Awakenings

Discussion in 'Original Works' started by Delarmgo, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Chapter 1

    What drives people's dreams? What kind of demented subconscious would position itself in a situation where escape is impossible and where its doom is inevitable? Where the escape is a ladder, always winding up, always to the top, black and oily with the blood of past selves, other people in other dreams that didn't make it to the top, that didn't make it to salvation. You always find yourself in one such ladder, a grotesque imagining of your own inner thoughts, come to life in the nightmares that haunt your sleep.
    You find yourself there and you know, without even looking down, to the black pits from where the ladder sprawled, that a monster is coming up, an abomination of lost hopes unachieved dreams and past mistakes, kept alive in the deepest recesses of your psyche, alive and forgotten.
    Until you dream that is.

    You always run, climbing the ladder, your eyes an amalgam of tears and fear, your ears refusing to believe the inhumane, terrible noises the beast makes as it climbs along with you, trying to get to you, trying to devour you, to crush and pound you, to feast on your bones and scatter your life's juice to the floor along with that of those that came before you, your other mistakes, your other selves.

    Most perish on the way to the top. Some are not so fortunate. My therapist used to say, that nightmares are a cathartic of the soul, a way for the subconscious to let off steam and re-boot itself. That's why there's no release in nightmares. That's why you have to suffer in them. That's why you have to lose hope as you get to the top and find no way out, a few meters above the ground or a few million.
    Differs from man to man.
    It's the fall that comes after that brings you peace. It's the experience of death that delivers you. Either by the beast that you hide deep inside or by the fall to the rocks below. You experience the hopelessness and the inevitability of death in your sleep in order to come to terms with it, in order to function in your waking hours. You have to die.

    Every human alive or dead has at some point in their lives experienced such a nightmare. Every human in their lives have at least once felt their flesh rendered by the beast or their bones crushed by the impact to the ground and woke up in their beds, hearts racing, sweat dripping from every pore in their bodies. Every man but me.

    It's what baffled my therapist the most. I too have found myself on that ladder, i too have reached the top of the structure in which it resides. And i too have jumped off of it, searching for my release, for my deliverance.
    Only i never fall.
    Instead of plummeting to the ground, i find myself lifted up, towards the black swirling fog that you'd hate to call a sky. Up and up till the structure that i tried to fall from is but a blur on the ground and the howls of the beast that i escaped from are nothing more than whispers in the currents of the wind that lie above.
    Up and up until there is no air anymore, just quiet and stillness as the planet that housed my soul is reduced in size, small enough to rest within my palm, big enough to still cause me horror.
    I remember trying to breathe but there being no oxygen to fill my lungs, and i feel thankful for that. Because i wanted to be devoured by the beast, i wanted to fall off the ladder, i wanted to be human, to live like one and die like one. And now i was leaving everything behind. My family, my friends, my life.
    I wanted to suffocate. But i never do. Space embraces me and i feel warm in the absence of heat. I feel air in the absence of atmosphere. I feel fear in the absence of reason.
    After a while i go past the moon, right next to that flag someone raised as a tribute to some nation's vanity and then the moon's gone too.

    I always accelerate at that point, going past planets that i know nothing of, until they become star systems, nebulae, galaxies. And then...nothing. I know instinctively i have reached the end of the road, where the map ends, where in not so ancient times people would put a "here there be monsters" sign.
    A fish looking at the world outside its bowl.

    But there is no world outside the fish's bowl. Just me. Or something that looks a lot like me. I can always see him smile gesturing me forward and i....i always start to take a step towards him when i realize i am back in control of my self. I always hesitate. I know that if i join him i'll lose myself, that i will never wake up. Still i yearn to go to him, to break the bowl and escape and *know* why i'm different, why i have to suffer, why the nightmares follow me when i'm awake. But at what cost?
    My self outside the bowl catches that hint of hesitation. I start to back away. The smile on his face vanishes and he looks at me, oh dear merciful god, he looks at me and i see the fire in his eyes, eyes so foreign in that young face, betraying an intelligence that witnessed the birth of time. "Death is for humans, Cor. And you are no human. One day you must traverse the threshold. One day you must remember."
    The same words each time, thundering between my eardrums bleeding my sanity almost to the point of no return. I wake up on the chair in my study, more tired than when sleep stole me away. I am breathing heavily and sweating and trying to push his words from my mind. After a while my sight clears up and i wipe the tears from my face. And the first thing i always do is check my watch.
    The time is 17:12 of the 21st of December 2013.

    This is the day that i die.





    ----just a small project. I was in the process of writing another story when this idea popped in mind. Since i really don't have the time to write two at the same time, i figured i'd write this one here wherever i got the time and see where it goes from there.
     
  2. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    My first sentient thought was "I exist. I am." I was 4 months old. In my mother's womb.
    I learned how to speak my parents' language by listening to them talk to each other and to the unborn baby that was me. They often pondered what my name would be, if i was a girl or a boy and how great a soccer player, pianist, mathematician i would become. When they found out i was to be a boy, they decided my name would be Cornelius after my grandfather on my mother's side, a man who had died long before i was born. I never met the man in his life but i did meet him in mine.
    I remember my father not being very happy with that choice of name. He was afraid it was a little bit too showy, but he found himself convinced, being the historian that he was, when my mother mentioned another one carrying that name, a historian as well, though that one lived 2000 years ago and carried two other names as well as Cornelius. I believe his accurate name was Tacitus. After i was born his name never came up in any of our family conversations.

    I did not know that i was different back then. The only taste of the world outside that i got, was through my parents' talks to each other, through the love that was dripping from their every word. I remember i was happy in those days. I miss them.

    I was born on the 31st July 1981. There was a total solar eclipse on that day. My mother was terrified that it'd somehow affect the birth, that the sudden loss of light would somehow interfere with the hospital's electricity and cut its power, that some lunatic will decide it's the end days and do something stupid, like fanatics are sure to do. My father was laughing, telling her that maybe the sun was hiding because i was being born, that maybe they were ready to give birth to a monster.
    I heard my first swear when my mother responded to his teasing. He stopped when the doctors told him not to aggravate her but now, so many years later, i find myself that maybe he was right.

    I was in pain. Try squeezing yourself through that gap between a woman's legs while your lungs are on fire trying to catch that first breath and the light, damn that light!, came in like a tidal wave, stealing from you your sight, your senses, your self. Nothing worse than being blind in the sun. In the darkness there is a chance that the monsters won't see you.
    The light leaves nothing hidden.

    "He's not crying." my mother said when they let me in her arms. The doctor said that it was not usual but it happened sometimes. The truth is that i was too focused in trying to make my vocal cords work. It was the first time using them and i wanted to greet them properly. I loved them because they loved me, because their voices were all i heard in the darkness of her belly. I wanted to tell them i loved them back.
    It was then i saw my mother's eyes, the anxiety in them and the hope. She wanted me to cry. She wanted me to burst into tears because that was what was expected of me. They were not waiting for me to speak, greet or anything. Babies cry. I did not. Instead i was about to say "Greetings mother, nice to finally meet you" when it hit me.
    I was different. I was in a hospital room, all around me were people in white robes and i could faintly hear the cries of other newborns in the rooms adjacent to mine.
    I was supposed to be taught how to talk, how to walk how to behave. Instead i taught myself. And if i let them know that then it wouldn't be love in their voices or adoration in their eyes. It would be something else, something i haven't yet experienced. A new feeling bubbled up inside and it was despair. And i finally did what my mother wanted me to do.
    "Oh, there he goes. Took him some time." the doctor said as he took me away from my mother. "We'll get him cleaned and bring him back later. He'll have to stay in a capsule for the night, just as a precaution, but from his cry, i'd say his lungs are quite good."

    That day that was like night, i had my very first nightmare. And when i woke up, after they had taken me to my parents again i also got to meet my grandparents. Lydia and Cornelius. Lydia came to hate me before she died. Cornelius as i mentioned, was dead a long time ago.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  3. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    My hand moves to rub my eyes. Haven't slept for three days now. One time i managed 6 days. Woke up in the hospital after that. Doctors told me i had lost consciousness in the elevator in my apartment complex. One of my neighbors found me and called for an ambulance. He was new in the building so he never cared for the rumors about me, or he hadn't heard them before. People thought i was an Ajin, that i could see into what lay beyond. That rumor went so out of control that the GAIB decided to check up on me. They decided, after a series of excruciating tests that i do not hold sufficient concentration of t-particles to be a risk to anyone but myself.
    They still did tests on me for two weeks after that first diagnosis. What they failed to mention in their report was that i had no t-particle concentration in me whatsoever. Which, considering that every human on this planet has some to a degree, made me a very curious specimen. But not enough so that they continue to spend funds on me. I was almost hoping they'd find something, that they'd either lock me up if they found me too powerful, or that maybe they'd find me just the right kind of useful and turn me in to my country's Ajin unit. Perseus i believe it is called. Haven't been up to what's news lately.

    The rubbing stops and i try to open my eyes. It takes some time before they adjust to the dimness in my room. I reach for the vodka nearby. I decide against using a glass since i used the one in front of me for an asthray when my asthray was full beyond its normal capacity. And considering i'm me, i doubt there'd be any clean glasses in the kitchen. So i down two full gulps of the thing and then rubbed my eyes some more.

