Excerpt for Human Nature: Seven Suns by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Seven Suns

Written by Joseph R. Bristol


This is for the people who understand that love is not just a word. Love isn’t even just actions. Love is what our creator desires us to show each other. Love is an emotion felt randomly for random people. This book is dedicated to the people who understand that you can’t choose who you love, but you can choose how you love them. Love yourself first, know your worth. Above all never believe that someone who loves you would purposely hurt you. This book was therapy for me. I pray it helps all those out there who feel intense love for others. All those who love wholeheartedly, kindly, patiently, and want to be loved, never forget you are loved. Love yourself enough to keep living. Hurt people, hurt people. Don’t continue the cycle.

Chapter 1

He stood at the edge of the shade under an enormously odd tree. He adjusted his goggles looking around at the buildings in rubble. The dust was about four inches high off the ground. He could barely see anything. Two main coon cats, bald from the neck down ran across the street. They came from the inside of a dilapidated building nearby. The heat from the two suns was intense; it, danced across the ground as if the cement were made of lava. In a flash, the cats moved across the sun-scorched land into more shade, and continued to run. The smaller of the two cats stopped and looked directly at him. Then as fast as it stopped, it turned and ran off.

Everything his eyes touched was destroyed. A gargantuan bird flew off a distant building before its left side fell down and shot more dust into the air. The third sun was on the horizon and felt like it was close enough to be pulled right out of the sky. The heat felt unbearable.

He continued to look around searching for anyone, but could see no one in sight. When he opened his mouth to shout no sound came out. Panicked and confused thinking he had no mouth, he reached under his mouth-guard and touched his lips feeling a slight sense of relief. Still he could make no sound. He could make no noise, not even a whimper.

“What are you doing here? Who are you?”

The voice he heard behind him wasn’t human, nor fully mechanical. It was a hybrid of both, it was robotically human. When he turned around, he saw what seemed to be a human. The figure was shaped like a person, but did not have any distinguishable features. As he looked over the being, he realized there was nothing to reveal its gender. Its skin was smooth and a dull silver. It approached him, reaching out its hand. Surprise amplified his confusion making him take a couple of steps back out of the shade. He shouts at it to no avail as it continues toward him with its hand out, while speaking.

“I have not seen a human in over five years, I thought they were all extinct. I want to examine you, come with me.”

He can feel the tingly sensation of fear creeping up his left leg. He tries to look through the dust to find anything laying on the floor. It continues talking as it advances forward.

“Get out of the sun before you combust.”

Unable to see through to the ground he crouches down feeling around while stepping back. He touches a metal pole and clenches it readying himself for a fight. It stops walking toward him. Its yellow pupils change to red and its smooth dull silvery skin prickles up like scales on a snake.

Its colors change from dull silver to midnight black, its round fingertips turn pointed like the tips of knives. It arches its back and crouches into more of a creature stance. Glaring at him, it proceeds to get on all four limbs. Its legs changing shape into that of a four-legged animal.

It bares its teeth and growls like an enraged dog, its teeth turn from flat like a human to canine teeth. It begins to crawl toward him steadily. He swings his pole at it trying to shout. The creature grows more frustrated.

It lunges at him and he takes a swing hitting it right in the face. Immediately he throws the pole turns around and begins to run. Using all his strength he runs as fast as he can without looking back. He hears the creature rustling around on the ground.

He looks for anywhere to hide anywhere that could offer him an escape from his attacker. The sun's heat begins to bare on him. His skin feels like it’s burning, as if it were peeling off his muscles. He continues to run ignoring the blistering heat.

He sees what looks like an opening in the ground up ahead. He squints his eyes trying to see what it is that is in front of him. When he realizes it’s another person, he smiles. He looks behind him and sees the creature approaching rapidly.

His heart races as he increases his speed. He hears the pounding of the creatures’ feet approaching him. Grasped by curiosity he fights the urge to look back.

