Does my world have too many details?
December 12, 2022 at 12:00 pm #155936
I totally get that! I have stories that feel pretty similar (my WIP wound up becoming a way to unpack how I felt about certain situtations in my life actually lol) Your WIP sounds so interesting! I would love to read it, but I’ve never read anything equating a thriller before. What are thrillers like? I know nothing about the genre.
Lol, thrillers – to describe them briefly take your typical action-adventure and drizzle 20/10 tension in, stir well with angst and character secrets, slather a hefty slab of gothic murder mystery except the murder hasn’t happened yet and your protag is the victim and then sprinkle in a little possible paranormal activity 😌👌
Lol, it actually kinda similar your shortstory style but like a little too the left XD
I haven’t gotten very far in my latest revision yet but which would you prefer, a pdf type or a WordDoc?
To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.December 12, 2022 at 6:54 pm #155937
A word doc would be fine! Thanks for clearing that up for me!
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 13, 2022 at 7:51 pm #155945
Alright and no problem!! 😁✌️
Ok! Forgive the unfinished 2nd chapter and the notes lol XDDD I should have another chapter once every two weeks or something like that…
And please do leave any comments or critique if you can/want to!! <3
To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.December 13, 2022 at 10:37 pm #155950
I read it! I left some notes, i really like it and it’s really interesting!
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 16, 2022 at 11:47 am #155958
Thanks!!! (and sorry for the delay replying lol XDD) Your notes were super helpful and I’ll be taking a lot of your advice!! <3
To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.December 16, 2022 at 7:30 pm #155960
You’re welcome! I’m so glad I could help!
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 16, 2022 at 8:01 pm #155961
I’ve been working on rewriting parts 1 & 2 so they’ll make more sense together and with the rest of the story so far, would you like to read what I’ve got so far?
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 17, 2022 at 12:48 pm #155963
I’ve been working on rewriting parts 1 & 2 so they’ll make more sense together and with the rest of the story so far, would you like to read what I’ve got so far?
Oh yes I’d love that!!
To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.December 18, 2022 at 1:44 am #155966
Awesome! I’m reading through them and giving a few more final tweaks before I send them to you❤️!
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 23, 2022 at 1:47 am #156005
So sorry this has been taking a while, writing’s fallen by the wayside with the holidays. It’s been really busy.
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 23, 2022 at 1:48 am #156006
But I DO plan on sending the stories! It’s just taking me a while.
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 23, 2022 at 5:31 pm #156012
Lol it’s ok, I’m behind on so many things rn I totally get that XDD
To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.December 27, 2022 at 9:56 pm #156024
So sorry for the wait! here’s pt 1 revised
You don’t have to do an in-depth critique, I doubt I’d ever publish this, and if I did, I would probably just make it a webtoon or comic of some sort. In short, just let me know what you think! Thank you for reading!
He’d never killed a monster before. Jake took in a breath, trying to ease his nerves. He rolled his right shoulder, the extra weight of the bionic fused to his bad arm and the slight delay in his right leg making him feel unsteady. No, it wasn’t that he’d never killed a monster, it was that he’d never killed one by himself.
A green light flashed, and Jake donned his backpack and picked up his exploration helmet. He headed down the hall, Paris wouldn’t wait forever – and the thrid wouldn’t either.
Jake entered a small room with two large metal doors on either end, controlling who went in and who went out. He crossed the door on the far end, opening the door and entering the antechamber.
His steps clanged on the grate floor, keeping him from falling into the vents that drew the moist air from the room emanating from the portal in the center of the room. It was glowing white with energy, flickering silently but for a faint whisper of wind as it stood trapped in the metal frame preventing it from taking up the entire space.
Jake put on his helmet and tested the filter, taking in a deep breath and finding that it seemed more air came in than if he was breathing normally, perfect for the thinner air he was about to be in.
He stepped closer to the portal, not quite ready to go in. Staring into the frosty white whirlpool full of deafening silence, he considered rejecting Paris’s offer and trying to make it on his own. He could report back to his team, and maybe…
But messing with Paris was a bad idea. Still, he was tired, he’d gone through enough the past six months, and just wanted to sleep.
Jake focused, feeling the cold through his suit. That retirement wouldn’t be gotten just standing here, and he was looking forward to drinking copious amounts of Ambrosia living in a secluded villa, even though he typically preferred not to get drunk. He held his breath and stepped through the portal.
It was just as uncomfortable as every time. It felt like a hundred hands had grabbed him and thrown him forward with incredible force. Like when he was a kid, and his dad had once thrown him in a pool, not realizing he was still too little to swim well… but no one would dive after him this time.
The portal ejected Jake unceremoniously. He staggered across the floor, hearing the wind whistle about him as he stabilized.
