"God gave me a chance... and I lost it."
I lived a life of regret. Well, not completely. I enjoyed my youth... too much. I neglected my education and caused a lot of problems. I was a pretty bad person, to say the least. But before I knew it, my adulthood and the responsibilities that came with it caught up to me, and I was left helpless. My friends had moved on to more demanding lifestyles and I was left by myself. I spent my days working in different labour jobs while living with my parents. I never told anyone this, but I curse the day I was born.
Well, my life isn't all that dull. I do have a beacon of light. My little sister. The joy of my life, she came into this world when I was twelve. I work to make sure that she becomes everything that I wished to become. Some people even say that I'm a better parent than our actual parents. My only goal in life now is to make her happy.
That has become a challenge recently. She's at "that age" where girls start becoming more independent. She's been causing more trouble and starting arguments. But I know enough to pull through. She'll grow up to be a great girl. I know it. I'm doing my best to make her comfortable during these tough times.
Today's a Friday, I get the day off on Friday's contrary to the usual Sunday breaks. I went through my morning routine and got into a warm sweater and jeans before heading into the kitchen. My parents and my little sister; Sandy were already at the table, having breakfast. The small table had four sets of plate and cup on each side.
"Morning Seto, glad you could join us." My mom warmly greeted me. Now that I think about it, that was the first interaction I had with a person today.
"Morning Ma, dad... Sandy." I sat at my chair and dug right into my breakfast.
"Any plans for today?" My dad looked up from his newspaper and took a spoonful of cereal into his mouth.
Swallowing the mix of scrambled eggs and rice, I cleared my throat. "Nothing in particular, I might drop down to the club or try meeting up with an old buddy."
"Then, could you pick up Sandy from school later today? I have to spend over time."
Sandy slammed the table and jumped up, her face filled with disgust. "What do you mean!? There's no way I'm letting HIM pick me up!" Even though I knew to not take the things she says about me to heart, it still hurts a surprising lot.
"Sandy, you shouldn't say such things about Seto! He cares a lot about you."
"And I don't! What do you think my friends will say huh?"
"Now Sandy, calm down, Seto can wait for you across the street, and once he sees you leave, he can just go around the block. No one will see you that way."
"...F-fine..." She quieted her voice and sat back down in her chair.
I quietly cycled down the street, passing by shops and other buildings. It was a quiet day and the air was cold, small clouds from my mouth passed by my face with each breath. This area of my town was quiet and the people were friendly. We lived in a small house in a wide alleyway, it was a bit cramped, but we were always comfortable. Looking back, I remember promising my parents that I'd buy them a big new house in the city someday... what a silly dream. We all had tough, low paying jobs, but we always got by. Our only hope now was Sandy, the three of us all worked together to make sure she had a great upbringing. Living was a tough challenge, but we were happy. If there was anything I could ask for from god, it'd be to give me a second chance... to live. I want to change my life, I want to be truly happy.. with myself.
Without even realizing, I had already arrived at Sandy's school. The same school that both my parents and I went to. Seeing it from the outside, it hasn't changed much. I looked at my wristwatch - five minutes left. Clouds had covered the sky over the town, they were dark grey. It was gonna rain soon. I better get home fast. Once the bell rang, students began leaving the school one after another, I waited for Sandy in anticipation, it was gonna rain any minute and I didn't bring any umbrellas with me. The rain, with this cold air, was bound to give anyone a cold.
After a few minutes, I saw Sandy coming out of the gate, she was talking with her friends. She didn't even so much as glance at me, that had an odd sense of hurt to it. Setting my feelings aside, I cycled around to the back of the school and waited for her. The clouds were getting darker by the minute and with it, I grew more and more impatient, but I waited.
...Something's not right. I thought to myself. It's been way too long. Even if she stayed by the corner to chat with her friends... it's been too long. I picked up my cycle and went down the road to where she should have parted ways with her friends.
No one there...
I looked over to the school gate, there was not a single person there. Even in the cold, sweat had begun forming on my forehead. I cycled down the street in search for her, it was impossible to miss her, there was barely anyone out. As I cycled, I spotted a group of girls walking together. They were the girls that Sandy was with, except she wasn't with them. I quickly cycled up to them and stopped.
"E-excuse me, girls, have you seen Sandy?"
The girls analysed me for a second before one of them spoke. "Sandy, mm... she turned the corner a block up the street. What's up.?"
Turned the corner a block up the street? Is she taking a detour to go home by herself? Just to avoid me? That idiot of a girl.
"Ah, okay, thank you."
"You're her older brother, right? She said she was supposed to go home by herself today."
"No she wasn't, she's just trying to avoid me. In any case, it's going to rain soon, you girls get home soon."
I turned my cycle around and drove up the street and turned the first corner. She couldn't have gone too far, and she's likely going to take the major streets to get home. They're the only paths she knows anyway. I know she doesn't like being around me in public, but this is absurd. She's going to get a good scolding tonight. I cycled down the streets as fast as I could. My eyes darted left and right trying to find her. My heart was racing. If it starts raining, she'll get stuck, who knows when it'll---
To my right, she stood. In what every man would consider one of their worst nightmares. Around her were a group of men, seven of them. Likely from a gang. But not from this area, my best bet is that they're gonna "make an example" out of her. As she looked around at the men surrounding her, I could see the fear on her face. My heart raced. My adrenaline began flowing. I need to act fast.
