Cover

Prologue

The First Book in the Conduckanis series

 

A Circle Of Time

It was about time they met.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

He ambulates privily, endeavoring to obnubilate the tape inside his long coat.

He hears groaning. They are peregrinating. He walks faster. He spots more of them on his right and runs. He finds one on his left, now more proximate than ever. He is now sprinting, reaching for his destination. He is focusing a lot on them, so he trips and falls down.

He imprecates himself and endeavors to get up. One of them prehends his leg, but he liberates it. He runs. He conclusively meets the Ring. The Ring is authentically fascinating. Of course, it looks just like a mundane ring. But then, he puts his right hand’s middle finger inside the Ring.

The Ring digs into his skin when you finally cannot even find where it is. He finally gets his time ceasing potencies. He put his hands in his pockets. No. The tape’s gone.

He retraces his way back to the time when he tripped. It should have been there. Lamentable fortuity. It is not. Then he meets a Shallow(a Fallow but evolved by the tape) face to face. He jumps back, taps his stopwatch and disappears into time. It is his fault. He had let the tape get out, spreading the whole upgrade all over the planet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1- How It All Started

 

Somebody taps my forehead.

“Damien!” she yells. I gradually unsecure my eyes and peer out the window. It is a dark girl body, suspended in air. I thrust up and move at a speed faster than a walk to the opening fitted with glass. It is Chesa Woods, an MI6 dropout. She used to labor with me in the MI6.

“Chesa!” I yell out. Chesa is just smiling at me.

“This is fun!” she yells. I nod and jump out the window. I am suddenly floating! She flies up to the sky.

“Hurry!” she calls.

“Wait for me!” I call out as I follow her. I suddenly close my eyes and blush.

“Damy, wake up! You won’t have time for breakfast!” a familiar voice says. I suddenly feel like a huge shadow casting upon me. I open my eyes. It is my mother, looking at me with her Godzilla eyes.

“You’ll be late for school!” she roars in a deep voice. Something is wrong. I stop floating. I fall down into the roof of my house as I yell. Just as I touch the surface of the roof, I wake up. A dream…

“Damy! Wake up already!” my mother yells. I wake up and pick up the alarm clock sitting next to me. I startle and go up. I am late for school--- again!

“Why didn’t you wake me?!” I complain.

“I tried many times.” my mother replies. I fall down the stairs. Soon, I push the door of my house open, fit my left shoe on correctly, and am off to school. I run. I can still make it, I think.

 

***

 

I am standing outside of class. The classroom door opens.

“We had steak three days in a row.” Sam Vanden, a bully, says as he enters the corridor. He looks at me.

“Damien,” Sam walks to me and I try to ignore him. “Still standing in the hall? How does it feel to be punished for being late?” he giggles. I try to move my face away from him as he tries to be in my eyes.

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been punished.” Sam teases.

“Yo, Sam!” I know that voice. I squeeze my eyes tightly.

“Give him a break.” It is Ron Hawkins. He is also a partner(an Assault Specialist), but then betrayed me and went to the bully side.

“He’s been standing forever and he’s tired,” Ron says.

“Ron,” I say. He walks to me.

“You can play ball with us today. Be thankful,” he says as he puts my arms around me, looks up, and covers his eyes.

“I have other plans,” I say.

“What? Don’t be so cocky!” Ron says as he looks down and pulls my ear.

“Stop it, you two! You’re hurting him.” Chesa comes walking out of the classroom and sees us two. She is always the one who protects me from Ron and Sam.

“It’s none of your business.” Sam sneers.

“Don’t talk to me like that,” Chesa says.

“I’m fine, Chesa,” I say.

 

***

 

“Next! Walker!” Ron calls out as I nod. He hits the ball high. I am always a bad catcher. The ball hits my forehead. Sam runs and picks up the ball on the ground.

“Walker! Nice catch.” he compliments as I rub my forehead. I sneer at him. Ron’s little sister, Grene Hawkins, laughs at me.

“Let me try, big brother!” Grene begs.

“Okay, Just once, Grene,” Ron instructs. Grene thanks him. She holds the bat. I throw the ball to her. The ball impeccably hits her bat and goes on back to me. I slide to the ground in my right, my underwear slipping. The balls hits precisely on my underwear as I scream. Grene laughs again and fidgets with the bat.

At night, I am studying. I indite another word, look at the rifle on the wall, yawn, and dove off to sleep. The test paper(which I got a 0% on) slides off the table and into the trash can as I snore.

I am sleeping in my bed. All of a sudden, my work area shakes. The desk drawer opens by itself. It is glowing inside.

“It’s opening,” someone whispers. Hands cling onto the top of the drawers. A kid, about my age, reveals his true body. He has an artist hat, elf boots, a black and gold vest, and weapons circumventing his body.

“Damien… you are Damien, right?” the person asks. I look up upside down. I get up to get a good look. He waves his hand. My eyes are blurry. I rub my eyes and get more proximate. Then I see his true form.

I scream and hunch back. My blanket slides backward with me to the door of my room.

“It is tenebrous in here,” he says. He looks around, examining everything. Then he finds the light cord and pulls it.

“Good evening. I am Dr. Saif. You can call me Saif.” Saif says in his British accent. I point at the hands on the drawer and scream again.

“Let me emerge. Oh, a drawer?” another person, who dresses up in a science outfit. That person presses a button, which made his glasses hide, and hops out of the drawer. He is also my age.

“Hi, I’m Professor Jad. You can call me Jad, Professor, or Prof.” Jad waves in his Australian accent. I get up. I could not believe what I am just seeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2 - Unwelcomed Guests

 

“Why were you in there?” I ask. I have a plethora of questions. This is just inordinate for me. I repose my back on the door.

“Stay calm and listen,” Jad says as Saif folds his arms.

“We’re from the future,” Jad says. I scream again. I walk around them, sticking to the wall and check out the inside of my desk. There is infinite blue space everywhere filled with mirages of clocks ticking fast. Down there below is a time machine. I knew it. It had to be a time machine.

“Woah! How does this work?” I am amazed. Jad and Saif sigh.

“Your things in the drawer are safe,” Saif says as if I am worried about it. Jad nods and folds his arms.

“They are here in my four-dimensional hat. I can fit anything in it. Lots and lots of things.” Saif says. Jad keeps nodding. I want to look at the whole thing, so I stuck my head inside and accidentally suck myself inside the drawer. Saif and Jad saw the whole thing and run to me. They pull my legs outside of the drawer.

Outside, a dog howls. I tiptoe up to my stairs, careful about spilling the juice with the Dorayakis onto the stairs and letting my parents wake up. I take a look in my parents’ room before I go up the stairs.

“Here you go,” I say as I set the Dorayakis in front of them. Jad thanks me. I nod.

“In any case, I still don’t understand. What is Conf***ckanis?” I ask.

“Well, you see, there are these locations on the globe called Time Circles. Time Circles lets us meet with people from other generations. I mean, look at me. I’m from the 22nd century! That’s why I’m wearing a spacesuit. Where we just came from, is a time machine. It’s a machine that could travel through time. I’m the greatest mad scientist in the world and Saif--- well, he’s special. He is the King of Time Traveling and math. He is the one who taught Albert Einstein knowledge about math. And you know all the myth theories people said Einstein said--- they were all true! He hides everything behind his sleeve. He holds a lot of great weapons. Weapons that could be used to destroy a whole planet! There are other galaxies out there with life. Lots of them. The main social place for everyone is the Tower, located in Ethnophoria, the galaxy in the center of all galaxies. The humans didn’t know about this(only some humans did, like me), so we isolated them forever. Our doctor here just lost the Sword Of Slato, a god-killer. He’s afraid that if they get in the wrong hands, the whole world would be gone. He was going to get his powers upgraded here somewhere in Earth and wants to keep the Sword with him. You have to help him. You will get something in return.” by the time Jad had culminated his explication, there were no Dorayakis left. Saif is just looking at us, getting caught red-handed, and just shrugs.

“What?” I question.

“The Sword Of Slato.” just as Jad said that I open my eyes wide.

“I don’t think I’m worthy of it, though. How do you know I’m the perfect fit?” I protest. Saif takes out a device with a foreign technology, passes it to Jad, and shows me a screen of the events before the Fire.

