Isaac rushed into the house and ran up the stairs to grab his coat.
“Mom? Mom! I’m going out!”
His mother appeared in the kitchen doorway.
“What are you talking about? I’ve just made us some dinner, plus you’ve only just got in!”
“Trust me, it’s really important, don’t wait up for me, I’ll give you a text to let you know when I’m coming back!”
“Bye, gotta go, love you!”
“Isaac, get here right now, you aren’t leaving until you tell me where you are going!”
Isaac sighed, knowing what he had to do, but regretting it before it was even done. He walked up to his mother and looked her in the eyes, he erased all worry and concern out of her mind, and made sure she would go to bed at a decent time instead of waiting up for him. He kissed her gently on the cheek. “I’ll see you later, mom.”
She nodded quietly before entering the kitchen again.
“Be safe, Isaac!” she called out just as he left the house. Amazing, even when she isn’t worried or concerned at all, she still says that- it must be instinctive, rather than a product of concern.
He had little time to dwell on it however, he needed to meet P quickly, they had arranged a time and place, and Isaac couldn’t imagine anything good coming of tardiness. There was a bus that would take him into the city centre; from there it was only a few minutes’ walk to the designated meeting point. Turning a corner on the street he could see the bus approaching, and rushed to make it on time.
It turned out to be quite busy at that night. There were only a few seats available, and none of the occupants of the neighbouring seats looked particularly welcoming. Isaac sat at the awkwardly at the back, he refrained from reading anyone’s mind, although he was tempted, his run in with Scorch had left him somewhat shaken. The bus stopped a frustrating great amount of times at the designated stop points to pick up passengers who could no longer sit, so were forced to stand holding onto the bars on the ceiling.
Eventually the bus arrived at Isaac’s stop. Several minutes late, Isaac noted. This meant he now had to rush to the meeting point also. As he exited the bus the enormity of the city dawned on him. He was at the very centre and the buildings towered above him, suddenly he was nervous, he was way out of his depth here, there was too much at stake, he was getting involved in things he had no business being involved in, with people whose names he didn’t even know.
P would be waiting for him. Fearful of getting lost, he checked his phone one more time, looking at the route his map was giving him, it seemed pretty simple: left, left, right, left, left, right, right, right, left, then straight for a while, then left one final time. Easy… right?
The roads and pavements all blended into one, every street equally as enormous and uniform as the other, somehow however, he found his way into the alley they had agreed to meet in. Just as he had anticipated, she was there, waiting for him.
“I’m sorry, the bus driver picked up every single person on the way here…”
“It does not matter, what do you have for us?”
“Earlier today, after we met, I went to a local library, there was a man there, not much older than me, said his name was Scorch, he had…”
Isaac motioned towards his eye, “markings of some sort, on his eye, he was blind, but he said he could see, see everything-“
“What did these marking look like?”
Isaac became very aware of another man standing directly behind P, and another approaching himself from behind, both of them wearing dark suits, and earpieces.
“It looked like an X, with some embezzlements.”
“I see… and how do you know that this is the man we are looking for exactly?”
“I- I- I don’t, I saw-“
“What did you see?”
Isaac sighed deeply, feeling sick with fear as he felt the presence of the two men edging closer. He knew he had to tell her the truth, otherwise she would never believe.
“This won’t make any sense unless I show you-“
Isaac pulled off his glove and raised his hand so she could see his palm. Almost at the same moment he felt a cold block of metal press against the back of his head- a gun. The man stood beside P was also aiming a gun directly at his head. The man behind him whispered.
“Don’t try anything- lower your hand.”
Isaac did as he was told, shaking slightly
P Smirked, “I knew it.”
“So what, I’ve given you valuable information and you are just going to kill me?”
“Anyone in possession of a Glyph is a danger to all of mankind and must be eliminated, I hope you understand.”
The man stood next to P suddenly changed his stance; he pointed his gun at her head, with a click.
“Jackson, what the hell do you think you are doing?”
“I’m sorry P, he can’t hear you right now, he’s under my control, so you can shoot me if you like, but if I die, he will fire, and he won’t stop firing until you are confirmed dead.”
“Well done Isaac, you have successfully proven my point.”
“I was backed into a corner, what did you expect me to do? I am not your enemy, the real danger is out there, his name is Scorch, and you are only giving him more time to put his plans into action while you are wasting your time here with me!”
Isaac raised his voice, clearly the situation was getting out of control, but he was unsure exactly how to resolve it. The only thing he could do was try and trump whatever it was she threw his way.
