The Mercenary entered the den after a damn good job. His wallet full of hard earned cash. He fell into one of the couches and pulled off his toque and scarf. Winter was coming, and it was going to hit hard. His green eyes fell on the Dealer sitting at the bar. A heavy-set man with a face like an abused bulldog.

The Dealer’s eyes went wide. He ignored his client and rushed over to the seat opposite of the Mercenary.

The Mercenary smiled, “How you doing, Poindexter.”

“It’s Dex, sir. I got your stuff.”

The Mercenary smiled. He was barely into his twenties. The Dealer already had flecks of silver in his scruff. Sweat leaked down the Dealer’s neck as he reached into his pocket for an inhaler. Like anything from a pharmacy, the cylinder was shiny chrome but the spout was wrapped dirty rubbed-shiny masking tape.

With a shaky hand the Dealer handed the Mercenary the inhaler. The Mercenary smiled and handed over a bundle of bills.

The Dealer looked confused. Usually he tested it before paying.

“You’ve been reliable, Dex. Thanks.”

The Dealer nodded and slunk away to the filthy hole he crawled out of.

The Mercenary was left alone. His headache had only gotten worse since the job. Once the gunfire quieted, the pounded only increased. Do it, keep me quiet! Screamed the voice in his head. It won’t work forever! One day you’ll have to remember. One day!

He pressed the inhaler to his lips and depressed the button.

He breathed in and a rush of warm sensation rushed through his limbs, all the way to his fingers. His headache vanished, the voice silenced, and he grinned. Instead of smoke, a long tendril of blue flame left his mouth. His tongue felt tingled and tasted of rotten eggs. He could smell the burning chemicals drive up his nose.

The sensation of quiet in his brain was all he needed in this dump yard of a town.

Soon he’d move on. On the hunt. For jobs, for money, for Fume.

But mostly, just running away from his past.


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