Chapter 1: Almond MilkMature

In the distant Future of 5000, an alien serial killer is on the loose again. Striking terror into the hearts of all except one: Heather Ashok. A rebellious teenage girl from the suburbs of Las Vegas, who's already had the lifetime of fright she needs to withstand a petty serial killer. But what happens when they find their fates are inherently twisted together in a much more cosmic struggle?

Chapter 1: Almond Milk


Elusive serial killer X-77-4-10 has escaped. This man is heavily armed and extremely dangerous. If you suspect that you have seen him, flee the location immediately and call the intergalactic special ops of sector 8.  Do NOT approach X-77-4-10, he i---



Hasn’t he been all over the news before? I thought to myself, That’s right, just 6 months ago he got caught.

I clicked my tongue, none of my business. Earth never got caught up in big important ‘intergalactic’ stuff like that. That was thanks to humanity being a big collective baby about aliens ever since the Japanese Nuclear Threat. The ‘Threat’ was a little mishmash a good 2500 years ago; the Japanese affiliated with some maniac alien guy. His name was Maximus Molitar or something stupid, and they built a planet with a giant nuclear engine prototype.

 Later the mad scientist turned around and stole the planet, it was tucked away into some hidden corner of the universe and he was never seen again. Something like that, I played hookie too much to have a comprehensive understanding of history.

Stole a whole goddamn planet that sounds like such complete bull. I turned off the TV and stared absently at my reflection. I looked like trash. My dark emerald hair hung loosely rather than with its usual pep, and my gaze looked dull and tired. It was 11 pm, and I was still in my dirty jeans and sweater from yesterday. I should’ve gone to bed hours ago, but at this point I was too tired to really want to sleep. I rubbed my sinuses and stared down at my lap, feeling a sudden existential crisis coming on. Thank god Auntie was there to ‘save’ me.

“Heather you little bitch I told you to get milk on your way home!” Auntie stomped into the room and slammed her palm into the door frame. I spared her a glance before glaring at the TV again; I didn’t want to see my own tired gaze reflected in her eyes.

“’s way too heavy; you can’t make me do it.” I spat at her.

She came over to me and wrenched me violently off the couch and just about into the TV. “I certainly can and if you keep sassing me like that you can buy it with your own damn money!”

I wiped my face off; swearing I had felt spit hit it. I snarled and glared up into her matching angry green eyes, “Fine whatever, but I’m getting almond.”

Auntie hesitated to respond a moment as her gaunt face flushed in fury and her lips drew into a thin pale line, “You better not you obnoxious brat.” Auntie waved her hand dismissively at me and growled, then went back to doing whatever she was doing without more fight. She looked tired herself; her earthy hair was down and looked like a stringy mop.

I sighed and grabbed my denim jacket off the hook as I stepped over to the front door. I shivered as I cracked the door open, it was late November, and winter was beginning to bare its blistering fangs at beautiful Las Vegas. I looked up for a brief on the weather. The sky was clear, though the dusty midnight and cold metal ring didn’t provide much comfort from the frozen air. I gave a shudder and wrapped the jacket tighter around me, better get walking… The cell station is a good fifteen minutes.

I watched my breath glow against the lights of my house, as I stepped down to the sidewalk. I popped the collar on my jacket and huddled into it as much as possible. Which really wasn’t that much, I was beyond gracious for the relative lack of wind.

My feet clapped on the frozen sidewalk; it was a ghastly echo over the frozen silence of the little suburban neighborhood.

 I grimaced as my usual jealous thoughts overcame me, with our connections to such wealth like Victoria why the hell do Auntie and I have to live in this little cesspool on the outskirts of rich people city? But at the same time, the remoteness of the location allowed me to freely go about the shenanigans I so desired. Said shenanigans most often involved fire and threats, certainly not school. I am 15 why the hell do I need to go to school when my future has no place here on Earth? I already learned how to add and read what else do I need?

I was surprised as distant slobbery echoes hit my ears. Sounded like a bunch of drunken people… I grimaced and continued walking, maybe just a bit faster. They’re so far off Heather you hardly heard it.

The cell station soon came into view and I crossed the abandoned parking lot to head inside. Not much warmer in here… I headed over to the refrigerators and frowned as my search quickly grew grave.

No almond milk, damn, I thought to myself. I grabbed soy instead; Auntie hated it just about as much.

