MECHA: Web Novel Ch 2

Chapter 2: Still a Civilian for a Little While

“As you can see, Valkyries are powerful, especially against Rueinians,” Jack explains to Kevyn as they watch a video recording of a Valkyrie unit in practice. The mecha armor resembles human, armed with a plasma cutter blade, heavy machine gun, and high caliber cannons. The plasma blade is on its right arm, the machine gun integrated into its left arm, and the cannons are on its shoulders.

“Looks fancy. But isn’t that pilot doing just fine? Can’t he do my part?” Kevyn questions.

“He might be decent with the manual type, but he isn’t doing as well as the higher-ups were hoping he would. Also, that’s the manual type. The precision type will be far more difficult to control.”

They’re in a lab right now. Yesterday, Jack came to Kevyn’s room to show the files regarding Valkyries. Kevyn is studying the Valkyries in advance since he’ll be operating them in the future, and most likely, his life will depend on it. Researchers and engineers are working in tandem to build more Valkyries in the lab. Some are welding, some are operating computers, and the list goes on.

“Please shoot me in the head,” Kevyn begs.

“I can’t do that. We need you to save mankind.”

“To hell with this damn war! Why did our ancestors choose this planet of all the possibilities!?”

“Because there were no other options.”

“Don’t shatter my delusions!”

“Well, I’m sorry to say that I’ll have to do it, or else you might become a megalomaniac.”

“But that’s who I am! A megalomaniac! Now, kick me out of the army!”

“I can’t do that either.”

“Is there anything you can do!?”

“I can knock the ladies out of you,” Jack jests.

“Did you know that Luna came up with that idiom just to harass me?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Now you know. She’s a beast, I tell ya.”

Kevyn and Jack are glued to the screen that plays the recording, so they aren’t aware of the threat behind them. The threat in question taps both of their shoulders gently, sticking her head between the two. “I am what?”

Blood drains from the gentlemen’s faces, rendered pale.

“T-that’s…”

“It was Kevyn!”

“Jack prompted!”

“No, I didn’t!”

The Lunatic smacks them both. “Next time, I will have you do a hundred sit-ups. But anyway, that is not what I came to tell you. Kevyn, you may fetch some of your belongings today, if you wish. I will drive.”

“Great, a chance for me to escape!”

“Really, I am beginning to think that you like it here. Why else would you reveal your intentions like that?”

“I’m not content, just so you know. And when will ya stop talking like a machine? You sound so stiff when you talk.”

“As a soldier, I must abide by the rules, and that includes formal speech.”

A scientist who’s been examining an arm of a Valkyrie suit is starting to pay more attention to the trio. There’s a welder working on the arm next to her, so she is wearing goggles for safety reasons. She approaches the three as they discuss this and that.

“Are you from DTA?” The scientist asks.

“Sadly,” Kevyn replies to the curious lady.

Luna smacks Kevyn again for insulting the army. “The two of us are.”

The scientist raises the goggles to her forehead, revealing her green, sparkling eyes. “I can’t believe it! The famous soldiers of DTA are right in front of me…!”

“This womanizer is nothing to be thought highly of,” Luna remarks.

“Eh?” Kevyn blurts. “What have I done to earn such accusation!?”

“All that matters is that he’s a DTA soldier, and that’s what he is, right?”

“That is the case, sadly.”

“Sadly!? If you don’t want me in the army, don’t forcibly recruit me in the first place!!”

“Can I get your autographs before you die—I mean, before you retire?”

“Die!? You’re expecting me to die!? To hell with ya!” Kevyn is triggered.

The scientist woman seems to recognize those words. “Wait, are you…?”

“NameNone, yes, that’s my nickname in Cyber Combat and Warfare: Zone Zero.”

“Can I get your autograph!?” The scientist begs again, this time because Kevyn is a gamer celebrity.

“To hell with ya!”

“Kevyn,” Luna interrupts, “tell me when you are ready to go. You have this one chance to bring your personal belongings to the base.”

“Sure.”

Luna takes her leave, and Kevyn and Jack go through the Valkyrie data that they can access. The sooner Kevyn learns to pilot a Valkyrie, the better. The recordings are proving to be useful, as Kevyn can now tell what kind of maneuvers the Valkyries can do. They aren’t as flexible as humans, but they’re mobile enough to outmaneuver any tank, and their firepower is far beyond a tank’s too. The plasma cutter blades can slice up any armored vehicle, and the cannons can obliterate infantry en masse.

Kevyn returns to his room at one point, the door still an open hole. He doesn’t like it, but he’ll have to do without a door for now. He won’t stay in his room for long, however. If he had his phone, he’d call Luna, but since that isn’t the case, he looks for her in her office.

“Ready to go,” Kevyn says.

“That is not how you say it.”

“I ain’t a soldier just yet.”

“Fair enough. Let us take our leave at once.”

*

Kevyn and Luna are on their way to Kevyn’s home, Luna driving the car. Kevyn’s been uneasy all the while. He can’t stay still while knowing he is going to see his beloved battlestation soon.

“It’s just the two of us now,” Luna says with a relaxed tone.

Is she thinking of something violent again? Kevyn draws his own conclusions. “I s’pose.”

“That’s it? Nothing else to say?”

“What’s there to say? You’re as violent as always.”

“Tch, I’d hit you now if I weren’t driving,” Luna warns.

“Sure you would.”

In time, they arrive at Kevyn’s apartment. Since Luna had somehow broken through the door when she came to drag Kevyn to the army base, the government had sent someone to repair the door, and that’s why Luna has the keys rather than Kevyn. She does hand them to him after opening the door, though.

“Grab everything you need. I don’t know when you’ll get a chance to come back.”

Without hesitation, Kevyn packs his battlestation first, which includes a helmet that’s used for VR games. Having expected that he’d choose his computer, Luna frowns in dismay. If it were someone else, he’d think he is lucky to have a blonde with slim body visit him, but in Kevyn’s case, his heart is beating for the opposite reason.

After half an hour, Kevyn is done with packing the things he needs. They lock the door and get in the car. For a little while more, Kevyn is still a civilian, but soon enough, his harsh training as a soldier begins.

PREVIOUS CHAPTERTABLE OF CONTENTS — NEXT CHAPTER

I know this chapter is short, but then again, the previous chapter was supposed to be three chapters, so expect to see 1-3k word chapters in the future too. The first chapter is an exception.

MECHA: Web Novel Ch 1

Chapter 1: Conscripted AGAIN!?

“Today we have a special declaration from the military. ‘The old military force known as DTA is going to be resurrected soon. Currently, we are recruiting from within our own forces, but if we will not find the needed number of candidates from our own reserves, we will be recruiting from the public as well. More information regarding the resurrection of DTA can be found from our public web site.’ We can only wait and see what this truly means. Will new heroes rise to save mankind?”

The young man watching the news from his computer closes the news window and stands up, looking at the scenery in his yard. “They’ll resurrect DTA, huh?” It’s summer on the planet. Alien birds are perched on a windowsill outside, singing beautiful songs.

This young man who’s watching the birds from his living room is actually rich. He doesn’t own a company, he doesn’t have a rich family, nor any family to begin with. He has only himself. One might wonder how he earns his money just by being at home.

He is actually a gamer, and in fact, he earns his money by playing games. As of year 364 AHPD (After Home Planet Destruction), he has won 38 first-place medals in two genres, FPS (first-person shooter) and VR fighter. The prize for a first-place medal varies from 60,000 tecks to 150,000 tecks. As for the value of the currency, a regular person earns 7,000 tecks a month. His income isn’t limited to prizes alone, however. His sponsor is paying about 450,000 tecks a year. Thus, he lives in an apartment with a rent of 8,000 tecks.

The sponsor is actually a mystery to the young man. He hasn’t seen him in person, but he’s been told that he is the owner of Alien Technology Company, a company that provides gamers with all kinds of products.

“Hmm…” The young man is deep in thought as he observes the birds. “Something’s not right. ‘Might’ recruit from the public, eh?”

