View Full Version : Afterlife (REMAKE)
12-03-2012, 07:29 PM
Well then. I haven't touched my Afterlife book in quite some time, so instead of continuing off and possibly retconning some stuff, I decided to reboot, restart, reset, and everything else!
Why? Because I don't feel satisfied with how the series was heading, so there will be MANY plot differences.
I'll start the project after I'm done with this semester of school, so sometime around Christmas.
Discuss here. (http://naruto.viz.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111036)
12-31-2012, 07:33 PM
Chapter 1: Rebirth
“Don’t leave me…” I saw a faint trace of her face as everything turned black. I felt nothing. I was still conscious, but I had died, didn’t I? I waited. Nothing. A few more minutes of waiting might give me some answers. Still nothing. So, is this death? Trapped forever in darkness? Well, this sucks. Even though I can feel all my limbs, it’s not like I can do anything. I’m trying to remember everything good in my life. I remembered my family, all my friends, and… her. Thinking about them didn’t make me feel any happier, as I’d be stuck in this black web for the rest of eternity, with them grieving. Hey, at least, they’ll get over me, right? I don’t even know anymore at this point.
Suddenly, I saw a small light ahead. No way… This can’t be true. Am I really coming back to life? The light grew a little bit larger and brighter every second. I couldn’t see anything it, but I knew it was expecting me. It grew to the point where I could see my body. I was naked. Odd, but at this rate, the light was surrounding me. Was I going to heaven? I wasn’t too religious myself, but still, if this isn’t heaven, then I don’t know what-.
SPLASH! I found myself in a giant pool filled with incredible painful water. One minute, it felt like it was boiling and the next, it felt freezing cold. At this point, I couldn’t care less about how I got here. I needed to get out. I tried climbing out, but the sides were too high. Suddenly, the walls broke down. I face planted on the ground. I looked up and my eyes burned. The whole room was lit up with some odd kinds of stones lining the walls. It took some time for my eyes to adjust, but right as they did, I saw Death.
At least I think so. He sat around 50 feet away from me. He had to be at least 20 feet tall. His head was a skull, with black smoke fuming out of the openings. The rest of his body was lavished in a long dark purple robe. On his clothes were necklaces with many diamonds, amber, and even some skulls. All of his bony fingers had jeweled rings on them. He held a gavel in his left hand and hit it on a podium in front of him every few seconds. Suddenly, I was teleported into a line of people. It seemed to stretch on forever in front of me, but every second another person would appear behind me. I waited and slowly stepped ahead until I finally reached the podium. The skeleton looked down at me and shook his head. I would’ve felt a bit offended, but then again, this is a 20-foot skeleton in a giant mystical cave, but I digress.
“Another young one…” he muttered. His voice was very deep and dry. “His background… Bravery, wit, love, and cunning… However, we have despair, sacrifice, and unneeded attachments… But you wouldn’t know that would you?”
Bravery? Yeah, bravery-my-ass: I couldn’t even speak to the guy, since I was so scared. I have no idea how he knew my name or my… background…? It just suddenly hit me. Ever since busting out of the pool, I had forgotten all of my personal memories. I mean, I remember things that are common knowledge. I know who the president is, I know where the US is, but I don’t remember who I am, besides my name. All I remember now is one face. It’s of a girl. Maybe that’s what he meant by “love,” but who knows, it could be my damn sister if I had one. Plus, I can’t even remember that face all too well. I only remember a faint outline. Not much to go on. But as I stood silent, I heard him hit the podium with a gavel. The skeleton cried out, “Level 3!”
Suddenly, I found myself in an elevator of some sorts. I saw that I was wearing jeans and a blank T-shirt. Next to me were two guys about my height. They too had skulls for heads, but they had scythes on their backs. One of them pressed the button marked “3” in the elevator. I felt myself rising, and the door opened in a few seconds. In front of me was something I didn’t really expect, to be honest. I saw a large plain in front of me, which seemed to stretch on forever.
