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Soul's Blight



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Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:09 am
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LittleLee says...



Soul's Blight

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created by @LittleLee and @soundofmind


The year is 2320 AD. The world looks more than a little different now.

Human civilization is mostly divided into three settlements, Sectors One, Two, and Three, each 100 miles apart. The heavily armored bullet trains run to and from each settlement, connecting the three in a perfect triangle. Each settlement is surrounded by fortified walls, a sky-shield, and military forces to keep the people living inside safe and keep the dangers of the fast-evolving world out.

One of the most recent developments in the last few generations has been the rapid evolution of the common pest. Insects that were once small enough to swat on your arm have reached mammoth sizes, and despite the massive change, they still gravitate towards human crops... and humans themselves. With humanity already pushing its limits to survive, the sectors united their brightest minds to find a creative solution to save their precious, limited food resources and themselves.

So they invented a pesticide.

Testing began in Sector Three around seventeen years ago and proved to be successful. The giant insects were turned away from the fields outside the sector and to everyone's surprise, they had a bountiful harvest that year.

However, a pesticide of such intensity doesn't come without some unfortunate side effects.

Something in the chemical affected the vulnerable children of pregnant mothers who ingested the food that otherwise, looked healthy and fruitful. When the children were born the effects began to slowly reveal themselves in the form of various, irreversible and uncontrollable powers. As the children grew older, their abilities only became more powerful and more dangerous.

Parents who've taken their children to the best doctors and scientists have been told that there is no cure, and eventually, the children's powers will consume them, by death, madness, or something else. But the scientists who pioneered the invention of the powerful pesticide think otherwise.

It's a race against time to find a cure.



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"I believe a man does what he can until his destiny is revealed to him."





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Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:56 am
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LittleLee says...



Hel


The sky glittered with a thousand stars, some obscured by wisps of white-gray clouds. The moon was like a thin feather dangling in the darkness, barely adding to the light. Every now and then, Skycrafts flew overhead, their powerful lights brightening the alley in which Hel crouched.
The dead man's eyes reflected the starry night for a brief instant, then they disintegrated with the rest of him, leaving nothing but a skeleton in a suit. Hel looked at the remains with mild interest; it had happened somewhat slower than usual this time. Then she turned her attention to the briefcase he had been carrying.
It was shabby, nearly as shabby as his clothes, and was was secured with a cheap presslock. For a brief moment her hands covered the device; then there was a soft click, and the briefcase was open.

Darn it, she thought, rifling through the papers. There seemed to be nothing useful, other than a wad of Junotes. She pocketed the money and kept looking. Aha. A train ticket, to Sector Two. This will fetch a good price.

Helena Blackwood rose, her back stiff, and stretched. It had been a good night's work, and she could look forward to sleeping. With some difficulty, she hid the skeleton in a dumpster, strewed paper on it, then pulled out a cheap lighter and set the whole thing on fire. Before the flames had started to eat away at all the trash and the body, Hel was gone, a ghost in the night.

The streets were mostly empty at this hour, but she still kept to alleyways and small streets few people used. Somewhere behind her a fire alarm went off, and she increased her pace.

A foot stuck out from behind a pile of trash and neatly tripped her. She sprawled on the ground, glaring at the man who had knocked her down. He was heavyset and ugly, with a mouth full of broken teeth and arms like tree trunks, and he clutched an old pistol in one hand.
Two more men appeared beside her, holding thick clubs.
The thug laughed. "Look at this. A wee lil' girl, all alone at-" Her hand struck out like a snake, grabbing his ankle. For a moment he gaped, then screamed with agony, flesh turning into thick powder even as he staggered away from her. Within seconds he was just another pile of bones.
Hel heard feet slapping tarmac, and turned to see the other two thugs running as hard as they could. She smiled, getting to her feet and patting down the dead man. He had a few Junotes, but nothing of any worth. The pistol, she tucked into her belt.

