Chapter2: "Why Won't You Stand?"
“Is this… The afterlife?”
For a while there was silence. My voice of curiosity echoed throughout the deep chamber of alabaster and returned to my ears. All I could hear after the echo had resolved was my own breathing and heart pumping. All was quiet amidst the empty. But the silence was not to last. I heard a response to my voice. A response that came from a voice that was not my own yet spoek using my very lips. It was a foreign voice, a voice that was not my own. I felt my mouth move as words and sounds that did not belong to me came tumbling out.
“Far from it. Welcome to the land of the living.”
Panic struck me like lightning. I screamed and felt my chair tip backward as I stumbled to the ground. I was breathing heavily as I felt anxiety take hold, all while the voice continued to speak through my body.
“Relax kid, relax! You’re gonna be fine!”
I couldn’t relax. Too much had happened and it was all coming back. Images of my father’s body burning and crumbling to ashes played over and over. I just curled up on the floor and screamed. My body felt heavy, like someone had tied a bundle of cinderblocks to my back. I could barely move. I could barely breathe.My heart, pounding. All I could hear was my quickening heartbeat as I struggled to even breathe. My chest felt like it would explode with each beat of my aching heart. The pain was unbearable and yet I couldn’t even scream. My whole body was soaking with sweat. Needless to say it wasn’t long before I blacked out yet again.
Deeper I descended into the darkness. I found myself falling down headfirst into the pits of shadow. My ears were assaulted by ghastly screams, screams that were all too familiar. It was the same ambience that was imprinted upon my memory. These were the screams of all those that Nina had killed that day. Out of nowhere, flames pierced through the veil of shade surrounding me. Massive flames that were the size of mountains painted the bleak landscape. My eyes opened within this terrifying landscape as I felt my body flip over and land on its feet. I looked around the inferno before me and saw a figure standing in the distance. A black silhouette with a long coat waving in the wind of the storm. I tried my best to get closer to the figure in the distance. I stretched my hand out to the figure as I stumbled forward through the smoke and fire. The wind and the flames all pushed against me, making it even harder to move. Every step felt like it carried the weight of every lost soul Nina claimed. All the screams grew louder and louder as I continued to walk forward with all my strength. Through the cacophony of screams I heard a voice that parted the sea of cries.
“Come on son. Keep walking.”
That was when I felt my legs give in. The flames had caught me and were eating away at them. I screamed as I felt the fire tear through to my nerves and bones. The flames swarmed me in that moment and I heard my father’s voice once more.
“You’re almost there son.”
I didn’t understand, but I kept crawling. I kept crawling as the flames had turned my legs to ashes. A trail of ash and blood was left behind me as I dragged my burning torso across the abyssal floor. I could barely scream anymore as I slowly felt my own blood claw at my lungs, beckoning them to break free from their bony prison. My vision was failing and my father continued to call to me. But no matter how hard I pushed, I wouldn’t make it as the flames consumed me. Finally my body succumbed to the flame and I awoke to reality with a deep gasp.
I was sitting back in the chair. My body was shaking. Something was inside me, fighting for control. I knew that the voice had something to do with it. My eyes were wide with fear. I had no idea what had happened to me. In truth, I wished I had died. I didn’t want to be alive. Not like this. Not with this fear. It was like I had been born again, and everything was new to me. I heard what sounded like a door opening followed by the voice talking to me again through my body.
“Its Genesis, look alive dammit!”
“Get out of my head.”
“It’s not your head anymore.”
