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The Strange One

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Epilogue: The Prodigal Returns.

Waking up with a yawn, Tidus Foster stretched before sitting on the edge of his bed. His real name was actually Daniel, Danny for short, but because he'd spent two years playing nothing but Final Fantasy X after receiving it as a tenth birthday present, his mother had soon started calling him Tidus after the main character. This nickname had quickly spread around everyone who knew him, and the teenager could now only vaguely remember ever having been called anything else.

As Tidus sat in his room, mulling over the dream he'd just had, he shook his head at the utter strangeness of it. Why would he dream that he was a male Argonian called Walks-in-Shadows in the Dark Brotherhood when the main character in his Oblivion game was always a female Bosmer named Aranwen Greenwood who'd never joined the guild of assassins? After Tidus had read everything he could find about the Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild on the Internet, he'd decided not to join either of them because he didn't want his character to gain infamy, no matter how easy it was to clear up. And how had he dreamed in so much detail about becoming Sheogorath? He'd never been able to do that on his copy of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and his mum couldn't afford to buy him the Game of the Year Edition, so he'd only learnt a little about it from the wikis. Thoroughly puzzled by all this, the teenager stood up and left his room, noticing that the sun streaming through the thin curtains was hurting his eyes a lot more than usual as he did so.

It was as Tidus entered the bathroom that he caught sight of his reflection, and with a shocked cry of, "Noooooo!" he rushed over to take a closer look. Once he'd examined himself more closely, Tidus' eyes rolled up in his head and his knees buckled under him, causing him to hit his head on the sink on his way down to the floor.

Angela Foster woke up with a start, then smiled as she relaxed again. What she'd just heard was probably her son, Tidus, up early and already getting frustrated by a character's death or something on one of his games. Then a louder sound brought her to full alertness. Grabbing her mobile phone in case an ambulance was required, Angela ran to the bathroom where the noise had come from, but as she got to the wide-open door, she stopped short and screamed before slamming it closed. Then she ran to Tidus' room to check on him and felt her heart almost stop as she realised that he wasn't there. Almost without stopping to think, she rapidly punched 999 and asked for the police.

Once she had reported her seventeen-year-old Autistic son missing, Angela then made a call to the R.S.P.C.A. to get them to do something about the large, humanoid-like monitor lizard that was lying unconscious on her bathroom floor.