“What’s this?” Jad asks me. I see all the shooting. Shooting the boss, the apostasy, all the horror, makes me cerebrate of the true me.

“Oh, please. I don’t want to be reminded of those days, man. They’re gone. I’m not Walker anymore. I’m Damien, and will always stay Damien. H-how about Ron? Why didn’t you choose him?” I keep protesting.

“You know very well why we didn’t choose him, Damien,” he said. He is right. Ron had turned into bullying, and stole people’s things, and did bad things. I look at the clock. It is morning(read The Adventures Of The DD Duo: By My Side to see the alternative continuation from here).

“Yeah, but why’d you come here so early in the morning?” I ask.

“Well, since this is a Time Circle, I decided to stay here with you--- forever. So I am sleeping here. Where do I, though?” Saif gets straight to the point. I sigh.

“Fine,” I said. I look at my empty closet. It is basically a double bunk wooden bed.

“You could sleep in my closet with a sleeping bag,” I suggest. Saif just shrugs and hops onto the bed, creating a sleeping bag magically. I sigh.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3 - Ambushed

 

“Crap! I’m late!” I yell. I look at my watch.

It’s… 6:00? Am I early for the first time?

I cheer. Then I run downstairs.

“Mom, I’m early!” I call out to my sleeping mother. She does not wake up. Neither does my father. I turn the lights on. They do not move. I walk over to the windows and unblind them. They still do not move. Then I see a bird, frozen in the sky. I hear no voices, except one. I get out of the window and follow it. It is Saif, humming along with the music in his ears.

“Saif!” I order. My voice is loud enough to block the music constantly flowing through his black earphones. He opens his eyes and sees me.

“Ah, Damien. Sit here if you want. Do you want to begin the journey?” he pretends as nothing had happened.

“Why, is everything frozen?” I ask.

“Oh, I just stopped time. Of course, I am a time traveler,” he says. Fair enough, I believe him.

“Do you wanna go now?” he asks me again. I hesitate.

“Why don’t we go after school?” I ask. Saif just shrugs. He pulls the stopwatch hanging on his pants. I look up. The bird in the sky finally flaps its wings. I run to my parents. They are already up, panicking on who turned on the lights. They immediately turn to me.

“Damien, you’re--- early.” my mother says.

“Yeah, mom. That’s why I turned on the lights and woke you up.” I explain. The believe me.

 

***

 

I walk with Chesa.

“I’m going to the movies with my family tonight. Unfortunately, my mom can’t come, so now we have an extra ticket. Dad suggested bringing one of my friends. Are you available tonight?” Chesa offers. I blush.

“Uh, yes, yeah, no problem,” I say. She hands me my ticket. I blush even more that Chesa notices.

“Your cheeks are turning pink,” she says. I blush even more. Wind snatches Chesa’s hat off her. She calls out for it.

“Don’t worry, Chesa, I’ll find it,” I say.

“Come fast. That’s my favorite hat!” she says. I nod and follow the breeze. Unfortunately, the hat goes into the bamboo forest, a very dangerous forest. Rumors say people go in there and never come back. I shiver and sigh. I could impress Chesa by telling her what I am going to do. I did not know that this would into something nobody would believe. I sigh again and go into the bamboos.

At that time, minutes feel like hours, and hours feel like days. It had been--- how much? I can not remember. The bamboos trick me into focusing more on them than the time. I hear a rustle. It is probably the bushes brushing together in an awkward way. I hear tiny noises of a footstep. It is probably planning to hide from me, and it is succeeding. It is stupid to call out when there is actually not a single person here, so I did not. Smoke blinds me.

I cough. Someone chokes me, wearing black leather. Now, you are probably thinking, “Just get him down! You were in the MI6, after all!” Well, I am only a world-class sniper. I stood away from the action. Only Chesa and Ron know about hand-to-hand combat. I fall back, crushing him to the ground. He is wearing all black with a long strip of red fabric tied around his head. He had a scabbard stuck on his back like Spiderman’s spider logo. The scabbard could fit two swords. He is a ninja.

Another one comes up onto me and covers my mouth with a cloth of a stinging smell. I fall down and close my eyes.

 

***

 

I wake up. I squint to see the light that shines brightly at me. I am laying down on a bed. My hands are cuffed together with the bed, so I could not get up. This is like a doctors’ office. What I believe is a surgeon comes to me, then walks over the steel tray resting next to me. Inside the tray lies an empty syringe. The surgeon then lifts up the cap of a bottle filled with medicine. She holds the syringe in her hand and empties out the bottle with it, the syringe now fully brown. I think she is going to inject me with it, and I am right. She reaches for my arm, pinpoints my veins, and sticks in the syringe, pushing down the liquid on me. I feel shocked for a moment, then pass out again.

I take action immediately when I wake up. I pull the cuffs up, trying to pull it off the bed. It easily comes off. Of course, it would come off easily. It is a mattress, after all. I get up and look around. I finally see my surroundings--- a bed, three chairs, a desk, and doctor materials on a table next to the bed. I walk to the door and open it. Outside is a dark, long hallway with white walls faintly blue. I hear footsteps in the darkness.

About fifty feet away, I could just make out the creature: staggering, hitching wild legs. Its limbs hung at impossible angles, a dozen times shattered. Its clothes are stripes of rot. What skin still clung to the skeleton is in some spots the color of mushrooms and in others that of the wax and mostly it is as pale as the bones that jutted through it.

But a moment ago it had been coming from another direction.

There are two of them.

One shifts into the surgeon I saw earlier, but the other stays the same. I go back into the room. I find a key, probably one for this room. I bow down, planning to trick her inside this room. She enters the room.

I get up and push her in even more. She falls down, screaming not like a human. I get out of the office and lock it. I run to the side where she came from. I keep running. This hall did not seem to end at all. I finally see a staircase, with that the exit. I had a choice. I hear more groans. I did not know if they were coming behind me, up the staircase, or outside. I decide that there are more of those people up, so I choose the exit. I am running, when the creature that is following me got a hold of me and beat me to the ground. I did not hesitate. I jolt back up and ran the opposite side.

After a while of running, I find Sam Vandens. How the hell did he get here?

“Sam Vandens, what are you doing here?” I ask.

“Well, Ron forced me to go into the Forest, and I went in, but then I fainted somehow I woke up here. I bet the same thing happened to you. Have you seen one of those things out there?” Sam explains.

“Well, I was just running away from one,” I say.

“I set the fire here. I also found two sleeping bags and a rifle. Wanna stay here for the night?” Sam offers. I agree. I squeeze in my sleeping bag and start snoozing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4 - Bellows

 

Sam awakes in the dark to the screams again.

He draws up the rifle in the tarp at his side. He kicks off the sleeping bag and rips his gun from its waterproof wrap and raises the sights up toward the perimeter blindly. A form appears twenty feet ahead. He tugs the trigger; it would not give. Sam curses himself, clicks off the safety, resights the shape. But the form is nothing more than a tree, a yew, arthritic and leafless. So dark: God, so dark out here. By the gunmetal moonlight, the ring of trees around our camp is all but invisible. But that is impossible. Unless---

Our fire had died.

“Oh, crap, no.” Sam gasps.

A crimson bed of cinders pops in the circle of stones. A spindle of smoke twists.

Sam whispers, “Damy!” Out there in the night, the scream goes on. Human but not. Living but not.

He didn’t stir.

He kneels unsteadily in the snow. He felt for the Pokemon sleeping bag, torn and patched and torn again. “Walker, get up!” The lining swishes. “Damy! Let’s go!”

Only when he tosses it open did he realize the bag is empty.

Sam’s heart rams his throat.

But the lining is still mild. I had not been gone long.

Sam risks everything and shouts, “Walker!”

Several seconds of silence, then a call reports through the darkness. “Waaaalkeeeer!” But the echo is not his own. It is a voice without depth or dimension, choking on earth. A dead, elongated roar. A monster, mimicking him.

Heavy feet changes direction and dragged through the brush, maybe one hundred yards away, nearing.

Stay---freaking---calm.

Do not let me be sleepwalking again. Jesus, why did he say we could camp outside?

Concentrate. Think, like Dad.

I swear, please do not let him be out there---

Hey a-hole: Feel. Your. Blood.

