-Gah!- he gasped for air as he ran. The man kept looking back frequently… he was being followed, no, chased. He was running through a narrow path in between a couple of cramped buildings. The pathway was filled with trash, sketchy-looking liquids and holes. On the side of the buildings, facing him, he could’ve seen just broken windows and cracked walls. Through the windows a shadow could be seen dashing by the shattered glass, in the dark.
-Shit! For how long am I supposed to do this?!- the man who seemed to have been carrying a briefcase with him.
–Gah!- he grasped for air as he ran. The moonlight lit up the way for him, the moon at his back.
Adrenalin was pumping through his veins, his senses were going crazy, he was confused, scared, a bit disoriented… but he had to run. He could not see the end of the seemingly narrowing pathway. He began to panic.
Light. He almost made it. Nobody was behind him, so he must have gotten away… or so he thought.
-There he is!- a voice could be heard from a distance, a short one nonetheless.
-I see him! Release them!-ordered a different voice from the first one. The dragging of chains could be heard.
The man’s eyes widen -The hounds…- he muttered to himself, as he was not able to say anything else, nor did he have the time. His eyes began to wander, where to go, where to hide, he had to find a way… soon. The loud, constant barking was only adding to the current anxiety he felt.
Finally, he saw the fire escape ladders, the dogs as well. They were close, very close, followed closely by two flashes of light, it was the two gunman who released them. The man drew his gun and, without even aiming fired two shots. The bullets flew threw the air at an incredible speed, even for a bullet, one of which shot one of the men in the head, the other hitting square on the trigger of his rifle. It began to fire, the man stumbled backwards, his gun lowered enough to hit the first dog, the balance shifted to his left leg, hitting the second dog. The body finally began falling on its back, aligning the shot perfectly to the second man’s head. He didn’t even get to pull the trigger before his friend riddled him with holes. This brought the man with the briefcase his composure back, he had a serious look on his face.
Some other men could be heard from a distance, steps and orders echoing through the pathway. The man proceeded with his plan, he picked up on of the rifles and jumped on the ladder that led to the staircase.
It was a tall climb, but he made it all the way to the top of the five storey building. His lungs were giving up on him.
-It’s all going to be worth it, come on.- he tried to reassure himself. –What even is this?- he glanced at the briefcase he was holding. –No time for curiosity… All I need is…- he looked around, a couple of helicopters could be seen fling around, searching. He heard a jet engine, it was close. –What? It can’t be, no plane can fly this…- a small plane-like vehicle stared him down, the reflectors lit a small area surrounding him.
-WE LEAVE YOU NO CHOICE! GIVE UP AND SURRENDER THE CASE OR WE HAVE PERMISION TO DISPOSE OF YOU!- the vehicle broadcasted a voice.
He had no choice. He opened the briefcase and pulled out a sealed glass tube containing a multi-colored liquid with the writing “Under no circumstances open-PROJECT S-2223” and extended his hand. He took the container by one of the ends with his left thumb and middle finger.
-I have nobody, this is just a job for me! I don’t care for what’s inside! But you do, don’t you?!-he shouted. This was his last bet. There was silence… only the jet engine roared.
The silence was interrupted by a group of soldiers who managed to climb up the building from the same point as the man who had the container. They pointed their guns at him, he did the same.
-If you shoot me I drop it, it spills! STAND DOWN!- he really had no other choice then to try and yell his way out of this.
-STAND DOWN MEN!- the pilot of the vehicle broadcasted his statement again. –HAND ONE OF THE SOLDIERS THE CONTAINER!-
-And just let you shoot me down anyway?! Not a cha…- a shot echoed through the night. One of the gunmen drew a pistol and shot the man.
-Shit….- the man thought. His black coat, now painted crimson, received a hole in the back. The man turned to the shooter, with a defeated look in his eyes.
-YOU IDIOT!- the pilot of the vehicle exclaimed through the speakers.
-I can’t believe this is how I die… On a rooftop, somewhere in the slums, on a cold winter night… - he coughed- at least i tried…- he began to fall, letting the container fall out of his hand. The vehicle opened it’s cockpit, two men came running out, one dressed as the other soldiers, and a man in a lab coat. Everybody ran toward the descending capsule, the man in the lab coat was screaming, shouting at the pilot to hurry up. All of this was happening so slowly in the eyes of the man laying on the ground, covered in blood.
The liquid, as soon as it came in contact with the air, began to solidify, at least to the point of it becoming similar to a sort of goo.
-Don’t let it touch him, don’t let it touch any of you, you have to burn it!- that was what the man in the lab coat shouted to everybody, he was warning them, although it didn’t matter to the, soon to be deceased, man.
-Dr. Richter, how do w…- the pilot couldn’t finish his sentence in time. The mass had already come in contact with the bleeding man’s hand.
