“Ow~, shit, I can actually see the bones… Maybe Violet is a little too dangerous to keep in my room?” Michael was in the shower, washing his body with blue liquid soap, as he stared into the gaping holes in his right forearm. A decent amount of blood was pouring into the bathtub and dying the water red, as it was steadily rising.
The pipes weren’t clogged, but with the ridiculously high water-pressure, it was impossible for it to drain as quickly as it was being filled. However, he had no idea what kinds of horrible and catastrophic consequences allowing his bodily fluids to enter the sewers was causing.
Unlike the creatures that were in close proximity to him when they were ‘exposed’ to his concentrated ‘mana’, Arcana wasn’t able to influence the animals and plants that were so far away. Without ‘instructions’ or any sort of ‘guidance’, they would simply mutate at random. They could transform into horrifying beasts, stay the same and merely have their physical bodies enhanced, gain supernatural abilities or just die.
It wasn’t something that people generally liked to think about, but sewers weren’t a closed system. All of that waste doesn’t just magically disappear eventually, it needs to go through a water treatment plant. However, in a city like Baltimore, where the pipes are poorly maintained, all kinds of ‘problems’ arise.
Pipes burst, watermains break, tree-roots sometimes grow into them, rats, flies, roaches and other insects can carry deadly bacteria, viruses and microscopic parasites up from the sewers, into people’s homes. Normally, all of those things aren’t enough to cause a cataclysmic disaster or pandemic… but Michael’s blood wasn’t as ‘benign’ as E. coli.
Fortunately, he hadn’t needed to defecate since his auspicious return to Earth a few days prior. As for urination, he occasionally did feel the urge, but by the time he reached the bathroom, nothing came out. Most of his ‘excretions’ were mucus, ejaculate and air. Mysteriously, he hadn’t felt excessively ‘hot’ or ‘cold’, so he didn’t have the opportunity to sweat yet.
His very existence was a biohazard the likes of which had never appeared on the planet before then. Of course, it wasn’t as if ‘mana’ wasn’t present in that universe before his arrival. It was simply that it was usually in very small quantities and few people were able to utilize it. Similar to how nuclear radiation was everywhere; generally, it wasn’t concentrated enough to become harmful to humans or other animals and plants.
Iris, Luke and others like them, were able to gather and manipulate mana to a certain extent. However, they were a very small minority. There was also the fact that their kind of power came with terrible side-effects and their abilities seemed to limited by ‘something’.
However, as the world was slowly, silently and stealthily heading towards the apocalypse, Michael was standing in the shower. He casually used his left index finger to touch the exposed white bones in his arm and screamed “Ow~! Why the fuck did I do that?! Shit, stop it! Grah~!”
The naked man had no control over his left arm and it just felt completely numb. Yet, it was still unconsciously poking his literally open wounds as if causing him pain was a form of entertainment.
Although, the scalding hot water that was washing over him, along with the body-soap, were both agonizing to his exposed bones and muscles. There were bloody cracks and he could actually see some of the marrow oozing out, but it seemed as if the veins and arteries were already completely regenerated.
“Holy shit! I got bitten by a giant demonic rat and gained motherfucking super-powers! Ah, wait, it might have been something like… I got struck by lightning during that storm the other day, when I almost died. Or maybe, hmmm~, that evil kitten could have been some sort of spirit, who possessed me and gave me magical abilities? Umm, then there was the weird rat that tried to bite my balls off… So one of those things must have given me awesome, slightly above average regenerative capabilities! Well, I ain’t no Gulo Gulo Man, but at least I probably won’t bleed to death and hopefully won’t lose my arm?” Michael was the type of person who imagined every outrageous and unlikely possibility, before completely losing interest and moving on with his life. If he went on some kind of ridiculous quest to discern the truth, every time something slightly odd happened, he would never have been able to accomplish anything.