I close my eyes against the dark cold, and there is that moment, that ever-repeating instant when everything inside him hisses that it wouldn’t work, and he did not have time. Then he thinks of his breath and empties his brain.

His focus aligns on the quick warm creek within my veins, the powerful flex against his ribs, the deliberate drumming inside my ears. It feels like every fiber and thought of himself fusing into one another, until his mind and his movement merges into a single thing, seamless and bright, like a glowing radar dot.

It feels like: yes-yes.

His eyes leap open, and he moves, focus, fine.

Sam tears open the duffel bag next to him.

Waaaalkeeeer!” said the Fallow, closer now. “Waalkeer!”

Sam grabs a safety flare from the bag and stands and punches it on his thigh---a whoosh. Sparks fan a molten dandelion.

The forest conjures orange before him, our camp and the rotten deer stand and a car ahead on the dirt road. He spins on my boot heels, wafting away flare smoke.

New-cast shadow lunges in the trees.

Sam sees no one.

An image jumps into his head: Damien, hiding behind a tree as a prank. Sam, laughing into his elbow until he heard the monsters coming then froze, afraid.

“Sam, good one! You---(read Saif’s Mistake to see the alternative continuation)” I get immediately cut off by the view of a person, and old person. He has a green Hawaiian shirt and orange jeans. I feel helpless, just watching him slice those monsters in a professional way.

After finishing with his entertainment, he looks at me and smiles.

“Who are---”

“Go to the building,” he says, “that’s where you’ll find it.” just as he says that, he taps his watch and disappears.

Who was he?

I call out Sam’s name. He comes out of the blue from a tree. He had heard what the man said and nods, ready to go. We pick up everything and Sam climbs onto a tree. He pinpoints where the building is and we trudge along the trees.

The building is different than before because now it is not just a complex building, but it seems like a globe-shaped building--- a 360-degree theatre. I look at Sam. He gulps. The iron gate is fashioned to look antique, but the hinges were undoubtedly new. Of course, it could have been rehung but it is making bore the marks of machine tools not available a hundred years ago.

I catch a familiar noise, a small motor, like one used to move a camera. I correct: it is a camera. The camera is all the way at the top of the gate.

It turns its eyes to focus on us. It zooms in and zooms out. The gate opens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5 - Master Blaster

 

The monsters welcome us, someone else does too. They pounce at us and we head back to the door. The monsters are already there by now. We hear someone slashing through the monsters. He is in a coat, with a gun, shooting everyone that came in front of him. I hear a loud SWISH go through my right ear and look to find a hole in the wall.

“Look out! He aimed for you!” Sam calls. It is a bullet, missing me by inches. He reloads his gun and aims for me again.

“Run!” I warn ourselves. We do as I say. I accidentally slip into the monsters. One was about to bite me, but Sam stabs it with a broken hand of a monster.

“Where the hell did you get that from?” I say in my breath. Sam shrugs. We get back to running. Sam scans for entrance to something or an exit from here. He points out a brown wooden door stuck in the high walls.

“Crap! The stairs are broken.” I say. As soon as I turn my head back to where it was, Dr. Saif appears, his gun shooting everyone. I call his name, but he ignores me. Instead, he puts his black gun in his green hat(the gun vanishes into the white abyss).

“Hello there, Sam,” he says. Sam waves.

“Wait, you guys know each other?” I ask. They quickly change their expressions and Sam takes back the hand.

“Nope. It’s just that I know the name of every single person in this world.” Saif replies. I nod and he grabs our shirts.

“Narlock,” he says. His stopwatch floats as if it had voice command(it did).

“Yes, sir,” it replies.

“Let’s go to my nearest door,” Saif orders. The hands of the clock inside the stopwatch sprint crazily around the circle and a flash appears.

Now we are right outside the door--- or inside something else. Saif pushes us into the door, and ninjas attack us once more. One tries to poison me by putting a cloth over my mouth, but Saif loosens the grip by a back kick. Saif quickly gives us guns and we fight with them. This gun is way heavier than before, probably because I had not felt a gun in my hand for a long time. I try to shoot one person, but I miss because of my struggle.

Meanwhile, Sam is having the same trouble, too. Saif sighs, reaches for his hat, and takes out Sam’s sword, a one that has been passed down for many generations, which belonged to Sam’s ancestor(read, “The DD Duo Shorts: Damien tries to change the past!” for more info). Now he is slicing everyone really perfectly. I look at Saif, but he just shrugs. I plan a strategy: wait until the ninjas come close enough, then shoot. One is jumping around like a nervous monkey scared to attack, then holds my neck to the ground. I grit my teeth. I pull the trigger. He opens his eyes wide, and rest his body onto me.

This feeling is different. I hadn’t ever had this feeling, since, since the Fall Of MI6(read the Sniper Battlegrounds series to find more about it). I am really happy. Everything comes back to me. I get off of his hug and shoot a ninja that is wrestling Sam. Saif is doing the same as I was. Shoot. Reload. Shoot. Reload. I begin to remember the hang of this. Soon, all of the ninjas die, except one.

He is big, like a Knight from Destiny. We keep shooting him, the bullets going through his fat belly. He roars and charges at me. I keep shooting him when I notice it’s no use and run away. Great. Now we are at the boss level. This is bad. I am not fast enough. The thing grabs me from the ground and faces me.

“Come with me,” the thing roars. I gulp.

What does he want from me?

Flame hits the monster shockingly hard. I turn to see where it came from. It was a man like me on fire, floating in the air.

Wait a minute

I turn around to see Sam but he is not here.

Is that Sam?

I call out his name. He gets out an RPG out of his back and shoots the monster’s crystal hands. I fall to the ground, screaming, but am saved by Saif and the Propeller(read The Adventures Of The DD Duo: By My Side to know more). He hands me another one, I catch it perfectly, and then stick it onto my head. I fly, getting into the combat.

“Stand back, Walker!” Sam now had an African accent. I am pretty sure it is Sam but intrigued by his sound and appearance. I look at Dr. Saif. He is only chewing his gum, hands in his pockets

“So, what the hell are you doing here?” I ask.

“Wait, you guys know each other?” I am surprised that Sam could still hear us, even in the fighting.

“Yes. We are family friends.” Saif explains. I look at him.

“Family fri---” Saif punches me in the stomach and my cheeks fill with air.

“Yeah, we’re just, family friends, you know.” I play along. I turn back to him.

“So, you still didn’t answer my question,” I say.

“Ah, yes. You see, this is the place where the Sword of Slato is? Somebody must have told you that.” Saif continues the conversation.

“In fact, an old man did,” I say. His eyes widen as he hears that.

“Narlock,” he says.

“Yes?” I mistakenly ask as if he was talking to me. He ignores.

“Yes sir,” his stopwatch says.

“Compose to Professor Jad,”

“What do you want to say?”

“Al Unre,”

“Message sent.” their conversation ends.

“So, if this is really the place where the Sword Of Slato is, then why can’t you just teleport there?” I ask.

“Do not tell me you thought I did not think of that idea. Did Professor Jad ever say to you that the location of where the Sword is in another dimension other than this?

“Wait, what do you mean?”

“We’re in another dimension. It’s called Masters’, ruled by the Masters of the Kings. They are literal masters. There is one called the Master Blaster. He retired in 500 BC. He is now in the form of a human, lurking beneath the light. There is another person called Master Gekko. His power is unknown. He was retired way before Master Blaster, so only Master Blaster and the third rumored Master knows about his location. Then there is a rumor about a God called The Eraser being the third Master, Master Eraser. There is little known about this Master after he is the one that created this dimension. Of course, their theories were based on their names, after all. You needed to know about them since we are in their dimension.” Saif explains. The monster screams and kicks the bucket. Sam gets back to his normal form.

“Damien, I have to tell you something,” he says.

“You do,” I say.

“I’m not Sam. I’m the Master Blaster.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6 - Seperated

 

“Wait, so let me get this straight: you’re the King of Guns, can control fire, then you retired, trying to have a normal life, and joined school and stuff?” I rephrase. Master Blaster nods.

“Well then, you’re even cooler than I expected!” I complimented.

