1 Chapter 1: 2020 Redo

What if you were told everything you believed in was a lie? From your beliefs to how the world began and even your purpose in life? What if you found out you were nothing more than cattle? Would you finally feel remorse for the hundreds of animals you fed, only to be slaughtered, eaten, then simply forgotten?

The truth that has been hidden from humanity for thousands of years was finally about to come to light. The cold reality is that human beings have been cultivated from the day of their existence only to be used as nutrition for a species known as Apocrypha. Welcome to Human Cultivation...

December 31, 2020, at exactly 11:59 pm...

"Zane, hurry up and get the wine! We celebrate as soon as this cursed year ends!" Shouted Zane's mother from the living room.

Zane quickly dashed through the kitchen carrying a bottle of expensive wine in his hands. He twisted and turned his slim body, dodging the furniture as he ran. Droplets of sweat formulated on his medium-tone skin, glistening in the artificial light. His black shaggy hair swayed along with his agile movements and his bright-blue eyes gleamed with excitement.

2020 was the year that had damaged the world in many ways; from the pandemic Covid-19, record-breaking natural disasters that battered sections of the planet, to many other chaotic incidents. It was truly a horrible year, but it was now finally coming to a close.

"I'm here!" Zane shouted as he entered the living room out of breath.

"Come on! Take a seat!" His father prompted.

"Give me the bottle!" demanded Zane's 7-year-old brother, Mason. He was dancing with unrivaled energy.

Zane laughed as he settled himself comfortably on the leather couch beside his family, "No Mason, we have to wait until it hits midnight."

Mason frowned cutely as he huddled beside his mother, "Fine!"

Zane's father then quickly turned on the T.V to catch the countdown to 2021. The family watched with anticipation as the countdown entered its final moments.

As the countdown touched ten seconds, Zane looked around happily that he and his family had made it safely through another year. Despite how rough the year had been, with both his parents losing their jobs and even forcing him from college to work part-time to support them, he still had to be thankful that they were all alive. He could see his mother's warm and angelic smile formulate on her beautiful face. He could also hear his father's annoying voice that never seemed to match his gentle features. And best of all, he could play with his sweet little overenergetic brother. At least 2020 taught him one good thing; To always be grateful for what you have, because one day those things might no longer be there.

Zane then averted his eyes back to the television as it touched five seconds. The family of four quickly joined in on the countdown.

"5! 4! 3! 2! 1! HAPP-"

Suddenly, halting the family's countdown, was an abrupt flickering of the lights. The lights switched on and off like a scene from a horror movie, threatening to gift seizures to anyone with epilepsy.

"What's going on with the lights?" Asked Zane's mother— worry slowly creeping upon her.

"It's probably just the electric company... What a time to mess up the lights though," comforted Zane's father, Mark.

A slightly cold feeling then ran up the spine of Zane, turning him pale for a short moment. It was a very familiar feeling that he wished would go away.

"Big brother?" asked Mason, taking notice of his reaction.

"I-I'm fine... Don't worry Mason..."

Zane didn't know why this awful feeling had just come over him. Usually, whenever he had this feeling, something terrible would happen. He had experienced it many times before, each with a mild to chaotic ending. However, he had never felt one as awful as the one he now felt.

The flickering of the lights then finally came to a stop, calming the family's developed anxiety.

Zane's father took a breath of relief as he turned the T.V back on. Unfortunately, their problems hadn't vanished.

Mark immediately sucked back up his breath as he looked at the T.V screen. It was flashing oddly in black and white, almost as if there was some kind of issue with the cable connection.

"Dang... What is up tonight!?" He exclaimed bitterly.

"It's fine, dad. Let me see what's up... Maybe there is some disturbance with the satellite or something," declared Zane as he looked at his Smartphone.

Zane then froze in confusion as his eyes met his phone screen. His phone refused to respond to him— almost as if the screen had stopped working. Just then, he saw something even more baffling. The date and time his phone showed now represented a bunch of random question marks.

"What is this..?" 

His mom then arose from the couch with a shaky breath. Worry penetrated her mind once more.

"What is it?"

"My phone... It's acting all weird, and the date is all random question marks..."

His mother then took out her phone to check if the same thing had happened. The issue was with Zane's phone, right? Besides, they were a poor family who could hardly afford expensive things.

"What are you-"

Her words froze like ice as her mind swirled in confusion upon seeing the same thing on her phone. Mark and Mason also checked their phones to see the same weird phenomenon.

