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Chapter 52.

Impurity.

???/Damien Reyes

Time/Area: August 4th, 2013. Draxon, Manhattan.

 

7 AM

 

PERSPECTIVE: ???

“Don’t talk back to ME.”

WHO Arrrrre you to tell meee what to do?! This SURGE is just as much our feast as it is yours-

“If you lay a step into his street-”

You shall SeeeeEE MaSterr, I shall be part of the Elect like DECAY and the DREAMER and allll the mutants you have called together HAHAH-

“You shall be no such thing- you’re not even pure. You hold an impurity that makes your power level arbitrary…like so many of our brethren…”

PURE?! I’ve...killed pures…I have…HAHAHAHAH… been evolved, HAHAHAH-

“Impurities evolved are still impurities. If you would like a seat on the island little brother, follow-my-commands-”

I dooon’t….UNDERSTAND…master. Why do you protect this…human. I…understand that he is a child, which makes his level of…power increase, but…there are other childrEN..I DONT UNDERST-

Do you know what his infector was evolved by?

Do you know what this boy has coursing through his veins?

Do you even know which emotion he…they both….ARE!?

No…I-
EXACTLY. You do not…KNOW. Therefore you CANNOT UnderSTAND.

Master-

Don’t touch the boy, brother. No one is allowed to touch the boy.

AHAAAAAAAAHAA, BUT HOWWwww much time does he have…before you move on-?

Do not question me.

Ahaha…apologies.

"He, and everyone he knows is fair game outside of that street…join the competition for his blood once he leaves like the rest of your siblings."

To treat us like…like the ANIMALS humans thINK we are…forcing us to play-

"This is your mind, little brother, and you seem too…stupid to realize that you need to keep your thoughts...in check around me."

I-

You’ve heard my words. Don’t touch him. Not until he leaves that area. Can you…understandthat?

Y-YES HAHAHAHAA.

Then stop wasting my time.

—----------------Perspective Swap: Damien Reyes—--

“S-so let me get this straight,” I coughed, motioning towards the broken window.

Past Draxon was a seemingly endless chain of rising smoke trails, explosions, and inhuman bellows. What made this so terrible was the fact that only two hours had gone by. Only two hours since our neighborhood still looked like an actual neighborhood.

Two.

“ ‘break the water’ was actually just a stupid way of saying ‘infect the whole city’s water supply’?” I clarified.

Jason was still nervously glancing at the corpse of the creature I had blasted, and to be honest, I was too,

“Y-yeah,” Jason said, bringing a hand through his bloodstained hair, “It explains the water color.”

I nodded slowly. After Jason had delivered his ‘really good’ deduction, he showed me the sink water in the bathroom.

It was hard to ignore that reflection of red on the liquid,

“And it explains why that…guy…turned so quickly.” I added, glancing back towards Jason’s monster's body,

“…I’m going to get rid of that.”

“Oh, thank goodness.” Jason let out a breath.

I couldn’t describe the fear that had struck me upon entering our bedroom and seeing…that thing.

And to know that anyone could just become one of those…at any moment…it was just too much. I knew that fact was technically true before now…but it just got a whole heck of a lot worse.

“What did you do with the…people downstairs?” Jason asked, gulping while I walked over towards the corpse.

I crouched downwards, reeling slightly at the smell of charred flesh and sulfur,

“I uh…” I gripped the thing’s twisted burnt shoulders, involuntarily shivering as I felt its stretched and distorted skin beneath my fingers, “I kind of left them there…they’re probably gone by now or still knocked out,.”

Jason managed to chuckle at that, “Nice…”

I took a deep breath, glancing over my shoulder towards the new opening in our wall. The shards from the shattered window were blending in with smaller piles of glass spread across the room, gleaming against the sunlight pouring through the space.

Ever since the... surge, the floors of the house looked like one huge sheet of glitter, and it would’ve looked kind of nice if the 'glitter' didn’t tear at my shoes or remind me that bloodthirsty monsters were running rampant across my neighborhood.

My city…

The world?

