Chapter One

With the life style, Haru and Eli lived, they'd never thought a mysterious box would appear in front of their apartment door. Curious as they were the box contained two black device-like tablets from SIN; an organistation the pair knew nothing about, except that it was after them. Running for their lives, Eli and Haru would have to find out more about SIN or else they'd get them first. So their journey to hunt down an unknown organistation begun, meeting old friends, old and new enemies.

- Chapter One -

I stared at the blank rectangular cardboard box in front of me that appeared to be brand new, with the name Eli Thorne printed on the front. Examining the box, there was an 'open with caution' sticker plastered above my name with no sign of the sender.  There weren’t any stamps or a returning address, causing suspicion. The rational thing would have been to expect it to be from a friend who wanted to remain annonymous but no, my brain had to go into overdrive and register the lack of stamps and address with danger. I guess overreacting is just my thing today. 

I entered my three bedroom apartment, placed it on the coffee table and sat on the floor. Resting my elbows on the table, I used my index finger and thumb to pick up the box again, moving it gently. I wondered what may be in it, but only negative thoughts dominated my mind and made the uneasy feeling turn into worry.

I sat up straight and held the box near my ear, shaking it to hear its contents. No noise came from within so it couldn't have been a bomb, but nowadays bombs were technical equipment with all kinds of ways to detonate. 

The box's width was about thirty centimetres and twenty centimetres high without any scratches on the surface or damaged edges. I let out a heavy and frustrated sigh, using both my hands to ruffle my short mahogany hair that hung just above my shoulders. Leaning back too far, I collapsed onto the floor. I closed my eyes and watched my thoughts pass by. All that thinking and staring was hurting my brain. Maybe I shouldn’t think and just take the risk.

“But what if that risk kills me at eighteen?” I said to myself, with a hefty groan.

“What risk will kill you, Eli?”

I opened my eyes and launched up, only to hit my forehead against the person who spoke. The force of impact threw me back onto the floor and curled upinto a ball, holding my forehead.

“What the hell, Haru?!” I growled, trying to get rid of the pain.

“I could say the same thing to you, Eli! What the hell was that for?! Because for a girl, your head is like a rock!” Haru grumbled, cussing at the pain he felt.

Once the pain had disappeared, I sat up, staring at the guy in front of me. He was a skinny guy, but had the right amount of muscle, classing him as a medium built, with a height of five foot nine. He glared at me with his bright hazel eyes, pushing his dirty blonde curls away from his forehead and rubbed the place I'd hit him. His face showed the pain he was in, as he probably felt it more than I did. Just looking at Haru made me burst into laughter. His glare intensified as he shot daggers at me, not finding the situation funny.

“Not funny Eli. I’m going to get a bump, because of you.” He moaned, in a childish tone.

Giggling at Haru and jumping up on my feet, I moved a few steps towards him. I pushed back his curls and placed my hand onto the place we had bumped each other.

“See, I don’t feel a bump but if it makes you feel better, I’ll go to the convenience store and get you some ice.”

He took a step back and turned his face away from me, surprising me. I wonder why he moved away the minute I touched his head.

“I’ll be alright.” He murmured.

I couldn’t help looking at him with curiosity and confusion. Haru had never stepped away from me when I got close to him. We’d known each other for over four years and we’ve always been playful and close. We even lived with each other, but were not in a romantic relationship. The neighbours thought otherwise we were and would stare at us with disgust when we walked around the neighbourhood, acting playful. Shows just how old and unaware to the progression of society's views of man and woman relationships they were but when did we ever care?

Turning around, I returned to my place on the floor.

“What‘s that you got there?” 

“I don’t know. I just found it on our doorstep when I came in.”

“Maybe it's a bomb.” Haru said jokingly with a chuckle.

I shot him a look of annoyance.

“Pffft, you are such a genius.” I replied, my words laced with sarcasm. 

“I could always scan the inside of the box with a small portable computerized tomographic x-ray scanner and then we’ll find out whether it's a bomb or just a present.”

“Like I get presents.” I muttered.

It was true. Thinking back, I'd realised that it had probably been ten years since I'd gotten a doll as a present; receiving it around the time I lost all my memories. Remembering this doll brought back a painful truth, as it was the only object that was connected to my past. It was  a cute stuffed doll with beautiful, wavy blonde hair that glistened in the morning sun, contrasting  with its delicate porcelain face. I smiled a little, remembering its blue polka dot dress that gave it an innocent quality, something I've never forgotten since.

“Eli, whatcha doing? Bring the box over here.”

Snapping back to reality, the image of the doll vanished into thin air. I wandered into the room opposite the coffee table. Our apartment wasn't that big with just three bedrooms and a bathroom which all had a view into the living room and kitchen. Our living room lacked furniture, with just a coffee table and a sofa, next to a large window. The view outside the window was gloomy, with a parking lot opposite us and more apartment buildings on both sides.

Haru's room was the only fully furnished room with all kinds of equipment. I probably just had a photo of Haru and me next to my bed. The only reason we got this apartment was because of the rent and it was in Fair Haven, one of the fourteen districts in this city which was known for its super large shopping centre.

