The Blacklight District
I surged forwards, my arms flying out in an attempt to get in front of the gun before the trigger could be pulled. Lilith came at it from the other side, our faces mirroring worry and terror at the thought of a bullet going through Aiden.
Gray and Mason were doing nothing but staring with their mouths agape. Wide-eyed, in total shock at the situation. They had never had to deal with a life and death situation yet, so I wasn't all that surprised. Not that I really had time to think about it.
I stumbled past Aiden when I realized I'd overshot my mark. Instead of standing before the boy that saved my sister and I's lives, my arms outstretched, I was forced to look back over my shoulder as Lilith took my place. As I continued on, I switched objectives.
Now, my attention turned towards the root of the problem itself: the gunman. I dug my outward foot hard into the concrete of the small porch, pivoting on it and redirecting towards the shadows of the building. Drawing my knives from my belt, blood still on the blades, I attacked the attacker with one in each hand. I glared at the darkness that concealed the mystery person, wishing that looks could kill.
My black hair whipped away, flinging a few strands into my face as I surged forwards. No one was going to get away with shooting at Aiden, and they definitely weren't going to get away with shooting at my sister.
"That's enough, you two," Aiden said calmly.
Lilith and I looked at each other, confusion all over our faces. Looking to Aiden, we saw a very familiar look. Almost sinister confidence in his blue eyes, the corner of his mouth twitching into a confident smirk. It was a look that he wore when things went as planned, or when he predicted something correctly that should have meant his death. His arms were crossed as he didn't even look at the two of us. I followed his gaze, to the shadows that the gunman's arm had receded.
From the darkness came a female that looked like the classic rebel. The right of her head was shaved, the rest of her dyed-black hair reaching down to past her shoulders. She wore a tank top that exposed her full sleeves of tribal tattoos. Black pants, tears ripped through the thighs, were draped over beaten up sneakers. Strapped to her arm was a sort of holster for a data-slate, the object in question sitting within the confines of the black leather. In a thigh holster was the side arm that had been trained on Aiden. She had a black nose-ring and one in her right eyebrow. Black eyes that held an amused look were trained on me and my sister.
"You got quite the following here, kid," The girl said, her voice giving me the impression that she was about eighteen.
Aiden shrugged, "That's what happens when you actually make friends, I guess."
She chuckled, shaking her head, "What're you saying? That I don't make friends?"
Aiden's smirk widened, "You seem more the type that makes enemies, Z."
Z smirked, "True. But, hey, that's part of the business."
"True," Aiden inclined his head as he conceded the point, "So, can we come in?"
"'Course," Z said, opening the door completely to reveal the apartment-sized room she seemed to reside in.
There were three or four tables in the room, against the wall with all sorts of screens above them. Streams of data, chat rooms, and schematics were displayed on the monitors. On the tables were various gadgets, spare wires, and pieces of technology, some of them having parts that glowed a pale blue from within the casing. The ground was scattered with the scrapes and left-overs from whatever she was doing with the things adorning the tables.
Light-bulbs hanging from the wires that connected them to the power grid seemed to float in the stale air. The monitor's text and themes were also a pale blue, making the darker parts of the room look as though there was stars with them. But within those darker parts was a tucked away table that held up a small arsenal of guns and grenades.
Mason and Gray both looked around the small room, eyes slightly wider then usual. Aiden, Lilith and I, having seen something like this a long time ago, were immune to the impulse to look impressed. Z was one of the people that worked a shady organization called the Information Stream, or simply The Stream. Info Brokers were what made up the organization, and they were notorious for being dodgy, disloyal, and easily swayed by the amount of Marks on the table.
Aiden, through some ordeal, had made a pact with Z. To have the absolute loyalty of an Info Broker was extremely hard to do, but Aiden had somehow done it.
"So," Z said, dropping unceremoniously into a rolling chair and typing away at one of the back lit keyboards connected to the monitors, "What can I do for you, comrade?"
"We heard a rumor that there was a law in the process of being amended," Aiden said, pulling up a chair while Lilith and I went to the door to stand guard.
"Lemme guess," Z said, not even turning from the screens, "The Identification Regulation's age limit being lowered to ten years instead of sixteen."
Aiden smiled, "I thought you'd know."
