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Month: January 2018

Part 3 – Genesis

London, 2184 – 301 Years Before Impact Day

Mason stood over his daughter’s bed, barely able to feel. She looked so peaceful in death, and he wished he could cry. James had cried. Mason just felt hollow.

For nearly a decade, his research had consumed him. He’d neglected Alice, assuming there’d be more time. Then she was gone, and he had nothing. His research had failed to yield the answers he needed, his husband was inconsolable, his daughter out of his reach.

He felt lost, directionless. Close to hopeless. He alone knew what was coming, and he alone could stand against it. James hadn’t listened, wouldn’t believe him. Haylie didn’t understand. He had no friends outside of that. Tyson, maybe. Tyson understood, but he wasn’t nearly bright enough to help. A useful tool, nothing more.

But a tool was useless without a purpose, and Mason no longer had a purpose to direct Tyson towards. All he had were dead ends and grief, and the unwavering certainty that the end was coming.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, reaching down to brush Alice’s cold cheek.

It shouldn’t have happened. He should have noticed earlier. James should have noticed earlier. Between the two of them, they should have been able to save her. Instead, all they did was make her suffer more. At least the suffering part was over.

Eventually, he couldn’t look at her any longer. He couldn’t return home, couldn’t bare to see James. Instead, he went to the only place that ever felt safe anymore. He went back to his lab.

He slumped into his desk chair, dismissing endlessly scrolling pages of simulation results. It didn’t matter. None of them listed the successes he needed.

“I’m sorry,” Glory said, from behind the glass barrier. Mason did his best to ignore it. Glory was taunting him with his daughter’s voice.


“Or what?” Glory asked, shifting to Tyson’s voice. “What could you possibly do to me?”

For years, Mason had experimented on Glory, looking for answers. He knew nothing about them, except for their obsession with Haylie, whose secret he had kept for ten long years. James knew, of course, but nobody else. Not even Tyson.

Glory was, though he was loathe to use the word, impossible. Their body defied any known laws of conservation of mass or energy, regenerating cells endlessly, living without any need for food or water, despite showing hunger and thirst. Extracted blood or tissue tended to simply evaporate or fall apart after a length of time, as if returning to the host body. They aged, but didn’t die.

Eventually, he’d given up. Whatever mysteries were locked inside of Glory were inaccessible to him, and he had more important work to do. He had an apocalypse to prepare for, a species to uplift, defenders to create. After ten years, he hadn’t come any close to any of his goals.

More than once, he’d considered letting Glory go. It felt cruel, keeping them locked up. If not for Haylie’s insistence, he probably would have let them go. She wanted them contained, though. So he obliged.

“I can always think of something worse,” he said, without really meaning it.

“Have you considered asking for help?” Glory asked, this time in his own voice. Somehow, that was the most disturbing.

“There’s nobody in the world who can help me with this,” he said, sighing.

“I can.”

He looked at Glory, sitting calmly with their legs folded underneath them. They very rarely moved, not that there was a lot of room to move.

“How?” he asked.

“After ten years, you finally ask,” Glory said, in Jame’s voice. “I know what the Destroyer is. And I know there’s only one thing that can stop it.”

“Tell me,” Mason pleaded.

“Why should I?” Glory said, now sounding like Haylie. “After everything you’ve done to me, why should I help you?”

“What do you want?” Mason asked. “Why bring it up now?”

“Maybe I just want you to suffer,” they said, in the voice they’d first used, ten years ago.

“You cannot bring me more pain than I’m already feeling.”

Glory looked at him, then stood, placing their palm against the glass.

“The Destroyer comes from another world,” they said. “Compared to something like you, they may as well be a god. They possess the power to deconstruct life itself, and shape it anew.”

“What could possibly stand against that?” Mason asked.

“Me,” Glory replied.


“The Great Destroyer is not the only god,” Glory said. “Every world has one.”

“And you’re…”

“In the flesh, so to speak.” They gave a smug bow. “And I am the only chance you have at stopping the Destroyer.”

“Haylie captured you easily,” Mason pointed out. “I trapped you effortlessly. What power do you have?”

Glory sighed, and returned to a seated position, legs folded beneath them.

“I’m not a fighter, not really. I tried fighting the Destroyer before, a long time ago. I lost. I’m weaker now.”

“Then what good are you?”

“Surely a man of science can see value beyond just martial prowess?” Glory asked, in his own voice once again. “I have answers, and I have the ability to resist the Destroyer’s entropic powers. Between the two of us, I think there’s a chance yet.”

“And why are you suddenly offering your help?” Mason asked, suspicious.

“Because you’re finally desperate enough to take it,” Glory said. “And because I’ll be damned if I hand my world over to the Destroyer.”

“So what do we do?”

“We continue your research,” Glory said. “You were only missing one key component.”

“What? How do you…”

“Use me. Use my blood as a bonding agent.”

“Your blood always evaporates,” Mason pointed out.

“Unless I choose to let it stay.”

“You’ve been blocking me, all this time?”

“I’ve been a prisoner all this time. Now, we’re collaborators,” Glory said. “Oh, and this time, think bigger.”

“How much bigger?”

“Think in the hundreds of thousands,” Glory told him.


He shook his head. What Glory was asking, it was unthinkable. But then…

Melbourne, 2175 – 310 Years Before Impact Day

“So, you’re Mason,” the creature said, scowling at him with burning eyes. It spoke with a resonance in its voice that shook him to his core.

