Friday, 15 July 2016

Altered: Burning Horizon, Chapter 1






“Lo thee who hath forsaken thy humanity”
-The Rites

PROLOGUE

   “Heavy breathing, gasping, blur vision, people running around, empty, unknown, unseen, unfound. Cold air and darkness creeped in, there was nowhere to run, nor was there anywhere to hide.”

   “Sunset was before me as I looked up, the world of black and white, void of even the slightest color, but a part of me was convinced that the horizon was bursting with it. My sweat was as cold as ice and the heat, as terrible as the desert. You’d wish you’ve never been born”.


Chapter 1

New blood


       Summer break was over after a few months and it felt like I didn’t do anything unusual at all. My definition of unusual would usually mean doing things that I don’t usually do, which might have, in any case, taken its toll on me. Walking towards the campus was like heading towards a cemetery. It was supposed to feel like a start of a new section of my life which I would have to go through, but it’s not what I particularly took interest in. How bad could it be? Not too long ago I was rotting myself away in a place I could barely call home. Dad rarely calls back and the apartment needed some serious repairs. Leaking ceilings and termite infested planks weren’t exactly my type of stuff. Things were pretty straight forward here in Calrock College. You get in to learn, you get out to work. Passing through the hallway I heard someone calling out to me as if I needed a hearing aid badly.
“Kale! Over here!”. A voice that I’ll know in an instant as I slowly turned my head towards its direction.
“It’s been a while man! How are you doing? I can’t believe we’re starting this all over again.”
    With a sigh followed by a burst of laughter, I can assure you that this person who’s talking to me is Wyl Vernest alright. We’ve been friends ever since the start of our college life. Hell, it’s been around two years ever since I’ve met him. Most of my friendships barely last a year if you’re me. Being outspoken attracts too much attention, and attention is the last thing I’d need if I were to make it out alive from this place.
    “I’m fine Wyl, just needed a breather after a long break”
    “A breather? Seriously? Come on you should’ve have done that during “the break” man”, said Wyl as he lightly punched my shoulder. 
Despite my attitude towards anyone I’ve met, Wyl has been a person who has an outgoing and cheerful personality; he seems to be attached to me somehow as much as I give out the  “get lost” vibe. Over those few years I’ve gotten pretty close to him and as annoying as he might be without him even realizing it, he’s a really nice guy.
 “We’re in the same class again by the way”, Wyl smiled widely and gave me that look he’d usually give when we’re choosing our assignment partner.
    “Sure, we’ll be partners again, but this time, I’ll lead”.
I gave a brief smile as he jumped with joy. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it was when everyone was watching your best friend jumping around the corridor beside you. People might even come to the conclusion that we’re dating each other given the fact that we were both pretty faces.
    “Quiet down…you’re a sight for sore eyes right now”.
      At least persuading did the trick, but it rarely does at times. Walking straight into the class we had our books unloaded from our bags and class started as soon as the lecturer came in. I’ve never been a fan of science but dad compelled me take it so that I’d have at least something to work on next time.
   “Biology huh?” I smirked as I turned to Wyl.
He seemed quite enthusiastic about it. One thing that I probably realized ever since Wyl and I got close is that we’re both in similar in some way.
      Wyl was an orphan raised without much care and he’s lived a lonely life, I could relate to him the most. My mother passed away after giving birth to me and my dad rarely came back, he did however, provided my needs whenever I needed them. He’s working as an explorer who uncovers artifacts, if such things even exist. He still gets paid for it so there’s not much of a problem in that matter. Wyl, on the other hand, worked his way to be where he is, I mean, it’s not every day you get to see a person being sponsored by one of the biggest companies in town, T.A.M.E. Testing Alternative Modifications Enterprises, that’s what it stood for. They would usually do research concerning biological enhancements and studies, and its highly funded by the government.
    “Wyl, stop chewing your pen, I can’t concentrate”, I said that a little too loud.
    “Does there seem to be a problem there Mr. Astolis?”, the lecturer seemed as annoyed as I was at Wyl for making chewing sounds
    “No Sir, nothing at all”, I said that as I nudged Wyl.
    “Shall we resume then?” We then continued the class till it was over.
Break time was pretty normal as usual, students walking around here and there finding stuff to fill their stomach’s with. Wyl was just beside me as we were chewing on some bread we bought from the cafeteria. 
    “It strikes me hard when I think about eating, I mean, in the end we’re just animals that talk and think”
    “I thought you were never in to biological stuff Kale”, Wyl slapped my back lightly and chuckled.
   “Well it’s just some deep thought; I don’t do it often anyways”
