Peter walked through college. At first everything seemed normal but then he heard the fast patter of feet. A girl called Jacqueline ran past him, screaming, ‘Morning! Morning! Morning! Morning! Morning!” in a high-pitched voice. She was running so frantically that she ended up spinning, losing her balance and clattering into a wall. She promptly crumpled to the floor, unconscious. Peter checked on her; her pulse was racing. Then, his attention was caught by some more noise. He walked into the heart of the main college building and was met with complete bedlam. Doors were flung open, paper was strewn about, and everyone was manically destroying everything they could get their hands on.
Peter walked through with a look of horror on his face. His peers had descended into rabid animals. Either the teachers had deserted the area or the students had…well, that didn’t bear thinking about. He had half a mind to don Felicio’s mask, but there were so many of them and he didn’t think they really deserved to bear the mark of Felicio. He would save that for the ones responsible…
There were so many people he recognised tearing through the halls and the classrooms. As he peered in the doors he saw the upturned tables and chairs, it was a maelstrom of chaos and he felt so powerless to stop it. With this and the recent rioting in the town centre it seemed to Peter that human nature was inherently destructive, and he wondered why he was even bothering to save them from themselves. Sometimes his mammoth task felt so futile, as if he was wading through the tide of the darkest parts of the human soul. Yet then he thought of Stacy and Stephanie and Emma, and all the good that was in the world, if only people took the time to realise it. In that moment his heart was filled with hate as he thought of all those who sought to tear it down; he had to make them pay. In the distance he hear the wail of sirens. The police would be here soon to clean this mess up, so he changed into his costume and went to seek the man responsible.
Felicio raced across town. He knew where the one responsible would be and he was determined to bring him to justice. He wasn’t particularly close with the Star Children, but nobody deserved what was happening to them. The town was still being repaired from the night when Ash led the riots. Windows were still boarded up and the brickwork was still charred. So much destruction…and what for? He asked himself. He couldn’t come up with an answer. It was almost as if this part of town had been forgotten. Car wrecks littered the streets as if it were a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In the distance he could see the arena where he took Ash’s life, and next to it was the pristine white building that should have been covered in the blood of all the lives it had taken. It rose high and towered over the broken area, and as he approached it Felicio gritted his teeth, somebody had to pay.
When he reached the building he used the same pipes and ledges to climb up, his limbs twisting in ways he never would have thought possible a few months previously, but it was all second nature to him now. He pried the window open; the room was empty so he crept in and rifled through the drawers, although he couldn’t see anything of interest. On the other side of the door he heard footsteps, so he nimbly leapt to the other side of the room and hid behind the edge of a cupboard. The room was large, taking up most of the floor. Michael Rowell entered and sat at his desk, another man came in with him and shut the door. Felicio was in the middle of the room, where a cupboard sat against the wall. Felicio didn’t need to look, he could tell where the men were by the sounds of their breathing and their footsteps. To the other side of the room was another desk and more chairs, and at the end was a large window. The building had an indent in the middle, which meant that the window of a room in another part of the building looked in on the room that Felicio was in. He waited a few moments for the man to leave, but when it didn’t happen Felicio sprung out, and before either of the men could react Felicio hit the other man with a sharp right hook which floored him.
“Ah, it’s so nice to see you again,” Michael said coolly, “please, have a seat.” Felicio curled his fists into balls and pressed them into the surface of the desk; if he’d have put his full force onto it the desk would have snapped.
“I know you’re behind this. I want to know why, why are you doing it?”
“Don’t play coy with me. I know you’re the power behind Edukation and you’re the one that made the Star Children go crazy.”
“I wouldn’t say that, I think if you’re going to take drugs you should be aware that they’re going to have negative effects. It’s sad really, but I suppose there’s no helping some people.”
“They need help from you.”
“As far as I know you’re not from the police, and you don’t have any evidence, and you’re trespassing on private property.”
“I don’t need evidence. I know the trail, are you going to tell me Lewis being here is a coincidence? Don’t take me for a fool.”
“Oh I would never take someone dressed in a costume like that for a fool,” he smiled contemptuously, “and I don’t see why I should tell you anything.” In a flash Felicio pounced over the table and had Michael by the throat, letting the tips of his claws dig into the man’s soft flesh.
“You remember what I did to your lapdog Ash,” he said.
“That is a quite compelling reason,” Michael said, Felicio enjoying watching the sweat form on his brown. Felicio released him.
“Talk, or I’ll give you a mark deeper than the one I gave Lewis.”
“I suppose there’s no harm telling you since there’s nothing you can do. It’s quite simple, you see, you may think that the endgame of this was to make these children go crazy for some reason but you would be entirely wrong. I care nothing for these people, they were but a test sample. The only ones who can profit from chaos are those who know it’s coming. So we introduce Edukation, which will probably have to be re-branded now, which is mostly harmless really, and then when a certain number are hooked we give them the other pill and we let events unfold as they will, and today was just the beginning” he said, sounding smug.
“And what about all the people whose lives you ruin?”
Michael shrugged, “I don’t force Edukation upon them, only provide it to willing parties. I am not responsible for what other people do with their lives. You have a rather narrow view of the world don’t you? There are good people and bad people, and the ones in between are just there to be saved. It’s quite sweet really.”
‘Why is he not scared?’ Felicio thought. He unsheathed his claws but still Michael didn’t tremble. As Felicio raised his arm to strike he heard a ‘whoosh’ and before he could react he cried out in pain as the arrow punched into his back, just below the shoulder blade. Even with his enhanced abilities the strike was enough to send him to the floor. Michael got up and walked over him.
“You should probably invest in some better armour.” It wasn’t long before the archer entered the room. He looked at his prey and smiled.
“I guess that’s first blood to me,” William Withers III said.