The Thirteenth Snake

Submitted for Contest #48 in response to: Write a story that features a protagonist with an archnemesis.... view prompt


Jun 30, 2020


‘I’m gonna go stop him.’, he said as he walked toward the metallic door of his room. ‘N-no, you can’t, we’re just students and he’s one of the main enemies of our association… You’ll die, Sam.’ she responded, concern filling her voice and face. Sam shot a look of anger at her, ‘I said I’m stopping him, you don’t have to come, Faith,’. Faith's fiery eyebrows furrowed now as her face now shifted to replicate the anger he aimed at her, ‘So what’s your plan then?’ Her tone implied that any plan he had would be pointless. I can’t tell her, he thought. ‘None, I just can’t let him do it’ He answered plainly. ‘C’mon let’s just inform Isaac, he will be able to deal with the situation with a Voktere force’ Faith responded with. ‘That would take too much time, we can’t take the risk… Plus you heard what he said last time, he doesn’t like that I’ve been watching Rune,’ Sam stated, his eyes peering into hers, searching for a modicum of understanding. ‘You idiot, you ca-’, ‘I have to go,’ Sam interrupted with. He walked past a frustrated faith, her fists clenched, she wanted to stop him by force but she wasn’t allowed to use powers on Voktere grounds. ‘Sam,’ She called as his door opened after authorizing his hand. He paused, looking over his shoulder to look at her. ‘I don’t appreciate you lying to me’ She stated before walking away, disappearing down the stairway down the hall, completely ignoring Sams stammering.

After a brief pause, He pulled himself together, closed his door and immediately picked up the pace. Rushing to throw his equipment into his backpack, stuffing the energy blades and grenades he had been working on inside before picking up his phone and jumping out of the window. He activated his energy, using it to make an electrical cloak coat his body. He then shifted his weight and moved himself toward the metal of the building he was freefalling from. When he landed on the wall his descent increased in speed as he began sprinting down the face of the building, almost instantly finding himself on the ground where he could run out of the Voktere grounds without being noticed. Running through the streets of the city now with a trail of the blue energy following him, he pulled his hood tight over his head and began heading toward the Voktere outpost Rune was going to break into. 

As Sam was getting close to the outpost he saw no signs of Rune causing any destruction yet, so he approached cautiously, scanning the area as he sped onto the premises. Once on the site he pulled his blade hilts out of his backpack, placing them inside the pockets of his hoodie before slinging the bag back onto his back. He pulled his phone out of the pocket in his pants and used it to scan the energy of the area. As he opened the scanning app it immediately began glowing red with a strong signature which wasn’t his, but what was this? Looking at the visual representation he found that it was on the same spot as him. He looked at his surroundings, the outpost was just a collection of small buildings that didn’t exceed three stories tall, the metallic material they were made from reflecting the light from the surrounding street lights and the moon. He looked up to see nothing obstructing his view of the full moon. That means there must be something beneath these buildings, he’s not attacking, he’s searching. Sam sprinted into the main building, making his way to the site map on the wall at the entrance. It showed the schemas for each floor, all of which he knew already. Where on earth is it! He was frustrated and decided to sprint around the building, every single floor in each of the connected buildings, his eyes darting back, forth, up and down faster than sparks enveloping him could flash and dissipate. He couldn’t find any clues so he skidded to a halt in the entrance room once again before he began to pace back and forth. As He continued, He found his eyes locking on the reception counter. Something about it looked out of place, the wooden surface of the counter coming from the white wall and curving into the floor in front of him, resting atop of a short outcrop of the same wall. As he carried on his pacing he tried to figure out what was wrong he stopped in a sudden realisation, it wasn’t the counter itself that caught his attention, it was the floor behind it. Roughly a square metre of tile flooring in the corner behind the counter, the textures of the floor weren’t moving with his shifting perspective correctly. Sam walked over and slowly poked his foot at the anomaly, only for it to disappear into the holographic disguise, got it! He grabbed the edges of the tile in front of the missing block as he lowered himself in, it was a cave carved out underneath the building. He dropped. Looking behind him he saw the square that was missing was behind him, a trap door left open, Time to stop whatever it is he’s doing here.

He walked down the cave which was dimly lit by various wall lights and their wiring trailing along it’s walls, these same walls curved in toward a metal door at the end of Sam’s advance. Sam turned the handle, opening the door to see what Rune was after, it was a server room filled with racks and racks of computers. He’s after Voktere information, Sam thought. A faint tapping of keys could be heard in the distance.

‘There we go, time to get outta here’ Rune said before turning to see the boy staring at him, the darkness of the room barely lighting his face. ‘Whatever you’re doing, it stops now Rune’ Sam stated as he pulled out his blade hilts, taking a stance, the bottom of one hilt pointing directly at Rune and the other poised next to the boys cheek and facing outward; his feet and arms moved in a rhythm, displaying his eagerness. Rune smirked ‘Can’t we talk about this’ his sarcastic tone carried no fear. Sam remained silent, clenching his fists as the rest of his body became more tense. ‘Okay then, let's take this somewhere else, there is still more value in this room for future trips’ Rune commanded in a casual voice, completely ignoring Sam’s increasing rage. ‘Oh, you mean these servers mean something to you?’ Sam prompted. ‘Yes, they are valuable to you as well’ Rune responded. Sam ignited his blades, the blades of light emitted from two chimneys that his fingers rested between, forming daggers around his fists. Whatever it takes, he has to be stopped, Sam thought to himself. He flicked the wrist of his leading hand, the blade and fist now facing horizontally, before using his enhanced speed to lunge sideways toward a random server rack, leading arm raised across his chest and moving downward. Before Sam could complete the arcing of his arm to strike the computer, something stopped him, the paper resting on top of the racks flew past the now stagnant Sam to various areas of the room. 

