Pantheon

A sci-fi story

Chapter 1 by actualxtrash actualxtrash

Hi, actualxtrash here. Like the name implies I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and this is probably gonna suck. Have fun, drop some feedback. <3


It was warm. Comfortable. A saline taste enveloped his tongue. John felt… weightless? No, not quite weightless, although something close. Water perhaps? He kicked out with his leg and felt resistance. Pins and needles danced up John’s leg, but he was indeed floating.

{hiss eyes parted slightly. Dark red liquid surrounded him, but he could just make out his body drifting below him. Where was this? John had been curled up under his desk at home, trying to fix his desktop. He remembered pulling a loose wire and seeing a spark followed by blinding light. Had he died? Killed in some freak electrical accident? Panic began welling in John’s stomach. This wasn’t right! He was only twenty, he still had-

“Did… did it work?”

A coarse voice cut through John’s head. It’s tone was husky, but decidedly feminine. It came from above him, faint and distorted.

“It uh… shit. Wait no, yeah. Looks like hes online.”

Deeper this time. Definitely male, probably older. He looked upward and the same unpleasant sensation started in his neck. Above him was a piercing light – he could see nothing beyond it.

“Reel him up!”

An engine somewhere below sputtered, and a pressure grew under his armpits. John looked wide-eyed at his shoulders. Two black straps wrapped around each joint, pulling him upwards. His head breached the red liquid before John could process what was happening. He gasped, instinctively desperate for air, although he seemed to have been breathing fine before.

He was in the corner of what looked like an old warehouse. A patchwork of corrugated metal squares composed the walls, each piece in some varying state of rust. Vibrant green splotches of moss and vine poked through shattered windows and rivet holes. It was dark outside, and John could see a insects buzzing around an orange streetlight outside one of the high-set windows. Auto-parts (or at least he thought they were auto-parts) lay strewn about the stained concrete floor inside. A couple of workbenches nestled up against the far corner, next to a thin mattress and crumpled blanket.

John jolted to a halt as the mechanism lifting him stopped. A metal walkway hugged the edge of the vat he had emerged from. Leaning against the oxidized railing was a man in his sixties. His gaunt, tanned face was framed by a square jaw. A shock of frizzed white hair shot up from his forehead, bordered by leather-bound goggles. A coffee stained lab coat sat on his gangly frame. Elbow length black gloves led into a tattered lab coat. He was the spitting image of a mad scientist. A woman in her early twenties perched on the railing to his left. The top of a ponytail peeked over her head, and unkempt blonde locks parted to reveal cutting green eyes. She wore a grease-stained olive jacket, over a black tank-top. Her sleeves pulled up to her elbow revealing a mishmash of scars and bandanges. Black denim covered her slender legs, capped in untied combat boots.

“Whew, Morgan, you really know how to pick em, huh?” The man teased.

“Shut the fuck up Terrance I swear to god it said he was fast.”

“Fastest away from the gym may-”

John stopped listening. The pins and needles he felt earlier engulfed him. The prickling grew into a burning, and John thrashed in agony. It was unlike any sensation he had felt before, like every muscle and sinew in his thin body was trying to vibrate itself off the bone. He was only vaguely aware of being carried forward towards the metal walkway.

After what felt like the longest minute of his life, John was being lowered to the grate platform below. His onlookers rushed over, catching him as his feet tried and failed to take his weight. The straps around his shoulders were removed as the man inspected him with a spark of concern in his eyes.

“I’ve been told that’s unpleasant. Welcome to the future.” He rasped as a sly grin etched itself across his face.

John moved his mouth, trying to get a word out. This was too much. He had too many questions. He heard a giggle from behind him as he finally found his voice.

“What the fuck.”

Welcome to New Athens.

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