It didn't work. He hoped he could break the lock. He hoped the knife would've at least get some movement in that heavy door, but he was too weak. He lost too much blood already. He kept slipping in and out of consciousness, having those dreams of doing it all over again. Doing it differently, so the cards wouldn't end up all stacked against him. He was an idiot. A fucking idiot!
"Do you really want it to end this way?"
Sato felt it glaring, even before it had taken shape. A million eyes. It watched him. Sato knew the feeling. It had been watching him for a long long time already. Darkness taking shape. A person. Was it real, or just another one of those hallucinations? Whatever it was, Sato sure as hell knew that taking a knife in the eye wasn't the best thing for one's sanity.
"You're dying." It spoke without a mouth. Its face remained invisible, cloaked in the shadows that surrounded it. The air around it felt strangely stagnant.
"I refuse to" Sato uttered. "You refuse?"
"I reject it!"
"You reject death itself?" It was frightening, but at the same time it felt awfully familiar. He'd seen it before. "I reject all of it."
"Finally?" More than mocking, it seemed to be amused. Sato felt the air move, the shadows creeping around him. Reality splitting, all under the heavy feeling of being watched. He narrowed his one good eye, unable to determine if it was real or just another one of those nightmares.
"Allow it" it spoke. "You know what to do."
He instinctively knew. The triangles. The Kumarian equation. It was just a theory, a strange and wild theory that struck the interest of both Aiden and himself for quite a while. Was it real? Did it truly exist?
After one and a half bottle of rum there was nothing creepy about Sato anymore. The drinks didn't do so much for Karim. Perhaps because of his aura, or perhaps because he had a lot of practice over the years, but he was good at drinking. Sato, on the other hand, was like those young soldiers in the army, who tried real hard to keep up with the big boys but always ended up completely wasted. At least Sato managed to keep the contents of his stomach inside, but Karim was not under the impression that anything really got through to him anymore.
The esper squeezed his eyes in a desperate attempt to see sharply. His pale cheeks had actually acquired some color.
"What?" he asked Karim after quite some delay.
"Those after imagines. Do you still see them?"
"I don't anything anymore" Sato muttered. He didn't even look. He let his head slide back and peered at the ceiling. For someone so intoxicated his eyes still had a particularly bright glow. His aura was clearly still functional.
"Got enough?" Karim asked.
"No. Give me another one" Sato held up his glass and Karim poured the rum in. It again surprised him easily Sato drank it.
"So you've finally decided to catch up being a real student?" Karim asked. He did see the humor in it. "Can't blame you, though. I wasn't much different at your age."
"It is these missions," Sato said. His words were slow and slurred.
"What do you mean?" Karim asked.
Sato squeezed his eyes. "I hate those missions" He rested his head against the back of the sofa and closed his eyes. For a moment Karim thought he had fallen asleep until he opened his eyes again and released a deep sigh.
"Emotions" he said. His voice sounded unsteady. "There is too much emotion in those damn auras of them." Illustration for my #Emion project
Moriz didn't get there through conventional means. He couldn't. His parents didn't have money, so he had to work his hardest to be one of those lucky few to get a scholarship. It was hard. Scholarships were rare in these days, even rarer for people from the lower city who were generally considered second class citizens. Moriz was way too young, he never had private tutors and wasn't raised bi-lingual, but he never half-assed anything. He decided to do so well that they couldn't deny him, even though those universities absolutely despised lower city scum like him. He made it through the intake tests with the highest score ever seen in the history of Yasny university. A week later he received his acceptation letter and left for the Kamnyc district. He didn't tell anyone, not even his dad. He doubted the old man would even sober up enough to notice he was gone.
Moriz never fitted in with the people in the lower city. Being a Yasny student had always been his dream. He hoped it would lead to a happier life, and in a way it did. His health got a lot better once he left that poisoned ground. No more headaches and fevers. Though some things never changed. He didn't didn't fit in with the other students at all. Even though he dressed impeccable and kept his mouth shut so his heavy accent wouldn't give him away, they still gave him that patronizing look. He hated it, but it made him sad too. And every so often he felt alone in that crowd.
