Chapter 0:

Prologue: Curiosity

Forbidden Words

I was walking in a hallway slowly still, the sound of my steps echoing around the hallway, holding up my gun that is ready to fire anytime I need to. The hallway leads to two rooms. It’s either I go left or I go right.

“Those rooms are both storage rooms. There’s no other door or window there that can be your exit.” I said out loud but I did not get any reply.

I stopped one step before the front of the doors facing each other. I tried to listen if there was any sound behind either of the two doors but failed to hear any.

“Hey kid, let’s stop this game. Both of the rooms are small so I won’t need to search for a long time, so if I’m wrong, I can quickly go to another room or chase you quickly if I hear you running from the other room.” Still no reply. “I don’t know why you’re here, this is not the most important place but still there are rules that prohibit you from entering here, so you just better surrender yourself now, so then I can help you lighten the punishment.”

No reply, so time to choose a door now. While pointing the gun to the right door, I kicked it and paused for a second. There’s no reaction in the left room so I proceeded to the right and slowly stepped forward.

The room is dark, but since the door is still open, I’m able to see the stacked item inside. I look around carefully while still on the door, there’s no sign of any item being swept forcefully, a hint I can get that the kid tried to search for somewhere to hide. I was about to check the other door when a loud sound surprised me.


I was startled. But before I could move again, the other door immediately opened, then a kick from the inside slammed me to the end of the hallway, the wall. It was from the kid I was searching for; I saw his grey cargo pants earlier before he could fully hide from me so I know. It’s not that strong but my back hitting the wall is the damage that caused me to stagger a little.

He then followed it with a right punch, but I managed to dodge, causing him to step back, but after a quick look at the gun I was holding he changed his mind and tried to continue the fist fight.

From below, I shoulder tackled him but he evaded to my right, grabbed my back and used all his force to kick me with his knee then strike the back of my head with his elbow. That resulted in me letting the gun out of my hands. As soon as the gun dropped on the floor, he used his right foot to step on the gun and slide it to the room on his back, the room he came from but instead of following it up, he backed off some distance.

“Now we’re equal.” He smirked and posed a fighting stance with his left hand and foot forward. His face shows he is relaxed but his fists that were clenched shows that he is ready for a real fistfight this time.

I stood up while smiling. “Now that’s bothering to hear that from a kid your age. You really think you can do everything just because you happen to succeed at first but please remember that you just caught me off guard.” I also pose the same stance but with my hands open, ready to grab him and teach him the difference of his knowledge and my experience.

“Catching someone off guard is a tactic in real battle too though.” He said mockingly.

He started with a right hook, and I countered with an attempt to grab the hand, but he stopped and struck with his left fist instead. I managed to avoid it but not completely, I felt a graze on my right cheek. Using my right hand, I quickly held his open left arm and struck his chest with open palm.

I knew he felt it given his twisted face, but given that this kid looked like he knows what he’s doing and is actually planning on something after he subjugated me, I needed to knock him off. Using the same left hand I struck him with, I grabbed the collar of his black jacket and smacked him to the wall.

He coughed, but he still had some energy to still stand and look at me. “Why did you come here, kid?” I asked, trying to get something before I totally knocked him off. “Did you hear the gunshot? I’m guessing that’s my subordinate firing a warning shot to your friends, it’s just one shot, I guess they’re already done. Better surrender yourself before this leads to a far worse result.”

This time, he smiled. “Worse result? And what could that be?” The left arm I was holding twisted a little, and when I looked at it, a knife appeared attached in front of his palm. It feels like he gave it his all to strike it down and slash me with it. I instinctively backed off and let out his hand and collar from my grasp, but I wasn’t safe, I still took a slash wound.

“Say, what was the worst result you were talking about?” Instead of attacking, he circled to his right, still facing me, he closed the door. “Sorry, I was lying when I told you we’re equal. But actually I really thought I could deal with you without using a knife, so I think I was also honest there. Or was it half-half?”

“You really talk too much don’t you? Don’t you know what you’re doing right now can endanger your life?” It looks like he won’t let me get the gun from the storage room by closing it so instead of closing in trying to get near the room, I went farther to the hallway but not more than the reach of my feet in case he actually tried to get the gun inside. This should help me get a read more on what he may do and react better too. “After this, you might have several broken bones and even a stab or a slash from your own knife. I’m still giving you some chances, you know.”

“That’s so good of you mister but I think I will decline your kind offer. You see, I’m trying something here, and if I succeed, broken bones, a slash or even a stab is a small price to pay as long as I can live and share my discovery.”

“Curiosity, huh? Many did die because of that.” That ended our longest conversation. I faked a tackle and checked his reaction.

He swung the knife down trying to actually slash me. But as soon as it’s down, I kicked with my left foot. He evaded to his left side and got near me. He threw his left hand to me trying to stab me, but that was a perfect position for me to hold his left wrist and his collar again, this time a shoulder throw to take him down to the ground. He gasped in pain.

As fast as I could, I mounted him and forced to stab his left shoulder using his own knife. His face showed how much it did hurt him.

“Have you learned your lesson now? You are at that age and you still can’t stop deluding. You really thought having some puny knife and using that street fighting is comparable to a professional? My son is better than you. He knows his limits clearly.” I took out a handcuff from my back and locked it on his right wrist. “What are you even thinking about lurking here for? There’s no important secret to discover here, just some regular armories and supplies.”

He regained his composure and showed his condescending smile again. “That was a good lesson mister, I’m sure to remember that as you turn me over. Not that I’ll actually be turned over easily though, I have some friends you see. I can just get out of the transport before I can even read my prison room number. Then as valuable as what you taught me, maybe I can visit your son some day and teach him that too. I think he also needs to know it while growing up.”

I remembered my son smiling and waving his hand before I came back here for my job. “You said even a stab is nothing, let alone some broken bones and slashes. So you won’t complain if I move your knife and widen your wound, or just break all your four limbs, right? Actually those are healable… So should I kill you here instead?”

Even without looking in a mirror, I know my face looks the scariest I can show. But that did not falter him, instead, his smile just grew wider and the feel of happiness proved itself on his face.

“At last you’ve said it! Let’s see what will I discover. Now it’s time to truly kill you!”

N. D. Skordilis
Real Aire
Randy Ernst
Joe Gold
Syed Al Wasee
Ace Blake
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