I shook my head, “I’m gonna just-”

“Y-yeah.” Jason nodded at the window.

I sighed, looking down as my arms illuminated in a dim red light.

The body of the creature became virtually as light as a feather, like all sense of ‘weight’ had left the corpse instantly.

I lifted it high above my head before walking over to the other side of our room, careful not to let its long legs scrape against my bed as I reached the window frame.

Within our room, and only within our room, it was sort of quiet. Instead of voices, all that filled the area was the hum sounding from the red static running along my joints.

I looked out of the window, letting my eyes scan the bottom of our yard.

All I had to do was leave it down there, and hopefully it would decompose like the last time we were attacked by-oh.

My eyes stopped at the body of a woman.

Her neck was clearly snapped against the grass, a human sized pool of blood soaking into the dirt around her while her mouth hung wide open.

Even with excess, my heart skipped a beat. I knew I was going to see a lot of dead people now, but…well…it was my first time.

I dropped the corpse out the window, watching it land a couple yards away from where the woman had died.

Before pulling my head back inside, I shifted upwards, gazing towards the end of Draxon.

It…just wasn’t Manhattan anymore.

Even now, swarms of people were running, driving, even biking across the street perpendicular to ours, like a stampede heading for safer grounds. Police cars also lined sidewalks, but I didn’t see any police. In fact, some of the law enforcement vehicles had been flipped over.

RAAAGH!”

My mouth opened a little at the sight of another bronze glowing monster.

It was charging down the same street, and….no one was doing anything. No one could.

I watched as the thing pounced on a van, the entire car turning on its side.

I again felt the doubt creep up into my throat as it ripped through the doors of the vehicle, the small eyes of three kids revealing themselves.

I slowly shook my head, unintentionally whispering commands as if I could do anything.

“Run…” I said, watching the creature shove its entire body into the back of the car.

I watched it shake the car, but I quickly returned from the window after I saw…

 

I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath before going back to Jason.

He was just staring at the carpet,

“Are…are you okay?” I asked, fully knowing it was a stupid question.

“H-how are you so calm?” Jason laughed, scratching his head, “I- I know we’re together, but…but my hands are…covered in this…stuff a-and everything outside it just-”

“It’s the feeding…” I admitted, shrugging, “It helps…”

Jason just went quiet, “Oh,” he said, “Lucky.”

-

Once we were back downstairs, the only body here was the man that had shot me.

Which, speaking of guns, Jason had gotten the one from Mrs.M’s bedroom along with the axe from ours. He had the axe slung over his back via a Velcro strap, and the gun was tucked into his belt. It actually kind of looked cool on him: like some character that would be in The Walking Dead or something. The guts drying on his clothes definitely helped with that theme, although he smelled pretty bad because of the stuff.

Jason had also grabbed some paper from his nightstand to write a note for Mrs.M when she got back, placing it on her door before we had gone downstairs.

I felt sort of guilty, like maybe I should’ve forced her to stay here…but I couldn’t do anything about it now.

“H-hey kids!!”

We both looked towards the front of the house.

The guy was still stuck under the couch.

“J-just let me go!!!” He shouted, desperately pushing at the couch with absolutely no luck.

I walked over to him, grudgingly throwing the furniture off his legs with one hand before crouching down to see his face.

He stared up at me, pain in his eyes but now with a mixture of pure shock,

“W-what are you?”

My eyes pulsed red for a moment, “Don’t come back.” we ordered, standing back up.

The man got on his feet in a flash, letting loose a yelp as he limped quickly towards our still open front door, “Y-you got it, boss!” he yelled.

Once he was out of sight, I turned towards Jason.

He was staring at the open door.

I frowned, “You’re not hurt, are you?” I asked, looking for any marks on him.

He cracked a grin, “Nah,” he said, “Just mentally scarred is all.”

He repeated my question, “What about you?”

I shook my head, “No,” I shrugged, “I healed everything once I fed.”

I didn’t even feel or remember where that guy had shot me. It was like I had never even been shot. It would seem that my ‘screwed up pastime’ had actually proved to be extremely useful.

