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Burned

by Max Malone 2 years ago in fantasy
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A Soul Binder Story

Find the first 2 installments to this series on my profile. I was dumb and posted it in Humanity.

My partner and I had set up on the top floor of an abandoned apartment building in Detroit. The room was filthy and the air was saturated with dust. Some parts of the floor were so rotted they put holes in the ceiling of the room below.

Raising the filthy window up on it’s rusted and decayed jambs was a challenge, the cheap, rubber weather-stripping practically disintegrated to the touch, but with hands grimey with dirt and WD-40, I grasped my binoculars and peered through the cracked window down at the street. It was mostly populated with homeless people, propped up against piles of garbage, curled up in ragged blankets and sleeping bags, hidden under tarps and small tents… I think I watched someone die. It had been an older man who looked like he had one foot in the grave already. He collapsed in the middle of the road. After a minute, a younger man came to his aid with what looked like CPR learned from a movie. Needless to say, he didn’t get back up and his body was carried away. I could feel a mild sadness ripple through his pallbearers, but for the most part, the attitude of the population went unchanged. It was a stupor of drugs, alcohol, and an existential misery.

When we found this spot, we were surprised that the whole building remained empty of vagabonds. The police apparently had cracked down on squatting in the area. We should be fine though, at least for now.

In the corner a few feet to my left, my partner was flicking a lighter open and closed. The incessant clicking was driving me mad like it was physically poking into my spine. “Cut that shit out, Pyro. It’s obnoxious.” I adjusted my angle and scanned the far sides of the street. Everything looked the same.

“Deal with it. And don’t call me Pyro, freak.”

I pulled away from the binoculars to glare at him. “I could kill you with your own hands and make it look like an accident, Joel.”

I could feel his discomfort, but he disguised it with a roll of his eyes. “Then you’d be even more useless. I’m only here to ‘protect the asset’.”

Anger flared. It was me. I was the asset. The secret weapon with the tendency to collapse with over-exertion. After a year of brutal training, torture really, my stamina had improved significantly. My precision was finer and I could exist and process more information from two bodies at once, my own and the foreign one I occupied. One time I was able to occupy 2 bodies at once, but it wasn’t for long and the side-effects were incapacitating.

I felt her presence instantly. I didn’t even need to look to know she was there, but I pushed my eyes into the lenses and saw the car she was in. It was a black SUV with darkly tinted windows. She was a Mags like me and Joel, but her power was more terrifying than either of ours. She was living death. They called her Reaper. She could kill her targets with a single touch in whatever way she saw fit. For the past several months, she had served as a bodyguard for a powerful street monarch. He was a smuggler and a corruptor and a terrorist, or at least that’s what I convinced myself. They didn’t tell me things like who my targets were. They didn’t think it was necessary, or they didn’t think I’d like it… Like there was anything about this that I liked.

“They’re here. In the black SUV.” I handed Joel the binoculars, but my eyes didn’t leave the vehicle. It drove slowly, winding through the groups of tattered vagrants who wouldn’t move out of the street. Better for us.

“Well do your thing, freak.”

I had to be fast. I rested my forehead on my clasped hands and stretched. Attaching myself to her soul felt like treading water in a rip tide. There was so much power I wondered how she could stand it, then I was looking at her. I had seen pictures but they didn’t do her justice. She was bizarre and beautiful. Red hair was glamorously curled, held in a ponytail, and her facial features were pale and delicate, and then there were her eyes, beautiful heterochromatic blue-gold eyes.

I didn’t know this body. Panic gripped me. I searched for memories, feelings, anything. Any clue as to who I was now. The body was male, that much I could tell, but there were no mirrors. I couldn’t see his face. This body had no identity, and there was something else…

I lurched forward and screamed, low and hoarse like my voice had never been used before, stabbing pain punched a hole in my abdomen. I wanted to cough and sputter, but could only hold my eyes wide, clutching my stomach which remained unscathed. I was growing weak, the small hold I had on my own body became strained. Something integral to my soul connection began to slowly expand, wider and wider until my mind was ready to explode. Unspeakable agony wracked my body, unlike anything I’d ever felt. I couldn’t breathe or think, then the pain subsided. My body ached with echoes of torment, and I could only breathe in fast, shallow gasps. I couldn’t get oxygen to my lungs fast enough.

“So you’re the Soul Binder.” Her voice was low alto, with remnants of an accent I couldn’t place. I remained still, my muscles and joints too stiff to move. My heart raced. “I’m sorry to have had to do this so violently, but too many people know your face and I need you invisible.”

Lost and disoriented, I reached back for my body, but I couldn’t sense it. I felt nauseous. “What did you do to me?” My throat felt like sandpaper and my voice was gravel.

Though I didn’t see her, I could hear the smile in her voice. “Oh you’re dead, sweetheart. Welcome to your new body.”

fantasy

About the author

Max Malone

25 years of life with nothing to show for it. Maybe if I don't change anything at all, everything will improve.

Patreon is in the works: https://www.patreon.com/MaxMalone

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