Murder. A subject some people consider to be 'touchy' or want to keep out of the hands of the innocent. I hate to admit it, but I committed a murder. I ended a life. And what that man said as he died was right. I have blood on my hands that can't be washed off. I'm not the same person I was six years ago.

Volt closed his journal, having written for only a minute. To the blue Sparkling, the time spent contemplating his defeat of Strato felt like hours. This wasn't the first time he found himself lost in thought. It took him a year or two to figure it out, but Volt finally came to the realization that even if Strato was a horrible person, he, as a child, killed him. Suddenly his walks around town became a little more gray. Not only was his life turning into an infinite question, his friends were growing farther apart. Hailey still spent a lot of time with him, but Torchie was too busy suddenly being the life of every party, ball, or gala, and Aero had just vanished to do whatever it is he does.

As the blue Sparkling got up from his desk, he looked around his room. Seeing as his family was dead he usually lived on the outskirts of town, but he had been given a small apartment in town hall thanks to his 'heroic defeat' of Strato. He patted his Staticat, Cumulus, on the head and she purred, and then he stepped out of his room. As he walked through the hallways, he looked at the pictures on the wall- some of famous heroes of long ago, but most of them being from the months following Strato's death, featuring Volt getting awards, being at high-society events, the hero treatment. Volt was disgusted that he was treated so highly for killing another Sparkling.

Volt finally reached the front door and stepped outside into Sparkville. A statue of him and Strato facing off was built in the middle of town, made from fine gold. To the people who didn't know what happened up there, on Second Impact, this was an awe-inspiring work of art. To Volt, it was a reminder of what made him despise his actions- and Hailey knew this, making sure to not bring Volt near it if she could avoid it.

As if thinking of her was a cue, Hailey walked up to Volt. "Hey, Volt. How are you feeling today?", she asked, sitting down next to Volt on the steps of town hall.

"I feel ok, I guess, Hailey. Not as self-loathing as yesterday.", he chuckled a bit.

Volt and Hailey sat down for lunch, eating some salads. "So I heard Aero's doing good! Found some gold thing a week or so ago...", Hailey said, obviously desperate to get Volt to stop contemplating Strato. "Volt, I know you're my friend, but honestly, I can't stand you when you do this kind of thing!" Volt snapped out of his deep thoughts and looked to Hailey, who was on the brink of tears. "Stop being like this..."

Volt closed his eyes, but when they were open, he was somewhere else. A garden. It seemed to be completely monotone, and in tatters. Whispers began appearing in his head. You caused this. You weren't meant to be like this. You're not innocent. Such words raced through his head, but he rejected them, looking for Hailey, for any sign of the real world. Eventually he came across a tiny little house. He stepped inside, and looked around. Every window was broken, every piece of furniture torn. As he looked in a mirror, he saw something. He saw a shadow. A shadow of himself. Slowly, it shifted and turned, and two red eyes appeared from the dark shape. Its hands grew longer, skeletal fingers. And as it looked at Volt, it had a toothy grin, devilish yet playful. Volt stood still. But the shadow didn't. It jumped out at him.

Volt woke up in Sparkville. The town seemed to be in fear as he walked, and Hailey was no where to be seen. Everyone Volt passed look at him with fear and disgust. The azure Sparkling wondered if everyone had come to their senses, but then he looked up at the bell tower. That shadow was real. And it had Hailey.

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