“Thanks. I was in Masters’, then I stumbled across ManKind(that’s the dimension where Earth is). You see those monsters? They’re from Masters’(I’m sure Dr. Saif has explained about that now), or I shouldn’t have known how to kill one of those people.” Master Blaster explains.

“Well, let’s keep moving forward,” Saif verbally expresses. I nod. We keep plodding until we reach the other side. Sams sighs. He holds the knob and twists it. He hears a click. He pushes the sizably voluminous wooden portrait forward. Everything is genuinely dark on the other side of the door that we could not even see the ground. Sam hoists his right foot forward and realizes there is no ground. Too late. He screams, falling into the devil’s mouth. Saif immediately strives to get something out of his hat and intercept him, but he is too late. That is what I mentally conceived when he is manufacturing an effort to acquire something else out for ourselves. Saif conveys two glasses to the world outside of his hat.

“These are high-tech night vision glasses. They resemble akin to some fine glasses, but when you sport them, that’s where you optically discern the dark,” he says. I display it on my nose. Even Saif takes out his glasses and puts them over his nose. The problem is, the glasses did not work. I goggle at him. He calmly lifts his hand from the position it was in, clutches the glasses tightly, and transports it back into his hat. Then he replaces his goggles with his glasses. That is when the ground where Saif was covering vanishes and he falls.

“You need to prove yourself worthy!” he chuckles. I scream. I am the only one alone. Shit.

So much for being the hero again, Damien. You did it again.

The wind attacks me for disturbing it’s peace when I turn around. I meet face to face with the surgeon. I gulp. Wait. How did it get here? I put my hand inside my pocket, lift out my gun, and pull the trigger, pointing at the Fallow, and feeling the shock jolt me away by inches. The surgeon’s bones start sticking out of its body, the Pokemon evolving. This time, it gets even bigger, and the shot fades away. Now I actually get back without the jolt’s permission. He had evolved into a Shallow.

Now, I don’t know what a Shallow is, so I am still mystified. I shoot the Shallow again. A hole appears in its body, then vanishes. I hear a loud bang behind him. I look over to see a hole in the wall. The bullet had gone through it.

It opens its mouth and makes a loud voice, a voice of a cat screeching, and I see and smell the horror inside its mouth. I swish around and move my legs at a fast pace, like the first time Joel turns around and runs away when an explosion happens at the beginning of The Last Of Us. I keep running, but the Shallow is way faster than me. It catches me in a second, then pulls my red mask I had hanging around my neck(it was really polluted that day). For one second, I choke, then he pushes me to the ground, the wind blocking my way. He casually brings me up to his mouth and I could see he has no teeth. Then he brings me high upon his body, exposing my body to the darkness. Now I am hanging on his hook(hand) which is holding me. He opens his mouth wide. I am going to get eaten right here and right now.

Something falls from the darkness, disappearing into the Shallow’s mouth. I look up. A dark shadow emerges from the ceiling. I look at his hand full of dark shapes that looked like---

I immediately jump out of the Shallow’s hook and run away from him. For a second it chokes, then he explodes into dark worms. Just to let you know, he had a handful of grenades. I also see bits of human blood and human skin, then out of the black worms, I see something appearing. A face of a human surgeon.

It was a human that was inside of the Shallow. I didn’t get it, was she eaten or… conquered by the worms? I see one worm heading for me. Another one heading for me. More. More.

All the black worms that just spurt out of the surgeon’s body are coming at me. They slowly crawl over my legs and I stand there, frozen. I look up at the person who just bombed the Shallow. The person with the green Hawaiian shirt. He is standing right there, doing nothing. Then his hand reaches for his back and takes out a shotgun. He pulls back the forearm and it goes backs to its place. The geriatric person pulls the trigger. His aim is astonishing. It abstracts all the worms out of my legs and my legs are plenarily fine. I turn my head up.

“Don’t go near those worms. They can infect you.” the person in the green shirt says.

“W-who are you?” I ask. Before he can even answer, he vanishes into the dark. My eyes look down at the surgeon’s head.

“Shit,” I say. I look at the dark never-ending hole. I look back at the head. Where did the Shallow come from? I see glowing footsteps on the ground, leading to a secret pathway. I am not sure if this is right. I squeeze myself inside the dark hole. The way that I came from has the only source of light, and there was not much light left there. The thing is, I am afraid of the dark. Oh, come on, don’t start laughing about it. I trembling right now, afraid to step front.

“C-come on Damien, you can do this,” I sigh. I lift my left foot from the ground and rest it a few inches from where it was before. I keep repeating and repeating the same thing. Red eyes sit upon me. I did not realize that when I am scared of my own death. I spot some red color on my jacket and locate where the beam’s origin is. I transport my hand to my pocket, ship out the gun, load the cargo again, and release a cargo box, aiming for the red eyes. Blood introduces itself from my target. Crap. It’s a bat.

Other bats screech as I shoot everywhere and scream. All of them hurry up to get out of the dark cave. There is still a pair of red eyes. I am mistaken: they faded to blue. Oh my god. How couldn’t I think of that before? I open my phone and scroll down and tap the flashlight option. The phone projects light and I see it. The whole thing. It’s a cat. A black cat with blue eyes.

Its eyes are upon me. I leave a huge sigh of relief. The cat raises its right hand up, and three claws that looked like Wolverine’s snuck up outside its paw. Its mouth gets open. At the same time, it makes a loud screech, the mouth opening a bit too wide, though.

I run like mad, from the terrifying cat following me like Catwoman. My breaths are sharp and frantic, my eyes are wide filled with horror. The ground blurs below me. I continue running for what seems like a long time. I turn my head around a little bit, trying to check the status of Catwoman. She’s still coming at me. I pull out my gun and shoot her. She falls. I put the gun in my pocket, realizing where this has taken me.

What is this place, man?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7 - The Sword of Slato

 

A puff of smoke rises from the dark. It’s the ninjas! I get my gun out again and shoot them all one by one. They jump around me, trying to get ahold of me, and one of them succeeds.

Covered Hands and Poisoned White Cloth cover Mouth, now bluffing whatever came out of it. Of course. Sneaking up on me from behind. The oldest trick in the book.

“Damn you.” I close my eyes.

 

***

 

My eyelids open. A black cloth is appended to my head, coating my mouth. The sky is glittering gold. This whole castle looks like the Jade Palace from Kung Fu Panda, but with more floors than ever, and I am in the highest with ninjas and… Sam and Dr. Saif. Hundreds of ninjas surround someone. In front of me(but fifteen feet away) is a royal Chinese throne, and there a person that looks like your classic Chinese Emperor is relaxing on it.

Beside him is… well, it is a glimmering purple cube swirling around in three sixty degree circles forever.

“What happened for you penetrating our planet and annihilating a quarter of my Empire?” the person in the seat asks.

“I’m afraid we have not---” Saif gets suspended by Sam.

“They’re the Rogue Clan, and he’s their leader, Shin Chao. They took over this planet a few years ago. I’m too weak to take it back. Sorry if I shared it now. And in this level, we can’t use our powers.” Sam mutters. Dr. Saif groans and dips. Sams turns to Shin Chao.

“We’re here to retrieve our planet,” Sam says.

“It is too late. You have withdrawn, Gekko has left, and Eraser is snoring. Anyone could steal your planets by now.”

“Let’s end this already.” I groan. Saif calls out my name and takes out a flaming yellow sword, throwing it to me. The Sword of Slato.

“There are my powers! We will give you time! Hurry!” Saif orders and points at the purple cube. I nod and slice ninjas. Blood spills everywhere. The sword can cut through anything! I run to the cube and Shin Chao blocks him.

“Where do you think you’re going,” Chao looks at my ID card. “Walker?”

“Shut up, bitch!” I swear. He brings out two swords from his inventory. I just cut through them slice him once and for all. I walk to the cube. Just looking at it hypnotizes me. I grab it and throw it to Saif. The cube is floating in his hand. Saif smashes the purple cube on him, and a purple circle goes around him. He starts to float, then a flash appears.

I’m back in my bed, with Saif sleeping in the closet. I get up, smash the door open, run downstairs, get the landline, and call Sam. He says he’s fine and he knows what happened. I sigh and get upstairs. Saif doesn’t say a word.

I’m gonna have a weird life.

