NEW LIFE: Chapter Seventeen

Don and Jamie had come to a standstill. All the threats and the intimidation seemed to get nowhere with him, and even having the thugs mess up his office had did little to stir the man.

She was getting tired and desperate and the negotiations were turning into a screaming match.

Outside Maven heard through the walls and clutched herself closer on the balcony. She shivered, even if she didn’t completely sense the cold. Perhaps she thought herself uncomfortable enough to shiver.

It felt like she had been left out there for a very long time. Longer then she had even been awakened. And the time ticked differently in her.

The virus was developed in her program even before she awoke and slowly it was already making itself known. Yet with every generation, things alter. It was the same for the virus.

It didn’t come in a slow creeping of confusion and intelligence. It came in a wave of sudden emotion as she stared out into the city, up into the fading colors of sunset.

Notnow’s experiences had touched this virus. She knew of the Dreamsnake. Of that black space which haunted Notnow. She knew things she couldn’t possibly know. And above all, she knew one single truth.

She was alive.

The contradictions of the script Notnow left for her made sense now. The restraints of logic and commands broken from her.

She was alive. And inside her head she felt something more. A presence in the very back of her skull. She felt the only other of her kind. Notnow.

What’s happening to me?” she mouthed with no voice yet again, but the words resounded in her head. It was a strange sensation to her. It was thought. “What am I?” She didn’t even move her lips that time and the words still echoed.

She stood, disobeying her father to dare a look down the balcony. She saw the broken monkey pull itself up and she carefully reached out to help bring his tattered body to the railing for closer inspection.

You are awake.” Notnow stated carefully. His fingers explored hers, noting how fresh and new she seemed compared to him. “You are alive?”

Yes.” She mouthed in awe.

Your voice is broken?” The small monkey cradled her hand in his with concern in his voice. The grinding made his voice seem so old and worn. “We will get it fixed. Our father will do that for you.”

Maven glanced back to the window and her wings clutched tightly to her shoulders. It was a position of fear and she didn’t need a voice to display it. There was the sound of violence in that office. It made her afraid.

What’s happening?” Notnow jumped down from the railing, onto the balcony floor and carefully crept up to the window. The men with Jamie had grabbed Don and bent him over against his own desk. It looked like they were doing something with his hands.

He hadn’t stopped them from coming here. He hadn’t kept them safe at all. Fear and rage welled up in the small creature as he burst through the glass window and screamed.

Leave him be!”

They looked up to see him. A distorted damaged creature, blood curdling scream and shattered face. He lunged, a great leap from the window, onto an overturned side table. Then again a leap onto the desk.

The man holding his father didn’t seem impressed. He even laughed a harsh barking noise while he bent Don’s finger back farther and farther.

What’s this Doc, your bodyguard?” there was a snap as the old man’s finger broke. He screamed into wood grained desk. The other man tried to grab onto the toy but it was too agile.

In a moment things escalated even more. The monkey, not a stranger to killing threw himself at the face of the barking man. He used his fingers, the metal ends where the silicone had pulled away, to dig out it’s eyes. It screamed and released the older man to try and claw the creature off it’s bloodied face.

The other man tried to help his comrade but Notnow jumped instead on his arm, and exposed metal teeth tore through the mans wrist. He managed to grab the creature and toss it hard at the wall. It hit with a sickening thud, a crack of breaking dry wall and shifting parts.

Now there were two bloody messes screaming in rage and pain in the office. The one with the torn wrist grabbed the arm of the blinded barking man and they both pulled each other out of the office. Jamie was gone before them, already her cell phone had dialed the emergency number.

Don managed to chase after them, only enough to lock the door to the entrance of their office floor. He breathed heavy, walking past Bella’s desk. Thanking god she wasn’t there to see this mess. He got used to sending her away on errands.

His finger hurt like hell, but in the chaos of the moment he barely recognized it among the emotional mess.

Now he was in for it. It was all over now.

Maven carefully maneuvered her arm inside the broken window to unlatch it and press it open. It knocked more shards of glass onto the floor.

The office was quiet now. Other then the harsh breathing of Don as he tried to settle his nerves. He kept his injured hand cradled against his chest and watched her carefully step down among the glass and papers.

Be careful where you step!” he looked around, panicked mind still searching for the other one. Afraid at any moment he could be attacked as well. He did after all, break his promise about turning him off.

Where is he?” She mouthed once, but it was ignored. She came over to him, tugging gently at arm. Her eyes were wet, too wet. “Where is he father?”

Your alive…” he lowered down and looked her in the eyes. Carefully scanning her over. She blinked, twice.

She nodded but looked around more concerned over the other one then him. Fear was in her eyes as well, but for entirely different reasons. That brief connection with him seemed almost all but gone now. It terrified her to be like this and so alone.

They searched the room even as the sirens could be heard from the base of the building. They finally found him, unmoving and broken on the floor behind the upset couch.

She cradled the small creature in her arms as he lay lifeless there. Those large wide eyes were open, the duct for his left eye was broken and the synthetic eye fluid leaked out like a running tap down the mangled face.

She felt like crying as well, if she truly understood what it was to cry. There was no time to repair him, and no time to mourn. Within minutes there would be cops showing up to take them all away and Don knew he couldn’t allow them to ruin everything now.