He closes his eyes and pushes himself to his limit. Feeling his legs about to give out he forces himself forward. He sees a person in the opening up ahead. With apprehension written all over his face, his heart feels like it stops. Desperation fills his veins.

The person closes the opening just as he feels a burning sensation in his back. He collapses to the ground, feeling a heavy weight on him. Anguish grips his body, he struggles to understand what is happening to him. He tries crawling forward, but the sharp, burning sensations in his back make it difficult for him to move.

He claws at the dry, dusty dirt mixing the warm blood spilling from his body with the earth. Until it turns to mud. He grabs clumps of it trying to escape his attacker. No words or sounds escape his lips. He tries and tries to shout for help and nothing comes from his mouth. He knows death is upon him.


Ares hears himself screaming as he snaps awake from his nightmare, his forehead and bed drenched in sweat. It had all felt so vivid, as if he was there living in the moment. He looks around his room making sure he is really home. Trying to ensure he is actually awake. The last time he dreamt of those creatures he was standing in line for lunch.

Ever since he let Doctor Duenna use the virtual cerebral assistance machine on him. He’s seen the humanized machines in his dreams. The human creature was more than an android, cyborg, or robot; it was more than a human. The creature was like a hybrid of humans and technology. It was in a class all its own. He got up out of the bed and left his room walking toward the bathroom. Ares hoped everyone in his home was asleep.

He walked past his little sister's room and stopped to peek through her cracked door. She was still sleeping. She laid in her bed, sprawled out as if the world had no troubles or worries. Down the hall he noticed his mother's room door was closed.

As he approached it, his mind raced with different scenarios in which he enters and kills her. His mind raced with what he would use to do it. What he would say to his sister and the police when they asked. He dwelled on the idea until he turned the knob slowly and as quietly as he could. The room door was locked, he let out a breath of relief.

God don’t like ugly, she has to protect herself. Let's wash up and get back to bed before she gets up and shoots us, claiming it’s an accident.

A female voice said to him. He smiled to himself and continued to the bathroom to wash himself off and get back in bed. Dreams like that, where the world was bleak and destroyed those were the types of dreams he has been having lately. He wasn't sure if it was because of the virtual cerebral assistance machine or all the extra time he had been spending with her.

He looked at himself in the mirror, his burnt umber skin tone shined from the moisture of his sweat. He felt thick and sticky; his hazel brown eyes looked dull and lifeless. He filled his hands with water and washed off his face, running his wet hands over his cut hair.

He headed straight back to bed. Once comfortable, he laid there with his phone in his hand. He pulled up his email and started typing. Dreams where he dies always made him feel like he was going to die very soon. He tried to remind himself that he just dreamt of being killed. That thought didn't make the feeling of a short life go away though.

He typed an email, asking to meet up with her. He had known the girl for years and from the day he saw her he wanted to be with her. He always fought his desire to say something or make a move. Tonight he was feeling tired of holding in his emotions. If he was going to die soon he might as well try his luck.

Ares wrote her an email saying he would like to talk to her about how his feeling. Things have been happening to him that make him think about his life and what he wants. He just wants to be happy, and hiding his feelings and thoughts were doing the opposite. He wanted to talk and free himself of his emotions.

He hovered his thumb over the send button and closed his eyes. He thought about what she would or could say when she read the email. How she might react when he confesses his love. All the different possibilities that could occur. He lay there thinking about everything, feeling like his eyelids had weights on them. He closed his eyes. His mind created a place for his thoughts.

A house flashed in his mind’s eye. Then the interior space filled with various doors to rooms against a mirror-covered wall. The circular living room was large like a banquet hall. The doors against the wall conveyed the impression of being miles away from the large, round, oak wood table in the middle of the floor. The five doors that lined the walls were closed. Different symbols were carved on each door. All of them were glistening, copper, brown oak except the blood red door in the middle. It seemed the farthest.

As he approached the table, he saw four figures sitting. Two were women; a person, and a man sitting in the chairs around the table. They all looked at him with grim faces. He walks into the room and stands before them his hands on the table.

