Chapter one: Silver Blades and White Fears
The alarm had sounded minutes ago, and already, Miles Silver was afraid of the monster. He knew this kid would come for him eventually, as warned by the man he dealt with. He didn’t know just swift or merciless this kid would strike. Nothing could compare to this kid. Nothing. An army stood in the way, they were reduced to corpus, their blood painting the foyer of his grand building, and their lifeless remains lying on the floor, their faces frozen in an expression of shock, fear and agony as their life was ripped away slowly. The experiments in his building were shown some twisted form of mercy.
One breath to compose himself and to remind himself that they were already dead. He just had the sense to get it over with.
As he made his way though the building, Miles Silver watched the security camera feeds. In various offices and workspaces, people were in pain as the gas that was let into the building twisted their bodies into the experiments Miles was so proud of. They either died mid way, their bodies half covered in scales, feathers or even fur, bones deformed, and claws making their way out of their fingertips while the younger workers stood a better chance at living. If he could call it that. One fortunate enough to survive, passed out on the floor, would wake up to discovering he was a seven foot tall, eagle/lion hybrid. Another had woken up, and with a startled roar that shock the building, had discovered the ruby red scales covering her and a pair of bat wings.
“I was wondering what would happen when he got angry enough.” Miles heard someone talking from behind him. “Beautiful, isn’t it. A destructive force unmated by weapons, nature or magic, coming right for you old man.”
Miles looked up at his ‘Business Partner’ with a look of panic and desperation.
“How do we get rid of him?” Miles asked.
“Get rid of him.” The man returned. “Why would you want to get rid of him? He’s bringing you the very thing you want.”
“I lied.” The man said as he walked around the office. His ‘Business Partner’ was a young and immaculately dressed man, wearing an expensive suit, tie and shoes, short golden brown hair and amber eyes. “So doesn’t matter what I said. You wanted power. It’s now marching it’s way up your building, leaving a trail of broken bodies in his wake. I also said not to get children involved.”
“Teenagers were the only viable candidates for the change. Yida yida yida. Meet Blake Archibald Indigo-Steorra. Shadow of Terra, Champion of the Star Fire Fae, the only male descendent of the Queen Titana. You know, Seven hundred and twenty four years has done little to his blood lust by the looks of it.”
“This is bad.”
“I know. Last time he committed mass murder was when he rewrote the timeline completely.” The man chuckled. “I kinda shot his friend though the head, a young werewolf. I wouldn’t say friend, more of a…” The man trailed of. “Oh. Look at the time. Speaking of which, your running out of it. End of time Miles Gardener. Enjoy.” The man vanished into thin air and Miles turned his attention back to the kid. He was in the Server Room now, laptop atop a rack of computers as files downloaded into the notebook’s hard drive.
It wasn’t until he turned to the camera, looking at it with hatred that’s only reserved for slavers, genocidal maniacs and people who abuse those weaker then them just for a sense of satisfaction, or different from them out of fear, hate or anger. His pale face and chestnut hair was splattered with blood. Miles couldn’t see it behind his rebreather, but the look he was giving the camera was like looking at becalmed water, like he was looking at the eye of the storm.
Stories that man told him… The Archin. The seventh roman dynasty. The cult of Kronos…
He watched as the kid left the server room, as the racks exploded with a shower of white sparks. Miles knew where he was heading now. He pulled open his top draw. A revolver sat unloaded in the draw, with six bullets sitting next to it. One by one, he loaded each round into the chamber. He just needed to bide his time for the solution to take.
The door opened. The black coated figure of the kid took a step into Miles’ office, blood splattered over his clothes and face. He pulled off his rebreather and placed it into one of the large pockets of his duster. The moment Miles saw the whites of his eyes, he fired. Bullet after bullet, not even aiming. When the chambers were empty, he looked up. The kid was still standing, and the bullets were at his feet, like the hit a steal wall.
“Five years you’ve been doing this.” The kid said spitefully. “How many kids… how many lives have you torn apart trying to cheat death? It ends here Miles Silver.”
Regardless of the situation he found himself in, Miles couldn’t help but smile as he noticed his fingertips blackening. It was starting.
Then there was a flash from behind him. Something appered out of thin air.
The last thing Miles felt was a blade going though his chest. The last thing he heard was ‘Organic matter detected. The organic contagion will be exterminated.’ The last thing he saw was the kid, once confident, turned and ran.
Five Years Earlier…
Every time I close my eyes, I fell like I’m flying. Every time I dream, I fell like I’m soaring though the air, nothing between me and the ground below, above and beyond the troubles that bothered me when I was grounded.
That’s until I wake up and find myself needing to face real life.
“Am I boring you Ben?” Miss. Shaw asked as I lifted my head from my desk. “I know this isn’t exciting for you Ben but please at least look like your paying attention.”
“Yes Miss.” I moaned, not even sure the short, middle aged teacher even heard me as he returned to her talk on Newton’s laws of physics.
My name Ben Reed. When I was eight, I used to dream of flying. Soaring though the sky, wind in my face. The ultimate expression of freedom, so I was told. I thought I might join the air force, train to be a pilot, but somehow, someone had a different plan to give me my wish. I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to get my wings.
