The Future in Blood (Excerpt)

Front, back. Forward, backward. Those were the only thoughts going through my head as I pushed off each wall and drifted towards another one. I moved my arms and legs to avoid the obstacles in my room: my glass, my pillow, my desk, and a case full of metal fingers.

Oh yeah, I should probably tell you. I’m missing the first two fingers of my right hand. I’ve said it. Let’s get on with the story.

I pushed off my desk and grabbed the case. I pulled it open and grabbed two fingers from the top left, checking the label as I did. Smoke bombs, good. I opened up a plastic case and took out two smoke bombs. I checked my watch and cursed. I pushed towards the door and got out, drifting down as gravity returned to normal. I got into a small cubicle and pressed a button. An instant later, I was standing in a cubicle that looked the exact same, teleported to the race I was going to.

I lined up in front of it and was told to go to my spot.

“Finn? Number 28? Over here.”

I walked over to my spot and noticed someone standing next to me. She was young and looked to be about 12.

I asked her, “Are you sure you can do this race? Is there an age limit?”

“Nope!” she replied. “That’s the beauty of it!”

“Okay,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Ready?” I got into position.

“Set?” I got ready to push off.

“Go!” I shot off the starting plate like a bullet, then jumped clean over the first obstacle. I rolled under the next one and got to the barbed wire. I crawled under it slowly, then pushed up. I looked ahead. Was I in first? I couldn’t see anyone in front of me, but then someone passed me. I looked and saw that it was the little girl who was next to me.

“She is not going to beat me,” I muttered. The rest of the race, we were neck and neck. I would be ahead for one part, then she would pass me. We were almost at the end of the race. I could see the finish. She put on a burst of speed. Time to go for it. I sped up and passed her when she was barely a hundred yards from the finish. I kept going as fast as I could and was there almost instantly. I looked back and saw her right behind me.

“Good job,” I said.

She shook my hand and said, “You too. What’s your name?”

“Finn. Finn Lawliet. Yours?”

“Mykhaila Rubio. See you!” And she went into a teleporter. I decided to walk to where I was going next. I had to be careful, as I was going through a shady neighborhood where there had been murders before.

I forgot to tell you. Our world is broken. We may have teleporters and other high-tech things, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have crime and corruption. The “event” I was going to? A forced one where if you do well, you could be drafted into the military. And if you get there late, you could be sentenced to death.

I was walking through a bad neighborhood where two people were murdered last week, and the government didn’t even care. Their bodies were still there, for all I knew. And then there was this new threat. The government tried to create sentient life, and they created it alright. They made these animals that kind of look like giant spiders with metal legs. They can read your memory and spin a silk cocoon that looks like someone you love to kill you. The only good thing is that if you know that that person isn’t there, then you just kill them. Except they don’t die easily.

“Finn?” I heard. I knew that voice, and I turned around slowly. My sister stood behind me, holding a bloody kitchen knife.

“This guy was following you,” she said, nudging a dead man with blood welling up from his chest. I pulled out a combat knife, and I walked toward her slowly. Then, when I was in arm’s reach, I stabbed her with the point of my knife. She let out a screech, and bright cyan blood spurted out of her abdomen. She stabbed toward me with her knife, and I ducked underneath it and swept her legs out from under her. I prepared to puncture her windpipe.

“You wouldn’t hurt your own sister, would you?”

“You’re not my sister.”

She let out one final screech, then the silk crumpled into a ball, and a spider crawled out and tried to scuttle away. I stopped her with my boot, and then stomped on her head. I heard her neck crack, and a bone poked out of her neck. She started to laugh, then crawled back into the cocoon, blood gurgling out of her neck. God, I was going to have nightmares. I mean, who stabs their own sister? It was just so messed up, and that’s why so many people die facing these things. Most of them can’t bring themselves to hurt their wife, or child, or parents. I had to get moving. The government would be coming soon to get me for the military. I pulled my knife out and wiped it on her shirt. I slid it into the sheath and shuddered as a few drops of blood splattered onto my shirt. I just stabbed my sister. No! It wasn’t my sister! I can’t think like that. I’ll end up going crazy. My sister is still alive somewhere,and I have to find her. I can’t let what happened to my mother happen to her. I should probably tell you, even though it’s a bad memory. Here it is.

