a ghost's tale

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
the story of a man who is betrayed by his team and finds himself at odds with his former freinds. a semi-halo fanfic that has evolved into it's own story

Submitted: September 09, 2019

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Submitted: September 09, 2019

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Chapter 0:

Prologue

(aka death of a ghost)



 

I should have known something was wrong, everybody seemed to be acting a bit less energetic than usual. Even Wolf, who usually tried to make some jokes on the pelican, was silent. This was to be my last mission. After this last operation, I was to turn in my armor and spectre A.I. As the pelican began its descent to the ground, I began to get a feeling that something bad was about to happen. We dropped to the muddy ground, which was moist from the night dew. the heavy fog which caused it had concealed our approach. Chrono was the first ahead, then Wolf and Katana. I drew my silenced pistol and followed behind. it was my job to sneak into a fortress and assassinate a man known as “The Director”. It was supposed to be a quick job. The security was to be taken out by Katana, the cameras to be disabled by Chrono, the explosives planted by Wolf, and Nightmare was to remain with the pelican. The plan was almost foolproof. Slowly and quietly, I snuck along the side wall, as Katana took out the two guards at the door. I wait before starting for the door. “Three, two, one…” I counted under my breath. Cameras were now off, having been disabled by Chrono. I go for the door, the only thing that stands between us and the leader is a simple keycard lock. Child’s play, I take one of the cards off the dead guards. The door unlocks with an eerie hiss. The interior of the base is deserted. Almost all personnel had been switched out for more heavily trained troops who were to arrive in an hour. This was the only chance to kill the director. Wolf’s voice came over the comms. “Explosives in position, blastoff when ready” he radios over. I press the button that begins the reply, “Copy, entering target chamber now.” I announce into the comm, built into my helmet. The door to the Director’s quarters lay dead ahead. Slowly, I open the door, I had hoped it would be a quiet door, not a squeaking door, the bane of many assassins. But, my hopes were dashed as the door emitted a low squeal, almost sounding like a shriek. Memories begin to flash, but I calm myself. The room becomes clearer. A television sits facing me, and a shadowy figure sits in a chair, partially exposed. The figure faces the television.  I aimed the pistol. A million different scenarios ran through my mind. I searched through them to find the most clean way to complete the mission. I finally decide a single bullet through the head would do the job. I fire. The bullet strikes true. The head slumps. But, as the head slumps, something catches my eye. As my eyes begin to adjust to the low light, i see a demon tattoo on the back of the neck. I run up to the slumped corpse. My fears are confirmed by the last dead gaze of nightmare, who sits in the chair, bound by leather straps to the arms. The first to come into the room was wolf, gun already drawn. “It wasn’t me” i say. In response, wolf yells to the others and begins to shoot. The bullets whiz by. The others arrive and join into the fray. “I have to get out of here” i say to myself. I notice a window in the corner of the room. I open the iron window and climb out. The dropship lay directly ahead. I could make it if i tried. no time to think. A shot rings out, and something hits my leg. I drop to my knees. A second shot explodes behind me, narrowly missing my foot. The third, however, is more precise. It hits me in my shoulder. Pain shoots through my side. I drop to the ground. The pain paralyzes me. I can’t move. Out of the corner of my eye, i see three colorful shapes moving towards me. Blue, red, and grey, as well as a black shape. A new freelancer? Wolf is the first to me, trying to hoist me up by my arm. Chrono grabs the other side and helps wolf. Katana and the black-armored person stand in front of me. Katana draws her sword. She thrusts it at me, landing it deep within my chest. Breathing is getting harder. She must have punctured a lung. The black-armored freelancer takes a pistol from his holster. It seems extremely bare and worn. Hesitantly, he places the barrel to my head. I can feel the cool metal, pressed against my temple. Darkness crawls along the edge of my vision. In a few seconds, I would be dead. The gunshot sounded, seeming as an invitation for the dark to envelop what remained of my sight. The dark was so warm, so comforting. Then i saw it. The single light. I found myself unable to recall what had just happened. 



 

Suddenly, the dark begins to fade, replaced by noise. I find myself on a cold metal table. I looked around, and was greeted by a pristine white room. A sign above the exit reads “treatment complex, reaper division.” then, i notice a man in a chair at the edge of the room. I am almost certain He had not been there earlier. it’s almost as if he appeared out of thin air. He walks over as i sit up. “Congrats, agent ghost. You have been promoted to the reaper division.” the man says, his fake smile gleaming from the incandescent lights. I try to get up from the cold table. My strength almost fails me, but it soon returns. The man braces to catch me in case i fall. “Careful, ghost. You’ve been through quite an operation. We had to remove a few outdated items, but we replaced them with brand new technology, developed right here.” the man says. I suddenly gain a curiosity as to where “here” is. I look at the man. “Where are we?” i ask. I immediately notice that my voice sounds...robotic. I ask about this as well. The man looks at me. “That’s part of the “new technology” we were talking about. It’s an internal voice shifter, basically the best voice changer money can buy” the man adds, checking on a nearby terminal. He begins to mess with a few settings, and tells me to speak again. I do, and this time, my voice sounds normal. “What...what happened to me?” i ask the man. He looks onward. “Your team betrayed you, killing you. We brought you here and revived you. We have somebody who wants to talk to you. Should i let him in?” the man asks. “Go ahead” i reply. A man in grey armor stands in the doorway. Golden symbols adorn his armor. His helmet reflects that of a samurai. “It looks like you need an ally. I shall help you in capturing the freelancers. Welcome to the reaper corp, ghost. I’m zencho” he says, leaving.


