A world destroyed by the people that built it. A land brutalized by weaponry made to protect it. How much blood had earth, the homeland, seen before she was demolished by nuclear weaponry and savage politics? Only time knew the answer to that long forgotten question, and few people even dared to ask it anymore.
The old generation feared for their lives the day they were deported nation by nation to a new world that had been created by the very men that had destroyed the past one. They knew not of the outer realms of the world nor did they know that they could live upon any world other than their original one. Who were these men that sought only power and greed to send them unto a new world?
The older ones of the Firstborns, the old generation, knew to be cautious as they arrived into this new world. There were so few of them now. It would take everything that they had to keep the new race alive.
Groups formed, and among them came the ultimate. Led by Roran Crell, the only surviving scientist that didn’t die from either human rampages or the creation of the new world, the Firstborns created cities and governments. Civilization blossomed at last, and all was made mundane once more.
People forgot about war for a time and loved each other in their own ways until more nations arose. People colonized the land creating the same problems that had arisen on the Homeland. Wars were fought once more, but instead of using bombs, heavy machinery, and common soldiers the government of Cratos forged a new weapon, an incredible weapon.
Through the use of technology, scientists stole the genetics of humans and animals that they kept hidden from the world. Immortals were made. Blood was spilt, and weapons now came in the forms of young men and women that were invulnerable to anything. Armies grew as men and women united to create children.
Those children were then cultivated like common plants. Genetics, stem cells, and cloning grew rampant within civilization. Families were tore apart in wartime and peacetime. Once more, the government grew corrupt by greed and power.
Children were held captive, stolen from their families, from their lives. Genes were implanted into their helpless bodies, making all kinds of evils. Some fed on blood. Some had extra body parts to wield more weaponry. Others looked normal when their claws and fangs weren’t distended. Thus, Xavier Shadowheart was born.
The city was empty to the untrained eye, devoid of life. Exanimate towers loomed above the city’s streets and gave watch like haunting sentries. Their tall spires reached up, up towards the midday sun whose burning eye cast a glower upon the land. Grey was all that the eye could see. A grey skyscraper, a grey street, a grey bridge—they were all that was left of this ravaged land.
Clouds hung in fluffy, white patches across the sky as they journeyed over this desolate place. They saw the lack of life. They acknowledged the blood splatter upon the ground, and they recognized the death that permeated through the city walls.
A single vehicle passed through the streets. Its quiet, airy hum rang out so loudly in the silence of this place. Anywhere else, the vehicle wouldn’t have even caused a single creature to look at it, but here it was as if a tank was driving through crushing everything in its path.
With careful precision its dark headed driver weaved it through the wreckages of vehicles that had gone on multiple collision courses with buildings and other vehicles. A waste collector was flipped on its side and the remains of its halted voyage were spilled out on the interstate: a pizza box, a bag of garbage, and other miscellaneous items were spread out like a smorgasbord for the homeless. What waste, Xavier Shadowheart thought as he slid his stealthy vehicle between two cargo trucks that had wrapped themselves around one another.
His grey-blue eyes glanced out his tinted window, and he caught a glimpse of a dead woman. Her body was horribly torn. Her clothes ripped off her bloodied skin. She had to have been a stripper by the looks of her tall heels, ripped mini skirt, and see through bra. Her skeleton shined through at the back of her throat. Meat hung off at her thighs. If Xavier hadn’t seen it a thousand times before, he would have lost his lunch.
Nonchalantly, he leaned his strong jaw against his fist then glanced in his back mirror to where its reflection landed on the silver briefcase in the backseat. The five vials that rested within that comfortably cushioned case were ready and sterilized to be filled with the DNA of the creatures he was hunting. It was the first time he was sent to do a research mission. Usually, Xavier was sent in to discharge the beasts from the land, but now he was out on field research. How uninteresting.
He loved the fury of the fight, the blood that he spilled for his people. He loved to take out his frustrations on the genetically malfunctioned. He couldn’t do that this time. The place had already been cleared out. He had to do work for the nerds since their past field researchers had wound up… dying by the hands of the mentally uncontrollable and furiously starved Infected. This work was sure to be tedious, but it was either do this work now or have Gwen on his ass chewing his ear off until he did it.
At least, this was supposed to be a quick mission, and he wouldn’t have to worry about some complete twerp getting scared then running off when an Infected came at him. All he had to do was find a couple of victims, collect some saliva and blood samples then get the hell out of there faster than Gwen could bite off his ear.
Xavier glanced over more corpses as he drove into the slums. There were more here, but these people looked as if they’d put up some sort of fight. The bodies of gang members were decorations on the broken asphalt. Blood was splattered all over the place, and the shells of not military grade bullets were tossed over the ground. Even a few Infected had been butchered on the ground in death.
As he parked his Halo Lightning in the middle of the street, Xavier pulled the silver briefcase from the backseat. His combat boot covered foot let go of the traditional clutch in his car, and he opened up the scissor-door on the driver’s side.
The scent of death whipped up into his nostrils as soon as he stepped onto the blood stained asphalt, and he curled his lip at the sight of a bodiless Infected’s head. Rolling it beneath his boot, he kicked it towards a victim then got down on one knee to analyze the deceased.