He looked around to see Rune strolling toward him with his hands in his beige parka coat pockets. When Rune eventually reached Sam he peered his head down to look at him under the light of his struggling blade, his gold eyes glowed in recognition. “So it is you! You’ve changed quite a bit ain’tcha, Samuel,’. ‘Fuck you!’ Sam screamed as he swung his right arm toward Rune, only to be stopped before any real momentum could be reached. The arm lay in the swinging position, energy still desperately surging through it in a futile attempt to edge the blade closer to Rune; ‘Fuck, you’ Sam repeated, his voice strained by the effort. A smirk emerged on Rune's face ‘I hope you’re able to entertain me, it’s the least you could do for ruining my little stealth mission here.’ his arched back lifted his head to stand upright. Rune’s hand emerged from his pocket and in a fluid motion he lightly circled his loosely pointing index finger around before stopping in an skyward position. As soon as the motion began, Sam was swept off of the floor and once the finger stopped, he flew upwards. The speed at which he was propelled at was faster than any speed he had reached himself.

He broke through the ceiling, blasted through a layer of rock before getting a view of the buildings he was searching just a few minutes ago. Dirt and rock flung out behind him as he moved his energy to flow through his entire body in preparation for battle. As the energy surged through his nervous system, time rushed into a slowed state. He could count every speck of debris if he felt the need. Okay, here we go, He thought to himself as he let out an exhale to bring himself to focus. He flipped and landed from his metre high fall. Surprisingly, his body had sustained minimal damage from the toss. The resistance properties of this backpack was one the last features I thought I needed. He reached into the bag to grab one pulse grenade and flug it immediately before rushing toward the hole, Rune rose at the perfect time, arms raised slightly as he ascended through the air. The black sphere was paused just before hitting Rune but it had reached its mark regardless, exploding from the impact of the stop, the pulse managing to shut off Rune's energy system. He began to fall. Sam leaped from behind the now dispersed explosion, sweeping his leg into the side of Rune's abdomen, the speed of the kick sending him into a metallic shed to their left. 

Sam landed from his kick on the perimeter of the hole and without hesitation lunged toward the shed, rear arm poised for a strike of his blade. A surge of energy jumped out from the dust surrounding the shed, before falling back inward and sending the dust into a circling flury. He’s recovered already! Sam thought, impressed by the now disappearing shadowy figures power. Sam didn’t even hesitate, he began to swing his hand in a strike toward what he felt was at the centre of the energy storm. A hand emerged from the dust, bringing a force with it, completely stopping all of Sam's movement. In that moment the same energy was used to push all the obstructing dust aside, revealing Rune's face, A smug smirk plastered on it. ‘You’ve impressed me, Samuel,’ He said. Sam was able to look at the rest of his body now, with the dust completely dispersed, his coat was now torn and burnt in various places. However, it was the outstretched arm that became the object Sam's focus. Looking at what was now a fully exposed arm, he saw that there was a tattoo on the shoulder, it was a 13 surrounded by a coiling snake. So he is involved with them after all! Sam thought as he was flung into the building after a swiping motion by Rune, who noticed Sam’s identifying glance. He just has to be involved with everything I despise doesn’t he? Sam began his thoughts with. Rune turned and began casually walking toward the hole in the building when Sam let out a storm of his own, his electrical energy surging through and around his body. If he’s with them, I’ll show him exactly what they’ve done to me. He dropped his daggers and let out a yell as he released a dark storm of energy to eclipse his initial one. The energy turned from a light blue to a purple approaching black as the electrical sparks turned into tentacles of electrical energy, violently striking his surroundings. 

Bringing the surge under control with a quivering breath, Sam reached his arm out to create a whip of electricity, and sprinting towards a now paused Rune. He then brought his arm down in a slashing motion as he ran but got stopped just before Rune, much closer than he had gotten previously. Rune's face was sunken, void of his default smugness, his arm had been slashed off by the whip he had mistakenly neglected. However, Rune didn’t even pay attention to the lost arm as he muttered ‘y-you’re one of them.’, silence ensued between them. Sam didn’t expect such a strong reaction and found himself emulating Rune’s shock.

Police sirens rang in the distance, bringing them both back to action. Sam raised his energy in an attempt to break free but the grip only got tighter, Rune pulled his arm back to his body and it healed into place; his grip loosened slightly as he did so. Helicopters could be seen in the distance and a car pulled up to the entrance, ‘Sam!’ a familiar voice screamed. Oh no, please no, Sam thought as he moved his eyes to see Faith in her Voktere uniform getting out from the car with Isaac. They both began to run onto the premises. With his eyes still trained on Sam in indecision, Rune pulled the dirt at their feet from under them in an explosive eruption of soil, they both disappeared into the crater. He then raised his arm in their direction, the shockwave expanded, creating a larger and deeper crater. His Face regained it’s usual relaxed look along with certainty, ‘Unfortunately, I don’t think boss would like me bringing you back right now. This was fun, we should do it again once you’re more powerful.’ He said, his annoying smirk returning to his face as the words left his mouth. Rune gave a slight grunt of effort as he tightened his grip on Sam before releasing and smacking him back into the exact same hole from earlier.

Isaac climbed out from the hole with Faith behind his raised arm, his dark skin revealed from underneath his torn uniform and a cyan energy riot shield emitting from his other palm. Looking through the shield he only saw his student lying in the outpost's reception, Rune was gone. He lowered his shield and ran with Faith toward Sam. As the two approached, Sam felt the exotic energy taking its toll, the two approaching and concerned faces began to fade and flicker in and out of focus. They reached him. ‘Sam!’ a muffled, spasmodic and alien sounding voice echoed as he was cast into unconsciousness. 

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