 

By

Chapter 1 - How It All Started

 

Chapter 1- How It All Started

 

Somebody taps my forehead.

“Damien!” she yells. I gradually unsecure my eyes and peer out the window. It is a dark girl body, suspended in air. I thrust up and move at a speed faster than a walk to the opening fitted with glass. It is Chesa Woods, an MI6 dropout. She used to labor with me in the MI6.

“Chesa!” I yell out. Chesa is just smiling at me.

“This is fun!” she yells. I nod and jump out the window. I am suddenly floating! She flies up to the sky.

“Hurry!” she calls.

“Wait for me!” I call out as I follow her. I suddenly close my eyes and blush.

“Damy, wake up! You won’t have time for breakfast!” a familiar voice says. I suddenly feel like a huge shadow casting upon me. I open my eyes. It is my mother, looking at me with her Godzilla eyes.

“You’ll be late for school!” she roars in a deep voice. Something is wrong. I stop floating. I fall down into the roof of my house as I yell. Just as I touch the surface of the roof, I wake up. A dream…

“Damy! Wake up already!” my mother yells. I wake up and pick up the alarm clock sitting next to me. I startle and go up. I am late for school--- again!

“Why didn’t you wake me?!” I complain.

“I tried many times.” my mother replies. I fall down the stairs. Soon, I push the door of my house open, fit my left shoe on correctly, and am off to school. I run. I can still make it, I think.

 

***

 

I am standing outside of class. The classroom door opens.

“We had steak three days in a row.” Sam Vanden, a bully, says as he enters the corridor. He looks at me.

“Damien,” Sam walks to me and I try to ignore him. “Still standing in the hall? How does it feel to be punished for being late?” he giggles. I try to move my face away from him as he tries to be in my eyes.

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been punished.” Sam teases.

“Yo, Sam!” I know that voice. I squeeze my eyes tightly.

“Give him a break.” It is Ron Hawkins. He is also a partner(an Assault Specialist), but then betrayed me and went to the bully side.

“He’s been standing forever and he’s tired,” Ron says.

“Ron,” I say. He walks to me.

“You can play ball with us today. Be thankful,” he says as he puts my arms around me, looks up, and covers his eyes.

“I have other plans,” I say.

“What? Don’t be so cocky!” Ron says as he looks down and pulls my ear.

“Stop it, you two! You’re hurting him.” Chesa comes walking out of the classroom and sees us two. She is always the one who protects me from Ron and Sam.

“It’s none of your business.” Sam sneers.

“Don’t talk to me like that,” Chesa says.

“I’m fine, Chesa,” I say.

 

***

 

“Next! Walker!” Ron calls out as I nod. He hits the ball high. I am always a bad catcher. The ball hits my forehead. Sam runs and picks up the ball on the ground.

“Walker! Nice catch.” he compliments as I rub my forehead. I sneer at him. Ron’s little sister, Grene Hawkins, laughs at me.

“Let me try, big brother!” Grene begs.

“Okay, Just once, Grene,” Ron instructs. Grene thanks him. She holds the bat. I throw the ball to her. The ball impeccably hits her bat and goes on back to me. I slide to the ground in my right, my underwear slipping. The balls hits precisely on my underwear as I scream. Grene laughs again and fidgets with the bat.

At night, I am studying. I indite another word, look at the rifle on the wall, yawn, and dove off to sleep. The test paper(which I got a 0% on) slides off the table and into the trash can as I snore.

I am sleeping in my bed. All of a sudden, my work area shakes. The desk drawer opens by itself. It is glowing inside.

“It’s opening,” someone whispers. Hands cling onto the top of the drawers. A kid, about my age, reveals his true body. He has an artist hat, elf boots, a black and gold vest, and weapons circumventing his body.

“Damien… you are Damien, right?” the person asks. I look up upside down. I get up to get a good look. He waves his hand. My eyes are blurry. I rub my eyes and get more proximate. Then I see his true form.

I scream and hunch back. My blanket slides backward with me to the door of my room.

“It is tenebrous in here,” he says. He looks around, examining everything. Then he finds the light cord and pulls it.

“Good evening. I am Dr. Saif. You can call me Saif.” Saif says in his British accent. I point at the hands on the drawer and scream again.

“Let me emerge. Oh, a drawer?” another person, who dresses up in a science outfit. That person presses a button, which made his glasses hide, and hops out of the drawer. He is also my age.

“Hi, I’m Professor Jad. You can call me Jad, Professor, or Prof.” Jad waves in his Australian accent. I get up. I could not believe what I am just seeing.

Chapter 2 - Unwelcomed Guests

 

Chapter 2 - Unwelcomed Guests

 

“Why were you in there?” I ask. I have a plethora of questions. This is just inordinate for me. I repose my back on the door.

“Stay calm and listen,” Jad says as Saif folds his arms.

“We’re from the future,” Jad says. I scream again. I walk around them, sticking to the wall and check out the inside of my desk. There is infinite blue space everywhere filled with mirages of clocks ticking fast. Down there below is a time machine. I knew it. It had to be a time machine.

“Woah! How does this work?” I am amazed. Jad and Saif sigh.

“Your things in the drawer are safe,” Saif says as if I am worried about it. Jad nods and folds his arms.

“They are here in my four-dimensional hat. I can fit anything in it. Lots and lots of things.” Saif says. Jad keeps nodding. I want to look at the whole thing, so I stuck my head inside and accidentally suck myself inside the drawer. Saif and Jad saw the whole thing and run to me. They pull my legs outside of the drawer.

Outside, a dog howls. I tiptoe up to my stairs, careful about spilling the juice with the Dorayakis onto the stairs and letting my parents wake up. I take a look in my parents’ room before I go up the stairs.

“Here you go,” I say as I set the Dorayakis in front of them. Jad thanks me. I nod.

“In any case, I still don’t understand. What is Conf***ckanis?” I ask.

“Well, you see, there are these locations on the globe called Time Circles. Time Circles lets us meet with people from other generations. I mean, look at me. I’m from the 22nd century! That’s why I’m wearing a spacesuit. Where we just came from, is a time machine. It’s a machine that could travel through time. I’m the greatest mad scientist in the world and Saif--- well, he’s special. He is the King of Time Traveling and math. He is the one who taught Albert Einstein knowledge about math. And you know all the myth theories people said Einstein said--- they were all true! He hides everything behind his sleeve. He holds a lot of great weapons. Weapons that could be used to destroy a whole planet! There are other galaxies out there with life. Lots of them. The main social place for everyone is the Tower, located in Ethnophoria, the galaxy in the center of all galaxies. The humans didn’t know about this(only some humans did, like me), so we isolated them forever. Our doctor here just lost the Sword Of Slato, a god-killer. He’s afraid that if they get in the wrong hands, the whole world would be gone. He was going to get his powers upgraded here somewhere in this universe(maybe) and wants to keep the Sword safe. You have to help him. You will get something in return.” by the time Jad had culminated his explication, there were no Dorayakis left. Saif is just looking at us, getting caught red-handed, and just shrugs.

“What?” I question.

“The Sword Of Slato.” just as Jad said that I open my eyes wide.

“I don’t think I’m worthy of it, though. How do you know I’m the perfect fit?” I protest. Saif takes out a device with a foreign technology, passes it to Jad, and shows me a screen of the events before the Fire.

“What’s this?” Jad asks me. I see all the shooting. Shooting the boss, the apostasy, all the horror, makes me cerebrate of the true me.

“Oh, please. I don’t want to be reminded of those days, man. They’re gone. I’m not Walker anymore. I’m Damien, and will always stay Damien. H-how about Ron? Why didn’t you choose him?” I keep protesting.

“You know very well why we didn’t choose him, Damien,” he said. He is right. Ron had turned into bullying, and stole people’s things, and did bad things. I look at the clock. It is morning(read The Adventures Of The DD Duo: By My Side to see the alternative continuation from here).

“Yeah, but why’d you come here so early in the morning?” I ask.

“Well, since this is a Time Circle, I decided to stay here with you--- forever. So I am sleeping here. Where do I, though?” Saif gets straight to the point. I sigh.

“Fine,” I said. I look at my empty closet. It is basically a double bunk wooden bed.

