August 26, 2012
On a warm August afternoon, Mr. Chris Mullen, the CEO of Mullen Enterprises, sat on the couch in the living room of Oliver and Suzuka Anthony, his top scientists, and looked at them sternly as they sat on the couch alongside him. Suzuka, a woman of African and Japanese descent, exchanged a look with her African American husband before Chris spoke, for lately, Chris had not been looking so healthy; his skin had paled, and the veins in his neck were more visible than before. For whatever reason, he looked like he was becoming more and more exhausted.
Is…he okay…?, she thought, concerned for her friend's health, I wonder…
"My friends," he began with a soft tone of voice, "we need to talk about this experiment. We are going to perform the experiment in the basement of the Mullen Enterprises facility downtown. As you know, both of you are expected to be present. This is a top-secret project, so please keep in mind that no one must know of your whereabouts tonight. With that being said, please bring your children with you so you don't have to explain to anyone where you're going and why you can't…watch them yourselves."
Bring our children…thought Suzuka, her eyebrows raised in surprise, Is he sure about that…? Well…I suppose we have no choice… But…
Oliver nodded his head as Chris continued, while Suzuka coincidentally observed Chris's face contort a bit, as though he was in pain.
"There will be security guards directly outside the facility…. They will know who you are when they see you."
"Okay," said Oliver as he nodded his head once more.
"Chris…" began Suzuka worriedly, "If you don't mind my asking…are you okay? You… Well…you look unwell… I hope you haven't been overexerting yourself with your work. I know this project is important, but…with the state you're in, are you sure you want to…?"
Both Oliver and Chris noticed that Suzuka's hands were trembling, so Oliver held her hands in his.
"She has a point, Chris," said Oliver, "I didn't want to mention it before, but…you don't seem like yourself… Are you sick?"
Chris sighed as he looked at his colleagues and gave them a weak smile.
"Don't worry," he said reassuringly, though neither Suzuka nor Oliver were the least bit reassured, "I'll be fine... I suppose I have been engaging in my work a bit too much as of late."
"Will you be okay to come to the experiment this evening?" asked Suzuka.
"We wouldn't want you to strain yourself," said Oliver.
"…I wouldn't miss this experiment for the world, my friends…but I promise I will heed your words… You know, Susan has been trying to get me to take a day off for the past few years, but…I never did. I always told her I would after whatever experiment I was working on at the time, but…I never did. Considering that fact, once this experiment is over, she will probably make me take a day off tomorrow, with the way I look now."
"You should take a day off tomorrow, if nothing else," said Oliver, "Spend some time at home with Susie. I know she'll really appreciate that."
"I know I appreciate it when Ollie and I spend time at home together," said Suzuka as he brushed her hand down her husband's arm.
Oliver blushed a bit, and smiled as he put his arm around his wife's neck. He blushed and smiled even more when she lightly kissed him on the cheek.
The two had been married for the past eight years, and they had two beautiful boys, twins. Their love for each other was still fresh, and as far as they were concerned, life could not get much better than it already was.
Chris chuckled as he looked at the happy couple.
"I always enjoy seeing you two like this," he said happily, "and it's always funny to see Ollie blush when you kiss him in front of others, Suzu!"
Suzuka laughed as she touched her husband's face with her warm, tender hand.
"Isn't it?" she asked happily as Oliver sat speechless and discomposed.
"He looks like his head is going to explode!" said Chris with a chuckle, making Oliver blush even more than he already was.
He never could get used to Suzuka's and Chris's teasing, but deep down, he did not mind so much. After all, they were his wife and best friend, respectively.
"Well, I best be on my way," said Chris as he slowly stood up from the couch.
"Are you sure I can't make you a cup of tea?" asked Suzuka as she and Oliver stood up from the couch as well.
"I'm fine, Suzu," responded Chris as he walked towards the front door, "but thanks for the offer. I'll see you two this evening, okay?"
Oliver and Suzuka walked Chris to the door, and Oliver smiled as he put his hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Get some rest after today, okay?"
"I will," said Chris, "I promise."
Ten minutes later, Chris was in the middle of having a smooth drive home.
All is going to go well tonight, he thought with a small smile, I just know it.
He pulled up to a stop sign at a four-way intersection, and waited for the other cars to pass by.
As he did so, he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his chest. His eyes widened in shock and anguish, and he clutched his chest as he closed his eyes.
No… Not now… Please…don't let this happen now…
A few cars pulled up behind Chris, and were waiting for him to move when it came to be his turn to drive through the intersection, but because his pain rendered him incapacitated, they honked their horns at him in anger.
Goddamn it… Shut up, you bastards… In case you're not paying attention…I'm doubled over here… God, please, take away this pain…!
The pain continued for several more seconds, before it thankfully began to lessen a bit. Chris panted heavily when that happened, and weakly looked up at his rear view mirror. Quite a few cars were behind him, waiting for him to drive ahead.
