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“ Do we need something to row with?”

I asked.

Zoe looked at me like an idiot. She then pointed at the canoe and two ors grew out then were snapped off by Zoe.

“ Then we should sand it down.”

Zoe looked at me like an idiot and pointed. Then it was extremely smooth.

“ Then want to use it?”

“ Not really. I don’t feel like getting wet.”

“ Are you being serious here.”

“ Yep.”

“ I was under the impression I was the child.”

“ We both are children it's just I am the older one. And don’t you forget it.”

“ Right? Actually are yo-“

“ Don’t ask a girl her age Mason. It's about time you learned that.”

“ Well it's just that at this point do people like us care enough about age to be offended? I mean I am a pretty old dude. Old enough to not know how old.”

“ Well that, it's just how things are for you I guess.”

“ For me? Aren't you coming along for the ride?”

“ Does it bother you? That one day I will be dead and you won’t? It bothers me sometimes you know. I worry about you.”

“ Where is this coming from.”

You’re not the same person you once were Mason. You’re not all there.

“ You’re not the same person you once were Mason. You’re not all there.”

“ What are you saying?”

A tear drips down Zoes eyes.

I don’t even know if I will live long enough to see you come back.

“ I don’t even know if I will live long enough to see you come back.”

Zoe cried tears. Real and powerful sorrow passed through her.

So I will say it again day by day. Week by week.

Come home to me.

“So I will say it again day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. Please come back to me Mason.”

Oh she’s changed it. I guess that's to show her resolve?

“ I don’t understand Zoe I am right here.”

Zoe stood there for five minutes before pointing at the boat and it went back to normal. She then bent over and put it in her pocket.

“ Mason I have this stick in my pocket. Please try as hard as you can to remember.”

Once more the lonely girl will cling to her frail hope.

“ Mason… do you know where I could find some wood to build the boat?”

“ No.” I scan the horizon looking. I feel like something is wrong but continue searching the beach line then I turn back to Zoe and fall into a state of panic she’s crying huddled on the floor.

“ Next time! Next time! He will remember!” She just keeps repeating this over and over again. He face twists as if saying these words are of great difficulty for her. I come forward and hug her. I grasp her head and pull it into my embrace and soon her tears turn into a mix of crying and screaming as she hugs with enough force to break some bones. But what’s important is that Zoe is sad. WHO THE FUCK WOULD DARE!

I will gut the person that did this to her! I will strangle them with their mothers intestines use their children's blood to paint the scene and-

Mason it’s your fault.

Waaa what do you mean? What was my fault?

ZOE! What’s wrong. I gently rock her back and forth.

Eventually after minutes of crying

3 hours

Zoe collapse and goes to sleep so I pick her up and take her home. We walk for a long time and part of the way there she wakes up. I wonder why she was sleeping in the first place but we continue onwards and see many amazing sights.

Elves beating people to death.

Enforcers protecting a small business from a swarm of elfs.

Just a lot of elves screaming something about a child of the spear and revenge. Wonder why. Well it has nothing to do with me as I never leave my apartment.

Oddly enough they give me a wide berth upon sight and keep repeating. It's the Slasher.

Even the governments enforces seem to avoid me. I wonder why? It not like I ever did anything to them.

I don’t think you clean off the blood from your hands. Actually that might be a problem for you I mean you use your fingers and turn them into claws when you attack people. Although you just punch people to death most of the time.

Ah I got of track. Well you’re way of killing people stands out after all this isn’t the arena you don’t need to fight with your bare hands. Its also easy to track back to you.

The pluses of the life of a shut in.

You need to get an actual job. You being ruined by your comfy life.

Mason I need drop by the gym. You are coming with me.”

“ Ok why?”

“ I am going to punch you… a lot. Probably in the head.”

Sef something tells me I am in bad situation here.

Oh what gave you that impression.

I don’t know the threats of violence.

Oh and what else.

What else for what?

Ha you’re fucked.

Ok… sure whatever you say Sef.

I turn down a corridor and walk with a brist speed. I am not sure why. I feel bad but I also feel the need to keep going in this direction. I feel myself walk through a street of small paths and corridors like a maze. I am mesmerised by the desire and clear direction I want to walk. I hear no noise. I smell nothing. Everything I see is a blur to me then it all becomes clear.

And I am standing outside a shop. I open the door and see and creepy old shop. A fortune teller shop.

What the fuck is this? Ahh its this place!

We know this place? Yeah I come here a lot. You also know this place you saved its owner from certain death long ago.

Why did I do that? Vicky said she didn’t like this store. So what I went above and beyond to keep it? Yeah.

Seems like me so why am I here. Actually this is probably for me more than for you. Huh? Well we use her services a lot. Do we? Yep because we are the only ones who can remember her? I feel like you said that with quite a lot of irony… I wonder why?

Also she? Is she attractive? She was before but it's been a long time since we met. How long?80 years.