Also, having more power in my system seemed to have helped focus my super hearing. I still had a headache, but it didn’t hurt as much to try and use the ability.

“So,” I took a step towards the front door, “You ready?”

Jason took a deep breath, exhaling loudly before just walking straight outside,

“No.” he replied, stepping out onto our porch.

“Fair…” I agreed, following.

The morning air on our faces brought nothing soothing. Instead, it only brought the scent of smoke, the sound of screams, and the feeling of death all around.

We walked across our empty driveway, stopping once we were on the sidewalk,

“So…” Jason began, turning towards the one way path out of Draxon, “I see all the crap up there…but why-”

“Aren’t any coming down here?” I finished his question, “I don’t know…”

Technically, I hadn’t ever seen a monster enter our actual street. The guy who became one in our house had also been infected in our house, but no monster had come in here of their own accord.

Maybe it wasn't anything, but seeing as a literal monster apocalypse led by some bigger monster hanging with the statue of liberty was terrorizing New York city, I supposed anything was possible.

“Where should we go f-first?” Jason asked me, stuffing his hands into his jeans’ pockets as his eyes darted upwards at the city's burning skyline.

I thought for a moment, “The Synth building is closest,” I said, “ Selina might be there.”

Jason nodded, sighing slightly, “I…I feel like this is going to take too long…just one person at a time…”

I frowned, already beginning to walk forwards, “That’s fine, dude.” I said, “We can’t really control that.”

Jason stopped, “Well… we could-”

“RAGREAGH NOooOAAHAHAHHAAHAH!”

My fists lit up like fireworks as I spun back to face the front of the sidewalk.

Up the concrete path was a monster that I had never seen before,

"What the..." I muttered, squinting to make sure I was seeing correctly.

It looked…strangely human. Not human in just its shape, but human in its mass too.

From here, I could guess it was about eight feet tall, but its muscles…its skin…they only looked like some extremely talented bodybuilder, not some supernatural demon.

What was monster-ish was the pitch black color coating its body, the deep blue glow humming around its frame, the sharp spike made from its own inverted bone and flesh hanging from its left arm, and…worst of all…its smile.

Jason backed up a little, “Okay…”

It was true…the monster was smiling at us.

It wasn’t just a smirk either; no, all of its pearly white teeth were gleaming in the sun, its smile stretched so wide that the edges of its cheek were leaking a black liquid.

I found it scarier that it was simply walking towards us instead of wildly charging. It was like it held composure…like it still had some of its humanity.

I slid my foot back, making eye contact with the creature before my eyes began to shine brightly.

“Damien...” Jason muttered from behind me.

I know, I know.” I breathed.

I felt a slight buzz ripple across my retinas.

As my vision went red, I was a little surprised when the monster stopped its slow stride.

Its smile didn’t once waver. Instead, it merely brought its arm over something on its stomach…something small that I hadn’t noticed before…

“Whatever…” I thought, gritting my teeth, “It’s not getting any closer.”

BOOOM!

Wind whiplashed across the area as a bright red bolt of light traveled from my eyes to the creature several yards away.

But there was no impact.

Once my eyes had stopped stinging, I looked to where there should've been a pile of ash.

There was no such thing…

“What. the. Heck.” Jason backed up, pulling out the gun from his pants.

I was at a loss for words.

“SSsssUrprised?!! AHAHAHA!”

It dropped its arm, and behind it was a small…opening in its flesh. It glowed blue, like the rest of its body, but it was so tiny- why would it care to cover it?

Honestly, that was the least important thing happening right now.

What had me and Jason speechless was the bolt of energy I had just shot.

It...was still here?

I stepped to the side, shocked at the literal frozen streak of red in the air.

It was like time had stopped. Like I was merely staring at a picture of lightning instead of the real thing.

But this was no picture.

I traced the energy, seeing the very tip of it collide with a blue field of static now surrounding the creature.

I didn’t know where it came from, but a sphere of energy spun around the monster like some kind of plasma orb, its smile stretching to impossibly bigger lengths when it noticed our expressions,

“WHyyyyy does he tell me to STOOOP?!”

