Surviving Taint (Solo)

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Surviving Taint (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 8/24/2012, 1:31 pm

Dread wrote:“More than a month has passed since I have taken you on as my student,” “Coach” told John as they walked next to each other. They traversed the marble path that led to and from “Coach’s” home and just about divided the surrounding forest in half. “I do not have to remind you what that means.” He was absolutely correct in that regard; John knew all too well the fate that awaited him after all his weeks of training he endured under his cruel master.

John had undergone the worst experiences in his entire life throughout the past several days and he had hoped things would have long since improved for him because of it. He had dared to believe that his newfound powers would have enabled him to make a better life for himself. He knew better, however. The truth was an unfortunate thing to face and it would not go ignored without dire consequences. He knew where he was headed and there was nothing pleasant about his destination or the journey leading up to it. He would continue out of necessity and if his training had proved beneficial enough, he might survive the coming struggles.

“I have some final advice for you before you leave,” “Coach” told him.

“I am to leave today?” John asked; he had wanted more time, but he supposed he would have always wished for more until his troubles tired of waiting for his arrival and sailed away without him.

“Yes, now listen,” “Coach” replied. “Use the tools you have obtained, trust your instincts, rest when you can and sleep lightly, eat only what you catch, drink only water you have poured for yourself, and suppress your power until engaged in combat. Quickly end your fights, but do not overexert yourself. Never boast, never overestimate yourself, and never underestimate your opponents. Do you think you can remember all of that?” He said.

“I think,” John began slowly. “I think that your words would have made for better lessons than nearly having me killed.” His tone revealed his ongoing anger toward his teacher.

“You survived,” “Coach” told him simply as though that was all that truly mattered.

John considered his teacher’s words just as he saw something move within the corners of his vision. He turned his gaze toward the movement and saw a finely dressed boy; he was the same individual he had encountered several times during his time spent within “Coach’s” estate. The boy looked back at him with an expression of absolute sadness and crushing disappointment. He leaned against a tree as though it was the only thing in the world keeping him from falling to his knees and crying.

“Thank you for everything,” John told him, but the boy’s frown only deepened. “What do you want from me? What do you want me to do?” John asked, feeling frustrated by the child who had never held a normal conversation with him.

“Save the light,” The boy choked back.

“What does that even mean?” John asked.

“Coach” stopped some paces ahead and looked back at John. “Who are you talking to?” He asked.

John almost answered when he remembered that “Coach” could not see or hear the child who had often saved John from his lessons. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” He finally answered; the boy had vanished from even his sight.

“Coach” stared in the same direction that John had been looking at. “You’re correct, John.” “Coach” said in agreement. “I probably wouldn’t believe you because there is no one there.”

John did not persist in a subject that was not worth pursuing. He, instead, caught up with “Coach”, but his teacher extended one arm, deliberately barring his progress. “Where are you going, John?” He asked.

“I’m…I don’t understand. I thought you were taking me somewhere,” John replied.

“Leave,” “Coach” ordered.

“Leave? Where do you want me to go?” John asked.

“Your presence here is no longer welcome, boy.” “Coach” told him. “Leave; do not make me repeat myself.”

John gritted his teeth in frustration, but he managed to calm himself and coolly delivered a retort. “That’s fine by me because I hope to never see you again.” He then took off into the air to leave “Coach” and his estate behind, but it was his teacher who enjoyed the last laugh, which chased after John as he placed a great distance between himself and his horrible mentor.


Last edited by John Dark on 8/25/2012, 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Surviving Taint (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 8/24/2012, 3:13 pm

Dread wrote:John quickly discovered the money owed to him for his participation in a very secretive and very lethal tournament in his pants pocket. There was not much left of it because his master had spent most of it, which reminded John that he would later have to return for his ship. Why do care about that thing? He thought to himself. I hate space travel; I’d rather just spend the rest of my life on Earth. He figured he could sell it later since it would fetch a handsome price, but that could only happen if he survived the upcoming battles.

He had set aside his thoughts about his space ship and immediately ignored his teacher’s advice regarding food and water. He had eaten nothing decent since having left the hotel on Kanassa. Remembering that little corner of paradise gave him cause to reconsider his decision about selling his ship later. Not everything about outer space was bad. Food first. He thought and, again, shoved thoughts of his ship to the back of his mind. He entered a city and soon walked into a burger joint where a fresh pine scent immediately greeted his nose; the tiled floor had been recently mopped.