The land was dotted with small farmhouses, but what really made the whole area was the scenery. It actually looked beautiful. The small hills were lined with flowers and tall grass. Small ponds with nearby trees added to the look. There were many pale, white rocks dotting the fields, sometimes stacked on each other. As I admired the scenery, the two skeletons in the elevator awkwardly kicked me out of the elevator and I rolled down a hill. The elevator doors closed and suddenly disappeared, leaving my nonexistent dignity and me.
It seemed to be morning, so I probably woke up a few people with my yells. I spit out some of the grass that got caught in my mouth. I heard some laughing from inside one of the houses. Dandy. I felt something in my pocket as I picked myself back up. It was a piece of paper that said, “Stay at 327.” I wondered what it meant, and I went towards a house to ask someone about it. Then I noticed beside the door was a house number that read “327”. Huh. Anyways, I awkwardly knocked and when the door was opened, I saw two people laughing. One was a Hispanic guy and the other was a Caucasian girl. They both seemed to be around my age.
I awkwardly asked, “This IS house 327, right?”
The Hispanic guy managed to stop laughing for a second. “Yeah, that’s what it says on the sign, Sherlock,”
The girl suddenly looked embarrassed once she realized that I’m staying there. “Come on Alex, we’ve humiliated him enough. Let’s show him where he’ll be sleeping.”
“Come on, I’m watching reruns of Jersey Shore!” Alex replied.
Alice responded, “I thought you didn’t even like that-“
“Shh-“ said Alex.
Alice sighed. “Whatever, you let him hang out with us when we go to Elysium later.”
“Okay, that’s cool.” He replied.
I awkwardly nodded as they had their little argument and followed Alice to an upstairs room. I saw a queen size bed with a pamphlet on top of it. There were doorways to a closet and bathroom. The house looked simple enough. It was made of wood, but the insides were clean and there were modern appliances installed.
“Sorry about that. Alex doesn’t really like meeting new people, which is weird because he’s always going to parties and stuff. I don’t know, he’s always been kind of weird like that,” the girl laughed.
I awkwardly laughed along. I was a bit nervous, but I introduced myself. “I’m Hayden Johnson. And uh, I’m a bit confused, so is there anything that can kind of explain what’s going on?”
Alice made a face. I could tell she was a bit embarrassed. “Oh my gosh, I forgot to introduce ourselves. I’m sorry,”
“No, no, it’s fine. Go ahead,” I replied.
She inhaled then started speaking. “Anyways, I’m Alice Ryker and my lazy boyfriend downstairs is Alex Reyes. If you’re hungry, there’s some stuff in the pantry downstairs. We’re going to get you some clothes and stuff around noon, so get ready, please. I’m so sorry if this is all weird and stuff. Alex and I moved in at the same time. You’re our first new room-er housemate. Again I’m sorry if this a bit awkward.” She awkwardly laughed a bit.
“Nah, it’s cool, Alice. Anyways, is there anything here to explain about this whole, you know, thing?” I asked.
Alice was silent for a bit, with a blank look on her face, but then she realized she hadn’t told me that yet. “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry for forgetting!” Her face was really, really red. “Um, you can just, uh, r-read that pamphlet on the bed. This is so embarrassing, with you being our first housemate and all,”
I laughed, feeling better now that I know that I’m not the only nervous person here. “Don’t feel so bad, I don’t feel offended or anything,” She laughed a bit, looking more relieved.
She then replied, “J-just don’t forget to come downstairs at noon, okay?”
Alice seemed all right. She was nice and pretty, which makes me wonder how she got hitched to someone like Alex, who seemed kind of a jackass. I shrugged my shoulders and lay down on my bed. I opened the pamphlet and started reading. The cover had a picture of outside and read, “Afterlife: Level 3- The Fields of Rest.” Well, it IS a field out there and I AM resting, so at least they got that down. As I looked inside, I studied all of the text and the best I could summarize it was like this:
When you die, you get reborn in the Afterlife. You’re cleansed of your memories while getting reborn. You also have no contact with the outside world at all. The only things you can watch on TV are re-runs and Afterlife-only shows. Depending on your deeds and traits in the first life, you get sent to different floors to live. There are 14 floors:
7: Eternal Palace
6: City of Bliss
5: Islands of the Blessed
4: Realm of Light
3: Field of Rest
2: Forest of Mystery
1: The Mountain of Peace
-1: Plateau of Inferno
-2: Blighted Fields
-3: Basin of Demons
-4: Realm of Shadow
-5: Frosted Volcano
-6: The End.
