Rain starts to pour from out of the sky as I leave out of the cafe. I look at the front of the door and I see a piece of paper with my face on it. A reward of one million dollars for the one that turns me into the Government dead or alive. I take the piece of paper and I put it in my pocket as I put my hoodie over my head. As I start to walk down the street of the city I look up at the billboard that is playing a Government-sponsored commercial. It warns citizens of the city to be on the lookout for any rogue Deviants. I spit on the ground as I wrap my hands in the pocket of the hoodie that I'm wearing. Deviants are the bane of human existence. We're supposedly biological deformities that shouldn't exist, and based on how we're treated you would think that's the case. In a society where humans have evolved to the point where they've developed abilities to adapt to a dying planet Hybrids are the ones who rule this world. Socially, financially, and health-wise Hybrids stand at the top of this world.
Humans who could not adapt have been killed off due to the harsh conditions that the Earth has thrown at us as a race over the last thousand years or so. But that's just what the Government has to lead us to believe, and with it being reinforced to us growing up in school there's really no reason to believe why people wouldn't accept something like that as fact. But I think that everything that they've told us is complete and utter bullshit. The rain starts to slow up as I raise my hood from off of my head a bit, but I keep my head down close to the ground so that people can't identify me as a Deviant. There are two ways to know without a shadow of a doubt if someone is a Deviant or not. Different colored eyes and a birthmark on your left hand that looks like a burn mark. Luckily for me, I was born with both so I won the genetic lottery. So because I carry this gene I've been cursed and blessed to have the thing that Hybrids hate and fear above anything else. Two superhuman abilities.
What I am is looked down upon by those both in positions of power and even working-class citizens. Being a Deviant is essentially a death sentence. Being born as one of us is the equivalent of your average human being born with a third arm or a second nose. Disgusting, alien, and foreign. As far as what I've seen the Government hunts down people like us and they kill us. I've seen my fair share of this even taking place on the television and right in front of me in real life. The Government hires powerful Hybrids to take us out quickly and efficiently. At least that's what we're told, but what's seen and what they do is completely different. I've seen Deviants killed in front of their friends and family. Age doesn't matter to them. I've seen people as old as eighty to children as young as seven get taken out. No one is safe. These Hybrids kill Deviants that are just trying to live peaceful lives just because they were born different from them. This system is disgusting and inhumane, but to be honest we all kind of lost our humanity a long time ago.
I turn the corner and I walk onto a huge street. When I do I can see a ton of police officers everywhere as I continue to walk down the street. It's just a couple more blocks until I reach my home, I've made this walk a ton of times but seeing this many police officers isn't sitting well on my stomach. I live in a sort of refuge for Deviants, the location of this place is somewhere in the underground of the city. As I reach the edge of the street I turn into a long alleyway, when I do I look behind me to make sure that no one is following me as I walk up to a trash can. As I push the trash can out of the way it reveals a hidden door that I turn the lock on. As the cold wind hits my face I let out a deep sigh of relief as I finally relax at the realization that I've made it home.
I'm greeted by the receptionist as I walk up to the elevator that leads to the underground of the city. She rolls her eyes at me as I return her teasing with a bit of my own. As I wave at her I give her a fake smile right before I extend my middle finger to her.
"So what'd you steal today Hiroshi? You know that leaving out of here without checking with me is an easy way to get your ass locked out." Jenna asks me. Jenna here is the smart-mouthed receptionist that makes sure that no police officers or regular people wander in here by accident. One time I asked her how she keeps people from finding this place but she just warned me that I wouldn't want to know. After she said that I haven't asked since. She may have a smart mouth and a bad attitude but she does her job and she does it very well. "You know that if you're going to leave without telling me you should at least bring something back for me and those kids right? it's the least that you could do you know?"
"Jenna, If I could steal a boyfriend for you that could put that attitude that you have in place I would do it in a heartbeat. But having to put a man through that would be worse than any crime that I've committed." I say as I press a button on the elevator. As I walk in the open door I take my key from out of my pocket and I insert it into the lock on the elevator. As the door starts to close I can see Jenna getting ready to curse me out as the door closes right before she could get any of her words out.