He headed toward the front counter, but frowned at the half dozen people standing ahead of him. He grumbled something under his breath then noticed several people had their eyes on him. He looked at each of them in turn. Some came in family packs, others looked like well-dressed office inhabitants, and a few among them had that obvious unrefined look of someone “jest passin’ threw”. John looked to all of them as though he had stepped straight out of a cartoon with the gear he presently wore.

He wondered who were any of them to stare! He could bring the whole building collapsing down on all them them with hardly a thought. As far as he was concerned, their lives were in his hands. He was the judge now, not them! He shook his head to empty it of his vicious and dangerous thoughts. They’re people...like me. He thought as he took two steps forward after what seemed like an eternity. They’re not like me at all! He immediately argued with himself. These people know nothing! These people are nothing!

No! What’s wrong with me? They just want to get on with their lives. What’s wrong with that? John questioned himself. Isn’t that what I wanted? A life that I could deal with? I didn’t get what I wanted, why should any of them? He demanded of himself. I should show them all, right here and now! I should show them my power so that they remember who I am and give me the respect I deserve. I earned it! They don’t know what I’ve suffered! They don’t don’t know pain like I know pain! None of them deserve to be happy! They’re weak! They’re helpless! The only thing they’re good for is serving me!

John put his hand on a nearby table to steady himself; he could not believe what he was actually considering. He could not go around terrorizing people and enslaving them just because he hurt, could he? “Excuse me, can I help you?” A heavyset woman asked him rhetorically.

John looked at him and noticed that he had placed his hand inches away from her extra large order of fries. John met her sunken eyes and considered her question for a moment. He teetered between options; she was so obese and yet she pigged out at a fast food place only to add to her ugliness. What had she ever done to have earned the right to live? John wanted to hurt her and make an example of her in front of everyone. Her appearance was just so incredibly intolerable!

“No,” John said at long last; he decided he would rather not deal with the complications that would arise from attacking her. He was hungry and had absolutely no desire to frighten everyone and stall business as a result.

He turned away just as the woman at the table said, “Can you believe some people?” She asked a rail-thin balding man sitting across from her. “I mean, he just came over here and started pawing my table. Then there was that way he stared at me. Creeeeepy.”

John clenched and unclenched his fists. I can do it quickly. He thought to himself. I can make it look like she choked on her triple stack. The line advanced some; the progress helped calm him and remind him of himself. This is crazy! I shouldn’t be thinking like this!

“I swear there’s something wrong with him; you’d have to be blind not to notice. Just look at the way he’s dressed.” The woman continued.

Without turning around or abandoning his place in line, John spoke calmly. “Lady, I am here for lunch; I doubt you know what that even means. It’s when you take ten to thirty minutes out of your day to eat just around midday. And, yes, as amazing as that sounds, there is a stopping point for meals, but I don’t think your mom, being the pig she was, ever thought to teach you that.”

The woman gasped with astonishment; she was clearly insulted. She stood up from her seat and there was a groan as though the furniture was thanking God for the sweet merciful relief from her weight. “How dare you!” She exclaimed, pointing a finger, the thickness of two sausages, at John. “You can’t talk to me like that!”

John quietly reached the counter, but the cashier hesitated in asking him what he wanted. Many pairs of eyes turned toward the woman chasing after him. John turned his head to the left and then to his right, he knew the expressions on their faces; he often seen them before. Even though the people around him had probably never lived in an orphanage or in alleyways, they still craved violence and conflict as long as it failed to touch any of them. They wanted to see a fight, but their civility kept them from the chant John was used to hearing whenever presented with such problems. It went something like, “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!”

“May I please have a double cheeseburger combo and may I have it super-sized and made to go?” John requested; his politeness was the result of having spent so much time under the influence of "Coach's" teachings.

The cashier was a grayish blond-haired woman somewhere in her thirties; she was only a couple inches shorter than John. She named a total and John paid in full. His money disappeared into the register and he accepted his drink cup. I’ll soon have my food and then I can deal with the walking butter factory. He thought.

“Don’t you dare ignore me! Where are you going? You can’t just walk away from me!” The large lady chased after John toward the drink station.

He filled his cup halfway with ice then filled it to the brim with cola; he tried placing a lid over the top, but he had applied a little too much strength and the paper cup crumpled beneath his fingers. Soda spilled all over the counter and floor, but John backed away in time to avoid drenching his clothes. His movement had saved his outfit from staining, but he had bumped into the woman chasing after him and knocked her to the ground entirely by accident. John turned around and stared down at her. “You little brat!” She exclaimed indignantly.

