Author : Joshua Reynolds

The dead moved on surprisingly swift legs, despite muscles that had to be mostly composed of rot. So he ran faster.

It had been a meteor, carrying a star-sickness. That was what had caused it. It wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t been here when it happened. For those first few days when the virus was in the air and eating away at living cells and he was trapped here with them. Quarantined by faceless bureaucrats for the good of everything else.

And now he was running, his breath hissing in and out of three lungs, skin burning with fever. He had to get home. Get away from this sour world, get help. All he needed was some help.

All he would get was the Censor.

Wight watched from the trash-strewn alleyway as the empty-eyed legions hunted the last living man on this Earth, his coat in shreds, clothing bloodied, face filled with the same ruthless determination to succeed and survive that he himself saw in the mirror every morning. Which wasn’t surprising really. They were both Censors after all. Both Wight.

Brothers in blood and bone and genetic coding. Created in steel wombs and raised in nutrient tubes by nanny-bots programmed to teach them all the values of Prime-Time and the Timeline Validation Bureau, to ready them for the war in the gaps between seconds. Mister Wight. Censor Wight. One and all.

They even thought alike. Which is why he was here now. To stop himself.

He stepped out of the alley as his other self ran past and stood in the path of the hungry dead. As the dead groaned and converged on him, arms outstretched, jaws slack he pulled on a pair of TeslaSurge gloves and stretched out his own arms. Blue energy suddenly cracked to life between his fingers, rippling up and down between his palms. With a flick of his wrists he released the energy, whipping it into the advancing forms. It coiled and snapped almost like a thing alive as it jumped from one body to the next, destroying what little remained of their physiological cohesion and reducing them to puddles of meat and stink. Soon all of the hunting pack were dissolving in their own juices. But there was a sound on the wind. A mindless rumble. More of them on the way.

“They have excellent hearing. They’ll follow the sound of the energy discharge.” his twin coughed into a bandaged hand, features haggard. Weeks of running, hiding, fighting. All of it had worn him down, worn away his sense of duty. He intended to go home, quarantine or no. Wight could see it in his eyes. “I need to leave. Now.”

“I will.” Wight raised his crackling gloves. The other Censor’s tired eyes widened slightly. In the light put off by the gloves he looked ill. Like death warmed over.

No wonder really. He was infected after all. All it took was one bite. Just one. And that meant he couldn’t be allowed back into the time-stream.

“I’m sorry.” Wight said as the energy rippled outward, away from his hands towards his twin, whose shoulders slumped, as if a massive burden had been taken off them.

“I know.” he said as the energy enveloped him. Breaking him down back into his basic elements. Until the Censor stood alone on an empty street with only the dead for company.

Then he too was gone, leaving another sour world in his wake.

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