POSTED 09/22/2018 14:57
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The dark sky rumbled and lit up as lightning ripped through it. The wind picked up as the night wore on. Two figures hurdled close together and walked down a narrow corridor leading to the more compacted ghetto areas. Cold drops of rain began to fall and in a moment, the drizzle became steady.
Adam watched the Scavenger take out a bunch of keys from his pocket. He was obviously hurt bad in his right arm, which hung in a limp manner.
“Let me help,” he said, when he saw that the door wouldn’t be opened any time soon, with the way the Scavenger fumbled with the keys.
“I’m fine. I don’t need your help,” the Scavenger grunted and winced as he shook his arm. Adam reached for the keys anyways and got the door open in no time. The Scavenger rolled his eyes and pushed the door open. He held his wounded arm and stepped into the dark room. Adam remained outside, the rain drenching him. His eyes fell on the stream of red flowing from his hand, and also the drops of blood washing off the steps of the house.
“You can remain outside, that’s your choice. But this door closes in two minutes,” the Scavenger called out.
Adam turned around, staring into the dark night. Even the large moon in the sky seemed cowered by Eden; it remained hidden behind dark, somber clouds, as the rain poured on. Adam stepped into the house and shut the door behind him. The room was much bigger than he’d guessed it had would be—wires ran over the ceiling, seemingly connected to everything in the room; and there was a lot. Round bulbs hung from the ceiling, also linked by this loop of wires. Moths and termites buzzed and flickered around the bulbs as soon as they came on.
The living room, which he guessed they were in, had no chairs. The floor was covered with a faded red carpet, torn on several sides. A door linked the living room to a dark corridor, where the Scavenger entered. Adam kept his eyes on the drops of blood and followed it into the dark corridor which led to three other doors—two of which were shut, except the one the Scavenger’s groans came from.
“You’re hurt bad,” Adam said and leaned against the door post. He was also hurt (the slash from the accident).
The Scavenger sat on a wooden chair and held his arm, silent. He turned to Adam and glared hard at him. “You know, I’m no stranger to broken arms and weird things; after all, I enter the dream realm every other week, and trust me, those nightmares are really weird creatures.” He paused and kicked a lever on the floor, which cranked. The floorboard close to his feet shifted and a small drawer slowly pushed outwards.
“A little help?” the Scavenger said and turned to Adam.
“Okay.” He walked over to where the scavenger sat and stood behind the drawer which had been in the floor a moment ago. Maybe there is a secret compartment under there, he thought. The drawer, which seemed to be made of some sort of glistening metal, had small compartments, each with small raised buttons.
“What should I do?” he asked, and the scavenger turned to him.
“Well, for one, don’t stand behind the drawer. You’re blocking the light.”
Adam stepped away, wondering what light he was talking about; the room was basically dark, lit only by a dirty bulb stained with grime, or maybe oil, or even mud.
“Thank you,” the scavenger said and winced. “The arm is infected. Open the top compartment and bring out the box.”
Adam nodded and tried to open the compartment, then he turned to the scavenger, clueless.
“Just push the button, obviously,” the scavenger said and rolled his eyes. Adam nodded and pushed the button. The compartment clicked and then shot out slightly. He shoved his fingers in and pushed it open all the way. A small, square box sat inside the dusty compartment, he took it out and placed it on the drawer.
“Open it and take out the relief injection; the syringe and blue bottle,” the Scavenger said and groaned again. Adam pried open the box and took out the injection. The moment he held it between his fingers, his head spun and hammered, and the whole room seemed to be immediately covered by a bright light, blinding him. He shut his eyes tight and groaned as the voices in his head became louder. When he opened his eyes, he found himself staring at some men in white. They seemed to be standing above him, almost as if he lay on his back. The men had white surgical masks on, and one of them held a syringe close to him. He blinked and watched the syringe draw close to him, then a loud explosion shattered the room and threw him off. Another voice rang through his head; familiar one, calling his name.
“Adam! What the hell?”
It was the Scavenger. Adam gasped and turned to him, the syringe still in his shaking hands. He was sweating profusely, and his arm burned, the one with the tattoo.
