.edge 8.


1: fall upwards


"Son of a bitch!"

"Bitch of a son," I retaliated acutely, then felt my lips pull into a smile when he gave me a pointed look.

"I'm trying to rant," he blatantly informed me. I watched as he scratched his neck with a hectic, perhaps painful intent. He lowered his thick blond eyebrows and gritted his teeth. He continued speaking, the mania returning to his voice as he did, "I can't believe he's making me do this. It's bad enough that I have to watch him and his freakish girlfriend kiss and. . . stuff. . . but now I have to pretend to be dating one of—one of—them!"

I adjusted myself in my chair and picked the pencil up off his desk. "It's interesting," I slid out, most unhelpful, but, honestly. . . what did he expect me to say? I began to chew at the eraser of the pencil, and he abruptly slapped it out of my hand. I straightened, alarmed by his violent attitude. I glowered once I realized he wasn't going to whack me one across the face. Lucky for him, too, because things would have gotten messy.

"What's interesting?" The way his eye twitched made me wonder if he was at all stable during this moment. Perhaps I should have treaded softly. . .

Oh, well.

"The fact that you're going to the club with an," I left a long blank between words to draw out the emphasis, "altered one." Damn; the moment was over. I should have said it louder.

Twitch, twitch. That couldn't of been healthy.

He lunged. I, being the observant and intelligent boy that I was, had expected it, and therefore had the common sense to dramatically fling myself off the chair before he could do it for me. I dived to the left, while he went soaring into the chair. He took it to the floor with him. I rolled, snatching the pencil he had slapped out of my hand off the floor, and stood up. I leaned against the wall and set the pencil between my lips where I resumed chewing on it.

He hauled himself up, setting the chair upright while he was at it, and glanced over his shoulder with his golden eyes narrowed.

"Don't direct your anger towards me, Terry," I said, delicately guiding my hands to my chest. "Direct it to your lover."

His eyes turned to nothing but slits.

"You know," I continued, pretending not to notice his growing rage, "that altered girl you're going to the club with—ugh. What's her name, again?"

Terry fumed, his face turning red with both anger and embarrassment. "Her fucking name is Mary."

I cracked up. "Oh, shit. Even your names rhyme; that's a sign of fate, my friend." I was quick to duck when he sent a box of pens at my head. It hit the wall and the pens showered out over my head. I straightened, clearing my throat.

"Save your anger for her," I said, smoothly. "After all, I heard anger fuels sex; makes it a little more fiery."

He flicked out a pocket knife.

My smile fell, and I put my hands up in front of me as a gesture of defense. "That was a joke, man."

"Get the fuck out!" he snarled, and there was something frighteningly animalistic to his voice. I didn't know what the hell to do. Terry had never—not once—pulled a knife on me. He hadn't ever pulled a knife on anyone. . . he just, he wasn't like that. I stayed near the wall, speechless and unsure of what to do. I knew I should have left, but, this was just too bizarre.

Alright. Quick analysis of the situation, here. . . I had just told my best friend that I was. . . erhm. . . different than your average human. And he had given me no feedback whatsoever; in fact, he had kind of just. . . sat there and stared at me with this blank look. He had then revealed that his brother had asked him to show up at a club with a girl who was different, like me. He had agreed. I had begun to tease him about it, but it had all been entirely playful, and Terry wasn't the type to go snap-show over even the most sensitive things. . .

"It was a joke," I repeated. We always teased each other. Why was he freaking out?

"Get the fuck out!" He made a move to come at me, so I took the hint. In fact, to make things more dazzling, I slipped out the damned window which was placed behind me. Well—he had been standing in front of the door, and I wasn't about to walk by him in his current state. I tested my boots on the shingles for a second, decided it was alright, and took off at a run. Dangerous, running on rooftops, but what could I say? I was a rebel.

