Revenge consumed me, devastating logic and reason, Its fire purged my being.
The Antax itself became the engine that fueled my hatred.
âŠ…She reached for my hand….
âŠ.it was an ambitious move for someone of her stature.
In the pale moonlight of a Cold Alexandrian night, I watched my former reckoning rise to meet my body.
To see her was to watch the executioner rise onto the platform, her touch is the bloodied axe upon my neck.
My thoughts trailed the shady way she crossed her legs as she walked, her eyes watched me with the vigor of an organ thief.
Those cold hands moved up my arm, and as they reached for my face, I reacted, crushing her fingers in the palm of my fist. .
She cringed in pain, her eyelids begging each other for relief.
âYou’re stronger than I thought..â
White Glove arched forward, falling into a pose.
ââŠAm I?â I threw her hands at the concrete landing, her body trailing behind.
She kneeled; her crystal white hands rubbed each other, consoling the wounds that I placed upon her body.
âHow did you find me?â
The desire to know burned in the depths of my being.
âI saw you…I see everyone, itâs what I do best…â
White Gloveâs voice echoed dimly, I couldnât find any trace of emotion or personality in it.
It was far too monomaniacal for comfort.
âI find it needless to ask if you remember me…â
The tonality of her words fended me off, distracting me her plan.
My eyes pierced her soul, my heavy heart poured contempt upon her guilt ridden body.
âYouâre a murderer!â
Her leg sprung upon my knee caps, shooting me into a pillar of stone supporting the balcony above us, and crippling the support structure of the once famed city hall.
Swift motion brought her left hand around my throat. The other hand reached into the back of her unbuttoned jacket as I stared into the strange womanâs determined eyes.
âIâd hardly define it as murder if its in the job description.â She held her switchblade to my face.
I resisted the urge to move, sheâd expect that.
…Her plan must become my own…
âYouâre confident for a small woman…â
Her hair perched over her temple as she tilted her skull towards my shoulder.
The insincere smile made me loathe how close she was to me.
The knife circled my shoulders, coming ever so close to destroying the jacket that covered my suit.
â…confidence and bravery are tools for the strong…â she ripped the cloth open, exposing my symbol.
â…But you don’t come from strength, do you?â
âStrength was thrusted upon me…it wasnât a power I stole as my own…it was a weapon that was wielded inside of me…â
Those transcending eyes looked onto my chest in disgrace.
âAnd in a bid to make yourself feel strong, you put on a symbol and mask to hide your weakness? The only real strength is the strength we gave you….the power of the Antax.
You were meant to be greater, Damienâ
White Glove smiled as the knife rubbed the corners of her mouth.
âItâs just that, a tool, nothing more!â I spoke in response.
âOf course…and thats how you use it. We gave you a hope, and you betrayed us! Do you believe that this machine will save you?â
I could feel her grip loosen, I no longer held her attention….
My fist uppercutted her jaw, loudly crashing against the bone marrow in her skull.
Clusters of blood and tears fell from her nose, steadily dripping to the concrete tiles.
I forced her hands away from her bloodied flesh. Strings of oozing fluid stuck to the palms of her gloves, gradually thinning out and falling back on her body as I dragged her across the City Hall entrance.
She tried to resist, but the pain was too much, she couldnât fight against the power of the Antax. The shear strength of the machine overpowered her, she was useless next to it.
I held her under my arm, throwing my fist into her ribs, over and over again, each throw growing stronger then the last, and when she was too limp to stand, she fell to the steps.
â….it brings me to my weakness, so that In it I find strength, the will to overcome….â
She rolled over cautiously, her hands grasping her rib cage. Blood spurted out of her mouth, projecting like a water pistol onto the pristine pathway.
âYouâre right…I AM meant for greatness…but itâs not your greatness…not through power…â
âThere is no other greatness, to be great is to rule, to dominate!â
âThe greatness through service, the ability to put others above yourself…thats the true greatness…the humility you lack destroys you…but if you devour your pride, if you upheave your ego, then you become a new man entirely.â
I watched the witch expel masses of pus infected blood. It was difficult to avoid the spewing fluids, but as she came to a calm, I heard her voice cry out to oppress me…
âWhat would they think Damien?â
I could hear the frailty in her voice. Attempting to understand her was difficult at best, the occasional spout of blood separated syllables, and tears flooded her cheeks.
â…Donât you remember?â
I moved to walk away, but her words stopped me yet again.
â….they cried for you… they begged for daddy…and when they knew despair…we ended their hope, we sent their candles to the fire….â
My feet stood upon the hallowed memories of my sons.
I heard their souls cry for revenge….
âŠand In their pain I fathomed my own desperation again.
My face sat as silent as my words…a response would satisfy her…acknowledgement was too forgiving.