I descend ten floors to the underground as the elevator starts to shake and shudder. I can feel a chill run up my arms and legs as the lights in this thing flickers on and off for a couple of seconds. I've always hated being in these things. Nothing good comes from being in an elevator. They're all just a couple of straps away from being in a giant coffin. As the elevator door opens up the smell of must and damp water finds its way into my nose as I step foot from out of the elevator. A group of children runs past me with smiles on their faces as they all wave to me. As I walk past them I start to make my way over towards my bunk. As I enter the small house that houses all of the younger and teenage kids I immediately take my coat off and throw it onto my bed ad a little girl walks up behind me. I can hear her giggling as she starts to rummage through my pockets.
"Hiroshi, did you bring some food back for me? You promised that you would when you left today." She asks me as she grabs my jacket and starts to try and put it on her head. As I reach down and fix her white hair I quickly snatch my coat from off of her shoulders.
"Asya. What did I tell you about putting my clothes on? You have no idea what kind of bugs or stuff that I could have crawling around inside of there. What did I tell you about putting on clothes that aren't yours?" I ask her as I pick her up and sit her on my bunk.
"That if I put your clothes on that I'm a dirty whore." She says to me as she tries to do her best impression of me. "But I don't know what a dirty whore is so I could care less."
I take a deep sigh as I pull a cinnamon bun from out of my pocket when I do her red and blue eyes light up as I dangle it over her head just out of her reach.
"Where did you get the money to buy this Hiroshi?! I thought that you were broke!" Asya says to me as she tries her best to take the cinnamon roll from out of my hand. I can feel my eye starting to twitch as I look down at her. I have half a mind to eat this right in front of her but seeing how hard she's trying to take it from me I let out a deep sigh.
"I may be broke but there is something that I'm very good at, and that's stealing from other people," I say to her as I pull multiple wallets from out of my pocket. As Asya kicks me in my stomach I drop the roll from out of my hand and it falls right into her hand as I can't help but laugh.
As Asya starts to tear into the cinnamon roll I pat her on her head as I pick her up and put her on my shoulders.
"Hey, make sure that you don't tell anyone where you got that from alright?" I ask her as I poke her in her stomach. After I do that she starts to giggle as she nods her head to me.
"You have my word, and if anyone asks I'll say what you told me to say." She says as I raise my eyebrow to her.
"Mind your damn business before I bash your head in." She says as she takes her fist and lightly taps me on my head.
"That's a good girl. That's what I like to hear." I say as she and I fist-bump one another. After we do that she kisses me on my forehead as the sound of her stomach gurgling fills my ears. "So I'm guessing that means that you won't be hungry tonight right?"
After I ask her that she nods her head yes as the sound of other kids coming in from the cold fills the room. When the kids make their way over towards us they all stop in front of Asya and me as they start to laugh at her.
"Asya has a boyfriend! Asya has a boyfriend!" All of the boys yell at her as they all run past Asya and me.
Before the bigger leader of the boys can run past me I grab the leader by his collar and I pick him up so that he and I are eye level with one another.
"Hey Wes, how are you today? You doing good?" I ask him as I bring him closer to my face. I can feel my eyes starting to glow a bit as Wes starts to put his hands up to get some space in between him and I. As Asya and I both start to laugh I notice the color in his eyes starting to change a bit as my heart falls into the pit of my stomach. He's starting to show the signs of becoming a Deviant, I'm going to pray for the life that he has ahead of him.
"Mariah is going to kick your ass if you don't leave me alone Hiroshi. I may be afraid of you but you know that she isn't." Wes says as he sticks his tongue out at me. Asya kicks him in his forehead as he starts to fake cry a bit.
"You tell Mariah that she knows where to find me. I'll kick her ass wherever and whenever she wants it." I say as I drop him on the ground.
"Or you could just be a man and tell me that yourself." I hear a woman say from behind me. As I let out a loud groan I take Asya from off of my shoulders as I place her onto the ground. When I turn around I can see that it's Mariah.
As Asya climbs into my bunk she starts to jump up and down as she sticks her tongue out to Mariah. When she does that Mariah sticks his tongue back out to her as they both roll their eyes at one another.
"Hey Mariah, you mind telling your boys to stop picking on Asya? She just wants to eat her food in peace." I say walking towards Mariah.
Mariah looks me up and before she bucks at me. When she does I flinch a little bit as she starts to laugh at me.