Let them run. The streets will become safer. She had heard from Valerie, the old crone living in a dumpyard, that thugs had been actively avoiding lone women for quite some time now. Of course, there were a few idiots who were too thick to listen to the rumours. And others who refused to believe.
Hel kept walking until she was finally at the abandoned warehouse. She slipped in through a broken window, careful to avoid the glass, and dropped down with a grunt. Dust carpeted the floor, and puffs of it swirled into the air as she headed for a pile of rotting barrels. Pushing one aside revealed the trapdoor, and she rummaged in hr pocket for a large iron key before she opened it and entered her home.
Hel fumbled in the darkness for a moment, then found the light switch. The tiny basement lit up and she pulled the trapdoor shut once more. A dingy mattress was squeezed in one corner; the rest of the space was filled with things she had brought from her nightly trips. A small door led to a tiny bathroom.
Yawning, Hel washed her face and hands with the bucket of water she had brought earlier in the day; running water was not something the warehouse basement offered. Then she dumped her money into a small box by the bed, placing her pistol next to the pillow - where two others lay - and slipped under the thin blanket. Fortunately it was not cold tonight. Her eyes drifted to the handful of jackets she had acquired, but she decided not to wear them. Her hand went to her pocket, where the ticket was; for one absurd moment, she considered using it.
Then better sense prevailed, and she let sleep carry her away.
"I believe a man does what he can until his destiny is revealed to him."





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Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:57 pm
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HarryHardy says...



Lily


Lily awoke with a start. A cold breeze was drifting by. Something was sticking out of her chest. Green. Pointy. Wait what? . She sat up suddenly trying to gauge her location. A small hut made of sticks lay next to her.

She breathed a sigh of relief. I rolled out again. Fouth time in a row. Urghh...She stood up slowly. It took her a few tries as he hand kept going right into the ground. On the seventh try however, it stayed solid long enough for her to spring up. She did a few streches to work the sleepiness out of her joint.

Lily surveyed the place that had been her home for the last five years. It was a small clearing sorounded on all sides by towering trees that rose high into the air all around her. The foilage was dense and a lush green color. Even thought the dew drops that covered every inch of greenery around her meant it was probably morning the sunlight had a hard time coming into the corner that she had set up her camp in. She dived into the small hut that she'd made for herself.

It was made in the shape of a large A with several sturdy sticks. Some assorted leaves covered up the gaps to create a decent shield against the elements. Inside, there were a few sharpened sticks that she used to hunt fish and a mound of soft grass that was her pillow. She picked up one of the longer sticks. After dropping it a couple of times as her hand flickered, she managed to tie it to her cloak with a small vine that she kept around for that purpose. Time to catch me some breakfast.. She crawled out and headed towards the nearby stream, careful to stick to the shadows.

It was a only a couple of minutes of walking to reach the stream. She sat down by her usual rock and studied the schools of fish. As she always did she waited until there was a good clump of them before she closed her eyes and concentrated. Gritting her teeth against the inevitable strain on her mind, she felt her hand remain in solid form. She acted fast, grabing her makeshift spear and hurling it at the fish. It went straight through one of the salmon. She grabbed the spear and threw it onto the bank before collapsing in the grass, panting like she had just run a marathon.

It took her the better part of an hour to recover. So much for just a few seconds. This gets harder every time. Oh well. Breakfast.
Stay Safe
The Prince of Darkness


Never give up hope no matter what. A battle that you turn up to is a battle that you've already started to win.


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kattee says...



Aloha



Should she fake her death?

Aloha sat on an upholstered chair. Her shadow stringed right in front of a blazed hearth drizzling with embers. She was alone in a room that could fit about ten people. The floors were carpeted by an aubergine velvet and the walls were filled with paintings. Paintings of numerous people she didn't even recognise. She bit her nails repeatedly.

She can start a new life somewhere near the Glasglew market, she pondered. There were a lot of merchants looking for apprentices there. She could fiddle with mechanical devices a bit so she might be able to get a trader's interest. Sorting out and packing a lot of bottle refills will be her top priority. If it runs out, she could simply make one. But what would people think about her mask? She can't just remove it. For all she knows, masks are of usual fashion these days or she could pretend she's from Sector Two --

"It's the time of the day, Ms." Her butler, Mr. Antoine, said in a soft tone. She looked at him; hands at his back, eyebrows relaxed, and smiling when there's nothing to smile about. "I'm sure it's going to be a successful one today." She placed her hand down and bit her lip. She always hated how he treated her with pity. He treated her like a child, giving sweets of hopeless hopefulness. And besides, her powers weren't going to push her on the edge of the cliff.

She looked at the time, it was a quarter to two. Trying her best to give the widest grin, she replied. "Of course."

