant, emerald green eyes pierced into me. Then, he scowled. Then his expression rapidly changed.
“Look! Over there!” He cried, pointing to his right.
I foolishly darted my eyes to his direction. In the split second I looked back at him, he was gone. I heard a Woosh! Then a Smack! There he was, knocked to the ground right by the basement stairs.
“Oh come on!” He exclaimed.
He rubbed his head and winced. It appeared the sound I heard earlier was the sound of something activating over the door, like a barrier. He got up again and made a break for the door. He spun into a ball. Lightning flashed as he lunged for the stakes. A red barrier flickered to life, and bounced him back. This time he landed on his feet. He grit his teeth. He curled up into a ball and hit the barrier again, and again, and again. The bursts of electricity were bright and frightening. Finally, I shouted:
Suddenly, he froze. Not because he did it of his own will. The metal braces he was wearing suddenly activated. The red light turned on, and hung in mid-air, with his arms attached to it.
“What the-?” He exclaimed.
He wiggled his legs, and pulled his hands down as hard as he could to get them off. But they were fastened hard to his wrists.
“Oh no! I’m sorry!” I cried.
I stood up. My legs felt like jelly, and my stomach fluttered.
“Get me down, Overlander!”
“I’m trying! How do I fix this? Um-!”
I turned to the computer to try and pull up any information that would help.
“Release…Release…” I mumbled.
Suddenly the lights went dim, and blue hedgehog landed hard on his rump. I whirled around.
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” I said again.
I looked at the bracelet on my own wrist. I noticed that when I said “stop,” the light had turned on just like the South Islander’s bracers; and when I said “release,” he hit the ground. Am I controlling his movements?
I looked back up at him again. This time we locked eye contact. He was clearly agitated. He scoffed.
“You Overlanders and your obnoxious gadgets! No wonder Egghead came from your kind!”
“Hey!” I exclaimed, despite the fact I had no idea what he was talking about.
“I-uh…I think we got off on the wrong foot-“ I put my hand to my chest, “-My name is Luana Dockinson. You’re in my house, the basement more specifically. I uh…Found you in here. You’ve been asleep for…quite a few years.”
The South Islander stood up.
“How did you not know I was here if this is your house?”
“Oh, well, it’s only been mine for a couple years. It was my Grandpappy’s…”
I realized too late it may have been a bad idea to mention my Grandpappy, if he was involved in what happened to him.
“Huh, so he’s the reason I’m here, eh?” The hedgehog spoke, “Great. A family member taking up his dirty work.”
“Don’t talk about my Grandpappy that way!” I snapped.
He shrugged. I retorted.
Suddenly, he appeared in front of me. He clearly had some kind of power of speed, and it took me by surprise. He was half the size I was, so he was looking up at me at a child’s height, which was a bit jarring.
“-Whaddya say you take off these bracers and I’ll be on my way.”
He reached his arms out to me, his fists closed. I blinked.
“Take off my bracers. Come on, I got places to be.”
“What? No!” I finally exclaimed, “I can’t do that! I’m supposed to protect you!”
“Heh, well, newsflash Overlander: I’m the fastest thing alive, I don’t need protection, certainly not yours!”
My eyebrows furrowed at him. I didn’t want to keep him there against his will. At the same time, as the last of his kind, he would be a prime target. He would be hunted down. It’s a broken record to declare the human race fears what it doesn’t understand; and I made a promise to my Grandpappy, his dying wish. I couldn’t just let him go.
I fumbled with my bracelet, subconsciously searching for the latch. However, after a while of feeling for it, I couldn’t find it. My eyes widened. I didn’t know how to open it. I slowly bent down and gently touched his arms. I felt around for a latch of some kind, but no luck.
“I can’t find a latch” I mumbled.
The blue hedgehog looked at me funny. He watched as I continued to fumble with them. “Well, I’m not quite sure how to get them off” I announced, slapping my hands on my thighs. He furrowed his eyes.
“What?” He asked, ticking the “T,” then he echoed, “You don’t know how to take them off?”
“I’m not an engineer, I don’t know how these work!”
“But you put that bracelet on!”
“Only out of curiosity!”
He turned away from me. He put his hands on his hips and tapped his foot, thinking.
There was only one solution that came to mind.
“Well, I can certainly try to figure it out. I’ve got my Grandpappy’s research, I’m sure he’s got and entry on it somewhere. Until then, you’re stuck with me. I am happily willing to have you as my guest.”
The blue hedgehog looked over his shoulder.
“-But you’ve got to work with me,” I added, “No turning into balls and destroying stuff. I have no intention of hurting you. Believe me, I don’t want to. But I will take extreme measures if I have to.”
He turned around. His nose stuck up a little as he stared. He seemed to be examining me, skeptical of my proposal.
Finally, he said:
He reached out his hand to me. I looked at it for a moment, before slowly shaking it.
“‘Luana’, was it?”
“And you’re name is…?”
“My name is Sonic…Sonic the Hedgehog.”