Friday, November 18, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: September 15, 2398

Rothko Ladhiffe wasn’t born evil. He wouldn’t even call himself that now. Maybe he fell off the right path a little bit, but he can get back on if someone would just give him a chance. These people have not done that for him. They trapped him in that glass tchotchke thing, and when he finally got out, he found himself in somebody else’s body. He didn’t ask to be here, and he doesn’t deserve to be locked up in this cell. They don’t even let him out for yard time, what kind of prison is this place?
The door opens. One of the strangers walks in—not a guard who works here, but someone in charge. “Hello, how are you doing today?” he asks.
“I’m not great,” Rothko replies.
The man nods. “It’s a little dark in here. Would you like a flashlight or two?”
Asshole. “I’m not crazy. I’ve transformed flashlights into powerful tools before. I can do it again. I just need the right model.”
“Oh, Mister Ladhiffe, I know all about your chosen one powers, believe me.”
“Who are you?”
“You know me, Rothy. We’ve whispered to each other, through the vents.”
Rothko thinks about it, trying to remember. “Belinder?”
“Close enough.”
“You were a little girl.”
“Not anymore.”
“You went back to your old body? How did you find it? Can you find mine?”
Belinder rolls his eyes. “This isn’t my real body. I stole it from someone else.”
“Oh.” Rothko frowns. “So you can’t help me.”
“I didn’t say that. Like I was saying, you’re a chosen one, which makes you special beyond special. Your mind has the power, not your body. The reason these flashlights aren’t working for you is because you’re in the wrong reality. There’s something here suppressing your power.”
“Can that be fixed?”
“Yes.” He takes a syringe out of his pocket. “With this.”
Rothko gulps. “Is it gonna hurt?”
“A little, I guess. It’s a needle, man, man up.”
“What exactly does it do?”
“It’s a concentrated elixir of temporal energy, which will activate your powers, and allow you to break out of here.”
“Why don’t you just hold the door open for me?”
“I can’t blow my cover. Everyone still thinks Ramses is in charge of this body. I need you to wait for about a week. Hide the syringe in the casing of one of your flashlights, and then take it with you, so they never find it.”
“Then where do I go?”
“Find shelter, I know how resourceful you are; surviving on your own on Durus.”
“I wasn’t alone,” Rothko explains.
“I know, but you kinda were, weren’t you? You couldn’t truly trust anyone.”
“How can I trust you?”
“Because I’m giving you the temporal energy.”
“How do I know that that’s what this stuff is? Maybe it’s poison.”
“I’m not breaking you out to help me. I’m just doing it to help you. So inject it ,or don’t, I don’t really care. But wait until next week.”
Belinder gets up to leave.
“Wait, what if I need to contact you on the outside? I don’t have any money, or anything.”
“I’ll find you, don’t you worry about that.”
“Okay. Thanks.” Rothko smiles softly as he watches the friendly man who used to be a little girl, who used to be a different man, leave his cell. Once he’s alone, he hides himself under the covers and twirls the syringe around in his fingers. He admires it, and gives it a little taste...just plastic. It’s what’s inside that counts. How long did he say to wait? A week? He pulls the covers off his face, and looks around the cell. There’s no calendar on the wall. How the hell is he meant to know when it’s been a week? It could be any minute now. It could be right now. It probably is. He removes the cap of the needle with his needle, and spits it out. He’s always wanted to do that.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of injecting it into his neck. It hurts so good, he wishes he could get more of it. Even without the powers it’s going to give him, he would love it as long as it always felt like this. Energy is right, it surges all over his body like a PG-13 orgasm. He shakes and trembles to make sure that it reaches every corner of his veins. He gets out of bed, and starts to dance around, knocking over some of the flashlights that he has set up. They call these things Rothko Torches, and apparently it doesn’t matter what kind they are. He can transform them all, he just needs to figure out how. He first clears a space in the middle of the cell by moving the flashlights a little closer together. Then he just spins around, letting the light warm his skin, and trying to send energy back down into the beams. The first time he did this, he had no idea what he was doing; it just happened. Now he’s doing it on purpose. Now he really wants it.
He’s starting to think that nothing is going to change when suddenly it does. The flashlights begin to shake. It’s not enough to knock them over, but they feel like they’re about to explode. Afraid of what might happen, and without any other choice, Rothko dives under the bed, taking some of the flashlights with him. He doesn’t want to throw them back, so he desperately switches them off. Seconds later, there’s an explosion. Concrete particulates and dust start flying all around, so he tucks his head in, and shuts his eyes. He’s not sure what’s happening, but not nothin’, that’s for sure.
When the dust settles, Rothko crawls out from under the bed. The flashlights have been destroyed. If the blast itself didn’t burn them out, the falling debris finished them off. He looks up at a clear blue sky; his way to freedom. One of the guards forces his way into the room, and points a gun at him. Rothko takes out one of the surviving flashlights—which should officially be called Rothko Torches now—and sends a photon blast into the man’s chest. He smiles proudly, having not really used one of these things very much before. They were stolen from him shortly after they were created. The guard is out cold, but there will be more. He gathers the surviving torches from the floor, and ties them up in his sheet, also tying it around his neck. He keeps two of them out, so he can use them like Iron Man’s rocket hands. He flies out of the building, whoopin’ and hollerin’ like he’s riding a bomb in a cowboy hat. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t know how to aim these things. He loses control rather quickly, and starts to plummet to his death, dropping all of the flashlights on the way. He wakes up in a parking lot.

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