"How about the next time that you go out you bring my boys some food too you know that we're starving down here." She says as she grabs Wes from out of my hand. As she puts him on the ground she kisses him on the cheek as he runs away from me.
"Look. In my defense, I wasn't even thinking about giving that thing to anyone in the first place. Asya used her charms to steal it from me." I say to Mariah as Asya folds her arms across her chest.
"You meanie!" Asya yells at me as she sticks her tongue out at me. I do the same back to her and when I do she and I both start to laugh as she jumps down from off of my bed.
As Asya runs out of the room she quickly turns back and waves to me as I wave back. As she straightens her hair and clothes I glare at her as she laughs at me.
"Hey! Be back in before the lights go out! If you're not in bed by eight you can kiss all of those snacks goodbye kiddo!" After I say that she nods her head to me as she leaves from out of the room.
Wes quickly follows after her leaving Mariah and me in the room alone by ourselves. Once that door closes I can feel the entire mood in the room change as Mariah sits down on the bed in front of me.
"So, spill it. How's it looking above ground? She asks me as she folds her arms across her chest. I already know that she's referring to the real reason that I went to the surface, to begin with.
As I sit down on the bed opposite her I take in a deep breath in and out.
"Government officials and police officers are starting to get close to this place. By my estimate, it won't be long before they find out where this place is." I say to her as I put both of my hands over my face. As I take a deep breath in and out I think about what could possibly happen if these guys caught us with our pants down. It would be absolutely game over for potentially all of us.
Mariah lets out a deep sigh and places her face in her hands after I say this. Here's the thing. The Underground isn't an actual physical place, it's the name of an organization that hides out members of the Deviant race. As far as I know, there were tons of hideouts like this across the country. But one by one The Government has been wiping them out. The number of lives that have been lost has been almost impossible to count. From what I've seen there plan has to be this. To wipe out all of the children. The next generation of Deviants.
"So, have you thought about taking these guys out? Like what's your plan of attack and defense? You have to have something planned or up your sleeve right?" She asks me as a bead of sweat starts to form on my forehead.
I shake my head no.
"Mariah, you know that I only fight when I'm provoked. I'm never really going out looking for a fight. A lot of the times fights just find their way to me." I say to her as Mariah rolls her eyes at me. "My main focus for right now is to get as many kids out of here as I possibly can. That should be not only my goal but yours as well. I hate to say it, but fighting right now isn't the best move. Us going against the Government would be one of the biggest mistakes that we could make right now."
After I say that Mariah stands up and looks out of the window at the kids that are playing outside. As she inhales and exhales deeply she turns her head to me with a serious look on her face.
"So what's the plan now? Just how long do you think it'll be before they find us? Give me an estimate to work with." She asks me as I start to rub the back of my head.
As the sound of children laughing rings from outside of the window, I stand up and close the blinds as I rub my eyes with my fingers.
"Look. I'm planning on moving a small amount of us to a bunker on the outskirts of the city once night falls." I say to her as I hear her curse me underneath her breath. I can feel it coming. That anger. It's just a matter of time.
"So how many are we talking about moving at once? Ten or twenty at a time? You and I could both take turns leading everyone from here to the outside of the city. Sounds like a plan right?" See? This is what I feared the most.
"You see... that's the thing. I was only thinking about taking ten or fifteen at the most for one trip. I feel like if we took everyone at once then that would put the lives of everyone at risk, and then at that point, none of us would make it out of the city alive." I say rubbing the back of my neck.
"Ten?! Are you being serious right now Hiroshi?! There has to be at least fifty of us down here! Thirty kids at the most! Let me guess. It was going to be you, Asya, me, and about seven or eight others right?"
This isn't a question that I really should answer right now.
"You asshole, were you really planning on leaving all of these people down here?! Wes, Adrian, Vanessa, Audrey, Gabby, Wilson! Seriously?!" Mariah yells at me as I close my eyes.
"So let's say that we go through with your plan right? What're the other people supposed to do once The Government arrives and you, me and all of the others go off and hide on a boat somewhere and then what? You're just going to let all of these people die?! You're going to let your own kind die because of what? Because it's too hard?!" She asks me as she grabs me by my collar. "You're the strongest one of us here Hiroshi. Everyone looks up to you. The kids, the elders, and me too. You saved my life Hiroshi! We've known each other since we were little kids, there's no way that you thought that I would go through with this."