Ares’ soft, pink lips quivered as he searched for sympathy in any of their eyes. The first woman was sitting at the head of the table with her eyes closed. A somber mouth was set on her face.

Next to her sat the second woman. Her green eyes were fierce, even with the distraught look on her face. The person next to her had their face covered by long black hair. Their head was low revealing only a mouth shaped like Ares. The person was more feminine than masculine.

At the other end of the table sat a man whose face was blurred with many other faces. Ares could not decipher which faces were in the mix. His multi face looked angry. His eyebrows knotted and his eyes were burning red.

Are you really going to tell the doctor everything about Cersei tomorrow? Do you think that's a smart plan?

The low pitched growl he spoke with annoyed Ares. It came out in his voice along with the fury in his eyes, when he responded.

Yes Joker, I’m going to tell her everything. I can’t do this anymore. I’m hurting and you guys aren’t helping. I’m confused and scared, I can’t do this alone.

The green-eyed girl laughs. Just then the girl sitting next to her on the table’s chord stands up and speaks.

I warned you from jump street. I told you that dealing with her...

The green-eyed girl quickly blurts out.


The woman standing gives the girl next to her a scowl. She looks back at her and covers her mouth looking apologetic. She turns to focus on Ares again and makes eye contact with him, pulling him in with her eyes.

Anytime he looked in her eyes he felt complete trust in her words. Her ocean blue eyes were the only things different in their facial features. She had the exact same face as Ares, same height and weight distribution. He watched as his female clone walked toward him speaking.

It was a bad idea. I showed you where it said it was a sin and not to be done. You insisted on listening to Joker and Black Dove. You insisted on following your fleshly desire, on giving into your lustful ways. Now you want to meet up and talk about it? Expose us to the world?

It isn’t like that Exodus and you know it. She isn’t like that, she’ll understand and help. She doesn’t even like the Left Hand.

He responds before walking past her and toward his chair. He sits down and pushes himself away from the green-eyed girl. He slides directly across from Joker and begins a staring contest. He uses the opportunity to scan his face and try to figure out who he is.

When Ares looks at his face, he sees himself and several other faces he thinks he recognizes. The faces melt into one indistinguishable face.

What do you suggest I do Black Dove? Only Soulless Begotten Son? Any thoughts on this?

Ares says aloud, Joker smiles at him while maintaining eye contact. The two people sitting at the table both look at each other then back at the boys. Exodus stands from a distance watching all of them at the table. She walks over and places her hand on the back of Ares’s chair.

The figure sitting next to Joker lifts its head slightly and scans the room, presumably looking at everyone there. The long, straight, black hair covered its face. It wore an all-white, turtleneck sweater. The sleeves came a couple of inches past the hands.

The bangs of it's hair ended precisely at the edges of a small, feminine nose. The nostrils and a section of her mouth were the only visible parts of her face. She twitches a grin in Ares’ direction and lowers her head covering what little of her face they could see.

The green-eyed girl who is farthest from Joker, sits back in her chair, looks at the Only Soulless Begotten Son and folds her arms across her chest scoffing at his question, then saying.

You never have anything to add to any conversation.

She then turns to Ares and says.

Why would you waste time asking for her opinion? Why waste all of our time anyway? The only person here you listen to is Joker.

Ares breaks eye contact with Joker and looks at her. Her green eyes were piercing. She could see through him. Her pecan skin tone made the umber-colored scar on her face stand out, it was in the shape of an X. She looked just like him as well, her rufous color hair braided back in comparison to his brush cut.

That’s not true Black Dove!

Ares yells, Joker laughs and sits back in his chair. He looks at them both with a sinister grin.

Exactly! Even he knows it!

Black Dove shouts, pointing at Joker. She slams her fist on the table.