"Hey! Fuck ya'll think you're doing!?" A dropped my cycle and yelled at them as I approached. I have to be careful, they're probably armed.
"Huh? Who do ya think you are?" A man from the group spoke, the group turned away from Sandy and began walking towards me. I could see a small glimmer of hope on Sandy's face.
Ignoring their approach towards me, I pushed the man away and stood in front of Sandy.
"None of your business, I'm with her."
"Oh? Then tell me girly, who is he?" The man asked in a cheeky voice.
"H-he's my brother..."
"BROTHER! OHOHOHO!!! Hear that guys? Big brother's come to save the day." The group chuckled in unison.
"Yeah whatever guys, just leave."
"Leave?" The group suddenly stopped, their demeanour had changed. The rain had begun to drizzle over our stand-off. "Sorry buddy, we can't do that. Ya see, we just moved in, and we're looking to get a feel for the merch here." The man leaned in winked at me.
"Yeah well you're not having her, go fuck someone else, there's a club downtown."
"Huh? Ya think you can go around telling us to do shit buddy?" The group began closing in on us. I messed up.
"Geez Sandy, you should've just listened and come to me at the back of the school, look at what you got us into."
"Look at what you got yourself indeed dirtbag." A bigger man from behind me cracked his knuckles as he taunted.
"The clubs' nothing like you've seen before---" I quickly turned around and punched the man in the face with all my strength. For once, I was thankful that I did a lot of labour, I managed to knock him out cold.
I pushed Sandy towards an alley and screamed, "RUN SANDY!" As I did, I turned around and punched another guy in the face, he hit the ground hard as two others came in and grabbed my arms. Sandy was still frozen in place with fear, I screamed again, "RUN THROUGH THE ALLEY! GO HOME!"
"No, you're not." Another man began running at her. Even with the two men holding me, I grabbed the man's shirt and held tightly on to it.
"SANDY! RUN, DON'T WORRY ABOUT ME---" The man punched me in the stomach. My whole body curled up in the pain, but I didn't let go. I couldn't. For Sandy.
Snapping out of her frozen state, she turned around and ran into the alleyway. I wrestled against the men as I watched her run out of sight. Now to shake these guys off---
Before I even realized what had happened, my face compressed as I took a full punch. Then another punch to my stomach. My legs gave way and I was now held up by the two men holding my arms. I then took one more punch to the face. My sight had become red and I could taste a lot of blood in my mouth. The men tossed me on to the ground. The rain had begun falling heavily, washing the blood off of my face.
"You've got some balls, I'll give you that." The ring leader spoke. "Forget the girl, we'll deal with you, I'm pissed now." The man reached behind his back and grabbed something.
"Heh." I chuckled. I wonder why. Maybe because I know I'm about to die? There's no escaping from this.
Oh well. As long as Sandy is safe, I don't care. I don't have anything to lose anyway. No friends, no lovers, just my parents and Sandy. Our happy little family. I couldn't help but feel like crying... yet I couldn't. Why? I felt at peace. It was a wasted life.
BANG; A gunshot echoed through my ears, and I felt my chest get wetter. My breaths began getting shorter.
BANG; My lungs began filling with blood, I couldn't breathe anymore. I was dying.
Sandy... please... live. For me. Be what I couldn't be.--- "This isn't working, professor."--- Sorry mom, dad, it's the end of the road for me.--- "You're wasting people's money and our time professor."--- Please, be happy. Even without me, be happy.--- "The system seems stable professor! We did it!"--- God... gave me a chance...--- "Let's call it for tonight, we'll report this first thing tomorrow morning!"---
...And I lost it.
Everything felt cold; so cold in fact, it felt like I was frozen. Yet, nothing hurt. I opened my eyes. The room was dark, only lit by a dim light behind me. I was... inside something. What's going on? The room was dark, I could tell... but... I could still see clearly. Odd. I couldn't move, I was in some fluid; it was cold, beyond cold. I was in a small cylindric chamber. I wonder where I am. There was a small white trolley in front of me. It had various tools on it. They sort of looked like... minimal hardware tools? Just what was going on? I tried to move but to no avail.
Then it came to me, it was as if I just had to ask it. Or no, it was more like I was telling it. "Let me out." With a quiet and abrupt beep, the fluid in the chamber began draining out and a set of heaters activated. Once the fluid finished draining, with a loud click, the glass casing on the chamber slid open. As the new, warmer air flowed in and cooled into light clouds I took a step out of the chamber. My body was so cold that the air seemed to cool and freeze around it, only for those thin layers to crack and break with each movement.
Now outside the chamber, I analyzed my surroundings. It was a small room, roughly fifteen wide and long. To the right corner in front of me, was a door that led somewhere. Next to it; directly in front of me and centred, was another door that led to another room. To the very left was a smaller room separated by a glass door. Moving to the left side of the room were computers and devices that I couldn't recognize. To the side where I was, was just the chamber, and a shelf next to it with bionic limbs. To my right was a mirror---
Inside the mirror, looking back at me... was a very pale looking girl, she looked like she was in her mid-twenties. She had long silver hair and yellow-ish-orange pupils. She had a tattoo on her neck that looked like a W with a V cutting through it. And below her neck... she was naked. This girl... was me?