"Jeurridam: The Hoover Dam" - Chapter 12


I didn’t know the cafeteria opened this early! The would save me a trip to one of those numerous burrito shops around Jeurridam. It was so aggravating having to do so every morning!  However, I probably would do it anyway. The platter I was preparing was not for me but for Zanir. Today was a very, very special day! It was Zanir’s birthday!
He was going to be so pissed I if he wasn’t already woke. Chances are he wasn’t. However I didn’t care… I loved pissing him off! It was something about how that cute face would scrunch up when he was aggravated that I loved! I wanted to be with him so bad! However, anyone who knew Zanir even remotely well could tell he wasn’t over the death of Galveston. It rattled him to the core, definitely the first time he experienced a loss of that level.
I wasn’t quite so easily rattled these days. I’ve seen people I’ve known lost the same way or even worse, considering Da Lagon’s wicked ways… That’s not saying I’m completely indifferent! No, I’d still be affected by loss but the healing would be fast. I think the right word would be desensitized? I don’t know. Hell, a close enough loss could utterly ruin me! Losing Luke made me realize that. Bless his resting soul but I got over him in a matter of… hours… It made me question those developing feelings I had for him. Were they simply a way of me coping with being on my own, a way of feeling needed, like someone depended on me for something… or were they not that deep, something akin to just a mutual attraction that would eventually develop into something more? Hell, maybe it was a mix of both. It didn’t change the fact that he was gone and quite frankly, I wasn’t too bothered by it.
I carried the platter from the dining hall, down the stairs into the vault. The halls were utterly empty, everyone sleeping. I reached, Zanir’s vault, opening it with the key-code access. The boy was sleeping in the dimly lit room, looking just so peaceful. Suddenly his eyes flipped opened, beading onto me.
“Good morning!” I said. He was not pleased at all, infact straight up aggravated! He looked at me with searing indifference.
“Why?” He asked, completely not up for this. It made me laugh!
“It’s a lovely September morning, don’t you think? Make sure you eat all that god damned food!” I said, only just to piss him off further. It truly made him upset.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” He asked. I just stood there smiling, shaking my head.
“Nothing,” I responded, giving a quick twirl, “Just wanted to make sure you ate really, really good today.” He looked at me intently, trying to figure out why I was doing this.
“You’re acting strange.” He said, stroking his chin.
“God, you’re such a kill joy. Just be sure to eat,” I said heading towards the door, “I’m off to work! See you around three-ish.”
“I can’t believe you seriously woke me up…” He said, wiping the crust from his still heavy eyes.
“Eh, You’ll get over it.” I said back, the door closing behind me.
That was totally how I expected Zanir to act. He was a dinosaur in the mornings! It was time to do my morning workout and then get on the road. The ride there was eerie as usual in the dark narrow canyons. It was relieving to make it to Jeurridamn. The Corridor was just a creepy place at night. The super sized city had nothing but bustle, especially as the six o’clock mark rolled closer and closer.
I parked the truck in the rear of the Henderson Justice. It was about five thirty five. This gave me about twenty five minutes to run to one of the refueling depots and pick up some grub. Indeed I did run, heading towards the nearest refueling depot. I only bought a jar of nopal tea and a bag of sun dried fruit. Sun dried fruit were some of my favorite snacks. The bag contained dates, dragon fruit and figs. It was nothing but energizing sugar.
Upon arriving at work, I was greeted with a big pile of files to alphabetize. It’d take the entire day to sort through this many files but I didn’t mind. It gave me the chance to think of the perfect gift for Zanir. Let’s face it! I owed him so much! Not only did he cure my addiction, he took down the wicked people that had me miserable for so long! I mean he destroyed them at the source! For that, I had to think of something to do for him…
The idea came to me! I was gonna bring him a mer! It probably would be the perfect way
to piss him off! However, he tended to be a good sport about pranks so he probably wouldn’t be too bothered. The shift came to an end and I had already decided how I was going to catch a mer. It wasn’t going to be some cake walk. These things were fast, dangerous and never came alone. Yeah, what I was about to do was stupid as fuck but who cares! If I wasn’t putting myself in danger I wasn’t being Ezekiel Logatti!  
After the work shift, I ran to the nearest refueling depot. These markets were vast, but I came looking for two things: a cooler and a shit ton of ice… I found what I was looking for, heading to the counter.
“Zeek!” Martha, the cashier said. She was an old time friend of the Logatti.
“Hey!” I smiled, throwing the cooler and ice up to the counter.
“I’m glad to see you’re doing alright!” She smiled, looking at me from head to toe, “You know word travels fast around this place… Saturday Da Lagon snatched you and your boy up… Then Sunday… they’re utterly destroyed? Then you show up like nothing ever happened!” I looked at her intently, the woman hinting at something.
“A lot has happened.” I said shaking my head, “But things are still good despite the little mishaps…”
“Zeek,” Martha said, her tone quite advisory, “There have been some people in this town since Da Lagon went down and I think they’re Revivalists. They’re looking for the woman who butchered everyone in Da Lagon Casino! For some strange reason, they’ve been asking about you! They know who you are!”
“What…?” I asked, taken completely aback.
“Yeah and the locals have been pointing directly to where you work. Zeek, I think its time for you to go home! I’m glad you got your shit together kid, but baby, I can already tell it’s about to get real.” She advised.
“Why are they asking about me?” I asked.
“From what I’ve heard, the Revivalists have been asking about Da Lagon and what happened to them. They’re trying to find that woman who cut up everyone in the casino. The information everyone has been giving is that you were abducted by them Saturday. Fast forward to today and and know they know your name, telling everyone you’re Logatti and pretty much, have been scouring the wastelands for you and this woman? What have you gotten yourself into?” She continued.
“Nothing that I can help....” I sighed, scratching my head.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I’ve been having some up and down luck lately. First I finally learn how to read, then my sister and little brother run away! That pisses off my dad so he kicks me out and forces me to survive on my own. I get a job, a close friend and think things are going smooth, only to have Da Lagon stalk me over some old as shit and try to pull me back into that lifestyle… Fortunately, I managed to get out of it and had this job waiting for me…” I responded.
“Look,” Martha began, “Don’t give me any information that I might not be able to keep safe! Stop right there! That’s for your own good! I know you’re going to be mad but you know I’ve been in contact with your father?”
“Really?” I asked trying everything I could to hide my displeasure. Martha knew me long enough to know that I was very upset.
“Yeah, he doesn’t believe a word I’m saying when I tell him you’ve been doing good for yourself. I haven’t contacted him since when I saw you Saturday. I haven’t told him you got abducted because I figured you’d turn up someway or another. Indeed I was right but I feel the need to contact him about these people asking around for you…” She said.
“Please don’t…” I responded, hoping she wouldn’t.
“You haven’t seen the wickedness which is the Revivalists! And your father is the first person that needs to know that a very powerful fascist military group is searching for his son!” Martha said, “Just don’t come back here! Tomorrow is not promised a free day! Go home!”
“And do what, have these people come to my doorstep? If they’re really looking for me, I’d much rather let them find me then let harm come to my family. You know those guys would fight to the end of themselves just to protect one of their own. I may be disowned but let the Revivalists come to A99 and see won’t my pa not only blow his top but instantaneously absorb me back into the family!” I argued back.
“Your father holds a lot of secrets, Zeek! If the Revivalists so easily figured out who you were, then then they probably know everything your father ever hid! Some of these secrets hold so much weight, they can shift the balance of this war! You don’t think these people will try to milk these secrets out of you? This doesn’t feel like when they’d come every now and a couple years. They never did this, ask about the locals. They’d often check up on the quarantine zones and be gone. This feels like this could turn into an Occupancy like what happened back in Tijuana… I’m telling you, it’s better for you to be home then on your own! Your father has powerful friends! The Revivalists would think twice before meddling with someone as powerful as your father… You on the other hand, they could snatch you up and… need I continue?” Martha explained. There was no denying it! She was very, very correct!
“You’re right… but I’m not going back home with that crazy ass man! I got resources of my own. I’ll be careful.” I said, hoping to reassure her. Martha wasn’t sold and I didn’t blame her.
“Alright… And I’m still contacting your father!” Martha said.
“Okay…” I chuckled making off with the ice and cooler.
In typical Ezekiel fashion, I went back on my word heading straight to Dredge Valley. I made sure I stayed on the north end of the valley, keeping a far enough distance away. Looking through the scope, I began to hone in on any mer’s roaming about. There were many, most accumulating around the hidden vault. I was looking for a straggler.
