Moving with great difficulty, Mykala neared a dust-crusted window. The place seemed familiar. Swiping his hand across the window he found a hollowed pair of eyes staring at him. Startled, he realized it was his own reflection. He peered through the glass. Old food lay spilled on the floor, covered in mold and insects; broken dinnerware and furniture was strewn about. Several dead bodies, rotted to the bone drew his attention. Horrified, breathing hard, he fought to maintain control.
A loud commotion broke out down the street. Mykala turned toward it and stumbled along, carefully plotting his every step, knowing he might not be able to stand if he fell. As he moved closer to the crowd he realized the commotion seemed to be over a pile of bones. A man was trying to remove a purple studded ring from a skeletal hand among the pile. Try as he might, the ring would not budge and the man fell to his knees, his arms collapsed to his side and he toppled over smacking his head on the pavement. Mykala watched as he breathes his last.
Mykala wanted to cry, to scream out, but somehow kept his composure. Everyone nearby began to murmur and cough violently. Mykala could feel his own chest tightening from the stress of the situation. He stared at the dead man and then at the ring. A name came to mind, Iy’Rene. Iy’Rene was Mykala’s wife. He recalled her emerald green eyes but the rest of her face was a blur. He knew he had to get home and find out if she was alive.
Mykala, like a few others, possessed a powerful ability known as transient. This allowed them to travel between space. While between space they merely had to imagine their destination and they would appear there. The ability could only be handed down from one willing person to a willing recipient. Days before passing away, Mykala’s greater father had passed the gift onto him. Mykala opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by a fit of violent coughing. His throat was so parched he could barely breathe, let alone speak.
He tried again, barely whispering, “Transient home.”
Blackness filled his vision. Within the blackness images flashed past. Not only was his body weak, his mind was also. Struggling to focus on his home, eventually he found it in his mind. Soon he felt a solid surface beneath his feet, but everything remained pitch black. Mykala took a small step forward. Confused he took another step. Normally the entire house would recognize him and would turn on the lights. Something was amiss.
Taking a few more cautious steps Mykala bumped into a hard surface. He felt the surface and found a handle. Pulling on the handle he opened a drawer. He rummaged around it until he found a familiar circular device. He put the device on his wrist and it stuck to his skin.
Lifting the device to his lips he whispered softly, “Illuminate.”
A beam of light allowed Mykala to look around. The kitchen was clean and neat, aside from being covered in white dust. His stomach sank as he realized his house had been abandoned for some time. What that meant for Iy’Rene, Mykala did not know. On the stove top rested a few pans, the food spoiled. As Mykala stared at the stove bugs scattered. Then he remembered: he had been preparing food for Iy’Rene. He had made plans for a special night, and on the all-glass dining table rested two ornate plates with two fragile wine glasses and an old fashioned wax candle. Mykala had spent two months trying to secure that one candle for Iy’Rene. She loved rare items, regardless of value. The candle was simple, white, and yet smelled like a valley of grass with a fresh spring. Despite its simplicity, the practice of collecting the materials and making wax had been all but abandoned. Mykala grimaced and turned away.
As Mykala pinched the light source on his wrist and brought his fingers overhead a direct beam of light followed his hand. As he opened his hand a bright orb of light shone in the air. The light was being fed by a thin particle beam from Mykala’s device and it lit up the entire room.
He needed a drink. Turning to the fridge he placed his hand on a small panel on a white marble wall and the wall became translucent, then it vanished. He sighed, thankful its power source was still good. On one of the shelves was a small metallic bottle with a digital display. He grabbed for it and checked the read out, ‘134’. The bottle held highly compressed, purified water molecules that restructured into regular drinking water upon tipping the bottle. This bottle held enough water to last weeks and Mykala was exceptionally proud of it. After all he had developed much of the technology behind the bottle. Now the accomplishment seemed small in comparison to the situation he was in. He opened the bottle and drank just enough to wet his mouth. Mykala knew not to drink too much too quickly.