As I turned around with my prize I found myself face to face with a hooded figure. They spared me a glance, I think, but this glance… it froze time worse than the November atmosphere just outside. Luminescent turquoise slit by a frail pupil stared down at me, into me. Examining, calculating, processing. Like a complex computer I could tell they were deconstructing me 1 by 0 by 1 in their head. Atom by atom. Thought by thought. Breath by breath.

They looked to the ground and ducked their head before slinking away. I stood there feeling a bit deflated with my carton of soy milk as the figure continued up the aisle. I shook it off and quickly headed up to the sleepy looking register person, but the hooded figure swept in front of me. I stopped short just about running into them; I didn’t manage to avoid stepping on their tail.

They barely spared a look over their shoulder at what I assumed was a rather rude gesture. I lifted my foot off their creepy blue tail and stared at it in awe as it popped back up, like it’s made of rubber…

I looked back up into their eyes as I cautiously backed away, mouthing an apology. It was a bit less intense this time; something was different about their gaze. I watched as they bought a couple packs of Marlboros and some beef jerky. It seemed so normal, but something was different.

Probably the fact you stepped on their tail Heather, I huffed a sigh at this thought.

 I watched as they exited, opening one of their new cigarette packs and taking one out. They lit up as they walked outside; I watched them take a left. That was the same direction I would be going… I swiftly purchased my soy milk then headed out after them in a stupid hope I could find that breathtaking gaze once more.

But… they weren’t there. They weren’t much of anywhere to be honest, aside from the faint lingering scent of cigarette smoke it was hard to detect any hints anyone else had been out here before me. Again I heard the laughter of people somewhere… I didn’t want to lose that person despite my fears of being snatched up by the strange laughing people, so I gave the cell station a quick skirt.

They weren’t lingering around the sides, so I trudged to the back. I trudged to the back where the laughing suddenly got louder, and the stench of alcohol and drugs hit me like a tidal wave. I gagged despite being very familiar with the products myself. The laughing rumbled to a halt and when I recovered from my gagging I looked up, and met several pairs of eyes. I counted at least twenty.

You just walked into the wrong party Heather. I turned to leave, not really in the mood to deal with this lousy dick festival, especially without my bat. “Where d’youuuu think you’re going!” “Yeah cmon you pretty little thing we’ll shaaaaare.”

I bit my tongue, Don’t pick a fight at this hour Heather come on. But they just kept going, “Awwwww is it beddy bye time for the little girl?” “Ooohhh won’t she come sleep in mine?” They all unanimously began to crack up. I stopped in my tracks and whipped around.

“Okay serious, shut the hell up!” I popped my chin up and clutched my milk, “You gross frat boys or something? I’ll take your nasty beer, but then I’ll leave to drink it at my leisure thanks.” They were all silent. “What I thought…” I growled before turning on my heel again to head off.

Rapid footsteps rang out behind me and I swung around ready to punch this guy’s teeth into his nose, but he was closer than I’d thought and in a second I’m lifted into the air. He flops me over his shoulder and carries me back to his buddies, “Hell no.” I spat under my breath.

My knee slammed into his chest with a dull thump that made him stagger, my elbow jammed into the side of his neck and he faltered. I managed to twist around enough to elbow him right in his ugly, greasy head. With a cry he let go of me and I thumped to the frozen asphalt.

They were all upon me at once, but I sprung to action. I slammed my foot into the nearest guy’s shin so I could wiggle back onto my feet. The next nearest guy earned himself a hefty fist in the eyeball for touching me. I clawed, kicked, even bit but it was just too overwhelming. Twenty guys to one girl? They had a hold of my clothes and it was tearing and even if I got angrier and more vicious, more precise, I couldn’t seem to make the drunk bastards back off.

Some guy tugged on my hair and I let out a screech which got them all cracking up again. I elbowed him in the stomach repeatedly until he let go, I was relieved until he vomited all over my back. Stunned by the disgusting assault I let my guard down for approximately 5 stupid seconds. Hands were all over me again and I was consumed by the rather rabid lot of smelly people.

I got down low to try and find an escape through their legs, when I noticed some falling around the edges. I gave the collapsing bodies a baffled look. Regardless a path was a path and I tried to wiggle my way out of the fumbling, laughing mass.

I yelped when a pair of arms wrapped around my chest and lifted me up. Again I was tossed over someone’s shoulder like some kind of ragdoll. I screamed in frustration and kneed this bastard in the chest excessively. And all I got out of him was a shitty bruise on my knee. Undoubtedly soon to be purple and ugly. What the hell, is this guy made of steel or something?