Haru's bedroom door was wide open, but the light was not on. Reaching for the light switch on my right, Haru stopped me, dragging me towards four monitors at the other end of the room. The screens were bright enough to lighten half the room. There were so many cords and wires all over the floor that the soft texture of the carpet couldn't be felt under my feet. There must‘ve been all kinds of technical equipment around the monitors, as well as two keyboards and a mouse.

From the light of the screen, I saw he'd pushed back the hood of his grey hoodie that had white lining around the wrists, shoulders and pockets, revealing the hair clips that held back his curls from his eyes. It made him look cute, but telling him that now, when he was concentrating, would've just made him angry. So keeping those thoughts to myself, I watched him work his magic. Haru was good with computers…well not just good but a genius. He had the ability to hack protected files in under a minute and once entered the government computers, retrieving several top secret files thus leading him to me. I guess curiosity brought us together.

Haru placed the x-ray scanner above the box and the image of inside the box, appeared on the bottom two monitors. I leaned forward; the monitors showed nothing suspicious. There were just two black rectangles, sitting in the middle of the box. They didn’t look like bombs and there weren't  any sensory devices in the box.

Noticing my attempt to open the box, Haru stopped me by placing his large hand on the lid. This was the second time he'd stopped me from doing something and it frustrated me. 

“Not in here. Do you know how much all this equipment costs?”

“So you don’t care about my life, but the life of your precious equipment?” I said, staring at him in disbelief.

“Of course.” He replied immediately.

Stomping out the room, I felt disappointment more than anger. I didn’t expect him to answer that quickly. Maybe I wanted him to care a little. Okay not a little, a lot more, so much so that I should be more important than his equipment at least. I mean, how could he think so less  of me? Sometimes that guy knew how to make me mad; pushing all the right buttons to tick me off. Out of anger, I ripped off the lid and stared it in my hand , realising that maybe I went a little over the top. I shrugged my shoulders and threw the lid behind me.

“Eli, don’t litter in the house.” Haru said from behind me, shaking his head.

He bent down to pick up the lid and dropped it on the coffee table. I ignored him as I was still pissed. Two shiny black rectangular devices sat in the box, inviting us to switch them on. I picked one up, tempted to switch it on but the uneasy feeling returned. The device was light and thin. Turning it around, a strange logo was engraved on the back.

The logo was a simple engraftment of a black 3D dice with white lines, but instead of numbers being on each side of the dice, there were three letters, spelling out SIN.  The letter ‘S’ was on the left side, the letter on the top side and the letter ‘N’ on the right side of the dice. SIN must have stood for something, but my brain was creating ridiculous words that could abbreviate to SIN. I’ve never seen a logo like this and I was known for knowing all the logos of any government or individual organisations.

Haru sat down opposite me, reached for the second black device and checked it as well. Looking at him, as he concentrated, made me want to tease him for payback. Suddenly, something caught my eye and I grabbed hold of his device.

“What’s wrong, Eli?”

“The numbers. I’ve got number eighteen and you have number nineteen but next to it, our names glisten in 3D when we move it around. It's like they've allocated us this device. And the logo just looks strange. What kind of organisation is 'SIN'?” I said, rolling  my eyes in the process.

Staring at the box yet again, I tried to reach some kind of conclusion about it which would put my frantic mind to rest. Something about the design of it intrigued me; teased my mind with the fact that it was a puzzle that I couldn’t solve, pieces that I couldn’t seem to fit together.

Pondering upon the object, I tilted it at an angle which would allow the light radiating from Haru’s laptop to fully illuminate it like I’d seen them do in those old crime detective movies too many times. I stared at it expectantly, waiting for the light bulb to go off in my head. one second, two seconds… three seconds…..Nothing.

I sighed in frustration and focused my attention back on Haru who seemed to have been trying to get my attention for some time.

“Eli! Finally! As I was saying, it looks like a typical tablet. Slim with a seven inch screen, an on button at the top with a headphone socket next to it. Look, there’s even a volume button on the left hand side and a home symbol at the bottom of the screen. Just like a tablet. Now who in the world would want to send us this? And for free?! This is just too suspicious Eli. Let’s just put it back in the box and send it back.” He demanded calmly, faking a smile to give some air to what was obviously an order which had no room for negotiation.

Annoyance was starting to pile on top of the frustration that I already felt. It wasn’t even like it was addressed to him! We may have known each other for years but he has no say in this matter and I wasn’t going to let him influence my decisions in such a way which would suit him.

“To where Haru? There isn’t a return address or any information on the sender. Like I said earlier, it’s like the person knew where we lived and just put it on our doorstep! They knew we’d open it and decide to send it back. I know this is suspicious but aren’t you curious as to what this device can do?” I stared at him incredulously and threw my hands up in anger. I guess it wasn’t annoyance after all.

“Of course I’m curious, but I have a bad feeling about this. Let’s just put it back in the box and throw it out – seeing as we can’t send it back anyway.” He replied; a sense of finality punching into me with every word.

Before I could even react, Haru took the two devices out of my hand and put them back in the box. It was then that I snapped into action and grabbed hold of his hand, stopping him from picking up the box.

“You’re no risk taker.”

I rolled my eyes unconsciously.

“We must’ve gotten these devices for a reason. I’m not going to let you just cower at some suspicious cardboard box and some dumb devices.”

Copyright © 2012 IJargon (Mina)

The End

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