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[Fiction] The Breath of the City


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Apep leapt through the air with the grace of the viper that she once shared a name with. These were the times that she really lived for, not the clean kill (or the messy one for that matter), not the fight for the One Race, and not even her vengeance against her former Proteus masters. What she really loved was the feeling of freedom, dancing and leaping across the city, enveloping herself in the sheer joy of her power and skill. The streets of Tokyo were a blur, 300 hundred feet below her as she moved from shadow to shadow, rooftop to rooftop, her feet keeping an even pace of 45mph as she vaulted and somersaulted across the cityscape. This really was the best city for this kind of thing, better than NY, NY or any other that she had been to on her many adventures. It is like Tokyo was made just for her own obstacle course. She had made a point of running this circuit at least once a week for the last three years and her enhanced physical memory and inhumanly keen senses had mapped every nuance of the trail that she followed, she could do this blindfolded, so it was with no small surprise that she missed a roof top and began to fall.

Reflexes honed a thousand fold baseline human kicked in before Apep had even thought about it, with a turn and a flip she extend her arm an additional four feet to catch the ledge of a passing window. It was one of her least favorite powers to use, even for one as advanced in the path of the monster as she was the sickening stretching of her flesh and bone was something she usually kept at the bottom of her bag of tricks. Confused, she hung there for a few seconds to take stock of her senses. This was the right building, she had jumped as she always had, how could she have missed? Then she heard it, so tiny and below notice, but there was a pitch change in the wind. The way it was moving past the building as if it had…moved? As impossible as it seemed the building had shifted at least ten feet to the north.

Her reptile instincts suddenly came into sharp focus, as if sensing an attack, Apep flipped backwards onto the roof landing in a snake school kung fu stance. She was ready for anything, but there was no one there. She could tell easily there was nobody else on the roof with her. Starting to fear the loss of her senses and overcome with a surrealistic sense of fear, she dropped into the shadows at her feet and stepped out over eight miles away. The billboard in front of her had blaring yellow letters “Feel like someone is following you?" it read. Apep was now certain that either she was losing her mind or she was under attack, or both. Natural instincts kicked in and she began to run at her full 85mph to escape the mocking billboard, crossing several city blocks in as many seconds she suddenly was assaulted by the roaring cacophony of a passing train. Somewhere in the magnetic hum and clacking steel and whistling winds, she heard the words “Apep you been a bad girl!” The voice was familiar but implacable. She knew then that some fellow nova was screwing with her, and she knew that nova would pay.

She let senses flow into the quantum web she felt flowing around her, trying to pinpoint a single line among a million. Then she felt something vibrant, rhythmic, alive moving away from her. Before her own mind could register, her legs had propelled across three roof tops following this trail of juice. She would find the owner!

Her ears then exploded with the sounds of Tokyo, every speeding car and every screaming baby, every beeping microwave and every television, everything blared loudly! She fell to her knees, lowering thick membranes over her ears. Apep could still feel the rumbling sound turning into a low bass laughter. Her skin began to crawl as she looked up to see the grinning face of Luciuos Clay spread across the architecture of the adjacent building. Then the building spoke. “BOO! Muther Fucker!” Apep trembled in disbelief. She killed this man with her own hands in a fit of rage almost a year ago. Puzzled, she regained her focus and demeanor.

“How?” Apep demanded.

The building merely stopped laughing and smiled “You never killed me little girl. I just sort of lost my body, that don’ stop Mama Clay’s little boy. Naah, I just had to readjust a little.”

“I cut off your head. How can you survive without a node?”

The building chuckled “Oh, that. That aint nothin' but a thing. I guess I just found myself another one. You would be surprised by what they grow in ol’ Nippon land.”

“No, no I wouldn’t.” She sighed.

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