"Mom... I'm getting scared!" Trembled Mason.

Suddenly the T.V screen began to flicker even wilder, scaring Zane's father flat on his back. Red lettering then slowly began to form on the television screen as if they were in a horror movie.

The family looked closer in horror as their hearts raced faster than any supercar. On the television screen, the words, '2020 Reboot, Return of the Apocrypha' were written in blood-red letters.

Upon seeing this, Zane staggered backward, falling over a table, shattering it to pieces.

"W-What is this?!" panicked Zane's father, as he scooted away from the T.V.

"This has to be some bad joke that someone is playing on us right now! You all need to stop this! It's not funny! You hear me! We're already having it hard enough as it is! Let us enjoy this one moment of peace!!" Shouted Zane's mother— her eyes swerving around to identify the culprit.

Zane then settled himself. He had to comfort his family before they were overcome with panic. Unfortunately, before Zane could even utter a word, the sound of a massive explosion boomed through the air, almost driving them deaf.

The house rattled violently, while dishes and kitchen utensils rattled in the kitchen.

Zane and his family were then knocked down onto their faces from a massive shockwave that followed. His mother and little brother held each other crying in terror. The house then quickly began to fall apart on top of them violently. Dust enveloped the cold night air and blood-curdling screams from the neighbors shot through their eardrums like a gun.

After another ten seconds, Zane slowly picked himself up. His head throbbed in pain and his vision was hazy. He stumbled and fell as he fought to regain his senses. He couldn't tell what had happened to them.

Upon calming himself, Zane looked around horrified. Their entire house was now nothing but a huge pile of rubble and his family was nowhere to be found.

"No! No! No! Why do these things always happen?!" He panicked.

Zane then began to look around frantically in search of his buried family. He even cut his finger on a pane of glass during his panic. Blood dripped from his finger like running water, but he had no time to worry about an insignificant cut.

"Mom! Dad! Mason! Where are you?!" He screamed in panic.

His breathing became heavy and tears began to fill his eyes. He had begun to lose hope until he heard a groan from underneath. The voice was that of his father's.

"Dad!" He yelled, searching the spot where the voice emitted from.

He cleared the rubble and found that his father had been stuck under a huge slab of concrete. He was unharmed but was trapped in place.

"Dad! Are you okay!?"

"I'm fine! Where's your mom and Mason?"

Zane shook his head to signify that he hadn't found them as yet.

"Alright kiddo... Agh! Don't lose hope as yet! Help get this piece of concrete off me!"

Zane didn't waste a second. He braced himself against the piece of concrete and began to lift with all his might. They groaned and struggled until the concrete was completely removed. Zane's father stood himself up quickly, lucky to be unscathed.

"Alright! Start searching for your Mom and Mason. They've got to be somewhere around here!" Instructed Mark.

Zane nodded before continuing his search. A few seconds later, he then laid his eyes upon something that made his heart skip a beat. There was a pool of blood on a slab of concrete a few feet in front of him.

"Dad! There's some blood over here!"

His father then rushed over to examine the spot where he had seen the blood. He then signaled Zane to start digging as fast as he could. They quickly cleared the rubble and came across both Mason and Mom.

Mason was crying silently, huddled up in the arms of his mother. She had protected him with her body from the falling concrete. Mason was suffering from a bit of trauma but was thankfully okay.

However, the same couldn't be said for their mother. Her right leg had been unfortunate enough to be crushed by a piece of concrete. Blood gushed from the gaping wound and even a bit of her bone was in view. She wouldn't be able to walk with an injury like that.

Zane began to shake his mother awake as his father retrieved Mason from her arms.

"Mom! Mom! Mom!" He screamed, hoping for an answer.

Thankfully, her eyes flew open with fright. She then took a deep breath almost as if she had awoken from the dead.

"Mom! Thank heavens you're okay!" Cried Zane with tears in his eyes.

His mother tried to force a smile in hopes of not making him worry, but she couldn't help but wince in pain from her injured leg.

"Dad, we need to call an ambulance!" Instructed Zane.

However, Mark didn't answer. Zane looked over to see him slamming his fingers into his phone screen trying to get a response. Sadly, it was to no avail.

"Damn it! The phone's still not working!"

His father then looked around the surrounding area in hopes of finding help. Unfortunately, the rest of the area was just as badly damaged as their own house. No one would be able to assist them.

