Chapter 10:

Ch. 10: Facing Fears

Neo Discadia: Rise of the Sewer Rats

Panting. Gasping for air. He had no idea it would turn out this way. Hiding behind cover and trying not to have a panic attack As laser shots whizzed by visible only thanks to the smoke machines installed within the walls. He clutches his laser pistol and flinches as the electrifying sound of Taser tag blared in his ears. The screams of his competitors followed by the thump of their bodies hitting the floor. Bookmark here

“Dammit… Dammit!” Neo saidBookmark here

he was nervous the moment he read the words Taser tag on the application sheet. The name speaks for itself they didn't know the rules but they knew it had to do with Tasers and that was more than enough to trigger Neo. He got flashes from the past. The night they all escaped. He remembered hearing the words come out of the guard's mouth. In an instant, he saw all the people he ever cared about lying on the ground convulsing in time with the electric shocks. The image had planted itself in his mind. And without thinking, he ran headlong into danger trying to protect his makeshift family of misfits. And before he knew it, he was throwing the Taser prongs back at the guards with his mind. And in spite of the fact that he did it, he protected his friends, the image never let go of its grip on him. He could never forget the boy that stepped out of line and was stunned by the guards with Tasers. But the boy couldn't have been 10 years old. Those five seconds were more than enough to do him in. The loud screaming and crackling of the stun gun followed by the silence of a lifeless corpse lying in front of him. How the guards picked him up only to see his body flop around like a ragdoll. Panicking they tried resuscitating him to no avail. The other children were sent back to their rooms and they never talked about it again. Bookmark here

then, through this dark spiral of memories he could hear her voiceBookmark here

“you know it’s okay right? you know you can lean on us when you need to right?” Bookmark here

those words echo in his head. Bookmark here

“grrrrraaaaah! I need to calm down! what’s wrong with me!? they can't do this all on their own! I need to help them!” he said fully intending on moving his body into the fray to help his teammates. But his body… it just wouldn't move. His mind said go, but his legs stood firmly in place. “what’s… happening?” he said as he released one of his hands from the laser gun only to see it trembling violently. A chill ran down his spine as he wasn't just scared, he was absolutely terrified. He clenched his fist and grit his teeth as he slowly poked his head from around the corner. He saw someone shooting behind cover and ducking again. He hid behind cover again and took a deep breath.Bookmark here

“I have the advantage, they don't see me at all. All I have to do is aim this laser at them and shoot.”Bookmark here

He turned around the corner and took aim. He wrapped his finger around the trigger and just as he was about to pull the trigger. Someone else took the shot. suddenly his target was screaming at the top of their lungs as their vest lit up like a Christmas tree. Then the body slumped over on the ground presumably unconscious, possibly dead. His eyes widen and his jaw dropped as he saw the body of a woman still convulsing. He froze in place. He was about to do that to her. He was just about to do that same thing to her as the guards did to that boy. he felt like he had a lump in his throat. He felt his heart race to the finish line. He slumped back over to his cover, squatted down and wrapped his arms around his legs. Then he saw the laser pistol still in his hand and he felt disgusted with himself, he didn't even want to hold such a thing. He tossed it aside. And kept his head down. Bookmark here

“I can’t do this. I tried, I actually fucking tried but I can’t do this! I’m sorry guys, you really are gonna have to pick up for my slack” and that's when he heard the screams coming from a familiar voice Bookmark here

“Erika!” he heard Johnny shout.Bookmark here

Erika and Johnny were making a name for themselves facing off against hordes of goons keen on gaining fame from taking down the team that took down the behemoth. Running from cover to cover dodging laser bullets and nailing them with their own. Bookmark here

“heh, so this is what it feels like to be famous huh?” Erika saidBookmark here

“I kinda like it. keeps things exciting, You know? giving us that extra challenge?” Johnny saidBookmark here

