The room was cool, cold white marbles underneath booted feet. John was leaning over on the half edge protrusion with his elbows as he stared through the glass pane.
“It’s been two days… How is one one zero?”
John jumped when he heard the voice. Looking back, he saw a tall man dressed in dark, silk tunic and pants. The long sleeves draped past his hands as he held them behind his back.
Calming himself, John straightened his thin white coat. The material was thin, just thick enough to keep some splashes at bay, but not thick enough toward the chill in the air. He could not help but glance at the blue jewels embedded equidistant from each other in the room. Each one was slowly drawing in the heat around them. If they weren’t such a marvel, a rarely made material that only activated when the temperature went beyond a certain point, he would have already dug them out and smashed them with a hammer.
The black swathed man coughed, drawing John back from his tangent thoughts. “One one zero?”
“Ah yes, one one zero. Everything is set, we are just waiting to commence the test.” John said. He looked at the man. His skin was of a dark sheen; his hair short and curly but still brushed back in the way of most nobility. But suddenly, John realized something. “Umm… Sir, I’m sorry, but I must ask, who are you?”
The dark man looked down upon John. His eyes were dark and cold. It made John’s blood freeze. At first he had been startled and began to speak without thinking, but now that he had time to calm himself, he noticed that he did not recognize the man at all. For so long he had never dealt with anyone of high status or position except for the woman who came to hire him half a year ago.
“You do not need to know who I am. You do not have the right to know who I am. If you did, you would have known already.”
“Sir… I… I cannot say the details of-”
“If I didn’t have the authority to know, would I be here? Would I have gotten through the vastness of security that this building has?”
John closed his mouth. The man was right. This place was a closed-off facility far within the secure guard. While there was a chance that this man snuck in and was a pretender, he wasn’t paid to care. He wasn’t even told to protect the information of this place as a contingent on him joining. All he knew was how to be careful enough to take care of himself. He was not going to stop this man, nor hamper him. If there were problems later, it would be on the head of his supervisor. After all, they were in charge of security.
John sighed, and gestured towards the window. “He’s in there. They are hooking him up now.”
Just as John said the last word, two people came into the room on the other side of the glass. Both of them were men wearing blue long coats similar to John’s own. They came to stand over a large circular bath that was six feet deep and striated at the curved sides. The basin of the pool was black in color and had silver metal coils jutting out, with the ends rising up and sticking down into the white marble around it.
The dark clothed man seemed not to notice any of that. Perhaps he’s used to it. What he did seem to focus on was what was inside the basin. Lying down, seeped slightly in a half-foot of clear thick liquid, a boy of the age of fifteen, and one of his arms was missing, was there.
One of the blue-coated men went to the wall. He unhinged a latch and pulled out a long and large tube. He tugged at it, trudging towards the pool. He latched the end of the tube to an opening at the edge, connecting the tube with the basin.
“This is?” The dark clothes man’s voice was light, but it caused John to shiver.
“You will see,” John said. The words were brusque. A habit of his. But John was not going to change habit now. Though he was wary, he was not afraid of offending the man. This was his laboratory. His experiment. And per their agreement, he would detail things when necessary. He would not, in any case, put himself out of sorts. After all, the group came to him, not the other way around. There were many other job offers out there anyway.
The man behind him seemed calm as if the tiny spite didn’t bother him. But now John was regretting. He’s that type, huh. The type that would hold it in or dismiss it altogether. John’s eyes narrowed. Either way, it just showed that this man was potentially dangerous.
John walked to the glass. At the far corner was a hole, bridging his room to the next. Only, filling the hole was a giant slug-like creature. It had a mouth on either end, and it would squirm slightly from time to time. John put on a pair of gloves and grabbed hold of his end. He shivered as he felt the squishiness within his palm. I hate these things.
Sighing, John squeezed. The tip of the end, which was not grabbed, widened and John leaned up close, “You may begin.” He said. And the other one of men nodded as if they heard him. One of the men turned around and grabbed hold of a lever. Pulling down, the distant wall rumbled.
Seconds went by, and then a roaring sound, first soft, grew louder and louder until it was like a flood, the sound coming through from the opening of the slug. Bright red liquid gushed out of the tube in the basin of the other side. It poured into the basin rapidly, beating down upon the boy, drowning him, and in mere seconds the basin was filled.
And then, the pumping of the liquid stopped.
“The blood of the Sevir Devils of the North Marshes that I was provided with, at least that is what you said it was. I have studied Sevir Devils before, and I have never seen blood like that. Nevertheless, using that as a base, the blood of the creatures from the forest beyond the city limits were integrated and seeped in arrays for several months. Now we just need to see.”
The dark man smiled. His smile was bright, revealing his two rows of perfect white teeth.