Of course, those sound like pretty dramatic names, but that’s by far the least weird thing. Basically, these 14 floors have different sectors inside of them, separating people from different places and times, so you won’t have Patrick Henry bunking with Mao Zedong. For people who don’t have a will, like babies, are sent to floor 0, aka Limbo, where they’re grown in a simulated environment and are sent to another floor afterwards. Some people who can’t function well are sent to Limbo indefinitely, though, but that’s only in extreme cases. Anyways, at least for the people in floors 1-6 (floor 7 was for official Afterlife personnel, only) people could gain access to a large city known as Elysium. In Elysium, people from similar times and places from floors 1-6 can meet. There’s a bunch of shops set up and different businesses, so it’s not TOO dissimilar to the first life. So, now I have the chance of meeting another kid my age that lives in the UK and has been relatively good and have a pizza with him. However, I have no way of actually going to another floor.
However, on the topic of jobs and pizza, the money earned here can obviously buy you food, clothes, and other stuff, but it’s not really “needed.” The thing about Afterlife is that you don’t starve. However, you can get hungry once in a while, and you might want to buy a BLT or something. Of course, people can get free food every day, but when you want to buy things like clothes or extra furniture for the house, you can earn extra money on the side. People who own shops or businesses get a bunch of money, but it takes time and effort to set up one yourself, so lots of people usually just run errands for shop and business owners every once in a while.
People known as Reapers protect the whole of Afterlife. They’re the skeletal looking guys who “escorted” me to Level 3. They’re sort of like the military and the police force, combined. People are chosen almost at random. They, of course, keep order in Afterlife and all that jazz, but what really interested me was the topic of death in Afterlife. Basically, if people are caught doing crimes in Afterlife, they either have to pay a fine or are sent to one of the negative levels for a certain amount of time. However, people CAN die in Afterlife. But when they do, that’s it. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Your existence is gone, and you have nowhere else to live. They can only die from physical injuries, though, and diseases are basically nonexistent. That’s all that was said in the pamphlet.
As I began to check out the rest of the room, I heard a knock on the door. “Come in!” I answered.
The door opened and Alex Reyes stepped in. He said to me, “Dude, I thought you’d notice what time it is. Didn’t Alice say that we’re going to Elysium at noon? Come on, man, we’re buying your crap.”
I looked at the clock on the wall. It said 12:14. I didn’t realize how close it was until noon by the time Alice introduced herself. I replied. “Sorry, man. I didn’t notice that-“
“Yeah, okay. Just come downstairs already,” Alex ran out of the room and down the stairs. What a charmer. I quickly paced down the stairs and asked how we were going to get to Elysium. I followed them over to an area beside the kitchen. It was a small room with a circular pad the size of a hot tub.
Alice made a face. “I don’t really like how the OTHER instruction pamphlet explained it, so I’ll just show you,” We all walked onto the circle and she said, “Elysium!” Suddenly, a hologram of a giant city floated around us. There were small glowing spots dotted around the hologram. She then explained, “Those glowing dots are the different places you can teleport to. We usually go to that one right there when we go shopping,” She pointed to a glowing area marked 2B. I nodded as she continued. “Anyways, you don’t always have to search through the map every time you want to teleport. You can do it like this,” She cleared her throat. “Elysium 2B!”
Suddenly, everything turned white and my body vibrated extremely fast. But it ended just as it began. I found myself in a whole new city. I could see skyscrapers in the distance, but we were currently in a shopping district. There were market stalls as well as 3-story clothing departments. This place seemed to have everything from grocery stores to a place that sells couches to an Afterlife version of Wal-Mart. However, I couldn’t marvel at the sight of the stores as something much more intense was occurring around 20 feet in front of us. There were many screams and two bloody bodies on the ground. One of them seemed to be alive, but she was in major shock. However, right in front of them were two people: a man with a long, bloody knife and a Reaper. And they were in heated combat.