He moved toward a chair and collapsed into it. His feet stung so badly that Mykala cried just a little. Even so, not a single tear would form. Mykala sipped more of the water before pulling one foot onto his lap. He struggled with the tattered shoe. His foot was almost completely black and purple. He pulled up his pants enough to see his calf. Dark purple veins webbed on his legs and made impressions on his skin. Mykala knew that he had clearly been on his feet without rest for a long time. But just how long was a mystery. He sat for nearly an hour, taking small sips of water and thinking about what had happened. Already he was feeling better, and worked noisily to clear his throat. With his feet aching, he stood up from the chair.
Mykala brought his hand down on the light source and it returned to its previous setting. He moved from the kitchen into the living area. The space was large and open, with a sectional couch, formed into a half circle. The sections could also be individual seats with fold up arms and each one capable of reclining. The carpet, originally soft enough to sleep on, was now crusted with dust. Coffee tables with ornamental decorations were placed about the room and everything seemed focused on a single stand holding a large white ball. The ball glowed softly then shot to life. A large screen filled one end of the room and followed Mykala as he passed by. As he stared at the screen, he wondered where the news was. Normally when the viewing screen turned on it would auto tune to news. Across the bottom of the screen a message read, ‘Please Standby’.
Mykala took another sip of water and cleared his throat again. He took in a deep breath and just above a whisper called out for Iy’Rene. He tried again, louder. He waited for a response. When nothing came he started for the exit of the living space where the stairs were. But before he reached the stairs something caught his eye, a white piece of fabric. Mykala’s heart pounded as he moved in closer. He recognized the small strip of fabric as being part of a dress from his wife. It was her favorite dress and his favorite too. It made her eyes sparkle and left enough to the imagination to make her all that more desirable. Mykala wanted to just turn around, to look elsewhere. He prayed she was alive, but clearly her dress laid at the bottom of the steps. The only question remaining for Mykala was if his wife was in that dress.
Mykala took a deep breath and stepped forward. He no sooner did and his strength vanished. He fell hard to his knees. Within the dress was his wife. Mykala knew it was her because of the ring on her hand and the earrings that laid next her head. She had been gone long enough to have nothing remain of her beauty. He tried to cry, but was cut short by more tightness in his chest. He clutched at his chest and fell sideways.
The pain was unbelievable and yet Mykala could only think about her. Quickly, everything faded, even the memory of her emerald green eyes and Mykala felt nothing but blissful whiteness overtaking him. a new light, different than the whiteness that Mykala last recalled. This light was duller and less warming. He squinted open his eyes at an old sun lamp shining on him. He about jumped at the motion of a small machine crawling over his chest, but he found himself strapped to a bed. He recognized the machine, one of many emergency medical droids. The machine stopped and looked at a device embedded in his left chest. Mykala tried to look at it, but even his head had been strapped down.
The machine then glanced at Mykala and Mykala asked, “Where am I?” Immediately Mykala realized his throat no longer hurt and he was feeling far better. The machine leapt from Mykala’s chest and ran out a nearby door and Mykala rolled his eyes. He tried to look at the item in his chest but could not. He knew it was triangular, but not much else.
A knocking on the door revealed a familiar face. Though he had lost a lot of weight and appeared fit, Mykala could never forget the red beard. It was the darkest red beard he had ever seen and Mykala felt tearful at the sight of an old friend.
“Hey. . .” was all his friend said.
“It’s me, Alex, why are you looking at me like that?” Mykala said, as his friend appeared hesitant to approach him.
“How can I know that?” Alex was unsure.
Mykala grimaced and said, “Transient.”
Mykala’s body broke down and came together beside the bed. Already Alex had a weapon locked on Mykala and his eyes were wide with fear.
“Alex, calm down. I don’t know what is happenin-” Mykala’s eyes went wide as he remembered his wife. “Iy’Rene!” he called out and broke down, sobbing.
Alex quickly lowered his weapon and wrapped Mykala in his arms as he carefully laid him back on the bed. Mykala turned sideways on the bed and curled up, hugging himself.