“And what are his plans exactly?”
“Let me go and I might tell you-“
“In case you were not aware Isaac, I can quite easily rid you of your power, of your glyph, if I wanted to, so it is in your best interests to tell me everything you know.”
Her voice, whilst remaining cold was now clearly conveying a tone of anger and frustration. Isaac sensed this woman rarely did not get her own way.
“I think I’ll decide what is in my best interests from now on…”
P glared at Isaac maliciously, her hand twitching, obviously eager to act, but held back by the fear of the guard at her side.
“Do not, push me!”
An old, rusty door at the side of the alley opened abruptly, banging loudly against the wall as it swung open. A bald man appeared in the doorway.
“P, you need to see this!”
“What is it, Franklin?”
“You need to see, some guy named Scorch is on every network, he’s making demands- what is going on here?”
“Never mind! Give us a minute!” P’s face had grown red, and her fists were clenched at her side, “Isaac, it seems you were telling the truth, would you come with me?”
“I want to stop this guy- but I’m not going anywhere with you!”
“I give you my word that no harm shall come to you until we have caught this man, and we have him in our custody.”
Isaac couldn’t read her mind, but he sensed she was telling the truth, plus this was the only way he was going to stop Scorch, he couldn’t do it by himself, he knew that much.
The four of them entered the door and found themselves in a vast conspiracy of tunnels, all of them identical to look at, and all of them winding. P however, navigated them expertly and soon they were in a large open area, with wires strewn across the floors and group together, pinned against the walls and ceilings. All of the walls were glass, and there were dozens of workspaces, all with complex looking computer setups, with some equally obscure technology. On the far wall was a large screen, and that was where Scorch’s face was mounted, in HD, and as menacing as ever. His voice rang out through the room.
“I shall repeat this one final time, for those of you who are just joining us, I have taken control of every channel, every frequency and therefore every screen throughout the entire country, I have done this for one reason and one reason alone, and that is to deliver a message directly to you all. This country’s government is a lie. It is corrupt; it is built upon lies and controlled by more lies. Every major corporation and business that you welcome into your home has a puppet and each of these puppets has a chair in government, and together they recreate a giant fucking Punch and Judy show for us all to enjoy in our ignorance. Why should this effect you, I hear you ask? Well, my friends, my brothers, you do not know the extent of this disease that is democracy, you cannot conceive the severity of the cancer that is eating away at our society, it needs to be destroyed. The lies you have been told- the deception- it begs belief. I do not expect you to act upon my word alone however, which is why I intend to reveal to you, every hour, for the next 72 hours, a secret the government does not want you to know. I believe you will find this experience enlightening my brothers, my sisters, my friends, to discover what is being done with your hard earned money, to discover the many, many atrocities that are being covered up daily on our very streets! I promise you, that when we are through, those who evade persecution shall be delivered justice, and all of those who have spent their lives being punished daily- shall find liberty”
Scorch’s passion was so convincing that Isaac could almost believe it, despite knowing, in his heart, he was as apathetic as it was possible to be. The face on the screen did not speak for a moment; instead, it seemed to contemplate something. Scorch appeared to be stalling.
“And I say to those who would stop me, think on your own sins before you act, look amongst yourselves before you trust and then- only then- may you decide which side you wish to choose. Look upon this as enlightenment, and you will see that my cause is just.”
The screen flashed and was then enveloped by darkness. P looked inquisitively at Isaac.
“It would seem Scorch has already put his plan in motion.”
“No- that was not the plan he had in mind when I met him, he has changed his tactics.” Isaac was overcome with indecision. He knew Scorch was bad news, but his words were convincing him otherwise.
What he is saying sounds legitimate- but it can’t be- can it? He is a craze, power hungry, unfeeling dictator. He doesn’t care about liberation of the people, he doesn’t care about justice or equality or… What is it the government is hiding anyway? What could be so bad that the people would-
“He’s going to create chaos! That’s it! The people will rise up against the government, and the government will try and put the people down, and when all the dust settles, everyone will look to him for the solution, he will become the champion of the people, the saviour, and he will rule over everyone with no regard for any of them- no-one but himself.” Isaac shook his head, the ramifications of such a thing were frightening, he couldn’t let it happen, “we have to stop him.”
“Agreed,” stated P, “for now, you’ll be working with us Isaac, we will need your full support in this.”
“I see- and what exactly is my role here?”
P’s mouth curled up into a smile, and her dark eyes glimmered, it was frighteningly unnatural.
“Simple… you’re going to be bait.”