This became a waiting game, waiting for one to roam far enough away from the others for me to pounce. Eventually one did! It was what I had been waiting for about maybe a good forty minutes! Of course I had stolen a high powered game rifle from the Area 51 vaults. I took aim at the straggler, firing a lung shot! The creature fell, choking on it’s own blood.
It was now or never! I quickly drove the truck the three quarters of a mile distance down into the valley. The fallen creature was on the other side of the embankment, a staggering forty foot climb.  Second thoughts began to pour in as I stood their daunted. However it was too late to turn back. I reached under my shirt, grabbing another stolen gun, a highly balanced, high powered silenced handgun with the stopping power of a deer rifle. Hopefully it’d be enough to save my ass if shit decided to hit the fan.
I grabbed the longest rope I could find, tying it to the rear of the truck. I then traversed the tiny stream, climbing up the valley side to the fallen mer. How eerily human it was tied knots in my stomach. Nonetheless,  I tied a rope around the creature's feet, looking back over to the truck. It was still running because I was about to come running, and get the fuck out of here. The area was clear for the most part! No mers too close by. The ones that saw me were too late!
They couldn’t close the distance fast enough. I had arrived at the truck, driving back out of the shallow ravine, dragging the fallen mer as a result. After feeling it was a safe distance away, I stopped, having to gather myself. Sure the escape was nowhere near narrow but it was something about those mers that just wasn’t right! How they looked at you, the way they walked, the sounds they made. It was too close to human yet distant.  
I got out of the truck, walking over to the mer. From the tip of it’s head to the points of its toes, the slender creature was nearly nine feet long. That meant it probably weighed in excess of four hundred pounds. It was too heavy to lift and carry on my own, as expected which is why I brought the cooler and ice. I was going to dissect this creature and bring back all the parts I thought Zanir could use.
But its face though! Despite being a navy blueish color, was fucking human! It had lips, eyes, cheeks a nose, very, very, very thick and oily hair and ears all similar to that of a human. Of course there were differences. The nose was incredibly large as well as the cheekbones which probably how this creature served such a debilitating sonic blast. The ears also seemed to be able to move freely, open and close and expand and contract. All of this seemed to be an adaptation for life under water.
It made me wonder how the hell these creatures came about! Readings on ancient humans and related species showed there were no aquatic species of aquatic primates like this. These monsters were genetically engineered! After inspecting the creature, I went back to the truck for Beth’s knife and the cooler. I grabbed the creature by its bristly oily hair! It felt slimy and smelt so bad! The odor was almost indescribable, like a mix of fish oil, mold and something else I couldn’t put a finger on.
I looked into those ghastly yellow irises as I cut the creature’s head off. Very thick and rich blood poured out of the severed veins, a richer tone of red then human blood.
“Wow…” I said as I put the head in the cooler. It had a lot more heft than a human head. Don’t ask me how I knew how heavy a human head was… The things I’ve had to do were just shameful, unforgivable even.
Then came the process of taking out some of the organs. Beth’s knife carefully glided through the skin of the mer. Instead of fat being right beneath the skin, there was some serious layers of connective tissue! Beneath it were dense, dense, dense muscles, woven unlike any creature or person I’ve gutted before. It was nothing but sheer power despite being so slender. Underneath the muscle were several inches of subcutaneous fat. I never would have guessed this was there but it probably was an adaptation for living underwater and helped with buoyancy.
I continued cutting through the flesh, prying the dermis apart. The stomach and intestines were attached to the spine so I didn’t want to bring that. Not to mention, intestines tended to be very, very messy. The lungs were ruined, having explode after being flooded with blood. However, the liver was intact! It was huge, coated in thick oils  obviously another buoyancy adaptation.
Were these really adaptations though? From what I’ve read, changes in physiology like this take hundreds of thousands of years if not millions of years! There were no records of this creature in history! Not to mention, humanity nearly destroyed itself only six hundred years ago! These changes seemed induced in a lab. If these were indeed humans, this was cruelty on another level. There was only one way to find out! I took the liver, the kidneys, the feet and the hands.
Dismembering the mer brought back some of my most traumatic memories. I was sixteen, deeply in love with Rion. Damn, if I knew how he had me wrapped around his finger at the time, everything would have been different. If I would have known then what I’ve known now…. I wouldn’t have let him take me to Los Sina Carn… All he told me was that it was something important, something that needed to happen. At the time, I was like… okay! Anything for you, babe. All he was doing was sinking his psychological claws deeper into my mind.
Los Sina Carn was a budding gang, much like Da Lagon was those many years ago. They both competed in the human trafficking market of Jeurridam, often stepping on each other’s toes. The difference was that Da Lagon was a prostitution ring… Sina Carn was a cannibalism ring. Truly, both games were a shock to the region one one of the rudest wake-up calls the region had gotten in hundreds of years! How Sina Carn stepped on Da Lagon’s toes was by stealing slaves, killing them and selling their meat around the region. Human meat was surprisingly popular. Sick, I know!
Rion took me into their warehouse, everything going fine. He told me to wait with the guys in the cellar. I was fine with it, just watching the men cut up the meat with their cleavers. It looked like sheep meat from here until I saw them do the unthinkable! They brought in the skinned body of a human. The physique of a human was unmistakable, even when skinned, gutted and cleaned. The sight shook me to the core! It was not the first time I had seen a dead body but it was the first time I saw one being hacked up the way it was.
Rion came back out, looking at me as devilishly as he often did.
“He’s all yours boys…” He said.
“What?” I asked, thinking I heard him wrong. Suddenly, the two men cleaving human flesh, grabbed me from behind. It was the most terrified I had ever been, “RION!!!!!!!” No screams were of use! The boy left me to be carved up by these people.
“Put him with the rest..” The ganglord said, counting his cash.
The cleaving men took me to the rear of the warehouse where I was thrown in into a cell! There were countless other kids and young people in the neighboring cells, all shaking and terrified. One by one, hour after hour, one would be taken out. Then it’d be followed by the most blood curdling screams then this unbearable silence. It’d be broken when someone couldn’t take it anymore and started crying.
“Shut up!” A patroller would say, hitting the crying child with a studded tassel. Time whittled down as well as the people in the cells. The whole time, I couldn’t help but wonder why would Rion do this to me! My heart was so broken and I was so terrified.
There was one more person left before they got to me. The young girl sat with her head cradled between her knees, shaking like a leaf. The terrifying cleaving men came in those blood covered white aprons. They opened her cell, getting her too her feet. Suddenly, the girl pushed one man hard to the floor and drop kicked another. She scrambled to her feet trying to run! However her escape was cut short when a cleaving blade was hurled across the warehouse, embedding its jagged teeth into her skull.
The girl fell hard, her face planting into the warehouse floor. Her body was motionless, dead! The cleaving men came and got her, taking her to be skinned and treated. This made it all the more terrifying! To know that if I fight back, my death would be that more gruesome, the only thing I could do was embrace my fate… It made me cry unlike any tears I shed before. Then came my turn. The two cleavers came and got me, hoisting me up to my feet.
I couldn’t help but resist them. The two big, burly men pulled me forth without an issue.
“NO PLEASE...PLEASE!!!!” I screamed, not wanting to be slaughtered in such an inhumane way. It was to no avail. They brought me to a blood soaked room, stripping me out of my clothes. They tethered me to the gutting table coming forth, with those mighty blades. I quivered as I expected the worst pain of my life! The blades came within inches of disemboweling me! However the two men stopped, staring at the warehouse door.
“Get in there!” Someone shouted.
Los Sina Carn’s ganglord came stumbling into the slaughter room with multiple gunshot wounds. Rion followed him in, aiming a shiny desert eagle at the man. He fired two shots at the two giant cleaving men, forcing them to their knees. Rion circled around us all, the most diabolical smile on his face.
“You little backstabbing, lying little treacherous thief…” Los Sina Carn’s ganglord said, coughing up blood.
“I’m a thief? You steal the women we work hard to take care of! I could see if you were prostituting them as well but no, you slaughter them like their common cabras and sell their meat! That’s so disrespectful, so brutal, so wicked! You have your goons running around like clients only to kidnap and slaughter our women! These women don’t deserve to be in some sick bastard’s belly…” Rion responded.