“Why couldn’t you just let me die?” Mykala asked, “Why?!”
Alex wiped his own tears away and replied, “I’m sorry. . .” He gave Mykala’s shoulder a squeeze and left the room.
A while later Mykala sat up. He realized he should not have yelled at his friend. Noticing a mirror at the end of the bed he got up. In his reflection Mykala noticed the triangle upon his left chest. It was metallic and embedded into his skin. Within the triangle was a small circle that was warm to the touch. The piece felt like flesh, but was clearly not, and Mykala knew what it was. Panicking, he pushed open the door leading from his room. He stumbled down a long hall that seemed to twist on him until an aroma of food overcame his senses. A dull light flickered from one of the rooms and Mykala walked in on Alex and the medic droid preparing food.
“What is this?!” Mykala called out as he stumbled toward the island countertop.
Alex glanced at the droid and asked, “What is what?”
Mykala exclaimed while pointing at his chest, “This!”
Alex sighed as he helped Mykala over to a chair.
“That is ah, well. . .umm, it saved your life.” Alex did not know how to explain it.
The droid crawled over onto Mykala’s lap and tapped it then began to speak, “It is a Multifunctional Life Sustaining Nanite Assimilator.”
Mykala pushed the machine onto the floor and replied, “I know what it is, I just wanted to make sure you were aware.” Mykala sighed, “I’m sorry Alex-“
Alex interrupted, “You have nothing to be sorry about. You have had one rude awakening.”
Mykala tapped on his device and said, “I wasn’t aware they had actually made these.”
The droid interjected, “That is the prototype.”
“How did you get your hands on one?” Mykala asked skeptically.
Alex rubbed the back of his neck and said, “The whole world went up in flames and I came out in the aftermath. First place I went was to that fancy science lab you worked at. I found that, and gizmo over here. I also found many other things that took several trips. But I’m glad I found that, you’d be dead without it.”
Gizmo climbed up onto Alex’s shoulder and said, “Your heart was unusable, as was many of your veins. Even your lungs had become so badly corroded from dust and ash that they would have ceased functioning in the matter of hours. I had no choice but to remove them and install the M.L.S.N.A.” The droid looked at Alex who nodded, “Likewise, all of both your feet and fifteen percent of your legs were ruined. I had to remove everything except the bones. I programmed the nanites to rebuild your feet.”
Mykala nodded, “I just have two questions: What happened and how long have I been out for?”
Alex stood up and said, “The easiest one first, eh? You have been out for close to three weeks.”
Mykala nodded, “That long huh?”
“Yeah. Now the hard thing. Hmm. . .Oh, I know!” Alex jumped from his chair and ran out of the room. He came running back in with a cube in hand and slapped it down on the counter top.
“Playback last recording”, Alex said as the box projected an image into the air.
A news anchor, one Mykala recognized, appeared startled as he talked:
As you can see this is complete madness behind me. People are panicking and trying to find shelter. We don’t know how it happened or what is causing it, but we do know it is affecting all of Dimeiron. People just turned on one another, viciously attacking without remorse.
Some of the first reports came in thinking that these people have had the recognition centers of their minds turned off, and adrenaline is running at full. But we now know these people fully recognize their loved ones, instead becoming more violent toward them. We also know that-
Wait, wait, look here. They’re attacking more civilians! This is horrible!
Dozens of enraged people were running, leaping at other people. Most were being attacked by multiple attackers, getting their heads beaten or being clawed at and ripped apart. Mykala grew sick but could not turn away. Suddenly the news reporter looked terrified as some of the attackers turned toward them. The camera crew and the reporter ran, causing the image to swing, occasionally swinging to show their chasers closing in. The crew made it to a vehicle but the sound of glass shattering echoed in the room. The camera turned in time to see the reporter being ripped from his seat and out the broken window. Gurgled screams could be heard and the last image was that of a blood covered man climbing in, his eyes twisted and cracked with veins.