"I don't know son... This may have been some terrorist attack but that's very unlikely in this time and age. We're in a New York suburb in the United States of America for crying out loud! They wouldn't allow a bomb to get through this easily!"

Zane looked around grimly at the tragic sight of the surrounding area. Damaged buildings and houses stretched across as far as the eye could see. The screams of innocent people vibrated through the air. Some cried in pain while others were mourning their dead relatives. Small fires had also broken out in certain areas which served as the only sources of light, excluding the moon and stars above.

Zane's eyes then finally drifted to an extremely abnormal scene that seemed to come from the city of New York. A strange blue light extended from the sky down to the ground. It looked somewhat otherworldly.

"D-Dad what is that..?" Trembled Zane.

His father looked up at the strange blue light. He too didn't have the slightest idea as to what it was.

"I-I don't know son... Right now, we don't have time to care for it either. Your mother will die from blood loss if we leave her like this. Help me get her to the car!"

They wasted not a second to hesitation. They quickly lifted the injured mother and moved her swiftly to the car. She croaked and cried in pain from her bleeding leg. She felt as if she was about to pass out due to the unending agony.

Upon reaching the car, which was a silver SUV, they noticed that all the glass had been shattered to pieces. The inside of the car was lined with broken glass that glittered under the moonlight. Mark quickly removed his shirt and used it to sweep away the broken glass from the seat. He then used the shirt to tie the leg of his wife to reduce blood loss. They then gently eased the injured mother down onto the backseat before leaving Mason to keep watch. Zane and his father then immediately dived into the front seats of the car and drove off to find a hospital.

Soon after, they began to drive by many injured people stranded on the side of the road pleading for help. Their voices were filled with desperation and pain. Zane's father however kept his head straight and continued to drive. 

"Dad! People out there need help... Is it possible to take at least a few of them with us?"

His father tightened his grip on the steering wheel— a troubled look crawling over his face. "Zane, trust me when I say that I want to help those people. But we don't even have the time or space to accommodate them. In situations like these, you've got to put yourself first!"

Zane knew what his father said was true but it burnt him deeply in his soul to leave those poor people behind. Zane was a very selfless individual who followed his heart. This had caused him many problems in the past but he refused to change as he believed people like himself were needed to make the world a better place. Little did he know that such an ideal was about to become wishful thinking.

After another five minutes, they then began to cross a bridge. Zane looked over at the battered city of New York as they crossed. The city was in ruins with huge fires and smoke dancing into the air like giant beacons. Some buildings were now nothing more than rubble on the ground. It was evident that whatever had hit them, had first hit the City.

"Mason?" Called Mark interrupting Zane's thoughts.


"How's mom?"

Mason sniffled, "I think she's okay... She's still breathing normally..."

"Okay good... You're a brave boy and I'm counting on you to take care of her now, okay?"

Mason tried to steady his voice to sound confident, "Yes, father!"

Zane smiled at his little brother, thankful he wasn't hurt. As they exited the bridge, they arrived on an open road. At this time, Zane's eye glanced at the bright-blue beam of light once again. However, for some reason, it almost seemed as if it was approaching them.

Just then, that awful feeling struck Zane again. Something terrible was about to happen yet again.

Suddenly, the bright-blue beam of light let out a huge cry as it charged itself from the sky. It then hit the ground with a powerful sonic boom which sent a massive shockwave splitting through the air.

"Dad!!" Screamed Zane.

In the blink of an eye, the shockwave came flying toward them. Their SUV flipped like a toy truck as It bounced and rolled along the cold asphalt like a soccer ball.

Sadly, it seemed the worst part of it managed to hit Zane. He was unfortunate enough to be sent flying through the windshield due to not having his seatbelt equipped. He had been sent flying around 50ft away from the wrecked car.

Zane now laid on the cold asphalt with a fractured leg, a bleeding head, and many smaller scars, cuts, and bruises over his body. He painfully forced himself to look around to see where the car had landed. It was flipped over with broken parts scattered all over the road. Fires had also ignited due to the intense friction created by the impact of the car and the asphalt.

Broken and injured, Zane picked himself up onto his fractured leg with adrenaline pushing him forward. His head was fuzzy and his body felt weak. He was unaware of how long he had been lying there but he needed to help his family.

"Mom! Dad! Mason!!!!" He screamed, limping towards them.

