I don’t know how it has come to this point; the point of no return, where I need to decide, is my cause worth dying for? I had never imagined I would find myself here, in this situation, with these people that I would like to call my family, and my real family, my flesh and blood, so young, and so hurt, how could I have gone so wrong?
When this all really started, who can say? I know that I have been working on this project since I was 12 and how long Alexis has been harboring bad feelings for me? Probably since I helped the Yard put her parents away. International jewel thieves you know. I’ve always been talented you see; so talented that my parents essentially sold me to New Scotland Yard. They didn’t literally sell me of course, that would be quite illegal. But they sold my talent. They made me work for the Yard, until I ran away. I still worked with the Yard frequently, but under my terms and I preferred anonymity. Elyon is what I called myself, arrogant little brat that I was. I called myself God, because there was no one who could challenge me.
It was only a few years ago that things were really put into motion though, when a bomb struck the East coast of the United States in New York City. I was there at the time. Working in person is something I rarely do, but the American fools couldn’t follow directions to save their lives. So there I was in the middle of one of the greatest city in America when their world came to a shattering halt.
Everything shut down but the emergency connection between my building and its sister building 6 blocks to the north. I’m sure there were a few other connections but nothing I could get a hold of. All the cell towers were down and it was hell. It was at this time that I met her. Amelia Evans. She was a survivor in the sister building; the only survivor that I had found, or at least the only one intelligent enough to reach out. I gave her a false name. David, I called myself, but she knew I was a liar. I could not risk exposing myself. I will admit, that even though I was 18 at the time, my experience with women was very limited. With a bit of handiwork I hacked into the security cameras and what I saw was very beautiful. An auburn-haired woman with tan skin, the opposite of me. My skin is pale because I spend most of my days indoors, and my hair is jet black. She was desperate for help after two days of lock down and no news of the outside world. I knew what had happened. It was my fault. My information that had slipped and my serums that were wreaking chaos on the East coast. Amelia didn’t need to know any of that though. Not back then. I did everything I could to calm her. At first she thought I was some kind of computer program. I tend to get that a lot, with my intellectual way of speaking, so I tried to make myself relax, and speak the way I would to my nephew, Nathaniel, a child of six. I needed her to trust me. She had zero chance of survival without me.
“You’re really a real person?” she asked me. I can never resist a philosophical discussion, and I took the bait.
“Is anyone real?” I asked her, “The only existence you can prove to yourself is you, just as the only existence I can prove to myself is me. You may be my imagination. My hope that there is another survivor. Or maybe I’m yours.”
“That isn’t funny David,” she chastised me. We spoke like this for hours, and then for days, as I waited for the clouds from the bomb to dissipate to a safe level. I explained to her that I had knowledge that I could not release to her, but it would be unwise to venture out, until I told her. To be honest, I wanted her to venture out more and more with every passing day. I do admit that my experience with love has been strictly familial. The only person I have ever loved is my nephew. He means everything to me. I never loved my parents and had never loved a woman. Could it be because she was the first woman that I had ever really interacted with? Probably, but I found her charming. Her intellect was slightly above average at best. She was far from my caliber of genius, but it was almost refreshing to have someone speak to me as a person, and not a service that they wanted to purchase.
“Today’s the day,” I told her, “You’re going to meet me here.”
“Yes,” she typed back, “I’ll see you soon, and you’ll tell me what you’re hiding.”
“I’ll tell you what I can,” I amended her.
The wait was like torture. I paced the floor in the lobby which was stained with blood. There wasn’t anything to attack me, but that obviously hadn’t always been the case. I decided to wait outside. I leaned against the wall, staring out into the fog of smoke. I heard movement. I knew it couldn’t be Amelia. It was too soon. While I may be an intellectual, I keep my body fit. I have mastered several forms of martial arts, to give myself a tightly muscled body that packs a lot of punch. A creature came lumbering at me. It was humanoid, but barely, a long distended face and long arms that nearly brushed the ground. It was grotesque to me and I sneered when it grew close. I gave it a strong kick to the head, stunning it completely. I kicked it in the chest knocking it backwards and ran over forcefully stomping on its neck until I heard, with some satisfaction, a firm crack of its neck breaking. I studied the creature. There were tattered remains of clothing hanging on it, but it was mostly nude and flesh colored. I knew immediately what it was. It was a person who had a bad reaction to the imperfect serum that had been in the bomb. This was how my serum was being weaponized. By mercilessly affecting anyone in its path. You would think that by 2342 war would be over, but it only grew worse, with humans finding all sorts of biological and chemical warfare opportunities, and now I had added one more to the list.