Being a writer, he reached a certain type of enlightenment somewhere along the way. His philosophy was: “The only difference between fact and fiction, is how many people are willing to believe something and how easily they can brainwash or force others into believing the same thing as them. There is truth in every single myth, religion, and other piece of ‘folklore’… but it’s impossible for everything to be completely true. Recorded history changes all the time, while the past remains the same. It’s meaningless to bicker and argue about things that no one was actually there to ‘witness’ either. Even then, people lie and exaggerate or simply don’t understand what they saw, heard or experienced, so there’s no way for them to ever be reliable in their testimony. Most importantly of all, it’s never possible to know for certain that I’m even really here; if that’s the case, then why the fuck should I give a shit?”
At least, that’s what he randomly started talking to himself about, as he stared at his unruly finger being stabbed into his forearm repeatedly. Eventually though, he regained control over his left arm and stopped his extremely painful actions.
Michael whispered “JJ… Ugh, why the hell am I thinking about that stupid, insane and adorable cat-girl in my weird crack-dream?”
Early in the morning there had been a spontaneous blizzard, and by the middle of the day, it was bright and sunny outside. The temperature was closer to spring than winter, so it was a nice turn of events for ‘most’ people. On the news stations, it was being reported as a ‘freak storm’ caused by ‘global warming’. Then, on the internet, everyone was claiming it as some sort of sign from God, a government weather experiment or ‘climate change’.
Like always, no one actually had any idea what was really going on, but that didn’t stop them from arguing about it. Aside from the ‘killer hail’, there was a much more controversial news story which was being covered much more thoroughly: The impending riots.
A middle-aged man was sitting in Michael’s living room, on the folded up sofa-bed, which was essentially being used as a couch. He had glasses on, dyed black short hair, a face that had been shaved so many thousands of times that it seemed extremely rough and scarred, brown eyes, and a body that appeared frail or skinny.
His name was Mike, the same as his son, and he was wearing a long-sleeved button-up plaid shirt, along with blue-jeans that had holes in them. As he sat there, he was watching a fairly large television, though it was an old CRT.
When Michael walked downstairs with nothing but a wet towel wrapped around his waist, his father complained “Have you seen these idiotic assholes yet? So this guy, goes into a gas station and robs the place, shooting the cashier thirteen times in the chest with a pistol. Then he rapes some little girl who was in the store, after beating her mother to death with his bare hands. When the cops get there, they catch the guy in the middle of strangling the kid and so they obviously shoot the bastard. Because the murdering rapist was a black guy and the cop was white, now they’re trying to turn this into another excuse to go around looting stores and vandalizing random cars.
“They keep showing his mother, crying ‘Oh~, he was such a kind and gentle boy~; how could they murder my baby like this~?!’ At the time when he was trying to kill the little girl, he didn’t have a weapon on him and apparently neither of the officers warned him properly. It’s a bunch of bullshit, and now the riots have gotten so bad that three people have been murdered by looters. Fuck, look at that! That’s down there in Little Italy… Shit, Adam’s supposed to work tonight!”
As he was speaking, there was an interview with an angry dark-skinned man, who had a thick beard, dreadlocks, golden canines and was wearing a red hoodie: “We’ve been oppressed for far too long! We all need to rise up and murder those cops! Kill em all! Hahahaha~! Dayum~! Did you see that?! Yeah~! That’s what I’m talkin bout!” After that, there was an explosion in the background, created by a car that had been set on fire.
Michael yelled “Wouldn’t it be nice if the police officers were actually allowed to just mow down those stupid motherfuckers?! Goddamn it! Aren’t they basically terrorists at this point? Why the hell isn’t anyone allowed to arrest or kill em?!”
Mike Senior grumbled “That shitty mayor fled the city again, and since it’s considered a protest, the cops are only able to just stand around and let the bastards throw rocks, bricks and there was even a guy who somehow tossed a manhole cover, but he couldn’t really hit anyone with it.”