I panicked just slightly, realizing I was useless at the moment. I attempted to wriggle, poke him in the eyes, but his grip was firm. And also on my ass. He was getting his dick kicked to the ring the second I found a way to get down.

While I was pondering I realized, no one else had been grabbing at me, and to be honest it was getting progressively quieter. I snapped out of my thoughts for a moment and looked around, surprised to find the ground littered with motionless bodies.

When not a chuckle or hiccup was left, I was very gently set down. Like really gently. “Okay seriously what the hell--,” I looked up at my captor and was met with the familiar gaze from earlier. “More like what the hello, what was that for?”

He looked away a moment and didn’t speak. Rather he quietly got out a cigarette and put it between his lips, seeming to get lost in thought as he lit it. Something was… suspiciously familiar in the shadows that lined his face when the little fire flicked on. Well you did see him only a few minutes ago…

“Hello? Don’t you speak, dude?” I waved my hand in front of his face. “Cuz if you don’t I really would like to go home and change my shirt.”

He tilted his head as reality seemed to occur to him again. I gave him an unimpressed look and put my hands on my hips. “Oh, are you some alien? Look Earth speaks mostly English nowadays, try learning it. Thanks and stuff, later I guess?” After no response I hesitantly turned to leave, shivering at the sensation of the freezing vomit on my back.

“Can I come vith you?” A low voice piped up behind me.

I stopped then slowly turned back around. “Uh… what?” I gave him a curious look, like he could even see it in this light.

“Yesss, take me vith you you’re indebted now and I have novhere to sssstay,” he purred.

I watched that shadowy mass of a blue tail flick behind him in the shadows as he exhaled a cloud of smoke. “Uh, I repeat, excuse you? Just cuz you saved my ass doesn’t mean you’re on my ‘to bang’ list. Get lost… I only repay in blow jobs and you’re not coming to my house for that.”

He tilted his head again and something seemed colder about him suddenly, I looked away. “If you like need a house or something I guess maybe you can stay the night? But you’re sleeping on the couch okay…”

“Little girl may I relay something I believe is imporrtant? There is a high prrrobability it vill change your emotional ssstance on this matterr,” he rasped.

I furrowed my brow then nodded. so. very. slowly.

“My name is X-77-4-10, perhaps you’ve heard of me?” He said.

My breath caught in my throat as the scene before me seemed all too obvious. Surrounded by definitely dead bodies, dark scary alley. Did my life just become a TV drama or something?

“No way, you’re not. Bullshit…” I mumbled.

“Earth people are so cute! You vill comply,” he paused a moment and chuckled. “Vhat’s your name anyways? You fight so vell.”

“Nuna yer fucking business, consider the blow job not applicable any longer. Leave me alone, freak,” I huffed.

Deftly I turned on my heel and began storming off. “Before you go,” he cooed, “I think you forgot sssomething.”

I turned around and he was right there. I hadn’t even heard him take a step towards me. He shoved a little carton against my chest and I looked down. My milk, my damn milk are you kidding me.

The alien dropped his cigarette and crushed it under his boot, and his glistering eyes met mine again. Something dark broiled in his lit gaze, something terrifying even to me. I hesitated, watching my breath lift into the starlit sky; I realized my only other option in this situation was probably death. The killer had revealed himself to me and I doubted he’d let me walk off with that information.

 I clutched the soy milk to my chest and stared down at my toes. Light blotted out above me as his metal-toed boots clunked against my tennis shoes. I looked up to find him with a stern but curious expression, “Vell?”

I sneered at him and turned on my heel hoping he would give me space on the way home.  “This way,” I said. I suddenly remembered his question, and felt obligated to answer for some reason. “And uh… it’s Heather. I’m Heather.”

Our journey was quiet and tense and I couldn’t help but let my mind wander, this man was clever, X-77-4-10 had brains. Avoiding even the intergalactic police for 2 years, and then busting out of their mid-space Alcatraz? Something was fundamentally wrong with this alien. Why did it have to be me of all people to run into him?

Dark grotesque thoughts of what he might do to me flooded my brain. I’d seen his work before, leaked files on the internet or newscasts of brutality.

This… beast, he might gut me and eat my entrails before me. He might slowly dice me up, never quite letting my agony end as he cut me smaller and smaller. I imagined his delicate blade tracing my flesh before delving in somewhere painful, but not vital. No matter the specie, he seemed to always be acutely aware of what he was doing. He was clever, observant, but arrogant. The reason he got caught finally just half a year ago.

