Chapter 8:


Pyro's Grand Demise

The term mansion doesn’t quite match the image I’m currently facing. I’d have to say it looks more like a compound with a twenty-foot-tall wall wrapping itself all the way around the grounds. The building itself would be impossible to see over it, were it not five stories.

I frown and shake my head. Why anyone would need this much space for themself and their child, I have no idea. My best bet is that a lot more than family fun time happens within these walls. Psycho Mom is most notoriously known for her laboratories and their inhumane experimentation on cyborgs. Who’s to say the working-class woman doesn’t bring her work home?

That’d be just great. To search the McMansion and just happen to stumble upon something I definitely should be nowhere near. I like my body parts staying where they are, thank you very much.

What’s going on? Joe says through my earpiece. It’s one of his own creations and the size of my pinky nail. Impossible to see just by looking at my ear. I suppose some good things can come from being born out of a technological genius. Albeit, an unstable one.

“I knew you were rich,” I murmur, “but this is kind of ridiculous.”

It’s not like I chose the place, he grumbles. I was a baby when my parents bought it. They wanted something big for our family to grow into.

I eye the wall dubiously. I’m currently standing on the fringes of a forest, just beneath the last stretch of cover. Waiting for Joe to give me the greenlight.

“But you’re an only child,” I point out.

I know that, he replies irritably. Originally my mom wanted lots of children but it never happened.

I screw my lips. I don’t think this is a particularly sensitive subject, rather Joe is simply wound up because he’s nervous. Originally I’d thought he was an unfeeling dirtbag, but it turns out he actually shows human emotion under duress. It’s kind of funny, to see and hear his different reactions.

“So what you’re saying is that your mom used up her last ounce of motherly love on birthing you, so now she’s just a dry well, right?”

Shut up, he responds and I quietly laugh into my hand. He continues, Your moment is coming up. When I say go, I need you to scale the wall. Once you’re on the opposite side, there should be a small shed about forty feet to your right. Go there.

“Aye-aye,” I say and give a solute to the solemn night. There isn’t even a moon in the sky, so I have to rely on my enhanced vision.

As for why the timing has to be so accurate, well, while there aren’t any video cameras, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any security. Joe tried to casually explain how there are twenty-plus guards stationed at all times, but I of course freaked out just slightly. Sure, I’m really good at what I do, but thinking about the kind of guards an A-list executive can hire does make my insides feel kind of queasy. Purple-type flashes in my head.

Ever since I found out they still actually exist, I’ve been endlessly curious. Rumor has it, there are so few purple-types because the alterations they have to go through kill ninety-five percent of them. All cyborgs were once human. Some alter because they lose limbs in wars, others are born without certain body parts and are given manufactured versions to replace them.

Some are perfectly healthy and still choose to go through alterations, while others are given no choice. There are many ways to become a cyborg, and not all of them are for good reasons. Due to the promising results of using cyborgs in warfare and for other services, the government even has an incentive to sign up for their alteration program. They of course don’t mention how everyone will look at you differently afterward. Not that they need to mention it, because there’s an obvious stigma.

As for companies like GravityTech, well, they’re in it for the money. It’s never been proven, or at least it’s been swept under the rug, but just about everyone knows GravityTech attains their human subjects through more than unfavorable means. They then do God knows what to them, experimenting and even creating new strains of cyborgs. Far too unstable to be labeled a new color-type, of course, but still useful for selling on the black market or to our own government. GravityTech and the government are more intertwined than me and the metal in my body.

It just goes to show how corrupt our reality is. We’re all chess pieces in the game of life. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

Go! Joe exclaims into the earpiece.

I dart forward while removing small knives from the straps encircling my thighs. I get a running start before vaulting upward and sticking the knives into the wall. Hairline cracks creep outward from where I stake the concrete, but I don’t stay in one place long enough for the knives to cause more damage. With years of training under my belt, I’m able to quickly maneuver my way up to the top. I don’t linger, although I do notice it’s around four feet wide. Sturdy.

Hopping down from the ledge, I land on the ground with feline grace. The shock absorbers in my legs break the impact of the fall, but I keep most of my weight off the leg with my non-metal knee. It’s technically an unfinished project, which is the reason why my knee occasionally hurts. It’s not built to be keeping up with the rest of my manufactured legs.

I take a quick glance around to find the yard is in pristine shape, and that there are no guards within sight. Just as Joe said. Without wasting another moment in the open, I run for the storage shed to my right. I almost laugh when I get closer to it, because it’s definitely not small. If this giant thing was Joe’s version of small, then I definitely want to know what his version of big is.

The shed is unlocked, because why lock a shed located inside twenty-foot-tall walls? Once I enter, I sink low to the floor and observe my surroundings. It’s mostly lawn equipment--shovels, rakes, extra bags of mulch, and one of those fancy lawn mowers you drive. It looks to be in better shape than I am.

I slightly lift the mask off my face to better access the smells of the room. Yep, that’s fertilizer. Gross. There’s also the underlying scent of chemicals meant to kill weeds, but something else lays beneath the surface. Bleach?

“I’m inside,” I say quietly.

Good. Despite what my mother believes, there are several blind spots in her security watch. I never pointed them out to her in case I ever needed to use them to my advantage.

“What a cunning child,” I say with an eye roll. “I can imagine raising you was easier than breathing.”

Being raised by her wasn’t entirely easy either, he says with an edge that tells her she’s annoying him. Anyway, you’re getting me sidetracked. We need to get you out of there as quickly as possible. Do you see that stack of mulch?

“Yeah,” I say and creep closer. It’s four large stacks sitting on a wooden pallet.

Move them.

“That’s a lot of heavy-lifting you expect from me. I don’t know if a small woman like me is gonna be capable of such manual labor,” I say while effortlessly moving the bags of mulch.

You know I can hear you moving them, right?

I scoff. “That’s me attempting to move them.” I make a struggling sound which comes out as a strangled grunt. “See?”

God, why did it have to be you? Joe mutters.

“What’s that?” I inquire but soon become sidetracked with what I uncover. “Holy shit, is this a trap door?”

That’s exactly what it is. A metal door in the ground made to look like a pallet holding mulch. “Is this like a secret tunnel that’s gonna lead me into the McMansion?”

McMansion? Wha--Nevermind. There’s no point in asking. Yes, it’s a tunnel. The pin is 6035.

I grin widely as the keypad accepts my entry. The door makes a hissing sound and I reach forward to open it. The hinges screech in protest and I cringe because of how high I have my audio sensors turned. Everything begins ringing if my ears are overloaded too much, so I try my best to watch how high they’re set.

“This looks like a staircase to hell,” I say, impressed. Due to the lack of lighting, it appears as if the stairs lead into a black nothingness. I turn up my vision just a tad and can barely make out the floor below. “Dark as hell,” I mutter.

Watch your step, is all Joe says.

I huff in annoyance and stick a strand of hair behind my ear. This guy better not get me killed or I swear I’ll come back to haunt him. And not in a funny, sitcom kind of way, but definitely in a sadistic, blood-on-the-walls kind of way.

Steward McOy
Haru Yumera