The doorbell is rung. The young man walks over to the door, which is part of the living room in this case. His sofa is as extravagant as it can get, his HTV (holographic television) is 75 inches, and the other furniture gives the vibes of a billionaire, though this young man isn’t that rich.

He opens the door by swiping a touchpad screen next to the door with his palm. The person who’s rung the doorbell is a tall man, wearing a black suit with black sunglasses. He looks like some government agent, but his hairstyle suggests otherwise, making him look like a middle-aged man with a gangster background. It’s a mohawk haircut.

“Yo,” the agent greets.

The face the agent is making as he greets the young man causes a cringy feel to shatter the young man’s spirit. “Jack!? You almost killed me with that greeting!”

“That, my friend, was my intention. However, as you can see, you are still alive. Should I shoot you to release you from your suffering?”

“Shut up. What’s the deal?”

The agent who appears to know the young man goes straight to the point. “Join the army. Again.”

“Nope.” The answer is swift and firm.

The truth is, conscription in their society is slightly different from the ancient system where conscription meant training during peace, and fighting during war. On their planet, it means that young men are sent to the army after reaching a certain age. They’ll spend two years in the army, one year on inhumane practice, one fighting on the battlefield. The worst part is that only 64% live to see the end of their conscription.

Rest are KIA.

Yes, the conscripted youngsters are sent to the battlefield after the first year of training, and the second year they spend on fighting for their lives on the battlefield that exceeds the description of ‘hell.’

The enemy on their planet is known by many names. Some call them just ‘aliens,’ some call them ‘monsters,’ and some call them ‘demons,’ but the scientific term that’s used in the army is ‘Rueinian.’ The planet was named as Ruein after the founder of the planet, and thus Rueinian is the name of the alien race.

Communicating with Rueinians is impossible because they aren’t intelligent creatures. They possess no brains on the human level, and thus they act like beasts. They just devour and tear apart every human they can find.

That is why the young man declines the offer to join the army. He survived the battlefield once, why should he risk his life now? “I’m not going through that hell again. In fact, I just saw a nightmare two days ago about the damn battlefield! I was chased by a Ripper indoors, and I’d run out of bullets! In the end, I got torn apart by the damn alien! Tell me, why would I join the army again?”

“Because we offer 8,000,000 tecks a month as your pay. We’ll pay for five days a week unless you are stuck on the battlefield for a weekend, and also, you will get three month-long vacations annually.”

“…What?” The young man is taken aback. He was never a good soldier. He even sacrificed one person on the battlefield, just so that he can survive. He is far from the ideal soldier, yet they offer him the pay of a DTA soldier.

Wait, DTA soldiers had about the same pay, so… “No way! I’m not joining the DTA squad!”

“How did you—!?”

“The former DTA soldiers had 7,000,000 teck pay! It’s a widely known fact on the internet!”

The DTA squad, also known as the Band of Heroes, was a legendary group of soldiers that managed to thrive in the chaos of the modern battlefield. No matter how difficult the task, they always won until the day when they got wiped out in one go. Little is known of DTA, even the words the characters stand for are a mystery.

Only the name of the captain is known in public. Tom it was, for he’d stated it in public himself. That’s all there’s is to public knowledge. Even the conscripted soldiers aren’t told.

“Since you figured it out already, tell me, why would you decline this offer? It’s DTA I’m talking about.”

“To hell with ya! I ain’t joining the army, no matter what.”

Jack, the government agent, sighs. “Fine, I will give up. But let me warn you, another agent will come here if I cannot recruit you. She will be… violent, I’d say.”

“No way, is Luna coming next?”

“How!?”

“She is the one who forced me to join the army back in the days!”

Jack looks at the young man with pity in his eyes. “I’m sorry, I should have known you’d gone through it already. I will make sure you join the army by my hand!”

“To hell with ya!” He repeats himself.

“Let me ask you one thing—”

“Don’t.”

“—You’re a gamer, are you not?”

“Should I hit you?”

“You’ll just miss. You weren’t the best at martial arts or even novice to begin with.”

“Then why recruit someone like me to become the next meal for the aliens to munch on!?”

“Answer my question first.”

“Fine. I am a gamer, so what about it? And you knew that to be true years ago before my conscription. But why recruit from the public when there are thousands of soldiers in the reserves?”

“If you really want to know, then I will tell you. Every male child is going through harsh training during their childhood, not because they are forced to, but because they want to survive the upcoming conscription. So, how many of them do you think is a gamer?”

“At best one in a thousand, I think.”

“Exactly, and those have died or are still under training. So that leaves us with no gamers at all.”

“Why’d you need gamers for soldiering?”

“Because we need them for remote control.”

“Just what is the army thinking? Remote control? What does that even mean in military terms?”

“It means that there is a new type of weapon being tested out. Now, we just need the personnel to operate the weapons. The new DTA squad will be equipped with this new weaponry. Do you see where I’m getting at?”

“I think, yes. Gamers are known to have better reaction speed, multitasking skills, and eyesight.”

“And you, Kevyn, are the best of the best. No one else could ever handle the new tech as well as you. So, what say you?”

“Nope.”

“Why!?”

“I have enough money, and I’ve gone through conscription once, so I’m legally a free man. I have no intentions to throw myself into that hell again.”

Jack sighs. “Fine, I’ll give you one day to think about it. I’ll be back tomorrow around 2 PM.”

“Wait a sec, will ya? Lemme ask you a thing. How did you come to recruit me right now? I mean, the news was just minutes ago live.”

“Minutes ago?” Jack laughs hard. “Hah! Seriously, the news was playing yesterday morning! Did you watch the news from PC again?”

“I did, why?”

“There was a problem with the network at the news office, so they couldn’t stream the news live yesterday, and therefore they stream the recorded video from yesterday on the website today as a compensation. Of course, TV users saw the news yesterday.”

“Oh my… So it wasn’t so sudden after all.”

“Indeed, dimwit.”

“What was that?”

Then suddenly, behind Jack, a loud noise resounds, one that Kevyn and Jack recognize all too well. Both of them are struck by terror.

“You ain’t skippin’ the army, Kevyn!!!”

Kevyn slams the door shut, making a scapegoat out of Jack by leaving him outside, and then he runs for it. He goes through a number of plans in a fraction of a second, and in another fraction of a second, he comes to a conclusion. He opens the back door, escaping through the yard to the public park by sprinting as swiftly as 15 miles/hour—which lasts only for two seconds until he slows down to 1 mile/hour due to his poor physical condition.

“Kevyn!!!” The yell of the beast resounds behind him. Just a few dozen yards and he’d reach an area in the park where people could see him. The beast behind him wouldn’t dare to touch Kevyn if he were in public.

Just a few dozen meters…!

“Gotcha!”

Kevyn is caught in the fangs of the beast.

“Lemme go! Pleeease! Someone! Help meee!”

“Na-ah! You ain’t going anywhere else other than the army! Now, let’s go.”

Kevyn is being forcefully dragged by the beast who goes by the name Luna, nicknamed as ‘Lunatic.’ They say that she can kick in an iron door and catch a Springer Rueinian by sprinting. Springer is the quickest type of Rueinians. Today, some of that legend has been proven to be true, as she’s kicked in a thick wooden door and caught Kevyn in the blink of an eye.

*

Kevyn is crying.

“Why!? I served my part in the army already!”

“And today you’ll be sent there again,” Luna explains.

Kevyn is tied up with iron chains. They’re in a government car. Luna is seated next to the driver, namely Jack.

“Don’t wanna!”

“Nobody wants to join the army, that’s a given.”

“I have a match to be won tomorrow! I need to prepare for that! I’ll sue you if you won’t lemme go by then!”

“Go ahead and sue a government agent and a military officer at that.”

Kevyn falls silent. He is doomed. He’ll be sent to the battlefield again. He still sees nightmares about it, so he may very well lose his sanity if he ever sees a Rueinian again. He can still remember the Jaw Rueinian munch on a squad member years ago. That poor man was unrecognizable afterward. It was a view that almost made the whole squad cry in terror.

