-by Shwetank Verma
I just sat there and watched him burn in front of me. I tried getting up to help him but he was out of reach. “I’m sorry John.” was all he said to me before I watched my father breathe his last. I couldn’t bear it. No, it’s not possible, he can’t die, not now. No one came to help me. All I could see was burning embers and metal. Then suddenly, a huge explosion rocked the hillside and I lost consciousness.
I woke up, not knowing what had happened and was happening. Everything was a blur. All I could make out was a whole lot of people moving around me and a couple of people standing at my feet. Slowly, my vision cleared and I realized that I was on a hospital bed. The people standing saw me and one of them asked, “Mr. Jack Harrison? How are you feeling?”. I slowly nodded my head to indicate I was all right. The man nodded and continued, “Mr. Jack, I am Abbey, SFPD. We are really sorry for your loss and if you don’t mind we’d like to ask you a few questions.”
I said,”I don’t know if I’ll be of any help officer.”
Mr. Abbey said, “That won’t be an issue. You see, there was a huge explosion near the hotel in which you were staying with your father. The only casualty reported was that of your father, but you somehow escaped without any serious injury. Our forensic experts are currently working to find the exact cause of the explosion. Can you recollect and tell me how it happened?”
I took a minute or two to register this in my head. Then it slowly got clear. The last thing I could remember was the voice of my dad saying “We have to go! Now! Jack get in the car quick!” I did as he told and we drove off in the night. “Jack whatever you do, do not listen to what he says, not even if it means anything to do with any of our lives. You are different. He will use you as a weapon”… he kept on saying before the explosion happened. This whole thing did not really make any sense to the officers and they left after a disappointing “Thanks”. I was still trying to make sense of pretty much everything, but a nurse came and told me that I had been cleared and that I could go. I grabbed my wallet and walked out with a heavy heart. I took a cab to my apartment and dropped into my bed. I was still thinking,”Don’t listen to him”. Who was him? What was this weapon he was talking about? I slowly dozed off and saw the weirdest dream I had ever seen. I was in a sort of a conference room with four other people. Three of them were dressed as some bodyguards and the fourth guy looked like a businessman. He looked me in the eye, and said, “Jack, my boy, took you long to get here. How are you feeling?”
I replied, “Where am I?”
He said, “That is actually the least of your concerns as of now. You see, I brought you here to make you a deal. A deal which involves your father.” “What kind of a deal?” “You see, you lost your father, most unfortunate. I can bring him back for you. All you have to do is work for me.” That didn’t sound too bad. “What work are you talking about?” “It’s nothing much, you just have to give me your soul. And I’ll give you back your father.” “My soul?” “Yes, it’s simple. You know how this works. A soul for a soul. But not to worry, you will have enough to work within the end.” I was still disoriented, I had lost so much in the past few hours, it didn’t really felt different than giving my soul. Weakly, I agreed.
“Perfect! Now all you have to do is let go”. He snapped his fingers and everything around me dissolved.” “Wait! What do you-” Suddenly I started feeling it. A tingling feeling in my chest. I looked down. And saw my skin crawling with something black. My back felt weird and my arms were getting bigger. It was painful. I turned around and looked into the mirror. And what I saw was a monster. Two huge black wings were protruding from my back. My entire body was rippling muscles and there were markings on my stomach. Everything felt different. I saw chains wrapped around my feet, wrapped around my waist. Somewhere in the dark, a voice said, “You have morphed successfully. Welcome to the job.”