Whatever he was looking at, it certainly wasn’t human. Humanoid, maybe, though even that was questionable.  It had four limbs, each bound to a surface on the baroque obsidian throne it sat on. It seemed to have flesh, although it was difficult to tell for sure. The skin was a deep black that seemed to absorb all light, with pulsing red veins that glowed against their dark backing.

It had a head, and the head had eyes, but they weren’t human eyes. Glowing red orbs full of malevolence and hate, sitting above an opening too wide to be a mouth, filled with sharpened blades too cruel to be teeth.

Its chest had been ripped open, and a crude mechanical harness laid on top of it. He could see through to an empty chest cavity, and wires and pipes draining the creature of whatever was inside it.

So this is where the power comes from.

“How do you know me?” he asked, keeping a safer distance than needed. “Why did you ask for me?” The creature tilted its head slightly, the mouth-like opening curling into a sadistic smile.

“Because of what you do,” it said.

“My work?”

“Your future.”

It gnashed its teeth, attempting to lunge forward. The bonds held tight.

“I don’t understand,” Mason said.

“You don’t need to,” it replied. “There’s only one thing I need you to understand. One day, I am going to be free of this prison. When that day comes, I am going to find you. I am going to destroy you. I am going to destroy your entire world, and there is nothing you can do to stop me.”

Mason took a step back, overwhelmed with fear. It was a deep, instinctual fear, one he felt powerless to fight.

He believed the creature. He believed it intended to kill him, and he believed it truly would. He felt incapable of believing anything else, as if by speaking the words, the creature had set that future in stone.

“Why?” he asked, his voice trembling.

“Because that’s what I do,” the creature told him. “And because your sins deserve the kind of Hell only I can inflict.”

“I haven’t done anything,” he protested. “I wouldn’t do anything!”

“Now, Mason,” the creature said, in a soft, almost soothing voice. A voice that sounded almost human. “We both know that isn’t true.”

“I’ll stop you,” he said, trying to will himself into believing it. “I’ll save this world, and I’ll stop you from destroying anything.”

The creature didn’t say anything after that. It only grinned.

For as long as he lived, he would never forget that grin.

London, 2185 – 300 Years Before Impact Day

Mason smiled at the young girl, filled with pride as she opened her eyes for the first time. He didn’t think of the cost it took to get this far, or the work still ahead of him. All he thought about was that for the first time in a year, he had his daughter back.

“Good morning,” Haylie said, as the girl looked around the room. Mason watched from behind mirrored glass.

“Hi…” the girl said, sounding confused. “Where… Who am I?”

“Specimen A,” Haylie informed her. “Alice. You’re deep underground London, in a genetics research laboratory.”

“Am I not real?”

“You’re more than real,” Haylie said. “You’re the first.”

“The first what?”

“Progenitor,” Haylie told her. “Soon, you’ll have siblings. One day, you’ll form the template for a newer, stronger humanity.”

“Why?” Alice asked.

“Because that’s what it will take to save the world,” Haylie said. “But there will be plenty of time to discuss that later. Would you like to meet your father?”


Next Week: Sanguinary Affliction

Part 2 – Nothing, From Nowhere

London, 2175 – 310 Years Before Impact Day

Shortly after sitting down, Tyson found himself watching an attractive young redhead enter the cafe. To his surprise, she walked straight to his table, and sat down opposite him. Her intense yellow eyes bored into him, catching him completely off guard.

“Tyson Briggs?” she asked, with a tone to her voice that suggested it wasn’t really a question.

“That’s me,” he said, glancing around. “And you are…?”

“A representative of Genesis Laboratories,” she said. “I’m here to conduct your interview.” He was surprised to her an American accent.

“No kidding,” he said, wishing he’d expected such an obvious tactic. “Alright then. Shoot.”

“Your record is stellar,” she said, in a slightly detached tone of voice. She didn’t seem particularly interested in being here, or talking to him. “Service in both military and paramilitary organisations, and work as a private investigator. We checked with your contacts and accessed the secure records of your service, and we were very impressed.”

“Good?” he said, not sure what else to say.

“Why are you interested in security work?” she asked. “We’re concerned you might not find the work as… stimulating as your previous employment.”

“That’s kind of the point,” he said, shrugging. “My lady’s pregnant. We’re looking to settle down. I’m interested in staying in one place, with regular hours and regular pay, y’know? And a little less danger, hopefully.”

“Satisfactory,” she said bluntly. “And you’ll consent to the security precautions necessary for the position?”

“So long as it don’t affect my family, I don’t particularly mind what you do to me,” he answered. The list of requirements had been a little too long for him to get all the way through, but it seemed pretty standard. More intense than he was expecting, but nothing compared to the black ops missions he’d run in the past.

“Perfect,” she said, with a surprisingly intimidating smile. “When can you start?”

* * *

“This is Charles Mason,” Haylie told him, gesturing to a wiry man, middle-aged, with strawberry blonde hair and focussed cyan eyes. “He’s one of the leading researchers here, and your primary client here.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Tyson said, offering a hand.

“Likewise,” Mason said, shaking with his left hand. Tyson noticed a simple silver band on Mason’s ring finger, and saw an opportunity.

“Who’s the lucky lady?” he asked.

“The owner of this facility,” Mason replied, disapprovingly. “James.”

“Oh,” Tyson said awkwardly. “Sorry, mate. Anyway, what do you do here? Are you allowed to tell me?”

Mason sighed, and started walking further into the lab. After a few moments, he gestured for Tyson to follow him.

“Ordinarily, I’d not share this, but it’s important for you to know what you’re protecting,” he said. He pressed a button on a wall, opening a secret door into a hidden room. To Tyson’s surprise, it appeared to be a nursery. An infant was crawling around a penned-off area.

