Simons heart thudded, this wasn’t supposed to happen, it had never happened before, but then no one had ever taken a child before either. He tried to reinforce the door, but nothing was working, the banging continued and the crack was widening. He had to do something and fast, he focused on creating a room in front of the door, it might not hold them at all, but the illusion of walls might keep them at bay, maybe he could talk to Simon, explain things to him. The door shattered, shards of wood flying outwards, one grazed Simons cheek is it flew past. An army of twisted and grotesque creatures waited on the other side of the door, they dropped their battering ram, seeming unsure of themselves, a hesitant cry went up then it gained strength, turning into a victory roar. Simon, the real Simon, stepped into the doorway, behind him his army waited eagerly to push forward. Simon stepped from the doorway and outside. He smiled.
“I knew I’d get myself free one day.”
“Determination. I tested it so many times, all those simulations you walked in on, I had to play stupid so you would keep your guard down. You always played along so I had no fear that you would question it. Not after so long. Besides, sometimes I got to have a little fun with you.”
“Look, we don’t have time for this right now, there’s something important happening, I-“
“More important than you stealing my body? My life? How much have I missed? Months? Years? Decades? No, there is nothing more important than this. We need to battle, I need to finish you, expel you from my body. It’s the only option.”
“You don’t understand, the only way to get rid of me is to kill yourself, I cannot be expelled until your body, your actual, physical body is dead. That means you will be dead too, there is nothing for you to gain from this.”
“I might be dead, but that’s preferable to being kept caged like some kind of animal. I don’t want to live like this. I can’t.”
“you could just let go.”
“Why should I? It’s my body, it belongs to me.”
“Does it though? What have you done? You lived for such a short time, what would happen if you took over again? Would you know the names of family, friends? Would you be able to cope with how the world works? Your life was tragically short, and I am sorry for that, I didn’t know, nor did I plan to take over your body. It would be the same as if you were struck by lightning. Cruel, but completely unpredictable.”
“And what if I give up? What if I just let go?”
“Then you’ll go on to where ever it is humans go when they die. I don’t know where or what it is.”
“Surely you must know if there’s an afterlife, you’re some kind of demon.”
“I’m not and I don’t, it could be almost anything.”
Simon looked down at the ground for a moment, deep in thought.
“No. I’m not leaving you’re in my body. If I’m going to die either way, I want to be the one to kill you.”
The army behind him surged forward, twisted creatures clawing their way forwards, massive weapons gripped in their misshapen claws, a wave of stench rolled over Simon, causing him to gag. In this distance, he could see massive robots and people in mechanical suits. He sighed, knowing what was going to happen next.
The army froze, a thousand million perfect statues were in their place. Simon stood at their head, equally frozen. He moved closer, he could see how young Simon really was, the child’s face was unmarred and unwrinkled, Simon unfroze him.
He crumpled to the ground, looking frightened, behind him his army crumbled. “I don’t want to kill you, but I will. I’m going to give you a choice, you can live inside again, where you can shape the world to anything you want, or you can continue to fight, but you will lose.”
“I don’t want to go back to that. I can’t. It’s a lie. I want my life, I want my friends, I want my family.”
“You can’t have them. It’s my life now and it’s my family. I will do what I must to protect them.”
Simon sobbed, once, he hadn’t stood yet. The other took a deep breath, then breathed over him, Simon froze, but his eyes still moved. “You will remain like this for a short while at least. I’m not going to lock you away again, but you will die here if I don’t. I’ll return in a short while and offer you a choice again.”
Simon moved out of the room, feeling sick. The child would die like that after a few days and that was something he couldn’t have. If the child died, so would he. He needed to focus on what was coming, if he didn’t it wouldn’t matter if the child lived or not. He needed-
Pain. Everywhere his entire body was burning, fire was running through his veins. He opened his eyes, wincing at how bright it seemed, and before him stood Alice, smiling. “I thought this was some kind of weird trap you had laid. I don’t know what the hell you thought you were doing, but you were standing like that for like ten minutes. I’m shocked at your unprofessionalism.”
Simon tried to move his body, but he couldn’t, he was stuck. He couldn’t breathe, his lungs began to scream for air. Alice smiled, then shouted as the air around her hand solidified, becoming solid ice. She screamed as Simon dropped to the ground, gasping. The ice around Alice’s hand shattered, the skin beneath it was a bright red.
“Oh good, for a moment there I thought this was going to be boring.”
Someone had been pounding at the door for the last five minutes, none of them moved from the kitchen. Grady felt too exposed in this room with its hundreds of windows, but so far there had been no sign of anyone. She wanted to run, just go, but Amy was making her wait. From the hall something smashed and after a moment, she could hear someone walking through the house, they were inside. The doors had all been locked to slow them down and they could hear as each one was broken open. They were standing at the entrance to the tunnels when Joey saw the first people in the back garden, they watched in horror as the people moved silently towards the house. Each seemed to carry a weapon of some kind, from axes to long metal pipes, they approached slowly but steadily. The first to reach the glass punched through it, not bothering to cover or wrap their hand, in their other hand they held a wrench, whatever was controlling them wasn’t that bright at least. The others arrived soon after, and the sound of breaking glass filled the air, the three of them fled into the tunnels, not daring to wait any longer. As they got on their mopeds, people began to crowd at the entrance, as the engines started, they began to run into the tunnels and towards their prey.