Who smiles like that? John thought to himself. But for some reason, he could not help think how the smile was just perfect on the man. It was not creepy, or malicious. It was just perfect. And although it seemed natural, John shivered again. There was just something menacing about it. And it was then that John fully realized something. I cannot become an enemy of this man.
“You will die. You will die. You will die. Even if I don’t kill you, you will die!”
Braen looked up. The sky was a clear blue, the clouds white and fluffy with a hint of a dark hue at the bottom as the sun shined behind. The trees rustled with the slight breeze; nice structured houses of the nearby ten-foot cliff stood firm. It was calm.
But even with all these niceties, Braen was not taking in the view. He was looking at the large black sphere above him in the distant sky. Compared to the world, it was infinitesimal in size, but to him, it was the size of a house. And It floated there, fifty feet above, unmoving.
Braen couldn’t help stare at it. All the things before remained forgotten. All that was and was to be became the sphere. The sphere was a dark pool, its surface shiny and metallic, reflecting the surroundings on its surface like a poorly made mirror. The clouds. The sky. The trees. The cliff. The houses. Braen could see them all. The only thing he did not see in the sphere was himself. There was no reflection, no mirror image. No matter the shifting leaf of the tree at his side, or the blade of grass behind him, they could be seen; but not him.
For a while, Braen stood there. He just stared, getting lost in the world of the sphere. It was if the world was him and he was the world.
Suddenly, the sphere moved. A bulge came, boring out to the side. It was quick at first but slowly moved towards a stop. As the blob was stretching out, a black hand, its skin as black and shiny as the sphere itself formed.
Braen just stood there lost. He was in a daze. More and more bulges came out of the sphere. And like the first, they too formed hands and arms. The arms were long, but not long enough to reach him.
And then Braen shuddered. As if realizing that everything seemed wrong, his daze went away. And everything returned to him. His memory of his childhood, his memory of the last mission, and more importantly, the memory of his missing arm. He did not think of the snow that did not cover the ground. He did not think of the warm breeze that showed no semblance of the biting cold. He didn’t even realize that he stood there naked, his arm back as if it was always there.
He just watched in terror as the arms suddenly lunged. It was as if physics no longer applied to the world. Somehow the land folded in, time-warped, and space was cut short. The tens of hands pounced upon him.
Braen’s eyes constricted, but he did not move. More like, he could not move. It was as if there was a powerful force keeping him down. His head felt light, and he felt as if the world was about to go dizzy; as if all his power had already been drawn to keeping his mind clear, leaving him drained.
As the black hands stretched out, they wrapped around him like a bubble, cloaking him in the metallic black sheen, only to gather and entwine themselves and swallow his arm, opening him back to the world. The same arm he had lost before, but now somehow had.
Braen felt no pain; no discomfort; but there was a deeply seeded coldness that pervaded his every pore; his every thought.
And then it stopped. Everything stopped. Like a growing smile in a painting, he moved, but that tree that swayed from the breeze, its branches remained in its unnatural tilt- an impossibility. That blade of grass or that same exact cloud was motionless. The whole world stood still. But he, Braen, was moving.
He brought his hand to his face, watched the metal black skin that changed to its normal hue and texture at the mid-bicep. He glanced over it for a long while now. And just as he had seen enough, he looked towards that mirror-like sphere, its dark surface back to it being as still as stagnant water.
And once again, the world moved.
A roar erupted.
John winced as he removed the slug away from his ear. Letting, go, the room he was in went silent.
He looked through the glass pane, staring at the bright red pool. The two assistants of his took a step back. They watched as the pool of blood had rippled, and the boy inside had sat up. His hands and feet were still steeped in the thick liquid, but he was screaming. Roaring in fact. His eyes were bloodshot, his skin red. And soon the glass trembled. Even John and the man in silk could feel the room begin to vibrate.
John was asked to set some things up. To do so and so, and to do it a particular way, like the use of blood and arrays. He was never in charge of designing the theory behind the experiment nor did he obtain the specimens. And though he had an idea that it came from something to do with the empire, he did not ask. This meant he did not even know who the boy in the basin was. He did not know who any of the people who came before the boy was. All he was in charge of was the setup and the actual generation of the material. So far, many specimens would come in. Most died. But this was the first time one reacted like this. It was just too…
“My God, what is that? What did you ask me to make?” John asked, the words slipping past his lips.
“That?” The darkly dressed man smiled. “That is our future.”
Author’s Notes: Please comment. Tell me how you like the story so far. If you haven’t? Review! Also, I would love it if you donated. Build a queue. That way, I will be prompted to release more chapters more quickly. I have two other series and focus on the one with the most attention and donations. Thanks.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.