"Mariah, as much as I hate to admit it. I can not save everyone. These guys are going to have to learn to defend themselves eventually. I can't keep holding their hands forever, no one is going to flourish like that! I can't be their only hope. We will not survive that way. Why the hell should we all die? Why can't a few of us live to fight another day?" I ask her as I tear her hand from off of my collar.
As I move my jacket from off of my bed the piece of paper with my face on it falls onto the ground. Once I realize that I rush to pick it up but Mariah beats me to it. As she picks it up from off of the ground she looks at it for a couple of seconds before she shoves it in my chest and turns around. As I grab the piece of paper I ball it up and throw it in the trash can as I let out a deep sigh.
"I always knew that you were a wanted man but to have an official Government warrant on your head is too much," Mariah says as she starts to tap her feet onto the ground. "You need to leave the Underground. Now."
"Wait, hold on a minute. I thought that you wanted me to stay, why the hell are you changing up now?!" I ask her as my heart rate starts to pick up in pace. "Don't tell me now that you're afraid to leave with me because you're afraid of being killed. If you stay here you could die too, the best option would be for you to go with me tonight, I could protect you!"
"No Hiroshi. It's like you said before. We can't rely on you to protect us all of the time you're right. We need to start looking out for ourselves." Mariah says as she starts to walk towards the door. "When you leave tonight. Don't take anyone with you. I want to see you gone by tomorrow morning Hiroshi. Not just for your sake, but for the sake of everyone here."
As Mariah closes the door behind her I'm left in my room by myself for the rest of the day. As her words echo throughout my head the sun starts to go down like the door to the outside swings wide open. Almost on cue all of the kids come running through the door from the outside and they start to climb into their beds to turn in for the night. Asya is the last of the kids to come inside and she immediately runs over towards me with dirt all in her hair and all on her clothes.
"Asya, you're starting to fit the dirty whore thing that I've been saying," I say to her as she slaps me across my face. After she does that she gives me a hug as she wiggles her finger at me.
"Mariah told me to slap you every time that you say that now," Asya says to me as I start to fake cry. Asya starts to laugh as she wraps her arms around my neck.
"Don't be such a baby Hiroshi. I'm supposed to be the kid here not you." She says climbing into my bed.
"Hey, just what the hell do you think that you're doing? You know that I always sleep on the top bunk. Come down, come down." I say stretching my arms out to her, but when I do she just grabs onto my pillow.
"Alright kid. I'll just sleep on the floor again." I say tearing the cover away from her.
"Hey, that's mines!!" She whines at me.
I laugh a bit at what she says.
"You have no idea how wrong you are," I say as I wrap the cover around my neck. "Hey Asya, you wanted to get back to the surface with me for a while haven't you?" I ask her as I stroke her hair.
She nods her head yes.
"That's good, you'll get a chance to go really soon alright? Just remember that when I come on, you come with me alright? No questions asked. I'll bring some of your friends too alright?
She shakes her head yes as she turns around and starts to fall asleep. I take the cover from off of my neck and I place it over her body. As she grabs onto the cover as tightly as she can the wind starts to blow as shivers run down my spine. I take my jacket and I wrap it around my body as I sit on the ground. From looking at the hands on the clock it looks like I have about four hours until midnight. I look back at everyone here and I can tell that Mariah was right. There are about thirty kids here to two adults. Well, one since Mariah isn't here right now. She's normally back around this time. I don't have a good feeling about this, something is definitely off here.
An hour passes and she still hasn't come back. This really isn't like her at all, I'm really starting to get worried. As time starts to drag on the clock strikes twelve AM. It's getting close to the time that I was planning to leave. I guess Mariah really doesn't want to have anything to do with me really. I start to pack my things up quietly but something stops me from doing so I look around the room and I realize something, I cannot leave these kids by themselves. I have to find Mariah so that she can be here with these kids. As I take a deep breath in and out I drop my bag and I head outside to look for her, once I head outside I can feel shivers run up my spine as the silence of outside fills my ears.