    When i feel confident that i'd be able to stand without wavering and meeting the floor, face first, i get up. I light a smoke, take a real deep puff and then i down another mouthful of vodka before i exhale the fume. I check the watch again. It's 17:28. The sun has set already, only a trace of a once bright halo crowning mount Hemitus. I know it'll happen sometime before midnight and after 22:00. So i have time enough to get there before it happens. Time enought to finish the bottle.
    My feet carry me to the livingroom. I sit myself down in front of the TV and turn it on. I don't really watch nor listen. Just the voices that fill the room, that invade my privacy, unwelcomed guests that somehow manage to lessen the loneliness that has been plaguing my life since as long as i remember. Which is my whole life. Not that i mean that i'm ever truly alone. It is the physical presence of a person that i miss, so in that respect, the ghosts that haunt me do not count.
    Of my family only my father still lives. He used to be a historian, did i mention that? He was so proud when i was still a baby and he always came and found me playing with the books from his library. He was certain that i'd be someone great when i'd grow up since i seemed to be so interested in those books. I don't think he'd be that proud or loving if he actually knew that i wasn't playing with them at all.
    I think the first one to find out that there was something wrong with me was my mother. She spent the longest time with me and i guess being a mother somehow made you more aware of things that were wrong in your baby. I think it was my eyes. Most of the time i managed to hide the fact that i was different. I had to learn to behave like a baby and at first it was awkward. Cry when you're hungry, smile when they made funny faces, remember to wake up at random times in the night.
    That last part wasn't hard since the nightmares were vivid those days, but as time went by, they subsided. But whatever i did, i think those first days until i learned how to be a baby were what alerted my mother the most.
    In the first few months she avoided looking at me directly. There were times when i woke up in the middle of the night and found her in the darkness, looking at me, observing me for any trace of weird behavior, trying to find a readon for why she felt so scared of me. And that fear also made her feel guilty towards her baby son.
    She became easily frustrated and her night wakes drove her to exhaustion. My father noticed those changes of course. He tried to help her, talked to a few doctors and visited some along with her. Postpartum depression syndrome they called it. A pretty frequent thing amongst new mothers. They gave her some pills, told her to get some rest and visit a therapist whenever she felt like the symptoms were coming back. But she knew deep down. That however many drugs she took, however doctors she went to, the problem was the child and not the parent.
    It was Tuesday morning. My father had just left for the University when she came to me holding that knife. I was sitting in my chair in the kitchen waiting for her to come feed me. She took the knife from the rack and started cutting the fruit that would make my breakfast after some processing in the blender. After a while she stopped peeling and just stared at the fruit. I stared with her.At her.
    The hair on the back of her neck stood attention and i knew that she could feel me observing her. She took a deep breath and turned around slowly. Her eyes rested on mine. She clutched the knife so hard, her fingers went white from the pressure.
    "What are you?" she said and immediatelly started laughing at her own question. She took a step forward. I kept my eyes on the blade.
    "You can feel threatened, can't you?" she asked again, laughter dissipating from her voice.
    The knife moved ever so close and my heart raced with each inch that brought it closer to me. My eyes darted around the room. Where was my father, my grandma? I turned to watch her, my face pleading her not to take my life. The blade touched my face. And then i spoke and time stopped for both of us.
    "Why mom?"
    For a long moment she stood there stunned, her worst fears come true. Then she started screaming so loud and with so much agonizing madness in it that it froze the blood in my veins.
    And then she moved the blade to her neck and drove a big red line from ear to ear.
    She's still with me after all those years. Never left my side, same as my grandfather and later, my grandmother. She's still afraid of me. And she still can't look me in the eyes.

    19:54. Time to go. I get up, pocket my car keys and my smokes, down the last gulp of Vodka and exit my house. I leave the doors open. There's not much in the house but whatever is there, i won't be using it after today. Might as well be taken by someone else.
    I don't care anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  4. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    11 years ago.

    My grandmother, Lydia, was driving her car on her way to the airport when the Event took place. I was returning home from Lesvos where i attended college and that day happened to be the day the entire world lost its senses. Even today they don't know what triggered it, how it happened, who was responsible. But it did happen and the resulting explosion over the nebraska desert left a crater that penetrated the earth's crust, an open wound on a planet that never fully recovered.
    No one actually witnessed the explosion. Right before the desert was split into two, every sentient being on the planet, from an ant to a human to a whale, fainted. A lot of people died that day, planes crashed, trains derailed, cars flipped over.
    When the world woke up again, it was on fire. I don't remember much from that day. I lost consciousness like everyone else and it was the first peaceful sleep i had in my life. No dreams, no nightmares, just the loss of any coherent thought. When i and the rest of the passengers and crew of the flight woke up, we were flying somewhere over the adriatic, having missed our intended destination by a few thousand miles.
    We landed in Firenze instead of Athens, our fuel supply running out.
    Those first few days were chaos. My flight was lucky that it didn't crash, so many more shared a different fate. I tried to contact my grandmother. We weren't on good terms since mother cut her own throat but she was still family. I tried a few times and then stopped trying when i saw her sitting down next to my mother's and grandfather's ghost. They always looked at me through hollow eyes but i could sense the accusation behind it and the hate that was evident on their faces.
    They never talked, just stared, waiting in the gloom, while the dead danced their macabre dance in the stream of souls above us.
    After those days the world changed. Soon the explosion over Nebraska came to be known as the Event as its repercussions where more than just the wound on the Earth's surface.
    People started acting weird, certain people, they developed powers different to one another. Some could control flame, others could move objects with their minds...some could bring back the dead in spirit form.

    One thing they all shared in common was that when their powers manifested, the energy that drove them surged outwards, uncontrolled and unbound. These "awakenings" happened quite often those first months and they differed in range and mass according to each awakened individual's concentrated t-particles. Of course in the beginning they weren't even aware what those particles were, it took years of study to even discover and categorize them.
    The general conscensus was that the Event somehow changed the genetic structure of every living organism on Earth. Everyone had t-particles running around in their brain's synapses. It was the amount of said particles that would eventually cause someone to awaken to his power.
    Those individuals were few and far in between. But theirs was a godlike power and soon every government in the world hoarded them, declared them non-people, and started using them as weapons or, worse, as research material. They were later called Ajin, the "lambs of God", the super-soldiers of the new era of mankind. The next step in the evolutionary ladder.
    The new nuclear detterent.
    GAIB was established later on in order to ensure that they can identify possible Ajin on time, before their awakening, thus reducing the cost in both human and economical loss. They also worked to de-criminalize them, as most people around the globe somehow blamed them for whatever was the trigger that caused those catastrophic days to happen. Most Ajin now that have gained a measure of control over their own strengths are viewed as the new rock-stars of our age.
    I remember that for a time, i thought that maybe i was an Ajin too. There was no other explanation for whatever i am, but then, if you put two and two together, my condition predated the Event. And i don't think any Ajin out there can actually glimpse the future like i can...but then again if there were any prescient Ajin, i don't think they'd let them see the light of day much.

    It's cold outside but the vodka in my blood stream manages to keep me warm enough until i put my back on the driver's seat and the key in the ingnition. It's an old car, a beatle that i managed to save from a car alley before they turn it to scrap. A piece of metal on wheels but i liked it and though it's not what could pass as a car these days, it's heater still works and the engine only takes a couple of times to fire up.
    I use the windshield wipers to clear the glass from any crystallized water on it and take the first few hesitant rolls on the road. After a while the engine starts to hum fiercer and fiercer and i'm on my way.
    Gonna take me one and a half hours to get there. My destination is a tunnel atop the mid peloponisian mountains. She'll wait there. Our first and last meeting with the girl i had been seeing in my dreams my entire life.
    I light a smoke.
    And decide to stop along the way for another bottle of Vodka.


    --------this is kinda very relaxing. Usually when i write something, anything, i come back and rearrange it, rewrite it in parts then rewrite the parts i just rewrote, then rewrite them some more. With this, i just don't care. Every line written is as my imagination decided for me to write it down. I won't go back and fix things, so if there's any inconcistency, pm it to me. For the most part i'm not gonna change anything and see where it goes from there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  5. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Chapter 2


    Dale took a minute while the elevator descended to fix his tie. There was a sandstorm approaching over the breach and those things could be deadly to any kind of clothing -or flesh for that matter-, especially so if the clothing cost what would take the average man a year to gather the funds to buy the damned thing. He never found out why GAIB establishments, this particular even more, needed to be so well "hidden" from the eyes of the rest of the world. Which idiot decided to build this installation so close to the breach left behind by the Event, 11 years ago, was beyond him.
    The place was quaranteened of course but there were always people outside its walls, walls that extended all around the Nebraska desert, sealing the installation and the breach within. Only way in was through the northern gate, or of course by aerial transportation, which is the way he always got in. Wouldn't do for the people outside to catch a photo with him in it. After all he wasn't supposed to exist.
    But then again so did this installation and everyone in the world knew it existed. It had to.