“You’re looking for a babysitter?” Tyson asked, beginning to wonder if the job was really going to be worth it. Would the boredom kill him before he ever met his own kid?

“This is my research,” Mason said, slightly exasperated. “Meet my daughter, Alice.”

Tyson looked back down at the infant. Nothing about her seemed unusual, really. She was fairer than Mason, with deep, purple eyes. She was a little young for a gene mod, sure, but stranger things had happened.

“She special?”

“Every father thinks his daughter is special,” Mason said. “But yes, she’s special. I created her from the combined genetic material of my husband and I.”

“Bloody Hell.”

“I don’t need for you to interact with her directly. I just need you to know what it is you’re protecting.”

“You got it, Boss,” Tyson said. “There isn’t an army in the world that can get through me to your kid.”

“Good,” Mason said. “Haylie?”

“Come with me,” Haylie told him. “We’ll finish your initiation and have you ready for work in no time.”

Tyson followed her back out of the lab, leaving Mason alone with his child. It was a little odd, Tyson thought, but nothing he had a problem with. Lab-grown kids were nothing new, although he did have to wonder if there was something different about this one to warrant such high-priced protection. Then again, maybe the parents were just rich. He had said his husband was the owner of this absurdly sized underground facility.

Haylie led him into a room with the sign ‘Induction Room‘ over the door. It was a sterile white, and once he entered, the door sealed behind him.

“What’s this?” he asked, feeling slightly nervous.

“Security,” she said blandly.

“Yeah, I’m gonna need more details than that, love.”

“Don’t call me love,” she replied shortly.

“Sorry, alright.”

“You did read the conditions of employment, didn’t you? You’re to be injected with a mixture of nanotech which will allow us to monitor your vitals at all times, track your location, and allow you to interface with the security systems in this facility. In addition, if you attempt to misuse your position here, your employment and life can be terminated in a single moment.”

He had to blink a few times, sure she had to be joking. Her expression was anything but mischievous, though.

“You’re serious?”

“It was in the contract,” she said.

“This is bonkers.”

“You’d rather leave?” she asked.

“I’d sooner not have something that might kill me if someone gets hammered and hits the wrong button, you know?”

“It’s perfectly safe,” she told him. “I’m the only one who can activate it, and I assure you, I’ve never been hammered in my life.”

“Right, so if I wanna steal company secrets, all I have to do is off you first?”

He had meant it as a joke, but certainly hadn’t made it sound like one. Still, if she felt threatened, she showed no sign of it.

“I wouldn’t suggest trying it,” she said, and for some reason, he felt threatened. Who was this woman?

“Alright, alright, it’s a good gig,” he said. “But if you’re gonna blow me up, just remember I have a kid on the way, yeah?”

“I will deliver the news to them personally,” she said, and he wasn’t sure if she was joking, even as the corners of her mouth curled up.

* * *

It didn’t take Tyson long to slip into a routine. The work was easy, the pay was good, and he did find himself enjoying the workplace. Haylie was always around, and had a composed, controlled energy that he appreciated. Mason’s husband visited often, and Tyson couldn’t help but admiring the ways they interacted. It reminded him of his parents.

Everything was going perfectly when Mason received the invite. Tyson was there when it happened, a simple email that had Mason pacing about the office like a restless hunting dog.

The creature beneath the Tower has spoken your name. So rarely does this happen, we must invite you to speak with it.

We must insist.

Please, Charles Mason, come to Melbourne. Come to the Tower.

Tyson couldn’t make heads or tails of it, and frankly, he didn’t care. He knew Melbourne’s Tower was a scientific anomaly, producing enough power to supply the entire country with plenty leftover to export, but didn’t care beyond that. He’d never heard of a creature, but evidently, Mason had.

He packed in a hurry, pausing only to consider bringing Alice. In the end, he decided against it, citing the unknown danger of the trip. She was left in Haylie’s care, and Tyson’s job remained the same.

And so Tyson and Haylie were left alone for several days. Without Mason around, it was significantly more boring, but a job was a job.

Two days in, sitting at Mason’s desk, enjoying a packed lunch, he noticed something odd. There was a large mirror on the wall near the desk, which Tyson had always considered an odd aesthetic choice. Sitting where he was, though, he was certain he could see a shadowy figure in the reflection, one that wasn’t there when he looked around the room.

Curious, he approached the mirror. The shadowy figured moved with him, cautiously at first, then more fluidly.

“More weird experiments?” he muttered to an empty room.

He raised a hand to the mirror, touching his own reflection. The entire mirror shimmered, then faded to clear glass.

“What the…”

Behind the mirror, now visible through the glass, was what appeared to be a small prison cell. Inside that cell was a person, young and thin, with dark skin and green eyes. Eyes that were staring directly at him.

“You alright, mate?”

If the prisoner could hear him, they didn’t respond. Tyson frowned, his eyes scanning the cage. There was nothing in it, no bed or toilet or even a chair. The prisoner was just sitting on the floor, legs folded beneath them, staring back at him.

“This is fucked up…”

“This is fucked up,” the prisoner repeated, in a perfect imitation of his own voice. For a moment, he actually thought he’d just heard a recording played back, but they continued speaking. “You can credit Mason for this.” They were still speaking in his voice.

“So you can hear me. How are you copying my voice?”

“It’s not hard,” the prisoner replied. “Be careful. The golem is nearby.”

“The what?”

“She calls herself Haylie,” the prisoner said. “She’s not human.”