When the roof ended, I sunk close to the shingles and propelled myself off. My wings stretched out, flaring to life from behind me, appearing out of the mist. They spanned wide, easily about twice my size, and I used them to glide to the pavement below. I landed in the middle of the street; my wings faded once they knew they were no longer needed. I stood up from my crouched position and cast a glimpse over my shoulder. I couldn't see Terry through the window.

I pushed anger down and started my walk home.


I resisted the urge to shudder at the painfully chipper voice. I stood up, expecting to see someone standing on the other side of the counter. No one was there. I stood, stumped.

"Hi!" the voice came again. I placed my hands on the surface of the counter and leaned forwards. Ah—there it, I mean, she, was. A little girl stood, short and previously concealed by the counter. Her hands were behind her back, and despite her innocent exterior, I knew she was a raving lunatic inside. All little kids were. Well, when they were seven, anyways. She was probably seven; I could tell by the gleam in her eyes. She wasn't fully like us yet; not fully evolved. But soon—soon, when she reached six months into being seven.

"Sugar," she insisted, then unnecessarily added, "Hi!"

I slowly lifted an eyebrow. Yeah, sugar. . . the substitute for the little kids who had not yet evolved. We needed the cure, which could be found in each other's blood; others who were infected, like us. We didn't like to use the word "infected"; it sounded. . . like an illness. Well, perhaps we were ill, but the cure helped us survive. And what kind of illness made you feel like this?

They feared us. . . and it was hysterical, because they had every reason to.

We exceeded them in every single way.

Humans, that was. Those normal beings who thought they were so perfect, being so weak. It was really disgusting. Even more disgusting was that us, the altered ones, had all come from them at one point in time. But this was the future—we were the future. They just couldn't accept that.

Twenty years ago, in the year 2005, the cure was introduced. It was meant to make humans more advanced; more powerful. Our senses were adapted. The funny thing was, was that it actually worked, this cure. It wasn't legal, because it was human experimentation, but those who were infected could infect others. That was how it spread. By mixing blood to blood. Kind of like. . . AIDS.

Some of those who were infected reacted. . . negatively, however. Some went crazy. Some of their senses had been too heightened, like hearing, and they had gone ape-shit from listening to pins dropping on the other side of the world (slight exaggeration) while others had had their lustful needs increased and had become sex-fiends.

Which wasn't quite a horrible thing, if you asked me.

And then there were those who reacted positively. Ninety-nine percent of those who had received the cure had this reaction. Our bodies developed along with the new cells in our bodies. We grew with them, got used to them. . .

Well, "we", not quite. . . my mother had received the cure, and I had been born with it. My mother had actually been one of the experiments. . . she had never talked about it much, but she had said she didn't regret it. She had died a year ago, however, so asking her about it now was off-limits.

And now, I was nineteen. I had had all my life to get used to how I was. I had never known anything different. I couldn't imagine life as a human; they were so pathetically incapable. Well, I supposed I had to give them some kind of credit. After all, they had created the cure.

Fuck, that sucked.

But that was besides the point.


I grimaced and refocused back on the little girl. "What do you want?" I asked her, irritably. She flashed me a bright, pretty little smile, and I caught sight of her perfect teeth.

"I said sugar, mister."

My partner—not my actual partner, as in sexually, but my work partner—stepped up beside me. She gave the girl a curious look, then glanced at me. "Is this boy helping you out, sweetie?"

"Sweetie," the girl replied in a surprisingly deep voice, "I want sweeties. . ."

The change in her voice was kind of bothering me, so I chose not to reply. What the hell? Was she possessed? Her left eye suddenly twitched, and I nearly grabbed onto my partner, who was named Cassidy, by the way, but I caught myself. She would have never let me live it down.

"Are you okay?" Cassidy asked her, sounding truly concerned.

"I think she really needs that sugar," I said, warily.

The girl's arm had a momentary compulsion problem. It lasted for a good three seconds, and then became immobile once again. Cassidy exchanged a puzzled look with me.