What? Why...can it speak.

It raised its non-spiked palm towards us, the sound of growing thunder rumbling the air around us as the bolt of red…shifted.

My Excess changed color in front of my very eyes, somehow converting into a blue bolt of static as the entire discharge was pulled into the sphere of light revolving around the monster.

What…was I looking at?

“WHAT gives him the righttttt? HAHAHAHAHAH!”

As the sphere spun around the monster, it walked forward, its palm still outstretched as its glow seemed to grow brighter.

“I…RRAA-WILL-NOTTT OBEY!”

My eyes widened, feeling the air tingle with sparks as the creature stopped about twenty feet away. Its hand was glowing brighter and brighter…exactly like when I-

“JASON!” I shouted, raising both my hands up while directing the flow of power in my eyes back toward my arms, “GET DOWN!”

Instantly, a blue bolt of lightning had erupted from the sphere, not a millisecond going by before the energy had collided with my outstretched limbs.

BANG!

A bright flash of violet filled my eyes as I was thrown to the ground, stumbling onto the concrete while my vision went sideways.

I rolled back over, breathing heavily as I regained my composure.

my attention shot towards Jason, who was currently slumped onto the sidewalk with me.

The ground around us was more or less okay, but the gap between us and the monster was filled with charred bits of debris and ash, everything from benches to newspaper bins now sprawled about the area like the aftershocks of a Hurricane.

I had made a sort of…buffer between us and the attack, but both my arms were starting to bruise because of it.

“Are you okay?!” I called out to Jason, relieved when I saw him sit up. He readjusted the axe on his shoulder, grabbing the gun he had dropped before standing himself up. He was bleeding slightly out of some cuts on his face, but other than that, he was in one piece.

I stood up too, glaring back at the monster as it let loose another cackle.

"AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

“This has to be humor.” I said to Jason, maintaining eye contact with the creature as I absently healed the bruising on my arms, "It's laughing way too much."

“This is bad…” Jason said back, huffing, “A-and what’s that mark it was covering up?”

I backed up with Jason, which was sad, because we were still basically at our house,

So you noticed too?” I nodded, commanding the sparks scattered within me to bleed outwards all over my body.

ZzztZZ!

My entire body began to dimly glow red , leaving no place on my body uncovered with the light as I felt every muscle on me strengthen and swell.

If we were going to be combating the forces of monsters on a daily basis now, I could see why feeding was going to become essential…as much as I hated to admit it.

“Yeah…” Jason said, “It kind of looks familiar…for some reason.”

Familiar…

I squinted at the shape of the wound, whipping back to Jason a second later,

“Yeah, it does-!!”

I yelped when my line of sight was blocked.

In fact, I wasn’t staring at Jason at all anymore.

Instead, in front of me was a wall of black flesh and bone,

“I’m notttt pURE BLOOD! SOWHAT!!!!”

BANG!

I was barely able to think before the fist of the creature had shot into my chest, my body twisting through the air for what felt like a whole minute before I hit something metallic,

CRASH!

My back crushed a fire hydrant when I landed, a holler of pain escaping my lips as I rolled across the concrete like a tossed doll.

“I WILL BE ELECTEEEED.”

With effort, I was able to lift my head, wishing I could close off my nerve endings as every part of my body ached.

I had been hit across the entire road, now outside the series of homes directly across from ours.

I was reinforced when I was punched, a-and was still sent flying.

From the monster’s looks, it didn’t seem that strong…or at least not stronger than me…how could it do that?

I gritted my teeth, “Heal!” I ordered my body, feeling energy run towards my back.

The pain was gone in an instant, and I was standing up the instant after that.

Was this thing supercharged? It would explain the English…but what was it talking about?

I took deep breaths, my eyes flicking back across the street to where the monster was.

It dropped its fist, using the same hand to grab Jason as the blue field around him slowly evaporated,

“HELP!” Jason called out, his words followed by a plethora of curses,

“JASON!” I shouted, throwing my hands outwards as two bolts of light spun from my fingertips.

