I kill things.

2/25/23 - not really canon, just fuck it, we ball, i wanted to write narae alright!!!!! was originally for class but i scrapped it in favor of Come In. i ended up finishing it for funsies and fixing it up. yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    “So… You’re really going to try to suppress him?” 

“What else can I do?”

My work partner and I stood together above a table with a file folder laid upon its surface. It had been somewhat of a weird ride ever since L Corp fell, especially with the sudden Library of light emerging from its rubble, but it had given us two a new job and for that, I can’t complain. I like feeling useful. I especially like being in my element. Back in L Corporation, things were simple. I’d wake up, beat the living shit out of any abomination or monster that reared its ugly head out of its containment cell, break a nice sweat and save the day, and go back to my dorm for some rest.

I kill things. It’s what I do.

So what makes this any different?

“I…he was our coworker, Narae—he was our captain, for crying out loud!” Leesihan was always the emotional type. I almost feel sorry for her—how could she expect to go anywhere in life if she’s willing to give these things, who take countless lives daily, a shred of empathy?

“I don’t care what he was,” I responded, “a job is a job, and it’s causing problems in a public area. We just…quickly take care of it, go home, and be done with it. How’s this different from any of the other Distortions we’ve fought?”

“It isn’t,” said Leesihan, her lips pouting up like it’d do anything to dissuade me. “These Distortions…they had lives, families, and names before they transformed into what they are. I don’t feel good about what you do.” 

“It doesn’t matter what they were. What they are now is an abnormality. We suppress them because they cause ruckus and hurt other people.” I made sure to look her in the eyes. “How’s this any different from what we used to do?!”    “What we used to suppress in the facility were just manifestations of people’s thoughts and fear, Narae! This is a whole, sentient person now! You can’t just…kill him!”

“I’ve done it plenty of times before and I’m not letting his old job stop me.” I wiped my face down with one hand. Why did I have to be assigned this one? Why him?

Leesihan stared me down for an uncomfortable amount of time before she said anything else. It’s like she was judging me. For what? Doing my job?

“...At least…we should probably meet with his husband first,” she said, sliding over a handwritten letter from the folder. “You remember him, right? Julian, the captain of Inf—”

“Uh huh.” I took the letter and skimmed it over one last time. For some reason, the guy had been seeking out people from the old fallen facility for a while now, and left this letter posted on one of the communal bulletin boards at the market. He listed out a few names from the Corporation he’s looking for, and left his number at the bottom. My name, and Leesihan’s, were among them. 

“I called him earlier today and told him to meet us at the sandwich shop near the train station,” she continued. “We’re just going to get some more information on his husband’s distortion for recordkeeping. You’d oughta go, too.”

It almost felt like a lemon slice was inserted directly into my mouth. It just all went dry, and I was left biting the inside of my lip and blanking out, staring at that stupidly neat handwriting.

We met at Hampang. The sandwiches from that place are okay. Not really somewhere I’d like to meet this guy after, what…ten years? But I guess I couldn’t complain. I’m not here to socialize, I’m here to gather info.

I wonder how it feels for him to know he’s going to be a widower today. I just hope he doesn’t start crying or something. That sappy stuff I can’t really handle. Makes me embarrassed to even be in the same room as ‘em. What am I supposed to say? I’m sorry your husband went crazy and turned into some eldritch monstrosity?

Leesihan and I were sitting together at an empty booth when he entered. I didn’t even realize it was him until Leesihan started waving her arms and laughing and shit, but man. It’s like everyone on Earth aged except for me. Maybe it’s because I haven’t? I haven’t noticed anything different about myself since I woke up again in that strange Library, even though it’s been years and years. I’m no taller, no stronger, no different than I was when I was 20-something. But Julian, he’s…older. Stronger looking, too. Of course he got the gains and I’m left still looking like a toddler, isn’t life hilarious, the way it favors those who don’t deserve it? And the thing that upset me the most is that he looked…happy.