Oh God… I don't have much time left…he thought as he slowly stepped on the gas pedal and made his way through the intersection, Only a few more hours until the experiment… It has to work… It has to… Otherwise…I won't be around to take that day off after all…
Meanwhile, Suzuka stood at the kitchen stove making dinner while Oliver watched a football game on television.
"Honey," she said as she stirred the pot of ramen she was preparing for her family, "Could you wake the kids up from their nap? Dinner's almost ready."
"Sure, Suzu," said Oliver as he got up from the couch and walked towards the stairs.
Suzuka used her stirring spoon to pick up a piece of barbecued pork, and placed it in her mouth.
Perfect, she thought as she continued to stir her delicious concoction.
Unfortunately for her, her mind quickly wandered back to the evening's experiment, and she furrowed her eyebrows as she stopped stirring the ramen.
I know this experiment is important, but…still… I feel like we're messing with things we shouldn't be… I've gone along with this experiment all this time, but… if we have to bring Reed and Victor…
She sighed as she shook her head and tried to get her mind off things.
I need to relax… After all, Chris wouldn't ask us to bring them if it were a dangerous experiment…right…?
"We're having ramen!" exclaimed a voice from upstairs, "Yeah!"
Suzuka chuckled as she heard one of her sons excitedly run down the stairs.
"Don't run!" she heard Oliver exclaim worriedly.
Hehehe… He just woke up, and he's already so energetic… thought Suzuka, Ah well… I guess we'll just have to…hope for the best…
Two hours later, Chris and the Anthony family stood in the basement's highly technological laboratory complex. In the center of the lab were two large, glass containment units, and in each was some sort of mystical energy. In the first was a mass of blue energy that flickered like flames; in the second floated bubbles of black energy. The units had tubes attached to them that connected them to some sort of fusion chamber.
Reed Anthony, one of the Anthony twins, looked at the energies in the containers in awe, whilst his autistic brother, Victor, looked at them indifferently, for he could not understand what he was looking at.
"Wow!" exclaimed Reed with childlike wonder, "What are they? They look kinda scary." "They're spirits," said Oliver, "The one that looks like fire is Ukaku, and the one that looks like bubbles is Iemo."
"What are you going to do to them?" "Don't worry," said Oliver reassuringly as he put his hand on Reed's shoulder, "We won't hurt them. We're going to fuse them together to create a great spirit called Iku, for Ukaku and Iemo are the two halves of Iku."
"The time has come," said Chris nervously as he looked at Suzuka, who stood by the control panel of the fusion chamber.
He was desperately hoping Iku had regenerative healing powers. Ukaku and Iemo did indeed have such power individually, but he hoped that together, as Iku, the power would be exponentially stronger.
"Uh…Chris…I don't know about this," gulped Suzuka.
She was still having second thoughts about performing this experiment with her children around.
What if the experiment turns out to be more dangerous than we initially thought?
"If this works, we will make history," said Chris, "We can't allow this opportunity to pass us by. Please…push the button."
But Suzuka could not do it! She was beginning to become extremely anxious and scared. For all she knew, the entire lab would blow up and kill them all!
She trembled as her finger rested on the start button.
At that moment, Susan, Chris's wife, burst into the room and pointed at Suzuka. "Don't even think about it, Suzuka!" she yelled, startling everyone in the room, "Don't be a fool, Chris!"
Oh no…thought Chris worriedly as he looked at his upset wife, Why is she here…?
His eyes widened when he remembered having left notes of the experiment on the kitchen table.
Damn it…! She actually read my notes?
"Susan, this could change my life," explained Chris emotionally, "I…have to do this."
"No, you don't!" yelled Susan, "Think about what could happen if you fused those beings together. It could be a disaster!"
"But what if it's not? We'll never know unless we try!"
Distraught, Chris rubbed his chest as he spoke. "Please, push the button, Suzuka!"
"Don't do it, woman!" yelled Susan as she looked at Suzuka, "You and I both know this is crazy!"
"Sue, stop," asserted Chris as he avoided eye contact with his wife, "Let us proceed…"
Susie, please…Chris pleaded in his mind, Please don't stop what I'm trying to do…
Sue sighed as she sadly looked at her husband.
"So is this the extent of our relationship?" she asked, tightening her lips in her sadness, "Am I really not enough to keep you from doing something so risky, Chris?"
Chris became solemn as he looked at his beloved wife with sadness in his eyes.
She isn't gonna let it go…he thought sadly, If that's the case…I…don't have a choice…
"It's not…about you…Susan… It's about me…and about what is happening to me…"
Susan looked at Chris with a confused frown as he continued.
Here goes nothing…
"Susan…I have…heart disease…"
Susan had no idea what to make of this sudden news her husband had just given her, and she did not have the time to obtain one.
