Where on whatever planet it this place? It’s a godforsaken place!
Kyle looked all around him. There were thick trees all around him; all the trees were thickly leafed with variants of green. It formed a canopy. For miles and miles, he couldn’t see any ray of sunshine.
“Where am I?” Kyle murmured to himself, sitting cross legged. “Did I really get the abilities? The god seemed to have given me all that I wanted, though.”
Now to test the ability, he thought.
All of a sudden a black status screen appeared in front of him. It was glassy and thin.
–Superhuman: Superhuman enhanced.
–Arsenal: conjuring gun, knife.
“What the fuck! What the actual fuck…” he repeated to himself, “That god… basically made me enter the bottom of the fucking food chain! Ah, I can’t wait to give that god a good one…”
He looked at his palms; little bits of wet dirt were stuck to his palms, from cushioning the fall.
Making a fist, he roared “Break!” and punched the solid ground as hard as he could. The skin on fist tore open, as bright red coupled with the wetness of the grass diluted his dark hands, but he paid no attention to it. He couldn’t pay attention to it, as the ground beneath him crumbled down like shattered glass, piece by piece.
He wasn’t aware of it, till he felt the gravity overwhelm him. Flying debris of rock and dust cut him and caked him with the dusty wind. He was lucky that no bigger shard of rock or earth fell on him; else there would have been no escape.
He had punched the ground, making a hole, about three feet deep, and five feet in diameter.
Whoa! Is this the super strength I had written down? This is nuts! Perfect!
It is then that he realized that his knuckles hurt, as salty sweat trickled into the wound, making him wince and grind his teeth. What now?
His head began to feel wobbly.
The status screen floated in front of him again. It had a red light, flickering like a tiny bulb: Rest! Low on manna! Rest!
Huh? Low on manna? What is this bull crap? Ah, he smirked and laughed helplessly, of course… How could I forget? This is a game to that god… How do they recharge stuff like manna here? Are there potions? Are they going to have some super natural charger plugged into my ass or something? The games never stop with this god? He thought to himself.
As he thought, the heaviness in his head pressed him down further, making him grab his head.
If I die no, I swear to god, I will kill him… I really will.
His vision blurred out, and he felt his body getting warm and light.
The white clouds were gradually replaced by grey ones and then black ones; it began drizzling, softly like a sweet spring rain at first till it became the zesty summer tempest. Rain drummed into Kyle’s face, making him blink away the water.
“Huh,” he mouthed, So, I’m alive?
He checked the status screen again. It was green, but not quite full.
At least I’m better now… I wonder how long have I been out?
He stood up; the wound on his knuckles had healed remarkably. He was definitely much better than when he had passed out. It was a wonder than no one discovered him, particularly with the sudden tearing away of the forest floor with a single punch. Fate must have favored him.
As he stretched himself and warmed up his body amidst the hard pellets of rain, he remembered something.
“Wait! I have another skill!” he cried out and whipped out the status screen again. Yes, he was right. It was right there, in front of his eyes: Arsenal: Conjuring gun, knife. He gave out a shrill sound of laughter, “Oh, Seraphiel was right, I am a fool…”
He smiled at his ingenious and willed the knife to be summoned. The knife appeared in his hand, and he wielded it, played with it for a while. He was already good with handling weapons like knives or guns. He learnt how to handle the knife when he was at the old orphanage, taught by one of the older boys rescued from a circus. He was brought there after the strange disappearance of his parents when he was only ten.
The disappearance of his parents, for whatever reason, was the best thing that had happened to him in his childhood because it meant that it was a stop to the abuse and rape. The other boys in the orphanage cried almost every night for their mothers or grandmothers, or anyone; it seemed to him that he was the only one who preferred this run down orphanage over living with adults. At least they didn’t beat you up there.
“Brings back memories… this knife…” he said with a smile, and looked at it. As realization hit him, his face darkened into a frown, “That god is screwed up somewhere… what will I do with a Fixation Bowie?” he laughed, “Fillet fishes? Kill undead zombies? Oh well, something is better than nothing.”
Speaking of fishes, I’m hungry…
A Fixation Bowie was not a bad weapon for a start, but for Kyle who was only experienced with throwing knives for entertainment, and not jutting knives into the systems of other people’s flesh. He was aware that the Fixation Bowie was one of the best for a survival game, but he had never used it before and though he liked how it looked, it came off as a surprise. Maybe Fate wasn’t so bad… or was it the god?
He repelled the knife back and sat down on a crevice, which was apparently also created by his super punch.
He had never liked the wild, and had always passed on the camping trips saying they were too pricy and all that, but he didn’t have an affinity to it. But he knew a bit or two about survival in the wild: Pick berries! He laughed at the thought. He might have an aversion to the wild, but he had been out for such trips as he was a member in the scout’s team in high school, which was also one of the credentials that made him get an admission into a university.