The bell rang and most of the class got up…
“Wait.” Miss. Shaw called out. “Page Fifty nine of your textbook. Answer questions one to seven and ten to sixteen by friday. Enjoy lunch.”
I packed up my books and writing utensils, headed for the door, only to be stopped by a hand.
“Dude. We need to talk.” I sighed. I knew this had to come, sooner or later.
Jacob was my best friend since kindergarden. We practically shared each other’s interests. Gaming, baseball…
“Yes?” I moaned, frustrated.
“You alright man?” Jacob asked.
“Because you’re wearing gloves.” Jacob pointed out. “Gardening gloves. You plan on doing some…”
“My hands were co…”
“You’re hands are cold constantly?” He asked before I could finish. “Even in a room that’s at Standard Lab Conditions, including a seventy seven degree constant.”
Did I mention that he reads mystery novels?
“Jacob. Just don’t…” I pushed past him. He didn’t think it strange since I had detention that day.
I felt isolated. It’s difficult to come up with an excuse for wearing gloves in the first place. Around school. Around the house. Around town. I said I felt cold, but who knows how long that will last, considering it’s South California, six weeks after summer. It didn’t last much longer then half a day for my best friend.
That half hour of silence gave me a chance at least to think at least, before I’d have to face Jacob again. There wasn’t any excuse I could think of. By the time the half bell rang, I was dismissed from detention. That’s when I ran into her.
Actuarially ran into her.
“Yah!” I caught her before she fell flat on the floor, glad for the thick leather gloves.
“Sorry.” I said quickly as I helped her back up.
“That’s okay.” She said. “I shouldn’t have been running anyway but Miss Green needed those copies. Hey. I remember you. Your in my music class. Ben wasn’t it.”
“Yeah.” I couldn’t believe it. Cynthia White, the girl who I was looking for an excuse to talk to was actuarially talking to me.
“It was an amazing composition you did last week. You’ve been playing the guitar long?”
“About four years.” I answered scratching the back of my head. Or as best I could with a glove on. “My parents got me into it when they thought I had trouble focusing.”
“You’re really good.”
“Cynthia!” Called Charlotte, her Australian exchange student friend. “Are you coming or what?”
“Sorry!” Cynthia called back. “I gotta go.” She said before turning towards the office. “It was nice to meet you.”
“You too.” I said as she ran off. I slapped myself. “You too? Could you sound anymore lame?”
“It’s better then some of the good byes I’ve gotten.” I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard her voice. I turned to see Charlotte Wells standing behind me.
“It’s fun to sneak up on people.” Charlotte said. “You should probably tell your friend. I mean, I have a friend that tells me all his secrets. Who else can you trust if not your best friend?”
“You know what I’m talking about.” Charlotte interrupted as she walked away, throwing her red scarf over her shoulder. “You’ve got physical education today.” She reminded me. “You know what that means?”
Unfortunately, I did.
Walking into the locker rooms, my nose was assaulted by stale sweat and foul smelling air. Jacob was already wearing his PE clothes, orange shirt and a pair of grey shorts. I was aware of what Charlotte was trying to tell me. I have to tell him. If for nothing else, to maintain my own sanity. I walked up to him and pulled him outside.
“You going to tell me what’s going on dude?” Jacob asked.
“It’s… I don’t know what’s going on.” I told him. “I just woke up this morning, my sheets torn up, and…” I didn’t know how to explain it. I quickly took off my shoe. He gasped at what he saw. Next was a glove, to show him that it wasn’t just my toes.
“It started this morning?” Jacob asked. I just needed as I looked down at my feet. Sapphire blue scales gleaming in the afternoon sun, starting from the ivory claw tipping my toes and making it half way down my foot, like my little toe which now migrated down the side of my foot. My hands weren’t much better. Blue scales covered the back of my hands, down to my wrists. Each finger was tipped by an ivory claw. I then looked back to Jacob who was still looking at my new features in wordless shock.
“This is not possible.”
“You’re telling me.” I moaned.
“Do your parents know?”
“No!” I snapped. “Mom would just worry herself to death over these alone. And Tina hates reptiles. What to you think will happen when she finds out that her little brother is turning into one?”
“I can see your point.” Jacob said looking away as the door opened again. I quickly stuffed my hand in my pocket and hoped no one was looking at my feet.
“…she turned me down.” moaned Dylan Johnson, the school’s star quarterback.
“Harsh man.” replied Jimmy, my brother and Dylan’s tail, and the team’s middle line backer. “I mean, why would she turn you down?”
“Don’t know. But one thing for sure. Charlotte Wells will be mine.” They walked past us without so much as a hello. Any other time, I’d feel hurt, but right now, just relieved. “Just you wait!”
“We need to get you out of gym.” Jacob pointed out. “There’s oil of ipecac in my bag. Don’t ask. I think together we can fake food poisoning. Even Coach Craft knows not to question the meatloaf.”
I was not liking where this was going. Turned out I needed to look convincing. Unfortunately, I looked too convicting and a sentence Coach Craft uttered stuck with me as Jacob walked me to the sickbay.
“Andrew. Take him to the nurse. He really doesn’t look too well. A bit green around the gills.” Craft told Jacob, writing out a note to excuse us both. Not until I saw it in the mirror. A blue discolouration appearing around my ears, not to mention a pair of lumps on my head.
“What the hell is happening to me?” I asked no one in particular.