 

The man left in the room introduces himself as dax, a personal assistant to the director of this organization, the former director of project freelancer, before they went rogue. Dax points out the armor i’m wearing, and tells me that it contains slots for all the freelancer abilities. This suit feels...familiar. I flex my fingers. The material feels lightweight. Dax then brings in a case, opening it. Inside lays a rifle and a pistol.  I take the weapons. Dax tells me that they are made of a magnetic material and can fit to my armor. I hold the rifle near my back and the weapon hums before sticking to the back of my chestplate. He then leads me to an area which i assume is the training room. The room is completely empty, except for a console in a closed room on the side of the room. A buzzer sounds, and the scenery changes to a sprawling cityscape, with me finding myself on a rooftop. I grasp for the rifle behind me and pull it to me. I place the scope up to my eye. A convoy zooms through the streets. my mission flashes on the helmet. “Eliminate target- black truck” the display reads. I take aim, searching for my target. Soon, I see the black truck. Through my mind, hundreds of scenarios race by in seconds. I fire, hitting the truck’s window, along with the driver. The truck runs into a concrete barrier at high speeds, catching fire before exploding. Another message. “Mission accomplished” the helmet flashes. I place the gun back as the scenery returns to the blank room. Dax walks in. “well done. You completed your mission as quickly and effectively as we hoped. Now, there is something the director told me to show you.” he says, leading me to a room with computer monitors almost everywhere. Dax walks over to the keyboard and selects a video file. The video contains info on each of the freelancers. It shows each freelancer’s involvement in my attempted murder. I remember, but something is missing. Dax walks over to me. “Any questions?” he asks, in a smooth, southern-laden voice. “Just one. When do i start” i ask, a hot stream of anger flowing through me. Dax smiles. “Right now” he says, his thick accent suffocates the words.


 

Chapter 1: 

Destruction

(aka the bombing)

 

The pelican dove low. This was my first mission. I dropped from the pelican, landing on my feet. The muddy ground splashes up as I land. The rain had disguised the pelican, as well as my figure. This was the first hiding place of the freelancers, a small village called freedonia. i had decided to wait until night fell to approach the village. I walk towards the stone walls. A set of iron bars stood between me and my freelancer assailants. I pull my knife from its holster, and slash at the bars. They fall away, like butter. I step through the hole and look around. The rain had let up a little bit, and the sun began to approach. I had to make it quick. Three buildings lay ahead. Three targets. Perfect. I step towards them, yelling out. “Freelancers, your day of judgement is here. I am your judge, your jury, and your executioner. You have been found guilty of the attempted murder of your fellow teammate.” he speaks. Two doors open and “they” step out. The murderers. They are not wearing their helmets, and their faces are frozen in a state of surprise. They draw their weapons, as do I. the first one to rush me, i immediately realize, is a freelancer known as hazel. Typical. She had always been the type to not plan things out. I pick her up by the throat, seeing the life drain from her eyes. This must have been how they felt, killing me. I throw her onto the ground, instantly killing her. The blood from her mangled skull as it hits the ground tells me as much. The crimson liquid intermixes with the muddy earth. The next one who comes, angered by the death of hazel, is agent terra, a joke of a freelancer. Never should have made it past training camp. I use the blade for this one, stabbing her in the stomach and then in the head. Again, death is instant. she falls to the ground, with a splash  The last one, however, was all too familiar. Looking me square in the face, was a freelancer we called carnage. He draws a knife, and rushes me. He stabs me once, twice, and then the tingling happened. I felt a surge of power, and my arm changes. The change was not painful, but it felt strange. My hand becomes a sharp blade. I slice carnage in half with it. His upper half hits the ground before his lower half. “Only one thing left to do.” I say to myself, opening my bag and removing the bomb from the other contents. I throw the bomb and walk out through the same way I had come in. in a few minutes, “freedonia” will become a crater in the earth, another lost city. Another roanoke. I board the pelican and leave the doomed village



 

Chapter 2:

 

Dead man walking


 

