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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16


Written by NicoPony
Last updated: 05/06/2007 06:22:13 PM

Chapter 1



Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

For those, whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy picture(s) be,

Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.

Thou’rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,

And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

~John Donne.

The dark figure walked along the service corridor, his thick leather-soled shoes silent on the damp concrete, his long cowl sweeping the ground. His steps were quick and purposeful. Acid yellow bulbs placed intermittently along the tiled half-pipe tunnel cast eerie shadows as he passed. Either side of the corridor was lined with concrete walkways. The recess running along the center of the corridor below contained several large siphons that carried away the filth of the over eight million citizens of New York City. The sewers beneath the city contained much more than the city-dwellers’ refuse, but other things that the rest of humanity preferred not to think about. Other people.


He could hear the sound of harsh breathing echoing through the ear-piece which looped around his right ear. The regular breathing suddenly stopped with a sudden exhalation, followed by a smattering of gunfire and wordless cry of success. Several terrified screams echoed down the corridor. The man touched his ear-piece with a slight smile.

“Is it done?” he asked softly, his voice the barest rasp of a whisper.

“One down,” came the voice in his ear, “two to go. Send Yoshida to do cleanup.”

“Shiro...?” the dark man rasped.

A second voice answered, his words partially obscured by the hiss and crackle of hungry flames: “I’m on my way.”

Up ahead, the corridor ended at a t-section, and split off to the right and left. The man paused as the sound of running footsteps grew nearer in the left tunnel. He noted the that footsteps were moving toward the sounds of gunfire and screaming, rather than away. Fleeing was the Morlocks’ usual method of defense; it was atypical that one of their lot should be running toward danger.

Assured that this was the quarry he sought, the man darted to the mouth of the corridor, careful to stop just before his shadow would give him away. He hoped his quarry would continue past at the same frantic pace, but as she neared his position, her footsteps slowed.

“She’s wary, this one. As she should be,” the man noted silently with growing satisfaction. “Sarah would know better than to run past a blind spot.”

The man’s suspicions of the runner’s identity were confirmed when the young, pink-haired woman darted out into the tunnel in which he stood. Yellow light from the overhead lights caught on the steel blades she held before her. For an instant the two crouched in fighting stance, getting the measure of each other. The man rose slowly from a crouch to his full height. With an unearthly scream, Sarah flung one of her blades at the cloaked form before her. The man acted quickly, swinging his staff and sending the blade flying in the opposite direction with the ringing clash of metal-on-metal. Sarah leaped at the dark figure, her second blade flashing down. The man darted aside, and the sharp knife drew through the fabric of his cloak, rather than slicing through his abdomen. He swung his staff after the girl, striking her in the back with the heavy blunt end. She struck the concrete head on and skidded a few feet. She was liquid motion, and though her face had just been scraped across the rough floor, a twist of her hips turned her over in time to block the second staff blow aimed at her head. She cried out when the staff struck her forearm; Sarah heard the familiar snap of bone breaking. Sarah lurched forward and swung her remaining knife, aiming for the tendons at the back of her attackers leg. The knife swung and missed as the intended target jumped back. The man’s leg struck out at her and connected with her skull, sending her tumbling onto the siphons below.

Sarah struggled to remain conscious as the man hopped down from the walkway and onto the pipe. His footsteps rang hollow on the tube. He walked slowly now, his balance perfect on the round siphon.

Fury bubbled up Sarah’s throat. “You!” she spat. “How could you!?”

The man spun his staff lazily; one end, the end he had used to break Sarah’s arm, was blunt and club-like. The other, however, ended in a scimitar-curved blade. The lights shone along its silvery length and caught on the strange markings, like hieroglyphics etched into the metal. Sarah watched it, hypnotized by its cruel beauty.

“Do you like it?” the dark man asked idly. “A gift...from my former employer.”

Sarah lay her head down on the siphon. The corridor around her was spinning, spinning counter to the twirling staff.

“Are you tired, mignonne?” said the harsh, raspy voice. “You should get some rest...sleep.”

Sarah’s eyes fluttered shut but then reopened. There was something...bad...in the air. More than the smell of weather runoff and human waste. Something acrid that was seeping into her lungs. Making her weak.

The man crouched over her, and in the dim light, she could just make out a dark face and eyes. Red eyes...the color of fresh blood.

The color of Death.

(mignonne: (French.) cute, darling.)


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