He jumped up in a momentary excitement, and slipped on the wet earth. He waited for hours till the rain softened its orchestra. The smell of the after- rain earth was soothing to Kyle. He felt relaxed and better and began climbing up the small pit with his bare hands and legs. He was a little exhausted, with the slippery earth and the sharp edges of the rocks that cut his arms.
“How long will it take to reach level 10?” he said aloud, “It’s making me aggravated! Go to hell, restriction system!”
He fell asleep, under the rain fed air and wet dirt and grass.
The next time he awoke, it was by the warm rays of the sun over his ragged face and body. He whipped out the status screen, checking his manna again. He smirked at how half empty it was. Manna can’t get refilled only by sleep. He knew he needed some nourishment, too. Only, he felt weak with a hungry stomach.
The sun had kissed him dry in his sleep. His clothes were all dry, and warm, as if they were just ironed.
He slowly strolled around the bower, looking for fruits or berries that he could perhaps fill his stomach with; or, if he was in luck, he could find some small animal or bird to eat. All he needed to do was find one, he knew he had access to a knife and had super strength.
Super strength Wait… it makes sense now! He stood still to think, an over powered ability like super strength or other absolute power abilities only means that they require higher manna. And with manna in level 1, it is basically out of the question to use it. What’s the point of dying due to overuse of manna in one move?
He nodded to himself. He resolved to rely on the knife for a while, till he was strong enough to use at least two super strength moves and still survive. As he thought, he noticed clusters of red berries at a creek at some distance. Keeping his eyes to it, he walked towards it; the walk turned into a low paced stride till he was running towards the alluring red berries. They looked attractive to him, so very juicy, so delicious and so fulfilling. The thought of those grand clusters were fuelling him to run to it.
Kyle started climbing the low creek and with a strength he didn’t know he still possessed, he flung himself to the creek. The creek was filled with such red clusters, advertising themselves to his pair of hungry brown eyes. He was hungry, but he was also cautious; if he learnt anything from life, it was to be wary of every single thing.
Is it edible? There’s only one way to find out!
He plucked one berry, smelled it and in a quick motion popped it into his mouth. It exploded into a sweet flavor, almost as intoxicating as wine, but not quite the same; it lacked the alcoholic content and of course, the elegance and sophistication of wine. Dudes like Kyle were more naturally disposed towards brandy and rum over wine. He enjoyed the berries, nevertheless.
After filling his mouth with clusters of berries and the subsequent sweetness filling his soul, cluster by cluster, he sat down. He was fuller with the liquid content of it, than the substance of the red berries. He decided to go human player hunting, after all, that was his only purpose: to eliminate all other players and give a good show to the god.
He stood up and started walking away.
What if I don’t get anything to eat for days? I’ll be easy prey to anyone who happens to be on a higher level, damn that lock system… I should probably take some berries with me.
So he returned again; he stood in front of the bushes and trees and smiled at the plants. The smile showed the redness of the berries at the edges of his lips. He tried to break off one of the branches of the bushes, but the vine was too sturdy. It wouldn’t budge no matter how hard he pulled or tried to break off.
“You leave me no choice, peasant,” he said, pretending to be a king. He tried to conjure out his knife. It was out of purpose, but he thought he could summon only that Fixation Bowie at that time, and something was definitely better than nothing. He couldn’t just use some kind of blunt flint all of a sudden to break off an obstinate vine.
He tried as hard as he could, but nothing happened.
What the fuck? He quickly checked the status screen. He read through his basics and then he read aloud, “Super strength Status: Cold down. Arsenal, Knife Status: Cool down” he gave out a bitter laugh, “Hah! Cool Down! Cool Down my ass!” he looked at it again. An entire month to cool down! He gave out a massive cry of disbelief. He felt cheated. “What? You want me to get killed!” he looked up at the cloudless and starless night sky, and began yelling and stamping, “You know what you are? You’re a cheat! A bloody cheat! I hate you. I freaking hate you!”
He continued the lunatic stamping and yelling till his throat felt hoarse and brittle. He was very bitter with the turn of events. He grabbed some berries and in a hurry, shoved them into his mouth; he was forcing himself to swallow those berries, gagging himself in the process. He choked and puked out the red liquid. The aftertaste felt so bitter, he spat on the ground.
After he calmed down a little, he became a rational man again. He definitely needed to carry some berries, in case of unforeseen circumstances such as hunger and thirst. He began collecting the berries, squeezing some in the process. The juices squirted out of the overripe berries, staining his hands red and sticky.
He began going deeper among the bushes and trees of the red berries. Before he realized it, he was very deep into it, he turned back but was not sure of the way out. He shrugged it off.