The portal station at Pagos was nothing more than a ring of three large circles on a metal platform. it had nothing to capture the condensation and no high-security room to contain any potential monsters. The one Jake had gone through read Olympia – a southern city that dwelt in the middle of the desert on the central planet. and the one on the left, Faya, the capital. Jake’s hometown.
Jake felt a sickening feeling in his stomach looking at it. The portal wasn’t whole. Instead, it was broken in several pieces, as if the thing that had gone through it last had been too big for the portal’s frame. Jake wondered what would happen to the poor soul who tried teleporting here from his old home, his mind flipping through various gory scenarios without feeling too disturbed, the only thing nauseating him wat the thought of being constantly trapped in between the portals, in Nowhere. What would happen to someone then? He shook his head to dispel the thought. He didn’t like big unknowns, and Nowhere was one of them. People had tried going on expeditions there, but no one had ever returned.
Jake noticed the switch that would reactivate the portal. It was large, and there were claw-marks embedded in it and it tilted at an odd angle, as if something had crashed into it. He looked over his shoulder at the portal switched off, little fragments of light floating in the air before vanishing.
Jake turned away, forcing himself not to worry about it. It was out of his control; all he could do was focus on getting the thrid. If the switch didn’t work, he could always call the station.
He pulled out a pair of binoculars from his backpack, pressing a button on the side, it began to show the heat-signatures of his surroundings. Most was a mix of blues and purples, and half of his field of vision was interrupted by a range of ice mountains in the distance, their claw-like peaks jutting into the sky.
Jake lowered his binoculars and walked toward them, supposing it would be a good idea to get a lay of the land from up there. His footprints quickly dispelled in powdery snow, and only his measured breathing kept him company. But it wouldn’t be for too long. He was supposed to meet up with the others on his team once they arrived on Pagos that he’d found the thrid. But that wasn’t going to happen. He wouldn’t see any of them ever again. To them, to her, he’d be dead.
Jake sighed, almost wishing that everything would go to the plan that everyone else was going to follow if it meant that he might have a better chance to explain to her. But that wouldn’t be the case. The entek was too just, and if ever she did catch up to him, all he could hope for was that he’d be able to outwit her.
He shook his head as if to remove the thought and turned his gaze to the range of peaks, searching for the best path. There was no point in looking back, it simply wasted time. Besides, he had that retirement to look forward to, and then he could forget everything. But there was no use looking forward to the future until his job was done and the tokens were in his hand.
He examined the jagged slopes pointing to the faint outline of the planet Pagos orbited, his gaze locked on a small protrusion of ice nine meters up.
Jake took advantage of the low gravity to leap to the spot. He lifted himself by his metal arm. The climb was much easier than if he had attempted it six months ago. The fire – but that was why he wanted to keep his mind off things.
Jake straddled the narrow summit, looking at an unnaturally dark ocean spreading past the horizon – what would his brother say if he saw him now? He wrinkled his nose as a sickly-sweet smell invaded his nostrils through his scarf, what was up with him? This was not a time to reflect.
Jake surveyed the area, seeing a dark mass of machinery adjacent to the ocean. It was an old wind-turbine for generating oxygen to make the atmosphere a little more habitable converted to a ruin, judging by the fan paralyzed and chipped with age. He held up his binoculars, seeing strong heat signatures from within the structure, and something moving inside it. That had to be where the thrid was.
Jake slid down the mountainside, the low gravity turning his descent into a smooth glide – until he fell into a snowdrift. Shivering and muttering a string of curses, he reemerged. He dusted some snow off his shoulder, Isn’t this suit supposed to be able to handle this kind of cold? Paris had likely cut some corners on his equipment… he didn’t care much about the health and safety of debtors… especially a stepson he never wanted in the first place.
He pressed his lips together and sighed, Marian would’ve been able to get him out of this mess. But there was no time for wishing. She wasn’t here, and the last thing he wanted was an enforcer – even if it was his girlfriend. Well… ex-girlfriend. She didn’t want a man like him… and… if he was being honest… he couldn’t blame her. It was best she forgot about him. Only half of his story was enough to make her break up with him. He shook his head again, he’d lost his chance to have a real life a while ago.
Jake’s eyes fixed on the turbine. He stepped close to the drifts, crossing his arms. He always hated being near the outside of gigantic structures, it made him feel small – like he had never shaken his childhood, when he learned how to tell a lie, to steal what he needed at no cost to himself… a cold fear of what might happen if he was found out… because Paris always found out. He began to move towards the mechanical monstrosity, thinking through what he had to do:
1: Find the thrid. Already doing that.
2: Kill the thrid. A blue lizard-like reptile armored in its own scales that could survive extremes of cold and heat – although he had the best bolt-gun money could buy, a thrid’s hide had higher resistance levels than the strongest metals man had come up with… and as if it wasn’t dangerous enough, it was the size of ten grown men. For good measure he had a pistol with poisoned bullets at his hip, in case it ever came to close quarters it should be easy to target the thrid’s soft palette.