    It was that morning that he got the call to, as Dr. Reinard put it through one of his proxies, get his ass over there. Dr. Reinard was not known for being able to control his impatience but something in his voice spoke of something else than mere anxiety. He was extatic and when physisists focusing on t-particle research were this happy, it was never a good thing. Even more so if said scientist was part of the team that brought about the Event itself.
    Dale used to be a field agent for the FBI, specialized in tracking down information that could lead to the aprehension of some very bad people. Never went into a firefight in his life but he had a knack for peeking into a vast torrent of superficial intelligence and somehow managing to pick up those scraps of info that always led to his targets. That uncanny ability of his was what catapulted his carreer through the ranks of the bureau and made the NSA and later the newly found GAIB to take notice of him.
    Most of the "subjects" that called installation 8 their home were put in there by him.
    These people were not criminals, so the word "subject" might be a bit too harsh on them, not by a longshot. They were familymen, someone's daughter, someone's husband, people that in an older world, could be easily found around a dinner table, telling jokes and discussing politics or sports.
    The Event changed all that and those simple people had overnight become some of Earth's most powerful individuals. Oh, they couldn't breathe fire or choke a man by pointing their fingers at them. Those were the Ajin that the world knew of, the flashy little soldiers that kids aspired to become. The people at this installation were the real threat, though they did nothing that could be perceived as threatening but be powerful.
    Theirs was a different strain of t-particles.
    "January 19th 2014. Explosion. Trigger:Gas leak. Place: Paris." he heard them say as he entered Operations.
    "And?", Dr.Reinard responded in a dull manner. Dale guessed that whatever the reason was that he called him here, it was not about some dead frenchmen in a freak accident.
    "Paris metro. Station:Basilique de Saint-Denis. Dead:34. Wounded: 72." they said again. It was a terrible thing to hear them all talk in unison, so many minds fused into one. Their space took up the middle of the huge oval room, a cylindrical tube that expanded to the top, riddled with capsules in which they resided for as long as this session lasted. Dale found himself hoping, Clarisse was not among this particular batch. After every session she would get easily frustrated over the simplest things and he hated to see her so out of her usual self.
    "Bah, this is pointless. I want them to scan closer to our time. I need confirmation on today's events!" his voice creaked with impatience.
    "Last time i checked, the "G" in GAIB meant "global", Herr Doctor.", Dale said as he approached the man.
    "Your little attempt at sarcasm has failed to impress me, my dear headhunter." the doctor responded. "I have already contacted the French government. They send their thanks and will dispatch a unit to deal with it in due time, as i've been told. This is not what i wanted to talk to you about"
    "I have gathered as much", Dale said as he moved closer to that giant of a man. Dr.Reinard was, in shortage of a better word, big. He was not overweight, not really, except maybe for a few more pounds of fat around the waist that only worked to further enrich the man's image as a giant. He was tall and oddly muscular in places, like he worked out some parts of his body and left others unscathed. He could be considered handsome in his younger days, but at 62 his age had already started to show and, Dale suspected, his guilt over the Event had too taken its toll, judging by the numerous wrinkles around his eyes and down his cheeks.
    He wasn't bad to be around with, Dale concluded after his first couple meetings with the man. But he wasn't exactly good conversation material, unless you had a Ph.D in Physics or Biology.
    At least he took good care of the "subjects" and that meant Clarisse too.
    "So, what's the problem."Dale asked.
    Reinard took a moment, to collect his thoughts Dale gathered, and then motioned him towards his office, overlooking Operations. Whatever it was that he wanted to talk to him about, it needed privacy.
    They got in and Reinard closed the door behind them.
    "This was taken earlier today." he said as he handed Dale the report.

    December 21st 2013. Today.

    "Well i guess our guys are losing their touch. They "saw" an event the same day it is supposed to happen?"
    "Just shut up and read, Dale."

    Explosion. Trigger:car crash. Place:Greece.Tunnel. Nothing extraordinary so far. Dale continued reading.
    Dead:12 Wounded:24

    "I don't get it."
    "This was a "forecast" our subjects had one week ago. And this", he said as he gave Dale another report, "is a forecast they had today. On the same event."

    Dale took the report and skimmed through it. When he reached the "dead" topic, it had changed to "1".
    "And?How is that weird? Considering that the Greek government has been notified of..."
    "That's just it. They haven't been notified."
    "The what?"
    "Why would we notify them?They're not a member of GAIB. They have on numerous occasions denied to sign the Brussels treaty on Ajin related events. We never notify them."

    Dale found himself staring at Reinard."Then how? An Ajin with precognition?"
    "If it is that, we have no jurisdiction on him, since Greece is off limits to our agents. But the thing is, i'm reading no Thule particle concentration in that area great enough for that to be a possible reason."
    Dale began to understand where the doctor was going with this.
    "I think we found it Dale."
    And Dale found his perfect life slipping beneath his feet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  6. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    "Ring around the rosie..." the kids went on in the mass area. Theo couldn't hear them, he had learnt to filter the noise coming from their direction, was one of the first things he managed to achieve during his "incarceration" in the village. The ones who had captured him after his "awakening" were trying to colour this place as a safe haven for people like him and though it was true it is safe, it lacked certain luxuries that most people up on the surface took for granted. Like sound isolation between rooms for example.
    "...a pocket full of posies, Ashes ashes we all fall down, Ashes ashes we all fall down." the song kept on. Theo found himself wondering if the kids knew that song was about the bubonic plague.
    "They know" said Clarisse as she moved over to his table in the dinner, carrying a disk with some food on, nothing much, just some fruit and a glass of milk. Theo grimaced at Clarisse's rather rude invasion of his thoughts, but the two of them and the others spent enough time inside the Nexus to not actually need to speak in order to understand one another. The others were possibly listening in their conversation right now and who could blame them? They all effed up today when they finally let a single piece of information escape them, information that could prove deadly in the wrong hands. For everyone.
    The kids knew that, or rather they may have felt it. And their anxiety passed on into their play-time.
    Theo though, thought that the bubonic plague would be a rather pleasant alternative to what was coming.
    "It's the DR-2. I think he made it more potent. More intrusive. We barely managed to disclose the time of..."Clarisse was cut off by Theo."Not the time, not the place, dear." Walls have ears, Theo knew and this place, this "village" had more ears than walls to begin with. He closed his eyes. Then he filtered the sound all around him until there was only the slight buzzing of the light-bulbs overhead. He focused on the buzz and he let his mind race around it.
    Inside his eyelids, his irises trembled with the effort it took to "see" forward without the use of DR-2. His face became a grimace of pain and a single drop of blood ran down his nose and across his mouth. Metallic taste. Salty. He opened his eyes.
    "He'll send Dale."
    Now it was Clarisse's turn to grimace.
    "He won't know what he's getting into." she whispered.
    "Do we?", Theo responded then continued,"We need to stall him. Things must play out the way they're supposed to, dear, or...well there's not going to be an "or" now, is there?", he took a moment to wipe the blood from his face."We join the Nexus, today. See what help we can be of our "friend" overseas." he said and then took a pear from Clarisse's disk and started peeling it.

