The Beyonders: A Short Story

 

She was late. This was supposed to be the meeting point, and yet she hadn’t arrived. Sounds of children screeching their orders to their parents, the cloying heat of bodies pressed together – this was a personal hell. He had so much to do, so much to organise and if she didn’t arrive soon, he would have to –

“Hiya! What can I get for you today?” A petite blonde, clad in the colours of the fast food joint, armed with a notepad and paper looked down expectantly at him. Her aura pulsed a pale pink, bright as day. She was a non-issue. Underpaid, but thankful for the job.

“Coffee. Black.” He frowned. His voice was raspy, sanded down by lack of use and cigarettes. It had been a long time since he had spoken aloud. There had been a time when he had no fear of speaking, when his voice would rise and kings would kneel. And now, nothing.

“Anything else?” She said, tapping the pen against the corner of her mouth. “I’d honestly recommend the Emperor’s Burger, that usually really hits the-” She froze in place, pen slowing to a halt.

The hair on the back of his neck raised upwards, the air became thick and turgid. The metallic tang of blood filled his mouth.

She was here.

“You kept me waiting, Gold. You know I don’t appreciate that.” He said, wringing the metal band around his finger. “You need to do better, if we’re going to accomplish our goal.”

In a mere moment, the air around him shifted, and sat in the booth across him was a woman, sporting a worn grey suit, adorned with a pin of the world on the blouse underneath. She smiled, a slight quirk of an upraised mouth before settling into its usual line. “Silver. It’s been so long.” Her hair- a maelstrom of colours, had settled into a manageable pixie cut. She snapped her fingers, and everything had returned to normal.

“Spot.” The waitress blinked, surprised at the appearance of Gold. “Oh- I didn’t see you there, can I get you any-”

“A latte, please. Nothing more,” Gold said, keeping her eyes on Silver. “That’ll be all. You can leave now.”

“But I still haven’t gotten the-”

Leave,” Gold said, turning her full attention to the waitress. Her voice hummed with power.

The waitress’ eyes glazed over, and she shuffled away.

“Hardly necessary, you know. We don’t interfere with meagre things like that,” Silver said. He tapped the ring against the table three times. Tap tap tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

“It was, I picked this place for a reason. As long as there are many bodies here, we can talk without being overheard.” Gold twisted the pin around her blouse, pursing her lips. “I called you here because we have a serious problem. We need you back. Something’s coming, and if I’m right we will need everyone’s help. Including yours.”

“You look like you’re fine without me already.”

“Speak for yourself, Silver.” Gold raised an eyebrow, and waved a vague hand in his direction. Her eyes appraised his black suit, the simple metal band around his finger, dark eyes that swallowed the light. “We’re being stretched thin, and your help would be invaluable to us.”

“Why?” Silver asked, though the growing pit in his stomach already knew the answer. Gold would only come back for one thing, and one thing only.

They had been human once, bright-eyed go getters that would do anything to make the world a better place. But somewhere along the line, they had become consumed by perfection, the need to make their own slice of Earth perfect. Allegiances were made, contracts born. Contracts that would strip them of anything that would make them even remotely human. Some had said they had been banished, others say that they had been killed. Silver, he knew better. He had stood at the dawn of the allegiances, and the fall of the last contract. He was their extinction.

“I’m so sorry, Silver.” Gold’s eyes were pools of amber, glistening with tears. She shuddered, and crossed herself. “But they’re back. The Beyonders are back.”

 

*

 

 

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