“Either way, they wound up as meat...whether it be some meat someone fucked the hell out of or some meat someone ate! MEAT!!!!” The Lord countered. Rion just looked at him, coldly…
“You know,” He began to respond, “One of those girl you killed, cut up and sold… was my sister… Another, was my aunt…!!! Before that, her DAUGHTERS!!!”
“Big deal… Countless mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins and nieces die here.” The Lord shrugged. Rion began to smile. I knew this smile! It meant he was going to do something terrible!
“Kinda like what I intend on doing to the women in your family…” Rion said. The Lord’s eyes lit up in horror.
“You wouldn’t…” He said, surely believing the boy had some sense of appeal.
“But I would!” Rion laughed as Da Lagon goons brought in his entire family. The Lord cried, hard, seeing his family being brought in. His daughters, his wife and sisters all sat on the blood soaked floor, trembling and crying.
“Please don’t…” The Lord pleaded.
“I wonder how it felt when my sister, my innocent sister, got butchered by those blades,” Rion said, taking one of them from the cleaving men. He walked over to the nearest girl. The goons held her arms out as Rion brutally sliced the girl from her abdomen to her neck, “Did it feel like this?” The girl squealed in pain, as shock began to set in.
“NOOOOO MIAAAAAA!!!!!” A woman screamed as she watched Rion hack her daughter to bits. Rion looked at the woman then back to the Lord. He just sat there eyes wide, frozen in disbeleif.
“That’s your wife?” Rion asked.
“NOOOO!!!!!” The Lord begged, extending out his hands in a futile effort. Rion hacked the woman to bits!
“NOW YOU FUCKING KNOW HOW IT FEELS WHEN THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE, ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT ARE ROBBED FROM YOU!!!!!” Rion screamed, hacking all the women up with that evil blade. The Lord fell back on the blood covered floor, just crying! Rion walked over to him, tears in his eyes as well, “You know what? You deserve to know their pain as well!!!!”
Rion lifted the blade up, slamming it and it’s jagged serrations into the man. He hacked him up repeatedly until he was severed in half. Rion was just in such a blind rage! He dropped the blade, falling back into the blood, crying hard! It was obvious the revenge didn’t gratify him at all! His family was still gone!
Rion quickly composed himself, releasing me from the butchering table. I couldn’t look at him the same after this. I finally saw what he was capable of and all I could think was that he was a monster. He could see the horror in my eyes! That monster he became, quickly disappeared, becoming that warm and nurturing Rion that had me fooled for so damn long…
“I wasn’t going to let these demons brutalize you.” He said, handing me the blade. I looked at him, quite confused, wondering what was running through this boy’s head, “Now kill these men…”
“I can’t…” I said, handing him back the blade.
“These people are scum of the earth, preying upon the weak like they do! They deserve death!” He said firmly.
“But how does this make us better than these scum?” I asked, just unable to understand. He gently caressed my face, looking at me eye to eye.
“Because,” He said softly, “Da Lagon believes in an eye for an eye for those who commit crimes against them. Killing them the same way they’ve killed countless others is the only justifiable death! It won’t even begin to heal those who’ve lost someone because of them but this is the right thing! We’re ridding the earth of scum... Scum that was going to kill you! Think if this was Beth rather than you…?” His words got to me. I gripped the blade hard as he stepped back.
I closed my eyes, hacking the first man to bits with the blade. Just as I was about to hack the other cleaving man, Rion stopped me.
“You’re going to skin him alive like those who he skinned alive! Like the girl he had on this table before you who he butchered up before she even shed her last breath…” Rion said.
His goons hoisted the man up on the table, strapping him down. The cleaving man looked around, utterly terrified as Rion viciously cut him out of his clothes. They all stood back, watching as the slow suffering began. That was the day I learned how to gut a human and consequently a mer. At the time I was beyond impressionable and easily brain washed. That night, Rion made me feel loved, feel like I was his forever and he was mine… He didn’t even have to touch me, have sex with me or anything! The way he nurtured me was something I never had…  but no! It was Rion’s way of controlling me! I was the only thing in his life that he had left and he did anything to keep me wrapped around his finger including getting me hooked on drugs.
From that day forth up until a few months ago, Rion had me doing all of Da Lagon’s dirty work, building their empire up so that it would one day rival the mass that was the Logatti. I couldn’t believe I was so stupid. But to this day, I still don’t know if Rion ever loved me or was he only using me. It was something I’d never know because Zanir brutalized Rion…
It got me to thinking! Zanir had been this thing that just erased all my problems away whether he knew it or not. It made me wonder could he erase my one last problem. I wanted him to know that I wanted be with him so bad! It was clear his heart was still aching and in a way, it was all my fault! I just wished his heart was aching for me instead of someone else. Sure it was selfish, wrong, but if it was one thing I was certain about was that I was in love with Zanir! Maybe someday in the future we could be together, be happy and not have to worry about this treacherous world. It was something that didn’t need rushing. If it happened, it’d happen on its own. However, there was a chance that we just didn’t belong together and if so… that was fine. I still was grateful to have someone as wonderful as Zanir in my life!
I arrived back at Area 51, parking the truck in the lake bed. Many of the natives were out, maintaining the vast network of buggies. It seemed like quite the undertaking. I got out the buggy, running to the cooler to look at the body parts. My dumbass put the mer’s head in the the bottom of the cooler. Daunted by the dense ice, I began digging to the bottom of the cooler. I found the head, placing it on top to gag Zanir when he opened it. I wondered what his reaction would be when he saw it. Considering how loose a cannon Zanir was, there was no telling!
It was now time to find the boy. Fortunately, he was sitting in the lobby of the main campus facility. Heaven was beside them, the boys talking about shit I really didn’t care about…
“ZANIIIIIIIRRRRRRR!” I yelled, wafting into the facility. He looked at me, quite puzzled.
“What?” He asked, blinking repeatedly.
“Just come to the truck!” I said, waving him over. He and Heaven came over, walking through the lake bed to the truck. I hopped onto the bed of the truck opening the cooler. The shock on their face was priceless.
“OH MY GAWD!!!!!” Heaven screamed, squirming in disgust. I looked at Zanir who was forever unimpressed, unmoved and indifferent.
“Happy Birthday bruh…” I smiled. Zanir rolled his eyes, laughing to himself. Heaven looked on confused.
“Wait today’s your birthday?” He asked.
“Yeah,” Zanir said, quick to change the subject, “Zeek, you went back to Dredge valley?”
“Yeah, thought it’d be fun to kill one of those dredge beasts and bring you a head.” I said back, laughing. He looked at me with a mix of horror yet expectancy.
“That’s just sick! I thought that was a person!” Heaven said. I looked at the boy as if he were dumb.
“What person do you know is a dark-blueish grey?” I asked him.
“Hell I don’t know.” He laughed.
“Well it’s kind of funny, but since you brought it, I’m gonna get some samples from this thing and see what it really is.” Zanir said, coming to inspect the mer’s head, “Did you kill it?”
“Yeah, sniffed one from up the valley, cut off some of the body parts and brought them in the cooler.” I said back, “The head’s just on top.”
“They have a chemical lab with just what I need to understand these creatures. I’m not much of a geneticist but, I should be able to get this creature’s genome and cross-reference it.” Zanir sighed, slowly closing the cooler.
“Well, let’s take it up in there then…” I said back, grabbing a handle, “Come on, Heaven…”
“Gross, I got to carry that thing?” He asked, squirming.
“Boy come on!” I demanded. He sighed, grabbing the other handle, as we carried it off the truck and into the facility, “I can’t believe you thought this was a person!”
“Man, that thing’s on ice! I thought it was a black man or something, turned blue because of the blood rushing away from his face.” Heaven responded, warranting a displeased look from both Zanir and I.
“You’re just racist!” Zanir teased, however his face didn’t buckle. It had Heaven believing he was quite serious!
“Bruh, I’m not! I swear! It’s what I initially thought!” Heaven pleaded.
“Nope still racist.” Zanir chuckled.
“Oh…” Heaven responded, relieved to no know Zanir was only kidding.
We carried the cooler up the stairs to the nearest chem lab. Unfortunately, Basil and the agricultural team were in there. Upon seeing us, the boy rushed over. I didn’t like Basil very much. Maybe it was just me, but he seemed to be one of those aggravating idiots that did a lot of sweet talking to get what he wanted. Yes, I felt he was manipulating us all!
“Hey,” He said, looking down at the cooler, “What do you have here?”
“My friend brought me a little gift.” Zanir smiled, reaching for some glass dishes from overhead.