They’ve arrived at the military base of Western Wing before they even know it. The walls that surround the base are higher than most of the buildings nearby, and there are armed soldiers standing guard up there.

In fact, the whole area in which the people reside is being covered by a massive wall. It’s not a small area, as billions of people live in there. Therefore, the last home of mankind is divided into four wings, North, South, East, and West. Each of these wings has a military base of its own, tasked to protect that particular part of the wall.

The military bases are integrated into the wall, so one could say that Kevyn is going to enter the borderland between heaven and hell. Once they enter the base through a massive gate, Kevyn’s heart starts pounding in fear, for he knows that there’s no going back now. He’ll be a meal to the aliens soon.

“Just shoot me.”

“I won’t.”

“Please, I beg you…”

“Nope.”

They drive past several buildings into a massive barrack that’s connected to the wall. Hundreds of soldiers come and go. The enemy is active even now, so the base is alarmed at all times.

Helicopters land on a nearby landing zone, while some are off to the battlefield. If there’s a large-scale battle going on, it’s possible to see jet fighters fly over to deliver bombardment. There are cannons as well, but those are used only when the enemy is getting too close.

Today, only AG-7 helicopters come and go, which means that the front line isn’t engaged in a large-scale battle. Those helicopters are the heaviest, as they are meant for supply drops and air strikes. In addition to the pilot, there are three gunners. One fires the missiles, the two others fire the high caliber machine guns from the sides of the AG-7.

Air superiority is one of the few advantages humanity has on its side. While there is one form of flying Rueinians, they aren’t that much a threat since they’re slow and can’t damage heavy armor too well. Of course, they can tear through a cockpit, but before that, they need to catch the superior helicopter without getting shot down.

“Can I be a gunner in a helicopter?” Kevyn begs.

“No, you’ll be a DTA member.”

“Look, I know I’m a skilled gamer, but I doubt I can control that tech of yours too well. I’d just break it.”

“Nah, you’ll do just fine. And since you expressed yourself in the conditional form, it’s not the same as stating a fact, which means that even you don’t know for sure.”

“Why must you turn my own doubts against me?”

“Because that way you learn to quit doubting, as it only seems to bite back at you. If something hurts you once, you know to watch out for it next time, don’t you? Or are you a masochist?”

“Pfft, to hell with ya!”

“You still use that clause? I feel like throwing up after hearing it.”

“Please do. We’d get into a car accident and I’d have a chance to escape legally if I got wounded.”

“You shouldn’t let your enemy know your strategy. Or could it be that you want to join the army so badly that you don’t want to admit it, and thus you wanted to state yourself in a roundabout way? Anyway, it’s not like I’m driving the car.”

“Stop right there! You said ‘enemy,’ didn’t you? So you admit that you are my enemy!? This is bullshit!”

“Ah, it was a slip of the tongue.”

“Fuck this! Lemme go!”

“Ladies and gentlemen, we arrive at our destination,” Jack states out of the blue.

*

Knock knock.

“Enter,” an old man responds to the knocking.

Three people enter the room. One of them is a woman with a slim body and dark hair. Another one is a young man with short brown hair. The last one looks like an agent who is capable of stunts of all sort. In short, Luna, Kevyn, and Jack.

Kevyn stands between the two. “Major, why am I here? Can I go?”

“Where is your respect, Corporal?”

“I’m a civilian!”

“I see. Luna, you didn’t show him the contract?”

“Sir, I did not.”

“Listen, Kevyn, you are a soldier, whether you liked it or not. Read this and you will understand why.” The major hands over a sheet of paper for Kevyn to read.

Kevyn starts reading it. He skips for the most crucial part. The Senate has agreed to strip Kevyn (personal ID: 5566 77888 2367788 34) of his right to be a citizen for the purpose of being used as a weapon to defend humanity from the Rueinians, as he is one of the most capable persons to control the new technology that has been implemented for DTA force. He has the right to complain, and for the first ten days after this contract comes into effect, he has the right to behave inappropriately without punishment, but if he disobeys the law, he shall be punished according to the law.

“The hell is this!!!?” Kevyn cries as loud as he can.

“You are a soldier, Kevyn. Starting from today, you have ten days to behave as you like, but once it is over, your training commences. Dismissed.”

*

“To hell with ya!”

“Jack, knock the ladies out of him,” Luna commands.

“Knock the ladies out of him? Sir, elaborate.”

“You haven’t heard of it? There has been such an idiom for a while now. It means that you knock some jerk’s head when he is thinking of girls in a lewd way.”

“To hell with ya!” Kevyn repeats. It’s a phrase he’s been using for eons. He’s actually earned himself a nickname ‘To Hell With All’ thanks to that, abbreviated All-Hell. “I’m not thinking of anything lewd! Anyway, what’s up with this BS!? Why am I being manually monitored by the Lunatic herself!?”

“Because you might go as far as sexually harassing our female soldiers to relieve your stress.”

“To hell with that logic!” Kevyn cries.

They’re ‘chatting’ in a vast hall where hundreds of soldiers pass by. There are AG-7’s in there, also a few tanks. It’s the Engineering Barrack. As to why they’re there, Kevyn’s accommodation will be there. Only DTA soldiers are allowed to have their own rooms. After all, they’re the elites of mankind, forced to conscription for rest of their youth.

After a moment of silence, Kevyn asks Luna, “By the way, when do I get to see the other DTA members? I mean, I don’t give a shit about this BS, but I’d like to know who I’m working with.”

A devilish smile spreads across Luna’s face. “You see one of your squadmates even now.”

“No way!” Kevyn cries.

“No can do, I scored 91% on the tests.”

“They put you through a test!? And I was chosen without any!? This is discrimination! Racism!”

“Racism towards what? Gamers? Is gamer a race per se?”

“Kevyn is a race!” Kevyn argues.

“Uh-huh.”

Jack is totally left out of the conversation. He feels blessed because of it.

“If I’m not getting a proper room at least, I’ll seriously start thinking of suicide. The trauma I got back in the days is still hammering my soul! I had four near-death situations on the battlefield. Do you think I’m happy-go-smiles with this?”

“Should I take the monitoring to next level? If I ask the Major, I am fairly certain that he will let me monitor you for 24/7.”

“And how’d you do that? Put cameras in my room?”

“No, I would be sleeping right beside you.”

“…!” No matter how hard he tries, Kevyn just can’t find the right words to express himself. “…To hell with ya!” Oh well, maybe he does.

“Sir, should I knock the ladies out of you?” Jack blurts.

The reply is not in form of words, but fist. “I hope you will not repeat that mistake ever again,” Luna gives her warning.

“I… was… just… trying to… lighten… the mood…” Tears stream down Jack’s face.

The strength of her punch is enough to break a door, and such power was used to shatter Jack’s walnuts.

*

Kevyn is taken to his room, which he finds surprisingly comfortable for military accommodation. There’s plenty of room for his personal things. He has a shower in the restroom, and his bed looks soft.

“This, my dear tormentors, is one hell of a room!”

“Oh, so now you suddenly like the military.”

“This is BS!” Kevyn retorts.

“How so? Were you not just complimenting this room?”

“This room is the sole thing I can compliment the army for!”

“So you’re saying that the army is useless?”

“Uh-huh!” Kevyn nods.

Sigh, without the army, you would have died long ago. No, I do not think you would have been born at all.”

“Cut the crap! Get me something to eat, and a lot. Then leave me be! Also, I want my battlestation here!” Battlestation, in this case, means his PC setup. It’s a gamer term.

Luna tilts her head. “What? You want a machine gun here? And some cannons too?”

“Fuck it, just get me tons of food.”

“On it!” Jack says, using this as a chance to slip away from the crazy Lunatic.

Seriously, no one wants to be with the Lunatic.

As soon as Kevyn gets food, his little tantrum begins.

*

“Sir, should we use explosives?” A pioneer asks.

The pioneer is thinking of blowing up the door of Kevyn’s room. As soon as he got food, he locked himself in his room. Now, there are four pioneers, ten military policemen, and Luna working on getting through.