The Underground isn't that big of a place so she couldn't have gone far. Unless she went up to the surface. But why would she do that? She has no reason to do something like that. But just as that thought starts to leave my mind I can hear the elevator door open up. I immediately turn around to see Mariah stepping out of the elevator. Once my eyes make contact with her a wave of relief washes over my body as I start to walk over towards her, but when I do she puts her hand up almost like she's telling me to stop.
"Mariah, where'd you go? You never leave The Underground. What's going on?" I ask her.
She remains silent. The uneasy feeling that I had before begins to creep up in the back of my mind once again. Something is off here. Something doesn't feel right.
"Mariah, why don't you walk over towards me so that I can take you back to the kids? It's way past curfew." I say extending my hand to her, but she doesn't respond to me.
"Hiroshi. I'm sorry. But I had to do it." She says pulling out a piece of paper I'm confused for a second but then I realize what it is. It's the bounty that was set out on me.
I can feel my heart fall into my stomach as a group of Hybrid and Government soldiers start to come out from behind some pillars. They all start to surround me as Mariah steps away from me.
"The reward on you was just too high to ignore Hiroshi. I bargained with the police and they said that they would give me and rest of the Deviants full immunity if I turned you into them." Mariah says as one of the soldiers' hands her a large bag of money.
After she secures the money Mariah turns tail and runs towards the house leaving me completely surrounded by all of these soldiers. Only about two of these guys have guns so I can easily deduce that the rest of these guys have some sort of ability. I just need to get them to use it. One of the soldiers that looks like he's in charge walks up to me as he takes a black scarf from around his face. Once he does he looks me up and down and starts to laugh at me.
"So you're it huh?" He says to me. He stands well over six feet tall and he has a big scar going down his left eye. "Who would've thought that me, Captain Evans would be the one to find you. Hiroshi, The Hybrid Killer."
I can feel the mood in the air change after that name is uttered. I can hear the gasps of the other soldiers as they learn who I am. I close my eyes and I take a deep breath in and out. There's no point in keeping this act up now. They already know who I am. As I allow my shoulders to go limp for a second a maniacal laugh escapes from my body as everyone even Captain Evans starts to back away from me.
"Well, you caught me," I say as I throw my hand up in the hair. "That little bitch told you about my plan huh?"
"You bet your ass she did. A secret bunker on the outskirts of LA? Really? That's the best idea you got? I expected more from the great Hybrid Killer. You've killed over hundreds of Hybrids and you've gotten away from us on multiple occasions and yet your best plan is a bunker outside of the city. I'm extremely disappointed in you Hiroshi." Evans says.
"If you seriously think that's the only plan that I have then all of you have been severely underestimating me," I say.
"Hm? What do you mean by that?" Evans asks me as I pull a remote from out of my pocket. When I do that I can see all of the soldiers to tense up.
"I'm guessing that you had an entire squad of people waiting for me just in case I got away from you here right?" I say as I click a button on the remote. When I do that an explosion sounds off in the distance.
You can feel the entire Underground shake as the explosion continues on. The sounds of people screaming and the ground shaking causes everyone in The Underground to wake up. As all of the doors fly open I can feel my stomach toss and turn as their confused cries fill the air.
"What's going on?!"
"Who's making all of that noise?!"
All of the kids run outsell as I jump on top of one of the pillars to get away from the Hybrid soldiers. In the midst of all of the panic and confusion, I walk along the railings above The Underground towards the Elevator door, but I'm met by Captain Evans right before I reach the elevator door.
"You were always a tricky one Hiroshi. I'll give you that. But it seems like you have nowhere else to go now." Evans says as a group of four soldiers appear behind me. "So what's gonna be your next move? It may be your last."
I look above his head to see if the bomb I placed is still there, and sure enough, it still is. My plan to lead these guys over here worked. If this bomb is still here then the other four must still be in place as well. I take the remote from out of my pocket once again and Evans starts to laugh.
"You've already used that button kid, it won't work twice." He says laughing.
"There you go underestimating me again," I say back to him. I look at the ground to calculate how far of a jump it'll be once I figure out where I'm going to land once I press the button again.
But right as my thumb presses down on the button Asya catches a glimpse of me and she starts to run towards me calling my name, but right before everything disappears into a flash of white light I can see Asya run directly under a pillar where I had a bomb planted just as it goes off and my screams are drowned out as all of the bombs go off at once.