I hate it here, I hate him. Still yet I have to be here, I have to deal with him. The Only Soulless Begotten Son never speaks up for herself. Exodus is always spewing some religious garbage and Joker is a demon. I’m the only one with any sense of normalcy here. Still yet it’s him you listen to. Nonetheless, me like an ass, will continue to be the only sensible one here. Giving advice that will be ignored.

You can confess to her now or later, it makes no difference. Confessing only means you want a reaction. Don’t go in with your expectations very high, she’s already in love with someone. Plus the doc won’t understand, she’ll turn you into the Left Hand. They’ll use the machine on us again.

She gets up and walks away from the table. Heading toward the door with the Dove carved into it. Ares stands up and begins to go after her, but Exodus grabs his arm.

Let her cool off. She makes some good points and you know it. Joker is the one who you trust. He is your best friend, he was the first. Regardless of what she just said, you’ll likely do whatever he says. It always comes down to him and you versus us versus you versus him. One big, chaotic fight.

Ares lays around in bed feeling the weight of his thumb increasing. He feels the cool glass against it. He doesn’t open his eyes to check if the email was sent. He just lays there letting weariness drift him off into slumber, the phone loosely held in his hand.

Chapter 2

“How are you feeling today Ares?”

The blue-eyed red haired white woman looked him in his hazel brown eyes and waited for a response. She sat directly across from him. Her slender, long legs crossed with her hands placed neatly on top of them. Her paper and pen sat on the coffee table that separated them from one another.

Ares sat there bouncing his leg up and down with his hands folded together. Sweat dripped from his visibly moist palms onto his pants. He looked around the room observing the softness of the atmosphere.

“I’m alive so no complaining. How about yourself?”

He says in a calm, nonchalant voice. Throwing himself back in his chair while still shaking his leg. She shakes her head in disapproval, straightening up in her seat she leans forward placing her chin in her hand before saying.

“And how was your weekend?”

He slumps forward and begins shaking his head no as he speaks.

“To be honest with you, I don’t know. Maybe it was good or bad, I know I need help though Doctor Duenna. I need to get over this feeling. I need to be normal, I mean things were alright. I really want to say they were good, but were they?

I feel like my brain, my thoughts never slow down. One minute I feel great, like I can do anything. Next second I want to die. The isolation suffocates me. My body screams for relief. What am I really doing to myself doc? Why can’t I have normal thoughts and feelings?”

“You’re experiencing extreme highs of mania and extreme lows. Have you been taking your medication?”

She says to him searching his eyes for answers. He breaks eye contact with her, looking around the room for a distraction. She doesn’t stop speaking.

“How are you handling the urges? Can you describe how you feel right now? I’m alive isn’t an emotional mind state.”

She says as she picks up her pen and pad. He plants his face in his lap, his leg bouncing slower under the weight of his body.

“I’m giving all the correct responses in every social situation. I’m a functioning member of society. That’s what matters right doc?”

He says to her. She nods her head yes and he continues.

“I’m usually too busy to give into my fleshly desires and I feel way too confused, angry, and hurt anyways. It’s like I know she is no good for me, and I shouldn’t feel this way about her. But I can’t help how I feel. I’m in love with her and hurting over it all at the same time. I feel like my emotions are right and think my thoughts are wrong. You know what I mean doc?”

He lifts his head looking in Doctor Duenna’s direction. She lifts her head from her notes preparing to respond to him. When he cuts her off and continues to speak.

“So many things I have to deal with: school, Sabrina, people, the four. So many things clouding my mind and emotional spectrum. She provides so much comfort, so much relief. It’s like I didn’t choose this life. These feelings she gives me. It came out of nowhere and now I have to live with it. This haunting, this eidolon love.”

Doctor Duenna jotted down a couple more notes while he spoke; when he finished, she put down her pen and chased him around the room with her eyes. He rarely ever made eye contact or allowed physical connection. She felt she understood him though, she smiled and spoke in a gentle tone.

