I paced my lab, eager to share my new invention with my partner, Wall-e.
We were both brilliant scientists—and only sixteen years old. By the age of 14, we both had an IQ to rival the likes of Albert Einstein. It was the year 2015. We had made astonishing discoveries that had turned the scientific world on its head, flipped it over, and flushed it down the toilet. For example, we had discovered 492 new elements, only half of which were synthetic. One of our greatest discoveries was the ability for some astral creatures to survive in the vacuum.
However, some things we discovered—we kept to ourselves. Nothing good would come out of those discoveries if we made them well-known. The subatomic particles we discovered that could travel faster than light, to name the least dangerous.
But we didn’t just discover things—we were also inventors. And this project just happened to be our greatest ever.
Impatiently, I called, “Come on Wall-e. I need to show you something.” He entered my lab. He looked disheveled, as if he had stayed up all night.
He probably did, I thought. But if anyone deserves rest, it’s him.
“What is it, Matt?” he asked, his voice strained.
“I’ve done it…” I said, a little overdramatically. “I’ve found a way to reverse the laws of the earth goddess. No longer will we be bound to earth by gravity; nor limited by our disability to only breathe oxygen. We will colonize the shores of Eros, fly to new heights, and--” I grinned. “—the best part is, we can go skydiving! And not just ordinary skydiving; with my machine, we can float up high in the atmosphere in zero gravity, then return gravity—but magnify it times ten. We’ll make the fallen angel descent. Then, just as we’re about to hit the ground, we’ll change back to zero gravity—all with the push of this button.” I showed him my remote control. It was lined with thousands of buttons, each with a different command.
“That is amazing!” Wall-e said, with an expression of pure delight.
I nodded, pleased by his reaction. “But the thing that worries me is—” I began, but Wall-e cut me off.
“I know what you are going to say,” he said, just the slightest hint of menace in his voice. “It will affect mankind, possibly poison its very roots; it will destroy Earth as we know it. But—” His eyes glinted. “We need a new Earth anyway.”
I stared at him in shock. For a moment I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. He had never acted like this before.
“You’re crazy,” I said, a steely calm overtaking me.
“No,” he said, “It is you who are blind. Don’t you see? Mankind has been corrupted. Why are we inventing things to help mankind? They don’t deserve our help. We should destroy those pathetic mortals!”
“You say “mortals” as if you weren’t one,” I said, backing away, slowly, as to not draw his attention.
He grinned. “How perceptive of you,” he said. He noticed me backing away. “Oh, no you don’t,” he said, and shot me in the arm with a plasma rifle he had just grabbed from the table behind him. I didn’t know why I kept weapons in this lab. I cursed. He had noticed me trying to get one of my inventions from the cabinet.
“Well,” he said, his mouth fixed in a snarl. “It doesn’t look like you share my view. We’ll see who’s stronger now.” He motioned me towards the cabinet. “Go ahead and get any weapon of your choice.”
I studied his face, trying to see if there was deception written on his face. Surprisingly, there wasn’t. Unsure of what to do, I grabbed a handgun off the rack. But, when he wasn’t looking, I slipped my lightning-shaped dagger up my sleeve.
“You ready, brah?” he asked, his expression not fierce at all, but I knew better.
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” I said, and shot him in the chest. He conjured up a thin wall of plasma that deflected the shot. I had forgotten he could do that. He had learned that when we had almost died back in the seventh dimension. I wouldn’t call it magic, exactly. It was more like utilizing science in a magic-like way. So, all these years, what we have been calling “alchemy” and “magic” were really just people utilizing science to their own benefits.
But he wasn’t the only one that had some tricks up his sleeve. I concentrated on the matter around me. I just had to generate enough force…
Wall-e realized what I was doing, and tried to maneuver out of the way. But it was too late. I slowed down the atoms, turning gas into liquid, and launched the air at Wall-e, the atoms changing state. When it hit Wall-e, it was liquid nitrogen.