   “You know what you should do Kale? Stop thinking too much about things, I’d rather have someone hurt my heart than to have someone hurting my brain. Speaking of the heart, have you seen this girl who just enrolled into our class? Her name’s Shiel or something.”
   “You aren’t thinking what I think you’re thinking are you? Wyl was never really good with girls, most of them usually come to him but he isn’t exactly good dealing with emotions.
   “Are you going to approach her?”
   “I don’t know…..she gives out the “hard-to-get” vibe, but who cares right? Wyl bursts into laughter as though he had forgotten what he just said or probably didn’t mean what he said
   “Well I can’t stop you if you want to, just don’t go of breaking another heart again”. I swear if I had one nickname to give to Wyl, it’d be “heart-breaker”, or “emotion destroyer”.
    “Anyway the next class is about to start in a while, better start packing up”
      I caught a glimpse of the new girl Wyl talked about earlier as we walked into class. She had long black silky hair, eyes as blue as ice, skin as fair as snow. Definitely girlfriend material I thought. I was right beside her as we were entering into the lecture hall. To be honest I was pretty nervous. I can’t help being a guy, I admit it. Even so, it’s really hard for me to talk to girls. They’re like a whole different species, science and research can never solve the mysteries of a women’s personality. I mustered all of my courage and spoke to her.
    “Hello there, the name’s Kale”, I tried to sound as friendly as possible, I’d usually scare people of when I introduce myself to them. To my surprise, she replied.
    “Hey there Kale, I’m Shiel, How do you do?” Her accent sounded a little bit American but I really couldn’t tell because she had features that are seemingly Asian.
    “Are you from around here by any chance?” I tried to keep the conversation going so that the both of us wouldn’t end up in some awkward hole.
    “Yeah! I just moved here a few months ago and it’s nice to meet you. You’re the first person who’s introduced himself to me actually”.
    “I thought Wyl would’ve made the first move already” I thought to myself. She was really friendly and suddenly I felt really comfortable talking to her.
   “It’s nice to meet you Shiel, I hope we’ll be able to talk more often”. She gave a giggle that melted my inner being.
    “Sure, see you around!” She ran off into the hall and I was left astounded. For a short while, I remembered how it felt to love someone, and then it disappeared instantly when Wyl jumped from behind to give me a noogie.
    “That’s my boy! Finally Kale! I was waiting for you to do that and boy it was worth a million bucks!”. Wyl thinks I’m going to get married soon. “Why did I have to do that just now” I grumbled to myself.
   “I feel happy for you Kale, it’s not every day get to see you talking to someone else, especially if it’s a girl”. Another slap on the back and if he does the next one I think I’d vomit blood out.
   “Okay Wyl calm down, I just got to know her one minute ago, can we just move along and forget about it?”
   “No worries Kale, I got your back! Rooting for you here!”. That overwhelming optimism is slowly killing me.
   “Sure, whatever, let’s go”.
   Class ended, and whatever was left of me was just a husk lying down feeling the evening sun on my skin under a tree in the field with Wyl.
   “Well I’d better get going Wyl, see you tomorrow” I said as I left waving.
Guess who I saw on the way back? Shiel. The evening ray made her skin glow. I think I’m going insane just by picturing all of these through my eyes. Our eyes met and it was hard for me to look away.
   “Kale! Hello again. Are you heading back home?”
   “I’m dropping by the nearby mart for a while and then heading home. What about you?”
   “Yeap I’m going home too”
   “Have a safe trip back” I told her in a caring tone.
    We both then parted ways as I walked towards the small mart just grab my dinner. As I opened the door of apartment, I was greeted with a warm smile.
   “How was your class today Kale?”. A man around 5 feet tall, walked to the kitchen with groceries in his hands.
   “You bought your dinner already? I forgot to tell you I’ll be around to prepare some food”.
Craig Solace, he’s like an uncle to me. When my dad goes on long expeditions he’d usually be around to on certain days to see me.
     “That’d be great Craig, I’m sick of eating pre-made food”. He gladly started cooking a meal that smelt so good and tasted like it was meant to be served in a 5-star hotel. After our meal we sat down for and had small talks.
     “Kale your father has been really busy lately. He hopes you’ll be able to understand the situation he’s going through right now, especially during this period of time. He knows this period is also a crucial time for you since you’re busy with college and it’s going to determine your future, that’s why I’m here for you.”
“Thanks Craig, I’ll do my best” I said
“Alright, better get some shut eye before midnight; you don’t want to be late for classes do     you?”
    “Sure, I’ll be heading to bed soon. Be sure to lock the door before you leave Craig”. I gave a smile as he went through the doorway. The exhaustion was unbearable. Letting out a gentle moan I hurled myself right onto the bed. Not knowing why or how, but the only thing that was on my mind that very instant was Shiel as I drifted off into a deep slumber.

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