“Well, that is why I’m here, that’s why you’re here. We’re going to filter through these emotions and experiences to get to the root of the issue. Then we can deal with the underlying reason for the confusion and anger. You must have a lot of people and connections to maintain and create. You mentioned the four; if they’ve returned, we can use the virtual cerebral assistance machine again. I know things didn’t go well the first time, but we’ve learned a lot from that failure.”

Ares stands up and begins pacing the room. He walks around the couch he was sitting in a couple of times and stops right behind it. Facing Doctor Duenna, he leans forward on the back of the couch so he can look at her notes. She sees him trying to look and pushes them closer to him.

“I have nothing to hide from you. We have open communication here. We have to be honest with each other. You have to tell me everything. If you only give me bits and pieces, it makes it hard for me to help you. That’s considered keeping secrets, which is omitting the truth. Also called lying. I can’t help you efficiently if I don’t have all the pieces.”

He rolls his head around his shoulders and lazily says.

“Yeass ok!”

“Has this girl you mentioned been the reason you've been so frustrated and withdrawn lately? Without the four, I thought your behavior would continue to progress. You’ve been the opposite as of lately. You’ll never get into Right Cerebral Academy with these social skills scores. ”

He stops spinning his head and looks at her with anger. He begins pacing around the couch again. He shakes his head no over and over again. He begins mumbling to himself so only he can hear.

“You say she’s not the reason, yet still you won’t tell me her name or the dynamics of your relationship with her. So how can I honestly believe you from my point of view? She’s the missing variable. Ever since you mentioned her, you’ve been irritable and extra anxious. Unless it’s something else like the four have returned?”

She says to him, her eyes following his movements. Her tone was stern, yet motherly; she was trying to force honesty from him. Preying on his susceptibility to any kind of social pressure, she was hoping he would confirm it.

“I just can’t Doctor Duenna, she is everything to me. She is the reason I’m still alive. She’s the only thing I have for myself. She’s the sunshine on a cloudy day. Without her love I have nothing.”

He says to her glancing at her every time she’s in view as he continues to circle the couch.

“You are the only reason you’re still alive. Your life is not dependent on another person's love Ares. We discussed this before, remember?”

She says in response to him. He nods his head in agreement and circles around to sit back down on the couch. He drops the back of his head on the top of the chair staring at the ceiling for a couple of minutes, getting lost in his thoughts. Thinking about what he should do. If he should finally just let it all out. Disarm himself once and for all to the doctor.

Does that mean she thinks I’m crazy, so she doesn't feel the same?”

He thought to himself.

“Doctor Duenna, she’s moving to the Eidolon District next year. She’s leaving me. So I finally emailed her last night asking to meet up and talk about personal stuff. But it doesn’t matter because she’ll be gone soon.”

He says breaking up the silent moment, still gazing up at the ceiling. She responds to him with a joyful joking voice.

“That's not so bad, only about two hours from your home. It’s good that you made the initiative to communicate your feelings to her. Every time we speak of her I wonder when you’ll tell me what she feels for you. Can we please give her a name now? Calling her “her” can be confusing.”

Ares continues to look up at the ceiling letting his mind race with thoughts of her moving far away, tears fill his eyes. He allows a couple of minutes to go by. He takes that time to fight back the urge to cry.

“Everyone leaves me. I’m always alone. Always left with them. They told me everyone would leave. They warned me not to love, not to care, not to talk. I never listen, and when everyone leaves. They laugh and say we told you so.”

He says to Doctor Duenna. She puts down the pen and paper. She sits up straight and reaches across to tap Ares leg. When he looks at her, she can see the tears in his eyes. The pain radiating from his pores, she grabs his hands holding them in hers. She can feel him pull back from her, but she holds on and says.

“You know you can call me anytime. That doesn’t change because I’m a couple of hours away. Only our physical proximity changes. Your higher power has not left you. Ares, you have never been alone, and you will never be alone. People grow and change. A life without progress is not a life worth living. You have to understand everyone is trying to be happy, just like you. Everyone is doing what you’re doing now. Trying to live a comfortable life. You have to try to respect and understand that.”