“Permission granted.”

The pioneers plant bombs on the metal door. The whole barrack has been informed of it, so every single soldier inside the building has his or her ears protected. The major is seething in his office. However, the law doesn’t state that it’s illegal to lock oneself in their room, so they can’t punish him anyhow. They can only blow up the door.

“We are ready to detonate!” The pioneer corporal informs.

“Everyone, get back!” Luna commands.

Ten seconds later, a loud explosion reverberates throughout the barrack. Another ten seconds later, a loud cry can be heard from Kevyn’s room.

“To hell with ya!”

Luna enters his room. “Is that all you have to say for yourself?”

“It is!”

“I see. We will be replacing your door with a plastic one. Also, there will not be any kind of a lock in it, so keep that in your mind as you think of something lewd.”

“Are you still bearing a grudge because of something that happened years ago?”

“Grudges are meant to be borne until the end.”

“L.O.L.”

“Ma’am, orders?”

“Dismissed,” Luna tells the soldiers.

“Yes, Ma’am!”

“Now, Kevyn, enjoy your time. I’ll tell them to fix this door by tomorrow. Food will not be delivered to your room, so you will have to go to the canteen. First floor, hall three.”

“Don’t care.”

“You will. Oh, by the way, regarding DTA, in addition to the two of us, there will be six others. Two of them are female, you lucky perv.”

“Fuck that. It’s not like some girls can guarantee my safety.”

“I will make sure that you will not get to relieve your stress on them.”

“Are you deaf? Or do you, perhaps, have an extra chromosome?”

“What a way to ask if I am a retard. No, I do not have superfluous chromosomes.”

“Then why won’t your central processing unit understand that I’m not thinking of relieving my stress on anyone!?”

“You’ve done it once in the past, and I won’t forget that crime.” Luna radiates an icy aura.

“That wasn’t a crime in any intelligible way!”

“Oh, so you still remember it, and even worse, you approve it.”

“That aside, when can I see the other DTA guys?”

“Tomorrow.”

*

Eating his supper in the canteen, Kevyn fiddles with his phone, reading the latest news and whatnot. He is also sending messages to all of his friends, telling them that he was forced into conscription, and on top of that, as a DTA member. He even posts about it on social media.

Though some of his fans and friends are doubting him, he promised to prove it by posting the contract in public. The worst trouble he can get into is jail by doing so, and jail = happy Kevyn.

He’s chosen an empty corner in the canteen where no one else is eating. Not only that, it’s supper, so some soldiers don’t even bother to come to eat as they have their own snacks in their respective barracks.

“A mere gamer forced to battle gruesome aliens in the elite squad? Now that’s a story that’d intrigue even me.”

Kevyn’s read a few fictional books that are based on DTA. Those are usually tagged as historical action war novels, which is the best selling genre out there as of now. However, books aren’t too popular because there’s a 3D holographic comic genre stealing all the audience from books and movies.

“I’ll see the others tomorrow, huh?”

*

“Kevyn!”

The beast enters his room that has no door.

“What…?” The tormented opens his eyes.

“It is 6 AM, get up! Now! We are going to the classroom, second floor, left wing, room 42, got it? If you are not there in fifteen minutes, well, violence will happen.”

“Uh-huh. By the way, Luna,” Kevyn sits up, drowsy.

“What?”

“To hell with ya…”

“I’m leaving.”

“Wait. Can you get me a copy of the contract? I mean, am I not allowed to have at least a copy of it?”

“Which one?”

“What do you mean? Isn’t there just one?”

“Two.”

“Two? I thought it was settled with one. So, what’s the other contract about?”

“I’ll show it to you someday. Now, move it!”

“Yeeeesss…”

Jeez, such a hassle because of a mere class. And it’s 6 AM. Back in the days, we could sleep until 06:25 AM, unless there was an emergency.

Kevyn puts his pants on, entering his restroom to brush his teeth. However, halfway brushing his teeth, he recalls something crucial.

Wait, she said fifteen minutes, didn’t she?

He dashes out of his personal room, toothbrush in his mouth, belt loose, no shoes. He knows what Luna’s violence means. Even thinking about it makes him shiver.

Wait, where was it? The classroom?

Panic driving him, he asks the first soldier he finds. “Where’s the classroom!?”

“Huh? There are many, so which one? And who are you anyway?”

“Lunatic should be there!”

“No idea. Ask someone else.”

Damn it! I’m screwed. Kevyn takes a deep breath. Okay, so she said left wing. My room’s on the right wing. She also said second floor, I think. Let’s see, I can’t remember the room number, but it was more than two dozen, definitely.

He is dashing through the corridors as if a time bomb were ticking. Once he is in the left wing of the barrack, he is looking for any room with an open door, and to his dismay, there are many.

I’ll just check them all.

After a few rooms;

“I made it!” Kevyn exclaims.

“Just barely. Now, take a seat,” Luna tells. “And hide that toothbrush. You are not giving a good impression of yourself, Kevyn.”

He does as he is told, throwing the toothbrush to the closest trash can, and then he takes a seat in the classroom. Just like Kevyn guessed, Luna is in charge of the session. Taking a look around, he can see the other DTA members sitting quietly, spread out.

“Let us begin.” Luna closes the door. “As you might have guessed, the eight of us in this classroom is the DTA squad. Today’s session is for the sake of introducing everyone. Once everyone has done it, we will conclude this session. I will go first.”

Ahem, my name is Luna, captain of the squad. Some of you might know me by the nickname Lunatic. I will be the leader of DTA, which means that your closest superior is me. I have been working in the army for eleven years, and I will continue to do so for the years to come. I have seen action on the battlefield several times, but my tasks are mainly here in the base. Also, it should be noted that there is a new rank system coming into effect by next week, and with it, my rank will be changed to Jaeger Captain. All of you will be promoted to Jaegers with it. As for the rank authority, Jaeger is superior to all sergeants, whereas Jaeger Sergeant is superior to all second lieutenants. Jaeger captain, which is me, is superior to captain but lower than major. Now, who will go next?”

No one raises his or her hand.

“Fine, you there, come over!” Luna is pointing at a male soldier in the far corner on the right.

He stands up, walking over to the front. His hair is dark and short like it should be. His body build is rather strong. Kevyn makes a mental note to never befriend that guy, for he looks intimidating.

“Tom. Two year’s experience on the battlefield. Sharpshooter.” His introduction is as short as that.

Luna fills in, “He scored 87 percent in the test. It’s a low result, but the major had requested two sharpshooters, and he was the second best in terms of test results.”

Tom seems to be both surprised and perplexed. “I was the second best sharpshooter?”

“Correct. A901, since you were the best sharpshooter, come and introduce yourself.”

Tom goes back to his seat, whereas a young woman walks over to the front. Her figure is short for a soldier, around 5 feet tall. What makes her look rather unique is her short, red hair, and her reddish eyes. Kevyn figures she is a mutant of some sort. It’s rare, but possible.

“I am A901, forced to conscription for twenty years due to issues with my family. I started when I was fourteen, but I saw combat only when I was sixteen. I am a sharpshooter, specialized to SRC, heavy model.”

“““What!?””” The whole classroom, except for Luna, exclaims.

SRC heavy model, also known as the Sniper Rifle Cannon, or as the highest caliber infantry sniper rifle. It’s a semi-automatic rifle that has a range of seven miles, with an effective range of two miles. It’s capable of penetrating the heaviest tank that’s been devised. As for the reason of the outburst, A901’s figure is way too petite to carry around such a rifle. It weighs over 44 pounds with a full clip, and the length of the weapon is 53 inches.

Luna explains, “As some of you might have guessed, A901 is a mutant, a man-made mutant. Like she said, she had issues, and because of her situation, she chose to become a test subject for an experiment. As you can see, the tests were successful, and she is now a mutant. She does not have inhuman strength, however. What she has, in turn, is total control over psionic energy.”

As a side note, psionic energy has been used in factories to enhance productiveness for a century now,  so psionic energy isn’t novel.