I leaned back against the wall until I saw movement once more along with a faint clicking sound. I knew that sound. I had heard it outside my office before. It was the sound of a woman wearing high heels. It was Amelia. I smiled as she drew near. I knew I would not be what she expected. She was in her thirties, beautiful in every sense of the word and probably expected me to be similar, well, at least older, but I’m just an awkward teenager, barely an adult in America. I saw the change in Amelia’s stance through the fog. She began to run at me and I knew she must have had a run in with an unfortunate victim as well. I let myself drop, sliding down the wall as what appeared to be a pair of scissors, duct taped to an umbrella stabbed at the wall above my head.
“It’s nice to meet you too Miss Evans,” I said. She was panting and looked slightly terrified, but when she took the time to study me I saw the disappointment in her eyes. No, I was not what she had expected me to be. I was a child in her eyes, and she would not take me seriously, until I told her who I was, and then even, she may not. I stood to my feet, dusting myself off and led her inside.
“You’re David?” she asked.
“I am,” I replied calmly.
“You’re so young,” she stated the obvious.
“Is that a problem?” I asked in the same calm manner.
“I guess not,” she said, but still seemed disappointed.
“I realize you will not take me serious, but I am now at liberty to tell you, I am Elyon. I was working for your company when the bomb hit and here I am.”
That isn’t funny,” she said, “Pretending to be some computer genius, detective guy isn’t going to help us.”
“I am Elyon,” I told her firmly, “I can’t prove it, but I need you to trust me.”
“I do trust you,” she said, “As David, not as Elyon.”
“Believe what you will,” I said, “There are more important things to worry about, like how to get out of this hell. Most of the Eastern coast will have been affected by the serum. You are very fortunate Miss Evans that you did not have an adverse effect on you. Those creatures you faced on your way to me, were formerly human beings.”
Amelia looked a little green. It was a sickening thought, I had to agree. To think that we might have become the same beasts disgusted me. I hated that it was my serum that was doing this. It was my fault.
“You know more than you’re telling me,” Amelia said, “Explain what’s going on. I know that you know.”
“You wouldn’t understand it,” I said, and that was probably true.
“Explain it,” she said.
I sighed heavily, setting my briefcase on a table and sat down, looking at her.
“Years ago, I started developing a serum that when properly introduced could revolutionize defense of nations. I meant it to be precautionary, to build a small force to protect my country before a world war broke out again. The serum is as perfect as I can make it, but without a perfect match of DNA, it will fail and frequently produce a mutation like you have seen. I’ve been working with various companies on finding these perfect matches and further perfecting my serums. Despite my request to always have an absolutely secure connection when sending information someone must not have done as I requested and the information leaked, creating the bomb that has devastated your city.”
I looked at her as she absorbed this information that I had dropped on her. Her eyes narrowed a little.
“Then this is your fault?” she asked. I sighed once again, fingering the edges of my briefcase.
“Yes,” I responded simply, “This is my fault. It’s my serum. It was never meant for this. It was meant for defenses, not an offensive maneuver like this.”
“So, what do we do now?” she asked me.
“My associate is waiting in the harbor.” I told her, “Or she will be. If we can meet her there in the appropriate amount of time we can get out of here and get back to London before America begins to comb through its ruins. We can’t be the only survivors here, but other survivors will not be so fortunate to escape. Your government will never allow the other survivors to leave these ruins.”
“What do you mean?” Amelia asked me looking confused.
“After seeing those creatures, would you want people who carry that serum in their blood mixing with the populous?” I asked her, “Any area effected will be quarantined. If we wait around for your government to act we will be quarantined as well.”
“How much of the United States do you think has been affected?” she asked.
“My understanding is that the entire Eastern coast has been devastated,” I told her. With the fog dissipated, the interference in my cell phone had lifted and I had contacted Alexis Walker, my associate, and Nathaniel’s nanny.
“Then… our government…” Amelia slowly put two and two together to get four.
“Has dissolved,” I finished, “At least mostly. The senators and representatives in safe states who were not in DC will be convening to decide the East coast’s fate.”
I rubbed my temples. I was flustered and experiencing deep feelings of guilt. My serum, my life’s work was causing devastation. I had destroyed another country’s government. I had never been especially fond of America. I found it arrogant and imbecilic, but I never would have wanted this to happen. My work was meant to protect my country, my beautiful United Kingdom. I had grown up in a war, and I never wanted to see it ravage my country again. Now it was my fault that another country had been ravaged.
“Are you ok?” I heard Amelia speak. When I looked at her it was evident that this was not the first time she had asked the question. A tear was rolling down my cheek. I reached up and rubbed it away with the back of my knuckles.
“I’m… I’m fine,” My voice cracked slightly when I spoke, but I cleared my throat and was prepared to get back to business. Suddenly I felt warm arms circle around me and I was pressed up against Amelia’s bosom, which was awkward, but strangely comforting.
“It’s not your fault,” she said softly into my dark hair, “Information leaked, just because it was your information doesn’t mean it was your fault.”
