Jax gazed at the beautiful gold ring that adorned his left index finger; It made a shimmering sparkle under the hot sun every time he shifted it. Small letters engraved the top of the ring. They read, “Stand Above The Enemy.” Jax never knew what that was supposed to mean, but he didn’t care. He appreciated the beauty of the ring for what it was; he received it from his father after turning 18, just like his father did from Jax’s grandfather and so on.
The mystery of the ring didn’t bother him that much, but the fear of adult life completely overwhelmed him. Today was the last day of high school for Jax. He figured that everything would fall into place as he grew older, but each year made him feel more alone and lost. Should I go to college? Should I start working? What job would I enjoy? Thoughts like that plagued his mind as if he had a virus that never went away.
He sighed heavily and stared up at the sky. The bright blue expanse stretched as far as his eyes could see. Zero clouds lingered in the air, letting the sun dominate everything it touched with its powerful rays. A harsh wind crashed against the cherry blossom trees and knocked their petals loose; some fell straight down, while others hitched a ride on the wind current. They drifted towards Jax, with most of them brushing past him. A single vibrant pink petal gracefully fell on Jax’s nose. He could smell the sweet aroma as it started to ease his mind. Jax slowly pushed aside his worries while he prepared the walk towards the school.
The bustling of life became more apparent as he moved further into the city; people were going in and out of places, while others in their cars were jam-packed on the road while they went to work. Jax just ignored it as he had done so many times before. The sounds of the city made it hard for him to hear his thoughts. He soon became assimilated into the crowd as a mindless drone; he twisted and turned at numerous roads before arriving at his final stop.
The sight of the large skyscraper school didn’t break his trance as usual, but rather, the ring did; a mild itch formed underneath it that nearly drove him crazy because no amount of scratching made it vanish. Jax decided to grit his teeth and power through it. A measly itch wouldn’t stop him from experiencing his graduation. He swiftly climbed the stairs and headed into the building through the front entrance. Just as he rounded the corner, someone jumped out in front of him!
“Hah! Got you! You should have seen your face!”
That voice belonged to Jax’s best friend, Oliver, who was known for his pranks.
“You sure did!” Jax replied with a punch to Oliver’s shoulder.
“Owww! That hurt!”
“Good!” Jax said with a hint of anger.
The two of them boarded an elevator to reach the upper floor. Oliver wanted to get a view of the city one last time while dragging Jax along. They rode for a few minutes before they reached the top floor. A large room filled with telescopes occupied their view. Jax and Oliver walked towards the windows and looked out. Much of the city skyline was visible to the naked eye; they felt like giants looking down at ants.
“It’s such a shame we won’t be able to see this view after today,” Oliver said with a sad tone.
“There are other buildings we can look out of,” Jax interjected.
“That’s true, but it won’t feel the same. You Know?” Oliver replied.
“Yeah, I get what you mean,” Jax finished.
Many minutes passed with the two of them looking at the city through the telescopes. Their adventure only stopped when the school bell rang. With a sigh from both of them, they reluctantly boarded the elevator and rode it to the ground floor. The first thing that caught their eye was the commotion; several students gathered at the windows with looks of worry on their faces.
“What do you think is going on?” Oliver asked.
“I have no idea,” Jax replied.
Jax and Oliver pushed their way through the crowd. Eventually, they managed to get a clear view of what the others saw. Jax saw a large black oval that hovered in the sky like it was weightless. They watched the oval while fear kept them frozen to the spot. A few moments after, that fear turned into terror as the oval turned red. It started to twitch and quiver as the ground began to shake violently under them. Several students lost their balance and crashed into each other. Eventually, the tremors reduced until they stopped entirely.
“Do you think it’s over?” Oliver quickly asked.
“Yeah, Lets g-”
Jax immediately fell to his knees and clutched his left hand. The itch underneath his ring had grown into a burn like someone poured molten metal on him. He tried to remove the ring, but it was like it fused to his hand. Unbeknownst to Jax, the black oval started to shake violently at the same time. It grew and grew in size until it couldn’t hold it anymore. It popped and released the wails of a thousand cries along with a powerful blast wave that tried to demolish everything it touched. The wave crashed against the school, causing Jax’s mind to go blank.
The sound of hissing steam brought Jax back to his senses. His body ached as if the moon crash-landed on him. He slowly started to get up and noticed another sound, the sound of gurgling. He looked forward and found the source of the noise in the hallway; a shadowy figure was hunched over another student, and was eating him!
Jax felt frozen to the floor. None of his muscles obeyed him; that was until the creature turned around. Its wide grin showed animal-like teeth covered in dripping flesh while its blood-red eyes peered deep into his soul. Jax’s heart started to pump hard enough like it was trying to escape. Each step that the creature took increased the beat even higher. Faster and faster, his heartbeat climbed while something else happened.
Jax’s ring turned a deep blue color; it vibrated intensely before blasting a bright white light in all directions. The intense light was gone almost as soon as it flashed, but it left something in its wake. Jax looked at his left hand and found a small blue sword resting upon his palm. He instinctively closed his hand around the hilt; a barrage of information invaded his mind while energy electrified every nerve in his body.
The creature stood directly in front of Jax. It seemed to be savoring the kill and hoped to give its prey the idea he might live. It chuckled to itself while it licked its lips. Right after, Its jaw unhinged to an impossible degree as it went in for a bite. It expected to taste the sweet velvet on its tongue, but that didn’t come. Instead, it choked on the blue sword as it entered its mouth and exited the back of its head while thick black blood spurted out like a hose.
