Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 43
Ch.43

He covered a great distance since he left the Tower. His heart pounded against his chest, locked inside its malnourished prison. Profuse amounts of sweat dampened his clothes, but such things could hardly bother the doomed soul. His blue veins stood on the surface of his now yellow skin. The white around his irises were now a dark yellow and his left eye became useless fifteen minutes ago. The lack of Ascension Serum was taking its toll on Royx.

“We’re going to make it. We can do this.” He was talking to his pet rock again.

“What are we going to do when we get there?” the pet rock asked him.

“I don’t know. Something fun. Anything we want to do.”

Royx’s left arm hung at his side. His brain sent pulses of muscle movement down to the dying appendage making it flail at his side.

“Tell me a story Royx. Tell me how you got your name?” the rock asked.

“Where did I get my name? I’m not sure. No one ever told me how I got my name. That’s just something I was given in the Tower. I was a Demon. Wait, maybe I was…” Royx stumbled as he walked.

The rock was impatient for Royx to return to the conversation. “So you don’t have a name?”

“I do. It was given to me in the Tower, but no one ever told me my name. My real name.”

The rock pondered on what he said. “That’s strange. I’ve always known my name. My parents gave me my name while I was still in the womb. I think I might have heard it when I was born, but I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my real parents.”

Royx was trying to look past the never-ending forest stretching beyond his field of vision, never letting him see the promise land. His stomach curled violently sending a small wave of acid up his throat.

“You what? When?”

“My name? Yeah I’ve heard it once, but I might be wrong. I was very young.” The rock was turning different shades of brown in his hands.

“But you were given a name. It was in the Tower.”

“That’s what happened after I was taken.” The rock paused as he sighed. “It was a real long time ago and I was taken away from the first Tower, the Tower I was born in, only the first Tower was nowhere near as tall as the one I live in now.”

Royx was crying, but his pace did not slow. The forest thinned.

“I can’t remember my name,” the rock said.

“I was taken from the first Tower where I still had my real name,” Royx said. “They took me away and I was… not a Demon. I was…”

The rock slowly transformed in the palm of Royx’s deformed hand. It grew hair and clothing. Arms sprouted from the center of the rock and legs came from underneath to make a human shaped mold. The mold defined itself and transformed with more detail as Royx continued to mumble incoherently to himself.

“I never knew my name. They gave all of us names but we were never told our real names. We sometimes made up nicknames that we would use among us, but the staff insisted we used our assigned names,” the rock said.

“I wanted to be somewhere else,” Royx put together after a few tries.

“I wanted to visit different galaxies where reality was nice, and no one experimented on me.” The rock had now took the form of a younger Royx. “Somewhere where I lived like I wanted to. Like I was more than a test subject.”

Royx tripped over an uneven patch of land and fell to the clearing of grass beyond the tree line. The forest now stood behind him. He still clutched to his former self, the last piece of his mind.

“Did you hear that?”

Muffled footsteps approached Royx’s barley breathing corpse. A man stood over the boy and pulled his cellphone out, pressing a single number on the phone’s face.

“This is Seven-D, we found him. He’s an ugly son of a bitch.” The man looked around and gave a few hand gestures to his crew. “That’s taken care of.” He looked down at Royx shaking his head. “I understand.” The man put his phone away and waved his crew over to his position.

“Err..cc.” Royx released his bowels. His body had given out. There was still one last breath to say his last words. “My name is Eric.”

The man’s crew put Royx’s body in a body bag to stow in the back of their van. As the man walked back to the van he said to his driver, “I don’t know what Chen has been doing to those kids, but I doubt Madison corp. is any more humane.”

 

Ben gazed down at the ground as it bobbed underneath him, carried away from a group of foes by someone he thought an enemy. The rooms they passed combined with each other in an odd manner. One moment there would be a furnished living room then the next a hallway that led to a maze of other combined rooms. The interior design varied from kitchens to dining rooms to balconies along the outer walls, and restrooms. He also felt Magnus jog up a flight of stairs without the usual intermission to enter a stairwell.

Magnus slowed his pace as they made a few turns into a semi-secluded lobby. Magnus lifted Ben off his shoulder and let him fall to the floor. Ben sloppily hit the ground and picked himself up, the headache he had was still present but now bearable.

“I locked the door behind us. That’s for sure going to slow them down,” Neko said.

“In a perfect world perhaps,” Magnus said.

“I’m glad you’re not trying to cut me in half anymore.” Ben rubbed his right temple with his hand. “You’ve also picked up a little sidekick, a telekinetic one.”

“I’m not a sidekick. I’m an apprentice,” Neko said, as she made an X with her arms above her head, then putting them out in a Y shape. “Apprentice Samurai Neko.”

Magnus shook his head and said, “Do not mistake my kindness for weakness, Benjamin. I merely saved you because of my obligation to my code.”

“It wasn’t just that. I made you turn around, and save poor helpless Ben,” Neko said.

Ben licked his lip where Sagitta had busted it open. The blows he took from Bio-Machina flashed throughout his body. “Either way, thanks for pulling me out of the fire. What now? Are you going to try and fight me or something?”

“You think I would protect you to only strike you down by my own hand? That would be insanity. Nor would I challenge you if that were my intentions. You are in too weak a condition. Do you think you would even last beyond my first attack?”

“I’d wager past your third.” Ben smirked.

“No way. Magnus would tear you to pieces, and could probably take a nap in the middle of it without a problem,” Neko said.

It’s not like I have enough to deal with already. Now I get to listen to a little girl talk down to me, he thought.

“We are done dealing with each other, Benjamin. I would advise hiding until you recuperate.” Magnus tried to walk past Ben, but Ben sidestepped in front of him.

“Thanks for helping me, but I’m not hiding from some cheat mercenaries like yourself.”

“Then you will get your death wish in due time.” Magnus shoved past Ben with little effort.

Before Ben could leave, a question hit him. “Why are you still trying to climb the Tower? If you saved me then you must not be with Bio-Machina anymore.”

Magnus stood on the first step of another flight of stairs that lead to an entertainment room. “I still have a mission to complete.” He then started his climb with Neko behind him.

“Your mission? You’re just going to keep killing the Ascending?”

“No. I am going to stop whomever runs this Tower and its evil ways.” Magnus reached the top of the stairs.

Neko looked back at Ben. “He kinda walks his own path.” Neko smiled then returned to her master’s side.

 

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