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Cliff

The salty air makes me want to choke as I gulp relaxing breaths. Once I’ve calmed down enough to think straight again, not just running off instinct, I crouch on the rail barrier. Closing my eyes I smile, loving testing my limits. Too much weight forward, I topple into the ruff rock-smashing surf below, too much weight back, I fall on my butt in the dirt, too much to either side, I land on my side on the rail and then fall into the dirt or topple into the surf. The slightest amount, I lean forward a breath and balance on my toes and the balls of my feet, this can have disastrous results, a sliver further forward, the salty breeze calling for me to come play. Some have called me suicidal, but that’s just because their jealous that I can’t die. Smiling, I inhale the playful salt-air through my nose and let them out my mouth.
“Don’t do it Jack.” My eyes open, a calm flame. Denzel is behind me, he is/was- I’m not sure which is the proper word, but that will soon be found out- a later Denmate. He’s part lizard, constantly shedding his skin, quickly regenerates limbs and heals fast, very high pain tolerance, snake like tongue that always is flicking around, and is deadly fast. If he’s for someone, it’s not surprising he was sent… he can take a hit. I lean a hair’s width farther, whispers tickling in my ears. “I’m not working with Kit or Hunter.” That strikes me wrong, only the people in the bar, and not even all of them, heard me give Hunter the name Hunter. There’s no way he was at that bar, you can smell his scent of rat and bugs miles away, even without my nose. Mentally I kick myself, if I hadn’t been pushing myself he wouldn’t have gotten this close. I hesitate on leaning forward, he takes that as a good sign, he takes a step toward me. I’ve played these games before, right in front of his eyes to, he should know better. This must be important. A low growl rumbles in my lower chest, inaudible to even me, I can only feel it. I breath in a deep breath, which tilts me forward even more, the sea’s mermaid laughter echoes and beckons, the crashing waves a siren’s call. “Jack, a war’s coming, it’s Denmates verses freelance Virused. There are no Virused without a side, everyone has to pick a side. Please Jack,” he takes another step closer, encouraged by the fact that I’m listening. Ya I’m listening, I’m weighing everything you say lizard-boy, testing it, probing it, playing with it like putty in my hands. My fists clench, a hint more forward. He’s close enough that I can feel his warm breath hitting my back. “Please come down so we can talk properly.” Sighing, I relax back to perfectly balanced. I can feel him smile, it turns my stomach angrily because I know he’s hiding something. “Thanks, come on.” He puts his hand on my shoulder, the touch sets my skin on fire, sets off the bomb, the storm inside.
He should have known this was coming, he must have. He’s seen me in a mood before, but this was different. I spill on the balls of one foot, my fist slams into his ribs, I hear them crack, but I’m too explosive to care. My other fist snaps back his head, as I jump off the rail, and one foot hooks his feet out from under him. I haven’t had human touch since the fire, and that had been the man trying to drag me off. A low threatening growl rumbles in my chest and echoes in my throat as I land on Denzel, pinning him to the ground, one hand holding his throat to the dirt, and the other clenched and raised, ready for a lightning fast hit if he makes one wrong breath. We stay like that for several minutes, me panting and growling, him breathing shallow till I’m satisfied, watching my every movement with a look that acknowledges my superiority. Then the rage starts to fade, he’s not here to hurt me, no matter how much I want to use that as an excuse to pummel him for what I’ve been through these past few days.
Standing fast, thrusting him aside in the movement with my foot, I growl and pace over to the SUV. There I rest my forehead on the sleek cold metal, and give it solid punch, one that leaves a large dent. One, two more, three more punches and I sit on the ground, hang my head between my bent knees and rest my elbows on them. I’m still panting but the growl was fading. Denzel was still laying still, though he watched me with his head his head at an awkward angle from laying on his back. My face is still dark, threatening, I can tell because he’s being very careful, like dealing with a rabid attack dog, making sure each breath is ok with his me, his alpha. I shake my head and rub my face. He slowly, ever so painfully slowly, moves into a sitting position and turns to face me. When he goes to scoot closer to me, a growl runs up the sides of my throat. He relaxes back into a sitting position. Already I can see his eye swell and turn black, blue, and purple. My face darkens and a quiet growl rumbles as I duck my head so he can only see my eyes, I hate the animal feeling and behavior that has overcome me, but sometimes it just needs to lash out. I needed a punching bag and Denzel just happened to be closest, stupid--.
“Well,” his voice is ruff, and is immediately responded to by another quiet growl, telling him to watch himself. “They sure don’t call you Storm for nothing.” He gives a shaky chuckle with a small smile, his breath moves one of his front teeth like it’s a baby tooth a few tugs from falling out. My face twitches my eyes narrow and then back to a glare as I grunt. “Sheesh, you were like a hail storm, fast, furious, and quick, though you did a lot of damage.” I roll a shoulder, slightly nervous that I can still see signs of the injuries I inflicted. He’s a super-fast healer; I’ve done what would have been almost deadly damage to a normal person.
“If it had been almost anyone but you, I’d probably have a dead body to deal with.” I growl my first words, a compliment and a threat. He blinks in surprise, and starts to say something that I don’t care to hear so I speak first. “So if there’s no loose Virused, as in they all are forced to take one side or the other, then how are you here? Because I know I’d be last to be sought after.” He smiled wide and large at the fact that I was actually listening, then his smile and face faltered as he realizes what I’m getting at, his lie. “Only those at the bar and the two teams after me know that I called Hunter, Hunter. You weren’t at the bar, and you said you don’t work for Kit or ‘Hunter.’ So what is it?” My voice was low, rumbling though not growling.
“Ok Jack, stay with me, alright.” I knew I wasn’t going to like this. “Don’t just tune me out alright. I am in fact on Kit’s side,” for some reason I feel like I was holding my breath and had just let it out in relief, “but I’m not here for him. I snuck away to come and find you, I figured you wouldn’t listen to someone while they were forcing you to stay and listen while they point a gun at you.” More like twenty, but I get the point. “Ok?” I lower my head a little more, so the bottom of my eyes are hidden, but sigh and nod a yes. He smiles again. “Kit and Hunter’s group, no one knows their groups true name yet- we think they are a company or a big name of some sort-, are having a bit of a polite war. Right now they’ve agreed to have a stand still till all of the Virused have picked a side. The Virused being sought after aren’t just the ones that have survived since their injection, but also the descendants, the children and children’s children all the way down to those twenty years old from the original Virused. When parents choose a side their kid- you remember how only the first born Virused lives well and its younger siblings have major health issues? Of course you do, that’s what happened to your daught- sorry- well their kid end up on that side to. Anyway, once all the Virused have picked a side the war’s going to break out. Nobody knows what will happen then.”
“And this has to deal with me how?” I knew how, and dreaded it, but needed to hear the truth. Denzel could tell I knew but told me anyway.
“Because you are the last Virused. Everyone is saying the winning side will have you at its head. You decide when the war starts, how it ends, and who wins.”



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