She pauses for a second, patting his hand, giving him a sympathetic look. Then she asked.

“Do you want to use the V.C.A.M.?”

He shakes his head no, she continues talking.

“You understand that it helps right? I know it can seem intrusive. But I know it really does help, I’ve seen the change in your behavior. If you don’t want to use it, I have to assume that you feel some type of abandonment on the parts of her and me. Which is what’s been causing the shift in your behavior. Let me help you Ares, let me in. Tell me her name, and who she is. I can better assist you if I have all the information.”

Doctor Duenna says to him as he pulls his hand from hers and stands up. He begins walking away from her, rounding the couch corners. She picks up her pen and pad before getting comfortable in her seat. He walks around the couch a couple of times as she watches. He stands behind the couch looking at her. She can see the confusion in his eyes. The wheels turning in his mind. He closes his eyes and stands there silently for a couple of minutes before saying.

“Let’s start over Doctor Duenna, I’ll be more honest this time. I’ll let you in. I need help, I thought I could do this alone. I thought I could handle everything, but I can’t. I can’t do this alone doc. I need your help … I need you …”

He walks around and sits on the couch. He puts his face in his hands and cries to himself. Doctor Duenna gets up and sits next to him. She begins rubbing his back before saying to him.

“When you’re ready to talk just talk, I’ll listen. I’ve always listened right? No judgment here. Just someone listening to your life story. Trying to help you put the pieces together the best you can. You will still be able to talk to me, I’ll always have time to be your friend. No matter how far away I am. I’ve always been here for you. And I will continue to help and protect you.”

He sits there crying into his hands for a couple of minutes while the doctor soothes him. They sit in silence until the session is over. The alarm on her cell phone lets them know their time has ended. He wipes away his tears and stands up. She looks up at him saying.

“Tomorrow will you talk to me? Tell me her name and who she is? We can figure out what to do about her together.”

Ares looks Doctor Duenna in the eyes and nods his head yes.

“I will tell you everything tomorrow Doc. I don’t know, I gotta get it out. I need to be free of this pain. I am hurting all the time, and you might be right. If I just talk to someone about it. I may feel better.”

Doctor Duenna gets up from the couch and walks over to her desk. There she writes down a couple of notes about the session before turning back to him to say.

“You will feel better, trust me. Tomorrow I’ll listen and we can even extend the session if you need it. I’m here to help you Ares, I’m worried about you. These last couple of weeks you’ve been very distant. More than usual, and it worries me.

I still have the positive reviews from your teachers. You know just as I do that your grades and behavior go hand in hand. I can understand how news of two important people in your life moving away from you can be devastating. I need you to stay focused though Ares. If you get admitted into Right Cerebral Academy, you’ll probably be in the same school as her. Most of the children that live in that district go to school there. I know you don’t like talking about her or the academy, but I feel like today was a really good session. Things between us should be more like today. Thank you for showing me a little more of who you are and letting me in.”

Ares stands up, walks over to hug Doctor Duenna. It catches her off guard as he is usually very nonphysical. Always pulling away when she touches him or tries to get close. She embraces him firmly and feels the tightness of his hug.

“Please try to have dinner or interact with your family in a healthy positive way tonight. You need healthier, positive, social interactions; it will help you to feel better.”

She says to him as he ends the hug and walks away. Opening the door to exit her office, she feels a sudden sense of dread. He gives her a closed lip smile and walks away closing the door. She turns around to set up for her next client.

Chapter 3

Ares lay there on his bed in the dark looking up at the ceiling. He could hear the rumblings of people in the house. His mom and little sister were both downstairs talking and moving around doing different things. He didn’t want to know what they were doing.

He had left his therapist a couple of hours earlier. He spent the ride home thinking about their session; how he had said a lot, he almost said her name. He tried to prepare himself for the fours’ reaction. They would all probably think he was a coward. He didn’t like them speaking negatively of him.

