Chapter 1: Her Absence

Flor del barrio-cMads regarded the full moon while he practiced his usual pastime. He missed everything about a certain girl; unforgettable mole constellations, poorly hidden belches and a mysterious and asymmetrical stare. The dame’s name was Ulrika and she was la flor del barrio; everybody liked her. Mads lived rebuilding each stage of their extinct idyll without ceasing to smile. His happiest memories – the only ones that mattered – were on infinite repeat in his mental theatre. Nothing else would ever be played.

“I don’t think it’s wasteful to remember someone” – Mads told the silent woods, mimicking the character he thought he should be.

Eventually the nearest star became visible again and the sky could no longer be called “night”. Solar warmth felt awfully artificial because that girl had spoiled him. He’d gotten used to a class of exothermic reactions nothing in the universe could recreate. The calendar said it had been 4 years; Mads was looking for a reason to live when he found a reason to die.  Now he possessed an extremely expensive truth; his hypothesis had always been a secret law.

Life had nothing else to show him, he’d seen everything and chose to live in the past reviving dates, phrases, jokes and flavors. Recalling the last time his eyes met hers always got his heart racing:

“Would you rather see me become an assassin or a corpse?” – There had been lethal honesty in Mads’ eyes; hollow social smiles were long gone. He’d foreseen Ulrika’s moves and the only thing missing was the most spectacular ingredient.

“Don’t make me do this, there are alternatives!” – Ulrika said while new tears refreshed her cheeks.

“You summon these waterworks far too easily. STOP FUCKING LYING TO ME! If I’m right, you’re going to…” – Mads was a hateful bastard when he wanted to, and right then he wanted to be one. He was in denial about what was happening. Ulrika was rummaging through her purse; her respiratory rate was higher than usual.

The back of Mads’ tongue perceived the foul flavor of anticipated tragedies.

“I’ll never forget you” – a tearful Ulrika informed as she fired her gun, her bullets transmitted the message her crying had already promised.

Soon after the blares produced by Ulrika’s right hand, Mads’ blood left the inside of its vessels and started clotting on the asphalt. Some of his tissues had been pierced by several grams of lead precipitated at a destructive speed. It was one of the first times death felt certain for him.

On the floor of a filthy alley Mads reached what he thought were his last conclusions; his saddest fear had been confirmed. Ulrika didn’t stay to watch him die.

Whatever was on her agenda must’ve been important” – Mads didn’t want to stay either, but the gunshot wounds didn’t allow him to go. His friends had already warned him; he meant nothing to her. He’d seen her treason coming for a long time and he still answered her call, like the pavlovian beast he now knew he was.

Dying this way felt like an adequate ending. However, the scientists in that epoch accepted life’s challenges avidly and without restrictions. When Mads’ would-have-been corpse was taken to the closest hospital, nobody denied him the opportunity to live on. A small number of so-called experts helped reestablish the physiological balance in the multicellular organism that called itself “Mads”. They released him a few weeks later.

He knew exactly where to find her, but by the time he left the clinic he didn’t look for her. He thought about her all the time, yet he didn’t make plans that included her. Waiting was all he could do; one day his love for her had to end. He hated so much to be himself.

He was in great shape according to the white coat wearers that signed him off, but he didn’t consider himself alive anymore. Survival was his only regret. If that stupid skank had only aimed well…

The time machine he wore around his left wrist emitted a brief auditory memo that brought him back to the present. There had been a phase when he fought to beat the clock but this time it was only 8:00 AM, without eerie connotations. He was convinced his best days had already happened.

“Such molecular beauty! Where did you find so much of it?” – Mads asked aloud, joining the morning song produced by the diurnal fraction of the local wildlife. The forest was already used to his presence.

“In the surroundings, a marvelous group of light-eating creatures synthesized them exclusively for me” – he answered his own question and smiled at the hidden predators.

Soliloquies had become his favorite loquacity-conserving tool. Speech was useful whenever he found someone familiar with his dialect; an event that occurred at least once every 30 planetary rotations. Being 21 years old was about misanthropy.

“Tell them I said thank you, if you ever see them again”

“Will do, noble child of legend!”

He’d been camping there for what felt like a dozen years. He’d return to the city once it started raining again; killing 39 was all he had time for. To know where 39 was, he’d HAVE to interrogate Ulrika, assuming she still lived. He didn’t know exactly how he’d get the information, but he would try his best.

His actions were destined to prevent a certain cataclysm that would mark the beginning of a new age. Mads wouldn’t let Malvolia do all the fighting. Foxtrot’s plan had to work. He was partially responsible for Ruggam’s death. Mads wanted to slay a peaceful being called 39 and didn’t know Ruggam’s sacrifice was on his path for reasons from beyond.

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