Take me over the walls below
Don’t let me go
Take me over the walls below
Take me over the walls below
Don’t let me go
A Dying Light Fan Fiction and sequel to Latchkey Hero.
There are three kinds of people in this collapsed world. The many who’ve accepted their lot. The rest that claws for survival at any cost. And those rare few who continue to live unabashedly—shamelessly—even with their humanity a fragile thing.
Aiden finds Villedor at what he hopes to be the end of a too-long search for what’s left of his family; an end to a life he lived alone, one muddy, dark road at a time.
It’s all he’s ever known and he’s far too young to be so weary.
Kyle Crane, his Paper Tiger by his side, seeks Villedor in a final effort to turn back time on a curse that threatens to unravel them both; to make them forget what they so stubbornly kept on living for.
It’s far too hard to fight and, sometimes, forgetting is a tempting mercy.
Babar Kizil was totally full of shit. Garlic? Wolfsbane? Cinnamon? Eat all that and your lycanthropy was cured? Holy shit, no, that wasn’t how this worked.
And Kyle would know.
30k words, completed, rated M for Crane’s language, Werewolf AU
Kyle had been bitten by a lot of things in his life, even before he’d landed in Harran.
A dog (not the dog’s fault, he’d woken it up). A cat (totally the cat’s fault). A rabbit (seriously?). A shark (yep, also totally Kyle’s fault). Women (consensual). Men (also consensual). And a werewolf (not consensual).
There were more, but we’d be here all day. And you know what? You should probably read this fic if you like Kyle Crane and if you like werewolves and especially if you like both, plus zombies, a bright-eyed Rahim Aldemir, a non-binary Death, and, uh, puppies.
So, surprising absolutely no one, this here Taff has been consumed by Dying Light 2: Stay Human. And because there’s been extensive radio silence in here for a while, let me dump the majority of my enjoyment right here.
I am working on a Latchkey Hero sequel.
With a side of Thanks, CDPR!
Alright. Hear me out (
or don’t, this’ll be a ramble).
I’ve had three notable rough spots in my life. I’m talking under the filthy floorboards kind of rough, at the bottom of the ladder rough and the ladder is on fire rough.
Rough Spot Number Two was the worst of them, all things considered. When I say Kyle Crane saved my life back then? That’s not hyperbole. That’s me being literal.
To be fair, that’s a bit of a story old as time for me; Taff in distress, fictional character to the rescue. He wasn’t the only one either, but I digress.
It’s also a story relevant to so many other people and my heart goes out to anyone else who needed to be pulled from the darkness by a movie, game, book, you name it. You’re valid. Your experience is valid. You’re worth so much.
I wrote Latchkey Hero back then, a story that helped me sift through my trauma boxes and fight my demons. And a story that I have missed ever since I’d finished it, with a yearning deep in my soul to return to Kyle and Zofia that I didn’t know how to satisfy.
One thing I tried to wrap my head around was how to turn it into an original novel, but nothing ever quite fit.
Then I played Cyberpunk 2077 and it clicked. I mean it clicked SO HARD, it took me an hour and I had hammered out a concept for how I could reboot Latchkey Hero in a Cyberpunk-lite setting situated right in my own world that I’d built since I was a kid.
Aphelion was born.
I’m never going to pretend Aphelion is anything else than a reboot of a Dying Light Fan Fic. And I am never going to pretend Varrett isn’t 80% Kyle as I’ve written him in Latchkey Hero.
Because that is what I need.
I needed a story where a group of people is faced with unimaginable hardship but doesn’t give up, and Varrett (just like Kyle) gave me that. Live or die trying; it’s one of his (and by extension Aphelion’s) taglines, it’s the foundation on which the story is built.
But~ even as Aphelion took shape, Bad Times Number Three came. It wasn’t just one thing, but a perfect storm that left me battered and grieving. That, ultimately, led me to almost dropping Aphelion right then, convincing me that I was undeserving (of Kyle, of Varrett) and that my integrity was compromised.
Yesterday, I was one more bad night’s sleep away from putting the pen down.
I spent that bad night’s sleep watching the Game Awards. And I caught the Dying Light 2 CGI trailer.
Now I sit here writing this because of a line painted on a fictional wall in a game that isn’t even released yet and that I know very little about because I don’t like getting swept up by the hype.
Now I sit here telling the void that Techland did it again. That, unintentionally, they’ve put the wind back into my sails.
And I’m grateful for that.
Because I need this story. I need it because I need to pay my respects and thank Kyle for what he’s done for me. And giving him a second lease on life in my heart is the least I can do.
She freezes above a shallow pool of water, right as her Light is pulled from her in a sudden, giddy sort of rush. Her shell parts and spins. Goes round and round as the steady pulses of her Light turn into a bright, vivid beacon.
Her Guardian. She’s found them.
Unfortunately, she’s found them right above some water. Its surface is all wrinkled now, starlight glancing off the ripples where her Guardian landed and fell right back into the wet.
But it’s a… small patch of ripples. She freezes and turns her eye down. Turns her light on. Not her Light light. The normal light. And catches sight of a mess of thick, mottled brown… fur. Wet fur. Lots of it.
A bright, pink tongue hangs from an open snout lined with sharp, white teeth — and a set of big round eyes set on her. And then her Guardian starts wagging his tail. Wags it so hard, he splashes water all over the damn place.
“Oh bother,” she says into the night and shrinks into her shell.
“His name is Splash,” she informs curious Guardian number 74.
Who, unfailingly, gets his face licked when he hunkers down to ask Splash Whose a good boy?!
Which they always do, and she shifts her shell around before puffing it out in mild annoyance.
“I don’t understand why you all have got to keep asking that,” she complains. “Of course he is. The Traveler wouldn’t have chosen him otherwise, would she!”
Splash agrees. He huffs up a bark and his tail picks up its pace to record wag levels. Then he jumps back. Gets his butt up in the air, tail still going, and barks up a loud and deep and throaty bark. He has a very handsome bark. Yes. Very.
Arf. Arf. Arf he goes, until she finally sighs and scoots over with a roll of her shell. She transmats one of his favourite balls down in front of him.
“Would you mind?” she asks. “But careful with the edge.”
The Guardian nods and grins, scooping up the ball and chucking it across the square. Splash bolts after it. Literally. Bolts. Lightning crackles in his wake.
And the Guardian is still grinning. A wide and toothy grin. Which, she admits, is a far cry from the furrowed brow and thin frown he wore before Splash padded up to him, honing in on him like he knew.
Because, yes. Splash is a good boy. He’s the Traveler’s Goodest Boy and the whole Tower is better off with him.