When the mist cleared up, he wasn’t frozen solid, unfortunately. But the attack had replaced his cocky smile with a thin slash of determination.
“Open!” I yelled. The domed ceiling started splitting, giving way to the bright glow of the Milky Way galaxy.
The movement distracted Wall-e, leaving him susceptible to my attack. I took aim briefly, and then fired. But I hesitated for a fraction of a second, giving Wall-e enough time to evade the beam of plasma.
“Come at me, brah,” he taunted, holding his plasma rifle loosely at his side.
I gritted my teeth. He was never the type that could keep their mouth shut.
For a minute, we stayed like that, neither of us giving an inch. Wall-e suddenly leapt at me with astonishing speed.
I twisted to the right, his shoulder scraping against mine. Sharp pain exploded when they touched.
The poison pads, I thought. I turned around, just to see him coming at me again. I tried to dodge it, but his shoulder rammed against my chest, sending me flying into a wall. Strangely, I wasn’t in pain. But when I looked down, I saw a nasty green color spreading across my chest.
Poison, I thought numbly.
Wall-e stood before me, panting. I tried to stand up, but it was too much. I collapsed to the floor again.
“Is that all you got?” I didn’t recognize my own, numb voice. Suddenly, I was standing up, feeling energized and ready to go.
“No,” he said, grinning. “But it looks like that’s all you got.” He pulled out his dagger. It was black, jagged, and altogether terrifying.
“σπάθη νύχτα,” I breathed. Night saber.
“That’s right,” he said, grinning wickedly.
“You wouldn’t,” I said, not believing my own words.
He raised an eyebrow. “Try me.”
“B-but,” I stammered. “It’ll take my soul, wipe me from existence!”
“That’s the idea.”
“You’re a twisted, heartless monster bent on destroying mankind!”
He laughed cruelly. “Finally, it clicks.”
“I can’t believe I was ever your friend,” I growled, and leapt for his throat with my own dagger, fueled by a sudden, inexplicable energy.
He blocked my dagger aside with ease. I ignored the poison spreading through my bloodstream. If I was going down, he was going with me. He swung carelessly at my arm, but I was sure to be well away from that blade. One touch from it and it would take my soul.
“Less talking and more fighting,” I snarled, and stabbed him in the shoulder.
He howled in pain.
“You will pay for that,” he said, gritting his teeth.
“How so?” I asked, dodging his clumsy swing.
“Like this!” He slashed at my ribcage, missing me by a hair’s breadth.
“You missed,” I taunted him.
“Oh really?” he asked, and then slashed me across my face. I felt a stinging pain on my cheek where Wall-e’s dagger had cut me.
Already, I could feel my entire life-force fading away, my soul being taken by σπάθη νύχτα. I had failed. With me out of the way, nothing would stand between Wall-e and a new, terrible world order.
I had to get to the machine.
I limped towards where it sat, holding my cheek.
But, before I could reach it, Wall-e appeared next to me. He grabbed me by the arm and threw me at the ground.
I lay there, writhing in agony as he sent another soul-taking slash my way.
“Just—one—thing—” I began, my breath coming in ragged gasps. “Why?”
He stared at me. “You know why,” he whispered.
I desperately clutched my dagger.
“If—I’m—going—to—die—today, then—I—am—taking—you—with—me.” And with that, I thrust the dagger into his heart. He glanced down uncompreh-endingly. Blood poured out of the wound, making the air taste metallic.
In slow motion, he fell. Mankind was safe—for now. But I could hardly say the same about me. In just another moment, my soul would be extinguished, wiping me off the face of the universe.
The little satisfaction I held over Wall-e’s death was mixed with bitter anger and regret.
My life started flashing before my eyes. At least the pain was gone. I stood death in the face, not afraid at all.
“Go,” a voice said. “You are free.”
I was free. Free from this world. Free from all the pains it held.
And I lay on the ground, waiting peacefully for the death that was sure to come.
I closed my eyes, not caring anymore. Death was inevitable. The only thing I could do was embrace it.
It was over—all over. And I didn’t care.