"Well, it wasn't that hard," Z said, shrugging while she opened another tab on her monitor, "I mean, you're entire little group would be affected, same to you. I would be too if I had those two girls under my wing."
Lilith and I looked over form where we stood at the door, then at each other, while Lilith spoke what we were thinking, "What was that supposed to mean?"
Z only grinned, "Nothing at all, little ladies. Bingo!"
"Find anything?" Aiden walked over to stand next to where Z sat.
"Here it is," Z said, pointing to the screen that had a document with the Government's seal in it.
The seal of an eagle with is wings outstretched to cover the world that represented the Government of the Union States of America. We learned to dread that symbol, or the proud eagle that made the patches adorning the left shoulders of the Soldiers and policemen. Z began to trace the lines of the document, titled "Census Regulation Law; Revised", until she stopped.
"'Due to decreasing amounts of soldiers on the front lines,'" Z read aloud, surprisingly pronouncing it all perfectly, "'The age in which a citizen of the Union States of America must acquire an Identification card will be lowered to a decade. In addition to the Gene Exam, there will be a test administered to all those that are processed. This test will be to determine the aptitude of the citizen in question for service in the great military of the Union States of America.'"
"That's not good," Aiden said, looking actually worried for one of the first times in my memory.
"Sucks for you guys," Z said, shrugging, "Look on the bright side. As long as you aren't caught, you won't have to worry about it."
"Yeah," Mason spoke up, sounding snide, "But one slip up and it's off to die. The only difference now is either dying in a fox-hole or dying in a mine-shaft."
"What stroke of luck brought him along, eh?" Z smirked and rolled her eyes as she went back to her screen.
I heard footsteps outside, heading towards the stairs. Lilith heard them too, both of our hands going to the knives in our belts. Since we were practically eye-level with the door knob, we moved to the sides of the door frame in case the newcomers decided to breach the door. Z and Aiden picked up on our movements, and temporarily stopped their conversation. But then they remembered what we were, and went back to the subject as though nothing had changed. Mason and Gray were blissfully unaware of the entire situation, messing with the gadgets on the tables in order to put a leash on their anxiety.
As Aiden and Z continued to talk, the footsteps were soon accompanied by voices. Gray moved towards the door, seeming to catch onto the sounds coming from the steel Lilith and I guarded. Mason soon followed and they drew closer. The louder the voices became, the more I could make out what they were saying. Conversations of pay-outs and locations of jobs told me that the people in question were Mercenaries. Three of them, all male, the sounds of sub-machine guns clanking against spare magazines ringing in my ears. Hyper-sensitive senses picked up the sounds of the Mercenaries as they drew closer.
Mason and Gray were both looking at Aiden, Mason harshly whispering, "I think some-one's coming!"
Aiden barely batted an eye, "It's already taken care of."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Mason muttered to himself, as he moved behind me and put an ear to the metal wall.
"I wouldn't be there if I were you," I said, pressing my back to the wall next to the door and drawing out my knives in sync with Lilith.
"This place is gonna get a little louder then usual," Lilith said under her breath, staring at the door knob.
The three sets of footsteps were gone now, the sounds of fire-arms being readied overtaking them.
Three massive pounds on the door, "Alright, Rat, there's nowhere to go! You just won a one-way ticket to the Detention Cells!"
When Z and Aiden continued on with their conversation as if nothing had happened, Mason and Gray seemed confused. It was like they thought neither of the adults had heard the massive voice. Mason didn't move from were he was, and I felt a pang of pity for his mistake. His loss, I suppose.
"If you don't come out here in five seconds, you're gonna need a new door, comrade!" The voice said, louder than before.
When Z and Aiden continued on discussing plans for the future, and even found it in themselves to get side tracked an talk about a funny story between the two of them, the men got extremely angry. Aiden had always been level headed like that, almost to the point of annoyance. Lilith and I used to be unable to get a rise out of him, even when we didn't trust him and tried to annoy him. In the end, Lilith and I learned the subtle things about him that allowed us to see through his guise of resiliency.
I heard the sound of hammers getting pulled back, magazines loaded, and itchy trigger fingers. The men's breathing was getting more heated and rapid with anger. They seemed to be reluctant with the entire situation. Info Brokers were the most prized targets, but also the most dangerous to catch. Since the amount of people that owe them favors, or rely on them for their services, were so vast and diverse that you never knew who would come after you if you found them.