The knife man came in for a slash at the Reaper’s neck, but he managed to dodge the blade by stepping back. The Reaper then sliced his enemy’s gut with his scythe, but the knife man was still attacking. The knife guy came back in with a stab at the Reaper’s chest, but the reaper managed the catch his arm and hit him the head with the butt of the scythe, knocking out the attacker. After the knife guy fell, there was a period of silence for a few seconds, but it was broken by someone saying, “Don’t just stand there, take them to the clinic!”
The Reaper said, “I’ll contact the nearest emergency squad to come get them to the hospital. You guys just make sure the two people get to the clinic!” To my surprise, the Reaper was, in fact, a female. I would like to wonder how hot I thought this was, but I was slapped back into reality as Alice and Alex ran to help those two. As I followed them, I noticed the Reaper looking at me weirdly. She stopped me and asked, “Is this your first day here?” I nodded. She continued, “Are you Hayden Johnson?” I nodded again. “Yeah, we’re going to be needing you to help the Reapers,” I was taken aback. I thought only like a few people were chosen to join the force. My body seemed to be fit, but not enough to become one of Afterlife’s protectors. She continued, “Look, just meet me at 2406 Cobbler’s Street in sector D. Bring your friends too, but no one else, got it? I have to take this jackass right here to jail and call the medics,”
As surprised as I was, confusion was what I felt the most. I said, “Please, slow down, just tell-“
She interrupted me; “I don’t have anymore time to spare. Go to 2406 Cobbler’s Street. Hayden Johnson. We require you.”
01-19-2013, 12:56 PM
Chapter 2: 2406 Cobbler’s Street
Well, I have no idea what just happened. I saw the Reaper press a Bluetooth-like device on the side of her skull, which somehow let her communicate with the Reaper base. She gave me a look, which told me to move before any more suspicions were raised. I ran back, but it seems that I wasn’t needed. The clinic was very close by and some doctors had already taken the patients away on stretchers, and the crowd was dispersing quickly. As I walked past people, they all looked horribly shocked, and I don’t blame them. I’ve just been shocked more that I may or may not have to do with this whole thing and are wanted by the Reapers on my first day. Also, this whole place doesn’t seem as safe anymore, with a random attack happening. Plus, I need to somehow 2406 Cobbler’s Street in sector D. This whole thing is beyond a blur.
But for now, all I needed to do is find my housemates, as they’re wanted as well. Plus, they probably know their way around this place MUCH better than I do. I didn’t see them walk past me, so I found my way to the clinic. It was small in length, but it had two stories. The outside of it was made completely out of brick and had a few windows with blinds. There were white letters that read: Official Sector B Clinic. As I entered inside, I found myself looking at a few worried people sat on chairs in the waiting room. They seemed to be people who knew the assault victims. However, sat on another chair on the other side of the room was none other than Alex. I walked towards him and sat one chair down from him, as to not be too awkward. Eventually, I asked, “So, where’s Alice?”
He turned to me and monotonously replied, “She worked part-time with this clinic to get us some money a while back. She figured she could help out with those two who got cut. Just wait a bit. She’ll be out in a few.”
