Thirty Minute Stopwatch

Chapter One

Resolve

Resolve was all that kept her from falling to her knees and beating the ground with her small fists and screaming till her throat tore or voice broke, and yet she'd scream on silently. Her flawless composure shattered, completely scattered as her face twisted with agony letting that silent scream linger, and tears, oh yes there would be tears and drool, a thin line of spit connecting her bottom jaw to her upper lip. Her short black hair flying in all directions as she swung her head from side to side as if the motion could undo the tragedy that had occurred a mere few hours past.

Aiako Tsumogari let the tragic scene of her bawling and squirming in agony play on in her head letting all her emotions uncoil in that image, yet she remained unmoving, face blank, dark eyes seemingly bored. Her arms hung loose at her sides, but her hands clenched into fists. Her stubborn raven black hair lay motionless, ending just before her shoulders. She took a breath and imagined the crazed image of herself suddenly with a knife in hand, stabbing the pompous slobs responsible for the deaths that happened in the past few hours.

She seethed in silent anger. Her arms tightened and shook as if she really had been stabbing the faceless bastards, yet she kept her expression cool and collected.

Around her lay the remains of, what was just a few hours before, one of the worlds most powerful corporations. Towering skyscrapers, bronze sculptures of modern art, varnished wooden desks that shown so brightly one could see their reflection in them -- now the skyscrapers were reduced to nothing more than an immensely huge pile of scorched rubble and broken glass, expensive sculptures melted and twisted into something only a terrorist would call art, desks, cars, bakeries, restraints, convenient stores, and gas stations, all upper class and sparking clean lost in the garbage of what could have passed for the worlds largest construction sight, save for the fact that not one bulldozer could be seen let alone recognized.

It had started. And who'd have thought that the Anazaki industry would be the first to go down. Like dominos carefully stacked, painted, and polished, the world's corporations would fall until the only one remaining would be the boot that had done the kicking. Whatever, or whoever was left to live would cower, beg, drool and slither on their worthless bellies snatching at the scraps that the pompous 'Master of All' decided to let fall from his gilded plate of wonders.

Gilded, oh yes, gilded it was. She had been one to dance and glimmer on that plate, blinded by shiny pretties and only came to see the true destruction when it all came crashing down, literally.

The heads of the Anazaki company, the ideal leaders who could do no wrong, who made the city all that is was, fled, pissing their paints as they went when the first sign of failure dropped.

The skies darkened with unnatural blue clouds crackling with thunder. Aiako could feel the power of one of the Key Keepers lurch. It grew stronger with every passing second. She knew she was not the only one who felt it, though one of the few.

The wind pick up as the industry, large enough to be a small city, was encased in a sphere of glowing energy. Everyone knew what it meant, knew they were doomed and welcomed the voice that shouted and boomed like thunder words of mercy for those who stepped down and surrendered now. They meant it for the flawless masters of the corporation. Under the threat of certain death, half the heads bolted and screamed like cowards as they threw up their hands in surrender.

It was not enough.

Aiako bit her lip and allowed one last tear to fall before she turned from the ruin. Some employees still knelt in shock or numbness staring at what was left. Others whined, clutching recognizable parts of loved ones to themselves, hopelessly searching for what ever else was left.

She let out a small gasp as she looked to the heavens, mocking her with a clear blue sky. News crews were already on the scene. The world would know what it meant as surely as Aiako did.

With her newly found resolve, Aiako turned her back on everything she had grown up with, everything she thought to be true, her whole understanding of what she thought the world was. It was as easy as slicing her arm off, only she was not the one who held the knife, but that would change. God willing, it would.