“That’s nice of him,” Basil said looking confused just as I opened the cooler, “Whoa…” The boy quickly scooted back, wanting to distance himself from the head as quick as possible. Zanir looked at the boy, unpleased.
“Relax. It isn’t human…” Zanir sighed, shaking his head.
“Is it real?” Basil asked, curiosity pooling in his eyes. I held up my hand, smiling childishly.
“I killed it…” I said. Zanir laughed, rolling his eyes at me.
“What exactly is it?” Basil asked, leaning over the cooler, trying to figure out what it is.
“That’s exactly what I plan on finding out.” Zanir said as he began rigorous testing on the creature. The wait was quite tense, everyone wanting to know. Zanir stepped back, looking at the isolated samples. We all looked at him, trying to figure out what was bothering him.
“Wow… They share ninety nine point one percent of human DNA.” Zanir finally said.
“That’s awfully similar.” Basil said.
“Alarmingly so…” Zanir said, cross referencing the genetic sequences against all other known animals on his watch.
“What does this mean?” I asked.
“I don’t quite know. I’m not sure what to say about these creatures. All I know is that it made me wonder what’s in that vault…” He said, scratching his head.
“Wait, you’re actually thinking about going inside the vault?” I asked.
“Not if I can help it. Something I couldn’t ignore would have to happen for me to want to go down into the vault.” He quickly shot down.
“Good… because I’m scared of the dark.” I said, brushing against his shoulder. He smiled blushing. It warranted a strange look of surprise from Basil, one that I knew all too well. He was crushing on one of us and all I had to say for it was eeew! I knew he was like old enough for me not to feel guilty about banging him but his face was just toddler-ish and I couldn’t take him seriously.
“Of all things you’re not afraid of, the dark makes you a sissy?” Zanir asked.
“Shit… bruh. That just reminded me. We need to talk.”
“About what?” Basil asked, curiously.
“Nothing! It's between Zanir and I.” I said, warranting a look of shock from all. “Very well...” Basil said, raising both hands in surrender. Maybe what I said came across as harsh. Hell, it didn't matter if it did because Basil was just plain aggravating.  
“Okay...?” Zanir responded, unsure what we needed to talk about.
“Let's um, let's talk in the hall.” I said back, leading him out of the laboratory. We walked down the stairs to to the vaults, entering his.
“What?” Zanir asked.
“Something happened today.” I began, “A family friend told me that people are looking for us, people she thinks are Revivalists. She thinks it'd be wise for us to get out the desert! She told me to quit and go home!”
“Okay,” Zanir replies back, “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because it's real out there, something wants us and people in Henderson have been pointing fingers at me! I'm asking you what to do! I'm at my wits end here...” I asked, having no where else to turn. Zanir sat on his bed, deliberating.
“This is not my field of expertise. You want me to ask Beth? I really don't know what to say.” He shrugged.
“No,” I refused, “She's the last person I want to be worried right now.”
“But she needs to know!” Zanir insisted.
“No I need to figure this out! That's why I came to you for help... Zanir don't leave me hanging.” I begged.
“I won't,” He reassured, “Does Beth even know you were involved with getting rid of Da Lagon?”
“No. I don't want her to know either.” I responded.
“Bruh, you need to quit! You need to stay out of Jeurridam! Tomorrow might be an entirely different day. We have what we need here! Don't risk it, Zeek.” Zanir advised.
“I don't want to! Do you know what it feels like to be free, to have no one dictating your every move? I don't want to let that go or have that robbed from me again.” I countered.
“I can't fight this battle like I fought Da Lagon! The Revivalists are more than a mere faction, more than just a militant group.  They are a Nation! I can't face of with a nation because of you, Zeek.” Zanir said, his words bearing a thudding amount of weight. I couldn't bear to be around him right now. I just wanted his help!
“Okay...” I nodded, heading out of the room.
“Zeek,” Zanir said, pleading with me, “Don't go tomorrow. If the Revivalists do come, I can't help you, Zeek.”
“I get it...” I said firmly. He looked at me apprehensively, my words carrying a singe to them. It didn't stop me from continuing toward the exit.
“I'll lose!” Zanir said, pausing me in my tracks. It just felt like he was tired of helping me. If he was then I'd continue on my own. He's helped enough as is and I knew there'd be a time when the help would run out. Viewing Zanir as my hero who could help anytime I needed was just foolish and hopeless. This was my fault.
Came the next day, things started off as regular as I could have wished. I worked out, bathed, ate before leaving. Before leaving though, I went to Zanir’s room, waking him up. He crawled out of his bed like some lumbering beast that had been asleep for centuries!
“Is this going to be a regular occurrence?” He asked, rubbing his face as he swayed back and forth.
“You are so not a morning person!” I smiled. Zanir looked at me with penetrating lividness.
“GET THE FUCK OUT!!!!!” He screamed.
“Fine.” I laughed leaving! I headed down the hall to Beth’s room. Upon entering, I was horrified to see her and June lying naked across each other, dried pasty white stains covering their bodies, “EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWW” I screamed, closing the door as they woke up. It was only to piss them off! It was then time to annoy Heaven.
Upon entering his room, it was surprising to see the boy awoke and well. He looked at me, surprised by the visit.
“Yeah?” He asked, wondering why I was here.
“Nothing… just… What are you doing up?” I asked back. He shook his head.
“Couldn’t sleep. Just wondering bout some shit. No big deal bruh…” He said, dismissing me.
“Fine!!! Don’t become an insomniac! If I check on you tomorrow and you’re not sleep, we’re fighting…” I teased.
“Okay…” He shrugged with a chuckle.  
It was now time to get on the road! The ride to work was long and eerie, something I was swiftly becoming numb to. Upon arriving to Henderson, I didn’t bother to head to the depot. It’d be exhausting having to hear more people tell me the same shit, that it was foolish to be alone out in Jeurridam! No, I entered the rear of the Justice Hall, everyone acting… quite… strange! Everyone was silent, performing like a well oiled machine! I mean, everything was awfully efficient here but never this silent, especially in the back. Not to mention, it was incredibly crowded in the rear offices! Everyone who worked up stairs were down stairs! Something wasn’t right…
“Okay…?” I said to myself.
As I trudged forth through the ominous silence, eyes fell upon me one at a time, alerting me that something was terribly wrong. Just as I geared to head up the stairs, the maestro came down, looking at me intently.
“Ezekiel! I’m glad you’re here! Um, sorry,” He began, causing me to grow concerned, “But we’re going to have to let you go,” A nervous smile came across his face, “We learned that you’re not who you say you are! You’re Logatti… We can’t let Logatti work under these conditions…!”
“What?” I asked, taken aback.
“Seriously… We can’t.” The maestro said, looking at me intently.
“So I’m fired? I’ve been doing my job right, have never been late, been the fucking MVP FOR THIS DAMN PLACE!!!!! Please let me keep the job! You don’t know! I need it!” I begged.
“Ezekiel…” He said, through the grit of his teeth, placing a gentle hand on mine, “Let’s try to be professional and get you out of here peacefully… and quietly…”
“Let me get my stuff…” I sighed, hating all the curveballs this desert seemed to throw. I walked towards the stairs, the maestro grabbing my hand firmly, “The fuck?”  He shook his head, worry written deep in his eyes.
“Come back and get your stuff… in a few days! Please, just stay calm and quiet! We need you to leave in an expedient manner… go home…” He said, his voice getting quieter, and quieter. Something definitely was up. His emphasis on being quiet was bothersome.
“Did Martha come here?” I asked, getting rather upset.
“No...but.” The maestro began.
“But WHAT?” I asked. The maestro but a finger over his lips, gesturing for me to keep this conversation hushed.
“Shhhhhhh… Just come back for your stuff in a few days!” He insisted.
“No, you’re not holding my stuff if I’m terminated!” I quickly refuted, yanking away from the man, “If I’m not working here anymore, I’m getting all my shit! And I better be getting my last paycheck too!”
“Oh my God, Ezekiel no!!!!” The maestro whispered in a panic. He followed me up the stairs trying to get me to stop.
He was too late because I had already stopped. The entire upper levels of the justice hall was vacant! The inkling that something fowl at play here was going on became very strong. The Maestro pinned me to the wall, sweating profusely!