“You could sleep in my closet with a sleeping bag,” I suggest. Saif just shrugs and hops onto the bed, creating a sleeping bag magically. I sigh.



Chapter 3 - Ambushed

 

Chapter 3 - Ambushed

 

“Crap! I’m late!” I yell. I look at my watch.

It’s… 6:00? Am I early for the first time?

I cheer. Then I run downstairs.

“Mom, I’m early!” I call out to my sleeping mother. She does not wake up. Neither does my father. I turn the lights on. They do not move. I walk over to the windows and unblind them. They still do not move. Then I see a bird, frozen in the sky. I hear no voices, except one. I get out of the window and follow it. It is Saif, humming along with the music in his ears.

“Saif!” I order. My voice is loud enough to block the music constantly flowing through his black earphones. He opens his eyes and sees me.

“Ah, Damien. Sit here if you want. Do you want to begin the journey?” he pretends as nothing had happened.

“Why, is everything frozen?” I ask.

“Oh, I just stopped time. Of course, I am a time traveler,” he says. Fair enough, I believe him.

“Do you wanna go now?” he asks me again. I hesitate.

“Why don’t we go after school?” I ask. Saif just shrugs. He pulls the stopwatch hanging on his pants. I look up. The bird in the sky finally flaps its wings. I run to my parents. They are already up, panicking on who turned on the lights. They immediately turn to me.

“Damien, you’re--- early.” my mother says.

“Yeah, mom. That’s why I turned on the lights and woke you up.” I explain. The believe me.

 

***

 

I walk with Chesa.

“I’m going to the movies with my family tonight. Unfortunately, my mom can’t come, so now we have an extra ticket. Dad suggested bringing one of my friends. Are you available tonight?” Chesa offers. I blush.

“Uh, yes, yeah, no problem,” I say. She hands me my ticket. I blush even more that Chesa notices.

“Your cheeks are turning pink,” she says. I blush even more. Wind snatches Chesa’s hat off her. She calls out for it.

“Don’t worry, Chesa, I’ll find it,” I say.

“Come fast. That’s my favorite hat!” she says. I nod and follow the breeze. Unfortunately, the hat goes into the bamboo forest, a very dangerous forest. Rumors say people go in there and never come back. I shiver and sigh. I could impress Chesa by telling her what I am going to do. I did not know that this would into something nobody would believe. I sigh again and go into the bamboos.

At that time, minutes feel like hours, and hours feel like days. It had been--- how much? I can not remember. The bamboos trick me into focusing more on them than the time. I hear a rustle. It is probably the bushes brushing together in an awkward way. I hear tiny noises of a footstep. It is probably planning to hide from me, and it is succeeding. It is stupid to call out when there is actually not a single person here, so I did not. Smoke blinds me.

I cough. Someone chokes me, wearing black leather. Now, you are probably thinking, “Just get him down! You were in the MI6, after all!” Well, I am only a world-class sniper. I stood away from the action. Only Chesa and Ron know about hand-to-hand combat. I fall back, crushing him to the ground. He is wearing all black with a long strip of red fabric tied around his head. He had a scabbard stuck on his back like Spiderman’s spider logo. The scabbard could fit two swords. He is a ninja.

Another one comes up onto me and covers my mouth with a cloth of a stinging smell. I fall down and close my eyes.

 

***

 

I wake up. I squint to see the light that shines brightly at me. I am laying down on a bed. My hands are cuffed together with the bed, so I could not get up. This is like a doctors’ office. What I believe is a surgeon comes to me, then walks over the steel tray resting next to me. Inside the tray lies an empty syringe. The surgeon then lifts up the cap of a bottle filled with medicine. She holds the syringe in her hand and empties out the bottle with it, the syringe now fully brown. I think she is going to inject me with it, and I am right. She reaches for my arm, pinpoints my veins, and sticks in the syringe, pushing down the liquid on me. I feel shocked for a moment, then pass out again.

I take action immediately when I wake up. I pull the cuffs up, trying to pull it off the bed. It easily comes off. Of course, it would come off easily. It is a mattress, after all. I get up and look around. I finally see my surroundings--- a bed, three chairs, a desk, and doctor materials on a table next to the bed. I walk to the door and open it. Outside is a dark, long hallway with white walls faintly blue. I hear footsteps in the darkness.

About fifty feet away, I could just make out the creature: staggering, hitching wild legs. Its limbs hung at impossible angles, a dozen times shattered. Its clothes are stripes of rot. What skin still clung to the skeleton is in some spots the color of mushrooms and in others that of the wax and mostly it is as pale as the bones that jutted through it.

But a moment ago it had been coming from another direction.

There are two of them.

One shifts into the surgeon I saw earlier, but the other stays the same. I go back into the room. I find a key, probably one for this room. I bow down, planning to trick her inside this room. She enters the room.

I get up and push her in even more. She falls down, screaming not like a human. I get out of the office and lock it. I run to the side where she came from. I keep running. This hall did not seem to end at all. I finally see a staircase, with that the exit. I had a choice. I hear more groans. I did not know if they were coming behind me, up the staircase, or outside. I decide that there are more of those people up, so I choose the exit. I am running, when the creature that is following me got a hold of me and beat me to the ground. I did not hesitate. I jolt back up and ran the opposite side.

After a while of running, I find Sam Vandens. How the hell did he get here?

“Sam Vandens, what are you doing here?” I ask.

“Well, Ron forced me to go into the Forest, and I went in, but then I fainted somehow I woke up here. I bet the same thing happened to you. Have you seen one of those things out there?” Sam explains.

“Well, I was just running away from one,” I say.

“I set the fire here. I also found two sleeping bags and a rifle. Wanna stay here for the night?” Sam offers. I agree. I squeeze in my sleeping bag and start snoozing.



Chapter 4 - Bellows

 

Chapter 4 - Bellows

 

Sam awakes in the dark to the screams again.

He draws up the rifle in the tarp at his side. He kicks off the sleeping bag and rips his gun from its waterproof wrap and raises the sights up toward the perimeter blindly. A form appears twenty feet ahead. He tugs the trigger; it would not give. Sam curses himself, clicks off the safety, resights the shape. But the form is nothing more than a tree, a yew, arthritic and leafless. So dark: God, so dark out here. By the gunmetal moonlight, the ring of trees around our camp is all but invisible. But that is impossible. Unless---

Our fire had died.

“Oh, crap, no.” Sam gasps.

A crimson bed of cinders pops in the circle of stones. A spindle of smoke twists.

Sam whispers, “Damy!” Out there in the night, the scream goes on. Human but not. Living but not.

He didn’t stir.

He kneels unsteadily in the snow. He felt for the Pokemon sleeping bag, torn and patched and torn again. “Walker, get up!” The lining swishes. “Damy! Let’s go!”

Only when he tosses it open did he realize the bag is empty.

Sam’s heart rams his throat.

But the lining is still mild. I had not been gone long.

Sam risks everything and shouts, “Walker!”

Several seconds of silence, then a call reports through the darkness. “Waaaalkeeeer!” But the echo is not his own. It is a voice without depth or dimension, choking on earth. A dead, elongated roar. A monster, mimicking him.

Heavy feet changes direction and dragged through the brush, maybe one hundred yards away, nearing.

Stay---freaking---calm.

Do not let me be sleepwalking again. Jesus, why did he say we could camp outside?

Concentrate. Think, like Dad.

I swear, please do not let him be out there---

Hey a-hole: Feel. Your. Blood.

I close my eyes against the dark cold, and there is that moment, that ever-repeating instant when everything inside him hisses that it wouldn’t work, and he did not have time. Then he thinks of his breath and empties his brain.

His focus aligns on the quick warm creek within my veins, the powerful flex against his ribs, the deliberate drumming inside my ears. It feels like every fiber and thought of himself fusing into one another, until his mind and his movement merges into a single thing, seamless and bright, like a glowing radar dot.

It feels like: yes-yes.

His eyes leap open, and he moves, focus, fine.

Sam tears open the duffel bag next to him.

Waaaalkeeeer!” said the Fallow, closer now. “Waalkeer!”

Sam grabs a safety flare from the bag and stands and punches it on his thigh---a whoosh. Sparks fan a molten dandelion.