I didn’t want things between us to be hostile anymore. At first I thought about talking to Alice about it, but honestly, I think I should just keep the situation between us, “Hey look, Alex. I’m sorry for pissing you off back at the house, man. No offense, but why did you kind of get angry with me? I mean Alice told me that you were pretty social. I just don’t get why you seemed a bit hostile back at the house,”
He sighed once. He then said, “Look, I might’ve seemed like an ass, but in all honesty-“
Suddenly, Alice walked out of a door, which caused him to stop talking. She looked a bit dazed and of course, embarrassed. This time, I really don’t blame her because I would feel the same if I had shown someone around town just to witness a fight. Before she had a chance to apologize or whatever, I asked them all to come outside so that I could talk to them about something important. As we exited through the door, I could finally talk about what the Reaper had told me since everyone was here. They looked confused at what else could’ve been more important, but I started talking. “Okay guys. While you were helping with the people, the Reaper talked to me. She said that she needs our help and to meet at 2406 Cobbler’s Street in Sector D,”
They both looked about as surprised as I did. But Alex became a bit suspicious. He said, “Look, I know that you’re not lying, since you obviously didn’t know about those places before, but I don’t think you heard it right. I did some jobs down on Cobbler’s Street and there no building is marked as 2406. It stops at 2405. Plus, why would the Reapers want to meet in Sector D? I don’t think you know about the districts yet. Let me put it this way: Sector A is the recreation district, Sector B is the market district, Sector C is the business district, but Sector D is for miscellaneous areas and extra space, set aside for whatever purpose,”
“No, I know what I heard.” I responded. “She told me to bring you guys and no one else, so it must be a secret, right? Maybe if we search hard enough, we can find a hidden area or something. Plus, I don’t get why Sector D would be so out of place. That’d be a great place to hide,”
Alice stepped in. “I’m sorry, Hayden, but I have to agree with Alex on this one. You might be thinking a bit too crazily. I think you heard it wrong, too. Sectors A and B take up 25% of Elysium’s space, each, and Sector C takes up 35%. That leaves only 15% of the land to be used, and companies own a bunch of it so there isn’t enough space for a Reaper base. If it’s so important, then they’ll send a letter or something eventually, right? Plus, there is already a small Reaper station in Sector C, but that’s where they go just to regroup and stuff.”
I sighed. “I guess she could’ve meant the station, but why would she tell me to go to Sector D…? I guess you’re right. We should just wait for a letter or something…” But something swelled inside of me. It was an inner feeling telling me to go anyways. I knew that something was in Sector D. I don’t know how. But it HAD to be there. I had to go there, somehow, and I had to bring them along. Looks like I have to beg. Figures. As soon as they were going to walk off, I asked them to stop. I said, “Look, guys. I know that you’re devoting some of this day just to buy me crap, and it really means a bunch. But how about we strike a deal or something? Let’s all go to Sector D and to Cobbler’s Street and see what is there. If we don’t find anything, I’ll take up a job or something and buy my own stuff. How about it?”
They both thought about it for a moment, but they finally agreed. I guess the promise of them not losing any money for me kind of convinced them to help me out. To get to Sector D, we had to go back to the 2B teleporting pad and open up the Elysium map. Alex pointed out where Cobbler Street was, and we teleported to the pad 3D, the closest one to it. When we arrived, the change in scenery kind of shocked me. It was hard to even imagine that this was the same city. I just saw small outposts with lots of supplies piled around the buildings. There wasn’t anything glamorous or enticing. It was almost a bit creepy at times.
We walked for about 5 minutes until we reached Cobbler’s Street. We looked at the building numbers, and to my surprise… Alex was totally right. There was no building marked 2406. Not only that, but we had reached the edge of Elysium. All that was ahead of us was just a bunch of fog. Alice told me that the fog was like an invisible border around Elysium that can’t be passed. Going into it wouldn’t lead you anywhere, but if you turn back, you would almost instantly find yourself out of it. So that meant that there was no more land in Sector D after this. But still. I know what I heard. I told the others to wait as I aimlessly looked around for a sign. But nothing was found. I shook my head. Then it dawned on me. What if the Reaper had been trying to play a trick? I mean these WERE they same people who kicked me out of an elevator. I could see them trying to mess with my head. At this point, I felt embarrassed. I knew I’d feel that if I didn’t find them, but I was SO confident I would find the base, that I didn’t really focus on that.
As I was preparing to turn back, I suddenly had a funny thought in my mind. I mean, this Reaper girl made it clear that nobody else was to know, yet she trusted me, some random kid on his first day here, with this vital information. If this wasn’t a trick, then was it a test? It had to be. I looked at the fog. The 2406 number was a clue. It pointed me in the direction I had to go. I looked ahead into the fog. 2406 Cobbler’s Street was hidden in there.