“Do not trust her,” the prisoner insisted. “She is more dangerous than she appears, and capable of infinite cruelty.”

“Whatever you say, mate,” Tyson said, looking nervously around the room. Whoever this was, he knew he definitely shouldn’t have been talking to it. “Look, I gotta—”

“Don’t talk to that thing,” Mason said from the doorway, surprising him.

“You’re back?” he asked, backing away from the mirror. As he turned to look at his employer, he noticed a harrowed look to the man, like the short trip had aged him many years.

“Yes, I… I need to get back to work,” he said. “I need to prepare.” He pressed a button under his desk, and the prisoner’s cell returned to a mirror.

“Prepare for what?”

“The creature,” Mason said, his voice strained. “The beast. The monster that will tear this world to pieces just to slake an insatiable thirst.”

“I’m sorry, what are you on about?”

“The Destroyer,” Mason whispered.


Next Week: Genesis

Part 1 – Deus Et Machina

London, 2173 – 312 Years Before Impact Day

Charles Mason stood outside, waiting for someone to let him in. While he waited, he admired the architecture of the place, hands in his pockets, wandering aimlessly. It was definitely the sort of place he could picture himself working, if his application was accepted.

And why shouldn’t they accept him? His work was years ahead of anyone else in the field, promising to change the world forever. Who would reject a man who could single-handedly save the human race?

As his route took him back by the front door, there was a soft chime, and they slid open. He noticed the thickness of the door, deceptively heavy-duty, and approved. Security was important, and he appreciated the combination of aesthetic and function.

A man walked out through the door, slightly older than he was, with a sort of gentle handsomeness and inquisitive brown eyes. Mason smiled automatically at the man he recognised from photos, James Buttersworth, owner of the facility.

“You must be Charles,” James greeted him warmly, offering his hand. Mason took it, feeling a slight tingle as their palms touched.

“I hope I’m not too early,” Mason replied, the reflexive smile still on his face.

“Not at all. I’ve been looking forward to showing you around.”

Good sign. They were taking him seriously, genuinely interested in supporting his research.

James stepped aside, allowing Mason to enter the facility. The two of them walked together, at a casual pace, as James talked about the features of the facility, and the laboratories contained within. The deeper they got, the more excited Mason became. As far as he was concerned, the place was perfect.

Security far above anything he’d seen anywhere else. Access to resources he’d never imagined possible. Complete privacy and secrecy. State of the art technology. It was almost too good to be true.

“This is the empty lab,” James said, once they’d looped all the way around, and arrived near the entrance again. “Does it look big enough?”

“Plenty,” Mason replied, without a moment’s hesitation.

“It’s yours, then,” James said.

“Just like that?”

“Well, there’s paperwork to fill out, of course. But if you want to work here, you’ll find our doors open.”

“Why?” Mason asked. “You haven’t even asked about my work.”

“I’ve been paying close attention to it,” James replied. “It seems the perfect complement to my own. To be honest, I never expected to find anyone interested in the same work as me, let alone with the level of innovation and genius you’ve been applying. It’s not just interesting, it’s exhilarating.”

“That’s… beyond flattering,” Mason said, astonished. Buttersworth was an idol, an inspiration. The opportunity to work in proximity to him had felt like a dream come true. For Buttersworth to take an interest in his work, to praise it so highly…

“To be perfectly frank, I was planning on demanding to see the prototype before making the offer, but… Well, I think it would be a mistake to risk letting you walk way.”

Buttersworth smiled at him, a staggeringly sincere smile that caused a flutter in Mason’s heart.

“I… I would love to show you what I have, of course,” he said. “I would be honoured if you would give me an honest appraisal.”

“And I absolutely will,” Buttersworth said. “Just know that it isn’t a condition of entry. Now, let’s get the logistics sorted, shall we? Let me introduce you to the lifeblood of this facility.”

Mason just nodded, still overwhelmed. Buttersworth tapped his watch, and a few moments later, the elevators opened. A young woman stepped out, fair-skinned with long auburn hair and intense yellow eyes. She walked over to them, and Mason couldn’t help but to notice a weight to her motion that seemed strange, almost… inhuman.

“This is Haylie,” Buttersworth said, introducing her. “She’s the logistical supervisor of the facility, and… I suppose a kind of communal assistant? There’s very little she can’t do.”

“A pleasure to meet you,” she said, extending a hand to Mason. He shook it, surprised by the weight and strength of her grip. She had a pleasant, American accent. “I’ll help you get set up.”

“I’ll leave the two of you to it for now,” Buttersworth said. “But Mason… Uh, Charles, would you like to get dinner tonight? I feel as though we have a lot to talk about.”

“I’d love that,” Mason said. “Thank you, uh…”

“Call me James,” he said, repeating the same sincere smile. The effect wasn’t diminished the second time.

* * *

It took almost no time for Mason’s lab to be set up. Haylie moved astonishingly quickly, having everything ready to go within days. Almost immediately, he fell into his work, overjoyed to have the opportunity to do so. Everything felt perfect, in a way he hadn’t ever expected to feel.

Buttersworth… James, rather, was tremendously helpful. He came in practically daily, poring over Mason’s notes, offering feedback and opinions, and generally making small talk. They ate together once or twice a week, and before long, Mason really started feeling at home.

Haylie proved to be incredible, too. She was always around, and always available. Mason suspected she didn’t actually sleep.

Despite her introduction as an assistant, it was obvious she was brilliant. She knew everything he needed her to, confirming formulas, concepts and past studies faster than he could have looked them up. Why she wasn’t a researcher herself was beyond him.