The forest conjures orange before him, our camp and the rotten deer stand and a car ahead on the dirt road. He spins on my boot heels, wafting away flare smoke.

New-cast shadow lunges in the trees.

Sam sees no one.

An image jumps into his head: Sam, hiding behind a tree as a prank. Sam, laughing into his elbow until he heard the monsters coming then froze, afraid.

“Sam, good one! You---(read Saif’s Mistake to see the alternative continuation)” I get immediately cut off by the view of a person, and old person. He has a green Hawaiian shirt and orange jeans. I feel helpless, just watching him slice those monsters in a professional way.

After finishing with his entertainment, he looks at me and smiles.

“Who are---”

“Go to the building,” he says, “that’s where you’ll find it.” just as he says that, he taps his watch and disappears.

Who was he?

I call out Sam’s name. He comes out of the blue from a tree. He had heard what the man said and nods, ready to go. We pick up everything and Sam climbs onto a tree. He pinpoints where the building is and we trudge along the trees.

The building is different than before because now it is not just a complex building, but it seems like a globe-shaped building--- a 360-degree theatre. I look at Sam. He gulps. The iron gate is fashioned to look antique, but the hinges were undoubtedly new. Of course, it could have been rehung but it is making bore the marks of machine tools not available a hundred years ago.

I catch a familiar noise, a small motor, like one used to move a camera. I correct: it is a camera. The camera is all the way at the top of the gate.

It turns its eyes to focus on us. It zooms in and zooms out. The gate opens.



Chapter 5 - Master Blaster

 

Chapter 5 - Master Blaster

 

The monsters welcome us, someone else does too. They pounce at us and we head back to the door. The monsters are already there by now. We hear someone slashing through the monsters. He is in a coat, with a gun, shooting everyone that came in front of him. I hear a loud SWISH go through my right ear and look to find a hole in the wall.

“Look out! He aimed for you!” Sam calls. It is a bullet, missing me by inches. He reloads his gun and aims for me again.

“Run!” I warn ourselves. We do as I say. I accidentally slip into the monsters. One was about to bite me, but Sam stabs it with a broken hand of a monster.

“Where the hell did you get that from?” I say in my breath. Sam shrugs. We get back to running. Sam scans for entrance to something or an exit from here. He points out a brown wooden door stuck in the high walls.

“Crap! The stairs are broken.” I say. As soon as I turn my head back to where it was, Dr. Saif appears, his gun shooting everyone. I call his name, but he ignores me. Instead, he puts his black gun in his green hat(the gun vanishes into the white abyss).

“Hello there, Sam,” he says. Sam waves.

“Wait, you guys know each other?” I ask. They quickly change their expressions and Sam takes back the hand.

“Nope. It’s just that I know the name of every single person in this world.” Saif replies. I nod and he grabs our shirts.

“Narlock,” he says. His stopwatch floats as if it had voice command(it did).

“Yes, sir,” it replies.

“Let’s go to my nearest door,” Saif orders. The hands of the clock inside the stopwatch sprint crazily around the circle and a flash appears.

Now we are right outside the door--- or inside something else. Saif pushes us into the door, and ninjas attack us once more. One tries to poison me by putting a cloth over my mouth, but Saif loosens the grip by a back kick. Saif quickly gives us guns and we fight with them. This gun is way heavier than before, probably because I had not felt a gun in my hand for a long time. I try to shoot one person, but I miss because of my struggle.

Meanwhile, Sam is having the same trouble, too. Saif sighs, reaches for his hat, and takes out Sam’s sword, a one that has been passed down for many generations, which belonged to Sam’s ancestor(read, “The DD Duo Shorts: Damien tries to change the past!” for more info). Now he is slicing everyone really perfectly. I look at Saif, but he just shrugs. I plan a strategy: wait until the ninjas come close enough, then shoot. One is jumping around like a nervous monkey scared to attack, then holds my neck to the ground. I grit my teeth. I pull the trigger. He opens his eyes wide, and rest his body onto me.

This feeling is different. I hadn’t ever had this feeling, since, since the Fall Of MI6(read the Sniper Battlegrounds series to find more about it). I am really happy. Everything comes back to me. I get off of his hug and shoot a ninja that is wrestling Sam. Saif is doing the same as I was. Shoot. Reload. Shoot. Reload. I begin to remember the hang of this. Soon, all of the ninjas die, except one.

He is big, like a Knight from Destiny. We keep shooting him, the bullets going through his fat belly. He roars and charges at me. I keep shooting him when I notice it’s no use and run away. Great. Now we are at the boss level. This is bad. I am not fast enough. The thing grabs me from the ground and faces me.

“Come with me,” the thing roars. I gulp.

What does he want from me?

Flame hits the monster shockingly hard. I turn to see where it came from. It was a man like me on fire, floating in the air.

Wait a minute

I turn around to see Sam but he is not here.

Is that Sam?

I call out his name. He gets out an RPG out of his back and shoots the monster’s crystal hands. I fall to the ground, screaming, but am saved by Saif and the Propeller(read The Adventures Of The DD Duo: By My Side to know more). He hands me another one, I catch it perfectly, and then stick it onto my head. I fly, getting into the combat.

“Stand back, Walker!” Sam now had an African accent. I am pretty sure it is Sam but intrigued by his sound and appearance. I look at Dr. Saif. He is only chewing his gum, hands in his pockets

“So, what the hell are you doing here?” I ask.

“Wait, you guys know each other?” I am surprised that Sam could still hear us, even in the fighting.

“Yes. We are family friends.” Saif explains. I look at him.

“Family fri---” Saif punches me in the stomach and my cheeks fill with air.

“Yeah, we’re just, family friends, you know.” I play along. I turn back to him.

“So, you still didn’t answer my question,” I say.

“Ah, yes. You see, this is the place where the Sword of Slato is? Somebody must have told you that.” Saif continues the conversation.

“In fact, an old man did,” I say. His eyes widen as he hears that.

“Narlock,” he says.

“Yes?” I mistakenly ask as if he was talking to me. He ignores.

“Yes sir,” his stopwatch says.

“Compose to Professor Jad,”

“What do you want to say?”

“Al Unre,”

“Message sent.” their conversation ends.

“So, if this is really the place where the Sword Of Slato is, then why can’t you just teleport there?” I ask.

“Do not tell me you thought I did not think of that idea. Did Professor Jad ever say to you that the location of where the Sword is in another dimension other than this?

“Wait, what do you mean?”

“We’re in another dimension. It’s called Masters’, ruled by the Masters of the Kings. They are literal masters. There is one called the Master Blaster. He retired in 500 BC. He is now in the form of a human, lurking beneath the light. There is another person called Master Gekko. His power is unknown. He was retired way before Master Blaster, so only Master Blaster and the third rumored Master knows about his location. Then there is a rumor about a God called The Eraser being the third Master, Master Eraser. There is little known about this Master after he is the one that created this dimension. Of course, their theories were based on their names, after all. You needed to know about them since we are in their dimension.” Saif explains. The monster screams and kicks the bucket. Sam gets back to his normal form.

“Damien, I have to tell you something,” he says.

“You do,” I say.

“I’m not Sam. I’m the Master Blaster.”



Chapter 6 - Separated

 

“Wait, so let me get this straight: you’re the King of Guns, can control fire, then you retired, trying to have a normal life, and joined school and stuff?” I rephrase. Master Blaster nods.

“Well then, you’re even cooler than I expected!” I complimented.

“Thanks. I was in Masters’, then I stumbled across ManKind(that’s the dimension where Earth is). You see those monsters? They’re from Masters’(I’m sure Dr. Saif has explained about that now), or I shouldn’t have known how to kill one of those people.” Master Blaster explains.

“Well, let’s keep moving forward,” Saif verbally expresses. I nod. We keep plodding until we reach the other side. Sams sighs. He holds the knob and twists it. He hears a click. He pushes the sizably voluminous wooden portrait forward. Everything is genuinely dark on the other side of the door that we could not even see the ground. Sam hoists his right foot forward and realizes there is no ground. Too late. He screams, falling into the devil’s mouth. Saif immediately strives to get something out of his hat and intercept him, but he is too late. That is what I mentally conceived when he is manufacturing an effort to acquire something else out for ourselves. Saif conveys two glasses to the world outside of his hat.