“What can she do?” Kevyn asks.

“I can make your brains burst out of your head,” A901 declares with a serene face. “Oh, and before any of you asks it, I am twenty-one years old, but my growth has stopped due to the mutation. Also, the mutation has caused certain disorder in my body. I am done, Ma’am.”

“Nicely done, A901. Now, who will go next?”

“I will, Ma’am!” Another male says.

“Good.”

As soon as he’s walked to the front, he begins his introduction. “Roy, twenty-five years old. I specialize in close-quarter combat. Four years of training, three years of real combat.”

One hell of a survivor, Kevyn thinks. A melee soldier who’s survived for a few years on the battlefield, eh? Usually, those front-liners die first.

Luna adds, “He can also drive just about any vehicle, or even pilot a jet if that is what we need. Not only that, he is part of a certain drug program the army has been developing. During his training years, he was given a certain pill on a daily basis. All of you probably know that there was the incident in the mines where some miner found a new type of crystal and died the very same day. Army scientists found out that Tryn, that particular ore, contains deadly radiation that affects our brains. On small dosage, however, it causes our brains to function with increased potency. Roy is the first human test subject, and he is also the only one who has remained sane.”

The hell? Are they all some sort of monsters or what? Am I the only human here?

“Next!” Luna tells.

The last female DTA member introduces herself. “Tina, twenty-seven years old.” She has brown, short hair that barely passes the military regulation in regards to length. She also has a linear scar on her face below her right eye. “I will be your medic. I am also very resourceful. They call me a necromancer for my ability to save people’s lives in dire situations. As for my experience, only one year on the battlefield, and one year on training. Before joining the army, I was a surgeon.”

“Nice one, no need to fill in for you.”

So far the male sharpshooter has been the only normal guy here. Or is he…?

Next one steps onto the stage, a bald, thin man whose age is past thirty. “Codename D7. Engineer.”

Whoa, now that’s a short introduction.

Luna does the introduction in D7’s stead. “This quiet person is a field engineer who has been working for the army voluntarily, although he had good chances of living as a civilian after surviving conscription. You cannot tell because of the uniform, but he is a cyborg. He made the parts, and Tina assembled him. The army never pressured him to become a cyborg.”

Another weirdo. Seriously, I want to go home!

“Now, two more to go.” Luna is looking Kevyn in the eye, whereas Kevyn does his best to avert his eyes.

O809, your turn.”

“Aye, Captain.”

A young man, barely twenty years old, leaves his desk. His hair is trimmed and short, just like the military regulation demands. What makes him stand out, however, is the fact that his face has burn scars.

“O809, I will be your living weapon. The experiments that have been done on me are classified. Once this team is fully operational, you will all be given the details regarding that experiment. For now, I cannot say anything.”

“Why were you the subject? Got issues, or did you do it voluntarily?” The male sharpshooter, Tom, asks.

“Partly forced, partly volunteer.”

I’m in the middle of psychopaths and monsters! Kevyn cries in his mind.

“Kevyn, your turn,” Luna eyes him with a scary face.

“Fine, fine.”

Sluggish, but confident, Kevyn steps onto the stage. “Yo, I’m Kevyn. It’s truly nice to meet y’all, though I don’t think you want me here.”

Smack!

“Would you like to die?” Luna is ready to hit him again.

“Please, do kill me. At least I won’t have to suffer for any longer.”

The other DTA members are disappointed. “Why is he here?” “I will not risk my life for his sake.” “My surgery success rate might be a little lower when operating on him.”

They won’t show mercy. Kevyn can’t complain, as he totally understands them. “By the way, I’m forced to do this. The reason? Dunno, I was just told that I’m the best candidate out there.”

“For what?” O809 asks.

“For the Valkyrie experiment,” Luna answers.

“The Valkyrie? Why him?” A901 inquires.

“Because he is the best gamer out there. No one stands equal to him when it comes to games.”

“Well, that’s true, I s’pose, but I bet I’ll just break your toys.”

“We shall see.”

*

Later that day in the evening, Kevyn is playing with his phone. He’s gotten his copy of the contract, which he already shared to the public. There’s an uproar going on.

Suddenly, his phone gets stolen by a certain agent. “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to confiscate your phone,” Jack explains.

“Nooo! Not the phone! I have nothing else!”

“Orders from above. You shared military information in public, so this is your punishment.”

“Bastard! That thing is holy!”

“In your dreams. By the way, I got something for you. Examine them well.” Jack hands over some files Kevyn hasn’t seen before.

He skims through them. There are pictures of mechanisms of who-knows-what. Wondering what it could be, he keeps searching for clear pictures he can understand. Then, he finds something interesting, an image of an armored suit.

“What’s this?”

“A Valkyrie. It’s a thirty-eight feet tall, heavily armored combat suit for one pilot. It’s a manual type, one that’s controlled with sticks and buttons from the inside. There is a second variant as well, but it’s still a prototype, a precision Valkyrie.”

“Precision, huh?”

“It’s still a prototype. As soon as you learn the basics of the manual Valkyrie, you’ll be practicing with the precision model.”

“So I’ll just go through these documents and then I’ll be—wait, am I not allowed to have some freedom right now? I’ve got eight days, haven’t I?”

“Of course, you won’t have to go through them right now, but I highly recommend that you do. Or could it be that you want to be torn apart by the Rueinians?”

“Of course I don’t! That’s the exact reason why I want to commit suicide! I don’t want to see a single Rueinian ever again!”

“I see. In that case, take your time. If you happen to change your mind, however, I can get you started before your duty as a soldier begins.”

Once Jack has left, Kevyn makes up his mind to start the training in advance. Tomorrow, he’ll see a live Valkyrie, prepared just for him, a mecha unit for the sake of fighting the aliens.

TABLE OF CONTENTSNEXT CHAPTER

Thanks for reading the first chapter. I’m not hurrying this project, so there won’t be many releases in the near future. (Note: this chapter was published in the past, but it’s been republished with changes now.) I didn’t work much on this project in the past, but I’m going to start writing this seriously at my own pace.

Giveaways and a Book Release

February is becoming a very exciting month for me! My second book, Apocalyptic Life is now live on Amazon, and I’m very soon done with the third book, though I can’t just publish it just yet. I need to do some editorial work first. That being said, I’m going to share it with a handful of beta readers, and that’s what’s making it exciting! Really, I’m only 20 years old, and I’m very close to publishing my third book too. My goal is to publish it in March. My birthday is May 24, so I’m very confident I’ll have my third book out before that.

Furthermore, I’m participating in two group giveaways, which means I’m getting new readers every day this month. Truly, it’s an exciting month! It’s all thanks to Derek Murphy that I’m getting this far. His ‘Guerilla Publishing’ course is my bible. I suppose I could still do better, but I’m too lazy for that…

Links to the giveaways (they’re all free books!):

The Dark Lords of Fantasy

Witchy Book Giveaway

Links to my books on Amazon:

Transient Life

Apocalyptic Life

Oh, and once Languished Life is finished, I’m planning on revising one of my short stories. I’ll repost it on my blog. I’ll rename it and write it again, and also expand the story. As soon as that’s done, I’ll start working on Cataclysmic Life.

Thanks for coming by!

A Narrative Without Punctuation

I’m doing this practice out of Issa’s request (click this to see his website). As explained in his article, there should be no punctuation in the narrative (150 words in my case, any more might be impractical). My aim, however, is to make this practical, so I’m not doing this for practice, but for testing. So, after pondering for a few days, I concluded that this kind of passage works best with a chaotic scene to deliver a comedy effect. This isn’t limited to comedy alone, though, as I’ve seen a passage like this in a certain dark fantasy book, and its purpose wasn’t comedy. As for my narrative, try to imagine a setting where a silent person suddenly goes ballistic because of accumulated irritation over time because of his/her jerk classmates.