3: Find the phial. It shouldn’t be too hard… he was the best thief he knew.
4: Hide the thrid so the Exterminators wouldn’t find it and tell Paris’s goons.
5: Fake his death, so the Exterminators wouldn’t be suspicious, and assume he was eaten by the thrid or drowned in Pagos’s ocean.
6: Get his money, go, and retire somewhere obscure.
Jake heard snow crunch and froze. Unseen, he dove into a snowdrift. He cursed under his breath. He’d been forewarned that he was going after a highly intelligent thrid – but he was not anticipating a creature walking on its hind legs and dressed in clothes that were a far better make than his. He grumbled another expletive. It was the Institute’s project… of course it would be crazy…
The thrid turned its massive head toward the ocean. Jake pressed a button on the side of his gun, it tremored as energy built inside. He glanced at a glowing cylinder by the trigger, only two shots before he needed to load another charge. He inhaled deeply as he brought the weapon to his shoulder, aiming at the back of the creature’s head. As Jake exhaled in a near-silent sigh.
The filter rapsed, the thrid’s head swiveled, turning towards Jake as he shot a jet of yellow light. The creature shouted, its hoarse voice drowning out the noise of the blast as the shot struck its shoulder and it fell to its knees.
Jake pulled the trigger again and hit the monster in the chest as it tried to stand. It staggered and crouched, watching as Jake approached while inserting another charge. It shouted: “W-wait!”
Before Jake could react, the thrid knocked his legs out from under him with its tail and he fell on his side. The thrid snatched away his gun and fled towards a gaping hole in the side of the bunker.
Jake pursued as he drew his pistol. The monster turned around and shoved him, sending Jake flying across the terrain and tumbling to a halt. He stumbled to his feet; blinking the stars from his vision, seeing the thrid aiming the gun at Jake’s chest. Jake tried to back away but felt the frozen edge of the ocean crumble under his foot.
Thinking in the speed of a portal disintegrating, Jake prepared to fire, but before he could do it, the thrid flung the gun at Jake’s head, and he ducked, the weapon clipped his shoulder, knocking him backward and into the waves.
The ocean was not water. It was much less dense, and Jake sank as if he was loaded down with rocks. He scrambled for the surface – but his strength was giving out, and he wasn’t ascending. As Jake’s lungs constricted and his vison began to tunnel, a clawed hand reached for him. Jake gasped, inhaling a lungful of a bittersweet substance. Then everything went dark.
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 27, 2022 at 10:23 pm #156025
A scraping sound pulled Jake into consciousness. After floating in a limbo between sleeping and waking, his gaze focused on a dark ceiling with little golden spores floating in the air. Where was he? Then he recalled the fight with the thrid, and a shudder went down his spine… had Paris found him after he failed? What would he do to him now? As he tried to turn his head he froze and cringed, waiting for the pain to subside.
The surgeries that repaired and transformed his face into an angular bastardization of what it once was were able to lessen the pain, but the surgeon wasn’t skilled, and skin was still healing in places, leaving faint, sometimes prominent, shadows of the pain from the attack. A cruel joke of Paris’s. But at least he had no more burns.
When Jake was able to rotate his head, he was relieved to find he wasn’t about to be tortured for his failure. Nonetheless, he didn’t know if it’d be a worse shock than seeing the thrid.
It was seated at a workbench, picking apart the bolt-gun with meticulous care and washing the individual pieces. It wore pants, but its exposed chest revealed muscle rippling under its scales. Jake gulped; that monster could easily tear him to pieces. He felt an unpleasant shrinking feeling, the same sensation he’d gotten when he was at the portal and by the generator. This thing was too large, too strong.
Jake reached for his knife; his heart fluttered – why was he in his underwear? His hand clasped at his neck, a sigh as he felt the familiar necklace chain eased out of him, supposing thrids wouldn’t really care for women’s jewelry.
Jake’s attention turned on the beast’s handlike claws. They were strong and dexterous as they scrubbed some dried black gunk off the surface of the gun’s barrel. He frowned. An anthropomorph? No brainer Paris wanted the body back along with whatever he had to steal. This was anything but common. Scientists galaxy-wide had been trying to make something like this, and it would only increase the Institute’s prodigious reputation to claim this thing as its own.
Jake turned his attention to the rest of the room, scanning for any exits, or weapons. There were metal walls and floor, their dented surfaces scarcely reflecting the warm light coming from horizontal windows along the ceiling and glowing spores pouring from several packed containers. But from where Jake lay in an alcove bedded with musty tarps and emergency blankets, there was no way to see the exits… nor any reachable weaponry. A snap sounded, and his gaze fixed on the furnace again, breathing a sigh of relief to see that the fire was still safely inside its container, providing treacherous warmth. He tried to see if there was anything a stray spark could set ablaze nearby, but he couldn’t see anything to worry about, from this angle.