Both strings of Excess froze almost instantly, the static field back in view around the monster as it gave me a laughing glance,

“Reeaaaaally?!” it laughed bitterly, He wants youUUUu?!”

SWOOSH!

I once again powered up the front half of my body as the bolts were sent back at me, making an ‘X’ shape with my arms before the blasts made contact.

BOOM!

I was thrown back into the porch of a house lining the sidewalk, shattering a large flower pot and decimating a small field of garden gnomes before the pressure faded.

I dropped my arms, willing the bruising to heal subconsciously for the third time as I stumbled back to the sidewalk.

I almost felt like throwing up, not used to processing this much pain and having it vanish so quickly. It was...disorienting to say the least.

I looked back to the monster.

It was like this thing had its own ‘Excess’, which I knew every monster had to some extent, but this guy was basically like me.

So far, I had seen it shoot energy bolts, use superspeed, and make whatever that sphere was around itself.

“I can’t just blast this.” I told myself, "It'll just redirect it again."

“DAMIEN!” Jason shouted as the monster lifted him upwards.

It was retracting the sharpened dagger of bone embedded onto its leftmost limb, preparing to gut Jason and…turn him into a monster, “THE MARK: IT'S PROBABLY WHERE IT GOT INFECTED!”

Oh.
I gasped, now remembering where I had seen that mark.

I had the same scar…on my chest.

This wasn’t a monster who had been infected by the water, by the air, or by any other direct exposure to the virus. This was some guy who had been stabbed by a flesh spike like I had been…hence the open wound.

 

“DUDE, W-WHAT IF IT’S LIKE…SOME KIND OF WEAK POINT!?” Jason added, struggling to break free from its grasp, “L-LIKE THE KNIGHT GOBLIN’S SHOULDER IN FIGHT4LIFE!!”

I gulped, an idea coming to me as I powered up both my hands and feet.

Jason didn’t have long, and for his sake, I hoped he was right about this.

I shot my left hand forwards, another discharge of energy escaping my palm before it froze in the air,

“HUUUUMans NEVerrrr lEaRn....!!!!”

Instead of staying still, I immediately kicked off with my feet, making it through the road and in front of the monster in a flash while it still had its view locked across the street.

Its wound was exposed, and I was staring right at it.

It glowed brightly, the flesh behind the light seemingly unable to heal as it pulsed to the beat of the monster’s heart.

“Are these on every stabbed monster?” I wondered, staring in awe as the blue flashed on and off like a flickering light bulb.

CRACK!

I heard the explosion of my beam redirecting in the distance, the pulse of light accelerating when the monster realized I wasn’t standing there anymore.

Now…!

I shot my right fist forwards, aiming directly for the wound when-!!

SMASH!

My fist…was stopped.

The creature had reacted faster than I thought possible, dropping Jason and catching my strike with the same hand in one fluid motion.

“ARRAAGH!” it cried, struggling to hold me back.

I roared as I pushed my fist harder and harder against its hand, feeling its grip somehow strengthen as my biceps tensed. It was not…this strong a second ago…

My red energy was combining with its blue field orbiting around us, generating a purple sphere of heat as I felt my plain shirt begin to burn.

I added my other hand to support my strike, now using both hands to push against the monster’s tight hold.

How had it gotten so strong?!

I looked up, my eyes widening as I recognized the flow of sparks running up the creature’s limbs. It…it was reinforcing itself with its own excess…exactly like what I was doing.

I felt my hand shake…

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the creature lift its remaining limb above my head.

The limb with a spike attached to it…and the limb I couldn’t stop…

“GoooOOOD byyyye. Hheee was wRong about you...IIIII KNEW IT! I FEEEEL YOUR POWER, BUT YOU HAVE NOT FED ENOUGH AHAHAHAH!”

Crap..!

Just as the creature began to bring the spike down, a sudden wet crunch rang through the air,

STAB!

I felt the grip of the monster’s hand fade completely as its body suddenly went limp, the purple colored light show stopping instantly as the thing quickly fell to its knees.

“..Wh-whaarrrragh!!!!?”