Genesis approached me. His fluttering black coat was a striking contrast to the white room I occupied. He approached me in graceful and commanding strides. I could feel his strength just from his footsteps alone. Every step he took felt like it had the power to reduce mountains to rubble. Just who the hell was this guy? Why was he so strong? I glared up at him and got a much better look at him. He really did look like me, but he was tall and commanding. He looked to be at least nineteen, maybe twenty. His hair was a sleek shade of black and draped down above his eyes in thin strands. His deep brown eyes were adorned by a sleek pair of black glasses he wore upon the bridge of his nose. His clothes hadn’t changed much from the day I met him. His wore a black button up shirt with matching pants and shoes. He wore a crimson tie that matched the interior of his practically iconic black coat. A black scabbard was strapped to the side of Genesis’ coat, housing a simple broadsword. He stopped in front of of me as I sat idly. I stared down into the reflective gloss floor. I found myself fixated upon my reflection. It was my eyes. My eyes had changed. My left had turned blood red while my right eye was a bizarre mixture of white and black splotches. It looked like ink that had been dropped into a glass a water. I had no idea that I was still talking to the voice in a haze. My muttering ceased when I heard Genesis speak with anger.
“Shut up! Both of you!”
I immediately looked up at Genesis with my mutated eyes. I felt like a lost and wounded puppy.
“It seems you have no control over your powers, let alone your Second Personality.” spoke Genesis with a much calmer tone.
The other voice in me spoke up almost immediately with a retort.
“I’m perfectly under control. The kid here is just weak.”
Genesis stood there watching me look at him with hopeless eyes. He looked cold and almost like he was disappointed. I was not sure what was going through such a complex mind. Genesis merely spoke a simple command as I sat there staring.
Those words hit me with such a force I felt like I might start to choke. Stand up. But why? I had no reason to stand. It was at that moment that I realized the truth. I really had no reason to stand. Despite the fact I had survived, I was dead. My life was completely destroyed and I had nothing to go back to. It was over. I had lost everything. My reason to stand died with everything else. Genesis seemed to disagree as he pressed on with his order.
“Why won’t you stand?” spoke Genesis calmly.
“Why does an infant stand up off its feet when its mother tells it to? They must have a reason to, simply because their mother told them to does not make sense.”
“You are not an infant anymore.”
“We were both children at some point. We had to have a reason to stand. We had to have a reason to carry out our life on our two feet.”
I heard Genesis sigh in disappointment as he drew his blade. I did not move at all as he brought his blade down onto me. A loud clash of metal echoed throughout the glossy room. My left arm had moved on its own and blocked the strike with a sword made of light. Genesis seemed a little surprised by the sudden defense, as was I.
“I may not like this sack of shit. But this is my body too, I am not going to let you harm it Genesis.” said the other voice with determination.
Genesis grunted and withdrew his sword back into its scabbard. He stepped back and looked down at my lonesome self. I sighed to myself as I stared back at him before I spoke up weakly.
“I won’t stand. No matter how much you threaten me.”
“Why won’t you stand? You had a reason to stand before, what happened to make you want to fall?”
“Then how are you breathing, how are you talking to me now?”
“I wish I had the answer to that question.”
Genesis sighed to himself and took a moment before speaking once more.
“Don’t you want to kill her?”
My eyes widened once more. He was asking me to kill someone, and I knew who. He wanted me to take vengeance for what had happened to my father and myself. But how could I? I didn’t have it in me to kill anyone. Even if I could bring myself to steal a life, how would I find her. I simply turned down the offer as I concluded my thought process.
“That depends on whether or not I’d be able to find her.”
“What if you could?”
“Are you implying you don’t know where she is?”
I saw Genesis visibly flinch as I backed him into a corner. That reaction told me all I needed to know. He wouldn’t have made such an offer if he didn’t know who Nina was. That and the battle between the two of them more than confirmed the fact they know of each other. But he wouldn’t flinch if he knew where she was. He didn’t know anything and is just as lost as I am.
“What about your sense of honor?”
“The dead have no honor.”
“You are not dead, no matter how many times you say it, you are alive.”
“You misheard me. While my body continues to move, my spirit, my purpose, even my memory have perished. You are giving orders to a shell.”
“Then why don’t you give control to your Second Personality. You can give complete control and allow your consciousness to be completely overwritten. You can die in peace if that is your wish.”
I felt Genesis set his eyes upon me as if to declare his victory. He was right to do so. He was much smarter than me. I had only two choices. Take up his offer and die in peace, or keep living as the empty shell I was. The truth was, I wanted to die. I wanted it to end. But there was something inside me that made me hesitate. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Something was tethering me to this world, and I wasn’t sure what.