“Hayden, let’s go!” I heard Alice yell. I couldn’t explain what I was about to do, as it would sound as crazy as trying to find the end of a circle. If they heard what I said, they’d think I was crazier than they had previously thought. But I knew that 2406 just HAD to be there. I didn’t know anything about myself, but I CAN admit that the judge was somewhat correct about me being brave. Either that or I was horribly stupid and headstrong. I conclude that it was a mixture of both as I ran into the fog.
It was very, very dense. I couldn’t see anything more than 2 feet in front of me, and it was very humid. At this point, my passion for finding this started to disappear and was quickly replaced with disappointment. But as soon as I decided to turn back, I suddenly noticed that there was, in fact a building ahead. It wasn’t too far ahead, but the fog made me only see a silhouette. I ran fast, as fast as I could. I felt the wind at my back. When I reached the building, I saw 4 giant numbers painted to the front of it: 2406. I grinned with much excitement. The building itself was a small shack, but it was probably a disguise. The door had no knob, so I just knocked. After a few seconds, I heard a voice with a British accent ask, “Who are you?”
I nervously replied, ”H-Hayden Johnson,”
I heard the guy on the other end grunt. He viewed me through a hidden camera, which I would find out about later, and said, “Seems to be you. Everything is in order. Go on, now.” I waited for the door to open, but nothing happened. I went to knock again, but my hand phased through the door. I shrugged. I stepped ahead, but I soon regretted it. The only thing on the other side was a giant chasm, which I promptly fell into. As I tumbled down, I thought I was going to die. I thought this was an elaborate trap or something. However, it ended as fast as it started, as I started to slow down while falling. Eventually, I safely landed on a platform and in front of me was a hallway. I walked towards it, just to find someone sitting on a bench. He had a dark cloak on, like a Reaper, but no skull for a head. He was Japanese and looked about 16 or 17 years old. He was chewing some gum, while he was watching a video on a sort of Afterlife iPhone. When he saw me, he looked a bit astonished.
“Oh, uh hi. You actually found this place.” He said quietly.
I was silent for a second and then asked, “Yeah, might you explain what the hell is happening?”
He chewed on his gum some more, while looking shy as ever. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t even know how you found this place.”
I replied, “A female Reaper said that you guys needed me and my friends to help the Reapers, right?”
He suddenly didn’t seem so timid, and now seemed more annoyed. “Oh boy, Liz is always so motivated to recruit new Reapers. How long have you been here?”
I gulped. “It’s my first day and-“
“Oh, yeah, you’re that kid. We’ll explain everything to you, I guess. Um, just follow me. My name is Akio Hamaka, by the way.” He replied.
I didn’t know what made me so special that he suddenly went from being annoyed that I was just some random recruit to being at least somewhat obliged to show me around. I started to follow him, thinking that he’d show me around the place, but instead he went towards one room. As I followed him, I saw that we were going into a lab of some sorts. But that wasn’t the main thing to be addressed. In front of me were one angry looking girl and a guy who probably wouldn’t think twice before killing me now. They were my housemates. I awkwardly laughed. “Oh, uh, hey guys, how’ve you been?”
05-22-2013, 09:16 PM
(Kind of short)
Chapter 3: The Choice
They both said nothing for a bit, but Alice stepped over and slapped me. It hurt. At this point, I felt like a complete ass. Alex, still had his “I don’t give a crap” face on, but he looked a bit more peeved than usual. I sighed and apologized. They (mostly just Alice) seemed to take it pretty well, seeing as how I messed up their day and ditched them. And now I may or may not help guard Afterlife. All in all, this has been a pretty interesting first day.
But due to curiosity, I went ahead and asked them how they got here before I did. They told me that they followed and found 2407, a different entrance here much faster than I found 2406. “So, uh now what?” I wanted to ask them. But I couldn’t, for two reasons. 1) I had already screwed up their plans for today. 2) He walked in.