Jake pushed himself upright before his right arm buckled. He rolled his crippled limb out from under him with a stifled grunt. His gaze travelled from his solitary ring and pinky finger shriveled with burn scars, the purple bruise that covered much of his side and equally burned chest, to where the grey sheets should have draped over his right leg. What was he doing here? Waiting to become the thrid’s dinner?
“Ah, uh, hell… hell-o.”
Jake froze, turning slowly towards the thrid.
The monster set its work aside, its round eyes staring at Jake, “Do ya… y-ou… you feel alright?”
Jake answered slowly as he propped himself up with his undamaged arm, “Fine,” His voice scratched against his tender throat, and he coughed.
“T-talk qu-ieter. Your th-roat is still tender.”
Jake nodded, saying, “Why’m I in my underwear?”
The monster glanced to the part of the room Jake couldn’t see, then went back to his work, “I h-ad to clean that stuff off you and w-anted t-o make sure that ya – you… weren’t hurt. Your s-suit had a few l-leaks at the neck.”
Jake raised an eyebrow.
“You should be fine, I gave you an injec-injection of at-ath-anasia. Your thrat – ugh, throat – will feel better soon.”
Jake frowned, how did it know what athanasia was? Did it know how much it cost? “Thanks… I guess.” He frowned as the thrid narrowed his eyes at the button on the side of the gun, “What are you doing with that?”
“I’m cleaning… and… trying ta… to see how it’s m-ade.” The thrid was reassembling the gun now, and he aimed it, dry firing.
Jake grimaced, “Please don’t do anything else.”
The thrid set aside the weapon, “I w-was never that good with this kind of thing.”
Jake pushed his hair behind his shoulders, “How long was I out?”
“Several hours.” The thrid got to its feet, “I should check yar… your vitals.” it approached Jake.
While the monster had no aura of malice about it, and Jake recognized the instrument, he could not help shrinking back when he realized that he appeared as a child next to this technological advancement. The monster squatted beside him, “Settle down, I w-on’t…” it shut its eyes and mouthed the next word before forcing it to its throat, “Hurt… you.”
Jake’s attention was drawn to the thrid’s large eyes as they peered down the long muzzle. They were an unnatural, chemical blue. Even though he still had slit-pupils, they were oval, almost human. He leaned away, the expression in those eyes held pain that was hard to fathom. It has to do with his lack of facial muscles.
The thrid took hold of Jake’s wrist, trying to feel his pulse. Jake pushed the hand away, seeing the frustration in the monster’s face as he tried to feel Jake’s neck instead. Shouldn’t he know his fingertips are too thick to feel something like that?
The thrid asked Jake if his heart felt alright, if it was easy to breathe, and other such questions. But all of the attention was far from pleasant, the thrid’s palms were frigid, and so huge that Jake felt a flick from its pinky finger could put him in intensive care.
When all was done, the thrid said, “Good. B-ut you are still w-weak… you should rest for a bit before trying to go anywhere.” The monster went out of view and returned with an oversized jacket. “You can wear this to keep warm.”
As Jake reached for the garment the thrid said, “I don’t think that you can m-manage the f-fastening, you want me to help?”
“Oh.” The monster rubbed the soft spines along the back of its neck, “I gu-ess that it is warm.”
“Understandable,” Jake took the jacket, “You are cold-blooded.”
The monster’s face deteriorated into a slight grimace. “I’ll get you some food and a drink… you m-ust be hungry.”
Jake guided his right arm through the sleeve as the monster went away. What was the creature doing here of all places? The metallic sound of a drawer opening and closing brought Jake back to reality. He shook his head; he wasn’t here to think about why the thrid had come to this dumb rock.
The monster returned with a food bar and a metal bottle, “Here.”
Jake took the bar and nibbled at the edge, then sniffed the bottle’s contents. Satisfied that neither were poison, he began to eat, “Where am I?”
The monster gestured around the room. “M-y hut.”
Jake swallowed a sweetened chunk of the bar, “But where is it?”
“You want curdinits… ugh…” the monster rubbed his forehead, “I mean, c-oord-inates?”
Jake raised an eyebrow, “You know about those?”
The monster straightened, a little offended, “Yes, everyone does.”
Jake pushed his hair behind his ear, “Hm.” He looked at the places he had hit the monster; there were light dents, but there was still no sign of bleeding. He frowned.
The thrid pulled up a stool and sat by Jake, “Why’d you try t-o kill me? Are you getting paid?”
Maybe I should shoot it in the mouth next time… “In a sense.” Jake sipped his drink. The dynamic of this relationship was obvious, what point was there in lying? “But then why am I here?”
The monster looked down and away, running his hand along the back of his neck, “I don’t know exactly why. Pr’aps – ugh! Per-haps – because people should help each other more than they do…” The monster shrugged and looked down at his hands. “I don’t want people to die.”