John did not bother apologizing and neither did he offer her a hand up; he had no sympathy for her. He almost chuckled when the thin man who had accompanied her walked toward her to assist her to her feet. The sight looked like a mantis trying to hoist an elephant. He returned to the counter and enquired, “May I have another cup? I accidentally broke the one you gave me.” He received a second one, but the cashier was not below admonishing her customers.

“Please be a little more careful with this one.” She told him.

John made a return trip to the drink station where the thin man and the fat lady stood next to one another and stared at him. The man took a step forward and glared at John through the thick lenses of his glasses. “I demand you apologize to my wife immediately,” He huffed.

John immediately burst out laughing at the furious expression on the man’s face. There was nothing he could do to him and, yet, the man impeded him and audaciously ordered him around. John laughed with such grand delight that he instantly forgot all his anger and intolerance towards the people around him, especially the woman who had gone out of her way to insult him.

None of the people around him knew any better. How could he have ever thought to punish them for their ignorance? They lived their lives as they could; he couldn’t fault them for that, could he? There may not have been anything fair about John’s circumstances, but that was all they were and the same applied to everyone else. Circumstance afforded some things to some people and other things to other people. Why should he make others suffer just for that? Life may be an unjust thing, but blaming others and making them suffer for the imbalance was equally unfair.

“I cannot thank you enough,” John told the man in front of him. “You have just made my day!” He then looked toward his wife; he considered apologizing.

“Well?” She asked impatiently. “I’m waiting!”

“Yeah...Keep waiting, bitch,” John told her at long last.

“Excuse me?” She trilled.

“You are excused,” John said, shoving her out of his way; he refilled his cup and successfully snapped a lid over it. He punctured the lid in the wrong spot with the straw, but it had not poked any holes in his cup. “Delicious!” He said after sucking down his entire beverage in a matter of seconds; he refilled his cup then collected his food. “Thank you!” He called out to the workers; he waved back to the cashier as he merrily left the building. Many customers watched him with confused expressions on their faces, but they quickly returned to their own affairs and, given little time, would forget all about the oddly dressed teenager.
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Re: Surviving Taint (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 8/24/2012, 5:51 pm

Dread wrote:John walked down to the beach to enjoy his meal; he had considered flying, but he did not want the wind to chill his food and he certainly did not want to risk spilling his drink. By the time he had reached the sun-warmed sands along the city’s coast, he had long since drained his cup and tossed it onto the side of the road. He went to a nearby snack shack where he encountered another line, but it hardly bothered him, especially since the beach goers seemed much livelier than his audience back at the restaurant had been. He purchased another soda at an exorbitant price, but he did not complain. It gratified him to enjoy things he bought rather than stole; it seemed right as though he had somehow earned his keep.

He found a cozy spot somewhere in between the foamy waves and the asphalt he had left some distance behind. He plopped down onto the uneven terrain afforded by the beach and began tucking in. His fries had grown cold despite the fact he had tried to shield them from the breeze, but his burger had retained some of its warmth. He downed his sandwich first in a matter of bites then, after heavily salting them, ate his fries methodically. He devoured them by the handful and stopped occasionally to take a long sip from his soda.

The sun beat down on him comfortably; its warmth tempted him to lie down and sleep. The clouds appeared to know just when he desired their shade because they would pass directly over him to cool him after he had soaked up plenty of rays. When he had grown chilly, they would pass on and permit the sun to continue its duties. He finished his meal and disposed of his litter into a nearby waste basket. John believed it was one thing to toss trash onto the side of a road, but another to taint natural beauty with human waste, especially after he had learned to appreciate nature during his days spent in an actual forest.

No one bothered him, but some occasionally slowed in their progress toward the water to stare at him. They wore skimpy attire perfect for swimming, but John continued wearing his combat suit that looked as though it belonged to some ancient era. He realized just how out of place he was with his gear.

He considered going to the mall or some department store to buy a new outfit. He decided against the idea, however. He would remove his clothing to wash and dry them sometime in the future, but he would not change into something that offered him no protection against the people hunting him. He also could not spend his money so frivolously. The burger, fires, and sodas had been a treat, but he would not fall into the habit of treating himself whenever it struck his fancy. John wanted to have continued enjoying his time in the city without his thoughts returning toward the dangers he presently faced, but the inevitable happened.

He recalled the rules and regulations of the competition he had been forced to join or the lack thereof. He only needed one hand to count off the rules because they were as simple as they were outright mad. First rule, the world was the arena; no place was safe, and no area was out of bounds. Second rule, fights could and would occur without notice at any given time. Third rule, contestants must kill one another until only one remains alive. Fourth rule, contestants could not use modern military weapons, but everything else was fair game. “Everything else” included ki energy and that was a substance that proved far more devastating than anything the Earth forces had at their disposal.