Tears fell more steadily from my dark blue eyes. I tried to blink them back.
“I… I should have double checked the security… I shouldn’t have sent the information at all, it’s so delicate…” I said shakily. Amelia tilted my head up so I had to look at her. She may have been over 10 years my senior, but she was beautiful. Her auburn hair fell in a soft cascade to frame the sides of her face, and her eyes were the loveliest shade of green I had ever seen, and right under her right eye, at the height of her cheek bone there was a tiny mole, the only imperfection on her otherwise flawless complexion, making it that much more endearing.
“Listen to me,” her voice was soft and gentle, “You didn’t do this. Just because it’s your work doesn’t make you responsible for someone else’s actions with it. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I never thought Elyon would be full of such self-loathing. I always expected him to be arrogant and a know-it-all.”
The sound of my alias brought me back from my little pity party. Yes, I was Elyon. I was a god among men.
“First thing is first Miss Evans,” I told her, “You are dressed for business, and you need to be dressed to run for your life. There are janitor’s uniforms in the closet to your right, I suggest you change into one at once.”
I saw the slight quirk of a smile on her pink lips as she walked past me to do so. She had said my name with the purpose of reminding me of who I was. This was apparent to me. Even if she did not, she was evidently pleased to see me behaving as myself. I knew that I loved her. Or I thought I did. Love was so foreign to me, but I felt something; something that I had never felt before, and something that I had. I felt for her much in the same way I felt for my son, with a desire to protect her from harm, but it was something deeper than that, that I had never felt before, and I presumed that this feeling was what other human beings called love.
When she came out, she had a more natural way of moving without the impediment of high heels. She sat down across from me.
“What’s next?” she asked. Her hair had been tied back in a ponytail with a rubber band and it was not at all a bad look for her.
“Next is weapons,” I said, “I applaud your creativity, and I suggest we make more of the same. There are brooms in the closet as well. You gather some of those while I pilfer scissors from the office supplies.”
We went our separate ways, she back to the janitor’s closet and me to find the office supplies. I had an unsettling feeling in my stomach though. Was this a part of love? Or was it simply hunger? I wasn’t sure.
I gathered sharp office supplies, like scissors and letter openers, and grabbed several rolls of duct tape. These weapons were surely crude, but would suffice. They would have to. I laid out the scissors and letter openers and handed her a roll of duct tape.
“How many brooms do we have?” I asked her.
“Only four,” she said, “And two mops.”
“We only need two each. Any more would be too cumbersome to manage and would slow us down. Put those together would you? I’m going to grab a map.”
She did as I asked as I laid a map out onto the table. I plotted a direct course for the harbor, but made several variations should trouble arise. Traveling by foot this trip would take at least half a day. We would start in the morning to give us the best chance of completing the journey before dark.
“We’ll sleep here tonight,” I told her, looking over to see her wrapping a broom handle and letter opener with duct tape, “I’ve plotted our course and multiple others to ensure we can safely reach the harbor.”
“You’re certain you’re associate will be there?” Amelia questioned me. I didn’t trust Alexis. I never had, but thus far she had given me no reason not to, except that there was bad history between us. I employed her so I could keep an eye on her.
“She’ll be there,” I said after a few moments of contemplation.
“She?” Amelia’s face sort of fell and she looked rather disappointed. I could tell what her immediate concern was and it made my heart leap up into my chest for a moment.
“Yes, my son’s nanny,” I reminded her with a slight smile. The fact that she thought of Alexis of all people as a threat was somewhat amusing. Alexis and I could not dislike each other more. The only reason she worked for me was because I had an encrypted bomb hidden somewhere on her body and could detonate it at any time. She was a conniving bitch and I didn’t trust her half as far as I could blow her up.
“Why would your son’s nanny be assisting us? I expected something with a little more... prowess.” Amelia said, making a face.
“Alexis may be Nathaniel’s nanny but before that she was a very skilled jewel thief and spy,” I explained, “She’ll do her part. I just need to be able to get a hold of her.”
Amelia yawned and I had to agree, it had been a tiring day after nothing but sitting for so long.
“We should probably stick together,” I told her, “If anything were to happen it would be better that you aren’t alone.”
The beautiful woman nodded her head sleepily. We went into a break room and laid down on the plush carpet.
In the morning I remember feeling safe and warm, my head pressed against something soft. I could hear a steady rhythm in my ear. “Ba-dump, Ba-dump.” That was when I realized my error. I jumped up to my feet, away from the object of my affection, looking perfectly mortified and embarrassed I’m sure. She just yawned cutely and stretched her slender arms.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I... I apologize...” I told her with a short bow, “I must have moved closer while I was asleep.”
I had literally cupped her breasts in my hands. Some British gentleman.
“It’s fine,” she said so calmly it almost didn’t seem real. How could anyone like her be real?