Chapter 0:

Streams of Light

After Dark

10:07 pm

The sky is one not too dissimilar from the space outside our world. Stars light up the sky when the moon is hidden behind an ever ominous cloud.


The air is brisk, so much so that each breath taken leads a trail of vapor in and out of your lungs. And yet, the air is still, not a swaying tree in sight.

Tokyo expressway

Wheels turning faster than one would normally dare to on a road like this, but for some reason, conditions are perfect. No slippery surfaces to carry any sense of danger along the way, the number of cars on the freeway is strangely low for Tokyo of all places, no sign of police anywhere near the car, perfect conditions.

I get myself prepared for what comes next. With my right hand placed firmly on the wheel I move my left slowly towards the gear shift, almost caressing the vehicle’s black leather interior on the way there. Moving past the touchscreen, air vents, USB ports, I make my way down to the shift. I gently, finger by finger, wrap my hand around the shift and wait for the car just in front to pull to the next exit, in this time I gather the sights of the street lamps illuminating the road ahead, along with the apartment blocks, skyscrapers and office building giving a good sense of a lively nightlife, one that’s about to get much more exciting. The car in front moves towards the exit, out of my lane, instantly signalling my hand to shift up before slamming my foot on the gas.

Almost immediately, the lights begin to blur, it’s like I'm about to jump through space in a matter of seconds. The gusts of air blowing past this car, this silver bullet of an automobile, if I reach up with my hand I can only get a taste of the powerhouse I'm sitting in, thank god for convertibles. My hand flops around in the wind. If I keep doing this, one day I'm gonna get whiplash or worse, lose that hand. But I don’t let that bother me, I just keep accelerating, these are perfect conditions after all.

150 km/h

The speed just gets higher and higher. I look up to the lights now, my eyes now detached from the road ahead. I blindly shift up again.

170 km/h

The speed is tremendous, I can now feel the wind without lifting my hand, the wind has now seeped into the sides of the cockpit, flapping in the collar of my crimson red suit. I peek over and smile at it before looking up again as the speed just keeps on rising.

180 km/h

190 km/h

I shift again. Now we’re really moving.

210 km/h

225 km/h

What once were visibly separate lamps have become merged into fuming streams of light on either side of me. What once were buildings become monuments of incomprehensible light. By now, the blurring lights of the freeway have collided with the buildings almost ominously watching from afar, creating what seems to be a sort of portal. My smile grows devilishly.

250 km/h

I’m almost at the end of my path on this highway now. My turnoff is only a minute away, so my only chance now is to shift one more time, if only to finally reach top speed… and yet, I just can’t. I mean, my hand is placed on the gear shift, I'm looking dead ahead, I'm ready, I'm prepared… but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Not now, not here. I curse under my breath and proceed to shift down, foot off the accelerator moving to the break as I approach the exit.

225 km/h

200 km/h

175 km/h

I feel angry at myself. I could have pushed it further, I could have finally blown out the engine. Perhaps I could have missed my turn and kept going until I either rode into the sunrise or crashed out, wouldn’t that be a way to go? But no, I took the easy way out.


I calm myself down and indicate left, the exit is here. Going down the ramp, I stop as I wait for traffic that never comes. I just sit there, contemplating that rush, that blur, that sea of blinding lights. The place where the highway looks straight out of a sci-fi flick and the buildings are nothing but a mirage along the way. I smirk a little at the thought, what a crazy imagination I have. I turn left again, leading me to where I need to be.

I continue down the road, wide, barely populated, yet still so lively. Is it the lights? Are they more crucial to nightlife than the presence of actual living, breath organisms, such as ourselves? I laugh at the thought, I do that sometimes. Get really philosophical and strange when I have time to contemplate the world around me. I do have to be thankful that I've been given the kind of life that allows for my chosen lifestyle. This metallic silver bullet of a car, this crimson tuxedo, the sunglasses that sit next to me in front of the gear shift reflecting everything I see. I’m grateful for all of it, I really am… but I’m not sure whether I should pity those below me. I’m not a politician, so obviously I don’t have the power or status to mess with people like them, but I'm nowhere close to your average civilian either. I guess you could say I just got lucky.

I look down to the sunglasses and reach for them, flip them open with my one free hand and put them on. It’s nothing more than a simple color shift when worn at night, but it has a certain feeling to it that I just adore. A sort of warm vibrancy to a cold, neon lit night. Another 5 minutes of contemplative driving had gone by while I ranted to myself, meaning all I had to do was turn left and I was there. So I do. I turn left and see it blaring at me like a sub woofer was dead in my face. An almost golden, mansion-like casino establishment, a club seemingly made for royalty as if to ward off the drunkards and degenerates who plague the nights of any major city. Pulling into the driveway, I gawk at the colorful, glorious entrance around me. Despite seeing it many times before, it still has its way with me each and every time. The cars, the people, the vibe, it’s all just so immaculate. I move around the fountain roundabout and park directly in front of one of the Chauffeurs, him being dressed in your typical waiter’s attire, only with fancier material in the lining.

“Welcome to Kofuku, Mr Nakamura.” The young chauffeur opens my door for me and I slowly move out of my seat. He closes the door behind me as I reshape a part of my color that had been blowing in the wind, before turning back to him. He was a young man, around twenty years of age, but dedicated to guest satisfaction. I can’t knock that, he’s a good kid. He smiles at me and slightly bows, right hand on his chest and left directing me to the entrance.

“Enjoy your time with us, Mr Nakamura.” He’s so youthful, he should be going out and finding the girl of his dreams instead of doing all this, but if this is the life he wants to lead, so be it. I just wouldn’t have done it myself.

“Please, call me Aiden.” I walk past, handing him a small tip. As I make my way to the entrance, a wave of excitement falls over me, bringing me a devilish smile. I stop just outside the door, adjust my suit jacket and limber up my arms before checking the time on my watch.

10:30 pm

“Just in time,” I grin, opening the door to what I didn’t realize would be the night of a lifetime. 

Joe Gold

After Dark