And that was when the agents came flooding into the room, equipped with guns and knives and bullet-proof suits. They covered almost every inch of the store, spreading themselves like some kind of disease. Cassidy clung onto me with a surprisingly tight grip; I sort of wanted to whimper from the pain, actually. She even stepped on my toe without noticing. I made a face, but wrapped my arms around her anyways to calm her down.

"They're not gonna shoot us," I wryly assured her. "They're going for the girl."

She bundled up a fistful of my shirt. "But she's just that—a little girl!"

I patted her head, awkwardly. "I don't think she's even a little girl, Cass."

And with that, they blew the girl's head off.

"What did you do today?" Terry asked me, unwrapping his sandwich with freakish precision. I jumped up, moving away from him, as he settled down on the picnic bench. He set his sandwich down on the table top and frowned at me. "Jumpy?" He paused to take a bite out of his food. "What happened, Jumpster?"

I dropped my hands once I realized he wasn't going to pull out his trusty pocket blade. I slowly sat back down. "You're not gonna kill me?"

He cocked his head.

"What if I. . ." I trailed off, then suddenly swiped the sandwich straight out of his hands and threw it onto the ground. His mouth started moving wordlessly. I still didn't trust him, so I got up and proceeded to make a show out of stomping on the sandwich. Once I was finished, I squished the remains with the toe of my boot.

"What the hell do you have against tuna, man?" he asked, after he had recovered from the shock.

I regarded him suspiciously, then sat back down. "Where's your pocket knife?"

Terry blinked. "Oh, you mean Harold?"

I lifted an eyebrow. "You named your knife?"

"Well, it's so I can say 'Harold killed Curver, not me', and confuse the police a little."

I stared at him, and he stared back.

Cautiously, I asked, "Why do you want to kill me?"

"I'm still deciding," he said, unwrapping the second half of his tuna sandwich. I watched with a frown.

"Deciding what?" I asked.

"Whether I should listen to the news or not," he answered, then took a giant bite out of his sandwich. I decided not to speak until he explained himself. He got the hint and smiled through a full mouthful. It came out rather unflattering on his behalf. "You know," he circled his wrist around; I heard it click a few times, "the news tells me to kill you because you're the enemy; you're altered."

I smiled a bit, but there was absolutely no humor behind it. "You've yet to decide?"

"I just found out, you know."

I stood up, suddenly enraged, but I made sure to keep that hidden. "You've known about us all your life. We've been around for twenty years."

He remained sitting and pretended to be interested in a splinter of wood on the bench. "No, Curver. I mean, you. I've just found out about you. Last night, when you told me."

I shouldn't have told him. I should have known humans couldn't stand to be inferior to something. We were greater, everyone knew that, even if they didn't want to admit it. And now Terry, too. We had been friends since birth, and yet, now that I had told him that I had the cure running in my veins, all of the sudden, none of it mattered? Not in a million years did I think he'd turn against me.

"You said you were alright with it."

"I try to be alright with it. That's why I let my brother convince me to go with that girl to the club, that girl who is just like you. She's one of you."

"You're putting on a show, then?" I snapped.

"You know," he slowly got to his feet, gathering up his food and wrapping it all up again, "I think this makes us enemies."

I watched him, trying to control the anger, trying to understand how he could do this. It was insulting, really. Betrayal. . . but what else could I expect? Humans and the altered humans couldn't be friends. Jealousy and fear overruled our friendship; I should have known Terry was a fucking coward. I had grown up with this sap.

I had grown up protecting him. . . and now. . . his protection was gone. A protector turning around to hate the one he had always protected. I wanted to smirk bitterly at the thought. Who do you have now, fucker?

"And," he motioned towards the sandwich I had demolished, "I think you owe me another tuna sandwich."

"I think you owe me a lot more than that," I told him, icily.

"Don't treat me like I'm the disgusting one," he said, then turned and walked off. I watched him cross the park, sneakers ripping at the grass as he went. I couldn't wait to see him at the club; I couldn't fucking wait.