Colors of Dissonance (pt. 17)
(Sorry, cutie pies. This story has been giving me a lot of trouble lately. Writer’s block all over the place! Hopefully I’ll get back on track with this part and be able to keep these updates regular from now on though!)
Mark wakes up as the sun’s rays peek in through missing panes in the warehouse’s windows. He turns his head and sees Amy asleep beside him and Sean on her other side. Mark sits up slowly, trying not to wake them. There’s a stiffness in his limbs, and he feels heavy.
Mark gets to his feet and walks over to the doors of the warehouse, pushed open and rusting with age. He decides to take a walk around the building to clear his head and to check for any sign of trouble. The morning is damp with fog and overcast like rain might be in the near future. Mark wonders if he should check the weather, but that would mean sending out his location.
Practically an invitation for Corporate to come find him.
He’s turning the corner around one side of the warehouse when something knocks over a crate behind him. Mark spins around, scanning the lot for signs of life, but other than the cloud of dust kicked up by the toppled shipping crate, nothing moves. Mark lets out the breath he was holding and turns back around only to come nose to nose with Dark.
“It’s so nice to see you again, Mark.” Dark appears again to his left along with a high-pitched ringing. Mark gasps and flinches away, but Dark just laughs. “Why so jumpy?”
“You nearly got me killed!” Mark’s hands grip into fists, and he briefly entertains the thought of punching this other version of himself in the face. “Just who do you think you are?”
“I’ve already told you that, Mark.” The other man drifts closer, always too close, like he’s trying to prove something. “It’s time for you to uphold your end of the bargain. I want control.”
Mark takes a step away as Dark reaches for him. “I told you, I don’t remember making that promise. Besides, what if you hurt someone I care about?”
Dark smirks and tilts his head in the direction of the warehouse. “Like your ex-girlfriend who hates your guts or the broken little man with a knife? Oh yes, you simply must protect them,” Dark says contemptuously. “You’re like a child, Mark. Children need guidance, and I can offer that.” Dark walks behind him, trailing his hand along Mark’s arm and across his shoulders. “There’s something I want, and I can only get it if you agree to let me take control for just a little while.” He leans in close to Mark’s ear. “We can either do this the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is if you do this willingly.”
Mark swallows and glares at Dark. “And I can imagine what the hard way would be.” He thinks about Sean, scared, broken, and alone. It only makes sense that the demon in his head would take full advantage of that, feed on it, and become stronger. “Tell me what it is that you want first.”
“I want to bring Corporate to its knees, only my way isn’t quite as peaceable as that of your friends.” Dark glances over Mark’s shoulder and smiles like a Cheshire cat. Mark hears Amy call his name from behind him. “Ah, here comes one of them now.”
Mark grits his teeth. “I swear, if you hurt her…”
“You’ll what?” Dark grabs Mark’s chin and shakes his head from side to side. “I’m you, idiot. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”
“Mark!” Amy comes around the corner of the warehouse, and when Mark turns around to look at her, Dark disappears. “Who are you talking to? I woke up and you were gone!”
Mark glances around, trying to see where Dark has gone. “I-I’m sorry, Amy.”
She walks up and punches him in the arm. “Quit scaring me!”
“Yes, mam,” Mark says with a little grin that turns Amy’s cheeks red. She glares at him a moment more before turning around and going back the way she came. Mark watches her go as Dark steps up to stand beside him.
A call appears on Mark’s neural-cam. It’s Nate. They’ve collaborated a few different times now, but what could he possibly want?
“Choose now.” Dark turns towards Mark. “You can choose to let me in, and I promise your friends will be left out of it. Or you can fight me off for as long as you can, and I’ll take over by force.” Dark grins maliciously. “And at that time, I won’t have to answer for my actions.”
Mark answers the call or Mark agrees to let Dark in.