“You fucking idiot,” He whispered, “I’m trying to keep your ass safe! They’re here! They’re inside your office! They have this place surrounded! They saw your truck roll in! They have us all on strings! If I wasn’t part of the Logatti’s network, I would have let you walk right into this shit but I owe allegiance to your father! This is a setup! They want you! I don’t know why but they do, and it’s too late now!!!”
“What? Who’s here?” I asked, back starting to panic.
“Who else? The Revivalists! When your shift was over yesterday, they came here asking about you! I didn’t fucking know who you were until they said your last name! You’re my fucking boss’s son!” He snarled.
“Bruh, what the fuck? What the fuck… How am I? Are you serious?” I rambled, at a loss for words.
“They cleared out my upstairs office this morning for your ass! They know your history, your track record… your everything! They know you’re a slippery snake! They don’t want others to get hurt so they sent everyone down stairs! God… I can’t let this happen! Come with me!” He said, ducking down low as we headed through the cubicle space.
There were definitely insurgents in house! Distant footsteps and seeing the unmistakable desert jumpsuits and cloaks of the Revivalists passing by cubicles was all the evidence. The maestro led me into an office, closing and locking the door behind himself. He logged onto his computer, tapping into the security feeds.
“They got us tapped…” He sighed, staring at static, “They’re probably on to us!” He wasted no time in running behind his desk, reaching for his safe. He put in the code, pulling out gun after gun after gun, “I’m going to get you back down stairs! We’re going to use these employees for leverage! They’re going to be our ticket out of here!”
“Then what? You seriously want to do that? I mean they’re innocent people!” I responded. He looked at me, dumbfounded.
“Look! Some of those employees are Logatti goons as well! What I say, they’ll do! The rest… expendables! I’m much more afraid of your father than I am these Revivalists clowns! Now you’re gonna help me get these guns down here to my boys, and we’re going to fight our way out of here just long enough to get to a relay! That’s all we need! If you’re taken by these fools, we at least should need to inform your father!” He said.
“Oh God…” I said thinking back to what Zanir said, “He was right… I should’ve stayed… God, he was right! Fuck, he’s always right! I should have damn known!” Frustration began to sat in as I realized just how stupid I was!
“No time for self pity! There’s a dumbwaiter in the section across the hall that leads us right back down to the rear offices! We need to get these guns to my boys in a hurry! How good are you with a gun?” He asked.
“Good…” I responded.
“And can you fight?” He kept on, not buying this one bit, making sure each gun had amo as he packed them one by one in the bags.
“Yes! Yeah, I can fight…” I said back.
“Whatever,” He said, peeping out of the blinds, “We’ll do what we can to look after you! Just do what we say! You’re a headstrong little somershit I see…”
“Don’t be a fool and underestimate me! My whole life is a sticky situation… This is no different! Hand me a gun…” I said. He slowly turned around to me, handing me one of his long barrel silenced auto-pistols. It was a twelve millimeter gun with a lot of power and range, not too far from the stolen guns in the bed of my truck, “Cute…”
“You better know how to fucking work that thing…” The maestro advised, taking one last look out the window. The halls were clear… “We need to move, now!”
We did so, creeping silently through the tight cubicle halls, reaching the dumbwaiter. We both rode it down to the rear offices where the occupants were steadily trying to carry on as normal as possible. The maestro looked at me as we stood behind everyone.
“You stay here and hold my bag!” He said, giving me the sack full of firearms, “I’m about to rally my boys…”
“Okay.” I responded. He returned minutes later with about seven or eight young men, all seeming literate and very well educated. As they came back towards the dumbwaiter, where I was standing, every single eye in the office scanned them from head to toe.
“Boys, this is the boss’s son! I know the Revivalists seem big and scary and shit but ain’t no one bigger and scarier than Dale when he’s lost one of his own and he ain’t finta lose one today!” The maestro said, reaching for the bag, “Now we’re going to make a break for the depot so we can alert assets of what’s impending. Whatever happens, one of you boys get to the radio and call for the boss!”
All the boys looked at me, viewing me as some type of precious desert commodity worth more than their lives! It was such a strange feeling to have someone view you like this! After all, I was my dad’s least wanted kid yet somehow I managed to be the one his worst possible enemies could have wanted. What kind of shitty luck was that? But still though, we were going to have to make a break for it and all these people would have to be involved.
The boys were roughly around my age and probably just as unlucky as I was with quite a few miles on their odometers. I could relate… In this born to die world, shit like this made you feel purposeful! They seemed ready to jump at the chance of action, like I was so many years ago. Hell, it probably beat sitting here in this office for hours everyday.
“Okay, it’s now or never boys…” The maestro said, looking out the window, “Shit…”
“What?” I asked.
“They’re surrounding your truck! They got one of those fucking tanks out back with those smaller speeders! This is going to be tough!” He responded. I looked out the window as well, looking at the grim site. It seemed as though this attempt to flee would be futile but I knew with all my heart we could do it!
“What do you want us to do boss?” A kid asked.
“Fuck, just let me think…” The maestro responded, going back to close all doors.
Everyone in the office looked terrified. The boys jostled back and forth, nervous but ready for action.
“All my guns are in the truck,” I said as I watched them take everything away, “They’re confiscating all my shit!”
“Man, why the fuck do they want you?” The maestro asked.
“They think I know a guy who they need to progress with their technological advancements! As far as I care, I don’t know shit…” I responded.
“You obviously do,” Some ugly ass chola bitch near the rear said. Her eyes were clenched tight, as the stress began to get to her, “Or they wouldn’t be here. Just turn yourself in so no one will get hurt. This is fruitless…”
“I’m not letting this fools take me so they can torture me for the little bits of information they think I know!” I snarled.
“Well it’s better you than all of us getting hurt! People here work hard and your little hoodlum ass antics will get us all killed! I’m sorry but I can’t go down for you…” She said, walking towards the door.
“You can’t?” I asked her, aiming my gun at her.
She looked at me horrified! It was the last look she ever made as a bullet pierced through her skull. She fell on the floor, a twitching dead mess.
“Any more people want to leave, want try and get the fuck out? Let me assure you folks this! My dad runs this shit! He’s the reason you all have lights at your home, food on your table and clean water to drink! This right here, isn’t my fault and I hate that you all are involved but shit is serious right now and you all will have to listen to me…” I said, sitting on the table, “If no more of you want to die, you’re going to all rush out of the office in every direction in about twenty seconds! That’s when I think the Revivalists are going to come in and try to locate me. They won’t try to attack civilians who won’t attack them so you’re safe. Just run and find you somewhere to hide. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes… Crystal… Yes…” The seventy plus employees responded.
“Okay…” I said, rushing over to the maestro and his goons, “When all the people rush out, we’re going to blend in and flee too! Henderson is a big ass maze and most of the big ass tanks and racers can’t fit through the structures! Use them to your advantage to get to a radio station! Or better yet, go to the refueling depot about two hundred meters south of here and find Martha! Knowing the Revivalists, they have the radios tapped! She’ll have the means to inform my father of what’s happening! They will not be expecting you guys to be in allegiance with me or your allegiance to my father! Use that to your advantage and cover… ground!!”
“Alright, you heard the man…” the Maestro said, “Sounding just like your damn father… Well I’ll be…”
“Eh, shut the fuck up,” I said standing on the table, “Attention,” I fired several shots into the ceiling, “Everyone file out… NOW!!!!!”
The employees wasted no time in fleeing, stepping over that dumb chola bitch dead on the floor! As they did, me and the guys blended into the crowd as everyone scattered. With my truck being no means of escape and it surely not being fast enough to outpace those racers, I surely had a predicament on my hands…  
As everyone scattered, the Revivalists forces looked around in disarray! They figured I had sent all the employees packing, that I must still was inside. Foot troops swarmed the hall trying desperately to locate me. The plan had worked! Maestro, his most trusted two goons and I disappeared between the ruins and buildings trying to make it to the populated areas. There, more panic could be started up and make it harder for the Revivalists to identify us. With all that chaos, maybe we could escape! If I could just make it back to Area 51 under the cloud of ruckus intended to be produce, the Revivalist would have no trail! They’d still be searching Jeurridam for me while I’d be hidden seventy safe miles away!
“Your plan seems to be holding up.” The Maestro said, “So what’s next?”
“We go to the crowded areas, start some shit up to provide cover for my escape! For now though, we stick to the cover of buildings and hope and pray those motherfuckers don’t have a trail to follow.” I responded.
“You’re going back to A99?” He asked.
“No, then that’d put my family in danger! I’m going…” I responded, hopping over ruins, “To the badlands… I got a camp out there no one knows about! It’s super remote and impossible to find!”