Despair was beating him to a pulp. Just when things had seemed like they might have turned out okay, another tragedy had struck. Was he doomed to suffer all his life?

Zane burnt with worry as his emotions flooded him like a river. Fortunately, his eyes were blessed as he finally spotted his three family members sprawled out in the middle of the road.

His father forced himself up with blood protruding from his head. He had a terrible wound on his shoulder that looked frighteningly deep. He also had a wound on his face, extending from his eyebrow down to his bottom lip. It seemed as if he had been slashed across his face by a knife.

"Dad, are you okay?!"

However, to Zane's surprise, Mark quickly signaled him to be quiet. Zane was unaware as to why his father would be instructing him to be quiet at a time like this.

He then grabbed Zane by his shirt before pulling him behind the overturned car to take cover. Even though it could explode at any moment, Mark decided this was their only option.

"What are you doing? Mom and Mason are out there!" Argued Zane.

His father breathed heavily as he spoke in pain, "Zane... stay as quiet as possible or they'll hear you..."

Confused, Zane wondered if his father had hit his head too hard. Who was he referring to?

"They as in who?"

His father then quickly pointed his finger behind them to show Zane what he was talking about.

Zane slowly pushed his head around the car to get a look at what his father was talking about. His eyes widened in horror as he saw two hideous humanoid-looking creatures. They had glowing purple eyes, a coal-black shadowy body, and reddish-black hair that danced on their heads like burning flames.

They grunted and screeched to one another as they stood over the bodies of Zane's mother and Mason.

Zane then quickly withdrew his head and looked at his father as if to ask 'What are those?'.

His father shook his dead unknowingly, "I don't know... After we ended up being hit by that shockwave, I saw them walk over to us almost as if they came from thin air itself. They began inspecting your mom and brother then they wrote down details about them. I'm just as lost as you son..."

Zane couldn't believe his ears nor eyes. This was the kind of thing that only happened in movies. He had no idea how something so bizarre could be real. He and his father then quickly glanced around the side of the car again.

This was when their eyes witnessed the humanoid creatures locking metal bracelets around the arms of their siblings. Immediately, they began to float as if the laws of gravity no longer applied to them.

"Zane... I'm going to follow them and get your mom and brother back! This might be the dumbest thing I've ever done but I'm not gonna allow these damned creatures to take my family away from me!" Declared his father aggressively.

Zane's eyes filled with frustration. He too wished to retrieve his family, "Okay, I'm coming too!"

However, to Zane's astonishment, Mark shook his head in disapproval.

"What? Why?! They've got mom and Mason! I have to go too!" 

"Zane, I understand how you feel right now but I should go alone. It will be easier for me to move around by myself. Besides, they already have two people I care about! There's no way in hell that I'm about to hand them a third!"

"That's your reason?! Come on dad..! Don't be ridiculous!"

"Zane, please trust me... We have no idea what these things are. I need you to stay safe! God forbid, but if bad becomes worse, at least you will be alive out of all of us! Your mom would say the same thing, Zane! Not to mention that your leg is fractured right now which complicates your movement! You would only slow us down and jeopardize the chance of me rescuing them... So please, Zane... Go to the city and get help! That's the task I'm giving to you..."

Zane couldn't look his father in the eyes. He knew his father was right. In his current state, he would only create additional problems. He had to trust his father to do this. 

"Okay, fine..." Cried, Zane.

His father smiled at him warmly and went in for a fist bump, "Son, I won't make promises I'm not sure I'll be able to keep, so don't wait for me. Don't wait for us... If it's the case that I rescue them then I will come find you. But if I don't, then live on Zane.

19 years of watching you grow and there hasn't been a day that you've let me down! I'm proud of you son and I love you. So be careful and do your best. Good luck, son!"

Zane's eyes flooded with tears. He wanted to let out a terrible cry and shout 'No!' from the top of his lungs, but he knew he couldn't. He forced himself to smile and looked his father in the eyes before returning his fist bump.

"Good luck to you too dad! I love you!"

The father and son then exchanged one last hug. They looked one another in the eyes, knowing it could be the last time they saw each other.

Zane's father then turned and went off in pursuit of the strange humanoid figures before disappearing into the darkness.

Zane looked ahead of him and took a depressing breath determined to move on.

He grumbled to himself one last time before moving on ahead;

"Damn it 2020! Just leave us all alone already!"

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