Apparently these idiots either didn't know that, or they didn't care. Regardless, this wasn't going to be something that any of us would enjoy too much.
The steel door imploded, breaching explosives having carved a man-sized hole in the metal. My eyes widened, shocked that stupid guys like them could get their hands on breaching charges. But I shook it off quickly, knowing that there was no room for hesitation.
Then the men burst through the door, and instinct took over. The way that Lilith and I were forced to behave through mind control and endless drills on no sleep was exactly why Aiden had been interested in us. The original reason why he sought us out.
Lilith and I whirled into action, drawing our knives and surging up to meet the faces of the irritated men. Without hesitation, we slashed their faces intentionally putting it extremely close to their eyes. The lead two instantly stumbled back and screamed in pain. The third looked at his comrades and then to the two of us. He made a tsk sound with a sharp intake of breath through their teeth, and trained his weapon on us.
Lilith and I ducked, the bullets that were fired zipping over our heads and into the apartment we were supposed to be protecting. Trusting that Aiden wouldn't let himself get killed by some lucky shot, my twin and I continued with our assault.
Since we were crouching to avoid gunfire, we used the opportunity to push off the ground with all of our leg strength. Flying up to met the face of the remaining thug with our knives, something came over us that we both hated.
The glint on our eyes startled the last of the mercenaries, whom brought up their arms to guard their faces from the same fate as their screaming comrades. But that was exactly what the two of us wanted, since it left his sides completely open to attack. I had altered my flight path to slice into that weak point, while Lilith had gone for the eyes.
We did this like we were one body and one mind, an instant decision that required no signalling at all. Almost like we could read the other's mind.
The guy didn't know what hit him. Before he possibly could have figured it out, he was on the ground with his sides sliced open and blood soaking into his clothes. Lilith and I stood over the man as his clenched his jaw, the bloodlust subsiding as we looked to each other.
A fist bump sealed the deal, a little tradition that Lilith and I developed every time everything worked out.
"I can see why you keep those two close, comrade," Z said, using the familiar term that we were supposed to call all citizens in Cyanide, "They took out Slash's goons without breaking a sweat."
Aiden and the female in question emerged from the shadows of the apartment with Gray and Mason in tow. They looked at the men that were on the ground groaning in pain, then to Lilith and I, then back to the bodies.
Aiden smiled, patting our heads at the same times as if we were a pair of cats, "Good job, you too. I'm grateful that you would make such a sacrifice for us."
"What the heck are you on about?" Mason growled.
Aiden shot him a glare, the type that would even shut Mason up, "It's none of your concern, alright?"
Aiden knew about our past, the mind-games that we had to play, and the utter horror that we were forced to go through. Aiden knew, since we told him a long time ago once we trusted him enough, that we would never be able to sleep even a week after killing someone. That we would have to fight the urge to break free from our group and go out on killing sprees.
If we didn't kill or get into a life-threatening situation for a certain amount of time, the urges would subside and we'd be somewhat normal again. During that time, however, the both of us would have to fight our instincts and bloodlust that was so powerful it felt as if our blood boiled with that desire. It had taken us so much practice to be able to return to normal in the first place, let alone withering it down to just a week of sleepless nights.
"Well then," Z spoke up, giving a curious glance at the exchange between Mason and Aiden, "Since this hideout's been found out, I'll be needing a new place. What do you say, comrade? Wanna help me find a place to crash?"
Aiden shrugged, looking to the two of us for approval, "I don't have as nearly as many contacts as you do, Z..."
As Lilith and I shook our heads persistantly, knowing what was about to come next, Z spoke again, "How about you're place then?"
Aiden ignoring the death glares from the two of us, shrugged, "If you don't mind living in a shack that was made by tweens."
"Sounds homey to me, actually," Z grinned.
Lilith and I looked at each other at the same time with that exact same expression of dread on our faces. That look seeming to say, No, not another girl!
Lilith looked at Z then to Aiden, while I did looked and Aiden then Z, as we both spoke at the same time, "She can have our bed."
Aiden looked at us and grinned with a knowing look on his face, "It's settled then. C'mon Z, we have to get home before the patrols sweep the area."
And with that, we all started to head back towards our home.