Project: Phantasma

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II. Jet Gag

There’s light up ahead a tunnel. Elle was slowly walking back into the darkness. Her blonde hair and fragile body was still well defined despite the lack of visibility.

“Danielle. Let’s go.” Gab said. She wouldn’t respond.

“Hey, Elle! C’mon!” now in a persuasive tone.

Gab stepped forward and he felt a jump in the distance. Instead of being a step closer, he got a couple of meters farther. He started to run towards her, away from the clearing, but each step pulled him farther and farther away, until she was just as far as his hopes and dreams could get. It was like Mao Zedong’s program, only in reverse (Geddit? The Great Leap Forward? No? Damn.) He could still see her, but he couldn’t reach her. He started to realize that he’s being pulled into the clearing. He was swinging his arms, as if to break free from the force, but his efforts were futile. The beams of light spread from the back to his peripheral vision. Ivan appeared in front of Elle and hugged her. Ivan flashed a grin on him and pulled out a knife as Elle nestled on his chest.

Gab tried to struggle more. “What are you doing?! Drop that knife!”

Ivan responded by tilting his head, with an insane expression in his face. “I thought you hated her.”

The light started to devour Gab out of the tunnel. “Oh, right. I forgot. Go ahead, then.”

White. Everything was white.

In a bare instant everything faded into a quaint town with a dark, starless sky. Lots of convulsing people were pulling his limbs and head, twisting them in a frenzy of sudden jerks. The others started to bite him all over, he screamed. The stinging pain silenced him shortly from shock after his right arm snapped and tore off, blasting forth blood and sinew. The unusual silence gave way to the sound of tearing flesh, chewing and snapping of bones. All he could do was cry as his cringing was suppressed by sheer shock and horror.

Yelping and waking up from a gory dream, Gab found a guy kissing, touching and pulling him all over. He punched the stranger right on his pretty face as he toppled over the red-carpeted aisle of their private plane. They were on a separated cabin, making it happen without anyone interfering.

“Who the fuck are you?!” Gab shouted as he reared his head in disgust.

The dude stood up and brushed the dirt off his familiar red uniform. This was Science, Health, Engineering and Technology Highschool’s uniform. (S.H.E.T. High for short.)

“Oh my god. I am so sorry! This dude with bouncy hair just said you were into me.”

A speech, interrupted by occasional suppressing of laughter, echoed from the back, making Gab tilt his head around. “I see you two finally met each other.”

It was Vincent, laughing and holding his stomach. Beside him is Ken, previously slapping his thigh and kneeling in tears of amusement.

“Sorry Fabian,” Vin apologized. “I guess I heard him wrong. Here’s your money back.”

He fumbled for the P1000 in his pocket somewhere.

Fabian raised his hand and looked away. “Keep it to yourself. I’ve had my fun,” he said in an incredibly macho voice. He snobbed away toward the cabin door of S.H.E.T. High.

Gab looked at Vin in poker face. “Explain what happened.”

“Oooh... My stomach...” Vincent clears his throat. “Well, Here’s your 600, G-man. Ken and I share the 200s.” He handed over some money. Along with Ken, they just started to recover from all the full-hearted laughing.

“What do you think I am?!” Gab shouted. “You can’t just let some random shit molest me in front of you for cash!”

“Technically, we just did.”

Ken stepped forward and held the back of his head. “Technically, we were at the back for privacy. We weren’t in front of you.”

Gab returned to his chair, pissed off as he fixed his polo shirt, the two topmost buttons undone. “Unbelievable.”

“Hey man, look. We’re sorry. We were just worried about you being asleep ever since we boarded the plane. And we lack pocket money.” Vincent reasoned out as he looked outside the window.

Ken approached the window next to Vin. “Sorry, man. We don’t know what’s just gotten into us, that’s all. I mean... Yeah, that’s a little too far. No we took it way to far, right Vin?”

Vincent’s eyes started to widen as he touched the window. “Shit. This must be Silvercrest.”

Gab’s mood changed and he looked outside. “It sure doesn’t look like a city where any robotics competition will be held.”

Kenneth thought to himself how easy it was to derail Gab’s attention from the incredibly disgusting sexual harassment they set up. He stared at Gab for a little bit and remembered how ridiculously hard it was to piss him off.

“They say this quaint town is just starting to get modernized.” Ken added, seeing that the city was full of various Victorian houses. The people wore vintage clothing, the type with ruffles and hats and monocles. The townsfolk suddenly looked up in unison, sending electricity through their spine.

“Wait, how can we see them from here?” Ken asked.

“A bug is found in the system. Submitting report,” the speakers blared.

“Okay... That’s just normal, guys,” Vin said, spooked. “Don’t freak out. They must’ve counted down or rehearsed this as a welcome for all the planes that go here.”

Gab looked at the two creepily. “Have you guys ever heard of the game, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth?”

“No,” the other two chorused.

“Detective Jack Walters investigates a missing person case in a remote quaint and seemingly diseased town called Innsmouth. He checks in inside Gilman Hotel where the townsfolk start bashing on his door. He is then chased and hunted down all over town. The townspeople turn out to be fishmen, those whose god is Dagon, a sea bitch who’s the right hand of the cosmic god named Cthulhu.”

Ken made a dismayed face. “And you are seriously wishing for this to happen, like one of your zombie fantasies while the class is going on.”

“So what? At least it is politically correct to kill them. Free violence! Stress removal!”

Suddenly, Vin started laughing. “Remember that Math 4 lesson with Madame Elpis?” Eventually, everyone was laughing. “Ma’am called out the spaced-out Gab and he replies Get off me, bitch!”

“She wouldn’t believe me that I was startled as I was being infected with the T-virus in my daydream.”

“Nah. All you daydream about is that lower year on a garden of flowers and romance and shit.” Vincent mocked him.

“Fuck off,” Gab said nonchalantly.

“It’s a crime with a death penalty to have even the slightest crush with someone else if it’s Elle’s government, I know,” Ken said, going away from the window. “I’m glad you never fought back with a megaphone to redeem yourself.”

“One-sided people.” Gab sighed, still not looking the slightest bit of angry. “They won’t even bother to know your side as they decay your image from every single person they could gossip it on. Once their friend starts talking, even if it’s a deluxe package of brilliant acting and fallacy, believers will bitch you. Why? Because fuck logic, that’s why.”

“Bitter-” the two teasingly chorused.

“I’m not bitter... I just learned,” he said weakly.

Suddenly, the speakers announced 5 minutes of approximate landing time. They started to pull their luggage out of the bins and readied with the rest of the Philippine team, unaware of their stepping into the abyss.

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