    Clarisse left the tray with Theo. She wasn't hungry to begin with, only brought the tray along to evade any suspicion from the people that were always watching their every move. She didn't need to tell the others about the meeting that was just arranged for that night. Just like the children, they'd know, they'd feel the call.
    As did she the first time that Theo broke through to the Vault and established the nexus there, a place where they could meet, away from spying eyes and curious ears. Clarisse still didn't know how he managed to create that place amongst the turbulence and sheer pressure that the Vault produced.
    A lesser mind would be crushed in seconds, but their minds did not fall under that category. They could withstand the power stored in the Vault but even they, for all their power and all their mental strength could not hold out for long, not for more than 10 minutes, tops. Not many people knew of the Vault, of its significance to this new status quo, of its role in the Event, or its link to the Ajin.
    Clarisse doubted anyone knew how it might have come to exist, outside this world, away from human perceptions, hidden, or lost.
    She had overheard Dr.Reinard once tell Dale that it existed long before mankind came to be and it will keep excisting long after it perishes. One thing she was certain of was that the Vault was the source of their powers, the deposit from where each Ajin on this planet drew their energy, molded it in their minds and unleashed it in one form or another.
    And it was destabilizing, it's contents spilling through into her world. Because of Reinard. Because of his Echelon group. Because of greedy, small-minded people who thought they were gods.
    "Gods have no place walking among humans." she whispered as she entered her room. Dale would be there soon and she longed to see him again. Only bright spot that day was him, though it was him that put her in there. But then again she allowed him to take her and it's not as if she couldn't leave whenever she wanted to. Who could stop her?
    "Ashes ashes we all fall down." the kid's song replayed in her mind.
    Yes, the kids knew. They knew too well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  7. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Dale left the office in a hurry. He had to be in Greece in less than 10 hours, which meant a military jet, no stop overs and a good deal of luck in getting to that tunnel before whatever was to happen there took place. Reinard knew that even though time was everything at this point, his favourite headhunter would find a couple of seconds to go meet his albino lovebird.
    He could understand what kind of attraction pulled Dale to Clarisse. Lithe form, almost aerial, like a fairy with plucked wings, long hair that almost touched silver in hue, skin like milk and a face that only a halo would complete. Her condition only worked to make her more desirable. The only problem where her eyes. Reinard wondered what kind of colour they were before her awakening, probably scarlet or purple, but, he guessed, a combination of her forced awakening, Dr-1, and the drugs that she took for her condition, turned them into a rather bright tint of orange.
    Reinard found himself wanting to look away each time those set of eyes stared into his own. It made him feel like prey.
    He connected his terminal to the security one, two floors down and opened up the application that allowed him to spy on his "subjects" through the security cameras.
    He caught sight of Dale going into Clarisse's room. Theo was in the diner portion of the mass area. Anna and Greer were helped out of their amniotic fluid filled capsules, their session over for the day. The rest were scattered, some in their rooms, others taking care of the children and some in the recreation area.
    His small zoo of superpowered people. Reinard wondered how long it'd take before they were on to him, before they understood what it was he was trying to accomplish. All who might have known for sure, were long dead. The "subjects" had some idea of course and that was pricesely the reason why he chose to stay in this particular installation, where all the precognitive power of the Ajin was stored. Control the flow of information and by the time his plan came to fruition it'd be too late for his employers to do anything about it.
    But it was still too early for celebration. He had made that mistake 11 years ago, in another installation ravaged by the explosion that caused and was cause by the Event. People around the globe thought it was a freak accident, a natural phenomenon that caused the world to become what it is today. Reinard knew better.
    It was greed.
    They had named his group of scientists "Echelon" and their goal was the research and attempt to tap into a new source of power that was found almost 19 years ago. Back then they didn't know what they were getting themselves into, but the sheer amount of funds the U.S. government had poured into the project made it worthwhile for a gold-driven enthusiast like Reinard.
    He stil remembered how dumbfounded he was when Dr.Elisabeth Ward, Echelon's lead scientist, told him that this new power source was not part of their own universe. Parallel realities she said. A pocket existing outside our perceptions, but as vast in extent as a galaxy and filled with enough energy to power-up mankind for the rest of eternity.
    The problem was opening a rift to that other side. And finding a way to contain its contents on ours. The Russians and the Chinese were onto that particular discovery as well, with teams of their own, trying to find a way to exploit what could be the deciding factor in revealing the world's next leading nation.
    They were pressured by time and, considering their installations were as secretive as Echelon's, the absence of information on how well they were doing only served to pressure them more.
    And so, eleven years ago, they made a mistake. Reinard made a mistake. It cost the lives of most Echelon's scientists. It brought forth the Event. The time after it. And the Ajin.
    But no one was left alive to point fingers. Reinard made sure of that.
    He picked up the phone. A voice came to greet him on the other end. "Yes, Dr.Reinard?".
    "Mr. Graydon is taking too long, he should already have been on his way to the airstrip. Please remind him that he has a job to do."he said and hang up.
    If what he sought was indeed hiding in Greece, it would create some problems. Athens wasn't very cooperative in any Ajin related topic, so the only way would be to capture him...or her...before it became one. Dale was perfect for this job. His naturally bright disposition served to make people flock to his radiant personality, and the fact that he believed what he was doing was both for the good of the Ajin and the world in general, gave him faith in the understanding that he was in the right. If he knew why this facility was created, what its purpose is, Reinard was sure that'd break the man, or worse, turn him into an enemy.
    Then again, he held Clarisse, and that alone would ensure Dale's continued servitude. For the moment he'd play the role of the good doctor. And wait for events to unfold.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  8. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Chapter 3

    I brought the car to a stop, at a rest area, 50 meters away from the tunnel. Didn't find any alcohol on the way but it's just as good. Better have a clear head for what i have to do. I only have one chance to do it. The smoke between my fingers starts producing a smell of purnt plastic and paper. It assaults my nostrils and i notice it has already burnt out, right down to its filter. Not a single puff out of that one. I just lit it and forgot i had. Shame.
    I lower the window of my car. Takes a couple of tries at first, the winch was broken before i even bought the thing and it needed some tweaking to lock in place before i could let some air in the car. And throw the damn cigarette out the window. After i do, i light another. Should have gone for rolling smoke that day. They tend to go out on their own after a while, makes it easier to....what was i talking about? What am i even doing here? Ready to give my life for a girl i've never met but in my dreams, a sour and sweet feeling that makes me crave for more, for the real thing.
    This is surreal. For a moment i get the feeling i'm still sleeping, just another dream, one i've been seeing for as long as i've been having that nightmare. It's funny if you come to think about it. The nightmare ends with the promise of continued existence at the cost of shedding my humanity. The dream speaks of love and acceptance but at the cost of my life. To die as a human. Whatever that means.
    At first i thought it was curiosity that made me want to come here. To see if it would happen the way i saw it'd happen. That i'd know then whether i'd take the step to save her or back away and watch her burn. The illusion of free will. As i sit here and wait, i know that i've already made up my mind.
    Cars fly by mine. People are racing back to Athens, back home where their families wait. Vacation for the winter started today. Most worked until noon, away from the capitol and the itch to get back keeps their feet planted on the acceleration pedal. She's going to be in one of those cars. she'll cross the tunnel when it'll happen. Another man, another woman too anxious to take care of his safety or the others around him will try to pass another car while in the tunnel. He's going to be tired after a working to the bone. He'll see the truck coming on the other side. The truck driver will see him too.
    They won't collide. The man will manage to pull back in on his own lane. The truck driver though....he'll hit the brakes. They will work but only for a moment. After that his tires will go over some frost gathered near the middle of the tunnel. No light during the day could reach so far in and thus the ice remained. It'll slip and it's cargo will tilt and then fall over, blocking the exit from the tunnel.
    The first car will manage to stop on time. The second and third will crash into it, then the fourth, then the fifth. The tunnel is on a turn so most that enter it won't see what is happening in it until it is too late.
    No one will die, not by that. They'll be wounded and scared, dazed and numb. They won't know what hit them when the truck's cargo explodes. Because the truck was trasporting propane. And the explosion will turn the tunnel into a furnace.
    Her name is Julia. I don't know where she's from or where she's going but i always try to keep her face in my head for as long as i can after i'm awake. Her hand goes through her hair and i find my self wishing it was mine. She seems happy, full of life and hopes. I try not to take notice of the ring around her finger. Someone else's girl, sharing someone else's bed. Just for today she'll be mine and mine alone. And i'll make sure she never forgets my name.
    "Well, "never" is quite the strong word, but one can only hope." i tell my fellow passengers. My grandparents are outside the car, floating around as if awaiting something. My mother is in the co-driver's seat. I turn to look at her as she turns her gaze away from me.
    "No words for the wicked today, mother?"She hates it when i call her that, as if she abhors the very idea that she gave birth to me."Worry not. I'll be joining you shortly.", i say as i hear the screeching of tires on asphalt. I close my eyes. I don't need to see what happens next. When the screeching and the booming sound of metal crashing into metal subsides, i exit my car.
    I start counting the life left in me backwards. 316 seconds left till the propane goes boom.
    292.
    I can see the crash. On the other side of the tunnel, cars are starting to back out. The truck in front of them didn't allow for
    any speed before the crash so all of them came to a stop on time. There's not going to be any casualties on that side. Either way, i don't care. What i'm here for is on my side of the tunnel.
    284.
    I reach the first car. An old lady inside. Seatbelt on. I leave her to the people starting to gather behind me.
    270.
    I manage to reach the second car. A couple inside. The driver is dazed but otherwise unhurt. I slap him till he comes around, help him out and then drag his unconscious wife out as well. He's coughing when i set his wife next to him and take a second to look at him. He understands. Whether they get out alive from this, it's his responsibility now.
    One of the cars further to the front catches fire. I find myself begging she's not in that one.
    238.
    I grab the fire extinguisher from a car's trunk that has opened from the collision. The man that was driving it is already out and is trying to help other people leave their cars. The fumes from the fire start to concentrate in the area in front of us. It's getting harder to breathe and i'm sweating like a pig despite the cold rushing in from the tunnel's entrance. I remember the man from my dream. He dies in the explosion along with most of the people in the pileup and some that stopped to help. I point to the large black letters on the truck's cargo and watch as his eyes grow larger with fear.
    "Help those in the back." i yell. I don't wait to check if he listens to my advise. It's his choice now.
    212.
    Second to last car. The one on fire. I'm losing hope. When i get closer, i see it's not the entirety of the car on fire, just the hood. I know the tank won't explode. That only happens right before the propane does. It's her car. I recognize the dancing dog doll at the rear window. I put my arm up, trying to avoid the flames burning my face and i use the fire-extinguisher on it. Just a bit, so i can reach inside and grab her.
    I can't breathe. The fumes are entering my nostrils and bring tears in my eyes. My lungs feel like they're about to burst. I empty the fire extinguisher on the hood, when i notice it. There's a puddle of diesel concentrating beneath the car. The tank is dripping its contents onto the road and a small stream has already reached the propane tank. I bought us some time with the extinguisher but i don't know how much. Better not stay around to find out.
    I burn my hand grabbing the driver's door. I ignore the pain. The door is stuck. I use my right leg to push off of the car while holding the door. After a while it gives in under the force. And there she is.
    I found her.
    147.
    I put my hand behind her and grab her waist. With the corner of my eye, i catch a glimpse of the man from before trying to get the truck driver out. I concentrate on Julia. Her eyes are open.
    "Please, my sister...", she whispers and her sight darts between the first car and me. I curse, loudly. Why should i care about her sister?
    "You care because she cares." i hear my mother whispering in my ear. She's not talking, not really. Still i hear her and i can see the pleasure in her eyes. She couldn't kill me back then, but now, all she has to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
    I lift her up and settle her down nearby, away from the fire. I turn to the man. The driver is already running towards the exit, the man behind him. I scream at him "There's another one here!Help!". He hears me. He hesitates. He comes. We move to the last car.
    86.
    We open the door. There's blood everywhere. Her head is producing most of it. The man's fingers move to her throat. "She has a pulse. Mind her head. I'll take her."
    I nod and ease her on his arms. I lean her head towards his chest and say "Now, go. It'll explode!" He starts running. I'm getting dizzy. Too much smoke. I stagger towards Julia. I lose focus. I fall.
    36.
    I open my eyes. I don't know how long till the explosion, but i'm still alive. I concentrate on getting up. The tank on Julia's car finally gives in and explodes. A shrapnel from its engine is catapulted towards me, hitting me in the left eye. It penetrates my brain and exits the rear end, leaving a gaping hole for my brain matter to soil the road. It hasn't happened yet, i realize. It happens now. I hear the roar of her tank bursting and i turn my head to the right. The shrapnel moves past me, drawing a thin red line across my cheek.
    I pick Julia up and i run.
    14.
    I'm almost there. Almost. My body aches and i'm afraid it's going to let me down again.
    8.
    I can see people through the smoke. I bleed what's left of my lungs and scream for them to get out of the way.
    3.
    I'm out of the tunnel. I'm out of...Then the explosion hits. For a moment i can only hear thunder. Then that slight noise when a frequency your ears can hear dies out. Then the wave hits me. I throw Julia to the side, away from the entrance to the tunnel. People are flying backwards. I would be laughing my ass off if i wasn't part of what was happening. Human bodies can move so comically when hit by a shock wave. I find myself wondering how i must look now.
    I hit something on my way down. I can feel bones snap by the impact. One of my arms is flailing around like a ribbon attached to me, not really a part of my body. I hit the asphalt and then ricochet back into the air. An eternity passes before i hit something again. I can't feel my right leg. I try to lift my head from wherever i landed but i have no control over it or anything else for that matter. Another man would try to check if his arm or leg are still attached. I try to look for Julia. But there's nothing i can do anymore. My eyes won't obey. My arms and legs are not my own. I am left admiring the winter night sky.
    My time ran out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  9. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Julia was on her way back to Athens when the pileup happened that Saturday night. She stayed that entire week over at Tripoli, checking the waters in the salt lakes there for any sing of corrosion. Winter cold could heighten the toxicity of the salt and the company that was responsible for collecting it and then redistributing it amongst its list of clients could very well be sued if some tummies got hurt by defective products.
    So, last Monday, he kissed Marcus goodbye and went on her merry way. Her sister, Maria, would find her there, on her return from Sparta, though her reasons for going there were entirely different compared to Julia's.
    Maria's work was situated at the Athens International Airport, which, bottom line meant no Christmas vacation for Julia's older sister. Airports tend to never sleep which meant the people working there were allowed no time off, especially during such a busy time in the year. She went to Sparta to leave the kids with their grandparents, as her ex-husband wasn't in Greece, didn't even care enough to hold them for the Holidays. The plan was for Julia to take the railway to Tripoli and then get picked up by Maria on her way back. But Julia wasn't feeling particularly well that week, or the week before that for that matter, so she had decided to take her car, which meant frequent stops along the way, and no shaking of the wagons.
    That afternoon they met each other and went for a coffee before each of them went to their own cars and started on the way back home.
    After that, Julia remembered a long road that lead to some winding turns of the freeway up the mountain. Then she could remember Marcus calling her on the phone, talking to him for a while then hanging up as she was going in the tunnel, her sister's car in a comfortable distance ahead. A distance she seemed to close too fast at some point. She could remember the sound her head made as it crashed onto the steering wheel.
    Her next memory was of him, standing over her. She had never seen another human being like him.
    His face was flawless. Even smudged from all the smoke and dripping with sweat, she could only find her heart missing a beat as his features slowly came into focus. Raven hair that seemed to flow with the cold air coming in from the tunnel entrance, almost as if they had life of their own. Face shaped like a renaissance statue, angelic to behold. And his eyes, two sad, green suns burning hotter than the flames around them.
    She felt fear. No man alive could be this perfect. And those eyes! She could feel them penetrating her skin, her flesh, staring right down into her soul.
    He put his arm around her waist and started lifting her up, away from her seat. She suddenly felt pain coming from her left leg. A fracture, maybe two. Thank god she had her seatbelt on. Her car's engine was on fire. It took the brunt of the crash with her sister's car and then the car behind her came in and completed the picture of an acordeon in flames.
    How did i survive this? she thought examining the wreck. Piles of metal such as this were put on display along roads to prevent people from driving too fast. Hah, she wouldn't hear the end of this from her sister...

