“Why should we believe you?” a masculine voice asked. Lire smiled sadly as she faced outwards; her eyes watching the tiny people scurrying back and forth in the streets below.
“Honestly… I’m not happy with my reality.” She said softly. She blinked rapidly as she watched a tall man walk past the building she stood on top of. She smiled sadly as she watched him walk down the street and then turned to face the man behind her.
Her expression was cold and her voice betrayed nothing as she studied him, “I told you. My loyalty belongs to no one. I am not here for any reasons besides my own. I am not against you nor do I wish to join you. I simply wish to be left alone.” She answered calmly. The man in front of her smiled and shook his head, “I’ve already talked to Jae Mul, he has made it clear we are to kill you if you are not willing to work for him.”
Lire raised an eyebrow and the glare she gave him was withering;
“Tell me, Guen Suk, are you aware of how I became the Viper?” She asked; her tone dangerous. Guen Suk shook his head but refused to back down from her intimidation tactics. Lire noted his stubbornness and a glimmer of respect flared to life in her. She knew he must be strong; he was wouldn’t have been sent to seek her out otherwise. She could only guess at what powers he must possess; he may not even be a mutant she mused thoughtfully. He was heavily scarred with scars crisscrossing his arms and one ugly one that went over his shaven head.
“I don’t care. My boss was clear; either you join us or you die.” He repeated and Lire rolled her eyes. “Don’t bother me.” She answered and turned to walk away. She heard him move and suddenly flinched backwards; his hand grasped where her arm had been and she looked back to see that his arm had stretched over 9 feet to reach her. She showed no expression as she slashed with her knife but missed. Guen Suk was grinning; his mouth stretching grotesquely as his arms and legs started to lengthen. Lire felt her heart leap into her mouth as she jumped backwards and held her knife ready. The man, if she could even call him that, reached for her again and she was forced to dodge. She threw a knife as she rolled under his grasp but it seemed to bounce off his skin and she swallowed hard.
The man was starting to move faster as his body adapted to the rapid growth and Lire realized if she didn’t get away fast then she really would die. She turned to run; leaping across the gap that separated her from the next rooftop. Guen Suk’s arm flashed out, however, and knocked into her with enough force that it through her into the side of the building. Lire cried out as her body hit the stone wall and she scrabbled desperately at the rough stone as she slid down and plummeted to the bottom. She was lucky that there was a dumpster at the bottom; even more so that it was full of trash although she wasn’t exactly grateful. Even so the landing was anything but easy. Her arm slammed against the metal edge and she bit back a pain-filled scream as she felt the bone crack; her body slammed against the inside of the metal container and the blow was felt even through the trash and she curled up clutching her arm to her chest.
“Have you changed your mind yet?” Guen Suk called from above her and Lire looked up with wide eyes. He was hanging from between the buildings; one hand on either side as his long legs braced themselves against both walls. Lire climbed painfully out of the container and stumbled out of the alleyway and into the Korean street. She could hear Guen Suk’s cackling laughter following her as she cradled her arm close to her and walked down the crowded sidewalk; she ignored the curious stares and disgusted faces that turned her way as she walked past.
She knew the frightening mutant must be following her and because of that she stayed in clear view of the crowds; staying far from the dark passages that led into alleys. She finally entered a mall and wandered cautiously through the stores. She smiled and bowed; not meeting anyone’s eyes as she looked for different clothing to wear, knowing Guen Suk would be looking for her tattered black clothing. She walked to very back of the store and discreetly reached for a salmon colored shirt and knee length white skirt. She waited until the sales woman was not watching and then walked to the back where she quickly picked the lock and went into a changing room. Once in the private space she allowed herself to succumb to the intense pain as she slumped against the wall, cradling her arm. She studied herself in the mirror and suddenly it was as if a dam had broken loose. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she saw how her skin was blood, her black shirt was basically shredded and her pants were stained and sticky from the trash.
She gingerly pulled off her clothing and whimpered as she poked the massive bruise that was developing on her side from Guen Suk’s fist. She gritted her teeth as she cleaned as much blood and slime from her body as possible and picked the alarms on the stolen clothes before slipping them on. Her body was trembling and she had to stop what she was doing and sit down to take deep breathes; desperately trying to calm herself. She tore strips from her ruined shirt and tightly wrapped her broken arm. It had taken her almost a year to find where her lover, Alex, had gone to after she’d staged his death. He was going by Hyun Ki now, his old Korean name, and it looked like her hopes about joining him would never come true. She’d been watching him for several days before the Korean Mafia had confronted her; she’d been about ready to confront Alex and reveal that she’d killed Diego but Guen Suk had intercepted her.
Lire was once again forced to acknowledge losing him and this time she knew she wouldn’t see him again. She swallowed her crying as she fixed her clothing and then ran her fingers through her hair. Gradually she started to regain her control as she tied up her hair and fixed it; she even managed to hide some of her knives on the outfit but was forced to leave some of her bigger weapons. She slipped out of the dressing room and started walking out of the store; she grabbed a pair of shoes as she walked by a display and slipped them on before casually walking out of the store like nothing had happened. The heels she’d stolen clicked on the tiled floor and she held her head high; sashaying about as if she belonged in the mall. There was a small sunglass kiosk that seemed to be unattended and Lire scooped up a dark pair with one arm and pulled off the tag before putting them on. She was walking towards the exit and passed a woman talking on the phone; the woman was standing next to a bench facing away from it as she argued in rapid fire Korean; a floor length coat and leather purse sitting there waiting for attention. Lire came close and skirted around the woman as she picked up the ignored articles and pulled on the jacket.
She swung the purse over her shoulder and tucked her broken arm under the jacket; out of view as she walked out of the building and into the parking lot. She felt around one of the pockets with her good arm and almost starting crying again in relief as she felt car keys; she didn’t pause for a second as she walked towards the parking lot. The shades were holding her hair back away from her face as she glanced around the surrounding roofs; she felt her heart jump when she caught a glimpse of Guen Suk’s elongated arms and body framed against the starry sky before he ducked back out of view. He wasn’t looking in her direction; her appearance having changed so drastically he didn’t know any better. Lire was sweating as she pressed the alarm button on the keys for the car to beep and alert her as to which one it was.
As she approached it she looked around carefully and then climbed in and started it. Maneuvering the car out of the lot with a broken arm was a challenge that had her teeth gritted against the agony as she drove away. She could see Geun Suk’s hideous form on top of the mall roof; watching and waiting. She swallowed and started to whimper softly as she drove away from the one thing that had kept her going and had fueled her rebellion against her stepfather.