After the destruction of freedonia. I was to report immediately back to HQ. upon arriving, i’m greeted by dax’s southern smile. “Welcome back, ghost” he says, slathering each word in the same country accent. “How did you enjoy your trip?” he asks. “I completed the mission” i say, almost mechanically. Dax seems to notice something is off about me. “What is it, ghost?” he asks. “When i fought carnage, my hand became a blade.” i tell him. He thinks this over for a minute. “Oh, that is one of the experiments, the bloodline formula. It’s what saved your life, after you were betrayed. It also comes with a few other perks, healing and the ability to change your appendages” dax adds,coating every word in a layer of southern charm. “Your next mission is at the former freelancer base. Some of them have been hiding out there. I think you might know them.” he says. I knew it wasn’t the big names, but these ones more then likely knew. “Survivor, frag, and angel. We have heard reports that demon may also be with them.” dax adds. I knew he was, with demon and angel being twins, created at the same time. demon has flamethrowers built into his suit, while angel was a medic. These two would be harder. But harder still would be survivor. A blade and a gun were built directly into the wrists of his armor. Frag would be easier. He was the explosives expert who didn’t speak much. I nod and head back to my room, where i’m greeted by zencho. He sits in a chair. I notice he has traded his suit for a jumpsuit. Silver hair gleaming against the fluorescent lights. Gold eyes, burning with a fire unseen by any other. He stands up. “Ghost, you have returned. It pleases me to see how well-oiled you have become. Thanks to gcorp, we’ll finally get the revenge we are due.” zencho says excitedly. “What did they do to you?” i ask, curious. “After they killed you, they tried to kill me. I escaped, and dax found me, and showed me to gcorp. When they realized my potential, I became a surefire candidate for the reaper program.” he says, then adds; '' I will join you on your next mission. I have a quarrel with demon.`` I knew there would be no talking him out of it, but why would i? He seems to be a powerful soldier, so maybe i could use his help. “Fine” i say. “but I am taking on survivor myself.” I add. “Good, then let’s go” zencho replies, before leaving the room to suit up




 

Chapter 3: 

Polar opposites

 

 It had been decided that taking the pelican was not a good way to get to our next destination, a fort surrounded by woods. It had been stated that the fort had been known to use anti-aircraft cannons to knock reaper aircraft out of the sky. Zencho leads us through the woods, on what would have been considered a treacherous hike, had we not been wearing our armor. Once we could clearly see the fort, zencho took off his bag, and laid out our tools. Three c4 charges, two breachers. 5 grenades and a diamond tipped drill. Zencho takes the grenades and the drill, leaving me with the duty of setting the charges. First, however, we needed to eliminate the security. Most of the security was automated, with turrets and cameras guarding every crevice of the inner section. There were guards, however. A human touch in a world of machines. I find myself on a nearby cliff, overlooking the walls of the castle-like structure. Two guards stood at the only entrance of the citadel. I look at them through the scope of my rifle. I count the seconds, and account for all the factors. “I’m in position” i say into the comm system. A crackling ensues followed by zencho. “Good, take the shot when ready” he says. “Got it.” i say, and lift the rifle to line up with the head of one guard. I fire, and the bullet finds its mark. The second man is shocked, but only for a second, as zencho appears behind him, brandishing a knife. A geyser of blood spurts from the man instantaneously. After i’ve made my way down to the gate, we prepare the charges. A fifteen-second delay ensures we are out of range by the time the charges blow. The blast sounds, and the door falls off, blown off its hinges. A shot rings out, and a bullet whizzes past me. Zencho has already run headfirst into the gunfire. More bullets go past. I switch the helmet’s visor to thermal mode. Instantly, a few dots of color appear above the heads of hidden guards, firing their guns blindly through the smoke. I lift the rifle, firing at the dots. The guards begin to fall. Zencho himself violently rips two guards apart with his knife. As the smoke clears, utter destruction reveals itself. We’re about to enter when my helmet pings. Four new heat signatures. I try to warn zencho, but then i notice that two of them are behind me. I turn, and come face to face with survivor and frag. Survivor, in his camo armor, is the first to speak. “Ghost? How are you here?” he asks, a seemingly genuine look of concern flashed across his face. frag, a hot-head with a brown, mud-colored suit, looks at him angrily. “Who cares? We killed him once. We’ll kill him again.” frag says, raising his preferred weapon, a shotgun. He fires it into me, and i expect pain, followed by death. Instead, i feel merely a slight pressure. I smile, as their eyes fill with complete and total terror. I grab frag by his arm, as survivor runs away. I look frag in the eyes. “You can’t kill us. You never had the guts.” he spits out, angrily. In response, I draw my knife and plunge it into his arm. He yells out in surprise. I pull out the knife, as the next blow finds its mark in his neck. I pull the knife from its resting place and wipe off the blood, before dropping frag’s lifeless body. I place the knife back in its sheath. I spot zencho, standing over two bodies. I signal him on the radio. “Zencho, i killed frag, but survivor bailed.” i say into the earpiece. The static crackles, followed by “ok. Command says to kill all freelancers in this location. Find him” zencho says coldly.” “roger that” is the only reply i give him. 