That's a long time. Hahahahaha

What's so funny? I tell you in just a bit.

Ok. My mind seems oddly focused as I walk in. I twist and walk up the stairs. I don’t know why but I feel like this is the correct path even though I didn’t even notice the stairs before I push open a wooden door and step on them as if I knew where they would be.

At the top of the stairs I walk down a corridor. Past the first two doors then I enter and see a woman laying in a bed. She's so thin you would think she has never eaten a bite in her life and her eyes are dead beyond belief.

Hate. She reeks of it. Her face is cold and wrinkly to the point where one could question her humanity. And at the same time as the chills were entering my spine I felt this great sadness. I felt as if I had failed her.

Then I felt disturbed as I saw how thin and frail she seemed to be. I felt like that shouldn’t have been the case and that she was supposed to be a strong woman who never knew the word defeat and that would forever remain unbroken and by my side. I felt like she should have been someone I could lean on. But when I looked at her a I saw a petty broken woman who hates the world almost as much as it hates her.

I felt drawn to her and came over and took her hand. She only moved her eyes and even then I could see nothing but extreme pain in them. Even that simple movement was almost to much for her.

“... Jenny?”

Total ecstasy. That was the look she was giving me at the mere mention of her name. As if all the pain she ever felt was worth it. Her mouth opened.

“ I have foreseen it.” Her voice was low and broken every letter a massive struggle to fight back the pain for her.

“ The day of your return… elder. I will not live to see it. My only regret that I could not feel you as I once did. I am sorry I can not accompany... you any...further. My master.” She was crying. And struggling and fighting and losing.

“ Caaaaa” she takes a deep breath to the point where I think her lungs may explode. “ I have seen it! The day of your return. I have seen that it will work… the judgment of the gods shall be deny by your word the one they have sentenced to death is your key. Sef… seek the sharman in the new world she will need Mason and Mason will need her. The solution. Lies with her… this will get you there…” Then the room flashed and I was blinded. When it came time for me to see again I saw that she had closed her eyes. She did not move again. She died.

What was that flash? What did she do?

Hey Sef what did she mean? What was her regret I didn’t understand it.

She wanted… you to have sex with her. And to be loved and embraced by you. As she grew older you stopped ‘seeking her flesh’ as she called it.

Who was she to me?

She was your lover for a time. She was your kinky sex friend mainly... to be honest, but you went in different directions when you got married and had kids but when you discovered she had also been pregnant with your kid as well, you dragged her back into your life mainly by force… but your child with her died and you went your separate ways until your mind began to fall apart then she came back to look for a solution. However she never found one and you could never get her to smile.

Then should I he glad?

Yeah… it's a happy moment.

I look back at the girl who I don’t know. She died with a smile on her face.

Although it appears that she may have loved you this entire time but felt like she wasn’t worthy enough for you. She emitted that the last time we spoke that she wanted to be with you… but I will remember her words. They have brought me hope. Although I did not understand them I feel I will when the time comes. Don’t feel bad. You will forget her by the time we get home but in your place I will never forget.

I walked out of the shop. My mind a buzz.

Is it really that bad Sef? That I would forget someone that important to me?

Yeah

Fuck! Fuck! I punched through a concrete wall.



I walk for three minutes and then.

Hey Sef where am I? What am I doing?

Your going to the gym.

Ok where is that?

Just go straight down this road for now.

Hey Sef you don’t sound to good are you alright?

Yeah I am just having a bad day. Really bad day.

What makes today bad? Did something happen?

Ah yeah a friend died.

Oh that’s always sad. But they are not truly dead until they are forgotten. Morn, then move on.

How cruel.

Really I was trying to be blunt. But that was a pretty asshole thing to say wasn’t it.

I know.

I turned to see some dead grass sway and it all became clear to me. It was like a revelation from the goddess herself! I new the truth and what I had to do. I will save the world.

Shit Mason no.

There is no wind! There never was only the mole people running past the roots of leaves with such force they leave small aftershocks but because of the rock between us it feels as us something brushed past your face but it wasn’t actually that! They are doing this to spin the earth into its destruction. I need to stop the worlds rotation before it's too late to save it!

Mason sit. This is an order.

I sit on the ground despite my better judgment and do as I am told. Orders can not be denied because then the fabric of space time will be ripped in half and the moon will come crashing down which it already is because of the mole people! I must act before it is too late!

Mason stay.

I stay still but as my body doesn't move my mind rotates at a speed beyond anything it has ever done.

But why did I not see this before. I look up and see an abandoned tech store! My god they have me chipped where is it. My fingers distort as the bone grows through the tips of them then it slowly changes until it appears as if there were claws on my hands! I rip at my wrists but find nothing sonI start digging around inside seeking the chips but there is nothing but I have a plan I must be flattened… there is that 75 floor skyscrapers I could jump from. That will rid me of the chip inside!

Mason. Stop.