“Shut up already I’m tired of you jerks ruining my day with your damn school drama that repeats itself on daily basis for no freaking reason and it’s not even funny in any god damn way it’s just pissing me off to no end and thanks to you I can’t even focus on my studies here at school for fuck sake please listen to yourselves you imbeciles you even sound like some apes or whatever I don’t care just quit behaving like drama queens argh I’m starting to get grey hairs because of you damn it damn it I’m so done with this BS I have to go through every day and with no end in sight gosh it can’t be that hard to shut the fuck up or do you want to sound like some monkeys and often even look like them jeez I’m going nuts if this keeps up so can you just please stop acting like idiots!?”

So, would you find a passage like this positive anyhow in fiction like YA? If not, then what makes it so horrible you can’t stand it? I’m doing this with an analysis in mind, so all the feedback is welcome.

Eater of Faces, Part 3 (Short Story)

2nd Time

I wake up, heart pounding.

And I remember.

I remember a young man whose face was peeled off, I remember a lady, I…!

I tear at my hair, this can’t be because of drugs, can it? I’ve never used such, or at least I’m not aware of it myself. Is someone putting drugs in my food?

I jump up from the bed, rushing to my calendar to see if today is June 4, and my worst fear appears to be true. Today is just another iteration, tomorrow is no more. But how the hell? No, how can I remember the previous iteration in the first place?

Calm down, calm down, calm down…

The hell is going on!?

First of all, I need to find out how the day resets itself. Secondly, I need to find a way out of this loop. No, why am I believing this crap? It was just a dream, right?

I take a deep breath and sit down. “Calm down, it was just a nightmare…”

Soon enough, I’m calm and ready to go. I drink my coffee and prepare for the upcoming school day. As I’m about to exit my apartment, a voice resounds behind me.

Hi.”

Startled, I turn around, the previous fear making a come-back. “W-who?”

Your very end, my friend.”

W-what do you mean?”

I, my friend, am the one who’ll eat your face over and over and over again.”

It can’t be.

Tell me this isn’t real.

Who put drugs in my coffee?

Gulp. “Are you real?”

Hah!” The lady laughs. “Oh, yes I am. Mind if I ask where you’re going?”

To school, I hope.”

You know, I’m very curious. How do you do it?”

I’ve got no idea as to what she means by that. “What do you mean?”

Recover your memory.” From her smile, I can read some of her thoughts. ‘I’m curious.’ ‘I’m intrigued.’ ‘I’m enjoying.’ ‘I’m clueless.’

She is an interesting character. But on the other hand, I’d like it if she just disappeared, for good. I’ve never felt this kind of a fear, the kind of fear you get when you’re about to be killed. Nay, I take my words back, I have felt this fear before, for who-knows-how-many iterations it has been.

I see your point. I don’t know either. In fact, this is the first time I totally recover my memories. Wait, do you know how many iterations it has been?”

The lady giggles. “I do. I’ve reset the day by eating your face 32 times. If I’d have to count all the iterations thus far, I’d say the number is too big for a human mind to comprehend. I usually eat a person’s face about two thousand times before I change the prey. You were an exception, as you remembered the previous iterations, you began to act differently each time. It was annoying, Each and every time I had to go looking for you.”

However, After eating a stupid person for a few years, I remembered you for some reason. I had this thought ‘though it was annoying, it was interesting’ and with that, I came back to you. R.I.P.”

So you’re saying that you’re tormenting me out of self-interest?” What should I say? Should I curse her?

Umm, yeah. Also, I need to feed on someone, so.”

Then, tell me, how does this whole cycle work? What must be done and what happens if you eat someone’s face?”

Mind if I have a snack?” She smiles.

I’d like it if you did not.”

Time to feed!”

3rd Time

So, as long as you eat my face, I’ll live, right?”

As soon as I wake up, I ask that from my tormentor. My heart is racing. I mean, I was eaten just a moment ago, wasn’t I?

Should I eat your face right away?”

Please, don’t. It’s not like I can escape anyway, so at least tell me how you do this to me.”

You’re just trying to scheme your way out of this loop. How interesting.”

I was caught?

You see, I have no reason to reveal you anything. Why should I?”

Are you bored?”

Huh?” She snorts.

Are you?”

Maybe I am.”

I might be able to fix that, if you tell me how this cycle works.”

Her eyes gleam in anticipation. “How, exactly?”

Let’s say, depending on the rules, I might be able to craft a spectacular show for you, a show where you’re the main character. You’ll be fed, you’ll have fun, and I’ll get out of this loop. Something like that. Of course, if you find my ideas boring, it’s not like you can’t eat my face anymore, right?”

She retreats into her thoughts, pondering over it. If I’m to be tormented, at least I want to know how. Am I asking for too much?

Fine.”

I make a victory pose in my mind.

However, I’m far worse than you think. If you start playing tricks with me, I’ll make sure you regret it.”

Deal.”

She sits down beside me on the bed. I haven’t stood up just yet, for as soon as I woke up, she was there, waiting for me. I dare say I’d be embarrassed if she was a human. You see, I have my boxers only.

Rule number one. Eating a human’s face causes that day to be reset to 2 AM. The reset happens 11 PM, so there is a 3-hour gap where I can eat faces without causing the reset. I seldom eat during that time, however.”

Rule number two. The latest person whose face I eat before the reset will have his life saved. Let’s say, if I ate your face and then someone else’s, you’d die, for good. If I just ate your face, no problem. People whose faces are eaten outside the time cycle will die instantly.”

Rule number three. I live externally, so I’m not inside this loop. I grow older every second, and resets won’t make me younger. However, I won’t age physically like humans, so I’m an eternal being. Also, I need to feed daily, but I can manage two days without a snack. Of course, I have no reason to go on a diet, so know this: I will eat someone’s face each and every day, end of the discussion.”

I wonder if those were all the conditions. She didn’t explain her own self, though. I’ve got no idea what powers she possesses.

Give me a moment of peace and I’ll craft something for you,” I ask of her.

You’ll have two hours.”

*

Okay, I’ve written down a nice show. She has been watching me silently from the side, not even once looking at my notebook. What I wonder the most right now is that how can she smile for all this time?

I’m done.”

Took you an hour and sixteen minutes.”

I just hope that my memory serves me right. I have a recollection where I see her teleporting. I have to be careful with that part.

Is there a way to recover objects from previous iterations?” I ask.

Depends. I have my clothes recovered with each iteration. I don’t like running around naked, even though I’m Face-Eater. I have a woman’s heart, too.”

Right, that’s not what I wanted to hear. “Can you make this notebook remain as it is right now?”

Gimme.”

Nope, I can’t show the contents to you.”

If you that notebook to be excluded from the reset, then give it to me.”

Jeez, I didn’t think it’d be like this. “Then I need to wrap this notebook with something. No matter what, I can’t show you the contents until after the play is over.”

She smiles rather unhappily. “Hmph. This better be worth the time. I’ll make sure you’ll suffer for all of eternity if you betray me.”

Now that statement makes my hairs stand on the edge. I better keep that in mind as I proceed. Once I have the notebook wrapped in paper, I give it to her.

Shall we begin? Though I think we might need to start a new iteration.”

Oh, I’m fine with that.” No longer unhappy, she smiles beautifully.

4th Time

Is the notebook okay?” I ask as soon as I wake up. Shouldn’t I be more worried about the fact that my face was eaten once again?

This?” She hands it over.

Good. Though I don’t need it right now. As long as you make sure that it will remain like that, it doesn’t matter.”

So I’ll keep it?”

Yes. Now, let us begin. I will be amused by this, just play along.”

Something about that sentence makes me wonder if my girl-hood is in danger.”

Girl-hood? Nevermind, I probably shouldn’t question a monster lady.”

I’m offended.”

If you’re offended, you shouldn’t smile as if you actually like being called that!”

*

We’re both walking to the school I attend. I’m nervous, I’ve never imagined that I’d be doing anything like this. Hold your psyche together, my heart and mind.

I’m bored.” She complains for the 12th time.

Hold your horses. It’s been an hour and a half since we began.”

I’ve been bored for eons, so if I’m suddenly promised amusement, can’t I be impatient for once? Nah, I should I just eat your face right this instant.”