 

Chapter 4:

Seeds of doubt

 

The forest on all sides of the fortress is rife with cool shade. Perfect shadows. A billion discreet places to hide. And here i am, trying to find one person amidst the sea of trees and rocks. I draw my pistol, aiming in front of me. Suddenly, i hear a noise behind me. The rustling of leaves. A Disturbance only man could create. I turn and fire. A short yelp sounds, alerting me that i’ve hit my target. I rush to the spot where my prey had been. A non-lethal shot. Small splotches of blood adorn the fallen rust-colored leaves. a little farther away, i hear more rustling. I aim the weapon in the direction of the noise. I breath once, and shoot. A yell, and he falls, falling amongst the leaves and fallen branches. I rush to where he lay, anger pumping through every one of my muscles, making me stronger, faster. I arrive at where survivor had landed. He had propped himself up against a sturdy oak tree and was attempting to remove the .45 round from his side. He pays no mind to the first, which had struck his calf, since it had gone clean through. He sees me and attempts to crawl away, but it’s impossible with the shape of the tree. He sighs and relaxes. “You know you’re being used.” he says, through slow breaths. “What are you going on about?” i ask, the anger slowly draining from me. He smiles. “They really did a number on you, eh?” he asks. A small switch in me turns on. “What are you…” he cuts me off. “We killed you, because we were told you were working with gcorp. Because zencho had told us so. Then, he tried to kill wolf. We had no idea they were going to bring you back.” he says, coughing up a bit of blood. His smile fades. “They had no right to do this to you, to any of us.” he adds. I turn away. Better to let him stay here and die than to give him a quick death. Survivor coughs. “You will learn. Nobody is safe.” he says, and a click is heard. I think about survivor’s armor. I think about the wrist cannon he has attached to it. The sound it makes when it loads. I turn, but it was too late. The shot sounds through the forest. Survivor slumps from the tree. I go over to him, and take the wrist cannon off of his armor, along with an extendable blade. I turn, and leave the corpse to rot. I radio zencho. “He’s down. Begin extraction” i say into the earpiece. As I waited, I thought, maybe survivor has a point.”




 

Chapter 5:

Back to base-ics

 

As we arrive at reaper base, dax greets us. Zencho and dax exchange something, and zencho leaves. Dax walked me back to my room, a cell without the bars. Glass adorns all sides of the room, making observation easier. Dax swipes a keycard to the reader, and the door opens. The white room blazes with unseen fire, hot and cold. Dirty and sterile. Mud and bleach mixed together in harmony to produce this room. I take off my helmet, and smell the air of the room. Even the aroma was orderly and purely. I stepped into the room, and toss my helmet onto the bed, walking over to the A.R.C. the armor comes off liquified, swirling down the drain. after all the armor has drained from the tank, the door opens and i step out. The cold feeling ensues. I shiver. I walk over to my bed, picking up the clothes on it. I walk over to the door, where a switch sits on the wall. I flip it, and the room’s window-walls become black. The door emanates a beep, telling me it is now locked. Their security measures have security measures, i think to myself. I barely manage to supress a small chuckle. I get changed into my normal clothes, specially made for each reaper. A pair of jeans with each reaper’s symbol on the right front pocket. A shirt matching their color, and a leather jacket with symbol and name on it. I walk over to a small wooden box in the corner of the room. I pull the skull necklace out of the box. my symbol. The symbol of death itself. I put it around my neck. The cool metal feels colder against my skin. I go over to the switch, and switch it back to its normal setting. The room’s glass windows return, and the door unlocks. As i am about to walk away, i notice a piece of paper under the door. I pick it up, expecting it to be a list of the day’s training exercises. Instead, the note reads:

 

“Agent ghost, you are needed in the director’s office. Please bring your helmet”

 

I fold up the note and grab my helmet off of the bed. I tuck the note into my back pocket, and put my helmet under my arm. I open the door, and head to the director’s office.




 

Chapter 6:

Legal terms

 

As i walk in, i can tell something is off about the office. Everybody is a bit quiet. Soon, i find out why. The director’s office is a mess. Papers scattered all around. Paintings hang on by a thread. And amidst the mess, dr. chris stratus, the director himself, stands wringing his hands, as one does when nervous. I walk in, observing the disheveled office space . “You...wanted to see me, sir?” I say to him. He turns, frightened for a second, before a wave of relief washes over his face. “Ah, ghost. I am so glad to see you.” he says, his voice a little shaky. “I called you here because I have a bit of a problem. Your old friends in freelancer are stealing my shipments of technology, and I need you to stop them. “How am I going to find them?” I ask. Stratus smiles. “We’re sending you with our next shipment of tech. Hopefully, they attack this one.” he says, his voice calming. “Which freelancers are attacking the supplies?” I ask him, scoping out the danger level of this mission. “ wolf, chrono, and katana” the director says. My anger begins rising. I feel the fiery rage within me bubbling over. “When does this next transport leave?” i say. His smile widens. “As soon as you are ready to leave.” stratus replies.