Just what are these people thinking? John thought. Do they know nothing of the devastation that Kanassa suffered from wanton warfare? He firmly decided that he would make an attempt to survive his fights and limit the amount of collateral damage caused to the planet and its inhabitants. He could only hope the other participants would make the same decision. “Coach” had already pegged them for their greed, but even they must realize that money would do them little good if the planet cracked.

Fucking great! He mentally swore. Not only do I have to fight and kill to win, but I also have to make certain they don’t blow up the whole damned world! A terrible thought then occurred to him. Only one could win the whole shebang, right? What if one of the losers decided, with their dying breath, to take everyone else with them? John couldn’t just wait around and hide for the others to kill each other off; he could not trust them not to do something so selfish!

It was not enough to do as little damage as possible in his own fights; he also had to hunt the others down. He had to ensure the safety of the world and the people on it! He had experienced firsthand the dark thoughts that threaten to corrupt those with power. John had staved off his own corruption for the time being, but what of the others? They’re greedy aren’t they? John asked himself. I’m pretty sure they stopped caring about other people some time ago. Damn it! Why does it have to be me? John pounded a fist into the sank and his arm sank down up to his shoulder. He yanked it free with little effort then began to sulk. So much for enjoying this day. He thought bitterly as he reluctantly and silently adopted the role of an executioner.
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Re: Surviving Taint (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 8/25/2012, 3:48 pm

Dread wrote:John stood up and departed from the beach by foot; he had thoroughly dampened his good mood by placing too much thought into the competition. It came naturally to him, however, to dwell on subjects of life and death. He had survived a lonely life on the streets of South City and then barely managed to pass all of “Coach’s” lessons intact. He had learned from lessons taught by life how to survive, but survival required facing the very real possibilities of worst case scenarios.

Survival required coming up with solutions for every negative probability. Survival also meant exploring the quickest and most efficient ways of dealing with certain problems. Survival depended on exploiting shortcuts that led away from danger and toward safety to the highest extent even if it involved hurting others. A seasoned survivor knows to avoid carelessness and to exercise an exhaustive amount of vigilance against the constant presence of threats.

In spite of all the calculations John had made throughout his life for his own well being, he had hardly put any thought toward the survival of others unless it benefited him. Ever since the incident in South City, he had started considering the needs and desires of other people. It almost made him laugh to think he had, only minutes ago, considered harming some of the people he now felt obligated to protect. It was true that he had obtained power he would not have believed possible five weeks prior to the conclusion of his training under “Coach”.

The power he now possessed could be used to harm or help people in equal measure. He observed that he now walked along the razor’s edge of selflessness. It would be all too easy to cast himself down from the point atop which he had precariously positioned himself and down into the welcoming depths of darkness. He felt the temptations of using his power for his own benefit and gratification creeping at the corners of his consciousness.

He pushed his terrible desires to the deepest regions of his mind and tried to seal them away. Desire, however, was not as easily defeated as that. His quarantined wants broke free from their confines as though he had merely thrown a cardboard box over them. They lashed out at him with swift and poisonous tendrils, threatening to seize his soul and subject it to their taint. I can do anything; why do I care about this planet? There are other worlds with other people; why do I care about humans? They are weak and I am strong! John found himself thinking.

This is my home and these are my people. He tried reminding himself. Since when did humans become my people? They have done nothing for me! Let them suffer; I don’t have to get involved! He thought. But I am already involved; I have to fight. He argued. Then I will fight to win! I will become stronger with each victory and then I can claim all I desire! He began to believe as his thoughts teetered toward madness.

I desire a home and a family and I am not the only one who cherishes those things. I know what it feels like not to have any of those things. I cannot imagine a fate worse than losing a family and I will do what I can to ensure this tournament does not end in the bloodshed of mothers, fathers, sons, draughts, brothers, and sisters! John countered. THAT IS WHAT I DESIRE! I never asked for power, but I have it now! I could go around making demands and hurting people who don’t comply like Coach does, but that is not who I am. I am John Dark and I have made my decision.

At long last, he managed to win his battle against natural human taint that accompanied his power and threatened to change him. Combating his selfish desires was an ongoing and unfortunate siege, however. It was a siege that held him captive within the disturbed fortress that was his mind. Could he win his war against his personal demons or would he eventually surrender to them? Time would inevitably provide an answer and a victor would be determined.
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