“Boy that’s quite a long shot!” The maestro said.
“I know but, shit! I have no choice! I don’t want the rest of my family involved in this! If they’re willing to do this to me, what the hell do you think they’d do to my family?” I asked.
“You’re right…” Maestro responded as we took a turn down an alley between the densely connected buildings, “How are you gonna get away though?”
“I’m going to steal a buggy, hopefully an old school analog setup! They can’t be shut down by an EMP and can outrun those racers. The newer lighter leaner buggies will get chewed up and spat out.” I responded. Maestro looked at me intently as we entered an old vegas ruin, probably a church of some kind.
“You surely seem to know a lot about that shit!” He noted.
“Yeah… I’m quite familiar with the guy they want to question me about and I can not let them get this information! After seeing it for myself, it’s grim fate if they find him…” I responded.
“Shit,” Maestro started, surprised, “So you did have something to do with the take down of Da Lagon? No one even saw you there!!!! The survivors said some curly haired girl in white robes did it with these flying blades or some shit!”
“Um… that’s not a girl,” I said, watching a patrol of racers walk by, “It’s a boy, albeit a kind of effeminate one but don’t let it fool you! He’s the toughest bastard I know with a lot of precious shit to hold onto and I’ll protect him with my all! He’s gotten me out of some pretty steep shit…”
“Damn, well it seems he can’t get you out of this one.” The Maestro sighed.
“I know,” I said back, “But he doesn’t need to be involved with any of this! He’s good where he’s at!”
“How the hell did you manage to find someone like that? The entire Revivalist regime wants him!” Maestro asked.
“It’s a long story but just know I owe him more than you or this entire city owe my father!” I responded thinking back on it, “God I’m so stupid… He said this shit would happen.”
“Wait you knew this was gonna happen?”
“Not exactly!  It’s just shit never happens the way people warn me! But this, nah it unfolded just like I was warned. I thought I had a little time, but no. This shit happened rather… instantly.” I said, shaking my head.
“It sounds like those warnings were fair in advance. Too late to scold you for it now though… Let’s just figure out out how the hell we’re going to cross all this open ground to get to the camping flats…” Maestro sighed.
“There’s a refueling depot right beside the chapel. If we can get onto the roof, we can get to it and make a bit of noise…” One of Maestro’s most trusted kid said.
“I’m old, Dex! I can’t get up to the roof.” Maestro respond with a chuckle.
“Maybe you and him,” I said pointing to the fourth guy, “can go and make some noise with your guns and get people to start scattering? Dex and I will make our way across the rooftop and try to get at a buggy. You fine with that?” I asked.
“I’m fifty years old! It’s better now than never!” He smiled.
“Alright!” I said, “Come on Dex… Let’s get to this roof top.”
We did so, the boy being as equally agile and acrobatic as I was. From the steep chapel roof, we made a leap across the alley we ran through to the roof of the refueling station. Maestro and his boy were making their way down to the camp, looking as mundane as ever. They blended in to the surrounding cityscape, moving slow and methodically not to draw attention to themselves. It was tense waiting for him to arrive at the camp, a wait that got me to thinking.
“Maybe we should try and wait it out! This place is fairly inconspicuous to hide, don’t you think?” I thought.
“This desert heat will kill you before ten o’clock. Don’t kid yourself.” Someone from behind us said. Dex and I turned to see several black suited, brown cloaked Revivalists with guns aimed directly at us. Our run was up! More and more reinforcements made it onto the roof! Even the nimble racers crawled onto it with their greyhound-like bodies.
Not wanting to get captured, I looked over the edge of the roof, ready to jump. However, tanks and racers had any escape route blocked off from below.  But still, not this easily! I rushed towards the edge, ready to hang from it.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” The commander said. Dex, not wanting to risk it with so many guns pointed at him, crouched on his knees, placing his hands behind his head. He was right to surrender but not me!
“I’m not getting captured!” I responded, hanging from the high roof of the refueling station. My eyes darted around, trying to find something to climb onto. Just as I saw the easy to climb metal understructure of the roof, a tank shot a containment plaster round at me. I was encased in a plush, shock absorbing foam as I fell thirty feet to the ground. The shock from the round itself had knocked me unconscious.
I woke up handcuffed to a chair in some type of interrogation room. The room was black with nothing but panels everywhere. Everything was silent...dead silent! Not even the odd background noise we often mistook for silence could be heard. It was the most insane feeling ever! Just sitting here alone for a few minutes made me feel…sick, delirious! Silence would be the form of torture I endured.  
When someone entered the room, the sound of the latch opening startled me! The figure’s foot steps seemed to reverberate across everything. My eyes wandered up the narrow frame revealing a quite dashing man! He didn’t wear the typical jumpers the Revivalsits wore but a camouflage printed uniform with the Revivalists emblems. He stood in front of me with this cocky douchebag smile that signified I was stuck here…
“Daring escape attempt but we were more than prepared for it!” He said, speaking softly, but still feeling rather deafening, “So tell us about that little friend of yours!” I had no response, only just an intense stare.
“You know,” He sighed, walking around me with those annoying clacking shoes, “We heard what happened to you! It’s sad really, you have our condolences! Da Lagon captured you and brutally killed your boyfriend in cold blood!”
“He wasn’t my boyfriend…” I growled.
“Oh so you can speak!” The man smiled.
“What the fuck do you want?” I demanded.
“We came to Jeurridam because of our mechs being deactivated at mass! Upon investigation, we found someone responsible, a tiny Illisian boy with assets we want. He hacked into one of our mechs and a picture was taken! He matched our records of a long lost child we knew had great, great power! At the same time, we hear that a powerful gang was taken down by a dark skinned man or woman with these levitating blades described to be as faster than bullets. We asked around, trying to find leads on locating this murderer but got nowhere! All we were told was that Da Lagon attacked you and your boyfriend! How ironic is it that you managed to return the weekend later unscathed and Da Lagon goes down in a blood bath? What we want is for you to tell us your relationship with this Illisian and where we can find him…” The man smiled. All I could do was laugh. His smile went away as concern spread across his face.
“Oh so that’s why you came after me? You’re wasting your time!!!! I don’t know shit!” I responded.
“You do…” The man said, coming back over.
“This is funny! You think you have something, a lead? You just started a FUCKING war!” I smiled.
“A war? You think your family will stand a chance against us? We can pummel them or anyone else you have in this desert! We only came for one thing, the boy! Zanir or Tanzinir if you call him that! You give him to us and we’ll leave!” The man said. I continued to laugh.
“I don’t know shit!” I chuckled, shrugging.
“We Revivalsits have means of getting our information! You seem like quite the masculine man! It’d be a shame to have your masculinity robbed of you in the most humiliating way!” The man grinned.
“Oh please! You’re so left of field right now, it’s not even funny!” I said sarcastically, “Torture me all you want! I don’t know shit!!!!”
“Very well…” The man said, “You like killing our mers don’t you?” Now this fucking caught me off guard.
“We have eyes and ears in Dredge Valley, my friend!” He said, pressing a button on some strange remote, “We watched you as you sniped one of them and took his body to where only God knows. I bet it has something to do with your little friend, Tanzanir! And since you don’t want to be a good kid and admit to us his location, we’re going to let one of the creatures you killed get the information out of you…”
The man rode a lift up to a platform, high above to room. As he did, the floor opened up, another lift coming from deep below. What it was carrying was nine feet of mer! My heart sank to my stomach as the massive creature stared me down with harmful intent far more than something ravenous! It wanted something else entirely, I could just feel it in my gut. This mer had a computerized collar around his neck. That meant it was under some type of mind control!
“What the fuck…” I said to myself as the creature just stood there. It’s nostrils flared out with every exhale, guttural breaths escaping the creature.
“You got a handful of seconds to come to your senses and explain what you know before this thing rips you a new one…” The man said, standing on the platform with that wicked smile. He wore some type of narrow crown on his head. Was he somehow linked to this creature? Was this creature about to do this man’s will upon me? Then my eyes slowly fell upon the thick, fleshy midnight blue trunk swinging between the creature’s legs. As it breathed, I could see it stiffening! This thing was as long and thick as my forearm!
“Oh no…” I sighed as I knew what was about to happen.