 

Chapter 7:

Frenemies

 

As the trucks neared the area where other trucks had been assaulted, i began to get the same uneasy feeling I had felt that night, the night the freelancers turned on me. Soon, we begin passing wreckage, random weapons and tech scattered along the road. Then, we begin to pass bodies. I note the corpses. Pieces of them are missing, not by dismemberment, almost as if…

 

An explosion stops my thought process. It rips through the truck. I feel white-hot pain seething from my leg. The force sends me flying, and I find myself lying in the grass. I attempt to get up, another flash of molten scorn. I try again, and this time manage to gain my bearings. My leg is worse than i thought. The explosion had burned the leg, but the shrapnel had cut clean through my muscles. it would heal momentarily. Through the corner of my vision, i see the burning truck. More charred bodies join their fallen brethren. I also take note of the three figures in colored armor sifting through the wreckage. A soldier who had not been killed by the explosion rushes them with a knife. The person in light grey armor unsheathes her blade, a katana, and cuts the poor soul down like butter. I struggle to hear their words. “Nothing good...maybe in the...nothing there either…” they say in tune with the ringing in my ears. I run a diagnostic on my injuries. Other than my leg, which is almost completely healed, my arm was broken, but is already healed. I stand up. Walking over to my rifle, which had come out of my hands. I pick it up, noting the burnt gloves on my hands. I turn around, and come face to face with the freelancer known as chrono, a highly skilled hacker. I attempt to raise my weapon, but he fires a shot from his own gun, landing it in my chest. It stings for a second, but heals. The bullet pushes itself out of the closing wound, and the blue-armored man looks in awe and shock. He turns and tries to run, but i peg him in the leg with my rifle. He lets out a pained scream, and his allies come running to him, only stopping when they see me. Under my helmet, I smile. This is the moment. The moment i had been waiting for, ever since that night. Katana is the first to rush me, her blade in hand. She slashes at me, nicking my arm. I, however, grab her sword by the blade and pull it towards me, a move i had learned in the training sims. It also makes her lose her balance. I toss the blade into the air, catching it with my other hand. Then, I see a face that makes my blood boil. Wolf. and then the words come. Not my words, but something deeper, darker. “I will rip you apart, and tear every bone from your body.” the dark thing says, using my voice. I lunge at him, but he manages to hit me. I feel myself flying back, and glass flying into my face. I hit the ground and opened my eyes. No computer readouts. No light filter. They broke my visor. No more distractions. I stand up, and take off my helmet, throwing it to the ground. “This is gonna be fun.” i say, lunging again. This time, I'm prepared. When he swings, I dodge, taking his magnum from its holster. I place it to his back. Part of me screams for me to pull the trigger, but another part yells at me not to. I throw the gun to the ground. Wolf turns around, facing me. Through his helmet, i can see the confused look on his face. “Go.” I tell them simply. They listen, limping off. By the time the dropship arrives, they are already gone. I board the ship and return to reaper corp HQ empty handed.

 

Chapter 8:

The monster within

 

As the dropship nears the landing pad, i could tell things were a bit different. Everything seemed more drab and grey than usual. As I stepped off the ship, dax ran up to me, bearing a notepad. It read simply: “come to my office immediately, chris stratus” and I listened

 

When I got up to the director’s office, things quickly turned violent. Yelling was heard even before I had opened the door. The many fields of battle i had been a part of had nothing on the director’s office at this moment. Gunfire came in the form of insults, hurled mainly at me. Bombs came in the form of talks of demotion. And chris stratus himself was an impenetrable bunker, unable to be breached, and spewing forth lead projectiles with the intent to kill. Suddenly, he stops, thinking. A cease fire. He says the words. “Ghost, you know I truly liked you.” he says. I hear the guns inside the bunker reloading, preparing for the next barrage. “So, I have called for an immediate promotion.” he says. All the guns jam. “To what?” I ask, confused and intrigued. He smiles. “Head killing machine. But there is something you must do first.” he says, producing a small remote. “What is that…” I am interrupted as he pushes the button. I feel myself lose control, like I had when battling the freelancers. “Yes sir?” I feel myself say. The director smiles a hideous evil smile. “Keeper, show ghost a good time, and bring him back when he’s good and ready.” the director tells me. I try to scream out, to reach for him, but I hear myself say. “Yes sir!” and walk out. Next thing I know, im in a car, zooming through the streets. The car stops outside of a house. I recognize this place, like i’ve seen it before. The memories hit me like a .45 calibur bullet to the skull. “My family’s home.” i think, to which the other me replies “yes they are.”

 

Chapter 9:

Death of the family

 

The other me, keeper, opens the car door, getting out. I become an unwilling passenger in my own body. I watch him go to the trunk, producing a silenced pistol. A skull is engraved on the side. He shuts the trunk, and walks up the steps. He knocks on the door, and my little daughter, sophia, answers the door. She turns and yells to inside the house. “Mom, dad’s home.” i feel myself tense up, and i reach for the silenced pistol. I try to resist, but i am no longer in control. One shot. She falls, a broken mess of blood and flesh. A woman who he immediately recognizes appears, screaming when she sees her daughter laying dead on the carpet. I try to yell out to her, but it’s no use. The person in control holds the gun up to her, telling her to show him to the family room. My son, alex, comes out of his room. He is at first excited, until he sees the gun at his mother’s back. A look of confusion flashes across alex’s face. “That is not daddy, is it?” he asks. The one in control fires a shot, hitting alex in the heart. An instant-kill shot. Roseanna lets out another shriek, but softens. Her sad eyes no longer filled with fear. The one in control leads her to the family room, going over to a wall of masks. He picks one up. A flash of memory. Alex and sophia made me that one. He tells her to put it on. She at first seems rebellious, and i silently pray that she would fight this evil thing. However, her eyes soften up, and her rebellious look fades to a look of defeat. She places the mask on her head. “David...i’m sorry.” i hear her say. The words burrow into my skin. The other me raises the pistol, and fires. A flash of anger hits me, and i almost overpower the being in control. He fights back harder. He messes with a few settings on my armor, activating the flame gun. My heart breaks as he unleashes a volley of flame onto the carpet. He walks over to roseanna’s body, taking off the mask. Tears stained her face, and the mask has been pierced with a 9mm hole. He takes the mask, and unleashes another wave of fire onto roseanna’s corpse. He heads towards the door, burning every inch along the way. He exits the house, and goes over to the car. He looks at the house, memories fly into the night sky, glowing reminders of the pain.  And then, he was back in chris’s office. I had regained control, but what was the point? I had nothing left. Maybe that is what chris wanted. To see me broken. To make sure i had nothing to fight for. Whatever he wanted, it worked. I no longer saw things through the eyes of a caring man. I saw the world through the gaze of a monster.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter 10:
The beast that slumbers
 