Jake hmphed, “From my experience, people only help others if they intend to get something from them –” He crossed his arms, “Seriously, why did you bring me here? There’s no such thing as simple motives.” A smile played at the corner of his mouth, “Just look at Humans and Enteks. Nobody can be that naïve nowadays.”
The monster stared at him for a long moment, then got up and muttered, “Because,” he sat by the workbench, “There’s enough death and killing in this w-world.”
“Well, if that’s the case, I’d like to know what you’re gonna do to me.”
“I… intend to let you go. By the w-ay, what’s your nim – I mean – name?”
Jake narrowed his eyes, “Why d’you need to know?”
The thrid shrugged, “I want to call you by your name. should I just go around calling you killer?” The monster held out his hand, “I am Fafian,” he frowned and looked down, saying slowly, “Fa-b-ian.” Fabian gestured towards Jake, “And yours?”
Jake moved with difficulty as he shook the beast’s hand. This was a monster that shared his brother’s name – that was it. “You can call me Jade. If you want to know my job, I suppose it’s obvious.” Jake downed the last of the drink and wiped his mouth, “And it doesn’t take much brain-power to know that you probably survive for a living unless there’s some hobby of yours or something that you do besides that.”
“I survive…” Fabian shook his head, “Are you after m-y brain?”
Jake laid down and studied the ceiling, “Attached to your body, preferably.” What was Fabian avoiding? Was it something to do with the chemical? Why was he concerned about his brain? He twisted the bar’s wrapper. Why was he sent to kill something so docile?
Fabian sighed, “Why am I relea-sing you?”
Jake put his arm under his head. “You said it already, you’re sick of death and have some strong morals for a…” he waved his hand dismissively, “whatever you are.” This was beginning to feel like talking to his little brother. He rubbed his sternum. His brother’s memory kept on clinging to him, like the boy had in life… at least before everything went south.
Fabian cleared his throat and rubbed his neck again, “You should begin to get ready now, evening’s closing in. The days here last long, nights even longer.” he lifted the metal arm from somewhere out of Jake’s view and laid the bionics on the bed. “You can ga… ugh, go home.”
Jake slid his limb into the bionic arm, the reassuring pressure as it reattached itself to him soothed his tight skin. Jake’s brow furrowed as he moved his arm about: “Why’re you allowing me to leave?”
Fabian looked up, “Don’t you have a life?”
Jake laughed, his voice hollow to even his own ears.
Fabian disappeared behind the wall, “Why did you laugh?”
Jake pulled on his metal leg, bending the knee and foot joints as it fused to him. “You talk nonsense. Like my—” Jake cleared his throat, “a-a friend of mine.”
Fabian reappeared with Jake’s backpack, he scratched the back of his neck, “Do I?”
Jake stood, “You’re way too optimistic.” He smirked to hide a frown, “The universe is just a big accident. I’m dumb enough already and I understand it.” Jake swept a hair out of his eyes, “Where are my clothes?”
“That’s a sad way to l-ive.” Fabian went into the next room again before reappearing with Jake’s clothing, “What point is th-there in existing if you’re not here for a p-purpose?”
Jake shook his head as he began to get dressed, “I may look like I’m young, and I am – relatively speaking – but…” his carefree expression creased, “I’ve lived long enough to know there isn’t.”
Fabian leaned forward, “But don’t you think that –”
Jake popped the collar of his suit, “You did a decent job cleaning up this stuff.” He picked up his backpack and examined it, “You’ve been quite busy.”
Fabian put the knife in his pocket, “I… haven’t much to d-o.”
Jake rolled back his shoulders, “I can see it being pretty boring here.” But it won’t be for long. He rubbed the back of his neck, shrugging and saying, “But what can you do?”
Fabian said: “I c-an show you the way out.” He handed Jake his backpack. “But I won’t give you your w-weapons.”
Jake slung his burden on one shoulder, rolling his eyes, “How gracious of you.”
Fabian’s eyes widened, and he stared openly at him.
Fabian wordlessly motioned Jake to follow him. They entered a small front room and approached a door made from a piece of tarp, a golden glow seeping around the frayed edges. Jake paused and glanced around the room; his blaster was in the farthest corner among a forest of cleaned tools, mostly for prying, digging, and cooking.
Fabian pushed aside the tarp. Jake squeezed past and in one expert motion his hand slipped into Fabian’s pocket and drew out the gun, hiding it in his backpack as he stepped into a fungus garden.
For a moment Jake’s eyes followed the contour of the varicolored shapes as they curved and rippled over every surface of a room big enough for a whole living complex. He sighed and shook his head, dispelling the languid hovering of glowing spores that softened his angular features. There was no time to admire even the prettiest of spectacles. Anyway, he had gone to find some semblance of peace in fungus gardens so often the sight wasn’t that captivating.