He discovered why one night, after several months of work. He’d stayed back late, as was common for him. Haylie stayed with him, assisting as she often did. They didn’t talk much, but that seemed preferable for both of them.

All of a sudden, she looked up at him, a concerned look on her face.

“There’s been an intrusion,” she said.

“What? Where?” he demanded, looking around the lab.

“Front entrance. They seem to be headed this way.”

“How many?” he asked. “Is security on their way?”

“Just one,” Haylie said. “I’ve called security, but they won’t be here in time. This intruder is—”

At that moment, the entrance to the lab was blown open in a powerful but controlled explosion. Mason whirled, wishing he carried some form of weapon.

“Get behind me,” Haylie instructed.

“Are you mad?”

“This is part of my responsibilities,” she insisted, stepping in front of him.

A person emerged from the smoke of the explosion. Mason was surprised to see they looked young, with thin limbs and gentle, emerald eyes, dark skin and light hair in an asymmetrical cut.

“Who are you?” he demanded, but the intruder ignored him.

“It’s you,” they said, staring at Haylie. “I can feel it.”

“Security’s been called,” Mason said, irritated and slightly scared.

“Don’t care,” the intruder said. “I’ll be quick.”

“Stand back,” Haylie instructed, and Mason obeyed without thinking. “You’re not from DARPA,” she said, addressing the intruder.

“DARPA? No, of course not,” they said.

“Who are you, then? What do you want with me?”

The intruder shook their head.

“Not me. I’m not the one who wants you.”

“Then who?”

“The other me,” the intruder said. “My reflection. Glory.”

“I don’t understand,” Haylie said.

“Me either,” the intruder said. “But I need to do this.”

With that, they launched themselves at Haylie, moving faster than any human should have been able to move, with a grace that terrified Mason. From somewhere, they pulled out a weapon, a shimmering dagger, and drove it into Haylie’s chest!

Mason screamed, but Haylie didn’t even react. She just stood there, staring down at her chest. Then, carefully, she grabbed the intruder’s wrists, and effortlessly twisted them around, pinning them to the floor. As she turned, Mason saw her chest, dagger sticking out of it, no blood to be seen.


“Security is nearly here,” she said, seemingly unfazed by the wound in her chest. “Mason, I… Can I ask for your help?”

“Of course,” he said, his whole body shaking.

“I need you to lie,” she said.


Next Week: Nothing, From Nowhere


Glory waited for a host. As good as it felt to be free of XO, they still needed a body. Here, in this world, they had no power. It wasn’t their world. They needed to be careful. Needed to take things slowly. After all, they’d never left their own world before.

Any host would do. All they needed was a conduit, a puppet they could use to collect enough power to stand on their own. A puppet they could discard once they were strong enough.

It would be a long journey, but they’d always been patient. Well, no, they hadn’t. They struggled with patience. That was why they were here.

It didn’t take long for a host to show up. The clumsy girl stepped on the shard of mirror, and just like that, Glory was inside her.

She’s perfect. Better than perfect.

The girl was filled with the desire to be different. She longed for a different face, a different form. She wanted to change. She wanted what others had. Immediately, Glory crafted the face the girl wanted. They knew how to tap into that need, how to guide this girl to gather what they needed.

In seconds, they comfortably filled the body of the girl. They didn’t have the power to control her, not yet. That was okay. They didn’t need that yet.

The girl approached a woman, run through by a metal bar. The woman was beautiful, powerful, and to Glory, familiar. The girl wanted that beauty, that femininity. Glory wanted that power. As the girl stared, Glory reached out, touched the woman. Took what they needed. Not much. Just enough to fill the girl with power. To change her, like she wanted.

It was over a month before Glory had the strength to do anything again. Before then, they just waited, and watched. The girl was unconscious for most of it, which gave Glory the chance to sift through her unconscious mind. Once she finally woke up, Glory prepared.

Finally, they were strong enough to reach out, just a little.

The girl looked into a window. There was just enough of a reflection to project onto.

“Awfully clichéd, isn’t it?” Glory said. No, not Glory. Envy now. Envy was the face they would wear, until Sabrina had served her purpose.

Until Sabrina could be cast aside.


And that’s it for Volume 2! Thanks for reading this far. I wasn’t sure if this format would work, setting an entire volume before the events of the first. I’m still not sure, honestly! But it was important to me that the volumes each have a different feel, and focus on very different events. Besides, it’s fun to mess with the idea of linear storytelling. After all, Impact Day isn’t a linear story. Anyway! As always, if you want to support the work I do here, you can jump on over to patreon and give me a dollar or more monthly. It means a lot. Also, you can buy the eBook of this volume, which features not one but two bonus chapters that didn’t get published online. 

Next Week: We’re jumping into another mini-volume, just like Roxie! This one is called Glory, and I think you’re going to love it a lot.

Chapter 60 – Impact Day

Liz, Impact Day

Charlie’s scream pierced my ears, resonated with every surface I could see. It wasn’t a human scream, but then, Charlie clearly wasn’t human. I didn’t know what she was. A demon, maybe? Something unholy.

I held Aidan, his head resting on my lap, groaning in pain. I tried to say something soothing, but the burning sensation around my throat hadn’t passed. No sound came out.

All I could do was watch as Charlie dropped to her knees, the inhuman scream pouring out of her like a fountain of blood, so forceful I could almost see it. The air around her shimmered as her body vibrated, more and more violently.

On the other side of the room, I saw Rachel, barely able to move. I couldn’t bring myself to feel bad, after what she’d done to us. She had a look of horror on her face, mixed in with the pain she was feeling.