I stop all movements including breathing. I suffocate

Mason. Breath

One long grasp and my mind is back in business. I look around me and there is a pool of blood. Its covering me and is all sticky so I use my alchemy and change it into a not sickly substance and it all slides off but there is nothing I can do for my clothes.

What the fuck was I doing?

You were making your way to the gym but… you were attacked by some common street thugs nothing to concern yourself with.

Ok

I stand and continue my walk towards the gym.

Oh yeah I just remembered.

WHAT! WHAT DID YOU REMEMBER!

The side project I decided to take up.

Is that all? Ok so what is it.

Well I thought I made it pretty obvious before with all the shadowy hints but if you haven’t got it than I will keep it a secret for now besides I will probably need a lot of materials to do it. It came to me in a dream the idea.

Ah ok. But how about a hint?

No I am good.

Then on a scale between a plan to get you laid and a world domination plan where is it?

Ahh… bigger! Much Bigger!

Oh damn… he’s growing even more crazy.

Hahahahaha I won’t deny that this dream is absolutely insane! And has no positive benefits for me at all!

Then why?

Because I think it will be amazing!

Ahhh then where do we start??

No clue but it something that seems like once you begin you can’t stop.

Hmm actually that might be what you need. Pick up the pace were will be there soon. The broken gym.

Why did they call it that. God I hate that name. It doesn’t suit me at all. I mean seriously they must think up the names two seconds before the fight begins they roll with it. Actually I think that they brought fake names into the arena was stupid to begin with.

Well they wanted to sell tickets also when you are an ordinary person the things heightened and blessed can do is beyond understanding. They wanted to capitalise on that besides would you go see Erick yang or the king of the sea the whale hunter. Also your name is pretty good I mean it’s better than Dr bight.

Yeah well I don’t like it.

You love it.

Ok I do.

The broken. That's an epic name. Ironic in your current situation you just didn’t like that some added man on the end. You wanted to keep it as just the broken and not the broken man. Besides they went back to just the broken later.

Yeah they did.

In fact the gym has quite a lot of fighters at mainstream level.

Does it?

I think it has three.

Noah, Zeng and… her. Also soon Vex will be a mainstream fighter.

Vex… who?

God fucking dammit I feel sorry for her. Vex is… your-“

Where here… sorry what were you saying.

No never mind.

Well we call it a gym it’s actually just a basement under a kebab store Noah owns… or was it his sisters?

His sisters.

Well I walk into the kabab store then instantly walk outside again and check my pockets. Then my clothes and I am covered in blood and without a single cent? Hey didn’t I collect rent today?

Ahh fuck! Mason take better care of your money you lost it!

FUCK! This FUCKING SUCKS. Well let's retrace our steps.

No lets just go into the gym this isn’t the abandoned section we probably shouldn’t walk around covered head to toe in blood.

Although I haven’t seen another person. Actually wait I think there might be one inside the Kebab shop… I think it's Noah’s sisters.

Yeah I think so two.

Well her shop is on the corner block and there is a path disconnecting it from the other buildings on this street that look like a small market area I walk into said path it takes the form of an L so if you keep going to get of on another road. Its small probably could only fit two people in it if they were to lay down so actually not that small it just gives off that feeling when comparing it to a road.

I make my way around the corner and see some steps on the side that lead down into a basement area that's blocked by a metal door and a sign that says fighting lessons on the side and a lot of graffiti. I open the door and walk inside and then I see some more steps which I follow down. Then after a good minute of walking down at a kind of steep slope I turn to face another door I open. That walkway down always had terrible lighting and looks creepy as hell but in turn Noah will give a month of free training to whoever comes in. He will teach his techniques and some of mine and Zoe’s then he will put them on a routine to get them going however most don't return the next day for one simple reason… this is a gym for people who like fighting. Sparing is part of the course and there is about 14 fighters who actually use this gym and each is quite powerful.

So sparing is part of the routine. The problem is most the guys here are picky assholes who pick on the new guy. Well they do it for the first month then they back off or Noah makes them back off and besides in their minds they are just doing what happened to them as if it was a tradition but the pay of is you could get access to even the most advanced training facilities.

This place is actually a former underground fighting ring were people would fight and some would make bets but it was just kind of ditched at some point but Noah came in and renovated it to an extreme.

Everything except the pit as it is called. I open the door in front of me and instantly see a long greenish black haired man laying down on his side staring at a poster of a sexy woman doing absolutely nothing. Ahh my favourite type of training.

No you’re favourite type of training is throw them at people who want to kill them and they get stronger or they die… not everyone is you.

Well it works wonders I tell you. Wonders!

I am instantly tackled from into a concrete wall that shatters. All the bones in my chest are broken and I turn to see a woman standing over me. “ Father! I won my match did you see! Ah right I am Vex you won’t remember me but I am your daughter!”

Huh?... who is this?



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Rhys Harrison

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