But they couldn’t keep him; no one could contain this monster. I walked right past my house and immediately froze upon noticing this. How bad will this look to him, I was merely caught up in thought! Will he kill me now? Rape my body? Eat it? I felt his warm hands come down; his cold claws dug into the soft flesh of my shoulders.

“Something the matter, Heh-thrrrr?” The alien asked.

“No I was… I was just thinking, and I accidentally walked past my house. We need to turn around,” I murmured.

I swallowed roughly as he squeezed my shoulders, but X-77-4-10 let go without damaging me. I slowly turned around to face him; he had another cigarette between his lips. Not wanting to let him know I was scared even a little, I pushed him aside and walked back up the sidewalk to my house. I hoped to God Auntie wasn’t home.

If she was, she would do something stupid --like call the police-- and get us both slaughtered. I stopped at the foot of my steps and looked over my shoulder, but the killer was a step ahead of me, already hidden. Should have assumed as much; a smart man doesn’t have a reputation for nothing.

I shivered a little and headed inside, clutching my milk to my chest again. “Auntie?” I called as I entered the building. “Auntie, are you here?” No response. I hoped she was out and not just in bed. If she woke up and found another murderer in her house…

While I was pondering the door clicked shut behind me and I took a few tentative steps forward, away from the body heat of the killer. “She’s probably out, not wanting to put up with me,” I said.

X-77-4-10 gave a little ‘mmhmm’ and then set off to explore. At least, I assumed that’s where he went. When I turned to look at him he was gone, the low hum of a reply hanging in the air where he had been seconds ago.

I decided to let him do his thing, whatever that might be. I tossed my rancid jacket into the laundry chute and put my milk into the fridge. I felt his eyes on me the whole time, piercing, delving, deep into my spine, into my brain. I whipped around in fright several times, to be greeted by empty air. I pretended he had disappeared, it had been a hallucination from tiredness or something, but then I would smell him in the air.

It was quite a distinct scent. And unfortunately attractive, I thought. A distinct overlying smell of cigarette smoke, burying what I assumed was cheap cologne, and when he had gotten so close to me earlier I noticed the grating scent of various metals, mostly copper. Disgusting, yet appealing simultaneously. This man had his manipulation science down to the chemistry of his scent. I hated to admit it, but X-77-4-10 definitely had outrageous genius. I was dealing with a whole new level of asshole here.

“Do you have any coffee?” I jumped in surprise as the voice came from right next to my ear.

“Yes. I do,” I said, “Would you like some? We don’t have many flavours.”

“That’s alright, I rrrather like black coffee, maybe with a pinch of sssugar,” X-77-4-10 said, “Please, if you’ll brew me some, miss.”

I shrugged, as if trying to dispel his aura, then headed over to the pantry. I slid down the Folgers container and went over to the coffee maker to start it up. It was deathly quiet, and again I could feel X-77-4-10’s eyes on me.

How do you make small talk with a serial killer?

“Black coffee huh? Why don’t you like anything in it?” I asked.

“It’s more divine that vay don’t you think? Besides, usually I make mine with merrrcury, it goes down ssssmoother,” he chuckled.

I stopped in my movements, suddenly doubting the water I was putting into the machine. I heard him laugh behind me, “I have no intentions of killing my host tonight.”

I laughed nervously, a joke. Right. I turned around and leaned back against the counter and just kind of stared at him for a moment. The killer was still hiding his face beneath a hood, and he was looking down at a thin glass sheet. I assumed it was glass anyways.

His humorless eyes snapped up to meet mine and I immediately looked down at my feet. I felt my heartbeat slow down as his gaze slipped away.

“So, Heatherrr, how do you like your coffee?” X-77-4-10 asked.

“Me?” I scoffed, “I’m not much of a coffee person. I prefer vodka, but I’m sure if I drank coffee I’d like it black too. Sugar is disgusting, and I can’t imagine creamer is better.”

I looked up again and he tilted his head lightly as he pocketed his… er… glass thing and looked up at me while pulling his hood down. “Oh? Ssugarr is one of my favourite things in the world, I could gorge on candy forever,” he laughed.

The machine hummed behind me and I wrung my fingers anxiously, now what? We stayed staring blankly at each other for a moment. Then a little buzz came from his pocket, and the killer pulled out his little glowing glass sheet again. I didn’t dare approach him. Rather I watched him, studied him like he had studied me.