Regretting it now?

Charlie’s bones broke, over and over, repairing themselves before breaking again, and she kept screaming. She fell to her hands, blood dripping from every pore. The screaming was intensifying, like it was bouncing off itself, creating a violent echo that threatened to rip the room apart.

I could still see the shape of the demon around her, but it was vague, translucent. Was it weaker? Was it in pain, too? Was it different to her?

I was shaking, too. Not just from the pain, or the shock. Charlie’s screaming was reaching deep into my core, twisting me until I couldn’t feel anything else.

What is happening?

The walls of the house cracked more, bursting apart in to fragments and splinters, flying away from us. The pool of blood around Charlie was bubbling, almost like it was boiling. Her bones continued to break, and the air around her grew more and more distorted.

I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t shake the sensation that something was wrong, that something didn’t belong.

As Charlie fell apart, I saw her look up, fixated on a spot right in front of her. I blinked, and there was a girl there, a child with lilac hair.

“What—” Charlie began, but her mouth was full of blood.

“I was beginning to worry you wouldn’t do anything with my email,” the child said. “I went through a lot of trouble to set this up, you know.”

“Who are you?” Charlie managed to choke out.

“Nobody~” the child said, in a sing-song voice.

“What’s… happening…?”

“Oh, this? Let’s call it an allergic reaction,” the girl said. “See, Wendy’s blood came from a different Shaper. They’re not supposed to mix, you know. Your body is rejecting it.”

“You… wanted this…?”

“Just one more step,” she said, shrugging. “We’re a long way from the end, yet. No, what I wanted was…” She glanced up at the sky. It looked as though the air above us was tearing apart, like God Himself had decided to rip open the sky. Through it, I could see a glittering night sky, so very different to our own. “There we go.”

As I watched, a futuristic looking plane emerged through the rift, spinning out of control, flames and smoke billowing from the side. I shuddered as it collided with somewhere far from here, causing a booming explosion.

“Finally,” the girl said.


“You broke the rules, Charlie. You’ve let something into this world that shouldn’t be here. Something very, very dangerous.” She rocked back on her heels, looking pleased with herself. “Well, you’ll forget we talked, but remember this. Get rid of them. Send them home. Stop at nothing. And trust the Destroyer. They only want to protect you.”

The entire world shuddered beneath us. The girl didn’t seem to notice.

“Hmm. I should go make sure Sabrina is where she needs to be.”

The girl was gone. She didn’t disappear, she just stopped being where she was. Charlie’s arms gave out, and she collapsed to the floor.

The screaming stopped.

The rift closed.

Charlie pulled herself up, slowly. The blood around her began to evaporate, and by the time she’d stood up, she looked entirely unharmed, save for the wild look in her eye.

Something about her was different. Actually, plenty about her was different. She was thinner, her skin looked softer. Her eyes were lighter, a blueish green now. Her nails seemed perfectly filed. She stretched out, then glanced around the room. Her eyes passed over me, and fixated on Rachel.

She rushed to Rachel’s side, moving inhumanly fast. As fast as we’d been able to move with Wendy’s blood in us, at least. She picked Rachel up like she weighed nothing.


“I’m okay, Charlie,” Rachel said, her voice weak. “I’m more worried about you.”

“I feel fine,” Charlie said, and she sounded it.

“What happened?” Rachel asked.

“A painful transition, I guess,” Charlie said. “Looks like I did some damage, here.”

“Looks like it,” Rachel agreed. “What are we gonna do about them?”

Charlie turned to look at us, and any kindness fell off her face.

“After what they did to you?” she asked. “I’ll kill them.”

I tried to speak up, to protest, but no words came out of my mouth. Aidan pushed away from me, tried to stand, but his legs didn’t move, and he fell over.

“Haven’t you done enough?” he asked, nearly spitting at her. “We sacrificed everything to save you, and you… All you did was use us.”

“I needed Wendy’s power,” Charlie said, as if that justified it. “She wasn’t doing anything to keep this city safe. This world safe. I’ve been fighting, every day. Now I can make a difference.”

“All of this, just to be a superhero?” Aidan asked, incredulous. “Immortality wasn’t enough?”

“You saw how little I was doing,” Charlie said. “And now, nothing can stop me.”

“I can,” he said, then glanced back at me. “We can. And we will.”

I nodded my agreement.

“You? What can you do?” Charlie asked. She sounded like a comic book villain. How ironic.

“You’ll see,” he said.

“I won’t,” Charlie replied.

“Liz, I need you to do something,” Aidan said, a quiet note of urgency in his voice. “Focus on somewhere down the street. Not too far. Hold on to me, and focus.”

Charlie loomed ever closer, not in any kind of rush, and more intimidating for it. I couldn’t see any way out, any way to survive. We didn’t stand a chance against her, not with the power she had now. Even still, I gripped Aidan hard, trusted him, and focused.

The world around us changed.

We were somewhere different.

“Again,” Aidan said, and I realised we’d moved to where I was thinking about. I did it again.

We moved again.

“Keep going, until she can’t find us,” Aidan said. I kept moving us, kept teleporting, until I was certain Charlie couldn’t find us.

I still couldn’t speak, but there was a pad of paper on a desk. We were in someone’s house, their office. I didn’t know who. It didn’t matter. I grabbed the paper, found a pen, wrote on it.

What happened? I wrote.

“Whatever happened back there changed us,” Aidan said. “I don’t know how. But you can teleport, now.”

How did you know? I wrote.