 
I wake up. Another night of nightmares. I sigh. The medicine must have worn off in the middle of the night. I reach for the pill bottle, and pop a couple capsules into my mouth, swallowing them with the aid of some water. I look around my room, no longer a cell. After the keeper incident, gcorp gave me a penthouse suite at a nearby condo. This was to be my base of operations for the next assignment. The stateroom inn, the pinnacle of condominiums. A perfect place to lay low. I open up the balcony door, looking out to the endless sprawl of the sea. It was...relaxing. I smile. “Roseanna would have loved this” i say to myself. Slowly, i crawl over the balcony’s short railing. I look down at the people below, and my smile fades. Something beckons me to the below. I take a deep breath, and let go of the railing. I feel the breeze change directions. I open my eyes. The ground begins to rise up to meet me. I close my eyes…
 
The smell of barbecue hits me. I open my eyes, meeting roseanna’s smiling face. “Sleep poorly?” she says. “You know it.” i tell her. She sits in the chair next to me, clasping my hand. “Was it the same nightmare again?” she asks. I nod in response. Her expression softens. “It’s just a bad dream. Most of the bad dreams we have never come true. Besides, you would never do that to us.” she says. I smile. All of a sudden, i feel a pain at the back of my head, along with a pressure that flings me from my seat. Roseanna screams. I fall face-first into the grass. From where i am laying. I see roseanna and my kids running. I try to call out to them, but can’t. I manage to move my hand, and feel the back of my head. My hand hits something wet and warm. I pull it back. Red paint, made to look like blood. I return my hand to my head, and feel a small device embedded into my neck. I see a bright light. A gcorp helicopter. Gcorp soldiers. Two of them make their way over to me, while the rest search the house. They pick me up, taking me to the helicopter. I try to move, but i feel a sharp pain in my arm. It falls limply. I feel a similiar pain in my other appendages. Then my head hurts. I begin to black out, and the pain gets worse, dulling pain with pain. I close my eyes 
 
As i open my eyes, phantom pain hits me. I look down and see the concrete street, splattered with blood. A few police cars surround me. I suddenly feel myself being lifted up by two men. Out of the corner of my eye, i see a man in starched white picking up my legs. I feel my body being held up by an object that feels like a table, but i can still feel motion. I turn my head, and the motion stops. I hear a scream, and the man in white disappears. I sit up, looking around. A huge puddle of blood lays in the center of the street. I find myself on a stretcher, a few feet away from an ambulance. Suprisingly, none of my body looks injured. Then i remember the bloodline formula. Somehow, i had jumped from the penthouse and had landed on the street...and survived. A voice makes itself known. “It’s amazing, isn’t it?” a phantom voice says, the same voice from that night. “Who are you?” i ask. “I am your keeper. A small feature from your surgery.” it replies. “What surgery?” i ask, confused. “You probably don’t remember. As a matter of fact, you probably don’t remember a lot of things.” the voice says cryptically. “What do you mean?” i ask it. “You may not remember the night you died, but gcorp lied to you. It wasn’t the freelancers that delivered the killing blow.” it says, and the fog over that memory lifts. I remember. “Zencho.” i say, rage bubbling up in me. “Indeed. I say we take the fight to gcorp, and zencho.” the keeper proposes. I feel the response begin to crawl it’s way into my head. “Yes. let’s tear them apart.” i say. And off we went, to right a few wrongs.
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter 11:
Best served cold
 
 
 
As I near gcorp headquarters, a beep from my comm is heard. I pick it up. Zencho’s voice fills the earpiece. “You… you did this to me… come face me… we have much to discuss.” he says, before the comm cuts out. I check the location of the transmission, and drive to zencho’s location, an abandoned gcorp warehouse in the slums of town. 
 