“Show me your resolve.” spoke Genesis as I struggled to decide.
“No… I can’t”
I admitted defeat. There was no way I’d be able to win that battle. Since that was the case I would test his patience. I just sat there in depressing silence. That’s when the other voice interrupted again. He seemed angry, both at me and Genesis.
“We can’t stand up Genesis. Despite the control I have, his will really is something else. He won’t let me in.”
Genesis looked on analytically as I sat there shaking uncontrollably. I felt like it was because there were two of me fighting for control. Genesis nodded affirmatively and turned his back to me.
“I shall see what Lockhart thinks of this.”
I didn’t know who Lockhart was, but he seemed rather important. Genesis exited the White Room and made his way to a rather elegant office room. There, sat at the rich mahogany desk was a man in a lab coat. A man with long blond hair. Genesis gave a short glance to the blond man before taking a seat in front of the desk. The scientist seemed to be looking over a slew of files, many of which pertained to someone named “Heaven.” At the edge of the scientist’s luxurious furnishing was a nameplate that read “Lockhart.” Genesis took a deep breath before finally speaking.
“It would seem there is some conflict between the boy and his Second Personality.”
Lockhart laid down the files on the table and sighed deeply to himself.
“As to be expected. We never anticipated that things could get this out of hand. It is going to take some time before he is ever ready to accept what he is.” spoke Lockhart with a grim tone.
“Nina has yet to be found, her last act of violence was on such a scale that the authorities can no longer ignore it. There is going to be another battle, just like in New York.”
“New York was different Genesis. My employer is the one responsible for Evo City’s construction. Therefore his ties with the local government run deep. He will more than likely put someone he can trust on the investigation. However, this does not change the fact that Nina must be dealt with and fast.”
Genesis clenched his fist tightly as he struggled to keep himself calm and collected.
“Permission to speak freely, sir?” he spoke through a frustrated voice.
“Go right ahead. This is not the military.”
“He is a failure. We were rushed and now we may never succeed with the project.”
Lockhart nodded in agreement and sighed deeply once more as he rubbed his fatigued eyes. He knew very well how harsh this setback was for him and the boy he had saved. But he and his team had been through worse trials. Many years prior, New York City became the stage for an immense battle. Reports of supernatural and unexplainable events flooded in and the United States was forced to act. To this day no one knows exactly what had happened in the battle, except for Genesis and Lockhart. The scientist looked up at Genesis with a very serious looking gaze.
“Even if he is a failure now, we must do everything in our power to make sure he is ready.”
Genesis nodded and was dismissed. As he was about to exit the office, the twin doors slammed open. Standing there with clenched fists was an enraged young woman with blue hair and blood red eyes. She stormed into the room passed Genesis and headed for Lockhart with hatred and sorrow in her glare.
“You sick son of a bitch!” she screamed in frustration.
The scientist flinched slightly at the hurtful words spoken by the young woman. He turned to face her with an unwavering gaze as she continued her verbal assault.
“Why did you do this to him!? You should have let him die!? Why would you make him into one of us!?”
Tears began to well up in her eyes as she screamed. She had never met the boy who lost his life, only to reborn. She had no idea what his name was, but after seeing what Nina had done and seeing what her creator did, she felt unfathomably empathetic. She was there, watching from the side as the young survivor was transformed into something other than human. She watched as they operated upon his scorched body. She felt her heart crush itself as they shaved his messy black hair, and injected the Second Personality into his consciousness. She couldn’t figure out why, but she just felt terrible seeing all those things happen before her eyes. What was this feeling of empathy? Why was she crying over someone she had never met? Lockhart merely stepped forward from his desk as the young blue haired woman continued her badgering without a second thought. Without warning the screaming stopped as the woman felt Lockhart embracing her firmly. Her eyes began to quiver with tears as she felt her creator’s warm body give her shelter. With a shaky breath Lockhart began to speak. His words made the sympathy in his heart ever more apparent.
“I’m sorry. I wish there could have been another way. I’m so sorry.”
“I know.” said the woman with a sob.