“don't get cocky!” Erika said “now go”Bookmark here

they both dashed from one cover to another. There were so many they couldn't stay in one place too long lest they get flanked from both sides. Then it’s just like shooting fish in a barrel. They slid to a corner cover, it was risky, but they were blocking every other way, they’d have to shoot their way through an opening to get to the next cover.Bookmark here

“Damn! This cover is terrible, were too exposed!” Johnny saidBookmark here

“how are you doing? You good on stamina?” Erika saidBookmark here

“what? you getting tired already?” Johnny saidBookmark here

“as if!” she said taking blind shots over the top of the coverBookmark here

“it’s okay if you can’t keep up, it’s only natural” Johnny was so focused on banter he didn't notice one of the competitors showing up behind himBookmark here

“Johnny look out!” Erika saw it out of the corner of her eye. She thought fast but moved faster as she shoved Johnny aside and shot the goon point-blank in the chest taking him out. she saved Johnny, but there was one small problem, in doing so, she exposed herself to the barrage of laser bullets being shot their way. Before she knew it, she was screaming from the pain.Bookmark here

Johnny screamed “Erika!” as he pulled her body behind cover. “are you okay? say something!”Bookmark here

“nnnghhh” she tried to speak but she couldn't get the words out. the pain all over her body from the shock was much too great, she could feel her heart beating in her ears, her jaw locked, and her muscles throbbing and convulsing. The pain of getting shot with a Taser comes from the electricity coursing through your body causing all of your muscles to contract all at once beyond what they’re capable of. The muscles in your arms back and legs flex all at once locking you in place while the muscles around your jaw pull your mouth shut and slam your teeth together. The higher the voltage, the more they contract, the more the pain. She was trying to say stay focused! They’re coming!Bookmark here

Having fired all of their bullets the competition was on a timer, but they saw Johnny so focused on her, they seized the opportunity to close the distance and finally surround them. before Johnny and Erika knew it, they were already on them. They came from every corner guns held forward aimed straight at them waiting for their guns to rechargeBookmark here

“you put up quite a fight, but I’m afraid to say, its game over.” and just as they were about to open fire. One of them started screaming and fell to the floor. Johnny looked and saw none other than Neo flying through the air. Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“I can’t do this. I tried, I actually fucking tried but I can’t do this! I’m sorry guys, you really are gonna have to pick up for my slack” and that's when he heard the screams coming from a familiar voice Bookmark here

“Erika!” he heard Johnny shout.Bookmark here

He saw it in his mind’s eye. Erika being shocked with 100,000 volts of electricity. And Johnny rushing to her side. he saw them being surrounded. Dozens of competitors about to pounce on them. And him… huddled in a corner trying not to cry. The look in his eye changed as he stared at the gun lying in front of him. was this him? was he the kind to sit by and do nothing while letting his friends get hurt. He didn't want to hurt anyone like the guard did to that boy. But between that and letting them do that to his friends. It was hardly a choice. His feelings of distress were overpowered by the intense desire to protect his friends. His look shifted from one of forlorn to one of determination. The water in his eyes turned to hot fiery passion. He grabbed the pistol and ran headlong into danger. Bookmark here

Taking shots at anyone that got in his way and sliding on the ground to avoid enemy fire, he made his way to where he heard them scream. He saw as three of them were just leaving cover and taking aim, but there was a wall covering their weak spots. He couldn't get a clear shot. He leaped into the air exposing himself to everyone’s line of sight. But doing so, put everyone else in his. Aiming his laser pistol with precision, he let loose on the competition. They fell to the ground in front of them.Bookmark here

Johnny took this opportunity to pull out his gun and shoot at one of the other goons.Bookmark here

And even Erika used whatever strength she could muster to angle her pistol in such a way that she could take out one of them as well. In one fell swoop, they took them all out.Bookmark here

“NEO!” Johnny shouted “are you okay?”Bookmark here

“oh you know, facing fears, confronting childhood trauma, never better, you?”Bookmark here

“eh same old same old”Bookmark here

“gu… gu… guys…help…”Bookmark here

“oh! Right!” Neo and Johnny said in unisonBookmark here

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