As he approached us, nothing in that man’s stride or expression hinted at all towards the soon-to-be fate of that husband of his. Nothing. Absolutely unbothered. It almost disturbed me. How could he be shaking Leesihan’s hand and laughing again when death’s looming right over his shoulder?

“Narae,” he said, suddenly extending his hand towards me. I looked at it like it was infected. “It’s been so long, dude. How’ve you been? You look exactly the same, haha!” Great. Rub salt into that wound, won’t you?

    I shook his hand. It was firm, strong, nothing like that flimsy, goofy little shake from when we were back in the Corporation. I wanted to dig my nails into his hands. But I didn’t.

    “Julian,” I greeted him back. “Yeah. I do. You look like shit.” He simply laughed, shaking his head and sitting down right next to Leesihan.

    “You’re the same as I knew you, Narae,” he repeated. “Do you want me to order you guys anything? Sandwich, soup?”

    “Oh! Ah—I’ll just have today’s special, alright?” Leesihan said with another smile. “And I’ll pay. You don’t worry yourself one bit. We’re, uh, here about—”

    “I know,” said Julian. “He’s, uh…been causing some trouble, hasn’t he.” That stupid smile of his finally fell off his face as he rubbed the back of his neck. “I…wanted to ask you guys something, actually.” He glanced up to me specifically, eyes full of…something. I don’t know. 

    “Yes? What is it?” Leesiahn placed a hand on his arm.

    “Can I come with you?” He continued to stare at me. “I just…He’s been hiding from us. He won’t even come out to me, or to his students, or anyone. He’s been making a lot of problems at the school, I know. But if you find him, and I were to talk to him…”

    “We’re suppressing him,” I said. “You can come, but that’ll only make it harder, and not for me.”

    “...I…” He frowned. “...I can do that. But just let me talk to him, or something. It’s…been a while. I just want him to know I don’t hate him. Or anything. I’m not even mad at him for disappearing. I’m not scared of him. I just want him to know I still care.”

    It made me want to reach over the table and shake him out of it. How could he still care about these things? Back in the Corporation—they’ve nearly killed us plenty of times! How? How could he still care for someone who hurt others so badly?

    “That’s not Eva anymore,” I said, my voice rising. I couldn’t stop it. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell you guys this. This isn’t a person! Distortions—they’re trouble! That’s what they are, a disaster waiting to happen! You’re lucky he hasn’t done anything huge yet, because if he had…”

    “Narae! Stop it!” Leesihan did have the courage to reach over and grab me, taking my arm and gripping it hard. “Julian, I’m sorry—”

    “No, no. It’s okay.” He sighed, shut his eyes. When he opened them again, he was still looking at me, but there was no hatred, no anger, nothing. Just… “I know how good you were at suppressing abnormalities back then. I always admired you for that, honestly. Not even I could bear hurting the ones I really cared about, sometimes. But you and Eva were always on top of that.” He paused. “I guess he would probably agree with you here. I don’t want to be mad at you, Narae. I know you’re doing your job. But I guess what I’m asking for is just some time. With him. Some time with you and Leesihan, too. It’s been a while.” He smiled weakly. “I miss my friends.”

    “...I’m not your friend.”

    “...” His smile faltered. “I…that’s fine. It’s okay if you don’t think so. But you’ll be my friend, even after this, okay? I…know you’re probably still trying to protect me.”

I could feel my own frown twitch at that.

    “You don’t know anything about me.”

    “I think I do.”

    “How about you just order our food and we can get out of here?”

The entire time we ate, I just stared that man down. The way he was still so friendly, so trusting to the person who was about to rip his world apart. He was eating with me, checking in on me, catching us up on whatever he’s been doing with that dumb journalist job. I didn’t get much to eat, and he’d still offer me scraps from his own meal. Leesihan and them, they’d laugh, and I’d just stare.

Nothing’s changed about me, he said. So why is this so hard for me? Why do I hate him so much? He was my friend. But it’s just been so long. He’s had time to learn and grow, make friends, make enemies, age and change with the seasons. But me? What do I have to show after all this time?

I shook my head as I zoned out. I don’t have to show anything for myself. I’m just doing my job. I’ll take care of the Eva problem, go home, and never have to see him again.

