Updated: May 7
Marge screamed as a sudden interruption caused an array of zigzagging lines to close curtains on her perfect 1970s scene. The disruptions grew so chaotic that they formed a cavernous wall in between herself and Celia. While suspended inside a cage of shifting and bending visions, Marge reached for her Widget Medallion to free herself of the system’s glitches, but her hands unfortunately blurred into streaks of melting color. She was horrified.
In the blink of an eye, a blackout seized full control of all NEST Simulations. A high screeching, staticky sound then elevated from the darkness. Marge would have given anything for the ability to cover her ears, but her hands had become nothing more than a haze of drifting pixels. Her frantic reach scattered like a broken jar of marbles. Marge dropped to her knees with the hopeless intention of gathering herself, but with tendrils of static stabbing into her thoughts, all she could manage was to coil within her own grip.
“Somebody, help me, please.” Marge’s screams flowed in waves, creating a tsunami across the darkness.
As Marge lied into a fetal position, the only effect capable of reaching her frazzled mind was that of silence. The static had ceased. The all-consuming darkness had become gruesomely empty. She opened her strained eyes and was instantly relieved to see that both her hands were beginning to faintly materialize. Like particles of dust, her fragmented skin gathered into a cluster above her wrists. Within an instant, her focus was filled with the sight of her trembling fingers.
She scanned the full extent of her voided surroundings, hopeful that they would also materialize. Unfortunately, nothing else changed. The darkness persevered. There was however the tiny sound of a heartbeat. Initially, she’d confused it for her own, but with time, the pulse grew louder. It echoed throughout the darkness, leaving its rhythmic stamp on Marge’s rattled nerves. She pushed herself upwards into an alert stance and searched the empty expanse for the source of the heartbeat.
“Thump. Thump.” The heart sounded.
“Celia, is that you?” Marge asked.
The darkness was mute. The only response were the echoes of her inquiry. Marge was sure that Celia was somewhere near, most likely trapped beneath the endless stillness. She followed the call of the beating heart until she could feel its throbbing vibrations. She pried around within the black expanse. At first, there was nothing. After a frustrated sigh, she decided she’d be better off searching for Celia outside of the app. However, as she prepared to withdraw her arm, she was surprised to feel a cold grip take hold of her hands.
“What the…” Marge shrieked as the mysterious hold tugged her towards the darkness.
“Thump. Thump.” The pulse accelerated.
“Let me go.” Marge screamed.
“She cried for the same sympathy.” A woman’s voice furiously screamed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Cried Marge.
“Liar. I see you for exactly who you are.” The woman scolded.
Marge’s hands ached as the strong grip clamped harder over her knuckles. The more she pulled, the more the void squeezed. The bones of her fingers felt as if they were about to shatter. The voice of the shouting woman struck Marge’s attention with the lash of lightning. Marge flinched.
She looked up into a vexing sight. The darkness molded itself into the shape of a woman’s giant face. The face’s expression was filled with rage. It was a face that Marge could not recognize, but the woman eyed Marge with a vengeful familiarity. The woman was none other than Tania, and if looks could kill, Marge was a sitting target.
“Ah, a good dose of fear. It’s the great equalizer.”
Tania’s giant face consumed the black space. She towered over Marge like a sky-high monument. Her enormous head reared back in a serpent-like fashion. Marge shrieked as Tania charged in her direction. Tania’s dark form spilled over her, and everything turned black.
After a brief pause, a bright flash flickered from on high. The force of gravity antagonized the wind’s current. The swooshing of danger surged into Marge’s earshot. She opened her eyes to the base of a hover pod as it tumbled from the sky. The falling hover pod shot towards Marge like a missile. She screamed.
“Hang tight, Teacup.” A man’s baritone voice yelled from over the distance.
Like a charging bull, his massively muscled figure raced into view. The falling hover pod was only seconds away from crushing Marge when the man dove forward. He leapt into a rolling tumble, propelling himself over Marge. He pinned her to the ground with one hand, and with the other hand, he caught the hover pod as if it was as light as a feather. The pod’s metal exterior bent into his grasp.
The man smirked and said, “I know what you’re thinking. With a face and body like mines, I must be an angel. Well, that’s not exactly the case. Although I’m as close to heavenly as any man can be, you can call me Indigo.”
Marge was stupefied. Her eyes hadn’t yet had a chance to adjust to the bright glow of the Burgdome lights. The inhumanly strong man, who stood before her, glistened beneath the glow of the city’s Helios Coils. The overwhelming light flowed over his skin, revealing the full sheen of his tattoo inked, purple complexion.
“Drop the girl, you tattooed freak.” With his gun drawn, a Burgdome Officer invaded their light.
“You’re gonna have to excuse me, Teacup. It sounds like this tin man needs a little recycling.” Indigo effortlessly tossed the hover pod onto the ground while turning to face the officer.
“This swamp rat must be Black Nest. Only a juiced-up punk could toss a ride like that.” Another Authority Officer approached.
More lights flashed from above. That’s when Marge realized that the plasma skyways were vanishing. A drizzle of hover pods rained from the sky all at once. The pods ignited the ground with one explosion after another. Screams and chaos sounded from all over the Burgdome. It was a disaster unlike anything she’d ever seen before.
“All it took was one Black Nester on the loose, and the entire Burgdome is on fire. What are you waiting for? Shoot those fools.” The Authority Commander ordered.
While surfing aboard a phantasmic gust of wind, a man with a spiky afro soared over the heads of the Authority. He landed near Marge and Indigo. His rather bizarre ability made it obvious that he was a member of Black Nest as well.
The man shouted at the Authority. “I don’t know if you noticed, chicken little, but we’ve got bigger things to fry. The whole sky is falling.”
Amid destruction and chaos, the surge of struggling energy stood out from all the other noise. It was as ominous a warning as the blasting of thunder. A skyway road blinked repeatedly as its voltage levels quickly decreased. A small hover pod teetered over the wavering surface of diminishing plasma.
Marge took one look into the air as the leaning vehicle threatened to fall. It’s powdery blue, metallic glimmer quickly sparked her recollection. Her eyes bulged as she realized who was the owner of the pod. She shrieked out the name of her friend, “Celia.”
Several hover pods crashed as the skyway continued to vanish. Marge, the Griots and the officers all stood on alert as fiery impacts sounded from all over the Burgdome. It was as if a shower of meteors had formed within the limits of the dome.