I walked out of school on Friday with my heart heavy, my shoulders drooping. My trembling hands wrapped around my crushed AI robot and I let it go, let it fall into the trash.
I didn't know who to be angry at. The robot? For breaking too easily? At myself? For building it so fragile? Or...Saye? The girl who destroyed it mercilessly?
It was drizzling in the evening city of New York and it was crowded with the outflow of adults leaving work and teenage kids stepping out in cuter outfits to start the weekend. I carried the weight of Saye's homework in my bag as I walked back home, a lonely sad little girl who loved computers yet, no one knew I existed.
It should have been a normal walk home but everything changed when I crossed the street to get on the street that lead back home.
"OW!" I screamed as a I looked up at whatever head fell on top of my head. It bounced off my head and fell next to my feet. Looking up, I saw no one who could have thrown it at me. I looked back down and saw a shiny white boy's sneaker and picked it up by its laces.
But strangely, the shoe didn't smell. Aw, whose ever shoe this was, he would have to walk around in just one pricey shoe. I saw no one around who was looking for a shoe so I shrugged and threw it off to the side.
It bounced on the floor and rolled off to next to a garbage can wedged between two buildings.
Back home, I took a long long shower, the incidents of today playing in my mind.
"You've always been so quiet, Ashe. That's why I like troubling you so much. You're nice to watch," Saye had said when I tried to refuse to do her homework. I had given in soon...Saye was scarier than the Valak to me. I was always like this. Weak.
Saye had cackled when I gave in and dumped the notebooks on top of the AI robot I had been working on for two weeks. The sound of its circuits and metal crushing, broke my heart.
As I stepped out of the shower, Darren, my older brother called me from the Home Theater room. "Ashe! I have a special copy of the movie Systema Games is releasing this week! Do you want to see it with me?"
I laughed and went into the room, "Is it horror? Why are you asking me to see it with you?"
Darren gave me a look, "It was dad's dream after all. To produce a movie."
I smiled and sighed and sat next to Darren. He was the CEO of Systema Games, the gaming company my dad founded. My dad lead it to be the no. 1 company in the planet, but soon after, he passed away.
'Aw, I'm so sorry' or 'That's so sad' might be what you're thinking right now. But it's okay, really. It has been two years now. It's fine....I'm fine.
The animated movie started with a boy running away from the police. Adrien, his name was. A poor boy from a poor family. The guy acting as Adrien was too good-looking I giggled every time he smiled, forgetting my pains from today.
"Ew, Ashe, don't do that in front of me," Darren said, disgusted. I didn't take my eyes off the screen. I was captured by the movie because it resembled Systema Games a lot. Even the game which the movie revolved around, Breakfire Online, was an actual game my dad had created before Darren and I were born.
The movie continued on to Adrien becoming the best player but then turning bad when he didn't get paid for beta testing and wasting three months in the VR game. He teams up with five other player boys (again, hotttt) in the game and attempts to destroy Breakfire from the inside as revenge. The six of them even had a name, Death Six. They even became a worldwide sensation.
"D-dad would have been proud," I muttered and Darren nodded his head as the credits rolled. The movie had ended with a brilliant professor entering the scene and shutting Breakfire down forever, trapping Adrien in the game.
I was about to get up when the dark credit scene suddenly changed and an after credits scene rolled in.
"Oooh, what's this?" I asked, sitting back down and picking up a popcorn that had fallen on the seat. Making sure Darren didn't see, I popped it in my mouth. Mmmm, soggy, but good. Old habits die hard.
"I think it's the scene where they show how Adrien gets invited to beta test Breakfire Online before its release," Darren mused, looking at Adrien walking down a crowded street. The scene was set in the evening...and it was drizzling slightly.
I stopped chewing my popcorn. The familiarity of this scene...it was striking. Hadn't I just gone through this earlier this day? But things got weirder when Adrien in the movie walked deeper down the street and..."OW!" he said, when something from the sky fell on his head.
"Darren..." I blurted, staring at the Adrien bending down to pick up what had fallen on his head. A...boy's sneaker.
My memories from earlier this day had started playing inside my head. Every single thing. To the point.
Adrien turned the shoe over (something I didn't do) and looked inside the shoe (I would never have done that). Inside the shoe was a golden card. The camera closed in on the card.
'YOU ARE INVITED TO PLAY BREAKFIRE ONLINE'
And the scene cut with huge Breakfire background music playing.
My brain was normally a scientific one. Weighing solutions and circuit combinations, cross checking code functions and looping random codes when I was bored. But right now, it shifted and I was running out of the home theater room.
"Ashe! Where are you going? It's midnight!" he yelled at me as I pulled a jacket on and rushed out of the house.
"Ashe!!! THAT'S MY JACKET!"
I didn't care. I headed towards the place where the shoe had fallen on my head. How had the movie predicted what had happened today? It was so so strange.
'Um, hey, Ashe, what if it's a coincidence?' you might be thinking.
Imagine me looking at you and shaking your shoulders. What are the odds of a 'shoe' falling on your head from technically nowhere? How is this a coincidence?
I reached the spot where I remembered standing when the shoe fell and looked around. Where had I thrown it?
My eyes fell on the garbage can and I bolted towards it, hair flying behind me. The sneaker was right there, right where I left it.
Heart pounding, I bent down to pick up the shoe once more.
Even now, I believed that there must be some logical explanation to this. I turned the shoe over and the moonlight fell inside the shoe and I caught something glimmer inside.
But before I could understand what it was, a strong hand snatched the shoe from me. I let out a gasp and looked at the person who had come to stand before me.
In the back of my mind, I first thought it was Darren but this person was taller than Darren and his hair was a sandy blonde. I couldn't exactly pin point who he was.
"Hey give that back to me!" I said, reaching for the shoe. He raised it up high, away from my reach.
"Why do you have this?" He asked. Wow, the voice.
I frowned at him. "Who are you?"
A car drove past us, its bright light passing by and highlighting our faces for two seconds. But mostly, highlighting his face.
And the resemblance was clear.
My eyes went wide in shock as my hands started trembling.
My breathing quickened but I heard more footsteps and looked behind Adrien who was now wondering how I knew his name.
Closing in on us were five boys. They all wore black. Jackets and ripped jeans. One had eyeliner on and another one had an eyebrow ring. All five of them were walking towards me.
Adrien saw me looking and turned back, "Oh SHIT."
He grabbed my hand, "Trust me okay?" he looked at me seriously.
"Why am I supposed to trust- AHHH!" My question was cut short as he pulled me and we both started running in the night city of New York.
I looked back and the five boys had broken into a run too, chasing us. And they were closing in, fast.
I didn't know this when we were running, but that was the day my entire life changed.
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