The butler led her out of the first building and to the one on its right. There was a large stairway leading to a small hall. The way there wasn't complicated so a company wasn't necessary, but she couldn't complain. There's no use. Her parents would fire him the moment they realised he let her walk alone. After all, a seventeen year old girl wouldn't be able to survive a 15 feet walk. She's still baffled she's not wearing diapers and a dummy. She looked up. The fish-shaped lamps suspended on the ceiling lit up in teal. It felt like she was at the bottom of the pacific. How ironic -- she would say to herself every time they reached this place -- something so beautiful could lead down to such an awful place.

It wasn't objectively awful, she admitted. This was for her "benefit." But for twelve years of looking for the remedy, they had never been even an inch -- even a picometre -- closer. Now, her powers became a dialysis treatment and she felt like she had a monthly visit in an ICU cavern.

She was nearing two doors that turned blurry upon the swipe of the card. They got in the room. It was as blue as the vestibule, but this one makes her want to puke. An auburn-hair woman, with a large mole in her right cheek, approached her. The woman bowed as a greeting and she returned it with a nod, "On time as always, Ms. Steel."

Eye bags, long nails, and disheveled hair. Bloody. Good thing she didn't reek. Aloha smiled, making sure her dimples were shown. "This is for my well-being after all, Mrs. Dartmouth." She met Mrs. Dartmouth in the eye. She's not going to sympathise with this woman. "I'm expecting significant progress in your research soon."

"Y-y-yes. We'll get your cure in no time!" Mrs. Dartmouth answered, beckoning her towards this vanilla donut of a scanner. She knew Mrs. Dartmouth was busy explaining -- more of assuring with a tinge of begging -- things to the butler for his report. Serves her right. These people should just tell her parents the truth so that they could wrap up this absurd research. How can they stomach putting her in this manhole when the answer is apparent? Fizzling on the tip of their tongues?

She lay down on the patient table of the vanilla donut. It would've been comfortable since it's similar to a Japanese futon, but she immediately gets a taste of needles. The one on her left arm was for injecting water, whilst on the right was for accumulating blood. That's it. She's a certified diabetes patient. Mrs. Dartmouth brought a cylindrical container with a large amount of fluid, which she spat on. A few more minutes of needles and samples before she was free from the mob.

She felt like a celebrity with stalkers asking for her autographs -- demanding her to write using her blood. She should stage herself a concert, at least, she'll get a few Juns with that. The table started entering the MRI-XI scanner -- a machine with a huge circular entrance, camouflaging the triangular hardware. It was oddly made like that for a second-perspective view with the top functioning as a spine for linear body scanning.

All she could think about is wanting to stand up and leave. Hm. Rethink what you're planning to do, Aloha. If you run off, the guards will see you. Your parents would also give you a huge scolding and heighten up security. But. What if you don't get caught?

Conspiracy eluded. She ran out of time and was fully tethered on the inner part of the scanner. She was eyed by a canopy of white, blue, and red lights. Different figures would appear on the screen above her face. It would reflect her face or binaries would start appearing. Sometimes, there would be an increase in the glare on her eyes or a laser would trace the contours of her face (she had attempted to see where the beams were moving because that's the only thing she could do). There were a lot more hooligans and she couldn't keep up. This was an extreme waste of her time. Don't they know how much mental deterioration is happening here? She let it go and focused on concocting up the plan.

She badly wanted to get out of there.

::xx::


She had fallen asleep in the process. Who wouldn't? The next thing she knew, she was already in her room. Checking the clock in front of her, it was already eight. She tried to get up when someone immediately assisted her.

"W-what are you doing here, mum?" She began, back croaking as she leaned towards her headboard. "Did they get anything?"

Her mum sighed. Ah. Her mind must've been warped from sleep. Her mum shook her head and hugged Aloha Steel.
If you want some sweet reviews to your poems, short stories, and essays, come by Katteelogue.

Have a lovely day❤️





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Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:18 pm
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TheMulticoloredCyr says...



Ruby


"I'm not paying that," Ruby asserted, narrowing her eyes at the scam artist behind the counter. Well, 'artist' may be a stretch.

"Then go find a vendor who will toss their wears in the trash where they no doubt belong!" he snapped, tossing his hands in the air in a motion that both expressed his exasperation and shooed her away.

She ignored the 'shooing her away' part, and, well, most of what he said, really. "If your 'wares' are so much better than the trash everyone else is selling, I'm sure you wouldn't mind a little tip being left to some health inspectors to check your storage facilities. I'm sure everything there is up to code and...legal." She'd intended to muse this thoughtfully, but it came out a deal more pointed than that.