    Her sister!

    She opened her mouth to speak but her ears where still ringing and she wasn't sure if what came out her mouth were words or something incomprehensible, riddled with large amounts of shock.
    The angel that came for her seemed to understand though. Maybe he could read her mind. Angels can do that, can't they?
    He put her down gently, then turned around and vanished.
    Don't...she tried to say.
    ...leave me...she pressed on, but all that she could hear was her own thoughts resounding in her mind.
    She regained consciousness sometime later. She was in someone's arms. He smelt like burnt meat, much like her father after one of his barbeque sessions where the entire family would gather up in Sparta, in the yard behind her parents' house. Back when she had no care in the world and everything made sense. She felt comfortable in those arms, protected. Only two men that made her feel this way was her father and Marcus. But her father was in Sparta and Marcus was waiting for her at home.
    So who was this man?
    She opened her eyes and she saw the angel again. And she remembered where she was.
    He was carrying her out of the darkness and into the light.
    Then the angel's gaze rested on hers. She could swear he was smiling. She smiled back at him. She tried to tell him not to leave her again, to not let go of her.
    Instead the angel did the exact opposite. She felt the tension rise in his hands. They clasped around her, squeezed her with all their might, his chest tightened and his face hardened. With a swing of his arms, she was out of his embrace, thrown away like trash, to the side, forgotten and uncared for. Then she witnessed the angel take flight surrounded by blinding light, away from her, from this place, never looking back.
    Tears welled up in her eyes and she felt thankful when darkness came to claim her.
     
  10. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Faces start coming into view as the fog lifts from me. Five faces stare down into my own, two of them stained by panic, three of them alight with satisfaction.
    "Mom?", i whisper.
    "I am not your mother.", one of the faces responds. I try to speak again but blood runs up my throat and chokes the words before they come out.
    "I may have given birth to you, but your mother, i am not." it continues just as shock starts to settle in me. She spoke!
    "Leave the boy alone, Adrianna. It's close now.", my grandfather said.
    "Is there a pulse?" i heard one of the other faces, the smudged ones say. The second face nodded. "Not for long though. His injuries are too severe."
    "Hear that, "grandson"?", Cornelius said. I didn't like the way he emphasized his relationship to me. Sarcasm dripped from every syllable."Not gonna take too long now."
    I gulped down any blood still in my mouth, making way for some air. "Is she alive?" i managed to utter after a second.
    "Who is?" the man that was taking my pulse said. I recognized him. It was the man that helped me take her sister out of her car. He survived.
    "Your little whore is alive, don't you mind now. She served her purpose, didn't she?", my mother responded. I felt the urge to put my hands around her throat and squeeze if not for the fact that she's already dead and, well, i have not enough blood pumping in me to even lift my arms, much less choke her.
    "So much hate, Cor! I really think that if you could do it again, you would kill me all over."

    I...i didn't kill you. You killed yourself....i tried to say but more blood surged up.

    "Is that how you choose to remember it? No, Cor. It was your hand around the knife as it cut open my throat. I just happened to hold it at the time."
    "He doesn't remember. After all, why would he?", Lydia said."Much like that day when the entire world fainted and i came to join you. Why would he want to remember what he did?"
    They were speaking fast, as if a chorus was singing on top of me, as if this conversation of their was premeditated, practiced and rehearsed again and again.
    "How about me, Cor?You remember how you killed me?", my grandfather spoke and the chorus stopped. They awaited a response.

    You...died long before i was even born..., i said. I was suddenly anxious, fear settling down inside. There was more, they were leading me somewhere that i didn't want to go. Suddenly, the idea of spending my afterlife on their side gave me the creeps.
    "Before you were born, Cor? You mean before you were born *this* time?"
    "He is going into spasms!Where's that f*cking ambulance!", the man said. I can feel my body twitching, dying out. Not enough blood.
    I can feel hands grabbing me. Holding me down. Another pair of hands pumping my chest, where my last breath is gathering.

    You are not...the thought gets stuck in my head.
    "Your mother?Your grandparents? Did you only work that out now?" their voices were spoken in unison now. As if one being controlled all three of them. As if they were apart and part of a whole at the same time.
    "We are losing him!" the man yelled as if speaking his mind out loud would cancel the fact i was slipping away.

    Who are you? i managed before that last drop of life exited through the multitude of wounds that decorated my body. And then, right before darkness claimed me, their voice boomed in my head like a myriad exploding suns, banishing everything from my view but the face of the one creature i feared the most, in this, and any other life. Mine.
    "We are your wake-up call."