X-77-4-10 had a very angular face, with an absolute avalanche of black freckles splashed across his violet cheeks and nose, and he was just covered in piercings on his face. He had two bridge piercings, a nose ring, snake bites, gauges at least 5/8’s, and just discernible holes for way more on both his face and in his ears. His hair was a vibrant lime green, and now that he had his hood down I could see it was pulled back in a ponytail that was long enough to swing over his shoulder. He had curious little yellow horns that looked neat and trimmed and just barely poked out from under his hair.

His body was definitely all lean muscle, necessary for a primed killer. His eyes were a glittering turquoise backed by a deep forest green, and his pupils, piercing and cat-like seemed to take in a singular point in space while observing everything around him simultaneously. I shivered, feeling like he was still acutely watching me. It made my face flush in memory of his first look at me in the gas station.

I whipped around to watch the coffee brew so he wouldn’t look up and see my blush. Are you serious girl? He’s a goddamn murderer, and you want to have sex with him? You’re so stupid, you are so goddamn stupid. Not another murderous freak show come on.

“May I call you Sssugarr?” he asked. “Pet names are quite ssveet, don’t you think?”

I scrunched up my nose in distaste as his voice lured me out of my thoughts.

“A pet name, really?” I asked. “You act weird for a rabid murderer.”

“Ah is that what they call me…?” his voice grew cold and fearsome suddenly. “I’m actually quite the gentleman, I’m sssure you’ve noticed. I’m merely doing my job, I’m not a murrrdererrr. I’m an assassin,” he growled.

“Right… I’m sorry,” I sighed irritably.

“Oh, Sssugarr, don’t be sorry,” he purred in delight.

I went quiet again, and after a few moments decided to go have my daily jell-o cup. I retrieved it from the fridge’s drawer quickly, without looking at him. When I turned around with the spoon in my mouth, he was gone again. I swallowed my bite and choked in surprise at his sudden disappearance. Then I returned to watching the coffee brew, like nothing odd had occurred.

Thirty minutes pass. Thirty way-too-quiet minutes go right by before I can pour him a mug of hot coffee. I carefully filled the mug, inhaling the soft scent as I brought the mug closer to my face, and then I turned to see X-77-4-10 in the living room across the way. Where was Auntie? When was she coming home? Why hadn’t she texted me? How the hell did he get in there without me noticing?

“Ah, Sssugarr, thank you. You are sssuch a ssveetheart,” the assassin said as I walked in and handed him his mug. He set aside his little glass panel and beckoned me with a finger.

I awkwardly came closer to the murderer, unsure of what to expect but not wanting to ignore his request. He placed a kiss on either of my cheeks and I turned bright red almost immediately. What are you, a toddler with a crush on a celebrity again? Where the hell did your class go, Heather?

“Look, I’m… going to go to bed okay,” I hissed turning to hide my face from him. “You’re… not going to like… murder me or whatever, right?” I asked after a moment.

“Murrrder you? Not, as long as you don’t ring up the police Sssugarr,” he said as he took a tentative sip of the beverage.

“Right, great. Goodnight freak,” I said, feeling my blush fade a little as my confidence was restored.

I headed towards the staircase and began going up to my room.

“Heatherr, Sssugarr?” I freeze at the killer’s suddenly harsh voice, “Don’t get too full of yourrrself. You’ll get fat, and you’ll probably look more delicioussss.”

I pointedly looked down at him from three steps up. There was a primal look in his arrogant gaze, and I just about screamed in conflicted revulsion and attraction when he ran his white tongue over his lips.

“Right.” I squeaked.

X-77-4-10 turned back around and started petting his weird blue jelly tail. I ran up the steps, infuriated about this whole situation. Why did I feel so anxious near him? What was he doing to me? I set buildings on fire and pinched wallets right from policemen’s hands and I’d never found fear before now. And, he was way too kindly to be a serial killer. All please and thank you and pet names. Seriously, what the hell.



I had a feeling this little lady… Heather had no intention of turning me in. Of course if she did, I could kill her and be on my way.

That would have been a shame, she was quite pretty. However, her sour attitude certainly made her less appetizing to me. Her house was trash. I suppose it was for the better, even if it was a bit of a tumble downwards from the royal luxury of home. It was a definite upgrade from prison where they seemed to believe solitary confinement and squirmy meal things were okay.

I plopped myself down on the creaky couch immediately and pulled out my phone. I needed to tell dad I was out and safe. Despite the excellent proxy coverage I could’ve had access to; I decided to not reveal my location.