“What the hell just happen?” the Scavenger asked and shifted in his seat. He had a curious gaze in his eyes. “You were screaming and yelling some words I don’t think I understand, and then that…that thing in your arm…” he paused and pointed at the tattoo. “It was all glowing and stuff. What the hell?”
Adam shook his head, feeling the voices dying down, then he raised his arm and looked at it. “I don’t know,” he said, almost to himself. “But it burns and hurts a lot.” He turned his arm as he spoke.
“Speaking of things that hurt,” the Scavenger said, “my arm is still infected. I need that injection.”
“Right,” Adam said and stuck the needle into a small bottle of blue liquid and drew it into the injection. “What now?” he asked, the syringe in his hand.
The Scavenger exhaled. “This is the part that hurts.” He gritted his teeth and slowly began to stretch out his arm. The bite mark became visible, rotten at the edge of his pale skin, and dripping sticky liquids. His flesh seemed to tear the more he stretched his arm out, but he continued. Drawing in a sharp breath and exhaling continuously, he turned to Adam. “Shoot it.”
“What?” Adam asked.
“I mean the injection, stick it in.”
Adam nodded and jabbed the needle into the spot the Scavenger held out. He injected the blue liquid completely into the arm and stepped backwards.
Amazingly, the sticky liquid dried out and the bite mark spurted out yellow pus mixed with some of the blue liquid. Once that happened, the Scavenger’s pale skin began to stich back up. In a minute, the nasty wound was almost nonexistent, except for a small scar.
“That’s better,” the Scavenger said and laughed aloud. He stood up from the chair and wriggled his arm. “Yeah, very much better,” he said to himself.
“What was that stuff?” Adam asked and picked up the box.
“Magic,” the Scavenger said and watched his face. Adam made no reaction, so the Scavenger shrugged and added. “Nanotechnology. Don’t ask me to explain it, because I can’t. I just steal it.”
Adam dropped the box and began to rub his tattoo. “That guy that attacked us, he had some kind of animal head. Why?”
The scavenger frowned and looked thoughtful. “That’s not a first. But I should be asking you about him; he attacked us because of you. And why did your ink glow?”
“My memory is all foggy. I don’t remember much, and that time when you said my arm glowed, I…”
“Just the tattoo,” the Scavenger interrupted. “Not your full arm, just the tattoo. I’m sorry, continue.”
“There’s not much to say, but I saw that sign again. I saw myself in a room and there was an explosion, and I saw that sign from the leopard guy. This one,” he said and showed him the white star and cross symbol.
The scavenger took it and stared at it for a while. “Perhaps you had a vision?”
“It felt more like a memory. If we can find out more about that symbol, I’m sure I’ll know more about who I am and why those guys were after me.”
“I don’t know why you said ‘we’, boy. Frankly, there is just me,” the Scavenger said and walked towards the door. “But I’m curious to see how this ends, and perhaps there could be money in it for me.”
A rapid beep rang out, making Adam duck thinking it was another attack.
“Hey, relax. It’s just my phone.” He took out the phone and stared at the lit screen.
“Is something wrong?” Adam asked when he noticed his frown.
The Scavenger turned to him, “nothing’s wrong. I have to be somewhere now. I got food in the kitchen and my computer works, it’s in the living room.
Just don’t leave the house, there’s a curfew in Eden, and the LEVIs don’t take it lightly with night crawlers.”
The Scavenger stared at his phone, standing in front of a small building, and then he placed it back into his pocket. The air smelled of moisture and the sky was a bit clear now. He knocked once on the door and watched as a small slot opened up. A pair of white eyes stared at him for a moment, then the slot closed and a latch clicked as the door opened.
He walked over to an empty table, not minding the crowded, smoke-filled room. He sat on a stool and tapped his fingers on the table.
“You came,” a man said and took the seat opposite him. His face was hidden behind a dark hood.
“Yeah, I came. I don’t have much time, you said you got an opportunity.”
The man nodded and then leaned closer. “I just got word about a new boy in town, some guy with a weird tattoo.”
The scavenger narrowed his eyes and listened. “Yeah?”
“Well, some powerful guys just placed him on our wanted list. Get this, one million daris for the guy, dead or alive.”
The scavenger clenched his fist and felt his heart beat fast.