    Across the Atlantic, a group of 6 Ajin came together within the relative safety of the Nexus. Their bodies were sleeping but their minds were connected in ways that people, ordinary ones, could not begin to comprehend. Their existence inside that fold of space within the Vault was a fragile one at best. The nexus served as a reservoir, of sorts. When they needed privacy, they could enter it by pumping out the energy stored inside. When the reservoir was empty, they had some time of their own, before the Vault's energy streams violated its confines again and filled the reservoir back up. Ten minutes at most. They didn't need more.
    "Dale has just landed in Athens.", Clarisse said.
    "Infiltrated the traffic lights downtown. His contact won't reach him on time." Greer responded passively.
    "Will that be enough?"
    "Without letting them get wind of us?Yes." said Anna.
    Clarisse was terrified. They were all terrified, though not one would admit to that. There, inside the Nexus, they could feel the absolute, infinite power that was held within the Vault. One small portion of it, enough to fill a glass of water was what escaped 11 years ago and it almost brought forth the annihilation of mankind. And now, there they were, inside a small boat, rocking against the tidal waves of an ocean of the very thing that made them who they were.
    "Reinard will try to get his hands on him, regardless of today's outcome." Theo at last spoke. "It's him we should worry about. The rest have taken their course. In due time we'll know if our choice this day was what was right. For all of us."
    "We can't be at three places at once, Theo." Greer's passive voice was starting to get on Clarisse's nerves. She started to open her mouth when she felt Theo's hand on her shoulder. "We don't have to. Our friend in Greece will take action, where we can..."
    Anne's scream cut him short.
    "It is happening. Right now!" she yelled, her face a mask of fearful awe.
    Outside the Nexus, the energy streams that gave the illusion of a world submerged in bright liquid, started swirling and connecting, colliding to one another and then dispersing like lightning in water, faster and faster till the liquid didn't seem as an ocean anymore, but a sky that was on fire. It swirled and where the lines touched one another they rippled.
    The Nexus was close to collapsing all around them but the six people in it could not take their eyes off the spectacle that was blooming all around them.
    "It's as if it is alive!", Clarisse shouted hard enough so the others could hear her over the crackling sound of energy pushed too far.
    "It is alive! Only one being ever managed to tame this beast and that man just died, Clarisse! It knows!"
    The maelstrom reached a crescendo, a point where the particles of light that made it became one.
    "We need to leave!" Greer spoke everyone's mind and Clarisse could not help but notice the passiveness in his voice dissipating. The masks were falling down. One by one they disconnected from the Nexus. One by one Clarisse watched as they reentered their bodies, until only she was left behind, observing as the walls that protected her came crashing down.
    "How can we ever hope to control this...thing?" she whispered as she let her mind drift away, moments before the roaring waves descended on her.
    She woke up to the screams of the Ajin that had taken residence in the "village". It would be a night of screams for all her kind around the globe. And it was the starting point for a period of time that would change humanity forever.


    Reece stopped trying to pump air back into the man's lungs. The ambulance sirens could be heard in the distance but it brought no comfort to the young doctor. He had failed preserving this one life, this man that was responsible for saving all of theirs that day.
    A person patted him on the shoulder. "You did what you could mate." Yes he did. All he could. From a first glance he could see the man's right leg and left arm fractured in a dozen places. By the way he shot blood with every breath, he imagined a few ribs broken, some of them puncturing the liver and the lungs. At least one of them went through the bowels considering the smell that came off the man's mouth. His head hit the asphalt with force enough to produce small cracks in the road around the place where it rested. The shock of the impact would be enough to cause TBI, maybe at least one hematoma and certainly nerve damage. It didn't matter though. Reece could see himself lifting the head and spilling the man's brain on the road even without any TB injuries. His skull was dust. And considering the way the body was laid out in front of him, he surmised quite a few inter-vertebral discs ruptured or completely fractured. A few dislocated vertebrae. Yes. The spine was f*cked.
    Reece sighed. It was a miracle he didn't die right there on the spot. Instead he lingered for a few moments and now Reece had another soul on his conscience. Even if it was beyond saving to begin with.
    The rest of the people involved in the pile-up were alive. Some of them in good shape, others a bit worse. But they'd survive. The sirens were closer now, their sound covering the screams of pain, shock and anguish of the people that were arrayed to the side of the road, away from the tunnel and any possibility of further explosions.
    He wondered what the man's name was. He'd have a drink in his memory when this was all over.
    He took his jacket off and rested it on the man's chest. Reece's hands moved to his open eyelids and with a fluid motion, he closed them shut.
    "Hope you're in a better place, mate. Whoever you are." he said as he pulled the jacket over the man's face.
    What came next would haunt his sleep till the end of his days.
    A hand clasped his arm, right below the wrist. At first he thought it came from above him, another victim trying to help him up, but when he saw the hand that grabed him came from beneath his jacket, it was terror that held him from screaming his guts out.
    "Reece." the face under the jacket whispered in a voice that couldn't...shouldn't belong to any entity allowed to walk this earth. Reece's features contorted into a mask of absolute fear. The beginnings of tears clouded his vision and his bladder gave out into his pants.
    "My name. It's Jonath. Tell him when he wakes up, Reece. Tell him his name. And no one else." The hand let go of his wrist and Reece fell down, butt first and started crawling backwards away from the body that died in his arms only moments ago. Away from the chest that was covered by his jacket, a chest that started heaving again, taking in air when all the laws of the universe that Reece knew of, declared it shouldn't.






    -------pfffft. I am really trying to stop myself from going back to the beginning and re-reading this thing. I know i'm not going to like what i see (which is the reason why i almost never finish any of my stories), because some parts i'll find cliché, others just crap and most just too showy. Going chapter by chapter was supposed to make me detached from the writing as a whole, keep my interest going and helping me just write instead of keeping me fixated on the first two chapters and then polishing,polishing,polishing until i don't like the story anymore, or i have found something better to write....but writing without any kind of notes is just damn hard. And i'm not getting any feedback either, so i'm writing blind here....Is anyone even reading this? lol
     
  11. Sirius Orion

    Sirius Orion New Member

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    Hi there. I have come to this several times and read some of it. I just came back again and tried to read all of it...your statement above is what got my attention---if you want feedback, I have some for you....

    Your own comments speak for themselves; you do not like to finish things. I know how that can be, because I was once there as a writer myself.

    But sometimes, the story isn't a story until you commit to finishing it, at all costs, no matter what. In reading your story, you have something...you are on to something...the ether-world is trying to tell us a story through you. If you just continue to let it flow, ALL OF IT, until it exhausts you and finally leaves your imagination alone, you might be surprised at what you find you have written.

    Let this "concept", this "ideal" use you until it cannot use you anymore, then, when it has exhausted itself, you can take your time and go back through it and get a "feel" for what the ideal is behind this story...then you can re-arrange it and do whatever needs to be done to it for it to become a cohesive body of fantasy...

    Some projects are just like trees, and they take years for our minds to wrap around the concepts, but in the meantime you keep watering, fertilizing and pruning. One day, this tree could bare fruit to you, you just never know...
     
  12. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Chapter 4


    "...and the two Ajin in the delegate's guard detail. They are to meet us once we cross over the Corinthian canal." Rumbart, Dale found, had somewhat of a girlish voice. It came out too clear, each syllable given its due, making it hard to focus on a specific part of anything that came out of his mouth. The markings of a true diplomat, despite the young of his contact's age. Dale, always the great judge of character, even though Clarisse never failed to remind him that self-proclaiming yourself to be one doesn't make you one, imagined the boy to be around his mid-twenties, fresh out of college and still full of aspirations, idealistic hopes and dreams of righteous superheroes. The last part came to him when he heard Rumbart speak of the Ajin. The awe and admiration in his voice spoke of a lad still believing in a cause. Whether he understood the nature of that cause or what it would do to him in the long run, was another story entirely.
    In any case, Dale found that Rumbart's little monologue as he strove to fill him in, had a soothing effect on him. And damned if he needed some respite from the total f*ck up that his mission in Athens was starting to become.
    He wasn't exactly tired as he did allow himself some sleep on the flight to Athens, though one can hardly call it sleep, more like short naps in-between turbulence and the occasional hard turn the jet made every time they crossed another nation's borders. The C-21A Learjet he was flying on was after all not GAIB property, as it still carried the designation and colors of the States, and as such, had to go through the usual flight clearance and declaration of cargo before entering any country in its flight path.
    It took two mid-air refuels for it to reach Greece without having to land. Nine hours after departure, the learjet had landed on one of the airstrips of the old Athenian International Airport. Dale would have preferred the new one as it was closer to the highway but he was confident that he still had time before the event in the tunnel took place. What he didn't count on was a traffic jam downtown Athens.