As we exited the shop, they continued to talk alongside me, holding their takeout boxes. At some point in the road, the sidewalk had this crack in it that hadn’t been fixed, and I guess Julian wasn’t paying attention, because he tripped right over it. I didn’t even think about it, but in a second’s time, I was suddenly diving down and catching him mid-fall, Julian in one arm and his takeout box in my other hand. He looked a bit frazzled at the sudden trip, but one look at me and he just started laughing.

“Thank you,” he said. “You really saved my dinner there, man. You know, your reflexes are still as sharp as ever, aren’t they?”

    “Whatever,” I replied.

    When we arrived at the school, everything was dark. During our lunch trip he had told us he heard his husband had taken the form of living electricity, so naturally the moment he appeared in the school, the power went down. He was somewhere on this campus, and using my authority as a suppression agent, I locked the place down for today. It’s not like the students were missing anything—as long as the power was out, they weren’t able to hold classes.

    It was just me and Julian, with the rest of the suppression team waiting outside for command. He almost looked small in this huge building as we traveled down the deserted halls.

“I’m going to redirect all the energy in this building to one room.” I looked at him as I spoke. “Everything will be cut, unplugged, and disconnected from the walls by the rest of my team, except for anything in the performance hall. You need to go to that hall with me and lure him out. I’ll be hiding backstage, and that’s where I’ll take the fight. You hear that?”

    “Yeah.” He nodded. “I’ll go.”

We made our way to the performance hall. My team had the place stripped of cables, wires, and anything that could possibly be a home for electricity in a little less than an hour. That’s what perfection gets you. I took my place backstage, and waited for the prey to come out to play.

It emerged from the ceiling like a snake slithering down from above. A heap of living wires and cables, all moving in perfect sync. I readied my sword. Julian’s face seemed to lighten up at the sight of it. I kept my eyes trained on the target. It was moving straight for Julian. If I didn’t act now, anything could happen. These Distortions, they’re never in the right mind. Sure, a human transformed into a monster, maybe some semblance of their old selves are there, but it’s never enough. However, something in me didn’t do anything. I just sat there and let it happen.

Arms outstretched, Julian stood before the beast like it was nothing. It slithered to him, stopped for a moment. They stared at each other, and I couldn’t see anything from where I was, but I wouldn’t doubt it had eyes to peer down at him with, with that yellow glow emanating from its ‘facial area.’

It simply fell into his arms, and Julian did the best to hold it up. They hugged. They were like that for a while. Julian shot me a glance. He didn’t say a word.

I walked up to the mass of wires.

“Eva,” I said, readying my weapon. He turned his massive head, a construct of rubber wire with two glowing eyes in the middle of the void within it, and looked at me without making an advance. “...I’m here to kill you.”

The ex-captain just held its gaze. He held his gaze, staring silently, and this time, I could understand why maybe this required some time to think about. Then, he did something I’ve never really seen before in my years of combat.

He bowed his head. His wires slid down to the ground, and he bowed his head beneath me.

“I understand,” is what he said, voice metallic and echoing throughout his makeshift chassis. “I’m sorry if I hurt anyone.” His voice was the same as it had been ten years ago, save for the robotic tone. It was the same. 

“You aren’t supposed to talk while I do this,” is all I could say.

He didn’t say another word. Julian turned away and took a breath. I lifted my sword.

This wasn’t a fight. This wasn’t earned. This was a surrender. Who am I protecting in the first place, by doing this?

“You can do it, Narae.” He spoke again, shifting in place. “Just like you always have.”

I waited. I waited for an attack, an advance of any kind, something to justify my kill. But he didn’t move.

I dropped my sword onto the floor with a hollow clatter.

“Eva,” I grit out. “Get the hell up off the floor.”

    “I…thought you were here—”

“I know.” I sighed. “I thought so too. Just…get up. Julian, get me something portable to plug him into. Eva, you’re as insufferable as ever.”

    “Same to you, buddy.”

“Shut up before I change my mind.”




i am scared, i want to go home