As I arrive at the warehouse, a figure appears in front of me. I realize it is zencho, corrupted by a keeper of his own. A shadowy presence hangs over him. He flashes a wicked smile as he sees me. “Ah, ghost. I was wondering when...if you would show up.” he says, his voice distorting. “Zencho, what have you done?” I say. “I let it in. I let it take over. it's a wonderful feeling.” zencho says. “Why do you want to kill me?” I ask. Zencho sighs. “I want to because it must be done. If one keeper feels this good. Imagine what two keepers must feel like?” zencho says, smiling his crazed grin. He draws his blade. “I can’t let you do that, zencho.” I say, picking up a nearby lead pipe. Zencho laughs and pushes a button on the hilt of his katana. The blade ignites in a bright flash of light. “There will be no healing this time, ghost. Thanks to gcorp, i’ve made sure of that” zencho says, preparing his fighting stance. I raise the pipe, and zencho charges. Zencho slashes at me with the blade, which I block with the pipe. Zencho backs up, and I examine my makeshift weapon. A small nick cut into the metal. I need to find a new weapon soon. I note that on the other side of the room, a fire axe hangs on the wall. Unfortunately, the only thing standing between me and the axe is zencho. Zencho comes back in, trying to take another swing. I block it, and pull down on the pipe. Zencho’s sword escapes the metal, but i use the momentum to swing at zencho’s unprotected face. A loud “crunch” sounds the moment the pipe makes contact. I use the ensuing opprotunity to make a break for the axe. I use the pipe to break the glass box, before picking up the axe. Zencho looks at me, his face mangled, but healing rapidly. I take the remaining few seconds left and leap up into the air. I lift the axe, and bring it down onto zencho. It finds its way into the top of his head, and zencho falls. I listen as zencho’s breathing stops. I turn around, and make it halfway across the room, when two things strike me. One being the sudden thought of bloodline’s potency, and the other being a flaming blade through my chest. I look down. The flames chars the flesh around the wound. The blade comes out, and zencho walks up to my front, only it’s not zencho anymore. His face is almost unrecognizable, with rows of razor sharp teeth and slitted eyes. His hands transformed into claws. His body almost too masculine to be human. The mouth opens, revealing even more teeth. “How the mighty have fallen?” it says in a deep voice. I'm in too much pain to speak. The beast smiles. “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” it asks, in an almost-demonic tone. I find my voice. “How...could you?” I ask shakily, on the verge of passing out. “It’s like having a little man on your shoulder, guiding you to do...things. Telling you to hurt others. And then one day, people begin to hurt you, treat you as unequal. They lock you in a cell and throw away the key. And then you hear it’s voice, calm to the point of hypnosis, telling you it can help, if you just give in. so you give in to it, and it envelops you in warmth, and takes away all the stress and the pain. The guilt melts away.” the inhuman thing spits out, before grabbing me by the throat. I feel it’s cold hands wrap around my neck. Suddenly, i feel the thing move me, and then i’m flying through the air. My back hits a wall. The force sends a shockwave through my body. I close my eyes, trying to subdue the pulsing pain in the now-exposed wound. Zencho notices this. “Don’t worry, the pain will stop shortly.” he says, producing a knife. I hear him step closer. Another step. A plan forms in my brain. Another step. He stands in front of me. Through the pain, i jump to my feet, grabbing the knife. I successfully manage to wrench the knife from his hands, and plant the knife in the side of his head. It screeches and falls to the ground. I take the knife out of his head, and use the knife to carefully and precisely remove the charred flesh from the wound. The hole begins to close, telling me that it is healing. I look back at zencho, but he is not there. Suddenly, something knocks into me, sending me flying to the metal warehouse wall. I bust through, gaining a few minor cuts top my back. I land in the soft grass. I look at the warehouse, and my jaw drops at what zencho had become. A monster made of organic material. No longer even human. The head from earlier now resembling a dog. “Why do you continue to fight?” the beast says, growing razor-sharp claws. It howls loudly, before it makes its way over to me. It smiles a grin that stretches from one side of its head to the other. The zencho-beast picks me up, opening its jaws to reveal even more sharp teeth, and a huge throat. I begin to get closer to the endless black abyss. I think, and push a button on my arm. A blade extends from my arm. I yell, and plunge the blade into the beast’s eye. It screams in pain and drops me. I use the distraction to go back to the warehouse. I find zencho’s fiery katanas. A few feet away, I hear the yelling turn into growling. “Once you die, i’m going to tell gcorp to bring back your family so I can kill them again and again!” the beast says angrily. I ignite the blade, as the rage in me bubbles up, threatening to explode. I step out of the warehouse. I feel the feeling of something crawling down my skin. I look at my arm, which has shifted into a blade. I see the black veins out of the corner of my eyes, crawling up my neck. “Alright, zencho. You mess with the bull…” i say, then the other me finishes the sentence. “...You get the horns” it says in a demonic tone. We begin a sprint towards him. His smile grows. “Finally you embrace your dark side.” he says, before he too begins running. I raise the arm-blade and impale the beast with it. I continue running, and the blade goes into another warehouse’s wall. I place the katana at zencho-beast’s neck. It laughs. “You don’t have the guts to kill me. After all, you couldn’t even finish off those freelancers.” he says, before breaking into another spell of crazed laughter. I slide the blade, and zencho begins to bleed. “I didn’t kill them because family doesn’t kill family.” i say to him, as he falls to his knees. He reaches his hands to his neck, trying to stop the bleeding. I take the katana, and plunge it into his chest. His eyes grow wide, but his smile never leaves. “ you know…this was a long time coming, ghost” zencho says, before laughing again. I take the katana from his chest. “Too long.” i say, and bring the katana’s blade down on zencho’s neck. His head falls away, and the laughter stops. I stand, throwing the blade down. It is done, i think to myself, but the other side of me says otherwise. There’s still one more person to deal with. Make that two. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter 12:
The tower
 
