Yet again, my asshole of a dad left me behind.
Every time, I swear by the Republic’s Legion, everytime it snows, dad goes out and hunts for the allusive white alpha with his crew of marauders and compatriots.
“I’ll get it this time!” he would exclaim in a drunken slur, before the night of an expedition, “Then they will take all our sorry asses back!”. Every time the prep speech was along the same lines and accompanied by the same complementary and familiar smell of drunken breath. After the launch night, the entire area would be devoid of life, save for myself. He would leave without a single expression of compassion, almost like he didn’t even love me; in any case, the feeling is mutual.
Whenever he would leave, I would play to my hearts content on the planet wide internet, but yet I find myself in another crappy situation. Something interrupted the power conduit that lead to the house. Nothing worked without it, no heat, no display, no Internet, nothing! It must have been turned off, it was a jerry-rigged system, after all. I could spend the rest of the day outside in the cold trying to fix the illegal system, but I didn’t want to be arrested.
Looking out onto the desolate frozen landscape, I did the only thing that was free to me, thinking. I thought about the outside world in an attempt to sway the onslaught of boredom. I almost feel bad for the other children that are abandoned in this escapade, their parents were forced into coming. Neither rain, sleet, nor illness keeps any members from not coming, all according to the drunken asshat. He ran the crew like a dictator, and it has only gotten worse ever since we were forced to move away from Wind City. His only goal was to make it back to the safety of the city, to get out of this craphole. I backed his cause, The cabin was dreary, wooden, and in the midst of the wild lands, but not the motive behind his crusade. He just wants to return to the high life of crime. He was a selfish, manipulative, crude old man, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Who knew city officials didn’t like citizens running gangs?
I sighed for the umpteenth time, alone in the crude wooden cabin in the far north and continued to think. Eventually my lazy gaze found itself towards a dresser mirror, its ornate silver borders meekly reflecting the window’s bleak light. I looked around for prying eyes or returning dads, none were in sight.
“Hello me…” I spoke to my reflection, holding a blank stare with my own eyes. “What should I do to pass the time? Look slack-jawed in the mirror until the cows come home? Until Dad stops drinking!?!” I took a few minutes to calm myself, still looking at myself in the mirror. Seeing no other options, I decided to continue the line of dialogue.
“Hey, want to play a game? Let’s play something to pass the time…. Why not?”
I looked around for anything of gaming use, yet to no avail.
“Hey, ya wanna play Ro-Sham-Bo?” I nodded to myself…. Oh God, I can’t believe that I am seriously about to do this.
“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot! What the….?”
I played rock, but my mirror self played paper?
“Is the cold making me hallucinate? It must be…”
Not confident in what I saw, I tried the game again.
Rock, paper, scissors, shoot…
I lost again, but my mirror self won the game.
“I must be going crazy….”
I stood up, rubbed my eyes and continued to experiment. I raised my right hand and my reflector raised his left hand. I stepped back from the mirror and my mirror self stepped forward. I smiled and the reflection frowned.
I instantly ran away and grabbed a random notebook with a pencil and sat myself in front of the mirror.
“Hello me…?” he asked with a mixed tone of uncertainty. I reached towards the mirror, uneasy with anticipation. Where I would have felt the smooth surface of the glass, I felt nothing, a void of anything passed through my arm, a jolt of icy cold. Gooseflesh sprang up on the back of my neck.
Before I could finish my phrase, an invisible force tugged on my arm, forcing me further into the glass. My body passed though without resistance…..
An immeasurable amount of time later, I opened my eyes for what felt like the first time.
A pearly white landscape was drawn before me, featureless and suave. It hurt to look upon the bright. Hurting all over, I rose from the indistinguishable floor and peered around. The blank expanded for eternity, ending at a point that separated the pale ground from the eerie blue sky. The void was absent of any cold from the enduring winter, yet was absent of the warmth of the Orranian sun. It was just… blank.
Without mind or soul, I took in the alien landscape. Little by little my eyes scanned the area. I felt… strange. I felt… foreign. Not of this realm, not of myself. My eye caught the glare of something on the horizon, hope filled my vacuous body and I proceeded to go. I walked for what felt like minutes, hours, days, and yet seconds. Near instantly I was there.
The shine was from a strange metallic device, barely taller and wider than me. It was a cylinder with many intricate parts coinciding to a central sphere in the center. I approached the device with caution, holding out my hand. Expecting to phase through it, I was surprised to feel cold hard chrome. A jolt of blue electricity sparked out of the core and connected with my hand. I felt a brief flash of pain and staggered back. Dust began to fly out of the core, and it began to gravitate towards a central point. The dust began to take form and color, and….
A partial figure of a plain looking man in a white coat materialized, out of levitating particles. He appeared to be walking towards the machine, aloof of my presence.
