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Chapter 2: A shitty Father and a shitty situation

The young man turned to look at his door opening, but he could only feel disbelief. His father came back home.

Erik looked at the man intently. The last time he saw him in the flesh was two years prior. His face was exactly how he remembered it, but a long black beard adorned it instead of shaved skin.

There was something else weird, though; Lucius looked in a hurry. His movements were quick and full of anxiety; his eyes darted left and right, scanning the room and searching for anything suspicious.

"You?!" the young man could only mutter.

"Erik..."

An uncomfortable silence hung over them; the tension could be felt, and a sense of unease permeated the air.

Lucius returned, but Erik wasn't happy. No, he was angry. He wondered what his old man was thinking about while looking at him. The silent atmosphere didn't last long since Lucius gathered the courage and said, "I'm sorry I haven't been around much."

At those words, Erik's rage surged. "You are sorry? YOU ARE SORRY?! FUCK YOU! YOU USELESS SCUM PIECE OF SHIT!"

The young man's breathing became rugged; his eyes threatened to make tears flow out. But he refused to allow anyone, even his father, to see him in that state. After calming down, Erik looked at the older man seething in anger.

"What do you want?" was all the young man could utter.

"I don't have much time to explain… I came by to drop something important, Erik. You must hide it somewhere safe and ensure no one touches it."

"What? You came here to dump me more problems?!" Erik angrily replied. In the meantime, his father took a big glass container from his backpack; a strange liquid was inside it, and immersed into the liquid, a weird-looking creature.

It had a sort of arachnid body, with a long tail ending up in a hook and eight disgusting and long legs. There was also what the young man assumed was the mouth. It resembled a mussel, but it had some weird pointy tooth.

"DID YOU JUST FUCKING BRING A DAMN THAID INTO MY HOUSE?!" Erik asked.

"No," Lucius replied.

"Then what is it? You have to tell me at least..."

Lucius looked at his son with a severe look. The young man stared back at him intently as well.

"This is the cause of the Sinister Cold, I think…" Lucius replied, leaving his son flabbergasted.

After hearing Lucius's words, Erik turned away from his father and walked toward the kitchen. He poured himself a glass of water, drank it in one gulp, and then returned to his living room. What his father just said was unbelievable.

With a look in between rage, disbelief, and pity on his face—pity for himself that this man had so cruelly abandoned he once loved dearly, but also for his father, who was so lost in his delusions as to go as far as to put a dead animal into some strange fluid. Whatever the Military sent him to do, it was clear, made it mad.

"Something in your look tells me you're not taking me seriously…"

"How am I supposed to take you seriously? Do you hear yourself? The source of the sinister cold? I've heard a lot of bullshit in my short life, but this beats them all…"

"Erik, look at me. This is not a joke, and I can't stay here any longer. Put this in a safe place where no one can find it. I will pick it up later; until then, you must tell no one I was here."

"Why should I after all you have done to me? Besides, If you did find the reason for the sinister cold, why don't you give it to the Military?" Erik asked.

Lucius sighed. "It's complicated," he said.

"Come on! You can't pretend I will do what you say without giving me a single explanation!"

Lucius shook his head. "Look, I know you're scared, but…"

"Scared?" Erik interrupted him. "No, I'm not scared…Lucius… I'm pissed."

His father noticed that Erik didn't call him dad and was greatly saddened by this.

However, Erik was in the worst mental state. He couldn't believe his ears. His father returned home after two years to spout bullshit and dump problems on his son.

"Erik, I know I wronged you a lot. However, I only ask you this one favor. Please take this and hide it where only you can find it…"

The young man couldn't believe his ears. His father, the proud Lucius Romano, was pleading with him. He had never seen his father look so weak before.

"I assure you, there's nothing to worry about," Lucius continued. "Unless you tell someone about this." Erik stared at his father in disbelief.

What would happen if the Military found this thing inside his home? Countless thoughts flashed inside the young man's mind, but none of them was comforting at all. He imagined being tortured by the Military just to get information about this weird creature, the cause of the sinister cold, as his father said.

Erik didn't know if he had to believe the man, but everything pointed out that he was telling the truth—his look, tone, eyes even.

"Okay, okay…" Erik finally relented. "I'll keep it hidden. Can I ask you something else, though?"

"Yes, anything."

"Why are you doing all this?"

Lucius frowned. He thought about a proper reply for a full minute before replying, "For both of us. And to protect what remains of our world."