The man we saw looked eccentric and a really, really creepy. He wore a white lab coat on top of a robe, which made him look like a samurai scientist of sorts. His skin was a really pasty white and his dark blue eyes were menacing. He was a bit skinny, too. He had medium length brown hair that was tied back. Oh, and his mouth was covered in a muzzle. Forgot to mention that. Yeah, the bottom half of his face was covered with a scary looking metallic mask lined with different pipes and a few holes, probably to let him breath. After further inspection, the metal muzzle/mask thing looked like a jaw of a skull. It was a really deformed jaw with pipes and holes running through it, but still a jaw nonetheless. Also, on his chin, there was a “2-SM” engraved in the jaw thing.
His presence alone cancelled any sort of emotion in the room. All my feelings of guilt and embarrassment were gone. All of Alex and Alice’s feelings of anger were probably gone. The longer he was near us; the feelings of discomfort grew even more. I turned and saw Akio not looking as frightened as us, but still pretty creeped out. Eventually, Akio broke the silence and said, “Sir, I believe these are the people Liz recruited,”
He nodded silently. He then grabbed a bandana that was hanging from his neck and lifted it over his jaw. He looked a bit more presentable now. Just a bit. “I can understand why,” He spoke. The man’s voice was deep and menacing, but it gave him a sense of superiority. He talked like he could casually lead twenty armies and they would all follow him without a second thought. He pointed at me and beckoned me to come near him. I slowly trudged over to him and faster than I could react, a cut suddenly opened up on the side of my cheek.
It started stinging as I yelled. “Aw, goddammit!”
“The wound will fully heal in a matter of days. The scar will disappear in a matter of weeks,” he replied nonchalantly. “In the meantime, you probably should get used to the pain because you have a high chance of feeling something 20x as painful in the next few weeks,” Well, at least he’s honest. I saw a metal thorn of sorts in his hand; with the tip of it soaked red in my blood. On the lab table, there was a blue solution in a beaker. He dropped the thorn in the solution and the blood instantly mixed into the water. Suddenly, the liquid started fizzing and coalescing into blue shards. After about 10 seconds the liquid stopped fizzing and he poured out the shards. There were 15 of them. The man turned around, but this time, HE looked astonished.
“I don’t assume you know what that means, do you?” He asked. I shook my head. Suddenly, Alice chimed in.
She said, “ That liquid there is something called spirit oil. It’s a chemical found only in the Afterlife that measures your strength. When you mix your blood with it, the liquid turns into shards that measure how much strength you have. A sick person’s blood would cause the liquid to turn into approximately 2 or 3 shards on average. But a healthy person’s blood would cause the liquid to turn into around 6 or 7 shards. But you… you had 15. That’s… that’s… amazing,”
The drama of the moment was completely killed when the man spoke up and said, “Yes, quite. Now are you done with your show of infatuation? I presume you’ll let me speak now,”
“Oh, um…” she started, but the man cut her off again. Even for a man in a position of authority, he’s pretty damn blunt. Alex looked pretty peeved right now, but whether it was for the whole infatuation comment or just the fact that Jaw Man was kind of an ass, was not real clear. Maybe it was both.
After the man cut her off, he continued. “I am Doctor Chase Rogers, a Colonel in the Reapers. I specialize in the strengths of people in the Afterlife and chemicals that affect it. Your strength, as your woman friend said is obviously much above average. However, with this being your first day, this is obviously all a blur. I see great potential in you and I have plans on how to exploit it. But I will give you a choice. You can either go back home with your housemates and get more acquainted to the Afterlife style of life or you can come with me and attempt to exploit your inert abilities,”
I then asked Chase, “How did you even find me in the first place?”
“As a specialist in strength, I created a radar-like machine that many Reapers use daily. It plots out how much energy, the unit to measure strength, any person on all the floors has at any given time. The second you stepped onto floor 3, the radar suddenly lit up. We found who you were and I had ordered Liz to collect you and your housemates.
Your two housemates, on the other hand both have above average energy levels that seem to be slowly increasing. They aren’t overly incredible like yours’, but we had them on watch for this possibility that they could be recruited into the Reapers. But even without doing a spirit oil test, I can tell that the chance of them fitting in with other Reapers’ energy levels are low.”