Still, the vendor looked a little paler after that. Grumbling something under his breath, he shoved a roll into a paper bag and slid it over the counter.

"Pleasure doing business with you, sir," she said with a smile and a tip of her head. He grumbled something generically polite back as she skipped away.

Health inspectors wouldn't have found anything particularly nasty if they had checked out those facilities, but they might have been fairly intrigued by the sizable collections of stolen goods hidden between bags of flour. At first they might think he was a thief, but his impressively solid alibi's and unusual little book of contacts would have them switching the theory to 'fence' pretty fast.

Not that Ruby had any way of knowing any of that. It was all speculation. Obviously.

All she'd been referring to was a little spot of mold she'd seen on a pastry of his once.

Despite the dark, there were still plenty of people out and about. Mostly the kinds of people you wouldn't want to make eye contact with, but some of them were people who just had late nights and were now aggressively avoiding eye contact as the only people walking around openly. Gods help them if any of them decided to take a shortcut through any vaguely secluded area in this part of town.

Ruby took out her free meal to snack on as she turned into a secluded alley. She dialed up the sensitivity of her hearing, flinching as the soft thump of her own footsteps became almost deafening. Her ears gradually adjusted, tuning that out to focus on the surrounding noises. The whisper of breathing, the rustle of cloth.

"GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!"

Ruby almost dropped her roll as she dialed her hearing back to something she guessed was more around normal. She messed with it so much she couldn't remember the default. "No," she said distractedly, still trying to get it to a point where she couldn't hear the dripping of a leaky pipe at the other end of the alley.

When she finally looked up, the guy was pointing a knife at her.

Her hands slowly rose, one holding the bag, the other the roll. "I don't want any trouble," she said slowly.

"You won't get any if you give me your money," the guy said gruffly, his voice muffled by a scarf pulled up over his nose.

"Okay..." she said, "I'm going to reach for my wallet."

He nodded and gestured with the knife for her to get one with it, "And no tricks!"

She gave a nod of her own and slowly lowered her arms. Suddenly, her hand was around his wrist and with a sharp twist, the knife clattered to the ground. Before he could so much as cry out in pain, she slammed him against the wall and pressed a fingertip to the side of his neck. With a bit of focus, her fingernail grew, sharp and sturdy, piercing through skin and...

His body slumped to the ground.

She wiped her bloody nail off on his shirt. I'm sorry.

He would have done the same to her the moment he realized she didn't have any money on her.

She picked her roll up from where she'd dropped it and brushed off the dirt. It was still better than nothing.

The air suddenly felt colder as she stood. The stars were prying eyes, witnesses to her crimes.

She left the alley.
he/they





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Shadeflame says...



Kenna


Kenna sighed and gently jingled the pick. She'd been working on this particular lock for almost 20 minutes now, and it refused to open. Maybe she should take a break, but Kenna was stubborn enough to refuse to let the lock win. She would do this, and she would succeed. A drop of sweat dripped down her face, trickling into her eyes, but she ignored it and bent her head even closer to it, listen for the faint click that meant one of the tumblers had lifted.

Now that she thought about it- Oh crap. She dropped the lock and let out a shaky breath. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... She needed to calm herself down. Getting up from the couch, she grabbed her coat from where it hung, and quickly slipped on her shoes. ...31, 32, 33, 34... Sometimes counting to ten wasn't enough. God, she wished this wouldn't happen to her, that she could be normal, not a freak of what ever chemicals they had put in that stupid formula. Calm, calm thoughts, remember? She was okay, she was okay. She slammed the front door and inwardly winced. She hadn't meant to close it so hard. Could she get anything right today? Kenna's hands shook as she pulled out her house key, scratching the lock as she tried to place it in the keyhole. She bit her cheek as hard as she could. She was getting too overwhelmed, her emotions running wild. The pain steadied her hands, and she palmed the key and took off running, the cold wind tousling her hair, her feet beating a steady rhythm on the cracked pavement. Kenna retreated into her mind, letting her subconscious take over deciding where to go. She had run these streets so often, there was no chance of her getting lost, and no one could hurt her.

As Kenna looked up, she saw the towering wall in front of her, the wall that protected the citizens of sector two. She shrugged. She hadn't been in the forest for ages, and it never failed to calm her down. Ironic considering that the danger was so much worse out there, but Kenna shrugged it off. As long as she didn't stray too far from the relative safety of the wall...