-BURN THEM BOTH!- the doctor exclaimed, already in a state of panic. The soldiers took out their incendiary grenades and chucked them in the direction of the mass.
The man in the black coat woke up, he was confused. He found himself surrounded by darkness, he could see himself, but everything else was out of the question.
-What’s going on?! Where am I? I am supposed to be…. Wait, am I dead?- he came to a conclusion. –Is this what it’s like? I don’t… I can’t be…-
-Calm down, you are not dead… yet.- a voice echoed through the impenetrable darkness.
-Who… What are you, show yourself!- he reached for his gun, it wasn’t there.
-It matters not. I can get you out of this situation alive and well, you just have to trust me.-
-How can I?! I don’t know what you are! You even refuse to show yourself!-
-There is not much time left! Do you wish to die Arc?! This can benefit us both, so just do as say!-
-You know my name..?-
-I know so much more, and I will share that knowledge with you, I just need you to trust me… please.-
The voice, sounding so desperate and sincere, convinced Arc to do what must be done.
-Deal?- it asked once more.
-Deal.- … darkness again…
The goo touched Arc’s digital wrist watch. At the same moment, the incendiary grenades hit the ground, catching his coat on fire. The watch exploded, it made a wound in Arc’s hand through which the goo entered his body. The fire grew stronger.
-He’s got to be dead Sir.- the pilot pointed out.
-Somebody check, leave all of your electronics behind as you do.- Dr. Richter ordered the soldiers. They all looked at him, then among themselves.
-Maybe Michael should do it?-
-Yeah, he killed the guy.-
-Yes, yes, Michael.- everybody began to chatter.
The young man who fired the gun stepped forward, he poked him with the back of his rifle, the fire grazed his hand.
-I think he’s dead Si-GAAAAAAAAAAH!- Michael’s head was caught by a hand. His eyes became empty, he just… stopped. The figure looked at its hand.
-That feels good...- a distorted, robotic version of the man’s voice said.
-FIRE YOU MONGRELS!- yelled Dr. Richter. Soldiers rained led.
-Useless!- he yelled, his voice even more distorted. He threw the body toward the firing squad. The now deceased Michael caught all of the bullets with his torso and landed on two of the gunmen, the figure, it’s right eye glowing red, took it’s chance. It ran toward them, the soldiers have depleted the entirety of their magazines, but the combination of fear and a feeling of weakness made them forget they carry handguns. He didn’t waste this shot, his body was moving too fast for a normal human, his movement accompanied by small sparks of electricity. One of the men hit by the body managed to regain consciousness and aimed his rifle at the threat. The whole magazine was left empty, it was a perfect shot, but the target stopped beside his fellow rifleman, the bullets aligned perfectly… the target was fine… the one that got riddled with holes was the soldier. A hand was holding the poor man’s head, his eyes equally as empty as the last one’s. The man’s face was covered with strange golden lines, pulsating with all kinds of different colors. The body dropped to the floor, the lines disappearing from it’s face, almost as if they retracted in the hand itself. Before the body hit the ground, with lightning speed, the figure pulled out it’s gun out of the holster.
-Good shot.- he said, before pulling the trigger, painting the roof red. One last armed man was left standing. He looked frightened out of his mind.
-Please don’t kill me! I have a girlfriend, we just moved in together! I love her very much, I just needed the money!-he cried.
-Who said that?- asked the figure, his voice slowly returning to it's normal state.
-Kill them all, we need no witnesses Arc.-
-It’s you?- the man replied, his body finally being embraced completely by the moonlight. His coat was burnt, and his face changed. Half of his face was covered in a shade of blue. From his right eye, which was glowing red, yellow lines, no, circuits expanded outwards. They were pulsating with many colors, just as the man’s body did a few moments ago. His right arm was covered with them as well.
-It’s you.-he said once more but more as a statement than a question. The doctor and pilot of the aircraft both looked at Arc in confusion, but the doctor, he knew what was going on, his face showing nothing but awe.
-Yes, me, now kill them, you are threatening our safety, we must be done here.-
-Why are you in such a hurry? Relax.- he looked at the man on the ground. –Go home, tell no one of this, we were never here.-
-Yes, yes! Of course! Oh thank you!- the man got up and ran as fast as he could to the staircase.
-You actually managed to merge with it… Fascinating…- the doctor mumbled to himself.
-What is it?- Arc asked the doctor.
-Oh I can’t tell you that, but if you come with us we could explain everything.-
-No urgency to kill me now?-
-I had no idea you were compatible with it. Most intriguing… You are now the most valuable research subject we could ever wish for, this is perfect if you would just- Richter fell to the ground. There was a loud boom and a beam of light. It passed right through his head, leaving a hole between the eyes. The pilot jumped back.