âThey would be proud, Damien. Youâve done well.â
How far was she from me? Maybe twenty feet or so?
….the Antax should work that far.
âSheâs close enough, use me.â
âOh, I will..â
My lower body sat still, but my torso reversed to face her, and in a fluid movement, my elastic arms reached for her feet.
It had this mechanical strength, the absence of my human ability almost relieved me as the Antax seized me.
I consumed the strength….I became it.
My torso returned into its natural form, my arms dragged her to my chest, coiling like a pistol.
âWhat if she was right?â
âMaybe iâm the only strength you have…â
âBut we both know there is more to you then that…â
The fingers on my right arm clutched her temple, and as she leaned against the outside window, I watched her conscience begin to fall.
I couldnât do this…
…Its too much…
I let go of her head, only to reach for her throat.
âDoes it hurt?â She spoke through the pain.
Her words were so soft they almost went unheard.
I saw the hues of normally colored flesh exchange with the purple tint of aged air…
…And as she began to slip into the cold abyss, the space between reality and imagination grew thinner, trapping her in the hands of fate.
âWhat am I doing???â
âControl it Damien! Control!â
âYouâre NOT the machine.â
âYou canât become this.â
âParalyze her, injure her…â
ââŠ but donât kill her.â
Her eyes readjusted on my face, but after a moment, they turned to my right, looking out towards the distance behind me.
She couldnât fight past my grip, it cut off her words.
My hand released her throat, but my fingers regrouped around the roots of her hair.
No words came, only a grin.
She had this strange satisfaction, as if she thought she won!
âRun!â she whispered to me, demanding that I feel intimidated.
A shadow larger than my own overtook both our bodies.
Two massive hands clasped my shoulders like handcuffs, the ironclad nails pierced into my skin.
âAlways listen to a lady, she knows best my friend…â
The warm voice sent me into a frail of mental shock.
Every path, trail, and road lead me to him.
I just didnât think it would be this soon…
…Iâm not ready.
âI see you have found our mutual friend, havenât you Miss Beckham?â
White Glove stood up and slowly walked towards me, her hands wrapped around her chest as her limp began to straighten out. .
âNo general, not a friend…but something valuable nonetheless.. .â
Her left fist crushed my nose, .
Blood ran down the suit, covering it in stains of red and blue.
âAntaxide is a lovely lovely thing…isnât it Mr.Boyd?â
White glove held her finger to the stream, closely examining the blue and red mixture that intertwined on the glove.
Voltaire watched the way the two chemicals bonded with each other,it was a phenomenon never before seen in nature. The antaxide embraced the blood as its own,holding it the way a father holds a newborn son.
âHarmony is gorgeous….the natural element of blood embraces Antaxide! The simple substance brings an amazing strength.â
He could feel my body tensing up, it was everything I could do to not lose control over my sanity.
âRelax! The still man always dies the easiest…and an easy death is the dream of everyone,is it not?â
He dragged my arms across the roadway as White Glove held my feet in the air.
The duo rushed me towards the boardwalk at the other side of the street, I was powerless to stop them, my own fear crippled my senses.
I struggled, resisted the pull of the monstrous man above me, but even with the Antax, I couldnât physically break free.
It was too much to bare.
âI donât see your men…am I that big of a prize for you to take alone?â
Three bullets struck the bricks around me, each one landing in the space between my limbs and body.
âA militia of ghosts beats an army of flies, Damienâ
White Glove threw my feet down at the edge of the wooden dock as Voltaire propped my back against a stake.
âIâve been busy since youâve been goneâ
He held a bullet to my face, the silver reflections of light shined in the depths of my cornea.
âBullets made of Antaxide…brilliant isnât it?â He loaded it into his pistol, and held it close to my lips.
âItâs the first bullet of its kind to tear through human tissue without losing momentum. Unlike the conventional bullet, the Antaxide dissolves human flesh, and can puncture the body like a bag.â
The gun pointed at my stomach, his trigger finger set its place upon the gun.
âAnd now that we have you, we can fulfill your reckoning…â
Red dots from nearby snipers shined on my forehead and chest, revealing their untold presence in the shadows of the nearby skyscrapers.
âTry to swim and youâre dead in minutes…â
Voltaireâs bullet flew through my stomach, smashing every organ and bit of flesh in the way.
I didnât realize it at first.
…It was hard to believe….
…but It struck the Antax…
Blood flowed out of this hole in my back, I could feel power being stolen from me.
Voltaire pulled my shoulder over the edge of the dock, and smiled as I fell into the cold water, watching me descended to the Earth.
I slipped into the depths of the Potomac river, the cool of the water against the heat of my injuries paralyzed every thought and sense in my body.
From the surface you could see this light…
…and the longer you watched it…
…the dimmer it grew.
Story by Andrew Purdum
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