It was the middle of the night when I heard the scream. I sat bolt upright in bed and ran to the door, my sister beside me. In my mother’s room, my father was about to stab my mother. But my father was running up behind us from his office. The man who looked like my father brought the knife down. Blood splattered everywhere. My vision turned red, and I couldn’t think clearly. I ran at the man and kicked him in the head. I heard something get crushed, like paper, and he fell to the floor. He got back up, his head at a funny angle. He grinned lopsidedly, his jaw crumpled up. I grabbed the knife from where he had dropped it and stabbed him in the head. His brains started to spill out, along with spurts of cyan blood. He started to shrivel up, and out of the shriveled ball came a huge spider with shiny legs. I kicked the spider to make sure he was dead. He didn’t respond, so I grabbed him and pulled him towards the window. One of his legs shot out and sliced the two first fingers of my right hand off. I yelled and threw him out the window, then sank to the floor cradling my hand.

There. I told you. Let’s get back to the story now. So, I was crouching in the middle of an alley, a dead crumpled girl and man lying by my feet. I stood up. Time to go. I ran at a wall and jumped off, grabbing a fire escape. I climbed up and jumped, grabbing the roof with my hands. I pulled myself up and ran across it. When I was about three rooftops away, I went down the fire escape.

“Hey you! Stop right there!” I turned around slowly and raised my hands slowly. Two uniformed officers were pointing tasers at me.

“You’re Finn Lawliet?”

“Yes,” I grumbled. “Can we do this some other time? ‘I’m kind of busy right –”

“You placed first in the race, and she placed second?” He pointed to Mykhaila, who I hadn’t noticed before. She was in handcuffs.

“You know, you’re not supposed to put her in handcuffs.”

“She resisted.”

3… I thought. 2… 1… “Just let me get some –” I shot a smoke bomb at the floor. Under the cover of smoke, I ran at the officers, hit them both in the temple, and grabbed their keys. I tried to fit a key in the handcuffs lock. “Wrong one. Typical,” I muttered. It took me three tries to get the right key.

“Thanks,” she said. “But, could you use the right key first?”

I rolled my eyes for the second time that day, knowing that it wouldn’t be the last.

“Come on,” I said.

“Where are we going?”

“The military will be back to try to get us again. Do you want to get caught?”

“I guess not…”

I didn’t wait around to argue anymore. I dropped the keys and the handcuffs, and walked off to the nearest teleporter station. I put in a set of coordinates that would take me and Mykhaila, who was next to me, to somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The teleporter said it didn’t recognize the coordinates as the location of another teleporter, so I clicked the box with “Not found” on it twice, an exploit that I knew. I was teleported to a pod on an island somewhere in the Arctic, at a resistance location known only to a few people.

I said at the wall, “Finn Lawliet, and guest.” The door slid open, and I walked out into a room full of people lounging on chairs or couches.

“Who’s that?” one of the people said, a woman sitting on the back of a sofa. “You know that you can’t just bring new people without aski –”

“Whatever. We’re here because we’re rule breakers, not keepers.”

“Fine. He’s in the back.”

“He’s always in the back,” I replied.

I told Mykhaila, “Come with me,” and walked to the back room. When I got close, I could hear pings and electronic beeps coming from behind the door. I pushed it open and leaned against a wall.

“What’d you do to deserve boss position?” I said to the man playing pinball against the left wall.

“Hmm, lets see. I founded this group, I fought off the dictator of this country, and I kept the resistance alive. Who’s the girl?”

“She can tell you herself, I think.”

“I’m Mykhaila Rubio,” she blurted out.

“And? What do you do? Achievements? Age?”

“I’m twelve years old, I placed second in the annual drafting race, and I’m an assassin.”

“Did she beat you?” the boss asked.

“Of course not,” I snapped back. “You know I’m the fastest one here.”

“You. Mykhaila and Finn. Fight.”

“What?!” we both said.  

“She claims she’s an assassin. I’m testing her.”

“Fine,” I said, mumbling under my breath and rolling my eyes again. Third time. I settled into a combat stance, and got ready.

“Go!” I jumped up and shot out a smoke bomb. I’d have to replenish those soon. I clung to a pipe on the ceiling and scanned for Mykhaila. I saw a shadow below me moving, and I knew it was her. The boss wouldn’t be stupid enough to be moving. I opened a skylight and waited. I was about to do the most clichéd move in history. I jumped down, kicked her up into the sky, and jumped up beside her. I was about to kick her down, when something hit me in the back. I landed crouching and waited for the rest of the smoke to leave through the skylight. I saw Mykhaila, along with a crumpled dummy lying on the ground.

“Is that –”

“Yes. One of them attacked my brother as me, and I kept the silk. It works well for that type of thing.”

“Okay, I’ve seen enough,” yelled the boss.

“You’re good,” he said to Mykhaila, “So I have a job for the two of you. Assassinate him. The dictator. Our ruler. Whatever you want to call him. ”

“Consider it done.”


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