Jax’s hand had moved on its own at breakneck speed. He hardly knew what he was doing before he saw his sword plunged into the creature. The creatures seemed slightly shocked, but it wasn’t dead yet. Jax knew he needed to end it as fast as possible; he put both hands on the sword and pulled down with enough force to crack the floor under his feet. Despite the creature’s attempt to remove the sword, it was too late. It suddenly felt the two sides of its body peel away as it was cleaved in half.
Its broken body writhed and steamed before it dissolved into thin air. Jax panted heavily from the exertion. What the hell was that!? What’s happening!? He thought. He never thought that something like this would happen. His worries about life after high school felt small in comparison. He looked around once more to get an idea of what happened. The entire school was in chaos as walls and floors were collapsed and turned the school into a maze. Wait! Where’s Oliver!? Jax panicked.
He frantically searched for his best friend amongst the rubble. He maneuvered and twisted around the hallways until he found him. Oliver was lying on his back with his eyes closed; he remained so still that a statue would have thought him to be a rock. Jax walked up to him with a glimmer of hope in his chest. He put his hands on Oliver’s shoulders and tried to wake him up.
“Oliver, it’s me. Wake up!”
He shook him once more, but there was still no response. His faint sliver of hope started to vanish once he noticed Oliver wasn’t breathing. Jax’s hand brushed against the back of his head, crushing all hope at last; his hand became drenched a deep red from the large gash on the back of Oliver’s head. It stained his light-blonde hair and told Jax he was gone. Jax fell to his knees as tears rushed down his face.
“Don’t leave me, Ollie!” he screamed. “We were going to do so much together! It wasn’t supposed to end like this!” he wept.
Jax stayed there for only a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity. As his tears started to run dry, something changed inside him; his sword changed from a deep blue to deep blue with red speckles in it. Aside from knowing he couldn’t leave Oliver here, Jax’s mind only told him one thing, “Kill them all.” He picked up Oliver’s body and navigated through the destroyed school. None of the creatures stood a chance against his sharp blade; their death cries didn’t bother Jax one bit as he walked past them unfazed.
Eventually, he managed to get outside. The whole city was in ruin as buildings laid on top of one another. The black oval still hovered in the sky far in the distance; several shadow creatures were falling out of it and continued to pollute the world. The sight of it only made Jax’s rage grow by the second. He gingerly laid Oliver’s body down on the ground and spoke.
“I’m going to make things right.”
After hiding Oliver’s body from the creatures, Jax continued towards the black oval with a grip on his sword tight enough to make his knuckles white.
An unknown amount of time had passed in the day, but Jax didn’t care. The only thing he cared about was killing as many creatures as possible. He removed the sword from his most recent victim and wiped the black blood off. Despite him killing hundreds, they didn’t seem to stop coming. However, he noticed that the closer he got to the oval, the harder it was for his sword to cut through them. They seem to be getting stronger, Jax thought. That idea slightly worried him, but also made him excited. Maybe I’ll be able to kill their leader! He thought with a twisted smile.
Jax walked some more and looked up. He now stood directly under the oval, but something was strange. The creatures had stopped coming out while the air went dead quiet. He knew something was off, so he kept a tight grip. Jax tried to search for more creatures, but something unexpected happened. An ear-piercing scream echoed from the oval as a giant creature fell out of it. It had looked just like the smaller ones he fought but scaled up. It wasn’t just a creature, but a demon, Jax thought.
It loomed over him at the height of about fifteen feet while its thick muscles hinted at extreme power. Regardless, Jax didn’t waver and stood his ground. The demon grinned, showing massive teeth that could demolish almost anything. It played the first move as it swiped at Jax with a large clawed hand. Jax just barely dodged the strike and managed to slice off a few of its fingers. He expected to hear cries of pain, but nothing happened; the demon continued to grin at Jax and didn’t seem threatened at all. It was like a cat toying with a mouse before going in for the kill.
Another unexpected thing happened that threw Jax off; the demon’s fingers started to regrow at a visible rate! None of the other creatures displayed that ability, which made Jax more cautious. I don’t think I can just rush in, he thought. The demon’s next attack rained down on Jax as if they were bullets. It took all of his strength just to dodge; as a result, he couldn’t land any hits. A brief pause in the demon’s attacks allowed Jax to go on the offensive. He slid behind its legs and carved deeply into its ankles. The demon’s leg soon began to lose support, causing it to trip on nearby rubble. Jax started to go in for the kill before he noticed a red light glowing on the demon’s chest. I wonder what that is? He smirked.
He knew that opportunity wouldn’t last long, so he moved as fast as lightning. Jax jumped on top of the demon and headed for the red light. The barrage of strikes from its powerful arms nearly ended Jax, but he dodged each of them by a hair on his neck. The closer he got, the deadlier the strikes became. The demon wasn’t grinning anymore; it wore a furious look filled with anger. However, it was too late. Jax stood above the glowing spot; it pulsated and moved as if it was alive. He plunged his sword deep into it until only the hilt was visible. An otherworldly scream echoed from the demon before it too writhed and hissed steam before vanishing.
Jax expected to see the oval vanish, but it didn’t. Another scream echoed from it as two more demons came through. Here we go again, he thought. His grip increased on his sword; the blue vanished, leaving the blade a scarlet red. He looked towards the demons as his eyes filled with energy and spoke.
“I don’t know where you bastards came from, but I’m sending you all to hell!”