I looked back at my housemates and Alex just said, “You’re the superman, it’s your choice. Joining up isn’t really on my agenda now,” Now, in any other situation, I’d instantly jump at the scenario of getting superpowers or something. But now, I had no idea what was going on. I’d barely been here for any time and I had already witnessed so many crazy things. This was a crazy world. I wasn’t sure that going into such a world at this time was the smartest decision.
“Actually Chase…” I started.
Suddenly, I heard uproar from elsewhere in the base. In rushed a Reaper that had a panicked look on his face. “Doctor Rogers! They’ve attacked again!”
Chase’s eyebrows rose, “Where in Elysium?”
“D-district A and B, b-but-“ he stuttered.
“But what?” Chase yelled.
“They’ve attacked the first three floors. We have 10 reported casualties and at least 30 wounded. This report was made 20 minutes ago!” he replied.
“20 minutes? Why the hell didn’t you tell me until now?" Chase barked.
“The message was delayed somehow!” the Reaper said. Suddenly, Chase appeared right in front of him and held the Reaper up in the air by the collar. The nervous soldier said, “I s-swear, sir! The m-message was jammed or d-delayed!” Chased sighed and dropped the Reaper down. He looked beyond scared. Chase’s speed and strength was probably unrivaled by anything I’ve seen before. But what scared me is that he would be this rough to his own soldier.
Chase ran into the hallway and we decided to follow him. But on our way there, Alice said, “Oh God, what if our house was hit? What if anyone we know was-”
Alex tried calming her. “Don’t worry. It could’ve been any part of Floor 3. Who knows if it was our home?”
When we caught up with Chase, we found ourselves in a large room with a 3-D holographic map of off of the floors in the middle. On the sides of the room, there were Reapers working on computers, which was an odd site. I figured that this was communications. That’d probably explain why this place was secret. If communications were sabotaged, then everything would have gone to crap.
“Sir!” one Reaper on the communications said. “Here are the specific areas where attacks occurred.” He typed on his keyboard for a few seconds, and the holograms changed into 5 large maps, one for each area attacked. There were glowing dots where the attacks occurred. The dots represented the amount of energy that people in the area have.
“The Elysium attacks have less dots than the ones on the floors. The amount of energy output on the third level is the most prevalent. The enemies are much stronger than we originally thought,” Chase commented.
“What?” Alice asked, exasperated.
Alex tried to reassure her by saying, “No, it can’t be near where we-“ But he looked the map more closely and saw that someone, from somewhere, had enormous amounts of power and wanted US dead. Our house and neighborhood was where they targeted. Alex then turned to Chase. He then said to him, “Doctor Rogers, you said that our energy and strength were above average, right? I have had a change of heart. I want to join up with the Reapers. I realize that the chance of us fitting in is low, but please, sir, the only thing I want to do now is join,”
“As do I,” said Alice.
“This is very sudden. I can tell that this is impulsive and once you’re inducted, it’s difficult to leave. You must realize this. However, officially joining up with us requires some time. If you are so eager to help our cause, then my first order to you two are to investigate the attacks. Your superiors will give you loaner masks. You must follow everything they say,” Chase replied.
They both nodded and awkwardly saluted as they were escorted away by some other Reapers, probably to be transported. Chase then looked at me. “You never got the chance to tell me your decision. Will you join them?”
I then replied. “Look, sir. We both realize two things. Alice and Alex both reacted impulsively, and if I were one of them, I probably would’ve done the same. However, I won’t join them. It’s not my fight. I have barely known them and have been enough of a burden. But, I don’t know my purpose in this whole Afterlife thing, but I have noticed something. From the looks of things, these attacks are very new. And I just happen to be someone with an abnormally high amount of energy who just arrived in Afterlife. I don’t believe in fate, but honestly, Doctor Rogers, I think these events are a sign. Even though, I do not wish to work with the investigation on the third floor, consider me enlisted. I accept your assignment as a Reaper.”
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