“The Chief said that you don’t kill... “ Qinyang whispered, leaning against Murchadh’s shoulder in the tightly packed vehicle.
“...And?” Murchadh shrugged a bit, vying for body space.
“So, you have never killed anybody before?” Qinyang looked up at him.
“I would not say that,” Murchadh whispered back.
Irene, on his other side, was looking out the window. When she heard the claim that Murchadh was not a killer, she wondered why he had spoken about killing the criminals when they were alone on the train earlier. However, Irene remained silent and restricted by her seat belt, which kept her fixed in place, hip to hip with Murchadh in the back of the executioner patrol vehicle.
Qinyang realized that she did not understand Murchadh in the slightest. She glanced at the enigma curiously, before turning her attention out the window. Her back pressed into Murchadh’s side as they rode in the armored vehicle. Eventually, the vehicle stopped outside of Execution Central, a building on which Inquisitor Central was stacked. The driver of the vehicle parked in the street and Qinyang stepped out with a yawn and a cat-like stretch.
“Come on, lazybones,” she looked back at Murchadh.
The inquisitor shook his head, “You go on; I have other stuff to deal with tonight.”
Qinyang raised an eyebrow and glanced over at Irene. Suddenly, the young woman’s face shriveled up in disgust.
“Ew! Are you serious?!” she cringed.
Murchadh followed Qinyang’s gaze before he crossed his arms and sighed, “That is not remotely close to what I meant.”
“Like, don’t you have a wife or something?” the inquisitor blinked, “Please tell me you have a wife.”
Murchadh rolled his eyes at Qinyang’s behavior, and shut the vehicle door from the inside. Irene had not been paying attention, and likely would not have understood the conversation anyway.
“Just bring us to the train station down the street, ok?” Murchadh asked the vehicle driver, who nodded.
The executioner brought the transport to the station building entrance, “Have a safe trip.”
Murchadh nodded to the driver and helped Irene out of the armored vehicle. Irene looked around blankly, her green eyes moving upward toward the sky. Murchadh’s eyes did the same, instinctually.
“I thought the storm was over,” he remarked with a sigh as raindrops began to plummet through the air.
Before long, the puddles in the streets swelled and flowed like rivers along the sides of the roads. The streams were held back only by the well-designed drainage system along the streets. If not for the astute planning, it would have flooded.
After a short trip by train, Murchadh was leading Irene to his abode. She stumbled along behind him, distracted by many mechanisms in the city that she had never seen before. The newest machine that she discovered was the one outside Murchadh’s door, which he placed his hand upon. After touching the scanner panel for a moment, the door opened for him. Irene followed him inside and the door shut behind her.
Murchadh spoke abruptly and aloud, “Homestead; Track 24.”
From speakers throughout the apartment, smooth jazz filled the room. The sound of brass instruments echoed and Murchadh smiled.
“What is that sound?” Irene wondered aloud.
“It is some classical music. My mom loved it,” he took a deep breath.
Glancing over at Irene, Murchadh gestured for her to follow him into the other room. She nodded, walking after him. Her eyes scanned the new environment. The room was eerily familiar to Irene. She suddenly ran out of the room, to the front door.
“Let me out,” she spoke loudly.
Murchadh walked out of his bedroom with a confused expression on his face, “Irene, come here. I have clothes you can wear.”
He walked back into the bedroom and Irene cautiously followed. Taking another scan of the room, she noted that it was not like the bedroom she remembered. Irene was not entirely sure why she had just gone running out of the room in an attempt to escape. The bedroom was plain and sleek, but the bed was on the opposite side of the room. Also, there was not a screen in the room. There was also a small closet in one of the walls. Irene’s eyes flickered as she relaxed.
“Here is the shirt, and here are the pants. Here are the socks.” He laid out some clothes on the bed and walked out of the room, closing the door.
Irene opened the door a moment later, following him.
“No, I closed it so you can switch clothes,” Murchadh explained more clearly.
Irene nodded and stood in the doorway, unzipping the large jacket and letting it drop to the floor. She slowly spun around and walked to the bed. Murchadh placed his face in his palm, both amused and disappointed by Irene’s seemingly blank slate of a mind. Irene walked out into the living room a few minutes later. Murchadh glanced over, seeing that she buttoned the shirt incorrectly and the pants were around her ankles. Murchadh shook his head and laughed at her ineptitude. His amusement was cut short suddenly. A blinding flash of light pierced the windows of the apartment. It took Murchadh’s eyes a minute to adjust. In the distance, at the center of the city, Murchadh could see it. He watched orange flames dance in the night, the billowing smoke rising to mingle with the smog…
“What was that?” Irene walked closer to the window.
Murchadh swallowed and blinked as he backed away. He dashed to the bedroom doorway, grabbing his jacket off the ground. He slipped it on and ran to the exit. Irene gave him a confused and almost worried expression.
“Just- Just stay here, Irene. It is safe here,” he commanded.
