“I’ve been called many names, none of them flattering, all of them accurate. The litany of names is too exhausting for me to repeat — just call me Mr. Death.” The dark, stick figure stepped out of a niche in the wall and into the dim light of the corridor where Ann Anon and Daniel Ot were shielding one another from the sudden frigid-air. Death continued, “I’m not here for you, not yet. I must say I’m simply intrigued by your venturesome and confused lives. Most people are insignificant. Some people have important roles to play that can alter current and future events.” Mr. Death stepped back and disappeared like a dying spark. Before the interruption, Ann and Daniel were plotting ways to survive the machinations of Jupiter Fogg and Rufus Thyme. In many ways Daniel and Ann were similar, but there were complications. Daniel did not know Ann was really Aaron Keepx sent by Thyme to spy on Fogg. A heavy undertone of confusion began to mix with the boiling hormones of adolescents. As for Aaron, he was never certain whether he was really a boy or girl… and he never understood his role as spy. He wanted to believe it was all a game or costume party. Aaron played along as Ann because he didn’t know what else to do… and, as Ann he began to rely more and more on Daniel. Mr. Death added another ingredient to the plot. They could not take Death for granted. Ann/Aaron felt Death was the only reality in a game where nothing else was real.
Rufus Thyme was arguing with Alaina Shore, the other person who inhabited his body. “I want to kill the boy,” Rufus shouted, “I want to peel off his flesh and grind up his bones.”
“No,” Alaina Shouted back, “You mustn’t! The boy is useful. He is sending information about the culprit Fogg.”
“Useless information!” Thyme aspirated, “He is a dolt. He says Fogg is building a machine — so what — I already know that. Big deal — I’m allowing him free reign and he tells me nothing of value.”
“But,” Shore whined, “I like Aaron. He consoles me in my sorrow — trapped as I am in this wretched body with a monster like you!” Her voice rose louder and louder till she was screaming. Rufus backed down. He knew when to placate Alaina Shore. If he didn’t submit to her the outcome might be death to both of them. Rufus retreated to his laboratory to commiserate with his own project, a metal-behemoth that could forcibly suck the consciousness out of any living brain. Thyme was convinced that brains from hundreds of living souls were the only means to access the powers of the Philosopher’s Stone. His machine would give him the means to rid himself of the meddling Alaina Shore… and, more importantly to assume the mantle of Immortality. The Philosopher’s Stone would give him the authority and power of a true God.
Blood was running in the streets of Red City. People panicked. Earthquakes rumbled daily. A tidal wave appeared out of nowhere… there was no ocean surrounding the city, but the wave was as huge as a Tsunami washing away hundreds of lives. Alarms shrieked like banshees — mean’t to warn people the sirens only created more panic. Looters and rapists rampaged through the city. War raged in the outer zones — tribal skirmishes exploded into full scale war exasperated by Red City Magistrates. Laser weapons were used to incinerate people who lost their homes and roamed the streets begging for help. Open sewers became the breeding ground for plagues and genetic mutations. Television reported the carnage along with programming as usual. Ad rates were increased. Business was booming. Parts of the city behind protective barriers continued to prosper and thrive. The people behind the walls watched the devastation on TV as if it was a game show or soap opera. A breakout of Zombies was seen as breakthrough television. The living-dead were not allowed to intrude on the lives of the wealthy and powerful — the walls were electrified to keep the riffraff out. Blood flowed like water — the city was collapsing — but, Red City thrived on blood!
Sindhar sat in a sparse, cold room: a monk’s cell. He eschewed ordinary, mortal life and joined the order of Golgol Monks. A rumor contended that Sindhar was the founder and leader of the Monks. The monastery hung in the heavens above the tallest geological peaks. Sindhar used a mathematical language called RB to calculate and code everything in existence. This became his mission and obsession. Once the calculations were complete Sindhar could rename the world and everything in it.
(to be continued)