“Y-Y-ou w-ill need these… a b-blizzard’s c-coming.”
Jake turned to Fabian, whose scales had lost some of their blue pigment, What’re you scared of? His gaze caught a stairway leading to a door with a crank in it. “Are we inside the generator?”
Fabian stared at him fixedly and didn’t respond.
Jake repeated himself.
“Oh! Y-Yes.” Fabian looked at a small tankard he was holding, “I m-made the hut, its w-armer there than the rest of the building.” Fabian offered it to Jake, “Y-You need this.”
“What is it?”
Jake squatted in front of his backpack, “I doubt I’ll need it.”
Fabian’s eyes fixed on Jake. “If it’s b-blizzarding ou-t there – the ice dust will lower the o-xy-oxygen, and your helmet’s filter isn’t working after you breathed in the poison.” He handed Jake the helmet, “But it could still keep your head warm. And be careful, you’re stable, but for a few hours you could collapse with too much exer-tion.”
“Fine.” Jake received the metal cylinder and donned the helmet, pretending to rummage in his bag while he prepared to spring forward, mentally planning the motion that would end Fabian’s – the monster’s – life. He rammed a magazine into the pistol.
Fabian opened his mouth and closed it again, he stared at Jake, “Ja—?” his voice died in his throat.
Jake bounded to his feet and pointed the gun at Fabian’s face, “Where’s the phial?”
Fabian’s eyes widened in an expression Jake understood all too well – betrayal. But why? Didn’t it anticipate this? Was it really that innocent? “Ph-phial?”
“The one you stole?”
“I used it.”
Jake raised an eyebrow, “I have trouble believing that.”
“You were dying!” Fabian stepped forward and Jake backed away. “There was no other way.” He searched Jake’s face before looking down. “Please listen to me. There’s m-more ta this than ya – you – know.”
Jake blinked, “What?”
Fabian gulped and nodded, “P-lease hear m-e out.”
“Why?” Jake shook his head, that phrase… he huffed and tightened his grip.
He froze, “My name’s Jade.”
“Then why do you talk like him?”
“There’s a lot of Jakes out there. I’m certain some of them also talk like me.”
Fabian searched his face, he looked down and sighed, “M-maybe I w-was mistaken.” But before Jake could react, Fabian lunged forward, grabbed Jake’s gun arm, and after a brief struggle, Jake was thrown into a tunnel. He turned around as Fabian stood, staring at him. for a moment they made eye contact before Fabian threw Jake’s backpack at him and slammed the door.
Jake fell on his back, he got up, then he swore, kicking the wall. He was an idiot. Just like he was always told. He guessed there was nothing to do but cut his losses. Maybe he could reunite with his team, play off what happened as scouting ahead and getting caught in a tussle…
Jake turned away from the door and exited the tunnel, entering the main chamber. As he looked up at the shaft to turn the fan, he wondered what the thrid was trying to tell him anyway. How did it know my name?
Jake forced himself to think of the present. All he had were his clothes, the necklace, and the gun with ten rounds at his immedeate disposal… or was it nine?
He looked out at the landscape; a blizzard had turned the scenery a solid white. Fabian said he used the phial on him. Jake sighed, well, at least it was in his blood… maybe he could ask to be put under before they drew any. But it must’ve just been athanasia, and while expensive, all this for just a phial of a chemical that could be produced and replaced?
A woman shouted, “Hold your fire!”
At the sound of that voice, Jake froze, becoming painfully aware of the thin chain around his neck.
A man stepped from behind the edge of the generator and Jake dodged in time for a stun bolt to pass his ear and strike the wall behind him. The enforcer stepped forward and others emerged, training their blasters on him.
The same clear voice demanded, “Drop your weapon.” Jake held up his shaking hands. The speaker stepped forward, her albino face in high definition in the pale light.
Jake laid his gun between his feet, “Missed me?”
Marian’s nostrils flared as she kicked away his weapon, “What’re you doing here?”
“I was sent ahead.” Jake frowned, “Why’re these guys aiming at me?”
“Don’t play the fool.” She took out her handcuffs, sighing, “Just come quietly and… maybe we can find a way to fix this…”
Jake pushed her away, launching her with the low gravity.
As she landed, she somersaulted and righted herself in one fluid motion, “Bad move.”
He agreed under most circumstances. But he’d had time to retreat into the tunnel, but Marian hit Jake’s bionic leg.
He clenched his teeth as he fell. His heart pounded as the other soldiers aimed, preparing to kill. Why was Marian such a good shot? A man stepped forward, dragged Jake out of the tunnel, kicked him onto his stomach, pressed his foot on his back, and poised his blaster.
Jake looked over his shoulder at Marian’s steely purple eyes as she approached, adrenaline pumped through him and the clenching of his muscles ebbed away… she might just let him die. Or the enforcer would disobey her… if he didn’t give the idiot an abrupt reminder that this wasn’t standard gravity.