Suddenly the braces on the chair that restrained me released. I stood, only to learn the silence had me very disoriented! My vision spinned wildly as the mer rushed forth! Powerful arms threw me to the floor! My clothes were ripped off and my face pinned beneath the massive creature’s hand. It spared no restraint, pinning my head down under those massive arms! It tooted my ass into the air, perfectly puckered for penetration. There was no use in fighting it such a powerful creature!
The strong penis found my asshole, railing within it without an ounce of moisture to cushion the blow. The powerful mer drilled me unlike anyway I had been fucked before. It burned deeper and deeper to in the most insane depths! My insides felt like they were ripping! Still thought, screams managed to not escape me!
This, though horrible, was not the biggest thing to ever go up my ass without any lube and leave me utterly wrecked… Dealing with Rion for six years surely had me doing things that made this act child’s play, in comparison! I silently took the abuse for god know’s how long! The mer grunted with each thrust, driving me across the floor before pulling me back in close. The creature smelled like the lake… Salty and fishy! I looked up at the man standing on the platform.
“You having fun?” I asked sarcastically, “Why don’t you come down here and do this yourself?” It seemed to anger him to know that a torture that cracked most men within the first few seconds didn’t bother to budge me for all this time. This drove the man to his wits end, the man sighing heavily as frustration began to set in…
The Mer retracted all fourteen inches of it’s penis from my ass before kicking me across the room. It was such a dizzying blow, one that probably shattered ribs. The silence returned, the man controlling the mer had left as well as his giant creature. All I could do was laugh, laugh at how I managed to get in this predicament, laugh at the fact that I probably was going to die here! These people were not going to crack me under any circumstances, though! I had to protect Zanir at all costs! He didn’t know just how precious he was to me!
I wasn’t thinking of him for long, though! The silence, something no mere human brain could ever prepare for caused me to hear things that weren’t there, things from my past that I thought would never haunt me!
“Zeek!!!!” A thin, sly voice called out, reverberating across the room! It was Rion!  
“No…” I rebuked, plugging my ears with my fingers! It did nothing to remove his voices.
“Come on!” Rion responded. I closed my eyes, finally seeing him. He was summoning me to get off the truck bed and come down to the lake.
“I told you I’m not getting in the water.” I sighed.
“I’ll teach you how to swim.” He smiled, “Come on!” I rolled my eyes, getting off the truck bed. He eyed me up and down, liking to see me in motion, “Wow…”
“Quit!” I sighed. He continued to grin, taking my hand as he led me into the water.
It was cold, very cold, and crystal blue! He led me into the waist deep water that chilled me to the core. The boy began floating on his back, gently kicking in loose circles around me.
“Okay, you’re just showing off…” I said, rolling my eyes.
“It’s not so hard.” He laughed. He got up, coming forth to assist me in learning how to swim, “You gotta let your body relax! You’ll float by yourself!” His hands guided me into position as I cautiously relaxed into the water, “I’ll hold you…”
I began floating for the first time! His hands ran up and down my body, feeling every nook and cranny I had. It felt so good! No one could touch me the way Rion did! He just had magic. I opened my eyes under the water, only to see something massive swimming in the distance. I quickly tried to stand but I couldn’t. Rion held me under the water! Panicking, I began inhaling water, as the big blue mass came closer and closer! It was a Mer! It charged at me at breakneck pace, jaws wide open with sharp teeth ready to rip me open. I closed my eyes waiting for the searing pain.
It never happened! Upon opening them again, it was dark! Very dark! I was in the abandoned dredging factory on the northern shores of the Bay of Vegas. It was a terrible place to be! The ominous clicking of mers in the distance struck fear into my soul! I scrambled to my feet, looking around trying to steer clear of the sound. Wherever they were, the mers sounded close! I then heard familiar laughing! Turning to locate it, it was none other than Rion running playfully through the factory.
“Rion!” I whispered out, not wanting to be so loud! The mers had very keen hearing. The boy continued laughing, running through the dredging factory without a care in the world! I followed him, trying to figure out why the boy was doing such a stupid and dangerous thing! He turned a corner, disappearing. Upon following, I was greeted by the eight and a half foot frame of a deadly mer! I screamed out as the creature looked down at me as though I were nothing. I could see the vapors fly out from it’s nostrils, it smelling salty and oily!
Frozen in fear, I just stood there, intimidated by the huge and menacing beast. It then looked past me! Rion’s sickening laughter returned. The boy was standing right behind me. His arms wrapped around my waist, his chin gently planting on my shoulder.
“Boo!” He said. I looked back forward and the mer was gone! We were no longer in the Bay of Vegas but in the Da Lagon casino. We sat on the very sofa where the incident that started all of  chaos this took place. Rion looked at me with those deep green eyes, seeing something was different. It was then I realized I was reliving a nightmare.
“No…” I said, rushing to my feet, “This can’t be happening again! This can’t be!”
“Are you okay, Zeek?” Rion asked. I looked at him and blood poured out of his mouth. Dozens of floating blades were penetrating him. Every single person in the suite was butchered as well, children, whores, bosses! Blood was everywhere. Rion’s laugh started back up, becoming sickening as it gradually turned into screams of terror… He fell over, his screams turning into coughing and choking as blood filled his lungs. We were no longer in Juerridam but in the wastelands where Rion held me, Zanir and the others hostage.  
Suddenly, Zanir’s blades surrounded me! It was not Rion holding me hostage this time but Zanir! He circled around me, looking at me with that ever so stone cold gaze!
“Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill you!” He demanded. His blades counterrotated wildly, seemingly chomping at the bit to slice me up! I looked at the boy with everything my heart could bare!
“Because I love you!” I said. He seemed unphased, unmoved. That in itself was just a blow!
“You ruined EVERYTHING! I had plans that had to advance prematurely because of you! I’ve had to kill so many undeserving people because of you!” He said, his blades edging ever so closer, “I lost the one I love because...of….YOU!!!!!!” His blades steadily inching closer. I fell to my knees crying hysterically for his mercy.
“Zanir please! I’m sorry I ruined your life! I’m so sorry! I just didn’t have nowhere else to turn, no one else to help me!” I sobbed.
“I’ve ALWAYS helped you!” He snarled, the blades coming closer. I shrieked out, thinking they closed the distance and they penetrated me.
“I’m sorry! I’m stupid! I’m foolish! I’ve done some fucked up things to you, to everyone I love! But you delivered me from that!!!! You brought me out of it! I’m indebted to you! Why are you doing this! Why? You’ve done so much for me!!!! So much! Zanir I love you! Please don’t kill me! I LOVE YOU!!!” I begged. His gaze didn’t slack up!
“My heart belonged to only one person! And he’s dead… Because of YOUUUUUUUU!!!!” Zanir growled. The blades came forth at a rapid pace. I closed my eyes as they penetrated my body, feeling no pain.
Opening my eyes, it felt like I was standing in rain, substantial rain, desert monsoons! This time I opened my eyes legitimately, surrounded by Revivalists forces in some strange control room! They all looked at me stupefied for some reason. I was strapped into this some type of complex machine, a band strapped to my head, needles in my arms. A man holding an empty bucket stood beside me, looking at me as though I were scum.
“You’re one tough… EVIL little bastard!” He said, filled with nothing but disgust.
“What?” I asked, terribly confused.
“He fought off the hypnotoxins, the hypnostasis...fought it all.” A female scientist said, looking at a computer terminal, “I don’t know. Something must be in his blood that’s keeping the hypnotoxins from doing their job…”    
“Eh… Was there anything conclusive?” The commander, the very man who captured me asked.
“We know for a fact that he has an extensive, life long relationship with Zanir. However he fought the BrainEngine off, like he was aware we were prodding.” She responded, completely baffled by the findings.
I sat there beyond shocked. Everything I just experienced, everything I endured was induced by a machine? The mer rape, the reliving of my traumatic experiences, the insanity inducing silence all were in my head! It was so strange! Everything that had happened felt so real! The memories were so fresh in my mind, especially those with Zanir.
“Fire the BrainEngine back up! We need to get this information! Time is not on our side!” The commander said.
“I’m sorry but the BrainEngine overheated battling with that boy! We’re going to need to let it cool down for a few hours before we can fire it up again! He almost blew the damn machine! We have the pumps in the bottom of the lake at full power trying to cool this thing.” A technician said.
“What?” The commander asked, astounded.
“Yes! This boy’s will is stronger than any! He won’t be easy to break.” The scientist said, looking at me intently.
“May I suggest we break him in with old fashion torture?” Someone said across the room.
