Monday, February 15, 2016

Assassins Reborn: Prologue

                “Huh, so you thought you were finished, weren’t you?”
                I struggle to open my eyes as I look around; it seems I’m tied to a chair. I try to get out, but I stop as I notice the familiar voice coming from behind. It continues to reverberate across the room until I can see a heavily bearded male in front of me.
                “D…Drew?” I try to make out his face. The feeling of dread starts to invade my body; I feel like I’m frozen in fear.
                “Miss me? I don’t think I can say the same thing.”
                “W…what are you doing? Why am I here? And how exactly did you get me out from work?”
                “Patience, it’ll be clear soon enough,” Drew replies. I see that he’s holding a remote to a monitor. As he clicks a button, I notice various monitors turning on; there seem to be dozens of people on them. I’m speechless; I know exactly what’s happening.
                “…You’re sick.”
                “Indeed I am, old friend,” Drew looks like he’s going to cough, “physically, that is.”
                “Isn’t it enough? You already got what you wanted.”
                “Yes, but the thing with human nature is that we always want more.”
                “You already have everything! The technology for your little laser tag killing game, the DNA of the Pancakes hybrid…”
                My best friend…
                “…and you want more?
                “I’m quitting the business Elisha,” Drew fiddles with the controller, “I’m going to pack up and see where the wind takes me. After all, I’m graduating in a few months.”
                “Oh, from criminal school? That’s rich!”
                “No, from this business entirely. However, I wouldn’t mind dabbling in a little… game before I go.”
                “You don’t mean...” I don’t have the heart to finish the sentence.
                “Yes, one final assassins game,” Drew smiles, “I have something else up my sleeve.”
                On the screens are various people running around; I know most of them, but there are plenty of others that seem unfamiliar to me. Unfortunately, knowing how the last game turned out, the ones I knew are already…
                “They’re not my friends, are they?” I look down at the ropes.
                “Yes, you discovered the secret last time,” Drew rolls his eyes, “they’re all clones now based on their DNA from before. The new ones are still technically alive though, I invited them personally.”
                “And what kind of twisted person would agree to such a thing?” I snarl.
                “You know, the type of person that would be interested in a little… compensation.”
                I notice that there’s another screen that flashes a figure of a million. Is that a bitcoin?
                “Wait… you’re offering a million bitcoins as the grand prize? In exchange for everyone’s lives?”
                “Of course, I had to limit the playing field. These people are playing for something special.”
                “Which would be?”
                I shudder. Education today has been called the neo-status of living; ever since the attack on major universities all across the world, only a select few institutions remained. Of course, this meant that everyone had free reign over prices, and mere hundreds of people in the world were getting a secondary education. These people would be known as legends, but only if they paid up.
                “Yes, I might have made a little inflationary crisis here and there,” Drew chuckles, “but that’s not important. You’re wondering why you’re here.”
                “Um, sure. Let’s say I was,” I’m trying to buy more time, trying to memorize the people I need to save…
                Trying to forget my regrets.
                “Well, you’re going to help me chronicle these events like you always do,” Drew smiles.
                “How did you…”
                I feel a small book on my lap as he flings my notebook to me. I gasp; it’s a record of everything since 2013. I had to watch my friends die because of this, and yet…
                “This isn’t your handwriting Elisha.”
                He’s right; for some reason, I remember writing this, but it’s not in my usual scrawl. In addition, the pages from later days have ripped off, only leaving the victor on the back cover. Did I ever finish this?
                “Don’t play dumb with me,” Drew looks at me sternly, “I know it’s the other you.”
                “The… other me?” I try to feign stupidity; I know who he’s talking about.
                “Ugh, you know what? I’m done talking with you,” Drew looks a bit agitated; I can see him brandishing a fist at—
                “Ew, I hate these clothes.”
                This shirt? Super tacky. Really tacky. Who even wears dark green?
                “Hey, are you there?” There’s this really weird man in front of me; he needs to shave, big time. And wait, why am I in ropes? I don’t remember having that much fun…
                “Hey, mister? Can you get me out?”
                “First thing’s first…”
                “I’m the realest, drop this and let the whole world feel it?” Who dat? Who dat?
                “Ugh, are you always this annoying?”
                “Hey, you’re the one who has me tied up mister! Can you let me out? I’m feeling a bit tingly, and it might be my head, or it might be...”
                “Stop, okay? Stop it!” The mean man looks a bit sad. Maybe he needs a treat! “Elisha, are you always this weird?”
                “Elisha? Oh, you mean big bro! Have you seen him?”
                “Wow, really? Um, what’s my license plate number?”
