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I skipped alongside the sidewalk. I wasn’t on the sidewalk but I wasn’t on the road they was some dead grass next to the sidewalk then a tall building after that.

Mason put your shoes back on.

I look at the highway next to me and take note of the lack of cars. It's a strangely serene experience being in a city that’s practically a ghost town. Well originally this entire city was built with the expectations that people would come and it would be a hub of business and such but unfortunately although it was built the people never came and then the jobs never came although it's not like no one's here actually there are lots of people. It's just nature has taken one fourth of the city and that place has been overrun with eleven terrorist and has practically become abandoned and its been like that for forty years. Then there's the part I live in where the police don’t even tread unless they want to get shot… ok it's not that bad but their are parts where its like that. Well gang crime and gang wars are a common thing there's also a market for drugs and weapons.

No one cares.

Their a few jobs around the water because yes this city is next to the sea. Well that brings me on to another part of the city, the flooded part. Then their the wall.

MASON! your FUCKING SHOES!

Well beyond that wall that isn’t actually a wall but more like a road block their a completely normal city if not that populated.

God dammit Mason… go back and get them.

Although recently the crime and been spreading on to that side of the wall which oddly enough is why the police have been trying to crack down more on the gangs around here resulting in a increase in public safety. So way to go gangs.

Stop! Your putting your shoes on the wrong foot! No you fuck- STOP PUT THEM BACK ON.

But they feel weird! And it not like I need shoes I won’t complain and no one's going to see me if I don’t wear them!

If I don’t make you wear your shoes now you will try and destroy them later and claim you never use them! So put your shoes on this instant young man!

Sorry mom.

I will kick your fucking ass.

Although I say all this these gangs are actually my biggest clients… although I would never let any gang take residence in one of my apartments they often come to the local underground doctor in other words me.



Fine! You want to play this game.

Put your fucking shoes back on or there will be no dessert for you tonight young man.

Although I used to pay a protection racket to a ‘viper gang’ that's just how the way things are here before those guys moved into that floor. Odd their not like most gangs they are all clean and wear suits. Have strange traditions despite being criminals.

My place is considered natural ground. Why?” Never piss of the guy whos operates on your boys if ya want them standin again.” A guy who calls himself the big bitch said that. Then he was shot a couple months ago. His name was funny. That it was sef.

Thats fucking right you, shoes wearing bitch who's your daddy. WHO’S YOUR DADDY!

Oh yeah there's another reason the police are so interested in this place. The undocumented.

This girl.

See when someone is born in a normal place they are tested. If they are found positive to one of three things.

Hahahahaha, don’t look away from me. What you want to run home and cry to your daddy well here I am. Cry all you want but you still put yo- hey put them back on!

A special ability.

Magic potential.

Or are a ‘heightened’ someone with an supernatural physique and reaction speed.

Oh hello. Sef calling Mason. Sef calling Mason. Anyone home. It’s getting a bit empty in your head lately I worry sometimes.

They get documented and their abilities recorded in a big database. That's fine and all but if they are ever deemed a threat to society then they are removed or contained.

By the way who the fuck are you talking to?

It's not like I don’t understand. I mean just the other day I watch a single man kill like 89 people with his bare hands while taking gun fire before he finally died.

You say all this but did he really get that far to me it was more like 29 kills and 60 assaults. What do you think?

When there are people above the society then the society falls apart. Although races with stronger ties to magic then humans are often regulated regardless.

By what fucking right do you have not to answer me when I speak to you. Oh you know I don’t actually care. I am not hurt because you won’t speak to me. MASON COME BACK! I miss you.

They also imposed the first two laws of the three laws of robotics on us. The same ones they imposed on the new A.I

A heightened may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A heightened must obey orders given it by members of MEA except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

MEA stands for Magic Enforcer Act.

But at least they limited it to members of the MEA AI have to follow all laws of any citizen. Oh and change robot to magic person and bang.

Although they recently removed the third law. As for why?

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Oh they removed that law for us not for robots.

I wonder why they removed it in the first place?

So when there's a city with work although limited and they hear that the population is 95% heighten here and that police are cracking down on crime with some business looking to invest here thanks to a government programme this part of the world is looking up in most people's eyes.

In case you couldn’t get it the undocumented is referring to heightened that refuse to register.

Exactly which is why most people are BLIND TO THE REAL PROBLEMS! The moon moles are eating away at the planet's core as we speak we are all doomed the government know it which is why the sent colonies into outer space! To escape don’t you see it's all clear to me know.