Kenna squeezed out into the open, the leaves of the trees rustling softly around her. She took a deep breath, then hoisted herself into a tree, climbing up all the way to the top, and settling in. She felt at home here.
English isn't a language, it's three languages stacked up on top of each other wearing a trenchcoat.





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Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:32 am
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LittleLee says...



Hel


The old crone peered up at her through the one good eye she had. "Well, well, well. Look who's here."

Hel rolled her eyes, striding closer to the rickety, grey van. Brown smears splattered the walls of the vehicle, and her nose crinkled at the smell. "Hello, Valerie."

The newsmonger grinned at her, showing a handful of yellow teeth. She was nearly hunched over, but Hel knew that was a lie; the old woman was surprisingly strong, as several thugs had realised too late. Besides, she had provided her with guns before.

She tossed down the previous night's spoils on the table at which the woman sat at. She avoided sitting; the free chair had several nasty bits of what looked like wire sticking from the seat.
Valerie fingered the gun. "Good quality. Not much ammunition for this model these days, though. Fifty Junotes?"

"Seventy-five."

"Sixty it is. And what have we here..?" Her wrinkled hands picked up the ticket, and she beamed. " A train ticket? This will fetch a fine price, Hel." her eyes sought the younger girl's. "Are you sure you want to sell it?"

Helena scowled. "I have no use for it anyway."

"No use- girl, you can move to a whole new Sector. A whole new place to... play with your skills."

Hel noticed the gleam in the older woman's eye. "There's something you're not telling me."

Valerie cackled. "No information comes without a price."

"Keep your gossip to yourself, then." He wasn't worried about offending her; the woman seemed fond of her. or perhaps it was because Hel had killed some men bothering her.

"This could save your life," Valerie said quietly. he managed to look serious even in her ragged clothes, and her lips weren't parted in a smile anymore. if anything, she looked worried.

Sighing, Hel said, "Johanna Webb is the one providing the Enforcers with droge." Droge was a high-priced drug; the plants were found only in the countryside, and the damned bugs loved the stuff, making it difficult to harvest.

"Cursed woman!" Valerie hissed. "I knew it! Oh, this she will pay for..."

"Now what was that you wanted to tell me?"

"Ah." Valerie looked at her, face blank again. "The Enforcers know about you."

A chill ran through her, but she kept her voice calm. "How do they know it's me?"

She shrugged. "They've been asking around for a black-haired, black-clothed girl who lives by herself and is seen around at night. they seem very interested in learning who you are."

"I need names." If the Enforcers had managed to find her again...

"Forget Captains, girl. The Prime Enforcer seems to have taken an interest in you."

What? That can't be true. "You're lying."

"You wish." Valerie handed the ticket back to her. "Take my advice and leave Sector Three as soon as possible. Things will get ugly otherwise."

Hel took it uncertainly. Val's word was as good as gold - after all, she would be killed for spreading false information - but she couldn't believe the Prime himself was after her. "Thank you, Valerie." As an afterthought, she added, "Once I've moved out, you can take my home. It's a lot more secure than this place."

"I'll consider it, girl. For now, you should be the one worrying about safety. And here-" she rummaged in a bin, then tossed a small bottle of yellow dye at Hel, who caught it midair. "Colour your hair. The bottle is for old times' sake."

She nodded. "Goodbye, Valerie."

The old woman just waved her off as she tottered back to her broken-down van.

Helena Blackwood eyed her back and considered killing her, but decided against it. She set off to her home, as fast as she could manage.
"I believe a man does what he can until his destiny is revealed to him."





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HarryHardy says...



Lily


Lily waited patiently for her hand to solidify again. She was almost done eating the fish that she had caught earlier in the morning. It had taken her the better part of the morning to eat, nibbling away whenever her hads were solid enough to be able to grip it but since there wasn't much else to do out in the forest Lily didn't mind. As long as none of those damn bu8gs pay a visit.

Her arm finally solidified and she grabbed the fish with the speed of a striking cobra, quickly putting the last piece in her mouth. It was quite bland, flavored only with the herbs that she could occasionally pick when she felt like exerting herself enough for it. But years in the forest had taught her not to complain and she'd come to relish the taste.

Once she was done with her meal she set quickly disposed of most of it before her hand reverted back to shadow form and she stopped clearing food and decided to do a scan of her surroundings. I need to figure out where the closest bugs are anyway .