"Protect our world? From what?"

"From something worse than the Sinister Cold and the Thaids-" Lucius stopped mid-sentence when he heard a noise and hurriedly went to the window.

"I can't stay here any longer," he said. It looked like he saw something outside the window. Of course, Erik already knew, judging by his father's antics and anxiousness, that he wouldn't stay. However, deep inside his heart, he hoped so; he was still his father.

"Of course… You are going away again…" Erik said. He felt complicated emotions, rage, sadness, and betrayal. He felt abandoned again by his father. He was close to yelling at him to go fuck himself and kick him and whatever he brought out of the house.

However, he decided against it for the sake of the little love he still felt for the man. He said he would have hidden the glass container and whatever was in it. Erik didn't have much, no money, power, or status. He only had his word and his will.

"Erik… Believe me when I say that I'm sorry. When everything is over, I will tell you exactly what happened. I'm sure you will be able to understand by then, but I need to go for now. Stay here, and I promise I will return to pick you up."

And with that, Lucius disappeared. In a blink of an eye, he was gone.

***

Erik stood still. After his father's departure, he sat on his desk chair and placed his face between his hands.

He was starting to feel dizzy, and his heart started racing.

"Dad..." Erik muttered. Despite being angry at him, he could only hope that Lucius would return and take care of him. One thing was sure, though, by agreeing to his father's demand, he got himself a colossal risk; from what or whom Erik didn't know.

The young man looked at the glass container on the table; there was a clock close to it, and it displayed 03:00 PM.

"Fuck, I'm late for work!"

The young man rapidly changed to the more fitting clothes he used on the farm. Thanks to his power, he was able to make crops grow faster; it was just a little help, but it indeed worked.

However, he was expected to join the military academy in September and didn't know what to do then. The thought of more bullying scared him a lot, and he was sure he would suffer because of his shitty ability, even there, among older people. The chance of him dying wasn't even unlikely.

After changing, Erik went to his room and grabbed his backpack. He glanced at his computer monitor, which still showed the article he was reading. He didn't want to join the Military if he could; the mere thought of having to help this rotten country survive against the Hinians disgusted him.

Erik picked up his jacket from the wardrobe and then went toward the table to pick up his keys with his jacket on his left arm.

The jacket hit the glass container as he walked beside the table, which crashed with a resounding thud. The container shattered into countless pieces, and the liquid poured over the floor.

The creature inside the container fell out, scaring Erik. The young man didn't know what the hell this was, but it was undoubtedly dangerous, being related to the Sinister Cold, if that was true.

"FUCK!" the young man shouted.

Erik observed the creature; it didn't move and stayed immobile on the floor.

<Its probably dead...> the young man thought. Immediately regret filled the young man.

"This is a mistake, all of this… A terrible mistake!"

Erik was in a panic now. Agreeing to his father's request, breaking the container, and even the meeting between the two was wrong.

The creature was meant to be locked inside that tank and not to find its way out. Erik trembled at the implications of what just happened. Did he just mess up what his father had worked on for years? Did he ruin the chance to find out what the sinister cold really was?

"Shit! Shit, shit, SHIT!"

Erik turned around and ran to the bathroom, searching for where to put the creature's body.

"Dammit!"

Erik remembered the plastic bags under the kitchen sink. He took them, but the creature was nowhere to be seen once he returned to the living room. Dread filled the young man's mind.

"SHIT!"

Erik then dropped his backpack and ran to the kitchen to grab a knife.

"I have to get rid of it now..."

There was no time to waste.

As the young man grabbed the knife, he heard a noise behind him. He turned to look what the source was, but it was then that the creature suddenly shot up from the floor, its mouth opening wide. With weird legs extended and teeth showing in its jaws, it lunged at Erik and attached itself to his face.

Erik gasped in pain as he fell backward onto the wooden floor, unable to do anything to stop the creature. His eyes widened when he saw the creature on his face.

He tried to scream, but as soon as he opened his mouth, he felt the creature inserting something into it.

Then a stinging pain hit the young man on the chest; the creature stung him with its tail, injecting something inside of him. Slowly, as the young man was losing consciousness and falling to the floor, he started seeing something.

[DOWNLOADING INFORMATION FROM THE HOST -GENERAL KNOWLEDGE- IN PROGRESS]

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[WELCOME TO THE BIOLOGICAL SUPERCOMPUTER SYSTEM, HOST ERIK ROMANO]


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