"I acquired a hunger for fairy tales in the dark days of the blackout and blitz in the Second World War."

- A. S. Byatt

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| PROLOGUE |

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Holocaust-like darkness suffocated New York that night; sinister fog stalking, hunting demonically, choking the souls from the dead street lights, like a satanic gas chamber.

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The night lights blacked out instantly. Shocking pitch darkness and terrifying surreal silence dominated the bunker, and surrounded it, disturbing the natural balance.

In the blackness, malevolent presences lurked in the shadows, and the sharp tick.. tick.. tick.. of an unseen source, counted down the seconds of something horrifically bad happening. The drop-drop-drop of a leaking tap, sent chills down Private's spine, the deafening sound alerting the darkness to his safe place. The tiny movement of a minuscule moth, flitting in front of the moonlit window, froze his brain; even the tiniest of movement would alert the darkness.

Outside in the dead zones, zombie-like death traps and ghostly, broken down structures like gothic hellscapes, hid demons. Shadow creatures spied from dark alleys, passages and graveyard-like territory. Dead branches of gnarled, twisted trees stretched across to broken bullet-proof windows, knocking creepy rhythms on the glass, threatening to break in. Leering through the darkened windows.

A sudden CRASH of thunder, and white lightning lit up the swimming pool, the water thrown up like a tsunami as something heavy got thrown down into it. Private gasped and shot up, the scream repressed by the psychological issues he had been suffering from, since the incident. His heart nearly exploding from his chest, he cowered in fear from the nightmarish noises, the unexpected attack, the terrifying unknown dark, the sound of blood rain battering the windows... and the menacing presence of the little invisible shadow boy, hanging in the window of the bunker... staring at him darkly.

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In New York City, thousands of stranded travellers had been taken back down into the gloomy undergrounds, to wait until the all clear signal was given.

The power cuts, caused by the storm and torrential rain, had created city-wide chaos. The pretty kaleidoscope lights shimmering upon the horizon, had all but vanished. The small, green trees on the roadside swayed as the strong breeze hit them, and hazy clouds enveloped the moon.

But deep down below, passengers snuggled for warmth, shared food, clothes, blankets, and told each other the time. They entertained each other in the dark and their kids, like good New Yorkers would do, and kept everyone safe, peaceful and their imaginations colourful. They didn't mind a storm, for they were tough New Yorkers, and if you could survive in New York, you could survive anywhere.

Compared to a terrorist attack this was nothing, and it was just a waiting game until the power came back on.

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But caution had been given to those carrying certain baggage, given like a warning, and whilst the traveller's possessions had been explored, digital devices had been confiscated, identity checks had taken place and details had been taken down, a choice had been given.

They could either wait on the train, until the next platform came along, and there they would wait in the darkness, until they were discovered by someone and decisions could be made. Or, they could head out into the open, identified and vulnerable and just hope for the best. Either way they were doomed to meet their fate, whatever that may be and during this, almost a complete and utter silence had taken place.

By the time order had been restored a surreal certainty, unspoken perhaps, had been passed around between every man, woman and child.

Something big was going on, and nobody was allowed to record it.

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| AUTHOR'S - NOTES |

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I felt the need to write a story from Private's perspective on the terrorist attacks that happened in New York City.

I wanted to focus intensely on the first chapter, and get across just how scared a child can be when forced to hide their feelings of sick violation. Just how far under the radar this can go when adults are lead to believe by the child that the child in question is fine. That's if the child in question even realises that they're not fine.

There are some incredibly disturbing scenes in the Penguins Of Madagascar movie, which I felt were far too demonic for children to be watching. 'Dr' 'Brine' was a creature who jumped out on screen, exposed himself to the unsuspecting audience as a sick psychopathic maniac and pathological liar, suffering from a mass delusional episode left untreated, and stole the show for all the wrong reasons. There was no redemption of his character, the film was released around the time of the Ebola epidemic, and I left the cinema feeling physically sickened and violated.

It took me over a year to find the courage to re-watch the film, as it had kick-started my PTSD and eating disorders again. I knew that I had to try and challenge myself to change the way that I saw it. I had to find some redemption in Dave, or else I would be too scared to trust modern animation again. So this is my challenge.

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Summary: Private struggles desperately with PTSD, psychotic depression and anxiety. Unable to help Private, Skipper desperately enlists the help of The North Wind who act as social services, take Private in for intense therapy and rehabilitation, and try and protect him. However when Private reaches his limits, when too many questions still go unanswered, when he becomes obsessed and fascinated with Dr Brine and confusing pre-teen feelings are about, what happens when he develops Stockholm Syndrome, falls in love with his kidnapper secretly and goes missing?

Madly in love, believing -and desperately wanting to believe- that love can conquer all, Private heads off on 'an adventure' to confront 'Dr Brine', and see if he can get close to him, understand him, and change him. But most importantly, in order to heal and turn a horrifying situation into one he can adore.

Pairings: Classified/Corporal, Private/Dave or 'Dr Brine' (eventual puppy crush), Short Fuse/Private (eventual puppy crush/coming of age)

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Easter Eggs

Art Inspiration: Thierry Cohan's Darkened City series (tinyurl dot com slash zonztel), Deviantart: B0xfish's You'll Miss The Best Part (257200834),

MV Inspiration: WildThornberries Penguins Of Madagascar Blow (YT: 3MCPCxW06ZQ)

Music Inspiration: New Revelation: Anxiety – Siren Blood Curse OST, Tension – Siren Blood Curse OST

Hiding From The Crazy Cop – Forbidden Siren, Dark Again – Silent Hill