The body was male and mortal. He looked to be around mid-thirties and bore the tattoos of whatever gang he had been in. As a matter of fact, the entire man’s body was coated in tattoos though they were hidden by the darkness of his skin.
As Xavier moved the man’s head around with his gloved grasp, he analyzed each marking along the man’s hide. By the looks of things, he had killed many people for his gang and lived to tell the tale until the Infected came to show him what a real war looked like. It was a shame. The man could have been a great fighter if he would have only put it to mind. With as many kills as were tattooed upon his skin, even Xavier could look upon this corpse with respect.
Turning his attention to the silver suitcase, he opened it. The oxygen sealed case hissed while steam poured out with the top’s lifting, and Xavier withdrew a syringe. With a gentle movement, he placed the syringe into the man’s still warm forearm then drew out his blood. He had to have contracted some amount of the disease during the scrap with the Infected, and that was deemed apparent when Xavier noticed the large claw and fang marks decorating the man’s skin.
After drawing the amount of blood needed, Xavier capped off the syringe. He unscrewed the needle then placed the filled vial into a slot ready for filled specimen’s blood. The body of the dead man stared up to the sky where the clouds were lazily strolling across it, and Xavier glowered. Two gentle hands reached out then closed the eyes of the corpse. “Rest easy,” he whispered before turning his attention towards the head that he’d rolled next to the victim. “Now, it’s your turn.”
Again, Xavier withdrew another syringe. He placed it inside of the jugular that was still bleeding out then withdrew the desired amount. After that, he took out a cotton swab. Parting the lips of the mangled creature with blood soaked hair and a bulldog’s under bite, Xavier swabbed the damp tongue and inner cheek of the beast. Its thick, gooey saliva coated the swab until Xavier was ready to gag at the smell of decay emanating from the creature’s open throat and mouth. Finally, he withdrew his sample then placed it in another vial to put beside its blood.
Three samples down and one to go, he thought before hearing a sound so low that only a Telios could hear it. His grey eyes ripped over to the sensor in his car, and he quickly snatched up the suitcase. Leaving the corpses where he’d found them, Xavier switched his car into first gear then second then all the way up to fifth as he followed the sound of the sensor.
Pulling up a grid map, Xavier used its touch screen to zoom in until just the area that he was in showed up. His movements were represented by a flashing blue dot, and he cautiously watched until three red dots appeared behind another flashing blue one. Immediately, he stomped down on the gas pedal.
If there was one chance, one single chance to rescue another human from this chaos, he would do it. With that on his mind, Xavier drifted around a sharp curve in the square then hunted down for the blue dot that was still flashing on his screen. His nerves were fraying as he watched the red catching up to the other one. He couldn’t let whoever this was die because he was too late. He’d been too late too many times in his life, and he would not lose a survivor like he did his sister. Too many people had died on his watch. He’d lost friends, comrades, and family members alike to these demons. He wouldn’t lose anyone else.
Gritting his fangs together, Xavier shifted again then turned another corner only to be blockaded by more wrecked vehicles. His eyes darted to the dots on his grid before he threw the car in reverse. The wheels screeched in protest then spun in a pool of blood before launching him off in the direction he’d come from.
The midnight blue Halo Lightning weaved through the vast amounts of wrecks that were dotted along the city streets until he caught a glimpse of a young girl leaping over a fence with the three Infected hot on her trail.
Quickly, Xavier rolled down the window before firing off several rounds to distract the starved creatures. Their grotesque faces looked his way, and it was just enough to slow them down for the girl to reach his car. The passenger door swept open as the girl scrambled to make her way inside then she slammed the door shut. “Kill those things!” she screamed at Xavier with her chest heaving from a long run and pure exhaustion.
With a nod, Xavier used to points on his gun to line up with the head of the first Infected then he fired a round off into the in between the two of them.
Time seemed to move slower as the bullet whizzed through the air. The engraved bullet’s riveted pattern pulsated with the energy encased inside of it, and the Infected howled as it charged headlong into the shot. Wind berated the bullet’s straight shot, and it sunk into each groove. Oxygen sunk into the shell then the veins on the bullet lit up. Fire erupted inside of the bullet, and when it sunk into the skull of the hideous, decaying monster it was sent to destroy, it exploded. Fire erupted in flames within the skull of the beast. Quickly, it fed upon the creature’s insides, and Xavier watched with the girl as the Infected clasped his hands to either side of his head. The fire licked at the inside of the genetically ruined being and fed upon its brain before the creation fell to its knees. The fire still brewed within, and it would until its brain was made entirely to ash.
With a calm expression, Xavier lined up the gun to the other two they were breezing past and fired two rounds to finish off the rest of them. Again, the wind ignited the inside of the bullet then the bullet ignited the inside of their skulls, and the young girl watched in awe as the beasts fell to the ground in an instant.
“Crux Militia,” she breathed and turned her head to look at Xavier who was calmly driving down the interstate. “You are a part of the Crux Militia!” she screamed with rage tainting her voice.