“Sta!… I mean, st-op!”
Jake turned to see Fabian dressed in his spacesuit. Wha…?
Fabian flung up his hands, “Don’t shut – uh, sh-oot! I…” Fabian glanced at Jake, “I am Fabian. Y-ou are a-b-out to kill Jade… I mean, Jake.”
Marian’s lips parted. Her entek mind clearly on rapid fire, overthinking the problem. Before anyone recovered from the shock of the thrid Jake’s hand went to his gun, tucking it under his chest.
The thrid lowered his hands, “D-don’t kill him.”
She whispered, “Who are you?”
Fabian looked down, “I… am noduddy, ugh! Nobody.”
She raised her eyebrows, “Then why did you tell me your name?”
“W-ould you believe m-me if I told ya…” Fabian shook his head, “you?”
Marian lowered her gun, “I know a liar when I see one.”
Fabian looked up from staring at his boots, he rubbed the back of his neck: “W-hat about Jake…”
Marian’s sharp features relaxed, her eyes warming from their usual knifelike gaze. “I can’t make promises for the safety of criminals, but I’ll do what I can to help you I promise.”
Jake clenched his fists, was that all he was to her now? A criminal?
Fabian gulped, “I a-m Jake’s b-rother – Dr. S-Saun-ders.”
Marian’s eyes widened, her body going rigid.
Fabian hugged himself so tightly his arms shook, “M-Marian p-please… hear me out… you’ve got t-o be-lieve me…”
Slowly, she nodded, stammering, “Y-you’re alive?”
Jake’s glove made impressions of the lining on his palm. As he leapt out from under the soldier, he roared, “Don’t lie to me!” and lunged at Fabian.
Fabian pushed Jake away from him with such force he was flung into the blizzard, hearing Marian shout words his hot ears didn’t bother to translate as he caught himself and ran into the storm, the wind battering him in a flurry of white wrath as he heard a beating sound behind him, having no time to get his bearings before a weight smacked into him. His arms were forced at his sides, and he thrashed against Fabian’s body. Jake glowered into the stolid, scaly, face.
Fabian forced Jake into the snow, “Jake! Sta! Ya ‘ill b-e al-right!”
“NO!” Jake worked his arm free and fired into Fabian’s open mouth. Fabian immediately loosed his grip and fell back, one of his teeth ripping though Jake’s sleeve and scratching the back of his metal arm. Pulling away from the monster’s limp arms, he ran into the fogged distance, his hollow heart throbbing inside his chest.
But as he ran, he began to feel his muscles moving slower as the cold seeped deeper into his form. He forced himself onward, wrapping his arms about himself and trudging through, the ground beneath him rocking with every step as oxygen-poor air squeezed his lungs. He reached for the tank, only to find that he’d left his backpack behind. The wind beat him until he was on his knees. Finally, his bionic leg deactivated, and he fell, his vision going out of focus as he saw a grey light and the emergency heat kicked on…
We crazy people are the normal ones.December 27, 2022 at 10:26 pm #156026
Jake gasped, coughing out droplets of water. He rolled onto his back, the blizzard had passed, and the distant sun cast its heatless glow as it sank under the horizon. He sat up, dusting a thin layer of ice off his clothes. How long had he been unconscious? The unfamiliar peaks turned vivid red in the fading light, and he brought his knees up to his chest, shivering. He may as well stop for now; he was an easy target wherever he went… he hugged himself, dying of the cold was his only option besides arrest.
Jake looked at his hands, seeing them covered in azure blood slowly turning purple, from them, his gaze wandered to the gun laying in the snow. His fingers shook. It could not have been Fabian, as in his brother, that he had killed. It was a monster trying to influence his emotions – maybe Fabian’s ghost… the kid was never cremated.
Though it was an old superstition, a dead person’s soul was not at rest without proper cremation. If not, he could cause trouble with portal travel, appear as a ghost to haunt his loved ones, or transform into an animal if some deranged god of the past took pity on him. Could Fabian have possessed the anthropomorph? But that was superstition. It was impossible. There were no gods.
Then the image of the boy flooded Jake’s mind, his small frame half-incinerated… he shook his head. But still, though he had thought it impossible, could it be true? The monster did have Fabian’s mannerisms, the way he rubbed the back of his neck and how he asked so many questions, even the simple fact that he’d helped the man trying to kill him! Besides, none had seen Fabian’s body after the attack… and who would want to? The bomb hadn’t left much to burn. Jake swallowed a lump in his throat and pressed his trembling lips together, “It wasn’t him.” was it possible he’d failed… again?
Footsteps crunched the snow behind him.
Jake struggled to his feet, his bionic barely functioning. It was Marian. She stepped nearer. Jake readied into a fighting stance. Marian coolly aimed her gun at him. Jake’s hands trembled, and he clenched his fists tighter. “Go away.”