“These are high-tech night vision glasses. They resemble akin to some fine glasses, but when you sport them, that’s where you optically discern the dark,” he says. I display it on my nose. Even Saif takes out his glasses and puts them over his nose. The problem is, the glasses did not work. I goggle at him. He calmly lifts his hand from the position it was in, clutches the glasses tightly, and transports it back into his hat. Then he replaces his goggles with his glasses. That is when the ground where Saif was covering vanishes and he falls.

“You need to prove yourself worthy!” he chuckles. I scream. I am the only one alone. Shit.

So much for being the hero again, Damien. You did it again.

The wind attacks me for disturbing it’s peace when I turn around. I meet face to face with the surgeon. I gulp. Wait. How did it get here? I put my hand inside my pocket, lift out my gun, and pull the trigger, pointing at the Fallow, and feeling the shock jolt me away by inches. The surgeon’s bones start sticking out of its body, the Pokemon evolving. This time, it gets even bigger, and the shot fades away. Now I actually get back without the jolt’s permission. He had evolved into a Shallow.

Now, I don’t know what a Shallow is, so I am still mystified. I shoot the Shallow again. A hole appears in its body, then vanishes. I hear a loud bang behind him. I look over to see a hole in the wall. The bullet had gone through it.

It opens its mouth and makes a loud voice, a voice of a cat screeching, and I see and smell the horror inside its mouth. I swish around and move my legs at a fast pace, like the first time Joel turns around and runs away when an explosion happens at the beginning of The Last Of Us. I keep running, but the Shallow is way faster than me. It catches me in a second, then pulls my red mask I had hanging around my neck(it was really polluted that day). For one second, I choke, then he pushes me to the ground, the wind blocking my way. He casually brings me up to his mouth and I could see he has no teeth. Then he brings me high upon his body, exposing my body to the darkness. Now I am hanging on his hook(hand) which is holding me. He opens his mouth wide. I am going to get eaten right here and right now.

Something falls from the darkness, disappearing into the Shallow’s mouth. I look up. A dark shadow emerges from the ceiling. I look at his hand full of dark shapes that looked like---

I immediately jump out of the Shallow’s hook and run away from him. For a second it chokes, then he explodes into dark worms. Just to let you know, he had a handful of grenades. I also see bits of human blood and human skin, then out of the black worms, I see something appearing. A face of a human surgeon.

It was a human that was inside of the Shallow. I didn’t get it, was she eaten or… conquered by the worms? I see one worm heading for me. Another one heading for me. More. More.

All the black worms that just spurt out of the surgeon’s body are coming at me. They slowly crawl over my legs and I stand there, frozen. I look up at the person who just bombed the Shallow. The person with the green Hawaiian shirt. He is standing right there, doing nothing. Then his hand reaches for his back and takes out a shotgun. He pulls back the forearm and it goes backs to its place. The geriatric person pulls the trigger. His aim is astonishing. It abstracts all the worms out of my legs and my legs are plenarily fine. I turn my head up.

“Don’t go near those worms. They can infect you.” the person in the green shirt says.

“W-who are you?” I ask. Before he can even answer, he vanishes into the dark. My eyes look down at the surgeon’s head.

“Shit,” I say. I look at the dark never-ending hole. I look back at the head. Where did the Shallow come from? I see glowing footsteps on the ground, leading to a secret pathway. I am not sure if this is right. I squeeze myself inside the dark hole. The way that I came from has the only source of light, and there was not much light left there. The thing is, I am afraid of the dark. Oh, come on, don’t start laughing about it. I trembling right now, afraid to step front.

“C-come on Damien, you can do this,” I sigh. I lift my left foot from the ground and rest it a few inches from where it was before. I keep repeating and repeating the same thing. Red eyes sit upon me. I did not realize that when I am scared of my own death. I spot some red color on my jacket and locate where the beam’s origin is. I transport my hand to my pocket, ship out the gun, load the cargo again, and release a cargo box, aiming for the red eyes. Blood introduces itself from my target. Crap. It’s a bat.

Other bats screech as I shoot everywhere and scream. All of them hurry up to get out of the dark cave. There is still a pair of red eyes. I am mistaken: they faded to blue. Oh my god. How couldn’t I think of that before? I open my phone and scroll down and tap the flashlight option. The phone projects light and I see it. The whole thing. It’s a cat. A black cat with blue eyes.

Its eyes are upon me. I leave a huge sigh of relief. The cat raises its right hand up, and three claws that looked like Wolverine’s snuck up outside its paw. Its mouth gets open. At the same time, it makes a loud screech, the mouth opening a bit too wide, though.

I run like mad, from the terrifying cat following me like Catwoman. My breaths are sharp and frantic, my eyes are wide filled with horror. The ground blurs below me. I continue running for what seems like a long time. I turn my head around a little bit, trying to check the status of Catwoman. She’s still coming at me. I pull out my gun and shoot her. She falls. I put the gun in my pocket, realizing where this has taken me.

What is this place, man?



Chapter 7 - The Sword of Slato

Chapter 7 - The Sword of Slato

 

A puff of smoke rises from the dark. It’s the ninjas! I  get my gun out again and shoot them all one by one. They jump around me, trying to get ahold of me, and one of them succeeds.

Covered Hands and Poisoned White Cloth cover Mouth, now bluffing whatever came out of it. Of course. Sneaking up on me from behind. The oldest trick in the book.

“Damn you.” I close my eyes.

 

***

 

My eyelids open. A black cloth is appended to my head, coating my mouth. The sky is glittering gold. This whole castle looks like the Jade Palace from Kung Fu Panda, but with more floors than ever, and I am in the highest with ninjas and… Sam and Dr. Saif. Hundreds of ninjas surround someone. In front of me(but fifteen feet away) is a royal Chinese throne, and there a person that looks like your classic Chinese Emperor is relaxing on it.

Beside him is… well, it is a glimmering purple cube swirling around in three sixty degree circles forever and a flaming yellow sword. The Sword of Slato.

“What happened for you penetrating our planet and annihilating a quarter of my Empire?” the person in the seat asks.

“I’m afraid we have not---” Saif gets suspended by Sam.

“They’re the Rogue Clan, and he’s their leader, Shin Chao. They took over this planet a few years ago. I’m too weak to take it back. Sorry if I shared it now. And in this level, we can’t use our powers.” Sam mutters. Dr. Saif groans and dips. Sams turns to Shin Chao.

“We’re here to retrieve our planet,” Sam says.

“It is too late. You have withdrawn, Gekko has left, and Eraser is snoring. Anyone could steal your planets by now.”

“Let’s end this already.” I groan. Saif calls out my name and grabs the Sword of Slato, throwing it to me.

“There are my powers! We will give you time! Hurry!” Saif orders and points at the purple cube. I nod and slice ninjas. Blood spills everywhere. The sword can cut through anything! I run to the cube and Shin Chao blocks him.

“Where do you think you’re going,” Chao looks at my ID card. “Walker?”

“Shut up, bitch!” I swear. He brings out two swords from his inventory. I just cut through them slice him once and for all. I walk to the cube. Just looking at it hypnotizes me. I grab it and throw it to Saif. The cube is floating in his hand. Saif smashes the purple cube on him, and a purple circle goes around him. He starts to float, then a flash appears.

I’m back in my bed, with Saif sleeping in the closet. I get up, smash the door open, run downstairs, get the landline, and call Sam. He says he’s fine and he knows what happened. I sigh and get upstairs. Saif doesn’t say a word.

I’m gonna have a weird life.



Epilogue

I wake up and see the horror. Someone has finally beaten the Shin Chao. Who was that kid? He seemed all angry, thought he was holding the REAL Sword of Slato. Of course, why would I keep the Sword in clear view? But damn, he bruised me bad. At the end, he couldn't take the actual Sword. Let's test this out.

I strike the Sword real hard on the ground, and in a flash, the whole planet is gone. I am now stuck in air. I'm gonna have some fun with this. I laugh.

Impressum

Texte: S. Syed
Cover: mob.org
Lektorat/Korrektorat: J. Issa, M. Khurram
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 17.12.2018

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Widmung:
Dedicated to Matt Smith | If you hadn't starred in Doctor Who, this series wouldn't have existed.

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