Once Heather was done putting away her milk I got up to explore the house since I assumed father would be a while on his return message. I gave her a sideways glance in the kitchen then slithered up the steps to get an idea of what I’d be living with, at least for a while. A little ratty creature greeted me up there, and sniffed at Leech, my ‘tail’ who is actually a living parasite, gross.

I flipped my palm and looked down at the screen-- What the hell? I held my palm parallel to the floor and flipped it again. I tilted my head in confusion and tried several more times before it occurred to me that Earth was not hooked up to my chips. Or if it was, I couldn’t be sure I even had them anymore. Tch, inconsiderate prison wardens. Thankfully the ‘dog’, what Leech called it, seemed too tired to bark. He returned to his room and I followed him.

The room smelled a bit like the jacket I had seen on the hook beside the door, this must be Auntie’s room, I thought. It had a little vanity, an oak wardrobe, a queen sized bed, and a pile of towels in the corner which the pet was nesting in. I backed out of the room a few seconds later and continued up the hall. On my left I found a storage closet for toiletries and medicine; just bandages, tampons, and peroxide as far as I could tell. It was next to the bathroom, a rather dull and dirty looking place.

I scrunched up my nose in disdain of the grime, guess I get to clean; it’d give me bonus points with Auntie --hopefully-- and I’d feel better. I didn’t bother investigating there; instead I headed further up the hall. At the very end I found the linens closet and then another door on the left that lead into a messy bedroom.

It appeared to be Heather’s; at least it smelled strongly of her. I began investigating immediately. I dug first through her desk. Several rather nice looking knives were on the desk, and I found lighters in the drawers. Leech fumbled around with almost everything until I spit at him to put the stuff back where he found it. He sadly obliged.

I followed a rancid scent under her bed where I discovered a stash of flammables. Lovely. At least I knew where to get some if I needed them.

I dug around in her wardrobe, finding more odds and ends weapons along with pyjamas and underwear. There was a distinct lack of those bra things humans wore, so I just pocketed myself a pair of green and white polka dot panties and moved on. In her closet I found… well clothes; surprisingly, nothing really out of the ordinary. Guess she thought it would seem too obvious to hide stuff there.

At first glance anyways, after giving it a thorough look Leech parted the clothes and found a map of the city of Las Vegas. I just about tore it down to keep for myself when I noticed variously coloured x’s over several places. I scrunched up my nose in thought, before ducking out of the closet without touching it.

There really wasn’t much else to explore in the room… she had a simple little twin sized bed and I plopped on it, just about getting a knife in my ass. I gently set the blade aside and then rolled onto the bed. I deeply inhaled her pillow and grinned. This girl smelled so nice. Kind of like lemons and pine, though that permanent gasoline scent lingered here too.

I rolled back off the bed a moment later as Leech started to hit me in the back, reprimanding me for being a 17 year old boy. I’d decided I’d left the girl hanging long enough. I snuck back downstairs and found her still in the kitchen, just kind of standing there looking pensive. I stalked up to her from behind and then bent down to murmur in her ear, “Do you have any coffee?”


Heather had gone to bed just under an hour ago. I finished up my coffee, and feeling invigorated, decided to go check on her. I poked my nose into her room and found her completely knocked out. I crouched beside her bed and closed my eyes, listening to her breathe for a while as Leech curled and uncurled around my feet.

Heather…, I mumbled to my mind, Never has anyone reacted to me the way you have. Now tell me, how do I react to that?

 Little pattering steps brought me to attention and my head snapped to the cracked door. A little black nose poked through, and I tapped it with my finger.

Its owner gave a low growl so I decided to stand up and back away before he started barking. I pulled out my phone to check the time. Almost 1 A.M., this was obviously the most vital time to go shopping for dangerous chemicals.

I slid over to her desk and I quickly scrawled onto a blank scrap paper, ‘Be home soon, had to run a few errands. X’ Just in case she woke up while I was out, didn’t want her thinking she was free of me.

Not really wanting to go all the way back downstairs I just slipped out her window and down the side of the house. Wish I still had my motorcycle… would’ve been a lot easier than walking all the way into town.

It was a cold night that easily ate through my sweatshirt. I popped my hood up and trekked on regardless, glad when Leech wrapped tightly around my core, as he held in my heat. I stared longingly up into the sky, I missed my ship too… but the police totally obliterated my poor baby. I’d have to go home to get another like it.