    Rumbart, -Dale had managed to miss his given name when the boy had offered it-, arrived 20 minutes after he had landed, a sore point in the beginnings of the two men's relationship, and though it was not through any fault of his own, Dale had so much frustration built up inside, that when Rumbart did arrive, he arrived in such a hail of curses that would have any other man getting back in the car and driving off the minute he got there. Either the boy had some pretty good control over his temper, or he was used to superiors running him through the gauntlet. Dale suspected the latter.
    "So do we know why there's such traffic this late at night, mr. Rumbart?", Dale asked as their car came to a halt once again, somewhere inside the maze that was Athens downtown. Dale tried hard to not make "mister Rumbart" sound as sarcastic as he wanted to make it sound. Somewhere at the back of his head he understood that this was none of Rumbart's fault, and he had begun regretting his previous outburst when the two first met, but it was a bit too soon to make any amends. Not when he was in such an understandable state of panic. Reinard, heck even Reinard's employers which counted among the most influential leaders of the States, solidly expressed their desire for "subject X", if indeed it was said subject that revealed itself to be in Greece,to be found, captured and transported in utmost secrecy back to the Nebraska base for research. What they failed to mention was the how, which always seemed to elude these people's line of reasoning. The greek government was not a part of the bureau, which meant that any and all Ajin found to be within Greece's borders where immediately considered national treasures and where protected as such. The US GAI bureau did not have the means or the funds to go into war with a whole freaking country....not without igniting a third world war.
    Rumbart, of course, had caught on to Dale's little attempt at camouflaging his sarcasm and, to Dale's delight, instead of wording his discontent, he chose to remain silent and instead just turned the radio on.
    "I don't speak Greek, mr.Rumbart."Dale said and immediately regretted it. The language that came out of the car's speakers was English.
    "American radio station,sir. Courtesy of the embassy.", Rumbart said with a hint of malevolent joy. Dale smirked. That was the point where he began to like the boy.
    He took a few minutes just listening to the voice that came in through the airwaves before coming to the conclusion that what it was that put such a huge wrench in what he came to do in Greece was mainly bad luck and a virus that infected the city's traffic light system. There were car crashes everywhere, in and around the city center and the entire capital's main bloodstreams had become clotted with people trying to get back home. It was too much of a coincidence but after Dale ran through his mind the level of organisation such a feat would require, he wasn't so sure it was outside interference. If there was someone behind this supposed sabotage, they'd need people alredy in Greece to infect the arterial control of Athens. They'd need insight into what they would be looking for here and, most of all, they'd need quite a head start on him in order to achieve impeding his progress long enough for them to aqcuire the prize at the end of the race. Which meant a better facility and better precogs that existed back at the Nebraska base. All of those assumptions were simply not possible for a number of reasons.
    First, the only GAI bureau in the world that was ever allowed to have offices in Greece, was the one affiliated with the States, and that only under heavy pressure by the U.N. in order to assure that E.U.'s easternmost nation-border would not go completely rogue. If it wasn't for that pressure, the Greek government would probably have left the European Union altogether after what it perceived as a blatant betrayal on their part in what later became known as the "Murdock Incident".
    Dale winced at that thought. Jonas Murdock, a none too pleasant bloke from Atlanta on a cruise through the Greek islands, decided to "awaken" during a summer festival full of Greeks on the island of Milos. Milos, a not very well known destination amongst tourists, but a damn well popular one amongst Greeks, had a rough number of 35 thousand people on it the day of the incident. The concert that Murdock decided to attend was the main attraction of the festival, gathering almost four thousand people. When Murdock "awakened" only 2450 were left standing, him included. It wasn't a particularly rough "awakening". When his power exploded outwards four dozen people died instantly, incinerated to the point not even bone dust remained. That in itself is not a very heavy toll to pay considering other "awakenings" around the globe. The problem was the Greeks' love for the sea. The festival had taken place on a natural plateau overlooking the Aegean archipelago. The explosion destabilized the lay of the land and the plateau started breaking in places, then completely fell apart, and lastly, pulled towards the sea in a storm of splintered rock, blood and human bodies. The Greek authorities had placed Murdock under confinement in order to pass him through trial for the deaths of fifteen hundred people, cutting off any attempt on U.S. GAIB's part to release him into their custody, since the international law dictated that any new Ajin was the possession of the nation from whence it came.
    In the end, and after months of debate, negotiations and heavy pressure from all sides, Murdock was smuggled home. But the Greeks never forgot or forgave. The day after Murdock was saved, they withdrew their vote and support in the Brussels Treaty and moved to evict any and all GAIB offices from their land. It was only three years later that they allowed the Americans to set up an office again and only on the condition the people that would occupy it agree to be put under strict surveillance when in the office grounds.

    Dale began wondering how the bigshots over at D.C. would feel when they found out that while gaining an Ajin of irrelevant competence, they had lost a foothold and claiming rights to the nation that seemed to house the one being since the dawn of mankind that mattered most of all. Hindsight can be a bitch.

    The second reason was not as obvious as the first. The Global Ajin Investigation Bureau was mostly an assortment of lesser offices, each affiliated to the country they were situated on. Their main focus was, of course, to investigate Ajin, find them and procure them for the nations that could lay claim on them. Most people consider GAIB as a monolithic institution when, in fact, truth could be no further away from that assumption. They were police offices, plain and simple. Police offices of more than 70 countries that acted under the same rules and sometimes worked together toward the same goal. But the interests of their respective nations always came in first. So it wasn't unheard of when another GAI bureau would butt in, in another one's affairs in order to gain some insight into a new type of Ajin found or even maybe steal one from under their noses. When that was done discreetly, it was silently applauded. It was in failure that most people in power nowadays found their gold at the end of the rainbow. The Brussels Treaty maintained that if there was ever a case where a nation in wronged in any way by the abuse of power of any GAIB office, the bureau in question and its nation by extension, had to pay a hefty sum in both currency and knowledge to the afflicted party. Nevermind the diplomatic mayhem that would ensue. The U.S. bureau was blessed in that it had a head start over the rest, since it all began on american soil. And of course, under Reinhart's guidance, the first thing they did after forming was tracking down and procuring any Ajin with precognitive power they could find. They, in turn, found any Ajin with precognitive power around the globe and when it was all said and done, they had left some scraps for the other nations in order to ensure that no one would rise up and accuse them of stealing or hoarding precogs. After all they were terribly rare to begin with.
    So Dale had no reason to doubt that anyone could have predicted today's event before Reinhart's team did. Unless there was someone on the inside.
    "Sir!" Rumbart yelled hard enough to draw Dale out of his deep contemplation. He had a phone on his ear and by the slight turning of his head in order to half-see him, Dale surmised that he had been calling him for a while now.
    "What?" Dale finally said.
    "The Ajin, the ones waiting for us at the Corinthian Canal?Something's happened to them." Dale felt the blood drain from his face. "What do you mean?What happened to them?" panic stained each word. Suppose he did reach the subject, suppose he found him unharmed, how would he get him to go on a plane and get back home? Talk him into it? Cajole him? And if that didn't work?
    "What happened to them?" he almost screamed at Rumbart's half turned face.
    "They don't know, sir."Rumbart stuttered. "One minute they were fine, the next they started screaming and bleeding from their eyes, ears and nose. They don't know."
    "Was there anyone near them?"
    "They were waiting for us in a diner. Some people, not many."
    "Were they affected?" Dale watched as Rumbart carried the question over the phone to the person at the site. Then he carried the answer right back to him. "No, sir."
    Dale slumped back in the car's back seat. They were mentally attacked then. And it was focused so they knew who they were and they knew how to incapacitate them. As far fetched as a rival seeking the same thing he did seemed to be, it was starting to become a certainty.
    "Call the office. Tell them to inform HQ. We are not alone in this race."


    ~~~To clear up some things...I am not going to drop this. It's too much fun to write something without having to look back. It's just damn hard as well. The reason why the first 9 posts came so quickly was because i was on vacation and it was a good way to pass the time when having nothing better to do. I started working again on the 5th of August and those that know me, know that my line of work leaves little to no free time whatsoever. I've been writing this particular post in and out for over a month. Things will start to become less frantic for me when September is over, at which point i'll pick up a steadier pace with posting my story. And thanks Sirius for the feedback, was really welcome. Cheers!
     
  13. Sirius Orion

    Sirius Orion New Member

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    You are so very welcome!!!! Kudos to you for sticking with it! I like the feel of this one....Cheers to you! :draught:
     
  14. Delarmgo

    Delarmgo Dark Heart Of The Verse

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    Dale Greydon was half-right in his assumption. Subject X, the being his bureau had spent 11 years trying to find was not sought after by just him, though it wasn't another bureau that searched for it or another nation for that matter. What he was wrong about was on being sabotaged. The attacks on the Ajin that had been sent to assist him were not isolated incidents and certainly not so mild in their repercussions. Later on, Reinhart would develop a theory as to the events of that day, a theory loosely based on truth, like the best of lies are. The Vault became turbulent and forceful, sending large amounts of power to the people that were subconsciously connected to it. The result was an increase in the Ajin's energy output but human bodies can only withstand so much before giving out. Many were not as lucky as the Ajin entourage in Athens. Reinhart theorized it was a reaction to too many wills exerting themselves on the Vault. After all a few pebbles won't affect an ocean, but a sufficient number of them can in time create an island. The theory was vastly approved by most of the scientific society, idiots and cowards who were too blind or too scared to see the truth lying in front of them.
    In reality that was but a small part of the problem. The true reason for the Vault acting up that day was the death of Subject X, and Reinhart was indeed certain now it was him. How could it not be? All the facts pointed to that conclusion and Reinhart valued logic above all else. But now more than ever, he had to be cautious about how he should proceed. He had enjoyed a certain level of privacy concerning his experiments and plans but after that day that smelled so vividly of the Event, all the eyes in the world were focused on the Ajin and the masters pulling their strings. Because when the Vault went berserk, when subject X let out its final breath, all hell broke loose for 17 minutes.