It would be impossible to find my way back this way… even the moon is not out. Why must it be a new moon night?
He thought he heard the sound of water flowing gently. He was sure. Deciding to follow his senses, he followed the sound of the flowing water. What was it? Was it a river, or just a stream… merely a tributary into a river?
But as he approached the sound, he realized it wasn’t just a tributary; and it wasn’t the sound of a river flowing that attracted him; it was the gushing of a small waterfall that was making all that sound. He felt good to see a waterfall. Back on earth, he grew up in the middle of a city with nothing like a waterfall. In a way, it was… refreshing.
He checked his status screen again. He was fully energized and his manna showed a full green. He was glad that he had eaten those red berries.
That’s more like it, he grinned.
All of a sudden, he felt the presence of something much, much bigger than him. A shiver ran down his spine. For the first time in years, he felt that same sensation of being cornered. He didn’t dare turn his head back. And he didn’t need to, moments later, he heard a massive roar! He creaked his head slowly, as if hanging on hinges and his eyes were open wide; the pupils into tiny dots, scared out of his wits. He trembled under the inanimate stare of the bear.
He quickly crept out, half running; he held his breath and suddenly remembered his other skill… the gun. But what if the gun turns out to be just an air gun? He couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong at that moment. He decided to give it a try anyway, and willed himself to conjure a gun: And he beheld, a Glock 19! He remembered the shooting test back with the scouts. This wasn’t the same kind, but something was better than nothing. Besides, it was a handgun used by the detective department in New York City. It had to have some merit.
The bear roared again and approached him.
This bear could tear him to minuscule shreds in a matter of seconds, he knew that. He was familiar with this feeling of fear of death. But he wasn’t scared. He had never been scared of death; and sometimes thought Death is perhaps the best gift to Humanity.
He lifted his trembling hands and fired once, which missed the mark.
Shit! Work, my hands! My fingers! Work… dammit!
He shot again, with his hands trembling, and fired off target again.
The bear, getting furious, began to get to close to Kyle. He ran, with legs weak and waving like seaweed. He ran in the wrong direction: towards the fall. As he was chased by the bear, he fired a volley of shots… four shots till there were no longer any bullets. The bear almost scratched his back, faintly grazing his skin. It stung like Sulphur.
He lept down the fall, falling faster than he had imagined he would. This is the real sky diving!
He flailed as he hit the water. He was lucky the current was not strong. However, his legs couldn’t move, they were just useless attachments to him at that moment. He felt cramped up, his arms moving like a dying fish. He swallowed some water, and then he breathed in the water. Water was everywhere. The fall wasn’t hard, but he was tired. He bled from his back, the water turning a little red and green due to it.
Am I really dying? Do I really deserve this? I probably do… who am I anyway? Ah… I was already dead, anyway. It was good while it lasted… so long, world.
After a while, he stopped struggling. He embraced the idea of a death and strangely felt at peace with himself. He thought he saw a white light. And then everything faded away. The breathlessness disappeared and he felt good.
But he didn’t die.
He tasted something good. Not exactly the red berries, but maybe a refined version of the same berries. He swallowed it. His lips felt dry and chapped. When he opened his eyes, he saw a woman. She was beautiful. He wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead. She had large and inquisitive bluish violet eyes and light lavender hair. He wondered whether her hair was real, or if she even was real. He wasn’t even sure of his own existence anymore.
“Are you all right?” she said, as soon as she realized that he was awake. “You took a terrible blow, but you’re okay now.”
Her voice was calm, soothing. It wasn’t the sweet and sharp kind of voice, rather… it was soulful.
“Where am I?” he said, trying to get up. She stopped him.
“No, you’re still wounded!” she cried, “Don’t move yet. I’m still making your medicine, take that and then you may get up.”
He glanced at the paste she was making with some herbs he had never seen before. She returned to her work of medicine making, and Kyle watched her. Her proportions were magnificently correct, nice round ass and the breasts he thought existed only in porn. Her skin looked smooth and clear. She was healthy, with the right amount of muscles and fats, and most of all healthy parts that mattered.
She can’t be real, he thought with a smile and closed his eyes again, She can’t possibly real… that means, I’m dead, but dying is worth it if she’s there… he laughed.
“Are you an angel?” he said, “Am I dead? Is your god Lord Kurios here?”
“What’s that?” she said, “I’m Aiyana. Not Angel. You’re not dead. You’re very alive, like Me.” she took his hand and placed it on her cheek, “Your flesh is alive, like my flesh.”
He felt his face getting hot. It wasn’t the first time touching a girl’s face… but it was different that time. All the girls he knew didn’t look so unbothered and innocent when he touched them, even if it was just the cheek. The innocence touched him.
He nodded with a smile. You’re nothing less of an angel to me, Aiyana.