Her eyes locked with Jake’s, staring into him without a reply.
Jake opened his mouth then closed it. He huffed, saying, “You’re still into me? Really?”
“No.” Marian lowered her gun, “I have my duties – and you yours.”
“I don’t. I’m just a criminal to you now, right?”
“Perhaps,” Marian’s pale lips turned into a hard line. “How could you shoot your own brother?” her eyes shimmered, “Should I even be as surprised as I am?”
“I didn’t…” Jake began to examine the snow about their feet.
“Your little brother could be dying by your hand. Jake, don’t you think that it should concern you?”
“Quit tricking me.”
“I’m not trying to trick you.” Marian stepped back, “There are laws and…” she glanced to the side, “I… would rather you not break more than you can help… for Fabian’s sake.”
Jake examined her face, saying, “Do you care about me, or not?”
“That’s completely beside the point. If you let them arrest you, I won’t have to use force. I’m trying to keep you alive.”
Jake crossed his arms, looking away, “You just wish you hadn’t ended what was between us.”
Marian clenched her jaw, “You were the one who chose to steal drugs and sell them to the Underground.” Her gaze sharpened on him as his skin bunched below his eyelids, “Your brother’s afraid. But if you come to him now, you have a chance to”—
“My brother’s dead.” Jake paled. But is it because of me?
She sighed, “Look, if you come with me, you’ll be alive for longer than if you stayed here.”
Jake began to walk away.
“You’re just going to run away?”
Jake turned on her, “Well I don’t have any other options, do I?”
“I was hoping that my discoveries about you could be proven wrong. But… at this point… your brother isn’t the only person you’ve lost.” She sighed, “Why do you have to be such a disappointment?”
Marian’s cold gaze thawed. “Jake I –”
He looked up. A few enforcers trained their guns on him.
Marian looked away as they moved to handcuff him. Jake gritted his teeth, the tears lurking in his eyes vanishing. “Well looks like I won’t disappoint you anymore.”
<p style=”text-align: center;”>***</p>
When Jake was escorted back through the portal, he saw him. Fabian lay on the floor outside the entry hall with some enforcers preparing to move the body… still connected to the equipment that couldn’t save him. Jake trembled as Marian’s grip on his shoulder tightened, he saw blue blood pooling on the floor and began to sweat. That’d been his brother, unmistakably – and now he was dead.
Jake was taken to a transfer cell at the enforcer’s station, he said, “I have a necklace on.” He looked at Marian, “Could you get it please? I don’t want it to be stolen.”
Marian reached around his neck, unclasping the chain. Jake closed his eyes as her hands touched his neck, opening them once she stepped away from him. “Why do you have a woman’s necklace?”
Jake felt sweat gathering at his temples, “My mom gave it to me to sell for money. Can you keep it in case I get out?”
“I see.” She put it in her pocket, “I’ll take care of it for you.”
Marian touched his hand, her thoughts shooting like electricity up his arm: a picture of Fabian as a human flashed through his mind, being replaced by the corpse of the thrid.
Before Jake could see the rest of her message, he pulled away – “I get it already!” his voice cracked, “Would it kill you to just leave me alone?”
Marian stepped back, closing the door to the tiny cell.
Jake sat as he heard the door seal. He rested his forehead on his knees – a tremor passed through his body like a wave, and he squeezed his eyes shut.
Jake did not care for any gods as they didn’t appear to care for him, and it was more a miasma of theories anyway, but it seemed like he’d been given a chance for once in his life to truly succeed, and he’d ruined it. Yellow mist began to taint the air, perhaps that failure would’ve happened regardless, especially for a man like him.
Jake looked at his hands, this catastrophe was just as inevitable as the gas would make him sleep – and what was to happen next. His fingers curled into fists; it would be much less of a tragedy – who cared for the death of a criminal? And who would be there to grieve? The only person who would’ve cared was dead. And his parents? The people that really should care? He was simply a failure, like he’d always been – and to his real father? For all he knew, something worth forgetting. They wished he’d never been born, and it was the same with Marian.
His heart began to pound, and the cell felt emptier than ever. The justice system would simply be doing what he was too afraid to, and what she couldn’t… quickly dispose of him. Jake smirked before his expression crumbled, who even believed in love and happiness anyway? He’d tried to pursue it, but he’d found it to be nothing more than a rip-off.
Jake laid on his side, recalling how similar it was to the position he had been in when he first saw his brother after he’d managed to drag them out of the burning building. He clamped a hand over his mouth and stifled a cry, remembering the boy’s wide eyes and his mouth open in a suffocated scream, the scent of burnt flesh and the agony in his body mirroring what Fabian must’ve felt as… he shook his head, groaning “No.” But as the air became opaque, he knew he could never escape. He was the monster that should be killed.
We crazy people are the normal ones.
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