PROLOGUE: THE FUTURE
The future: a world that may or may not come to pass. Despite the evolution of technology, attitudes, behavior, customs, and institutions, some things shall seem familiar to the present.
Of course, one thing remained the same throughout the procession of years: humanity continued to possess an uncanny nature to screw up repeatedly. And, as it goes in life, there is now a major crisis endangering the world.
And I can’t stop it.
What has happened to America? I, and every other person on this God-forsaken rock, pray for a hero to save us from the damnation that surely awaits this nation. For a while I thought I was that hero, but recent events have proven that theory wrong.
One year ago, America and her fellow anti-communist nations went war with China and its comrade communist countries. Born from this war emerged an even greater fiend. For half a year the entire New England area has been under attack, and the enemy is an army of monstrous creatures known as phantoms, created to redraw the world in their king’s image.
Phantoms are athletic beings, with unimaginable strength, speed, and agility. With their clawed hands and feet, murky green and mud-colored scales, and streaks of crimson red highlighting their muscles, they blend with the shadows, always in constant motion, appearing and vanishing unexpectedly. Their lustrous golden sclerae and ruby-red irises cover a third of their faces. To complete the grotesque image, each phantom bears numerous fangs crammed into its oversized mouth, which stretches from one corner of its high cheekbones to the other.
Most people fled the area and moved far away. All those who didn't flee were hunted down and ripped apart… except for me. The thing is I'm neither human nor phantom. I'm a mutated creature- a walking mass of orange muscle and hide… literally, I have dark orange-red skin. Like phantoms, I also have powers. You could say that I'm a pyromancer of sorts. I am immune to flames and can produce fire with a thought, thus granting me many spectacular abilities… but all the power is a curse. It turned me into a mutant. As a result, I was abandoned- considered a monster to be feared. Though it appears that I have proven myself to be one of them, they consider me alien. This is the city of Providence, Rhode Island. My name is Roy Angelo.
CHAPTER ONE: PRESENT DAY- MIDNIGHT, AUGUST 15, 2055
Roy shakes his head and snaps back into the present. Standing atop an abandoned building in the middle of the night, he listens to the sounds of pain and turmoil, smells the rising stench of city pollution, and views the effects of savagery. The entire city smolders, smog dominating the air.
In order to survive Roy has taken shelter in an underground cave, the entrance hidden by rocks and remains of demolished buildings that are angled so perfectly thanks to the desolating hand of humanity that no one can see it. One can only enter the cave by scaling the boulders surrounding it and then facing a thirty foot descent into the cavern opening. A small river bank in the depths of the cave serves as Roy’s water supply. To cleanse the disgusting polluted liquid he utilizes his pyromancer abilities to boil the water, purging it of all germs. His source of food is the rodents that lurk around his cave. The moment one wanders into sight the flames shoot from his fingers and voila- instant fried rat! Delicious. He doesn’t have much of a choice. Anything that had once grown in the rare gardens of the city has become extinct from pollution. There isn’t a single place- let alone a grocery store- that is not being run by a murderous phantom. So Roy has been forced into playing the hunter who yearns to end his ongoing hunger.
An explosion rings out in the distance; then follows a series of hisses; then silence.
I once believed that I could save this place. Now, there's no one left to be saved. Only me.
Roy's thoughts turn to his memories. A fiery tear trickles down his red cheek. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, Roy spots a movement. He whips around and lights up the night with an orange inferno. A phantom falls off the rooftop and thuds to the ground, furling smoke rising from its body, mixing with the sizzling embers waltzing through the atmosphere. There is an uneasy commotion that can be sensed in the air. The phantom gets to its feet unsteadily. Roy realizes what has happened. This is not the first time he has made the mistake of openly displaying his flames in the black of night. The phantoms had seen this eye-catching flare in the midst of night’s nothingness. Roy does not have time to chide himself for being so careless; they are coming for him. The shadows caused by the moonlight begin to shift. Roy knows it is useless to extinguish the flames engulfing his body. The monsters can see in the dark; so it will make no difference whether or not he is lit up like a torch. Fire shoots from Roy’s feet, propelling him like a jet into the sky. Rushing a glance behind his back, he notices the trail of thousands of phantoms closing in on him. From here the plan is to improvise.
Suddenly, the agonizing sensation Roy has intermittently felt for the past several months- a combination of heartburn and migraine-headache- strikes, this time worse than ever: blurred vision and deafening tinnitis. This, combined with the threat of a ravenous pack of pursuing phantoms, practically knocks Roy out cold.
I wish I had never gotten these powers… wish I was never given a second chance…
The story all began in the year of 2054… It was the time before Roy had become a mutant, a time of apparent happiness…