Twisted Realities (Part 1)
Hester was running. Again.
The double scabbard at her side thumped against her leg, but she pushed harder against the added weight. The town border was nearing, and she needed to get out, fast. It was only a matter of time before the dead family was discovered, and an investigation was launched. Hester had tried to cover her tracks the best she could, but she knew the subtle clues would lead to her eventually.
Two years ago, at the age of fifteen, Hester would have gotten away with almost any murder. But then again, two years ago, parallel universes were still a mystery. Now they were very real, and several galactic visitors had come to pay Earth a visit. Six months ago, when the visits first started, only a few noticed. Then the clones began hunting down their alternate selves, slowly trying to rid Earth of the evil that inhabited it.
For Earth was now mainly inhabited by criminals of all sorts. Few pure souls remained, and those were in hiding, fearful of the fate that might become them. It had been like this for three years, ever since the virus had escaped the lab. The few sane people called it ‘The Path to Madness’, and accurately so. The virus acted similarly to the Lyssa Virus, but, instead of turning people into zombies, it turned them into psychotic murderers.
Hester was a victim of The Path to Madness, but she was a special case. She was the only victim to be aware of the fact that there was an evil virus inhabiting her brain. This was perhaps caused by a deficiency in the virus that caused it to inhabit only a part of the human brain. Or perhaps Hesters’s intelligence was just higher than average. Either way, she could have fought the virus if she wanted to. But she didn’t, as the thrill of crime was addicting, and had ensnared her from the first murder.
Hester had been living quite an enjoyable life of crime. That is, until her alternate self decided to pay her a visit.
Aster was the complete opposite of Hester. She believed in good, and was used to the peace of the alternate Earth. Aster had an amazing determination, and was currently determined to kill Hester, whatever it took. Hester, in return, was determined to murder her alternate twin.
Hester passed the border, and kept running until she reached the familiar alleyway. She frequently came here now, seeking shelter from the sharp eyes of Aster. Hester hated having to hide. Two years ago, she wouldn’t have dreamt of hiding from anyone. But a lot had changed in those two years.
She leaned against the wall of an abandoned shop, resting her tired legs, willing the burning sensation to subside. Pulling out the larger of her two daggers, Hester wiped the bloodstained blade on her even more bloodstained coat. It did little to help. Sighing, she forced her tired legs to move, continuing down the alley until she reached the increasingly familiar tumbledown building.
It was an insignificant building that had perhaps been a warehouse some twenty years ago. Now, it was where Hester came to hide. She trusted that Aster wouldn’t wander down here because, being a typical teenage girl, Aster hated dirt and filth. The alley contained a ridiculous amount of random garbage, sometimes maybe even a dead body or two.
Today, Hester was met with a surprise upon entering the ancient building. There was a headless dead body right in the middle of the room, hanging from the ceiling. Hester did a cursory sweep of the cramped space, finding the head of the body as she did so. Hester walked over, slowly, carefully, aware that there might be various traps set up to capture her. But there was nothing of the sort. Whoever the killer was, they had no intention of using a trap to catch Hester. Which could mean two things. Either finding the body here was a coincidence, or the killer intended to capture and murder Hester themselves.
The two reasons were narrowed down to one when Hester realised that the face was one she recognised.
Xavier Blackwell had been a well-known criminal, and now he was dead. She could tell it was the criminal version of him because the clothes on the body were ripped and contained some ancient bloodstains. Hester had been on several missions with Xavier, and every one of them had been an enormous success. Finding his body in her hideout could mean only one thing- they were threatening her. Aster must be using Xavier’s alternate self to aid her in killing Hester.
Hester’s blood boiled. Those imbeciles. Not only did they hunt down one of Hester’s partners in crime, but they were now using his body to threaten her. Hester was aware that Aster was probably counting on her making a stupid, split-second decision, but that knowledge did next to nothing to calm Hester’s raging fury. It was now apparent that she was being underestimated, and that was one thing she absolutely hated.
Any criminal who knew Hester could have told Aster not to mess with her dignity. The few people who dared to do so ended up dying horrible, painfully slow deaths. But then again, Aster wouldn’t have bothered to converse with a criminal. Even if she had, she would probably have thought they were exaggerating. After all, from her point of view, Hester was a coward, constantly hiding and never accepting the challenge of a fight.
Hester did a closer sweep of the body hanging from the ceiling, paying attention to details. That was when she noticed the piece of paper tied to Xavier’s wrist. Stepping closer, she realised it was a note, written in neat, cursive print.
Dear Hester, I hope you now realise that I will hunt you down, no matter what you do to hide from me. Now that I have the help of Raven, Xavier Blackwell’s alternate, my job of killing you has become easier. Admit it, if we killed Xavier, you have no hope of making a stand against us.
Better say your prayers. I hope to see you soon, Love, Aster
That did it. This was the most disrespect Hester had ever received. She struggled to think through the red haze that clouded her mind. After about two seconds of careless contemplation, she came to a decision. She would make it extremely easy for Aster to find her, and then kill her off. The universe would be a better place without Aster anyway. Again, Hester was aware that this was probably the reaction Aster was hoping for, but she couldn’t care less. No one insulted her dignity and got away with it.
She would get her revenge. Aster would pay.