But the bike… I could purchase that once I got into the city. Assuming someone is open this late, which is likely not the case you idiot. It’s a good 30 minutes of solid jogging before the looming speckled skyline consumes me with its roaring crafts and scarce people. Now in the city I slow down and flip my palm to find a convenience… right. I thought flipping my palm back over and slipping my phone out of my pocket. It’s another fifteen minutes before I come across the open convenience store. I suppose this place is as good as anything… I thought as I looked up at the blue structure.

I stepped inside of the lonely store and got looking for my desired objects. I was unsure of what to look for in a rather unsatisfactory earth ‘convenience’ store that didn’t have what I needed just lying around, so I grabbed a cart and started towards the more promising sounding aisles. I started in the aisles that listed ‘toothpaste’ and ‘toiletries.’ I flipped my palm to discover the contents of this toothpaste stuff. I then rolled my eyes and growled, was this seriously going to keep happening? I laboriously read through the tiny English scrawl on the box and found that some of the more expensive pastes had in them sodium nitrate. This would be a good start towards nitric acid; I could grab a car and its battery from the parking lot outside. I laughed lightly in victory. That was two ingredients down; all I needed now was a tub of water I could drown myself in.

Without shame Leech and I loaded a cart up with toothpaste and then a singular box of magenta hair dye I had found just a bit further up the aisle. A redesign wouldn’t be complete without differently coloured hair. As I made my way back to the automated checkout the gears in my brain turned harshly. A most delicious idea struck me and I could hardly stand still while waiting for my purchase to go through. I had to pay for all of my products out of pocket, no sense in risking a purchase of 400 some tubes of toothpaste being traced back to me.

Once the machine finished bagging everything I trotted back out into the parking lot.

For my idea to work I’d have to steal a car, but that’d also make my search for a house to do this in easier. The only useful looking vehicle in the parking lot was a van. I had Leech slide through the edges of the window and unlock the interior. I slid in, and snuggled up under the driver’s seat to get to work. I soon discovered the technology was beyond primitive, it took me a long time to figure out how to get it to start up at all.

You’re an absolute imbecile; I know you studied this you incompetent fool. What would Father think of you forgetting such valuable studies so blatantly? Absolutely pathetic…

I did eventually manage to overcome the challenge without breaking the car entirely. The car’s maglevs lurched into action roughly, and my head slammed into the dashboard above. I shook off the daze then slid back into the driver’s seat.

I unlocked the door and slipped back outside, and then I loaded my 400 tubes of toothpaste into the van. Once everything was in place I returned the cart and then hopped back into the running van. I shivered nervously for a moment, it’d been forever since I’d last driven something that wasn’t my bike, and I’d never driven something so big and clunky.

Fault’s on you moron, you did this to yourself. I hope you crash the car you deserve it.

After a brief look over, everything seemed to work the same as on Molitar’s floaters and hummers. I took a few laps around the parking lot before heading out onto the dark street. The traffic at this hour was mostly high above me. That was fine; I didn’t think this van would be able to reach that height anyways. I headed back towards Heather’s neighborhood, and then past it. I needed her alive, and this process would be toxic to her.

I drove for a good 15 minutes, hoping I would find somewhere suitable before the walk back would be too long. Then the world around me changed drastically, I found a lonely housing development that looked abandoned at this hour and rode through it. At the end of the street I found a secluded home.

This house was a bit out of the way. Up a lengthy driveway and surrounded with high ridges. I would be fine until I set the car on fire. Hopefully, it would set the house on fire as well. Along with all the toothpaste bottles….

This idea will never work, what on earth were you thinking? An IQ of 220? You’re hardly able to pass a basic skills test at this kind of caliber.

After a quick skirt of the area, it seemed no one lived there. I began moving my collection of toothpaste inside, mostly by shoving it all into Leech and dragging the weight inside. What didn’t fit I just grabbed up. I located a bathroom almost immediately. It was on the side of the staircase just inside the door. I started the tub up with cold water and then went out to gather the other bags of toothpaste.  Every time I exited the house I took a moment to listen to my surroundings, ready to flee on a moment’s notice at the slightest suspicion. Nothing occurred however, even after I hopped back in the van to turn it off so I could get the battery out.

I hefted the van’s hood up and looked for the battery. It was connected to all sorts of paraphernalia, but it all looked mostly removable with a bit of force. I ripped the car battery out of the apparatus and carried it inside. I placed it beside the tub, opting to squeeze all the toothpaste into the tub first. About 5 minutes after I turned off the tub’s faucet Leech and I managed to finally get all the toothpaste into it. It seemed like it would be enough…

And what if it’s not? What if the sodium nitrate is too crude? You’re too hasty, this was stupid.