    At the time of Cor's death, halfway across Europe in Vienne, Rolf Tiedemann, an Ajin of considerable power, fell from his chair while having dinner with his liaison from the Austrian Ajin Department of State. Fearing some kind of poison in the food and despite his better judgement considering all things Ajin, especially if their body was wracked with convulsion and seemingly bleeding from its every pore, the State's representative reached to turn him over. Whatever it was that caused the spasms in Tiedemann's body seemed to affect the brain as well, because at that point, Tiedemann found himself back at the GAIB concentration camp, back when he was first discovered, back when he was experimented on with knives and chains and needles and tissue samples. And the hand that reached to help him up, was not that of the friend he was having dinner with, but of the guard that had come to take him back to the white room that haunted his dreams still. But this time he could fight back.
    The resulting explosion of Thule particles took the lives of everyone in the restaurant they were in.
    Back East and on a crevice overlooking Tehran, Sanjar Asgari, whose real identity was Lt. William Ashton, an Ajin who was exceptionally good at twisting the conception and awareness of others so that he fit an image they would have no problem with, started bleeding from his mouth during an exchange between an Al Qaeda cell and a Pakistani weapons dealer. The firefight that erupted after Ashton's powers shot out in a reversed manner, making every person in that gathering witness their friends and allies become their worst nightmare, claimed 29 lives, the lieutenant's own included.
    All over the globe, similar events took place, some times without any casualties, most times with much more than one. It took 17 minutes for the spasms to stop and some kind of calm to be restored to their minds but those few minutes marked the beginnings of two wars, one in the middle-East, one in South America. More than 50 thousand people lost their lives and a temporary world-wide ban was issued later that day by GAIB to every nation under the Brussels Treaty in regards to Ajin related actions, until the cause of these incidents was investigated upon and whoever or whatever was behind them dealt with.

    Reinhart knew what had happened even before it actually did. Still in his office at the time, unwilling to rest after a long time observing the fluctuations of the Vault's spillage inside the rift that used to be part of the Nebraska desert, he quickly caught on to what was about to occur when every instrument the bureau had to measure what came out of the other side went haywire, showing such numbers of concentrated T-particles leaking out, that he had only seen only once before. The memory of that time chilled him to the bone.
    "Have i gone too far?" he managed to ask himself before the machines erupted into electrical sparks. Then the lights in the compound flickered, once, twice, then grew brighter and brighter before giving out, submerging the entire facility in blackness. Another horrid reminder if the day of the Event.
    He was 45 when he was brought into the Echelon group, as a leading name in the field of both applied physics and quantum theories with an honorary seat in most of U.S.A.'s top universities and quite a few books published on the aspects of energy, particularly volcanic. He came very close to a Nobel too, for his research into possible avenues of exploiting Earth's sub-crust arterial system which could provide unlimited possibilities for humanity's energy future.
    Even at 62 he held on to his ideals, though, after what he had to do, the sins he had committed and would have to commit again, morality was a luxury he couldn't afford anymore. What kept him on was the certainty and absolute faith in what he believed was a better tomorrow, one that he could forge himself, but progress requires sacrifice and he learned that lesson the hard way.
    It was Elizabeth that had convinced him to join her group. She was younger than him by a decade, with no real accomplishments of her own, though he later found out that could vastly be attributed to all of her work being considered classified by the military. If her research had reached the light of day it would revolutionize modern science, or completely tear it asunder. She scared him, of course, but not in a repulsive kind of manner. More like the fear a godlike being would instill in the hearts of every man, and by God was she divine! She was everything a man like Reinhart could want. Her body was frail and seemed like it could break with little effort but it hid quite a bit of strength as Reihart found out the day of the Event. Not scrawny or malnourished, though Elizabeth did have the nasty habit of forgetting to eat when she was working...which was most hours of the day. Still it had a certain air about it, a femininity in her lithe form that made men turn their heads around when she passed by, even in the lab coat, even drenched in sweat from spending too much time in the reactor room. And the jewel that adorned that figure was her face. She was not beautiful, not with the Renaissance meaning of the word. It was not a kind of beauty that one could only admire from afar but, contrary to that, a sweetness that one would rather breathe in, touch and bask at from up close, a down to earth feeling where one could watch as his dreams came true. How Reinhart missed those deep brown eyes! The hint of freckles on her cheeks. The auburn hair she kept tucked away in a ponytail whenever she worked... He had only seen them loose once, and the sight had taken his breath away.
    She never looked at him the way he looked at her. Their minds were alike but if they ever stood one next to the other, he would seem as the bulking Hulk next to the slender fey. He was handsome, despite his massive build, but Elizabeth in the perfected image of her he kept in his mind, was someone who would not easily fall prey to outside appearances. To him, her mind was the reason and the cause and as the years went by, he came to firmly believe there was no man alive that could actually be worthy of her. Not even him.
    And as most loves-at-first-sight tend to go, his had a rather tragic end.

    When the power reserves kicked in, bathing the underground village in a deep reddish light, he found himself knelt down next to his office table, shivering and sweating at the same time, grabbing something in his hand as if his dear life depended on it. He let whatever he held go and released all pressure in his muscles. All around him screams echoed in the corridors of the compound, his pets running rampant, hitting walls with their bodies and their heads in a futile attempt to drive the pain away as the T-particles inside them swelled and overflowed their normal capacity. Reinhart was sure many would die that day but to him, they were dead men walking anyway. If not for the Event, the planet would have been wiped clean of life 11 years ago, so a few deaths today meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. What mattered was to save as many of them that could be saved, but he couldn't decide whether putting his life in danger in order to do so outweighed the risks.
    He decided it did. His plan had been set in motion the moment Subject X died, the moment he sent Dale over to find him. His death would change nothing.
    He got up slowly. There was a numbing pain coming from his right hand but in the red glow of the emergency lighting it was difficult to gather what was wrong with it. His palm felt moist, as if dipped in water and left to dry. Reinhart brought a finger to his lips and licked the tip. The taste of blood filled his tongue.
    "A piece of glass" he said, remembering the mystery object he was clutching when he calmed down earlier. The moment he realized his hand was cut, a rush of pain came from it, like a dam inside his mind had toppled over and let the water out. Not a bad reference to what was happening all around him at that very moment. He tore one of his suit's tunics out with little effort and wrapped the wound with it and then, slowly to avoid hitting the other furniture in the room, he went for the door.
    There was more light in the corridor outside his office, enough at least to walk around without fear of stumbling into anything or anyone else, so walked he did, at first with some caution and as his eyes gradually adjusted to the semi-darkness so did his speed rise. "Left, then two doors, then left again. Down the stairs, right then three doors to the left." he kept muttering as he drew a map in his mind to help him navigate towards the mass area. There were people walking the pathways as well, younger people who moved more swiftly than he did. Some of them pushed right past him, carrying notes or equipment. At one point, for a fraction of a second, he contemplated shouting at them that the things they were trying to save were not even nearly as important as the people, the Ajin that resided here. Without them, there was no goddamn research! Then again, logic settled in once more. These people were ordered to keep data and machine safe, not people. This was a military facility after all, one that for all intents and purposes seemed to be under attack from an unknown enemy. They didn't know what he knew, and how could they? And to the Army...any army for that matter that saw the rise of the Ajin into the next world peace keeper or warfighter, his subjects were valued less than the equipment used to monitor them.
    He decided he'd have a word with Major General Harken when this was all over.
    After a while he managed to reach the double steel doors that led to the mass area, the place where most of the Ajin were at when the storm hit the Vault. Only there were no steel doors, just a hole in the wall large enough for a tank to go through. The hinges on the wall, the ones that were left, hinted to the door being blown off toward the opposite direction of where the room was. Whatever caused this wanted out, badly. This little pause to evaluate the damage gave him time to consider another strange occurrence, or more precisely, the lack of it. The screaming had stopped. Reinhart's muscles tensed for a second as his arm stretched outward into the corridor and snatched one of his employees by his coat and without missing a beat, pinning him to the wall.
    "Where are they?"he asked, his tone betraying the impatience he felt rising from his chest.
    "W-Who?"the man stuttered.
    "The Ajin you moron!Where are they!?"
    "In the training area for the assault troops. They were taken there by Theo,sir." came a torrent of words from the unlucky helper's frightened mouth. Reinhart loosened his grip on the man.
    "How many dead?"
    "None,sir." the man managed to answer. The sudden brightness stung Reinhart's eyes as the lights came back on.
    "Brilliant." he said.
    "The lights,sir?", said the man misinterpreting him.
    Reinhart took a moment to look on him. He imprinted the man's face on his mind. He decided he'd deal with him later. He had not patience for stupidity among his staff. Afterward he turned away and took the path leading to the training area. There were questions that he needed Theo to answer, about how he managed to withstand the mental maelstrom that leaked out of the Vault.
    And about how he had managed to calm its effect on every Ajin present in the entire facility.