                “How the heck would I know? That’s creepy! Like who does that? Only weirdos and people who watch terrible anime without irony, that’s who.”
                “You really are a different person,” the man looks curiously at me.
                “The name’s Ash Amada, but you can call me Ash! If I wasn’t tied up, I’d totally give you a handshake right now, but…”
                I can hear the scruffy man mutter something under his breath. Dissociative identity disorder? Can I eat it?
                “So very… interesting you are Ash. You must be the person Elisha’s written in his notebook.”
                “Yeah, I only see big bro when he writes in there, it’s like he’s writing a letter to me! So I write back.”
                “Brilliant! Oh, I forgot to introduce myself, I’m Drew.”
                “Nice to meet ya! I think…”
                “So does Elisha know about anything I’ve been doing recently?”
                “No, but he really wants to stop you!”
                “Stop me? Ha, the time for that’s kinda done already. Question; are you a writer?”
                “Well, I try to freelance on the side, it helps with my art addiction. Check it out, I’m a cat.”
                I flip the notebook and pull out a picture of an animal version of me. I think Drew is really confused, but who cares!
                “Perfect! Well, I have a task for you. Would you be able to assist in writing some really sad obituaries?”
                “Oh, I did that once! It was the worst three months of my life,” I huff. Phooey, it’s 2013 all over again!
                “Well, make sure that big bro doesn’t interfere, okay?”
                “H…hey, only I can call him that!”
                “I HAVE TO PEE!” I suddenly realize that I haven’t went in two days! In fact, I don’t remember much until now; wasn’t I wearing a striped sweater?
                “Well, after I talk with Elisha, alright?” Drew puts on a funny mask and suddenly the room starts to fill up with smoke. I feel like I wanna nap…
                “Oh, and Ash? Tell Elisha that Anthony’s alive. But he won’t be unless Elisha records.”
                “Who’s… oh? He always talks about that guy, something about regretting everyday about sabotaging him and how he wishes that they could rec…”
                “What’s my license plate number?”
                Almost immediately I recite it; old habits die hard.
                “Wow, you’ve changed.”
                “It’s your fault!” I point at the man who’s made me lost everything.
                “It’s bad enough I had to deal with your crazy alter ego or whatever. What happened to less crazy Elisha?”
                “I’m done, I can’t…”  I feel like I want to punch him and cry at the same time.
                “Oh, but you can, and you know why?” Drew points to another screen. “It’s because if you don’t, I’m going to destroy this facility.”
                It’s the private detective agency I’ve been working at for quite some time; I’ve kept a secret file hidden with details of things dating back to 2012. If he were to blow it up…
                “My whole life would be destroyed,” I respond coldly, “…fine, I’ll do what you want. Just promise me nothing happens to the building.”
                “I also told your little friend about an added bonus,” Drew smiles, “But I’ll wait until he tells you before I rush into anything too brash.”
                Drew hands me a paper and unfastens the ropes. I grab my notebook and start flipping through the pages.
                “Oh, forget what you know about the previous games,” Drew chuckles, “I’ve made some modifications to the rules.”
                The sheet of paper tells me everything I need to know; weapons permitted, safe zones, and even something that puts a smile on my face.
                “So you finally put people in pairs,” I say, relieved that maybe more than one person could escape, “Districts. Ooh, kind of like The World Ends With You, right?”
                “What’s that even?”
                “…Whatever. So two people can survive, right?”
                “Haha, maybe,” Drew faces a wall, “Let’s see if you can do this one last time.”
                All of a sudden a door opens as I get a text on my phone. Apparently it seems that Drew didn’t take it before subduing me. It looks like the first assassination is going to take place.
                “Do you think you can stop it? I doubt it, but hey, you need details, right?”
                “But how many people are playing? And how will I know--“
                “That’s on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know right now.”
                It seems like I need to head to the central plaza of the university. As I head outside the door, I realize that I’m only a few blocks away from where I need to head next. Wait, today’s class organization speeches, which means…
                Connor Lopez is in danger.
                My run turns into a sprint as I think about how much time I might have left. Who else is playing? What pairs exist? And mainly, what was Drew’s final promise? I put my notebook in my pocket and continue to dash.

                Don’t fail me now partner. 

Shameless plug alert! I'm sort of working on a game with people from around the world! It's a visual novel called Bloody Chronicles, and we're working on the first part of it! Demo should be out by the end of the month, so if you love reading these obituaries, check out my writing in this game on Steam! (You can probably play this BGM while reading the above haha.)

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