Mason you’re hallucinating… and shoes.

Ahh sorry about that. Where was I…

pointless exposition. No you were putting your shoes back on.

“ Oh right.”

My that was a lot of pointless stuff but the importance stuff is out of the way. And hopefully there won’t be anymore of that.

Yeah? You sure about that. I mean you often go off on completely pointless things. Also put your shoes back on!

The feeling of the dead grass on my feet is a oddly annoying experience.

Then put your FUCKING SHOES ON! We literally just had this FUCKING conversation a few seconds ago what the hell do you have against shoes. Their one of the greatest investments you can make in foot wear

They are the only investment you can make in foot wear.

You don’t know that

Your right I don’t know that.

Then let's go find out.

Sure. First things first let's get home and look up foot investments.

But first we have to get home.

Yep that is an important step so how do we go about doing it.

What do you mean? We just go home.

What no that's too simple and walking that far seems boringz

You will probably get bored when you get home as well you know.

What? Then why are we going home in the first place?

To look up possible feet investments and play the long game also it’s around 5 right now you said you would meet up with Zoe and Noah around nine.

Oh why?

I don’t know YOU said she had an announcement…

Did I?

Yeah.

What was it… a mystery is at, foot. We must investigate where was I by at the time of the murder?

Ahhhhhhhhhhh you were home. You leave your house literally once a month to meet your mother and collect rent once every two weeks you never leave your house for another reason.

Oh I should go out more… internally I understand this but in the real world I don’t.

You know that your inside is part of the real world to right?

What that makes no sense I mean my insides are the inside bit the real world is the outside bit right?

Ah you need to turn left up here not right.

Sorry I wasn’t thinking.

Its ok. You want me to give you directions from here you seem a bit lost?

I sorry if you would be so kind.

Happy to help. Hahahahaha hahahahaha hahahahaha turn left up at the next turn.

Sure.

Then left after that.

Then left, now turn right.

What would I do without you Sef?

You would huddle in a corner and cry. Because your a lonely man who cannot hold a job or a relationship and you have been single for the last 40 years. You feel the need to constantly question everything in front of you because your mind is so broken then you could probably delude yourself into thinking 2+2=4 or something equally stupid like how people shake each others hands when they meet

Oh there is a right turn here.

Two plus two does equals four… Sef tell me what two two’s are please. Sef this is very important I need to know the answer this is a matter of the utmost importance!

Hahahahaha funny Mason I know you’re not that sad to not know what the answer is to that question stop joking around hahahahaha.

Oh a right turn here.

Sure yep of course… but just to make sure you know the answer what is the answer?

Are you questioning my intelligence? Don’t insult me Mason we both know I am the smart one here.

Oh another right up ahead.

Ok.

Now go straight here pst hahahahaha!

I walk forward with a normal pace and about an hour later I finally get home. My building is a tall building on the edge of the ‘zone’ it literally connected to the ‘road blockades that anyone can pass’ by a two minute walk down the road so the majority of my tenants are people from that side that want the insanely cheap rent I give.

My building is ten stories tall with about ten apartments per floor evening everything off to a nice 100. The apartments themselves are neat as well. Three bed rooms, a kitchen, a large bathroom, and two extra rooms that could be used for anything as well as a twenty by twenty meter living room. I had a professional designer do most of the rooms about 10 years ago so they are kind of aged but its not like its too aged I mean it's not my job to tell you how your place needs to look you know also a rent of 100 per month is amazing which is why I don’t understand.

Is it really that hard to understand why you have less than thirty people living here? Although I guess there's that one who owns an entire floor you also gave the top floor to Zoe. Your not charging her now are you.

After all she's a friend.

No your not charging her because you want to fuck her and second beca-

Nope! Sef is the only one for me!

Deny it all you want. I live inside you. You think I cannot tell when your looking at her ass. You know it's the case don’t be a pussy and tell it to my face you are sexually frustrated.

Hahahaha… yeah. I mean 40 years is a long fucking time you know. Think about it the chick I was with last is probably either dead or a slow walking, sagging, mobility scooter riding, granny. I could probably fuck her children and it wouldn’t be creepy.

No… it’s fucking creepy. Always creepy you fucking creepy fuck.

Although I don’t remember her name or its not impossible for that to happen.

Stop bitching think about how long its been since I had sex… never.

You say that but wouldn’t my score count as your score you often complain about pain when I get stabbed or shot so like can’t you feel what I feel?