She skirted around her little hut and made her way towards the looming trees blending into the shadows like a ghost as her form fluctuated making her blend into the shadows. Her midnight black cloak only added to the effect created by her deathly pale skin.

She stumbled in the direction of the place that she last remembered running into a bug. The closest field that she could think of was quite far away so the bugs rarely ever came in the direction of her little camp but many of them visited the nearby river. She moved in complete silence, using her years of experience in the forest to navigate the trees with ease. Today with the exhaustion of fishing she was not quite as nimble on her feet, stumbling right through a tree on a couple of occasions.

She kept moving not letting the weariness get to her. Soon she arrived at the clearing that she'd last spotted the insects in. There didn't seem to be any signs of them but she kept her distance sticking to the shadows of the trees where she had an advantage. She studied the disturbances in the dirt along the river. Oh dang. Some of those look new. That's not good. I might have to visit the walls again to check.

She stood there continuing to asses the situation. She hadn't survived for so long by being careless. It had been at least a year since that particular spot had been active with bugs. Maybe they stopped spraying the pesticide because people like me were being born. Whatever it is this can't be good. Lily stood by the tree, trying not to lean on it lest she should fall through it. After a few more minutes of thinking, she made her decision.

She turned and headed back to her camp. It had been years since she'd gotten a reason to go anywhere near the walls of the sector. She got to work as quickly as she could clearing away the things that she hadn't got to earlier. It took her most of the afternoon to finish her work and dusk was falling by the time that she was done. A cold chill seeped through the woods. Lily reveled in the darkness as it fell. The sun and the heat always irritated her. The night was her domain, the one time of day where she felt that she belonged in the world. She began her trek to the wall.
Stay Safe
The Prince of Darkness


Never give up hope no matter what. A battle that you turn up to is a battle that you've already started to win.


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kattee says...



Aloha


Spoiler! :
This will be still be edited (no significant events/points will change). I just had to submit it or it might take another century before I do xx



Her parents decided to stop the research. It just stopped. It's been days since the last 'check-up' and she couldn't believe it when her butler informed her that it was done. That they weren't doing any of it anymore. Years of her time evolved into a scanty residue. Her whole childhood was outlined with pointless --allegedly called--progress.

However, complaining isn't necessary. It already happened.

What's more important was the actual reason. There's no way they suddenly untied a tightrope of hope without a 'proper' reason. There had to be one. Her parents inclined themselves to that cure and they suddenly just didn't? Absurd. The fact that they were absent this dinner said a lot.

"All done," a nurse on her left said. He went near her and removed the tube attached to her forearm. He held out a pocket-sized bottle of water, "please don't forget to refill."

"Of course." She's not a kid anymore. She won't forget something that could risk her life. But instead of scowling at him, she smiled and snatched the bottle. Right after refilling, she scooted over her parents room. It was on the floor above: the second room on the right.

She was right in front of their door. Just as she was about to knock, she heard her mum fume, "why should we believe her?"

"We have no choice, love." She could feel her dad's soft voice trying to soothe her mum. "It's apparent that we aren't getting anywhere. The files she sent seemed reasonable. All the pioneering scientists will join forces and --"

"If those scientists had never devised that pesticide, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place!"

"But we would've been dead by now." Aloha slowly opened the door, just enough so that she could peek through. Her dad was holding her mum on both her arms -- green eyes, pleading. "Like all our investments, we have to take the risk to acquire profits."

"Our. daughter. isn't. a. company." She could hear her mum gritting her teeth. "And they're going to use her as --" Her mum's words were cut off by a loud thud. Aloha lost balance as the door slid. She was frozen in place. Face-to-face with her parents' shocked looks, she blanked out. "Aloha! Are you all right?"

Her mum ran towards her to assist. She used her mum's hand as a stand and gently stood up -- slowing the pace of her heart. She concealed her embarrassment by brushing off the dusts on her skirt. She coughed before saying,

"Sorry. I came here to know why you didn't come for dinner." That wasn't really the main case but it wasn't technically a lie. And besides --

"Aw," her mum went to her and pinched both her cheeks, "our daughter missed us already?" She expected this kind of reaction. Sometimes, she wondered if it's her parents who needed to get themselves checked by doting a near-legal aged daughter as if they were two.

"Yes. Of course." She hugged her mum, "It's lonely eating alone."

"Aloha," called her father. "By any chance, did you hear the conversation between your mum and I?"