I took a step back as I stared at Jason, watching as he wrenched the blade of his three foot long axe into the wound of the monster.

Jason’s eyes had anger boiling within them, his hands burned from interfering with our energies,

“Shut…”

He pushed the axe deeper, black liquid spraying out of the thing’s mouth a couple feet above our heads as its blue glow began to fade,

“Up…!”

Jason roared as he ripped the blade out of the creature’s stomach, painting the sidewalk in front of us in black before the eight foot corpse fell down completely.

I blinked.

Jason’s hands were shaking as he re-shouldered the axe, the blood that drenched the weapon steaming away as both red and blue waves of static still lingered on the metal,

“N-not just…agh…an antique, huh?” he stammered.

I glanced down.

His hands…

Bits of flesh were exposed along the base of Jason's palms, pieces of his skin folding back like wet paper to reveal tatters in his tissue.

“Dude…” I didn’t know what to say, feeling my muscles relax as I tried to find words “Th-thank you, I-”

Jason slowly turned to me, both of us still gasping for air to reclaim our stamina,

“Ow…” he breathed, looking at his hands as a tear fled his face, “ow….”

I took a step forward, but stopped soon after. I didn’t know what to do...

“I-I’m okay,” Jason muttered, squeezing his hands shut as he fought back another tear, “I-I can barely feel it anymore…I’m okay,”

I frowned, still looking at his hands, “B-but-”

Jason started grinning, ignoring the tears, “You know what this means, right?”

I coughed, glancing back at the body, “Erm…no…”

“We can kill these things now!” he basically shouted, his hands still quivering, “W-well…I can... now.”

he got quiet, "I can do it..."

I looked back to the tip of Draxon. The screaming and explosions never once ceased... even during the whole course of the fight. No people had come to help, all too busy running for their own lives.

In fact, even with the hundreds of people dashing about Manhattan, it didn't even seem as if anyone had noticed.

I sighed, turning back to Jason, “I…I mean that might only apply to people who get stabbed by-”

“Yeah!” Jason tried to laugh, “But let’s be honest here, that’s probably going to be most we see.”

I slowly nodded. It made sense that monsters would primarily spread the infection through their spikes, but the natural ways were still efficient.

Which brought up the question: if the water supply had been infected, did that contribute to how much of the virus was in the air already? It wasn’t like monsters appeared just this morning. People had been getting infected since whatever happened in Paris, but how much more now?

Is that what that thing had meant by not ‘pure’? Just being infected by one of the spikes?

What the heck was it even talking about?!

“He”

It had to be him, right?

The thing on liberty island…was it…talking with that thing? Telling it something-

“Dude!” Jason pulled me out of my thoughts, “This is an actual good thing.” he said, forcing a smile.

He continued, starting to walk towards the tip of Draxon,

“Plus, we can cover more ground this way.”

“ ‘Cover more ground’?” I repeated, stepping in front of Jason.

Jason nodded, “Yeah…” he said, “We’ve already wasted so much time, and we haven’t even left Draxon yet...we need to split up-”

“Don’t do that.” I rolled my eyes.

“Do what-?”

“Act like we’ve already talked about this?!” I said, annoyed, “We aren’t splitting up.”

Jason sighed, rubbing his temples with the unburned part of his hand,

“We actually have kind of talked about this…” he muttered.

I frowned, thinking about yesterday morning, “Th-that’s-”

“The same thing.” Jason said, groaning, “Damien, I’m not going to run towards monsters, and you’re not-”

“You might not have a choice,” I fired back, pointing at the corpse next to us, “Clearly.”

“You have to trust me!” Jason tried.

“I do trust you-”

“No, you don’t!”

I didn’t yell back, not wanting a repeat of last time,

“Look, Jason,” I sighed, pointing towards the tip of Draxon, “I…you know this- I cannot lose anyone else.”

“And we will,” Jason shot, “If we don’t split up.”

I turned away from him, absently shaking my head as I heard him continue.

“I know how to get to Queens, dude.” Jason tried to laugh, “I can get to Melissa and-”

“And what?!” I whipped back to him, “Also, stop laughing to make me feel better… it's not working.”

