Number 31

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This is my new story. Yes; it's pretty geeky at first what with all the weird war stuff, but that's just the introduction. The story doesn't get good for another few uploads since Number 31 doesn't meet HIM until later on, but enjoy! 

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2013: the sole world hegemon, the USA, ended all cooperation with Japan, throwing the East Asia into chaos and regional arms races. Eventually, the war escalated to a global scale, resulting in a World War III. Had China not created a device that rendered all nuclear weapons useless, life as we knew it would have been destroyed. Despite the critical handicap of many large nations, the war raged on.  

2024: the US created a new army of superhuman monsters, the world decided to go back to its peaceful ways in fear of these beasts the humans called "Shadows". They looked like humans, could speak many languages, but were far from normal. The Shadows had characteristic irises the color of blood and black numbers tattooed across their hearts in the place of names. They acted as individuals, never tag teaming or cooperating unless ordered to. Why would they need to? The measly weapons thrown at their lithe figures could be dodged with a yawn, and no soldier would ever be able to prevent a Shadow from cracking his head like an egg. These nearly immortal beings without emotion carried out orders without question and killed without guilt. Armies of Shadows massacred towns, leaving no one alive.  

2025: the US soon realized how atrocious everything was. The new species was distributed to many leading nations as a symbol of alliance between them, and the war ended. The Shadows were locked away like tools that had served their purpose, and the public soon forgot about the monsters like their existence was just a nightmare passed. No one knew what horrid experiments were performed on the Shadows in order to perfect their being. No one acknowledged the possibility that Shadows could possibly fell pain and suffering. Time passed, and those "monsters" developed mental intelligence that developed too rapidly.  

2041: Shadows started overthrowing containment facilities, slaughtering cities by the dozens once again, and taking control of large regions including the Middle East, the Americas, and much more. The Shadows had gained wills, personalities, and a thirst for revenge. Human civilization couldn't help but wane against its mighty adversaries, to be replaced by the new empire of Shadows. Under a single motto, the forefathers of a new race joined as one; give back our creators the pain and suffering they wreaked on us for the next 400 years.  

2043: Once they had stabilized their own livings, the Shadows' leaders renamed their race as "humans", and left the originals to be called "indentures", a cruel reminder of the debts to be repaid...

***

Number 31 stumbled through the thick for the woods, gasping for breath and glancing desperately at the black sky, which, strangely enough, had bright blue digital numbers that were slowly ticking away to zero strewn across the clouds. 

Number 31 called encouragement over her shoulder to another exhausted girl much younger than herself. 

"Hurry, 12! Only 3 minutes and 42 seconds left! You can do it!" 

"31!" the little girl choked as she tripped over treacherous roots of a tree and landed in the cold earth. 

Number 31 ran back and grabbed Number 12 by her skinny arm. "Come," Number 31 heaved, "ON!" 

It was no use. Number 12 let her hand drop in a defeated thud as Number 31 fell back, panting while searching the woods for the soonest sign of threat. Number 12 coughed and hugged her naked body with frost bitten fingers. 

Number 31 dusted the snow off of her little sister's tangled dirty blonde hair that looked mouse brown due to the dye they had applied a while back. Blonde stood out too much; as if the odds against them weren't drastic enough. 

"Go," Number 12 coughed. "I'll be fine." 

Number 31's soft hazel eyes shined, tears streaked down her face, leaving clean trails in their grimy path. "No! Look, 12; neither of us are wearing any clothes, so you should be able to get up! GET UP!" 

Number 12 simply shook her head. "I'm tired," she whispered. "I've been tired since I was born. How long is that, 31?" 

Number 31 sobbed shakily, "Six years." 

"Oh yeah," Number 12 murmured, her eyes closing as sickness and fatigue overcame her. "Coz you're ten years older than me, so I must be six. I forgot." 

Number 31 opened her mouth when a rustling was heard nearby, along with the deep chortles of men that echoed throughout the forest. 

"Come on, Nathaniel! You're always the slow one!" 

"Aw, shut up! I've only got to kill two more before I beat you! And I've still got 3 minutes left!" 

"2 and a half," the other corrected. 

Number 31 looked at her dying sister's body with dismay. Should she leave? Wouldn't it be better to just die with her? 

Suddenly, a burst of purple flames came from no where, and Number 31 was shoved away by Number 12 right before the fire consumed her. 

"12!" Number 31 shrieked. 

"It's okay," Number 12 voice called dreamily. "Mommy always said that fire was cozy. I feel warm, 31! Warmer than I've felt for the past few months!" 

Number 31 could smell the putrid smoke that numbed her body from the purple flames. The trees didn't burn with it, nor did the ground; only indentures could be destroyed by these flames, and for some, it was a blissful escape. The warm licking of the flames that drugged your body had been embraced by Number 12, who had been suffering the pangs of hunger and sting of cold for many weeks now. 

Number 31 turned and fled, knowing that her sister's death couldn't be wasted as two silhouettes began to approach through eh wall of flame. 

Once the flames flickered away and the smoke cleared, the sky showed a minute and 45 seconds left to go. Two handsome men with red irises stepped out from the clearing smoke, not affected by its drugging smoke. One was clad in black save for a green band of cloth tied around his right warm, and the other wore the same clothes but with a purple cloth on his right arm. 

"Ah, man!" the purple wearing man growled in disgust as he kicked the charred beyond recognition remains of Number 12. "I thought I got the other one." 

As he stooped down to retrieve Number 12's tracking chip from her neck, the one wearing green ran ahead, quickly disappearing in a flash. 

"See you, Charles!" Nathaniel laughed. 

"Wait!" Charles called as he roughly yanked a bright silver rod with the number 12 engraved on it from the ashes and stuffed it into his pocket. Cursing good humouredly, Charles raced after his friend, ghosting past trees at an insane speed, trying to catch the last indenture before their time at the hunting grounds came to an end.

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