He closed his eyes seeing darkness, then a house, then the interior until he was at the round table. The four of them sat at there looking at him. He sat in the empty chair. He scanned the room looking at them all as they gazed back at him. Exodus and Black Dove both had confused disappointed looks on their faces. The Only Soulless Begotten Sons face was covered by her hair as usual. Jokers anger was clearly visible.

You guys act like I told her everything. As if I’m the bad guy here. It's hard having these feelings and not talking about it. I didn’t say her name, but I need to talk about her.

He says to them looking around. He makes eye contact with Black Dove. She closes her eyes and shakes her head no. Her tone soft and slow when she responds before anyone else can speak.

Not sure why I’m saying anything, but I try to always be honest with you Ares and give you the best advice I can. If you really need to talk about her, call her by a different name; the Only Soulless Begotten Son called her Cersei that one time. I like that name, it’s a clever code name. It isn’t like we aren’t currently using it anyways.

Hey! That may work.

Ares excitedly shouts in response. Joker’s deep, growly voice cuts in before he can say anything less.

That’s stupid. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that puzzle out. Just don’t mention her unless she mentions her. This way we can deny the whole thing. Play dumb when the whole thing blows up in your face and they try hooking us up to the machine again. I love the way you didn’t flat out refuse. A real coward’s move. The best thing to do is stop mentioning us and just talk about your family and missing your daddy.

He laughs a deep, hearty laugh when he finishes. Ares looks at him pondering over what was just said. Black Dove shakes her head in disapproval. Joker smiles to himself and looks at everyone with his victorious smirk.

That would be better. If we wait for her to mention Cersei, than we don't need a codename. She probably won’t even bring her up again. She's moving anyway, closing my case out. Jokers actually right you know. I can just talk about other things. If I don’t bring her up, she won't talk about her …probably.

Ares smiles with pride, feeling as though he’s accomplished something major. He looks around the room and sees the faces still look grim and bleak. No one else seems to be feeling like how he does except Joker, he thinks.

So what’s the problem now ladies?

He says to them looking around. He looks at Black Dove and continues.

What’s that look for Black Dove?

She rolls her eyes at him before responding to him with an annoyed voice.

Ares, I just think it’s funny that she mentioned the machine twice. You think she’ll let any of what you said go? Be serious. I don’t want to sound like him.

She points to Joker.

But you can’t be that dumb. She’s proved she works for the Left Hand organization. She’s moving to the Eidolon District to work at the academy. The same school funded by the Left Hand organization. You think you’re playing a game with them and they are manipulating you. They won’t let her downplay the things you said today. You didn’t sound like you were begging for the machine, but you didn’t sound like you ain’t want it either.

The two ladies sitting next to her nodded their heads in agreement and scowled at Ares. He felt their disgruntlement. Jokers booming voice startled them all.

That was a seriously bad move on your part. I’m disappointed in you Ares. You didn’t even bother to check in with me. Right when she said it. That way I could’ve instructed you on what to do. Don’t make that mistake again. Ok?

Ares looked at him with a confused face. Joker looked back at him with a stern face. He looked at the ladies. Exodus sat with her eyes closed shaking her head. Black Dove smiled and the Only Soulless Begotten Son giggled. Joker continued talking.

You know for once I’ve gotta agree with the bird. You’re a real idiot if you think she’ll really drop it. You’ve done some real stupid things in the past, but this. This really shows your weakness. You clearly don’t recognize the danger you put us all in when you even make her have to suggest that thing. You don’t give a ...

That’s enough!

Exodus shouts. Joker looks at her with a death glare. He turns his evil glare back at Ares. His eyes burning red. Usually it would intimidate Ares, especially when he was younger. He was angry now though. He could feel his rage growing, his emotions were on a roller coasters steep drop. He glares back at Joker with equal anger. His displeasure obvious in the tone of his reply.

To hell with you Joker! I'm hurting, I been telling you guys been hurting for months. Nothing any of you suggest works. I need relief, I'm tired of hurting. I’m tired of the pain.


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