Despite not enjoying being ordered about, Irene thought it over and figured she would rather be safe. Murchadh left the apartment, the door locking into place behind him. Irene’s green eyes flickered as she watched him go. For a moment, she wondered if that was the last time she would ever see Murchadh. She quickly pushed that possibility out of her mind.
When he left the building, acidic rain was beating down on the Earth. The flames in the distance were not being extinguished, the smog was lighting everything ablaze with the aid of the water cascading through the air. All the filth in the atmosphere had formed into yet another storm, but this one fanned the flames of chaos.
An executioner crawled across the crumbling floor. His helmet was cracked open. The revealed eye was wide and twitching. He dragged his body across the cement. Turning over onto his back, he winced and gazed up at the sky. The rain battered his body. Everything stung. The flames inched closer to him. He gasped and pushed himself to the shattered window on the top floor of Execution Central. The building seemed to wheeze. With a glance over his shoulder, the executioner looked just in time to see the cause of his death. His metal badge flipped through the air, flickering with the light of the fire. The train rail that had been steadied on the Central buildings was gone. A passenger train zipped off the rails. The gigantic bullet crushed the executioner by the window in an instant. Plunging into the heart of the building, the back of the train's module contorted. It dipped and snapped. The pavement cried out in pain as the steel train fell from such tremendous height. Tapping through the ground, the underground railway was thrown into panic. Like dominoes, it all tumbled down from the sky. All it had taken was one spark. The rain, the smog, the skyscrapers, the trains, the people, all the way down… the system crumbled.
“Get me out of here!” Chief Coral screamed into the hallway, her broken leg preventing her from escaping on her own.
“Eric!” she cried gleefully as she grabbed his leg.
Eric, an inquisitor had been trying to run by, and Coral managed to grip his leg.
“It is me, Eric! Help!” she glared up at him.
With a swift kick from his boot, Eric got the Chief to release him. Her nose poured out blood and she screamed in agony. Eric charged off down the hallway and got to the stairway. Racing down the spiraling metal, he gasped and slipped as the stairs jerked and bent around him. Moments later, his spine had been folded over by the metal bars that he was holding for a railing, just moments before.
The Chief clutched her bleeding face, kicking with her working leg at the encroaching flames. The blaze quickly consumed her lower half. Letting out the screams of a banshee, the Chief felt every inch of her body singed by the chemical fire. Her skin melted to ash or clung tightly to the floor of the room as the floor too gave way after the explosion. Her mangled components tangled in the structure and her arm, still ablaze, was the only part to escape that floor of the building.
As Murchadh approached Central, he witnessed the top building collapse into the bottom half. From a block away, he could hear the screams. A second bullet train, right on schedule… Zoom. The second one derailed just like the first and slammed into the top of the mammoth skyscraper. Debris tumbled from the sky. Ashes mingled with the smog. Cinders danced joyously as the directly adjacent buildings were set ablaze. From a rooftop in the north, a man with beady eyes grinned.
The King was watching his fireworks display, “Now how about that?”
His attention turned to his gang. They nodded, “Good plan, boss. It worked.”
“Of course it worked, you idiot!” Noah snapped, the rain matting his ginger hair.
He gazed out over the skyline, enjoying the flames and destruction. He could almost hear the screams of the dead, still echoing throughout the universe.
“That’s for Kain…” the King muttered to himself.
On the streets below, Murchadh shielded his face with a gloved hand and ran back to take cover under a nearby awning. He opened his communicator as he received a call.
“Oh my god, are you ok?” Ovvy’s voice was overshadowed by the loud crashing and cries for help.
Murchadh responded, yelling into the device, “I wasn’t in the building, Ovvy!”
Ovvy was sitting in his office, peering out the window at the hell-scape of a city, “Oh, thank god…” he breathed.
Murchadh grimaced and winced as the nearest flames flared. The emergency sirens could be heard now, mobilizing. The inquisitor shuddered and clutched his device as he ran through the rain, away from the scene.
“What is happening over there!?” Ovvy asked.
Murchadh shook his head grimly, “I have to go, Ovvy.”
He ended the call with his friend and rounded a corner, heading to the backup deploy area for Execution Central. Scanning his badge, he entered the secure facility. There were two executioners inside. They both immediately jumped to a standing position when they saw him.
“Silver Inquisitor, Sir! What do we do?” one of them asked Murchadh as he jogged by.
He shook his head, “Run or hide. I am going hunting.”
Donning an executioner’s helmet, the inquisitor saddled up on a motorcycle. The engine hummed at his command and he rode out into the streets of hellfire.
Irene watched from the window, pressing her slender body against the glass in an attempt to get closer. She wandered back to Murchadh’s bedroom after a while. She kicked off the pants that did not fit her and relaxed on the inquisitor’s bed.
“All of the people…” her voice quivered.
“They are all gone,” she mumbled to herself, processing the event out loud.
“If they are all gone, I-” her green eyes flickered.
“Now, I might be free…”