Sep. 16, 2017
“You’ll pay for this.” Nick interrupted the man, growling harshly as his throat burned with the words. The man stopped pacing and looked at him with a puzzled look on his face.
“Now, now. This is no time to be a buffoon. You clearly are in no state to make threats. I’ll laugh this one off as one would a child, but make no mistake, a second threat will not be taken lightly.” The old man’s eyes flashed with a hint of rage as he spoke the last words and Nick’s heart skipped a beat. “Where was I? The fewer interruptions I have, the quicker this will be.” The man pondered for a minute, standing in front of Nick regarding him thoughtfully. Finally he shrugged in resignation and moved on. “No matter, I guess I’ll just cut to the chase. I’m not certain you’re what you say you are.”
“What do you mean ‘what’ I say I am?”
“I mean, what are you?” Nick stared back at the man coldly, unsure of how to answer the question.
“I’m…human, I suppose.”
“You see,” the old man continued with a grin, “that’s what I am talking about right there. I’m not convinced that that’s true at all. What evidence do you have to support such claims?” Nick squinted at the man, knowing whatever answer he gave would be mocked and ridiculed. He kept his mouth shut. “I see. Would you like to hear my evidence against the matter?”
“Well,” the old man threw a hand up, stopping Nick before he could finish his answer. “The poison I used is an ancient recipe. It reacts with the white blood cells causing them to rupture uncontrollably. Death is almost immediate and relatively painless, as far as I have been able to tell. It has been used for thousands of years on millions of humans with the same effect. However, once in a great while, we find one of our own hidden amongst the human race. For them, it’s a mere paralytic, such as you’re experiencing now.”
“So…what are you then?” Nick was growing impatient and began to grip the chair arms tightly. He hoped the man hadn’t noticed the fact that he was regaining control of his limbs, or was he? Could he move his fingers before? He couldn’t remember.
“I…” the old man glanced down at Nick’s hands, seeing his knuckles white with pressure, “am like you.” As he finished his sentence he swung his arm in a single quick motion in a circle around his body and the candles blew out with a whoosh of wind. Nick sat alone in the dark for some time, listening for the old man but he heard nothing. It seemed as if the man just stood in place after the flames went out. As the minutes wore on he could move his hands, then his arms, and soon his legs. Nick pushed himself to a stand and stretched cautiously, anxious for an attack any minute. He was still wearing his jacket, he reached inside his pocket and pulled out a book of matches.
Lighting one, he could see the small room fairly clearly; the old man had left but a small note sat on the table next to the bowl.
The contents of this bowl are more potent than the doses I gave you. It will, surely, cure you of the disease in which I have inflicted upon you. However, if you choose to adopt your heritage just go home. We will find you. We will save you.
The note was written in elegant handwriting that swooped across the paper beautifully. Nick could almost make out the way the hand would have gracefully swooped and swirled over the paper to make such beautiful letters. He had never seen handwriting so exquisite and beautiful. We will find you. Nick pondered a moment. He could go back to his life as a renowned adventurer, saving the town from beasts, or he could investigate this strange group that claimed to be of his own genes. A group that had poisoned and captured him, nearly tortured him for no apparent reason. And yet, there seemed to be a quality about the man he met. Something about him that said he was meant for bigger things and knew many secrets.
“No…” Nick shook his head, remembering the beast that attacked him. “I am not you.” He grabbed the bowl and drank quickly, the thick green liquid coating his throat and soothing the burning sensation that had set in since he had woken. With a stab of pain he dropped the bowl on the floor and it bounced away with a loud rattling noise. Nick sunk to his knees, his gut wrenching with a pain whose intensity he had never experienced before.
“I see you’ve made your choice. Very well. The tonic has cured you.” The old man’s boots made a soft sound on the floor as he walked around Nick’s chair form behind, standing in front of him in the dark. Sweat began to bead on Nick’s forehead as a chill ran through his whole body. He tried to rise from his knees but fell forward onto the small table. “You are a disease.” The old man leaned down to whisper in his ear. “You disown your own kind and like all diseases, you must be cured.” With a final jolt that rain from Nick’s stomach up to his heart, he closed his eyes and fell still.
“Such a pity.” The old man stood over Nick’s dead body. “So much potential.”