Authors: Mikael Aizen
The Chief raised a brow.
"Any other questions?"
"Why a few weeks."
The Chief chuckled.
"What do you think happens when you put a bunch of convicted murderers together?"
"They kill each other."
It was obvious, of course.
You’ll see soon enough."
"I have a son," Jay said.
He should have known better than to say it, but he did.
Since Andrea died there was no one for Kyle.
"Then he’ll be joining you soon, if you survive long enough," the Chief replied.
The Chief stood abruptly and gave Jay a large grin.
"Dead meat is dead meat, no matter the age."
The way he said it made Jay loathe him.
"Show him out," the Chief ordered Jay's Enforcer.
"Rendezvous at G in two."
When mandated testing for The Code had begun, fear sprouted resistances to the testing.
But instead of free speech, those who resisted were moved up and tested immediately.
The rest of the discontent hid, Jay hadn't.
He'd been confident he wouldn't have The Code.
Jay's Enforcer seized his arm, pulling him from the room.
Before leaving, the other Enforcer with the dark eyes and silent the whole time, straightened.
A guarded look passed between the Enforcers.
The heat hit Jay hard as the metal door creaked and screeched close behind them.
Outside was a ghetto, a city overgrown with weeds and trash.
The building they'd emerged from stood on the verge of collapse like the rest of the city.
Uniform, dull, and wasting.
This was the place for the country to wipe its hands of guilt, built with the structural hastiness of those hiding their conscience.
An Atlantis arisen overnight, destroyed before sunrise.
"This way," his Enforcer said pushing Jay forward.
Around them, Jay saw no one, heard nothing.
Paint chipped and faded off brick walls, loosely nailed boards criss-crossed broken windows.
The earth had a sheen of a strange mineral that caught the afternoon light so that even the dirt seemed to shimmer under waste piled so high that the roads were all but blocked.
The area, despite the refuse, did not smell of rot.
No one had lived here for quite some time.
Anyone who had left nothing of food behind.
There was a wall surrounding Morir.
It stood high, as tall as a skyscraper.
Out from a stone wall no taller than two people emerged long poles, like the kind of jail a child would make ants escape from.
Except instead of twigs they were metal bars.
Bars thinner than a wrist and thinner than a man's head between them.
They gleamed in the sunlight like the gates of heaven.
But in Morir, instead of angels were Enforcers.
"How do people survive?" Jay asked.
"Like your kind always say," his Enforcer said.
"Survival of the fittest.
Your people made it this way.
Of those who come here, barely three percent still live."
"You agree though?
That we're like some kind of disease?"
"See for yourself."
Nature versus nurture, born or
Made, in Jay's opinion.
Then again, he was biased.
"What's your name?" Jay asked.
The man's dark, goggle-like shades met Jay's eyes.
Jay saw his reflection in them.
Brown, hardened features.
In order to take care of Kyle, Jay had quit college.
Moving from future architect to hard hat...to murderer.
"Forget him," his Enforcer said instead of answering Jay's question.
"Just be glad he isn't in here with you now.
The ones with kids don't make it long."
"His name is Kyle," Jay said.
"He's got a temper but he keeps it inside.
He has his mother's eyes.
I can't get mad because he laughs when I try to get mad and then I laugh, too."
The Enforcer nudged him forward.
They walked into ruins where the buildings were nearly leveled.
Black smoke tendrilled above the dusky edifices and Jay could hear raucous laughter.
He looked at his Enforcer.
"A few weeks?"
"We don't always find the bodies."
So a few weeks is a guess, and a liberal one
He'd never be able to attempt an escape if he didn't live long enough to form a plan.
"Why don't Enforcers protect anyone?" he asked.
"It's best not to get involved."
His Enforcer said with an empty look.
Jay glanced at the man's weapons.
He wondered why the Enforcer escorted him alone.
Didn't matter, if it gave Jay a chance.
"And where are we going?"
"A drop off station.
We intended it to be the safest place in the city."
"You say 'intended.'"
"I do," his Enforcer answered.
"I'll die if I go there, won’t I?"
It was quiet as they walked, sunlight dimming to shadows.
Jay felt as if he walked into a catacombs where he was surrounded not by the dying, but the dead.
Jay slowed, and stopped.
There was silence behind him, his Enforcer's boots creaked, but didn't take another step.
"My name's Paul," his Enforcer said.
"Poor way to change the subject, Paul.
Your safe haven is the last place I want to be."
Jay turned to face him.
He felt his heart hammering.
The cold sweat.
Paul snapped the clip to his knife but he didn't pull it.
