A boy and a snail
rating: +8+x

A boy wakes in his bed, the sounds of others performing their morning activities echoing throughout the house. As the boy climbs out of his bed and looks below it, he sees a familiar creature. A small, blue snail with horns.

The night is silent.
A girl stares out of her window into the dark city.
Suddenly a dozen lights fill the sky, driving away the darkness. The dark sky is replaced by shades of red, dancing over the city before suddenly vanishing.
The entire city is enveloped by fire.

The trip to school is longer here. Instead of busy streets filled with people, a long dirt path winds down towards a building in the distance. However, the trip goes quickly, as the boy plays with the little snail, juggling it between his hands and giggling as it climbs his shoulders.
Occasionally it lets out a small shriek that makes the boy smile.

The sounds of explosions vibrate throughout the city. Buildings crumble, trapping those within under rubble. The lucky ones are crushed to death immediately. Those who manage to flee the collapsing structures are confronted by masses of flame. As the fire reaches them, they become living torches, the sound of screams added to explosives and falling debris.

After school, the boy wanders the forest of the surrounding area. He is accompanied by the little snail, which he carries in his hands, showing it various locations, that appear all the more wonderful through a child’s eyes.

Pillars of fire continue to rise, like enormous beasts hungering for prey. The ground itself bursts into clouds of dust, accompanied by thick smoke. All around, people, desperately attempting to escape, become stuck in molten pavement, their skin and flesh burning away until only bones remain, as their screams fill the air before ceasing.
The sky is filled with the aroma of death.

The sun is already setting as the boy sits on a rock, watching the blue snail inspect its surroundings. The little creature is confronted by an ant, blowing a small stream of fire that scares away the bug. Seeing the little flame, images of a burning city flash before the boy's eyes. The boy quickly grabs the small snail, holding it close to feel its warmth.

A small boy slowly wanders the burning city, his eyes cloudy and tired. Just before he collapses, a taller figure grabs him and carries the boy away from the flames. The figure is draped in a purple suit, sporting a top hat and a mustache.
Arriving outside of the crumbled city, the figure places the boy down. He pulls a small snail from his suit, placing it in the boy’s hand. Looking at the figure’s face, the boy can see tears slowly running down his face. A man convicted to fulfill the dreams of children, unable to help so many.
Before the boy drifts to unconsciousness, he can hear the snail make a joyful shriek.

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