Status: Another slow to update story, but this one is short.




I shook myself out of my almost-half-half-asleep state and blinked dryness from my eyes.

Ah shit, I did it again. Left them open.

“The eye drops, Eden, please.” I called, blinking rapidly.

My eyes stung, but tears were finally forming, giving them a little moisture...and making them hurt all the more. A blurred world of metal was all I could see, a slightly darker blob belonging to Eden.

Cold metal wrapped around my limp wrist and pulled it up to my face. A small plastic vial was shoved into my hand. Forcing my exhausted, stiff body into movement, I balled my hand into a fist and sat up from the slouch I had been in. Tipping my head back, I gracelessly squirted the liquid of the vial into one eye and then the other. I blinked rapidly and squinted at Eden.

“How long has it been?” I asked.

“About two hours. Our targets will be approaching soon,” He replied, sounding bored.

He probably already knew the outcome of this battle. Likely, while I was staring at nothing, he had been scanning the future. Despite the pressing humid heat of the old building we had hidden ourselves away in, I shivered. If only I had been smart like Eden when He came to me. My stomach bubbled with nausea, but I ignored it, my vision finally starting to clear.

Wiping my eyes with the back of my hand, I squinted harder at Eden, his image finally turning from blob to humanoid. He had been human when we first met, but I don't even remember those days. He, like me, was one of the Cursed and Undeserving. We were one of the unlucky few to have been granted wishes by Him and some of the last surviving, somewhat sane.

Eden was mostly made of a patchwork of metals now, his body long since decayed away due to his Curse. He got off easy-his pain ended once all his nerves had rotted away. Eden was allowed to sleep. He still had his nose and eyes, but after two thousand years, even those were finally rotting away. Poor guy. He's been trying so hard to preserve them, although they no longer served a purpose.

The smell was horrible. I still had a working nose.

“How far?” I asked, but my partner simply shrugged, not giving a reply.

Knowing him as well as I did, and only because of countless repeats of the same conversation with varying answers, I knew they were not far from where we now hid. Lurching to my feet, I wobbled unsteadily for a moment before I grabbed the massive blaster that was laying in the ash beside where I had been sitting.

“How much longer is this thing going to last?” I wondered out loud.

The blaster was a relic from four centuries ago from the Last Great War.

Eden shrugged and I swore. Not long then. I could only hope I could finish this job with it at least.

I brushed off ash from the rags I wore for pants and pulled my mask over my mouth and nose. I caught Eden staring and offered him a thumbs up. We were perhaps the only ones left alive who used the expression for what it once meant. These days if you gave the thumb to the wrong person you could end up in bed with a stranger.

And usually that was not a good thing, though if you were lucky, you might actually have a kid. If you were really, really lucky.

Eden followed me as I trudged to the open, rusted out side of our hidey hole and examined the world outside. The sun made my eyes burn all the more, but they adjusted quickly to the bright haze and I was able to make out a small group of humanoids slowly picking their way through the ashes.

“Pick your targets, Eden. First one to ten wins.” I grinned, lifting the blaster and peeking through the sights.

Eden was silent, but I knew he would be preparing his own weapons. He could never say no to a challenge from me. Especially when we had made bets earlier on our trip out to the ashlands. He might not have a functioning nose, but that did not mean he had forgotten the smell of sewage and garbage.

I could make out sixteen humanoids and three wagons. Cursing our luck and faulty information, I wondered if we would get all sixteen with just the two of us.

“We should have invited Nass.” I grumbled before firing the first shot.

My blaster made a sharp chime sound as the first bullet left the blaster. Beside me there was a soft purr as my partner's arms whipped out tiny bots in the direction of our targets.

“Cheater,” I snapped, as I shot again.

I fired thrice more before our prey scrambled for cover. Unluckily for them, however, they had yet to reach any buildings that would give them cover. I aimed carefully, missing a few times due to my still blurred vision, but it was easy enough to follow the trail of ash each person kicked up as they ran.

“Ten!!” I yelled victoriously, my hands feeling strangely hot.

“Raden,” Eden called to me calmly.

I turned to give him a quick glance only to have him yank the gun from my hands.


The blaster exploded, showering us both in burning plasma and metal.