Na and yeah… don’t question the hidden mechanisms of Sef if you don’t wanna get killed. I will lead you off into an ocean like the pipe guy that lead the rats… are fuck what was that guy called?

The pipe guy? The fuck are you on about?

It wasn’t a pipe… FLUTE! it was a flute he played a flute and lead kids to their death he like a fairy tale person… pie piper? You know what it doesn’t matter.

Ok if you say so. So which floor did we live on Sef?

The eighth the one on the end after you get out of the elevator. 810. You keep a spare key under the mat use that one because you lost the other one.

How did I loss it?

Must have fallen out of you pocket when you jumped out the window

I JUMPED OUT A WINDOW?

Yeah it was to avoid your mother.

Ah ok that seems like me. I think I remember

No you probably don’t. You don’t remember anything that doesn’t bring you excitement of some kind it's why you can remember banging some chick forty years ago but don’t have the slightest fucking clue what her name is or that you were married with kids. You forgot her same day your kids got killed.

Yeah I have a bad memory.

And selective hearing. But it's ok I will remember for you because how does one truly die.

When they are completely forgotten now I definitely remember you saying that Sef.

Which is why you will… tap the glass and get Reggies attention he will need to buzz you through the elevator.

Tap tap

A man in a black suit is sitting behind a counter reading a book. I didn’t even know they still printed shit because of the environmental impact or something. He's a young darker skinned looking man. Strangely lean but despite his civil appearance he’s got an uzi on the table in front of him and a used blunt next to it.

At least he doesn't litter… ever. Although I guess there's Zoe to be considered about.

“ Ahhh the good doctors come back. You will be happy to know no one's been needing your services while you were away also that Noah guy left a message that he was here earlier but something happened at the gym so he will he back later he will bring some food it cook.”

“ Thanks Reggie well could you buzz me up.”

“ Ah sure thing doc.”

bzzzz

Ahh I bet you're wondering who that wonderful person was. He was Reggie.

Who was Reggie?

Remember you hired him to… I think he's a drug dealer, salesman from hell back with a vendetta against the ones who took his most important thing his darling wife and murdered her with her own sons collar bone on the day of his daughters wedding. Yep so he handles the lobby as a day job.

And I am paying him?

That’s the odd bit. I don’t think we are.

Well let’s accept this as the will of the heavens and move on shall we.

Yep let's leave the suspicious person alone.

Ok Reggie vengeful spirit that lives in my lobby. I will remember.

Maybe it's hard to tell with you.

I step into the elevator and and beamed up into the starship enterprise.

No you weren’t.

Flea everyone it's party pooper Sef

Their doesn't existence a time where I could possibly be offended by being called a party pooper.

The elevator door opens and I step out and walk towards my door.

I walk along to my place and then. I reach for the key under the mat and pick it up and then placed it in the door and twist the lock and open the door but just stand there. I turn to see a woman standing next to me. No idea when she got there I just saw her shadow on my floor. She is so close that I could probably slap her with my shoulder.

I slapped her with my shoulder…

“ Hello Mason… Do you have time to hear about our lord and savi-“

I step inside and slam the door shut into her face.

That was my nefarious arc enemy Vicky the neighbor.

“ Go away foul beasts, you have no power here!”

Hisssssss Hissssss be gone creature of the dark

We shouted after making sure our door was locked.

It would take but a moment of your time. I will even invite you out for dinner. Want a free meal.” Vicky

“ Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!” Mason

“ Come on… that's water under the bridge what's a little incident between bestes like us.”

“ No go away. I trusted you. And you… you betrayed me!”

“ No it was a simple misunderstanding.”

“ I said leave. You blonde woman with green eyes who has a thing for shits that becomes short dresses that due to a cut in the side allow you to live with extreme grace and at the same time having this air of beauty.”

“ Thank you?”

Fucking PIG woman!” Sef with my voice.

“ But we had so much fun together didn’t we I honestly thought we had something… oh well I will be back tomorrow and you will probably be in a better mood then.”



I walk away from the door quickly.

Accused woman.

The nerve of some people to show their face around here after doing what she did! Its fucking outrageous! We should gut her while she sleeps.

I walk into my kitchen and grab a tall paper bag labeled Vicky.

I take it back to my front door and begin to salt my floor. Anywhere her shadow may have touched so that it doesn't become corrupted by her foul stench I use half the bag of salt and then after waiting fifteen minutes I step out and salt the earth in front of my apartment. Just to be on the safe side of things.

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Rhys Harrison

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