Illustration for my #Emion project
The lawyer. That's how they called Masaru in former Neorasa. He owed his nickname to his neat suit, his dark framed glasses, and the suitcase he always carried with him. He'd been a part of Exraion in the past, but that already felt like long ago. The more he saw from those people around the bunker, the more he distanced himself. He bought a house in the inner city as Exraion wasn't safe for a level 6 like him. And once he stopped doing thpose drugs he wondered what he saw in that depraved place. He didn't have to do it for the money. He was twenty-five and multimillionaire already. On the surface level he behaved just like all of those other businessmen in the financial district. He dressed well, he imitated their accents, even if only to hide where he truly came from. But no matter how much changed, inside he always remained one of them.
Masaru didn't visit HQ a lot. Sato took care of business there. The few times he showed himself the men who guarded the bunker laughed and made mocking remarks about what a rich boy like him did in Exraion. It was just words. Those men didn't dare to use their powers on him. They knew all to well who it was that paid them.
Illustration for my #Emion story
That was it. Sergei was done with that little shit and that whole organization he claimed to run. Rebellion, his ass! That little brat just existed to make people miserable. Sergei didn't care about the warnings anymore. That little asshole just had to die. He lunged forward, his body fueled by the power of his aura and pure rage. He grabbed Sato by his scarf and pulled him forwards.
"I'm done with your shit!"
Sato gasped for breath, but only for a moment. Soon that calm smile returned to his face, as usual, as if he had everything under control. It pissed off Sergei even more. "Seriously, Sergei?" Sato raised his eyebrow.
Sergei activated his powers, but before he could latch out he felt a sharp pain hitting his stomach. Was it Sato? But how? That little fucker didn't even move. Sergei's grip weakened, so that Sato could pull himself free. He calmly straightened his clothes before he gave his underling a disdainful glare. "You didn't really think you could do something, did you?"
"Fuck you!" Sergei retorted.
Sato's expression grew cold. "Mind your language, and your manners. Because the next time you even dare to touch me you're dead." Illustration for my #Emion story
Sato remained distant as usual. He didn't speak much and Masaru could only guess to what went on in his mind. He looked tired, his eyes dark without the typical glow of his aura. He seemed small, fragile, hidden in that oversized coat of his. But he did that mission all his own.
"So" Masaru was the first one to break the silence. "Since when did you grow up so much?"
"Since it's needed" Sato replied.
A reaction that surprised Masaru. "I thought Neorasa was just a game to you?"
"It was" Sato admitted. "Until that last mission happened"
"They dragged an innocent girl into this."
"And since when do you care about innocent girls?"
Sato never cared. It was for a good reason he had the kind of reputation that he had. Masaru had grown wiser than to openly comment on his actions. Sato was an esper. He usually just did as he pleased, regardless of Masaru's disapproval.
"You want to know what happened?" Sato didn't wait for an answer as he lifted his face. "They picked her up from that university, locked up and raped her." Sato's eyes wandered off to the window again. "Those assholes crossed a line this time."
Masaru turned his eyes towards the front windows. Apparently he was not the only one who kept secrets. Nobody mentioned those details when they told him about what happened. Did they do that on purpose? To not make him feel bad for losing his consciousness? Or was it that they didn't know? "How--" Masaru hesitated. "Did she tell you?"
"I got her out of there," Sato said. "Destroyed those men. What did you expect?" His voice sounded unsteady as he let out a sigh. "It's not always fun if you can hear people's thoughts directly, you know?" For my #Emion project
"We're out of water"
His father looked at him, watery red eyes, a bottle in his hand. Moriz had gotten used to the sight of his old man getting drunk.
"Take some of this" the man proclaimed, raising the bottle. Moriz shook his head. He didn't even consider, but his father didn't let him off so easily this time. "Come on! Don't be such a wuss! Real men drink liqor"
He grabbed him by his throat, pushed him down the wall and put the bottle to his lips. Moriz didn't want to, but it overwhelmed him. One big sip of strong Darkaian alcohol. It burned his throat, enough to make him gag. His father laughed in a sadistic kind of amusement. Struggling to regain his composure Moriz fled the house. He would get water... somewhere.
Even in his later years Moriz would vividly remember this one instance. Not just for the cruel treatment he received as a child --or perhaps just a little-- but mostly for other reasons. As drunk as the old man was, he wasn't stupid. The once brilliant surgeon knew all to well that alcohol was safer than water there, just not enough to actually care. Death was everywhere in the lower city of Darkai. Everything was poisoned there. The ground, the food, the water. Everything, except the alcohol that was imported.
Illustration for my #Emion project