Chapter 69: Holding On

the world moved around him

he walked down the sidewalk doing his best to avoid the other pedestrians

a particularly large man bumped into him before he could move out of the way and he had to let himself fall to the ground before the other man went sprawling

the man kept walking

a part of him wanted to hold his ground and watch the heavy man fall but it wouldnt do any good it wasnt his fault that he didnt know to get out of the way

he stayed silent but even if he shouted nobody would hear

after so many weeks he would have expected to grow used to the isolation but even now he prayed that somebody he looked at would look back even though he knew they never would

he wasnt sure how long he had been stuck like this time didnt seem to matter when nobody expected you anywhere

the only things that mattered were where his next meal came from and if he would be able to sneak into his old room that night

food was easy enough but he had to make sure what he took wouldnt be missed the first week hed taken too many meals from the same place and somebody nearly got fired

sleep was harder his mom hadnt touched his room he wasnt sure if it was because she had forgotten about it altogether or if some part of her remembered that somebody slept there

either way it was a place to sleep and it was one of the few things he had left that were still his

he still had his name even if the only place he could see it was on the bottom of an old art project from the second grade

john andros

it was a boring name he decided but it was his

his name his room his mission

the mission was still going strong if only because he had nothing better to do

in the last few weeks he managed to clear most of the distributors out of his neighborhood but it wasnt enough

so he began to push outwards  taking out the lowest levels of asclepioss network and putting down any new guy fast and hard

it wouldnt do much to the villain

he knew that this was just one of thousands of cities that asclepios used but any pain he could cause to that man was worth it

because now hed taken two sons from his mother and that wasn’t something he could forgive

but even with the mission there was still so much time in the day

he went to some of the meetings still even if he couldnt say anything

a part of him had hoped that will or mach or allspades would have been able to notice him there even if  he was just a blip on a radar or an extra mind to notice

the first night he was there he thought he saw will looking at him before everything began but will seemed to shrug it off like nothing was wrong

he hadnt had much hope but he couldnt help but feel a small bit of betrayal when he noticed that his chair was missing the next week

when slipstream warned mach about frankenstein he made sure to follow he as close to her home as he dared

he couldnt help but notice the way she moved as if somebody had spiked her drink or maybe like someone whod only just realized they had run a marathon

it wasnt until after she was in the hospitale that he realized she probably hadnt slep in days.

when frankenstein had attacked he did what he could but in a fight like that the best help he could give was catching red when hed launched himself into the behemoth

after that he had to run or get caught in the crossfire between every mecher in town

everything had grown just a little worse after mach went to the hospital

powers running out of control had become a rather intimate subject for him in recent history and he prayed that someday there would be a solution to his own problems

hed have accepted losing his legs his arms his voice anything just so long as people would be able to look at him again and not pass over him like an empty spice jar

but that wasnt going to happen

it was hard enough to get people to help somebody right in front of them getting them to help someone they cant see hear or even remember was an impossible task

so he resigned himself to being an invisible shadow

another walker bumped into him


John froze

it had been an automatic reaction the woman wasnt paying attention and apologized for bumping into something she hadnt noticed

shed probably have done the same if she walked into a street light as engrossed as she was

but john held onto it all the same

those were the first words that had been directed at him since he met barber and ran his way into nothingness

and it was something proof that he might not be entirely isolated from the world he once knew

it was more than hed gotten from his mother or his friends or his brother sitting in an empty room in rehab and it had come from a complete stranger

he wanted to chase after the woman to thank her even if she couldnt hear instead he started back home

maybe just maybe there was a chance


June looked around her carefully. She’d wanted to apologize to the kid she walked into but he was nowhere to be seen.

Instead she felt the familiar aura of another slider crawling across her skin. It was like cold oil dripping off her every limb.

She shivered. He hadn’t opened a gate, she would have noticed that, but the amount of rift radiation leaking off of him suggested some massive powers were in use.

June disappeared into an alley and into her own gate. Janus walked out the other side.

A slider hoarding that much power was either out of control or up to something dangerous.

Either way she needed to track him down.

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