“No, violates protocol. Get blood work ran on him and see what’s up! You know what’s coming if we don’t get Zanir!” The commander responded, thinking on it deeply.
“Yes… It’d be all out war and we’re still quite behind the UCM. And besides, no torture is worse than what he went through with the BrainEngine… And with this, he can’t die from shock or injury!” The technician added.
“Unlike some wonky machine taking up the entire bottom of a lake designed to tap into a single person’s mind, I don’t overheat from running eighteen hours! I can punch all day and all night until either he or my fists break!” The man across the room said.
“But that’s the thing! We don’t want fists or him to break!” The technician responded, growing short of patience.
“Well, it’s obvious he knows something he’s not spilling! He obviously knows where this Zanir kid is! Hell, we just found out he’s in love with the boy!” The man across the room countered! His voice sounded familiar but he remained just out of sight.
The scientist and the technician looked back and forth between each other, then to me. The scientist came forth.
“It’s obvious that you care a great deal for this boy but there are bigger things than your attraction to him! Just tell us where he is and you won’t have to go through that torture anymore…” She pleaded with me. The whole time, my stomach twisted into dense knots.
“I’m gonna barf!” I said, not giving a soon enough warning. Projectile vomit spewed from my mouth, covering the lady. She became enraged, stepping away from me.
Several others led her out of the office to get cleaned up.
“I just can’t believe you had such inside help! All those people tried to help you get away.” The commander said.
“What?” I asked.
“Your boss from the Justice Hall, those kids, that store clerk! All of them were in cahoots to assist you!” The commander continued.
“For you all to have a shit ton of technological advancements, you’re all dumb as fuck…” I sighed, truly fed up with these people.
“Hey, we’re not the one strapped in a chair covered in my own vomit! You could have stayed where ever you’re camped out at and we would have not a single lead to locate you!” The commander shrugged. He did have quite the valid point.
“Eh, well I’m sitting here covered in my own vomit! Woopty!” I said back sarcastically.
“Well those people are all here! I’ve got orders not to touch you but them, they’re not so lucky!” He said, hinting at some pretty sinister intentions. I looked at him unfazed.
“Slaughter them all! I don’t care! None of them know shit anyways! They’re not important… expendables, truthfully.” I shrugged, staring leisurely up to the ceiling. The commander chuckled.
“You’re just as wicked as they come, aren’t you?” He asked.
“You have noooooooooooooooooooooo idea!” I sighed, not happy to be smelling this vomit on my shirt.
“Sir, the communications are down in Henderson.” A technician at a terminal far off said.
“What?” The commander asked.
“Now they just went off line here.” He responded.
“Reroute auxiliary power.” The commander said.
“We’re trying! Who ever cut communications went after backup as well! They know about this place!” The technician responded.
“Sir, several of our ships just went down! Something is attacking that we can’t see!” Another technician said back. The commander looked at me, wondering was I some how behind this. He walked forth to the terminals, looking at the visual feeds.
“Is it the UCAC? Oh god!” He said, as an advancement of buggies began to pour in from the west! The buggies began facing off with the tanks and racers, a vicious battle ensuing.
“Sir, they’re slaughtering us!” A technician said, utterly amazed.
“Who’s slaughtering us?” The commander asked.
“I don’t know… the locals! They’ve banded together… Logatti and Merchant clan! At this rate, we’re going to be destroyed if we don’t get communications online!” The technician responded.
“Do what you can! I’m going to send for a satellite SOS! We need to contact the general!” The commander responded.
“Commander! We’re being attacked from the north too! It appears to be some kind of sniper mechs! They’re ripping through our forces!” Another technician said. The bad news just seemed to keep coming and coming.
“Fuck!” The Commander growled, leaving for the upper levels. He clearly under estimated how ferocious a fight Jeurridam could put up! Hell, I didn’t even know Jeurridam had it in her!
“Shit, security breach! Someone has broken free all the prisoners on sublevel B.” A lower ranking technician said.
“Find what caused the breach right now!” A technical officer demanded, “This is happening so damn fast!”
“I’m searching!” The technician said, typing frantically.
“Why aren’t the alarms going off?” The technical officer asked, completely baffled.
“Because who ever breached the facility came in through the front door! They bored through the dam!” The technician responded.
“Impossible! That’s some seriously thick concrete!” The officer refuted.
“There’s no other way! That’s the only place where security is lax! The wall itself was thought to be secure enough security! Any other location and the alarms would have blared…” The technician said, screening all security feeds for the perpetrator, “I don’t see shit! Who ever’s doing this is good, military grade good! It’s like they right here with us!”
“Yeah,” A familiar and shrill voice said, “I’ve been watching you for about forty seconds now.” All heads turned to focus on Zanir sitting on the railing beside the terminal that kept me bound.
Before guns could be reached for, two dozens of his blades came in, slaughtering the research team! It didn’t take long for the boy to cut me out of the strange torture device I was hooked into. He looked at me with concern I never thought he could muster.
“Are you alright?” He asked.
“Why the fuck did you come here? These motherfuckers want you! Are you damn stupid?” I snarled.
“Yes!!!! Very stupid!” He nodded, laughing with his eyes welling up with tears, “I said I couldn’t save you this time, that I’d lose! That was before I learned what they did to you! I had a miracle up my ass waiting for you now let’s get moving!”
We began to make our way through the facility, heading lower and lower. It had me confused.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“I got us an escape route!” He said, “Don’t look at me! Follow the blades!” His blades were guiding us through the labyrinth out to safety.
Suddenly, the alarms began to blare, the halls flashing red.
“Shit!” Zanir said as our quick walking turned to sprinting. As we turned the corner, armed soldiers fired at us. His swift acting blades, fanned out, deflecting the shots before homing in on the soldiers and slicing bits and pieces off of them. Startled by the blades turning into circular disks, I had to stop to look in awe! These things had so many surprises! Zanir slammed into me, pushing me hard, “Keep running, Zeek…. Keep running!” His tone was parental, as though he knew escape would be futile but he still was pushing me along! I didn’t like it one bit! I looked back, trying to see his face in case this was the last time! He was just so worried! “No, don’t look at me… look at the blades!”
We turned more corners, the blades facing off with more guards! He kept repeating, “Don’t look back! Keep moving forth! Don’t look at me, look at the blades!” I did so! The last words I heard him utter was, “We’re almost there!” Then I saw the tunnel of light, raining bright sun through the dark halls. The blades led me straight through.
On the other side, was a sheer concrete drop! We were about sixty feet up! However, two analog buggies and Orb were stationed just outside, hanging on to the side of the humongous dam. I looked up, seeing hundreds of feet of concrete above my head.
“ZEEK!!!!!” Beth screamed. I looked down, seeing her open the door to her buggy. I jumped down, into the buggy, landing with a grand thud. We all looked back, waiting for Zanir to come. Several seconds had past before we began to realize he wasn’t coming out. Something had happened, something terrible!
“Zanir!” I gasped, scrambling to climb out of the buggy. However, gravity closed the door and I just couldn’t get it back open.
“We got to go before we get surrounded!” Julio said.
“But what about Zanir?” Beth asked, her eyes welling up with worry.
“He’s...he’s…” Julio scrambled for words but couldn’t find anything. Suddenly a mortar round ripped a hole into the concrete just beside the tank, “FUCK!!!!” He put the buggy into drive and made a speedy getaway towards Arizona.
“NO WE CAN’T LEAVE HIM!!!!” I screamed, charging for the boy. I grabbed him by his shirt, reaching for the controls of the buggy.
“AY, QUIT!!!!” Julio shouted, as he struggled to dodge the weapons fire.
“ZEEK!” Beth yelled as she struck me repeatedly with her fist, “WE’LL DIE HERE!!!!” Dizzied by the blows, I let go collapsing into the back seats.
All I could do was cry, cry tears unlike any pain I felt before! He sacrificed it all for me, so I could be free yet stayed behind for god know’s why! All I could do was think about how he told me not to look back, that we were almost there! I thought he was right behind me, that we’d escape together! No, I was so wrong! In the firefight, he was only doing everything he could for me to escape, not him! I should have seen that!
This… This was all my fault! He told me not to go to Jeurridam yet I did! He would still be with me right now if I had just listened to him! I couldn’t even tell him how much he meant to me, how much I loved him. No, all of that was gone! I lost the most important person in my life because I thought I was doing the right thing! This was guilt unlike anything that had hit me before. I needed to get him back somehow…


Popular Posts