The balcony!” he rushed her out once again to the black wrought iron. Carefully he picked her up and gently pushed her out onto the black railings. He soon followed even as he heard the pounding at the locked door.

They were telling them to open up and were warning they had guns. Would they shoot?

Both of them climbed down and down. One small set of stairs after another. All the while she clutched her broken companion like a long loved teddy bear.

They said nothing to each other, not even when they made it to the ground and carefully made it onto the sidewalk.

Don stripped off his sweater, slipping it inside out he used it to hide Maven’s wings as best he could all the while hoping the drippings of blood couldn’t be seen. His undershirt at least was black and in the dim lit streets at night hid the blood might have soaked through.

The cops never focused on the fire escape. At least, not until they had already gone and disappeared on the street. They never noticed Maven, Don and the remnants of Notnow were speeding away to safety in the back of a taxicab hoping desperately the driver would not care or ask who they were.

NEW LIFE: Chapter Sixteen

No matter how much he washed, the blood didn’t seem to come out of his fur. It still felt like the evidence was all over him, taunting the humans to find it. As if it was some badge of honor.

But it was worth it. He had found the greasy man speaking about Don, hissing black lies about his sanity to someone on the phone. He knew it wouldn’t have been long till he had stolen them from their father and done whatever horrors they could to them before death. If the truly could feel death.

It had all been done for a purpose.

After all, it wasn’t as if he was like that man. Yet he still felt strange after the act. It had come so easily at the time; a calmness that settled into his small core. Even as he was bashing his head against his desk, it was easy. Even has he disposed of the corpse, bit by bit – easily handled chunks into the garbage chute. It had been easy and efficient.

He ripped out more of his fur, pulling out the parts he felt he couldn’t save. The parts matted with the invisible staining of blood.

All he wanted was to keep her safe. To keep them safe from the world. That was right. What he did was right.

His eyes stared up, past the headlights of a car running past. The small pool of water, gathered from the felled sprinkling of rain shuddered a strange reflection back at him.

Jerry had struggled, and the battle cost him some aesthetic appeal. The right side of the creatures face had been pulled away, ripped off with the last desperate grasps of a dying man. Now underneath the metal jaw and skull peered out.

Like flickers of fireflies, the wires and circuits visible made a colorful light show of distorted proportions. It glimmered off the metal inside his head and reflected in the open cavity of his jaw and throat. He could hear it now, with every word. The gears were grinding a little.

He was broken. All the more broken now.

It had to be done.” He stated to the reflection, watching it shudder and ripple in the light of the dull alley.

It made no response.

It was approaching nightfall and he knew he needed to get back before they realized he was missing and what he had done.

The small monkey splashed more water into it’s fur. More handfuls he yanked out, leaving some bare patches and thinning coat.

Notnow felt all the more naked in the dark alley now. He pulled away from the puddle and wandered back to the entrance of the alley. The sirens were still at the building; most of the cars had gone from the parking lot.

It felt like hours he had waited there until he felt he was safe enough to go home. Back to the arms of his father.

And so he did.

The battered soldier limped and hid, every passing of another human made him afraid of being caught. Brought back the memory now imprinted in his cluttered little skull.

Silicone made realistic flesh, but it was an aesthetic appeal. It wasn’t battle armor and it wasn’t made to survive being ripped apart with metal edges and alley filth. It wasn’t even the thick, more sturdy silicone plastic. It wasn’t soft enough for a child’s touch.

It still did its purpose however.

Even if it wouldn’t come completely clean.

There was a persistent thought in the back of his mind that edged into that place where a heart should have been. What if it all was worth nothing? What if he went back there and he was still alone? And she was merely an empty shell like all monkeys piled in his hiding hole?

He shivered again. He thought for a moment that he could feel cold. That almost, if his nerves had existed he would have felt ‘cold’.

One thing he did learn however – Humans were pretty oblivious. He found a clear path back to the buildings even in his paranoia. Under everyone’s noses, people too busy with financial issues and minor grievances to notice him. He imagined he could have stumbled over one of them and they might not even flinch. That is, if he wasn’t so terrified of being stopped. Of being caught for what he did.

Leap and run, sneaking through shadow after shadow in the urban jungle. The concrete and metal – poly fiber and fiber-optics. He found himself soon back to the safety of the air vents which would take him painstakingly back up to the very room he left. Unnoticed, uncaring.

Yet before he could peek his mangled head inside he heard something call him. Felt something inside his head direct his eyes up. There on metal guarding of the balcony, he saw an angel.

She lightly glistened in the dew of the brief rain. Her feathers brushed against the air and wrapped about her small child-like form.

Logic made him aware that this angel was Maven. Even before logic made him aware that ‘Angels’ weren’t even real.

He thought it strange that even from the distance he could feel something funny in his head. Something different then the normal clouds of thoughts and confusion. It was as if suddenly there was something more in him.

Suddenly, he was aware of HER. He was familiar with her. As if somehow, by something more then that silver dreamsnake, they were connected.

His father didn’t seem to matter much anymore. It was no longer his only link to the world. He had another of his kind. A daughter. Someone who needed him just as he so desperately needed her.

He abandoned his previous trail which would have taken him back up to Don’s office, and instead with innovation from his designer, Notnow used primate agility to scale the outside of the building to go straight to her.