With a raised eyebrow, Xavier stated, “Yes, I am General Xavier Shadowheart of the Field and Research Branch of the Crux Militia.” He gave a short pause before asking, “Why?”
“You bastards let my dad die! You left my family out there to die! My mom, my dad, my brother are all dead because of you! Your people sent the Infected to Sageville! You killed my family!” she screamed with a voice breaking howl. Her hand pulled out a military grade hand gun, and she pointed it to Xavier’s skull. “You left us out there to die!”
In a brief whiplash of his hand, Xavier disarmed her and locked both of her wrists in his large grasp. “Roran Crell would never send Infected to Sageville, little girl. Now, sit down and shut up or else I’ll throw you out of this car for you to get killed by those creatures out there.” His grey eyes gave her a steady glower as he looked down upon her. “And if you want someone to blame, blame those damned rebels that keep meddling in our affairs.”
With tearstained eyes, the teenager clenched her flat teeth down hard against each other. Xavier’s grip around her bruised wrists hurt, almost made tears come to her eyes, but she didn’t dare cry. She’d done enough of that when her family was butchered. Instead, she ripped free of his hold as soon as it loosened and balled her hands up into two fists.
Xavier weaved through more unmoving traffic while letting his rage gradually abate from his body. He would not let some fifteen year old upset him that much. His eyes closed for a long moment then reopened just in time for him to swerve up to the main interstate.
The dirty, blonde headed teenager curled up with her bare feet on the leather of Xavier’s car, and he glanced over to her. She looked ready to cry. He could see the faint sheen of liquid daubing her eyes. She had every reason to cry, but Xavier didn’t regret what he’d told her. He just wished that he would have done it in a lighter way. Still, she had been pointing a gun to his head.
With a sigh, Xavier put the car on autopilot using the GPS and reached into the backseat. The sudden closeness of Xavier’s body to the girl’s caused her to jump, but she held her ground after that little bound. After some scrambling through his backpack, he withdrew a bottle of ice cold water and a pack of gum.
Her head tilted at the sight of the items she was handed. He explained, “I thought that you might want something to take the taste of blood out of your mouth. Always helps me.” Shrugging, she took a stick of gum then a swig of the water.
The icy liquid chilled the back of her throat then splashed inside of her empty stomach, making her starved state worsen. Nonetheless, she continued to drink it slowly. It’d been so long since she’d drunk real water from a bottle instead of from the broken pipes that stuck out of buildings. It was risky to take the time to drink or eat anything for any amount of time, so she’d kept it at a minimum. She ran out for supplies in the nighttime since even the Infected had to sleep at some point in time.
How many times had she almost died before this soldier saved her? She couldn’t even count. Despite his status, she was thankful for him. If he hadn’t have saved her, those three boys that she used to hang out with at high school would have eaten her alive. Bile rose up in her throat at the thought. Those boys… had been kidnapped before the attack, and now they were dead without even being themselves when they died.
“Thank you, General Shadowheart,” she murmured with a cracked voice. Her big, green eyes looked up towards the man who just nodded.
He had an air about him. It was the kind of air that her father had before he joined the rebels or those damned rebels as Xavier had referred to them. He sat up tall and straight despite how uncomfortable it looked to the hunched over teenager. His eyes were level and looked straight ahead. What did those Crux Militia guys do to their men to make them stand up so straight and proud? The only way the girl would be caught dead doing that was if she was going to get beat if otherwise.
Coughing up some more words, she asked, “Are we going to the hidden base in Augustine? My father used to work there before he was a damned rebel.” That surely had Xavier’s façade faltering. He even coughed in his hand at the question.
“Your father must have started some rumors about the government before the attack,” Xavier realized. “Yes, though. I’m going to have a couple of doctors look at you then we’ll decide what to do with you from there. If Crell or Aurora isn’t paying a visit, you may have a chance at not joining the experiments.”
“Hell no! I will never join the Militia voluntarily or otherwise! I’d kill myself before I became like those creatures out there!” the girl exclaimed and threw the empty bottle of water towards Xavier.
Snagging it before it hit him, Xavier stated, “Your father must have injected some serious hallucinations into you before his passing. The Crux Militia didn’t create those creatures. They’re the after effects of the rebel’s attempts to forge an army against us. Calm down and stop spitting out nonsense.”
Her fist slammed against the bullet proof glass on Xavier’s car, and she shouted, “You’re just like the rest of them! You couldn’t take a hint if it cock slapped you in the face. As soon as the doctors tell me that I’m not Infected, I’m going to find the rebels or die trying. There’s nothing you can do to stop me!”
Shaking his head, Xavier said, “Now that I know your little plan, don’t you think that I’d either follow you to their basecamp or stop you from going? You’re too hot headed to get far without being killed by the Infected out there. Shut up, keep your ass in the seat, and do as we say when we get into Augustine.”
With a scowl the girl crossed her arms tightly against her chest and glowered towards the nearing city. It was Augustine for sure. How did she know? Well, for starters every other city was in utter ruin from the Infected that the Militia had sic’d on them.
© Copyright 2016 Bridget Shayde. All rights reserved.
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