"Susan…" said Chris with a pained expression on his face, "H…Help me…"
Oh no…! he thought anxiously, …Not now…! Not when we're so close…!
Susan looked at her husband in complete shock when he suddenly fell to his knees and clutched his chest.
"Chris!" she cried as she, Suzuka and Oliver ran over to him, "Chris!"
Ukaku and Iemo looked like nothing more than simply fire and a bunch of bubbles, but they were so much more. Ukaku flickered wildly, Iemo bounced around rapidly, and both did so violently, for they were trying to break out of their containment units.
Reed's eyes widened as he looked at them in surprise.
"Mommy!" he cried as he grabbed Victor's arm and ran with him towards the exit.
Suzuka, who had been preoccupied with Chris, looked up at the spirits in awe.
"Oh, God!" she exclaimed in fear when Iemo successfully made a crack in its glass containment unit.
She stood up, and was about to run after her children, when both Iemo and Ukaku broke out of their containment units, causing glass to fly all over the place. She shielded her face from the glass as the spirits quickly flew towards the twins.
They caught up to them as soon as the twins reached the door, and the twins yelled in anguish and fell to their knees as the spirits forced their energized beings into their bodies. Reed fell on his back as Ukaku burned itself into his body, whilst Victor fell on his stomach and squirmed around as the acidic bubbles that were Iemo sank into him through his skin. Suzuka quickly ran over to them and watched in horror as her sons bled from their noses, ears, and mouths. She cried as she watched her precious children suffer.
Distraught and afraid, Oliver quickly ran over to the three as he remembered holding his newborn children in his arms; that had been one of the greatest days of his life.
Oh my God…he thought as his heart raced, No… Not the children… Please, God, don't let this happen to my children!
His heart rate increased when he saw his children lying unconscious on the floor.
No… No…! he thought as tears welled up in his eyes.
He saw Suzuka crying over their children's little unconscious bodies, and slowly put his hand on her shoulder. Then, he looked back to see Susan cradling his best friend.
"Don't die on me, Chris!" yelled Susan hysterically, "Please…don't die on me! You can make it! Please! Be strong!"
Chris's breathing slowed, and tears streamed down Susan's face when it did.
"No… No…! Please… Chris… Don't leave me!"
"Susie…I… I love you…"
Oliver watched as his best friend's eyes closed, and closed his eyes as his breathing ceased.
"Chris…" said Susan in shock and awe, "Chris…"
She closed her eyes as she buried her face in the stomach of her best friend, her true love, her home.
Susan cried at the death of her husband, and Suzuka cried as she cradled her precious children.
Oliver looked at his family with incredible sorrow and guilt, and wept.
What have we done…?
August 27, 2012
The next night, a saddened Oliver visited Susan at her home, and the two sat in a dark living room as they heard the sirens of ambulances echo throughout the neighborhood. They were both so morose, and unfortunately, the sirens did nothing but remind them of the ambulances that had come to the lab the previous night to carry off Chris, Reed, and Victor. Oliver took in a deep breath, and watched in surprise as Susan stood up from the couch, and walked into the home office adjacent to the living room.
She unlocked a file cabinet with a key, and thoughtfully rummaged through it, searching for something. It took her a while, but she found what she was looking for, and brought it out of the cabinet to show Oliver.
Oliver gasped when he saw the large, glowing blue crystal Susan held in her hand, and watched as she brought it over to him, along with a note of some sort.
What is that?, he thought with raised eyebrows.
"This is for you," said Susan with a low and solemn voice as she handed the items to Oliver, "I found them earlier today when I was…sorting through his things. The envelope the note was in said to give you these things if he…died before the experiment was over."
Oliver looked at the note with intrigue, and hesitated for a moment before he began to read it aloud.
"I have uncovered significant things in my studies, Oliver. I have enjoyed working with you very much…but since you are reading this, I am going to assume my time has come, which is unfortunate because I had wanted to tell you this next part in person."
"A lot of spirits exist, Oliver; far more than simply Ukaku, Iemo, and Iku. Perhaps this is just me being paranoid, but I have a strong fear that men who hope to seize the powers of these spirits and utilize them for their own misguided goals could arise in the future. As far as I know, nobody knows about spirits except your family and mine, but I still have this great fear. The crystal I have given you contains one such spirit. Initially, I had been excited to make such a discovery, but now I view this discovery as a misfortune."
"Spirits cannot be allowed to be in the possession of the misguided men I described before. There is not much I can expect you to do about such a thing, but I need you to do me this one favor: you must do your best to ensure that this crystal does not fall into the wrong hands. If it does, the spirit within it may be used to bring death and destruction unto this world. You must do what you can to prevent such an unfavorable outcome."
My God…!, thought Oliver, in shock and awe of what he had just read.
What have we gotten ourselves into…?