Please, don’t.” I don’t fancy being eaten.

My plan doesn’t really include anything until we get to the school building. As long as she won’t eat my face until we get to school, I think I can keep her amused from then on.

Then when does the fun start?”

As soon as we get to school. But first, may I ask something?”

Depends.” Her unhappy smile sure captures my interest.

Have you seen humans panic? Like a herd of headless chicken.”

A few times, yes.”

Describe the situations.”

Ancient or modern time?”

Modern.”

Let’s see, one occasion was Hiroshima’s bombing. Another was the World Trade Center. Once I happened to come across with a murderer who shot two civilians. His face was tasty…”

I didn’t want to hear the last part, but okay. “So you haven’t been the cause of a panic even once?”

…Eh?” I guess I hit the bullseye.

I speed up, marking the end of the conversation. Let’s see if that made her interested. I don’t think she minds being an antagonist of a horror show, does she? After all, she can reset the day so that no one remembers her doing anything, except for my case.

By the way, how far will you go with my play?”

How far must I go?”

I smile for the first time while in this loop. “You’ll be my girlfriend for the next few hours.”

*

Once we enter the school grounds, I teacher who likes to look after the students is standing under the shadow of the building. She is an old hag, though a good teacher.

I try to sneak past her with my temporal girlfriend. “Good day.” She greets.

It is.” I greet back and try to hurry past her.

Stop right there.” Damn, this hag.

Yeah? What is it?”

Who is she, may I ask?”

My girlfriend.”

When did you get a girlfriend? I thought you were the kind who can’t afford to have a girlfriend.”

I was such a person, but youngsters change at the pace of heart, and heart can either remain as it is, or it can change several times in a short period.” I’m majoring in psychology, so I should be fine.

Always so dramatic. However, I can’t let her stay on the school grounds for long.”

Now the temporal girlfriend of mine speaks up, very slowly tilting her head to the right, smiling brightly. “What I’m curious about is the limit of the human heart. Just how far is it willing to bend? Will it fall for dark even when there’s light, if the dark offers something great in exchange for the light?”

Now I’ve never heard her talk like that. By the way, she’s drooling. The teacher probably didn’t notice as it’s early in the morning and we’re in a shadow. Seriously, she claimed to have a woman’s heart but what I see is a glutton.

I wonder, how’s your face?” She actually asks that…

I pinch her arm to tell her that she should stop. “Let’s go.”

The teacher is left puzzled as we hurry inside. My heart is racing as we do, for I may not be able to do this. I mean, I need to entertain a monster who has lived for eons, so the method I’m going to use may very well spell me a psychopath or something. But hey, I don’t feel like being eaten over and over again for what, eons?

I need you to separate from me for a while. Eat someone’s face, leave the body so that someone can find it, but don’t get caught. Once you’re done, look for a young man with a red hoodie and blue jeans. His hair is brown and short. And do not open the notebook until I say so. I’ll find you later.”

Sounds fishy.”

Trust me, if you’ve lived all your life eating people’s faces, this will make you feel refreshed.”

Fine. But remember, no one escapes Face-Eater.”

I know. If you start eating someone else’s face to reset the day, you’ll eventually find me.”

Exactly.” Like always, her smile is beautiful.

*

I have no idea where she went, or who she’ll eat, but I can’t care about that. I’m looking for a certain guy, the one I described to her. He isn’t my friend, he is just an acquaintance whom I might have to sacrifice.

Yes, I’m literally killing people now. I’m a human, and humans tend to do anything in order to survive.

I find the person in question walking in a hallway. I rush over, tugging his sleeve. “Got a minute?”

Huh? I think so, yes.”

Once a young lady finds you, tell her this, ‘I’m free now.’ And I suggest that you run for it once you tell her that.”

Hold on, just what’s going on?”

No time to explain. Just tell her that, okay?”

I don’t know, if some young lady comes looking for me, I’ll say that, but know this, if she’s a beauty, heh.”

Trust me, she has a cold heart.”

*

Next step is to run for it. Ideally, I want to get out of this loop, and if she did as I told her, she ate someone else’s face. Now if I just hide for long enough, I’ll succeed.

I’m fleeing to a certain restaurant, there I’ll lock myself in a restroom. Of course, I don’t think that a restroom door can hold her back, but I doubt she’ll find me until the reset, unless there’s some factor I’m not aware of.

As soon as I get to the restaurant, my phone rings, someone sent me a message. I check the message as I walk, and as expected, the message came from the monster lady. I’d given her my phone number in the morning for a good reason. I need to know what she’s thinking right now, and since I’d angered her for certain, she will send me a message or two to demonstrate her wrath. She is a girl, too, after all.

Rule number four: all whom I eat are marked for all of eternity, I know where they are no matter what they do, and you, my dear prey, aren’t different. Either come to me, or I’ll come to you, eating your face, and killing you off by eating another person as soon as I’ve eaten your face. You know the death rule, don’t you?

I think I fucked up. She didn’t even use caps lock to write her message, so I guess she thinks that she has the upper hand, and I won’t deny that. But she didn’t mention my location, so it’s fifty-fifty whether that rule is true or not.

I’m seriously fucked up.

*

Tail between legs, I enter the school grounds again. For some reason, the sun has disappeared although it’s midday. I wonder if that has something to do with her wrath? It’s dark now like it was a night.

Once I get a better view of the school grounds, I see that my calculations betrayed me.

There are countless bodies lying around.

None of them has face.

Countless people who’ll never live again.

My psyche can’t hold, I feel like throwing up. I knew that people were going to die, but I never expected to see so many casualties… I, I think…

Am I a… monster?

Is the actual monster more humane?

Do you see what you did?” A mocking voice resounds.

There she is, standing in the middle of the faceless bodies, eyes glowing yellow, unearthly. She’s spreading her arms in a manner that she wants to show something big, and a big graveyard there is.

Do you get it? You made all these people die, for good. There is no way to resurrect them now. I’ve eaten my fill here, leaving only one person alive. The very person who told me the words that spelled the end of these people. Do you get it? You killed them.”

I… never thought that—”

Did you really think I’d tell everything? Of course I hide a stratagem to ensure my victory. Are you stupid?” Her voice is unearthly, wrathful.

I just—”

Don’t say anything. I’ll eat your face, and once I’ve done so, I’ll eat that boy’s face next, that stupid idiot who tried to hit on me. Hah, hitting on a monster, now that’s new. You used my longing to get away? You abandoned me, a girl who longs for amusement. I may be a monster, but I can get angry just like any human. I’ve lived for 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 years in the iterations, multiplied by 1,056,201,030,009,678,040. Do you even understand how desperate I am to find amusement? And now that I was promised amusement, I get betrayal!?”

Listen—”

No, I won’t listen, I’ll just eat your face and be done with it.”

And the last thing I can remember is her insane smile.

The Beginning of the Future

My heart is racing. Funny, it has been racing for a long time now. I mean, I’ve been eaten by a monster several times now.

Wait, I was eaten!?

I died!?

Horrified, I sit up faster than ever before, and the thing that’s only an inch away from my face as soon as I wake up, is the face of my predator.

Startled, I back away a little. “W-whoa, there!”

You. Betrayed. Me.”

Listen—”

Shut. It. Be. Thankful. For. I. Spared. Your. Life.”

Open the—”

I. Am. Going. To. Make. You—”

Open the notebook!!!

For a second, she stops, her facial expression changing to puzzled one. She looks at me with suspicious eyes. She digs for something in her hoodie pocket while staring at me. You know, I’m not going anywhere, especially now.

Read what I wrote back then.”

She tears off the paper, then she looks for the page where my writing is.

Look for Path 1 Branch 6. Read it slowly so that you’ll understand my point.”

For now, she does as I told. Now I just need to hope that she won’t snap suddenly. I need her to understand it, lest I’ll be tortured and eaten, and most likely killed for good.

Though I feel like a monster now. Because of me, all the teachers and students are dead. Psyche, please, don’t crumble. I feel like committing suicide right now. No, I won’t do that, I can’t.