"I'm taking you there."
"Or you'll kill me?"
"You don't have The Code," Jay pointed out.
"I Enforce, different from murder."
"That's a crappy excuse."
Wish I could help you."
Jay could sense the man's edge.
"Survival of the fittest isn't just me, is it?"
"It's something of a mantra here for those of us left," Paul said.
'Us' in this case meant Enforcer, then, and their authority only took them so far in Murderer City.
"Let me go," Jay said in a low tone.
"I can't do that."
"Is it the Chief?"
Paul said nothing, his hand didn't leave the knife.
Jay opened his hands to either side.
"I'm not going to attack you, Paul.
You know that.
You saw what happened last time and no matter what you people say, I'm no murderer."
Jay took a step closer.
The sun reflected from the shades just right and Jay couldn't read Paul's expression.
"Yes, you are a murderer," Paul said.
But something in his poise.
Jay's limbs didn't budge.
! his mind screamed.
Paul's hand hesitated on the weapon.
Jay slammed his forehead into Paul's face.
The Enforcer's head snapped back and Jay's hand found the unclipped knife and pulled it free.
He bent, barreling into Paul's waist and threw the Enforcer to the ground.
He dove toward the man, knife outstretched, stabbing.
But Paul's hand came up holding a gun.
There was an explosion of sound, impact smashed into Jay's thigh and flipped him head first toward the earth.
It plunged into Paul's throat.
Blood spurted across Jay's lips, face, and neck.
Air bubbled from the space between flesh and blade.
Jay pushing himself up, stumbling away.
His leg gave out beneath him and he collapsed beside the man.
He lay there beside Paul, listening to the gurgling and suction ease, and stop.
Jay's whole body shook.
He waited for the feeling, the rise of guilt from his soul.
"If you have a child, you understand," Jay said to the body.
Jay forced himself to inspect his thigh.
A gory hole ran straight through Jay's leg, larger through the back.
He tied it off, tearing and using a section of the grey uniform they'd given him.
It would slow the bleeding until he could find a better solution.
Jay threw the uniform away and took Paul's shirt.
The Nanotube vest and leggings, the belt with the holster, and the shades, a canister of water--even Paul's boots.
The boots were too small.
He wore them anyway.
Lastly, he took Paul's hand, still warm.
He used it to grab tight the gun, carefully, making sure not to touch the weapon with his own fingers.
Especially the part that glowed red.
He put the gun into the holster at his waist.
But he never threw up.
Not like the movies or books where the hero killed their first.
But like the villain or the cold killer who'd done it a hundred times before.
Like a murderer.
He used a bit of water to rinse his face and looked at the man that had been called Paul, the knife still in his neck.
He'd done it in order to survive...
But perhaps it was true.
Murder was in the blood.
He grimaced, gripped the knife, pulled it free.
It crunched and scraped as it came out.
Looks like I belong here, now.
A man born into a family with a long history of violence has voiced the question:
"Will my children be violent, too?"
His doctor discovered that his family carries a defective gene called monoamine oxidase A resulting in the destruction of neurotransmitters that keep us calm and happy.
Scientists were thrilled.
"The Murder Gene."
, Aug 1, 2014.
Kyle was hungry.
Hungry enough that even though it was dangerous and he might be discovered, he had no choice but to take the risk.
Kyle bit his bottom lip as the needle hesitated above his arm.
He tried to pull away but the nurse-man squeezed tight, pinning him.
"Ow," Kyle whimpered.
The needle went in.
"Ow Ow Ow OOow!"
As soon as it came out Kyle kicked the man.
Right on the shin.
The nurse-man hissed and dropped the vial filled with Kyle's blood.
It shattered on the ground, spilling red on the tile floor of the trailer.
"Brat!" nurse-man growled, standing up and grabbing his leg.
He pointed a finger at Kyle, still on one leg.
"We have to do it again, and
time I'm getting a bigger needle."
Kyle smirked as the angry man rubbed his leg and opened the trailer door.
I need a twenty-three."
A woman with strawberry hair poked her head in.
He's a kid."
Nurse-man put his lips close to her ear but Kyle could hear the words from where he sat.
"He kicked me.
I'll bet ten-hundred he's got The Code."
He probably kicked you because you deserved it."
"He hurt me," Kyle chimed in at the perfect time.
You have to be gentle with kids.
How do you expect us to have children if you can't be kind now, much less for the audit?"
Del came to Kyle's side and knelt down beside him.
"Here, let me."
She took his arm gently and in less than a moment, had the glass filled and stoppered.
hurt, but he liked how it made nurse-man glower.