"No?" She cocked her head to the side. Dad, if you're going to say it like that, you'll sound suspicious. He should be happy that this daughter of hers is quite sensible in any situation. Although, She'll find out what they were both on about soon. "Is there something I should know about?"

"No." Her mum cleared his throat. "There's nothing you should worry about."

"There is something we have to talk about," he corrected.

"Alexander!" Her mum glared.

"But it's nothing to worry about of course." He then looked at her mum and said, "We have to tell her at some point, Dani. She's of age, we have to let her decide."

"But--"

"What is it about?" She interrupted them. They weren't going anywhere if her mum continued. She tried her best to look like she was beaming. Months of practice in her room would certainly provide successful results as she saw that her mum's scrunched face, not knowing what to do about the situation.

Her dad sat on the Victorian chaise and patted the cushion beside him, "Sit here Aloha." She did what she was told, whilst her mum sat across them. "I've talked to the Cardinal." Her eyes bulged, she knew that her dad was acquainted with the higher ups, but to involve in a discourse with the Cardinal herself was news. "And she heard about your...condition."

She was speechless. A lot of questions ran as her mind trudged to catch them. How did they know? What were they going to do to her? Did they stop the current research just to start another one? She didn't want to go through all of that again. She nodded, struggling to hide her anxiety of the arsenal that comes after.

He continued, "And, well, she wants to meet you."

She finally met his eyes. That's it? She just wanted to meet her? No. There's something her dad was evading to explain, but his conflicted look showed that the only way she could know was to accept the invitation.

"Ok. Let's meet her."

"Great --"

Her mum interrupted them, "You're going to agree just like that, dear?"

"Isn't the Cardinal an important person and refusing an invitation is an act of impudence?" She looked at her mum.

"Y-yes." Her mum's blue eyes averted her gaze.

"Is there a reason why I shouldn't meet her?"

"There is but ---Xander!" Her mum was clearly frustrated with the situation. "Shouldn't you be explaining what the Cardinal asked of her?"

Her dad shook his head,"the Cardinal herself should do that. I might not be able to explain it as clearly as her."

"Still--"

"There's nothing I should be scared about, Mum." She smiled, "You won't let anything wrong happen."

"Yes..." Her mum reluctantly said and scooted beside her. She held both Aloha's hands, "If she tries to lay a finger on you, we're going to start a coup d'etat. "

At that time, Aloha Gamore thought that the Cardinal wasn't the dangerous one here.
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Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:52 am
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LittleLee says...



Hel



Yellow hair sucked. For that matter, all bright colours sucked. Hel glared at the girl sitting in front of her. She was wearing pink. Bright, horrible, eye wrenching pink!

She caught a glimpse of herself in the windowpane of the train and she shuddered. Everything about her made her want to crawl into some comfortingly dark corner and die of embarrassment. A colourful coat! White pants!
A brooch in her hair!
Hel grumbled inaudibly into the window. The moment she could, she was going to rip these clothes, stamp on them, shriek at them, then burn them. If only they were humans; she would have been thoroughly satisfied to watch them disintegrate into ashes.

"Some juice?"

Hel looked up to see a handsome young waiter standing at her shoulder with a platter. So it was true, then, that the trains offered all comforts to all their passengers. It was foolishness that kept so many people from the trains. Sure, bugs could attack. They'd be taken out in around five minutes.

"No," she muttered, turning away. She unconsciously felt at the gloves she wore to make sure they were still there. There will be no accidents today.
The waiter moved off, and from the corner of her eye she watched him go. A pity, that. He really was cute. But she had had very bad experiences kissing people. It was no fun to be snogging a skull.
The landscape rushed past, faster than she would have believed. A bleak, largely desolate land greeted her. They must have been in the space between two Sectors, outside even the farming fields where foods were produced.
Something moved in the distance, and she felt a chill run down her spine.

An enormous bloodroach whirred slowly towards the train. It looked like any one of the cockroaches she had stamped on, but it was huge and a dirty red in colour, with beady black eyes that made her want to apologise to every insect she'd stamped.
It drew closer and closer, ad people began to whimper.
Then there was a flash from above the train as a minimissile was launched at the insect. Its head disappeared in a cloud of smoke, and there was a screech-like sound. Three more missiles launched in quick succession, and when a fourth was fired the creature exploded.
Hel turned away from the windows, shivering violently. To think that there were thousands of those things out there.
She missed living behind the safe walls of a Sector already.
"I believe a man does what he can until his destiny is revealed to him."








By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.
— Winston Churchill