She seems to have read it. “Are you telling me that you planned six different paths for future ahead of time, and eleven branches for each? And all of them lead to one final ending: you and I sitting here? With each of those paths spelling you as a betrayer?”

Correct. It was intentional, to make you angry. You most likely haven’t felt anger for eons, so the emotion alone should be amusing enough, now wasn’t it?”

Her facial expression is so neutral that I can’t read a single emotion from her face. After a moment of silence, she tilts her head to left, really slowly, her expression changing as she does. I think I pissed her off.

So, you controlled me? Am I that easy to read? Am I like an open book?”

I can’t lie here, that’s what my instinct tells. “Yes.”

Then,” she begins, taking a deep breath, “do you hate me for that?”

I considered thirteen possible sentences she might blurt, but that wasn’t one of them. Maybe she isn’t like an open book after all.

I don’t see why I should hate you for that. Rather, if there’s something I’d hate you for, then that’d be tormenting me.”

Should I stop then?”

Rather than asking me such, mind to explain why you’re acting like this?”

Because I’m not amused by your show.”

Should I run for it? I mean, she literally stated that she’ll kill me. Or at least torture…

Then…?”

However, I am amused by you.”

W-what does that even mean?

H-how?”

You risked your life, you risked the lives of others, and you even did something that no one else has done before—recovering your memories, that is. Tell me, why wouldn’t I be amused? You even controlled me.

I don’t know…?”

So, you don’t mind if I’ll hang around with you for rest of your life?”

E-eh?”

I want to be amused, but now that I was, I thirst for more. Take responsibility, as they say.”

Right…”

I never thought that I’d actually have her as my girlfriend, a monster that has eaten my face several times.

Maybe this wasn’t the end, maybe this was.

Patrik Mielonen

Eater of Faces, Part 2 (Short Story)

Oookay, the confusing horror story of a face-eating monster continues. Enjoy! (P.S. I’m going to reveal something cool this week, it’ll be 100% free. Stay tuned!)

You can find the previous part here, in case you haven’t read it yet. Also, share your opinions in the comments down below!

 

The face-eating monster keeps haunting him

27th Time

June, third calendar day. As I step out of the store, a sudden thought comes to my mind—nay, it’s not a thought, but a memory, I think? I remember a shadow, it had a huge maw and it was about to consume someone. Oh well, I think it was just a dream I’d seen at some point.

After a few dozen meters from the store, a young lady appears from the dark of night, walking slowly towards me. She smiles beautifully, I wonder who she is. Her clothes aren’t flashy, so I don’t think she’s from a rich family. I mean, rich people (especially women) seldom wear hoodies, right? Or am I totally wrong here?

But as I look at her, a strange sense of deja-vu comes to me. Strange, maybe I’d seen her in a dream? Or was she in the same primary school? Ugh, my head hurts the more I try to figure it out.

Hi,” she says.

Hi.” I don’t feel like flirting with women now, my head is aching.

Did you like it?”

No matter how I think about it, I can’t come to understand what she means by that. “What?”

Do you feel even slightly better now?”

By any chance, was I drunk last weekend? I mean, did I get laid? I don’t remember such. Jeez, she’s causing my headache to worsen. “I have no idea what you mean by that.”

Do you feel scared?” She asks.

Now that I think about it, yes, I do feel a little scared for some reason. “A little, yes. Why?”

Ugh, you know, you’re the first one to remember the previous iterations, even if it’s just an emotion your body remembers. Tell me, do you use drugs?”

The hell is this lady talking about!? Drugs? Iterations? What!? “You know, I don’t like women who spout nonsense the moment I meet them.”

The lady laughs. “Then it’s fine for me to spout nonsense, isn’t it?”

Her brains must be damaged somehow. “Get to the point. I need to get home soon.”

The lady sighs. “If you can’t remember the previous iterations, then it’s pointless. I’ll try to keep at it until you start remembering. Let’s just hope that you won’t lose your sanity.”

The next thing that happens is something that my heart will remember always.

32nd Time

June, third calendar day. Ever since I left the store I’ve felt fearful. Once I’m home, I drop my stuff on the floor and strip. I need a long shower to wash the fear off my shoulders.

I let the water run for a moment so that the warm water starts flowing. I test it with my toe, and once warm, I enter the shower. For a couple of minutes, I just stand there, wondering what could make my heart pound in fear, until I sit down in a yoga pose. I’ve never sat while showering, and now that I think about it, it feels relaxing, to let the warm water flow upon me.

Face-Eater.

Such a name comes to my mind.

1st Time

June, fourth calendar day. I wake up in the morning, prepare some coffee, and once it’s time, I’m going to school. As I get outside, a cold gust of wind reminds me of something. The memory is vague, but it makes my heart pounding in terror. It’s vexing.

A few blocks later, some young lady calls me out. “Hey there! How are you?”

I’m fine.”

Are you still scared?”

Strange, I am scared, how did she know? If I think about it, that lady does remind me of someone.

What do you mean?”

Nothing. Have a nice day.”

*

After I’m done with school for today, I’m heading to my part-time job. I asked my friends at school if they knew about a symptom that causes permanent fear. I don’t think I’ve been to a near-death situation recently so it can’t be that, now can it?

They didn’t really find the answer for me. I guess I need to figure this out by myself, and soon. This may become a problem if I grow fearful of everything around me. It’d mean no more school or work, which translates to screwed up future.

Much later in the future, I’ll get to know that today, the fourth day of June, repeats itself 2567 times without me knowing it.

2567th Time

June, fourth calendar day. I wake up in the morning with a strange feeling. It’s like I’d forgotten something, but I can’t recall what. I brew some coffee as I ponder over it. Important it had to be, otherwise, I wouldn’t be straining myself this hard.

I shouldn’t waste my time, I need to get to school. I grab my bag and leave, our teacher can be rough if he catches us being late for a class. Just thinking about all that homework he’d make us do if we got late, yikes!

Of course, I get to school right on time. What follows is an ordinary school day.

*

It’s starting to get dark, I’m heading to my part-time job as soon as I finish my homework. I work four hours a day, any more than that and I’d never get my homework done. It’s tiresome as it is.

Halfway to the store, I encounter a young lady I’ve never seen before. She is smiling beautifully, looking at me. Is she just flirting with me? A building next to us blocks the last light of the day, so it’s too dark for me to see her face clearly, therefore, I can’t tell if she’s a beauty or not. Also, if I’m not mistaken, her face is muddied…?

Hi.” The lady greets.

Hello.” Since she started it, I let her lead the conversation.

I might need help. There is a guy injured over there.” The lady points the direction.

In that dark alley?” I ask. It looks like an attempt of robbery to me. Isn’t this how every ignorant character gets robbed in the movies?

Yes.”

Hmm.” It’s not like she can rob me in the public, so I just walk over to the alley without going further in there. If I see a wounded person, I’ll help. Anyway, she keeps smiling like an idiot, so that does make me suspicious.

As soon as I get a good look at the alley, I see someone lying on the ground some dozen yards from the street. “What happened?” I ask as I rush over.

See for yourself.” The lady states. Something about that statement makes my spine shiver.

Ignoring the fear creeping in my heart, I turn the young man on the ground around so that I can see his face more clearly—

only to find it missing.

My hands are frozen still, the shivers run down my spine even worse. I have never seen a human’s face peeled off like someone had made a clean slice with a sharp knife. I almost throw up.

I ate his face, for the 2567th time.”

W-what?” I stutter in fear.

I decided to ignore you and changed my prey, but after a few years of eating someone else’s face, a sudden longing came, I had to come back to you. After all, you were the first one to remember the previous iterations, even if it’s just an emotion. So, shall we begin our bloody relationship for all of eternity, like an immortal couple of lovers?”

Heart pounding, I stare at her face which is bloodied all over, it was this lady I’d forgotten, I’m sure of it. She had to be the thing I’d forgotten. To think that I’ve forgotten a monster like her, just what’s going on!?

Bon Appetit!” She says.

Next Part