“I saw it,” he said. “I… I think I can see the future? No, possible futures. It’s… hazy. Hurts my head. But I saw you do it.”

You can’t walk, I wrote.

“And you can’t speak,” he said. “Seems like we’re being punished, by whatever that thing was. But Liz, we’re still us. We had something taken, gained something else, but we’re still us. And we need to stop her. You understand that, right?”

How? I wrote.

“We use my network. Between the Stars, and my new powers, I can build an army to stop her. And you, you’re an assassin who can get in anywhere.”

I don’t want to kill, I wrote, then underlined it.

“Liz, you know what Charlie is like. You know what she can do, now. I don’t want more innocent deaths, but we can’t let anything stop us. We can’t stop at anything.”

I understand, I wrote, but I didn’t believe it.

“Wait,” he said, holding a hand to his head. “I see something… There’s a way,” he told me. “A weapon that we can use, from the breach.”

What is it?

“Her name is Haylie,” he said.


And that’s it for Volume 2! Thanks for reading this far. I wasn’t sure if this format would work, setting an entire volume before the events of the first. I’m still not sure, honestly! But it was important to me that the volumes each have a different feel, and focus on very different events. Besides, it’s fun to mess with the idea of linear storytelling. After all, Impact Day isn’t a linear story. Anyway! As always, if you want to support the work I do here, you can jump on over to patreon and give me a dollar or more monthly. It means a lot. Also, you’ll soon be able to buy the eBook of this volume, which features not one but two bonus chapters that didn’t get published online. 

Next Week: We’re jumping into another mini-volume, just like Roxie! This one is called Glory, and I think you’re going to love it a lot. (Also, there will be an epilogue later this week!)

Bonus – Inviolable

Charlie, Impact Day

I didn’t know where I was. Nothing around me felt real. It wasn’t darkness, it was just… nothing. Void. Absence.

My bedroom? Similar, but wrong. Not quite what I remembered. Or rather, perfectly what I remembered. Not the reality. A fake.

“Charlie,” a voice whispered. I turned.

It was standing there, dark and hulking, insubstantial but very present. Destructive energy radiated from it, hot and cold and vibrant.

“What the… Where am I?” I asked.

“Inside,” it said. Great. That doesn’t answer anything.

“And you are…?”

“The Destroyer,” it told me.

“That’s some title,” I said, looking around. It was the only real thing here.

The creature seemed amused. It moved closer, without any physical motion. It was simply closer.

“You’re not as intimidated by me as I’d have expected,” it said.

“I get that a lot. I guess I forgot how to be intimidated this past year.”

“Perhaps you don’t understand what I am,” it said.

“I know you’re a part of me,” I said, taking myself by surprise. I did know that, but how?

“No, Charlie,” it said. “You are me. Just another in a long line.”

I tried to wrap my head around that. I couldn’t quite manage it. Rachel would have understood it, but Rachel wasn’t here. Nobody was here, except me.

“You’re the reason I’m immortal,” I said, again without realising I was going to speak.

“You’re not immortal,” it said, trying to correct me. Then, it corrected itself. “Or, you weren’t. What you were was inviolable. You would have died of old age.”

Inviolable. I liked that.

“What changed?” I asked. “Wendy’s blood?”

“It’s what was in that blood,” it told me. “You should never have brought that here.”

By here, I instinctively knew it was referring to the void we both occupied. It meant I should never have brought it inside myself.

I looked down. There was a shard of broken glass on the… well, it wasn’t ground. But it was what I was standing on. And the shard, it wasn’t glass. It was a mirror.

“What am I looking at, here?” I asked, not particularly concerned.

“Heresy,” it said, in a tone that sent a chill down my spine.

“Cool,” I said, though I didn’t feel it.

“Charlie, you’ve ruined everything,” it said, and for the first time, it sounded desperate.

“What, afraid of your own reflection?” I joked.

“You’ve broken the cycle,” it said, in a mixture of anger and pain. “You’ve corrupted us. You’ve brought the impossible into our world. Charlie, you—”

“Don’t care,” I interrupted. And in that moment, in that tiny, insignificant moment, it was true.


“Do you know what the world out there is like?” I asked.

“Intimately,” it replied.

“So you know why I need this power,” I said. “It’s the only way to make a difference.”

“You really believe that… I knew there was something about you. I knew I shouldn’t have chosen you. I thought…”

The creature, whatever it was, shuddered, blinking in and out of sight. When I couldn’t see it, I felt unsettled.

“You know what, how about you start answering some of my questions,” I said. “Who are you? What are you?”

It didn’t answer. It just disappeared, leaving me alone, in an empty space, save for a shard of mirror.

I looked down at the mirror.

I didn’t see my own face reflected. I saw another face, an unfamiliar face. A face I couldn’t begin to describe, because it fitted every description, and none. It wasn’t changing, but it wasn’t static, either.

It grinned.


Next Week: Impact Day

Chapter 59 – She Deserves This

Liz, Impact Day

Aidan and I arrived back at Wendy’s cafe, but she was nowhere to be seen. There was a piece of paper sitting on a table, with two seats arranged as though people had been sitting in them only recently. Next to the paper was a small case.

Aidan approached the table, opening the case first. He held up a syringe, and shrugged. I walked over, and picked up the note.

Liz, Aidan,

I broke the rules. The price has to be paid.

I’m gone now.

Rachel is clever, but she underestimated me. I should have realised sooner, though.

Still, it’s not too late to stop them, and believe me, you need to stop them.

Go to Rachel’s cabin. Take the syringe. It will nullify the blood of mine in her system.