He shrugged, “Bring them back here?”

I glared, “No-”

“Think about it!” Jason went on, “This place, for some weird reason, is pretty much monster free.”

He pointed to the skyline of New York, “I can’t say the same thing about…anywhere else!”

BANG!

A light vibration ran through the ground of the sidewalk, the sound of another explosion ripping through the atmosphere.

“I-I guess,” I admitted, looking back towards the ongoing stampede rushing by our street. The monster that we had just killed seemed like…a special case, and aside from it- all the rest were avoiding Draxon.

But why?

Was it related tohim?

“Damien,” Jason started, “This is the only way I see that everyone at least gets a chance to get someplace safe.”

I disagreed, “You’re basing this all on the assumption that they won’t just…barge in our house some time!” I defended my point, “You can’t just-!”

“We don’t have any other plan.” Jason interrupted, throwing his arms in the air, “This one might be stupid, but a-at least it’s something.”

He’s right, you know…

I hissed, “Shut up, Terry…”

“See?” Jason pointed at me, “Even Terry knows I’m right….he said I was right, didn’t he?”

I looked back down, pondering the idea of Jason going alone,

“If you see any that are obviously too weird, go around them…” I muttered.

“D-duh.” Jason replied.

“And take shortcuts…don't just walk on a busy street like an idiot,” I added, “And don’t-”

“You’re wasting time, you know.” Jason groaned, punching my shoulder lightly, “I-I’ll be fine.”

I sighed, “Then I guess I’ll go get Selina myself… and maybe she’ll know where Hiru is.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Jason agreed, looking back at the road perpendicular to ours.

Three police vehicles had just rushed by, sirens blaring among the endless screams.

I gulped, “Jason-”

“You should be careful too, okay?” Jason beat me to it, looking back at me, “I know you have superpowers or whatever, but you don’t worry about yourself enough.”

I tilted my head.

I couldn’t worry about myself…I shouldn’t be allowed to.

Everyone needed me…how could I be worried about what I needed?

“S-sure,” I let out a breath, “I will.”

Jason half grinned, spreading his arms out to the side, “Bring it in?”

I managed to smile, “You’re covered in guts, not a chance.”

He frowned, dropping his hands, “Ouch.”

Jason gulped, turning around, “W-well…I guess…I guess I’ll go now...we better hurry-”

“Just don’t..." I stopped him, grabbing his shoulder, "You know…die.”

I scratched my head, “That would…suck.”

Jason slowly nodded, backing up towards an alley that separated two houses as I let go of his shoulder,

“Right back at you,” he smiled, “This is just a ‘see you later’...so stop getting sad.”

“I’m not sad.” I snapped, “You’re the one that wanted a hug.”

He laughed from the alley, “You seem depressed.”

“Where are you even going?”

“This is a shortcut-”

“Why don’t you just take 7th?” I interrupted, “You’re always bad at this-”

“Well, why don’t you just shut up?” he shot back, slipping further into the alley, “Acting like I haven’t lived here as long as you…”

I grinned fully, rolling my eyes, “Be careful, Jason.”

“Bye, Damien!” He yelled, trying to give a thumbs up but wincing from the pain.

I found my smile deteriorating when I saw him disappear behind the alley,

“See you later…Jason.” I muttered.

I bent my head a little, saying a quick prayer for him…for me…for everyone.

B O O M!!!

Another explosion rang in the sky.

I gulped, pushing away the sense of loneliness as I began jogging for the end of the street,

“You can do this, Damien,” I told myself, trying not to slow down as I got closer and closer to the screaming, “Synth isn’t even that far from here…”

And plus, you’re not totally alone.

My lips tugged at a smile,

“Yeah, I guess I’m not.”

I was only a couple of feet from leaving Draxon now…

Are you ready?

“Ha, are you?”

Let’s go get the girlfriend.

I slid out of Draxon, joining the slowly thinning masses of people as they charged forwards.

I took a deep breath, feeling like some kind of soldier running towards a war,

“Let’s.”

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Jathias

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