“Alas, it works…. Finally the Cryodeum generator works.” said the figure in a strangely familiar voice.
The figure began to laugh hysterically and he promptly evaporated into formless particles…
I tried to utter a sigh of disbelief, but no sound came out. I cupped my mouth to try and feel for air, and I felt nothing.
Suddenly the dust reformed into the same figure except now with a rough beard, and a second figure, a woman in an officer’s uniform.
“So,” the woman said, “You finally figured out the secret to Cryodeum electron transfer? Ya ready to sell?”
The figure in the white coat turned back towards the officer with a stern look.
“Yet again, you come here just to get this… well, too bad! This is my invention and I don’t want the RL’s money… This is the people’s tech, and your ‘benefactors’ will just hog it…”
“You’re right, I am here just for the tech, I would be here for… other reasons… If you weren’t such an ass!”
With a cataclysmic burst, the dust that formed the beings dissuaded the forms. Suddenly, the machine pulses another burst of blue light and the dust became even further spread out… and gathered into four forms now…
There was the man from before, but now there were three others.
All intimidating figures, a man, no, a machine flanked by two iconic War-Drones that belonged to the terrorist cell, the Apparatus Revolt.
The machine in the center was of a more ornate design, rather than the bulky and armored drones. It was somehow taller than the escorts, and looked even more built up. All three wore an A icon.
The metal figure in the center spoke.
“We do intend to bring this technology to use, I promise you, the significant boost in power it will give our machines will help bring the RL to their knees!” It said in a strangely human voice, perhaps it wasn’t a drone, maybe it was a mech-suit, or it was a cyborg.
“You can use it, but your organization will be lost without someone who will know how to utilize it. Working for this project was fun… but the pay is abysmal and the RL is riding our asses. I request that I come along, too.”
“The brilliant mind of Nicholas Blake on our side would be fantastic!,” the metallic man exclaimed, I gasped internally. That was my name…. It all makes sense now…
The two figures began to shake hands, the second they touched they dust apparitions dissipated…
The machine’s core began to accumulate energy, quickly… it began to show at a visible level…
That man was me, a future me! I knew I wouldn’t be a marauder…. I would eventually make it out of this shit-hole! I would get away from… him!
The machine looked like it was reaching critical levels… At any second… I knew I should get away, but my feet were transfixed. I tried to get away by looking towards the horizon, but I saw nothing but a smooth grey…
The blue lightning overtook the chrome exterior, it encompasses the reactor…
I shut my eyes tight to prepare for the blast… and, and, and…
Sensation reappeared, breath returned.
The bustling sound of footsteps and machinery came to my ears.
Reluctantly, I opened my eyes, and saw not the shabby wooden cabin, but two colossal brick and mortar buildings on my left and right… and in front of me was a street.
I was in an alley, but where?
I looked behind me and there was the mirror, except it looked aged and damaged.
I looked down at a puddle and saw a wet newspaper soaking it up.
At the top was “Windy Times”
Wait a moment… I am back!
I am back at the Wind City! My prayers have been answered!
Filled with excitement and joy, I sprinted out of the alley and towards the street. I looked around and saw the blessing of familiar sights, people, and no snow! I couldn’t have been happier!
The whole scene was overbearing… I was brought to tears!
No words of mirth could express how happy I was.
I was home…
A plain looking man approached me, and asked me what’s wrong.
“Nothing… I’m just…!”
The man’s mouth didn’t move as he said ‘try to contain your mirth, young one, savor it instead, and appreciate your blessings…’
Mystified, I…. just blanked out. Suddenly the feelings of blandness overcame my senses.hearing was gone, feeling became numb. The man walked away and evaporated like the dust figures… I tried to squirm, to get out of this trance, yet my efforts weren’t even there… As if i was still in the….
The whole scene disappeared into the white void, like a canvas, devoid of any markings…
It was me and the machine, I was the machine….
“No, this isn’t real!” I thought… “No…..”
The machine appeared to agree with me.
Instantly I was back into the cabin… I woke up on the floor and wiped the drool from my cheek. The first sight I saw was the mirror, the same mirror.
“Hello, me?” I asked in disbelief. Actual tears streaked across my face. “What just happened?” I asked my reflection, expecting an answer. There was none, for once it was just a reflection…
“I guess it was a dream, huh?” I asked myself, mildly angry. Of course my mind would create a situation where I had everything I wanted, and the potential I have dreamed of, and took it away from me at the climax of my emotions.
I felt the notebook still in my hands, clutched it with rage and threw it at the ornate mirror. The object hit it bluntly, and fell to the ground.
“Thanks for the dreams!” I shouted, mad at the object as if it was its fault.
I just wanted today to be over, I wanted dad back, I wanted to be back in the void.
I rested my eyes and tried to go back… nothing but rest found me.