Go quickly.


We read the note a few times, and Aidan looked at the syringe again.

“She tricked us,” he said, carefully, feeling out the words.

“They both tricked us,” I said. “Right from the beginning. This was a game to them, and we played right into their hands.”

“I loved her,” Aidan said, sounding stunned.

“We both did,” I said.

“We have to stop her,” he said.

I didn’t say anything. I took a moment to be quiet, to let the knowledge sink in. Charlie hadn’t included us because she needed our help. She was building our attachment, so that when she let herself get captured, Rachel could manipulate us into going after her. Because Wendy saw right through Rachel, but Aidan and I, we were genuine.

We weren’t her friends. We weren’t even people to her. We were tools. Tools that she’d used. And why? For power?

“She’s not the person we thought she was,” I said, slowly, deliberately.

“She’s a monster,” Aidan said.

“They both are.”

“Maybe it was all Rachel,” I said, hopeful but not convinced.

“There’s only one way to find out,” he said.

“Let’s go, then.”

Aidan seemed fired up, but I just felt numb. I could barely believe any of it was happening. The one thread, the one thing that had been keeping everything together through my crumbling grip on reality was Charlie, and the hope that I could save her. Now…

We’d fought, but I’d never stopped loving her. I’d never stopped needing her. I would have done anything for her, and I had. I’d gone along with her reckless scheme because I was so caught up in my feelings for her that I…

The two of us ran. It was the fastest way to get there. We didn’t worry about people seeing us. We didn’t worry about anything, except getting there before Charlie and Rachel could finish whatever little plan they’d put together.

It all ended that night. That’s what I genuinely believed.

* * *

I kicked open the door, Aidan close behind me. Charlie’s head whipped around, taken by surprise at our entrance. Good.

“How—” she began, but we didn’t give her a chance to say anything more. We moved, and we moved fast.

Aidan went for Rachel, determined to neutralise the threat before she could retaliate. She was dangerous, but there were two of us.

I went for Charlie, hurling her across the room, away from Rachel. She cried out, but I picked her up, pinning her against the wall.

“Use it!” I yelled at Aidan.

“No!” Charlie screamed.

Rachel didn’t put up a fight as Aidan pinned her down. She seemed languid, almost weak…

It wasn’t until Aidan had stuck the syringe into her that I realised what had happened.

“You took it from her, somehow,” I accused Charlie. She just snarled at me, struggling to get to Rachel.

Rachel began to convulse, twitching and shaking beneath Aidan. Unsure of what to do, he held her still, trying to make sure she didn’t hurt herself. It seemed like the serum was doing a good enough job of that on its own.

It was supposed to counteract the effect of Wendy’s blood. We had no idea what it would do to somebody whose blood no longer contained that, but it didn’t seem to be good. Rachel started screaming in pain. Charlie fought harder. She wasn’t strong, though. She hadn’t taken it yet?

“Fuck,” Aidan said, looking desperately down at Rachel.

“She deserves it,” I said, trying to battle my own guilt. We’d acted rashly, and even if Rachel had played us, she didn’t deserve this. Nobody did.

“Fuck you,” Charlie spat, kicking me in the stomach. I barely felt it.

I noticed her left hand had been clenched the entire time. Was she holding it, somehow?

I pried her hand open, but there was nothing there. An empty hand? Why? I glanced up at her face, and she grinned. It was an awful, cruel expression.

Before I could stop her, she shoved her other hand over her mouth, and I caught a glimpse of a red crystal between her teeth. I tried to grab it from her mouth, but it was already gone.

“Aidan!” I cried, as Charlie’s grin faded, replaced with a look of increasing shock.

Her eyes darkened, turning almost black. Her veins bulged, also darker. That hadn’t happened to either of us. Something different was happening to her. Was it because she took it second-hand? Because she swallowed it?

Because she was different?

Her skin began to blister and break, blood seeping out, covering her. I pulled my hands away from her, and she dropped to the floor.

“What the fuck,” I muttered, as the blood began to peel away from her, floating in little flecks around her, picking up speed, creating the shape of someone, something much bigger.

She moved, and the shape moved with her. It was getting thicker, blocking out the person underneath. Before long, it was all we could see.

The creature, whatever it was, looked around the room, and saw Aidan, still hunched over Rachel, trying to control her seizure. It bellowed, a terrifying sound that turned my legs to jelly.

The creature moved fast, faster than even Aidan or I could. With a single hand, it grabbed Aidan around the waist, and hurled him off of Rachel. He hit the wall and crumpled, collapsing harder than he should have with Wendy’s blood in him.

He didn’t get up.

I tried to run to his aid, but the creature intercepted, grabbing me around the throat, slamming me against the wall. I tried to fight back, but all of the strength had left me. Is that what happened to Aidan?

“WHAT DID YOU DO?” the creature said, in a voice that wasn’t Charlie’s, and wasn’t human. It reached deep into my brain, triggering every fear reaction I had. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t move. All I could do was stare, and tremble.

It dropped me, and I nearly collapsed. Summoning the last of my strength, I crawled over to Aidan, who was barely moving. He groaned as I tried to check his body for injuries.

There was a grotesque hand print on his back, where the creature had held him. It was black, like the flesh had been burned.

The creature staggered back into the centre of the room, the visage of blood thinning out, revealing Charlie beneath, her eyes glazed and distant.

The blood vanished entirely, and Charlie stood there, unsteady on her feet. She looked down at her hands, looked through them, unable to focus.

Then, she tilted her head back, looked up at the ceiling, and began to scream.


Next: Inviolable