 
 
As I closed in on gcorp hq, i felt a great weight lifted from me. The thing had informed me that after this final mission, it would leave me alone. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to. The guard at the gate seems on edge as he radios the other guards, telling them that I was here. I swiftly take him out. Two other guards began bombarding my car with bullets. Two well placed shots ensure instant death. I get out of the car, looking around. A squealing alarm begins to blare, and the gate begins to close. My window was closing. Swiftly, i ran and slid under the gate. A robot stands between me and my objective, the glass entrance to gcorp’s hq. The bot glares at me with artificial eyes, studying and plotting my next move. I draw my rifle, but the bot knocks it from my hands. It then grabs my neck, lifting me into the air. I try to trigger my blade-hands, but to no avail. Instead, i grab my pistol from its holster, and fire at the machine’s inner workings. Black oil begins to squirt from the few wires of the wound. The thing drops me, and i head straight for the rifle. I let off a volley of shots, which strike true. The bot falls, its eyes fading. I work my way past the bot and through the glass door. The receptionist’s plastic smile fades when i walk in. She ducks under the desk. I head to the elevator, and push the button reading “executive offices”. The door shuts, and I feel the elevator rise. After a minute of waiting, the elevator dings, alerting me that i had arrived at the top floor. The door opens, and i am greeted by a lone guard. I hit him with the butt of my rifle. I step past him, and head to chris’s office. As i open the door, i peer into the room. A wall made entirely of glass at the other end of the room, and there, sitting in an executive chair, was the man himself. “Ah, ghost. Please, come in.`` I hear him say. I step into the room, gun still drawn. He turns to face me, and my anger begins to heat up. His smile. He stands up. “We created you from the ground up. We built you. Everything you have, everything you are, is gcorp-designed. Even the death of your family was orchestrated to help make you a more efficient killer. You are gcorp’s mona lisa. You are our sistine chapel.” he says, his smile never fading. At the mention of my family, my rage boils over. “You took everything from me. I have nothing left to lose. Why shouldn’t I kill you?” i say. His smile simply grows. “You may be able to kill me, but you will never kill gcorp. New men will rise to take my place. You can’t stop progress.” he says. Suddenly, i feel myself lose control. I reach over the desk, and pick him up. He begins laughing, fueling my rage. I look at the desk, seeing a pen. I pick it up, and place it tip-up on the desk. His laughing continues. I bring his head down onto the pen. Still he laughs. I pull him up, and i look at the window. I press the man against the glass. His laughter only grows in volume. It begins to crack, and then it shatters. The man plummets, laughing all the way down. Then i hear a sickening thump, and silence fills the void. I leave the office, my mission completed. 
 
 
 
Chapter 13:
Ghost of the past
 
 
I find myself in this diner, thinking about the vision i had when i fell from the balconey. It’s the only good memory i have of my family. Gcorp took all of that away from me, and i’ll never get it back. Keeper went inactive, which means he cannot be triggered unless told to by me. Honestly, i don’t know whether to be happy about the change. And, despite my best hopes, chris was right. Gcorp didn’t fall, as i had hoped. The only thing that changed was the management. The one thing chris didn’t expect, however, was that the new management was me. After chris died, i convinced the board to let me manage gcorp, for their family’s sake. I disbanded the reaper corp and pardoned the former freelancers. 
 
As i’m thinking, somebody else walks in. a former reaper in black and yellow armor. Funny that i had no memory of seeing his name when i read over his file. I ask him his name, to which he replied, “volt”. I could tell he was wearing a voice modifier, and asked him to remove his helmet so he could speak in his normal face. He did so, and i was shocked to see an all to familiar face looking at me. “Hello son.” he said
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter 14
Epilogue
(aka rebirth)
 
 
“Ah ghost. So naive. So stupid. You don’t know the power with which you now possess. You are a child, playing with a loaded gun. You do not know the unbridled power with which you choose to stifle. You will never use your full power. If only you had listened, you might have had a chance. A storm is coming, swift and deadly. And neither you or your newfound power can stop it. It will crush you, and those you hold dear. It will burn homes to the ground, destroy crops, create chaos and destruction wherever it goes. It will kill all who stand between it and it’s objective. It will corrupt children, and cause them to join in the killing and burning. This storm is great and mighty, and this storm serves akuma, the lord of darkness. This storm has a name, which means omen in the ancient tongue. This storm will destroy gcorp and all it seeks to create. This storm is zencho, and you, ghost, have awakened a mighty evil.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
To be continued...
Next story:
A darkness untold
(a ghost’s tale novel
 
 


© Copyright 2020 la fantasma. All rights reserved.

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