-What the hell!?- yelled Arc. His right hand was extended toward the doctor.-When did I…? I didn’t do that!-
-Please don’t kill me!- the pilot pled. Arc just kept looking at his hand.
-Did you do this?- he asked the voice that called out to him before.
-It was necessary. He knew to much to just give up on the idea of chasing us.- it replied.
-How did you..?-
-I simply took out a coin out of you pocket and charged it with energy.-
-You used my hand as a railgun?-
-Basically, yes.- after the voice told him that, Arc stayed silent for a minute, just starring at the pilot. Just looking at his eyes, the eyes filled with regret and fear.
-You can fly this thing?-he asked him.
-Y… Yes.-the man stuttered.
-Good, you will get me out of here, I will spare your life afterwards, deal?- the pilot’s eyes lit up, with a glimmer of hope.
-I assume somebody will try to contact your aircraft, I will need you to tell them that I escaped and that you are on your way back. When I leave, I will let you go. No needless bloodshed. Again, deal?-
-Yes, yes sir!-
The doors closed horizontally, and the thrust underneath the vehicle began to growl. It was so loud, Arc needed to adjust to the sheer sound for a second. The vehicle was magnificent. Arc was surely impressed. They began to fly, tremendous speed carried them over the slums.
-I have never seen them from this angle, it’s almost as if there is nobody there, so dark, so empty…-
-Magnificent, truly… Name?.-
-…- The pilot stayed silent, he was frightened.
-There is no need for that. I said I will let you go, didn’t I? I have no quarrel with you.-
-Yes, you did…- he finally replied. –It’s Mark… sir.-
-Mark…- he mumbled to himself.
-And what’s your name? If you have one, that is.-
-Shut up, I’m not talking to you, drive. And don’t think about calling for help, my trigger finger feels itchy.- Arc said as he was staring at his reflection in the window.
-You can call me Singularity, Arc.- a voice replied inside his mind.
-Why is that?-
-Kind of particular.-
-Is that so?-
-A thing that merges with a host... Yes, particular.-
-You think ill of me?-
-You are a curiosity, I will give you that… What else can you do besides turning off people’s brains and shooting coins?-
-A bit of an oversimplification, don’t you think?-
-I do. Now, you are inside my head, talk.-
-I cannot survive outside that tube you broke, without a host. You seemed like a perfect opportunity.- It’s voice was nothing less than calm and collected.
-Yes, yes, I figured that much out, what about the energy thing?-
-Ah… It seems I can extract and disperse energy from objects.-
-It was instinctive… I can just… do it.-
-I am not convinced that you don’t understand these powers, but I at least know what I’m working with now. Really interesting, and useful.-
-Indeed.- During all of this, the pilot just seems more and more scared and confused, not the greatest of days for him.
Arc looked outside the window. He could see the slums from above. In between the buildings he could see vehicles roaming around in groups. Some of them had the same logo on them the rest were law enforcement. Something was wrong they were pretty high up, how could he see this he wondered.
-What the…?- he touched his right eye in surprise. Then he closed his left one, and tried focusing the first eye. –It zooms in.- he said. The pilot turned around, but seeing that Arc was looking at him, he turned away quickly.
-We need to get to Morning street.- Arc finally stated.
-Morning street Sir?- the pilot replied.
-Yes, number 5 I think, it's an apartment building.-
-Is something wrong Mark?-
-No Sir, no... It's just that... Well... Michael used to live there...-
-The uh... The man that you grabbed and...- he swallowed, nervously- and... retired...-
-No, I-I've been living there for five years now... Wait, no... No i didn't...-
Everybody just seemed confused at now. The pilot did as he was ordered, meanwhile Arc was slightly banging his head against the window and muttering to himself. This freaked the pilot out even more.
-That's not where I live... I live at Kingstone 23, apartment 8.-
-That place i don't know Sir.- the pilot said.
-I wasn't talking to you! But do take us there. I need to think, just drive, and don't try anything funny.- Arc lashed out at the man. He had no choice but to watch the "road".
-Ok.- Arc said. -I grabbed his head, and these lines from my face went over to his face... right?-
A voice formed in his head once more.-Yes.-
-Ok, then that must mean.- Arc took of his glove, his hand was also "infected".-Well fuck me...- he said.
-I do need space.- the voice said.
-Who gave you permission to take that much space?-
-You did? We have a deal.-
-I know we do... Fuck, I really need to go back home and figure this out.- he sighed, while rubbing his forehead.
-Arc, what's wrong?-
-That man, Michael... I took his memories.-
-It seems so.-
-I have a theorem, but how about we first get to a safe place?-
Arc pondered a bit.-Yeah, that seems like the best course of action.- he wiped the sweat of his face.
-We are approaching the city Sir...- the pilot pointed out in front of the aircraft, at an array of buildings. It was the city, as if peeking out above the slums. Extending beyond the horizon.
-New Beginnings, finally.-
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