I tossed the car battery in and watched all the toothpaste flow out from underneath it as I felt my heart sink at the thought that maybe this wouldn’t work. I shut the door, willing to take the risk of eliminating my exit in hopes it would conceal my screams.


Then I stripped down, tossed my clothes into the corner, and put my piercings onto the sink’s edge. Hesitantly I stepped into the tub. Leech immediately removed himself and went to hide in the corner where the water wouldn’t touch him. I glared at him and thought, thanks for toughing this out with me buddy old pal.

This was going to majorly hurt… but without the full body mutator it was my best bet, I hoped the mixture wasn’t too impure. I brutally punched at the car battery until the acid and water mixture began to trickle out. I swallowed roughly as I stirred up the tooth paste with my foot to get it mixed in with the sulfuric acid.

Look at your vile contraption; I hope it burns some sense into you.

Immediately upon the crude mixture reaching my leg, bubbles and excruciating white hot pain flared up. Crimson gas began floating upwards as the poor excuse for nitric acid reached further along my body. It got in my eyes making them water and sting and I gritted my teeth so as not to scream. I squirmed and hissed under my breath, spitting expletives in my pain. I waited until my body stopped sizzling and burning for the most part before I inhaled deeply, and dunked my face under without hesitation.

It burned like all hell, like a thousand fiery beasts biting and tearing into my flesh all at once in a white hot conflagration. The nitric acid found its way up my nose despite my best attempts to repel it and it burned the holes of my piercings so hard a throbbing headache weaved into me. I threw my head back splattering acid everywhere along the bathroom and shook my head violently to remove the stinging mess from my face before gasping desperately for freedom from the excruciating agony. I looked down at my nose and hands once the pain subsided into a dull ache, my idea seemed to have worked. The copper in my skin tinged deep blue as the diluted acid ate away at it. My freckles however, captured the nitrogen dioxide and turned a grotesque red.

I frowned at this then got to my feet; gracious the whole agonizing process hadn’t chopped years off my life. I drained the tub and turned the faucet on after a moment so I could sit back under the rushing water for a bit before I got up to dry off. Of course… an uninhabited place doesn’t exactly have towels so I used the curtain instead.

Still one more thing left to do, I thought. I admired my new appearance briefly in the mirror; the nitrogen dioxide turned my eyes magma orange of an almost solid colour, and the light amount of copper in my horns also reacted to a baby blue.

You look like even more of a freak show than you did previously; you really think this will hide you? You’ll be branded a criminal for looking like one to those humans. Look at your disgusting eyes; you’re even uglier than before. I hope you’ve made yourself happy, you have to live with this mutilating decision.

I shuffled around in the bags I had brought the toothpaste in and found the hair dye. Goodbye my lovely green locks… unthinkingly I mixed the hair dye with water and put on the gloves that came with the kit. I let the mixture settle a moment before I delved in with the paintbrush and began to slowly and consciously apply the cold brush of deep magenta to my scalp.

It was a repetitive process, and I meditated once I’d covered from scalp to tips. Nothing better to do for a solid 20 minutes, right? Once finished, I dunked my head back into the tub to wash all the remains out under the faucet. With persistent combing it took about 5 minutes for the water to run clear. I rubbed it a bit with the curtain before I put it all back up in a ponytail.

I smiled at myself in the mirror, my reflection smiled back bittersweet with his crooked fangs and split lips. I couldn’t hold the smile for long. I got dressed, pocketed my jewelry, coaxed Leech out of his corner and back onto my spine, and then walked out of the house. I pulled a cigarette out of my pocket, lit up, and then threw the lighter into the car. I stood a moment and made sure the seat caught on fire before I made a run for it down the driveway.

Once at the bottom I looked up at the spreading fire.

You’ll be the luckiest thing alive if this actually works.

The freezing autumn wind solidified my still wet hair as I journeyed back to Heather’s, and I put my hood back up in a desperate attempt to thaw it out. I took a slow walk back home. A little me time. Time to admire the peace. Peace I would likely only be able to cherish briefly before the police hounds sniffed me out. The chilled wind, the frozen drip drip drip of ice water onto my neck… it was all so very fragile. I clung to the long walk lightly but sternly.

As I turned the corner onto Heather’s street almost an hour later, a colossal eruption reverberated somewhere far behind me.

 I grinned meekly; the house would definitely go down with that…


The End

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