I tossed and turned for hours in my bed. I’m not content with my experiences with the headset. I pulled the covers off and went to my study. The room was dark, the black couch in the corner was covered in papers, and the floor had wires and parts lying about. It’s difficult to traverse at night, especially with the lights off. I turned on my desk lamp, and pulled the headset out of my desk drawer. I didn’t bother adjusting the settings.  I put it on, and I was gone…

I was on an island in the middle of the ocean. Only a few trees scattered about, and some bush. This wasn’t the beach I was used to…this was something else. This wasn’t my world. There were two long staffs stuck in the sand, crossing each other, about twenty yards up ahead of my position. I walked toward them, and out of the shadows, within the trees and bush was Mark Taylor, but he was not himself. Something had happened to him. He was shirtless, wearing white dress pants, but his muscles were obviously two or three times bigger than normal, and he somehow stood a foot taller. His skin stretched, barely able to contain the muscles beneath.

He looked at me with anger in his eyes and a smile on his face. Taylor walked toward me slowly, his olive skin glistening and reflecting the noon sun above us. The island around us was small and quiet, with only a few trees and bushes to provide cover. The ocean was calm all around us. He wore wooden sandals, which I noticed gave him excellent traction in the sand. Taylor grabbed one of the staffs, and spun it quickly, knocking the other staff nearly to the edge of the shore. He spun the staff around his waist and around his shoulders at an incredible velocity. He continued to control the staff through a series of complex motions with his wrist and forearm, then stopped. He stared at me.

            “Mark, why are you doing this?”

            “You don’t know what he’ll do if I try to resist him. I’m sorry, kid…it’s you or my family, and I can’t have that. You’re going to die now.”

            “I can help you if you let me, just allow me the chance to confront him. Aidan must be stopped.”

            “Don’t you see?  He can’t be stopped now…he is coming for him. Enough of this. If I destroy you, he’ll release me.”

            “Look what he’s done to you. Is that what you look like now…?”

            “You don’t understand the power I now have, Cross. But you will, as I choke the life out of you!” 

He ran toward me, closing a lot of distance with each stride. Out of instinct, or some kind of reflex action, my body yanked itself off the ground and levitated in the air, while glowing and projecting several beams of the most brilliant white light I’d ever seen. I was able to see myself from a set of eyes outside of myself, because I could see my body rotate and sparkle in a ball, protecting itself in its sheath of white light.

Taylor stopped his attack, and fell to the ground as a beam of white light forced him down. It pinned him to the sand, unable to move. The tentacle retracted, as my body was now totally made of a white, blinding light. I landed on the ground with a harsh stomp, sending a vibration throughout the island.

            “What are you, Cross?  Why do they fear you so much?”

 He began to shake his head in disgust, as he gnashed his teeth together and began to grunt. He took a single step toward me, and his left leg followed, then be began to move quickly, descending on my position, as he ran.

            As he came into striking distance, I released a flurry of blows to the bridge of his nose, causing a stream of blood to issue from his face, partially blinding him. Then I gave further strikes to his ribs, causing a loud cracking sound as I ripped through them with ease. I yielded to the right at a super-human rate, striking his groin, his other ribs, and throat.

He fell to his knees and braced himself with one hand, holding his throat with the other. Out of nowhere, he spun around quickly and knocked out my left knee, sending me crashing to the ground as he hit the side of my head with a flurry of crushing strikes, sending me into an immediate daze.

I fell back to the floor, my sheath now gone, as he raised his foot, telegraphing a stomp to my forehead. As he released his strike toward my face, I rolled to the left, toward his other leg and swept his foot. I got up a half a moment before he could, and released a brutal thrusting blow to his face.

He rolled over in agony, as I took to the air and flew far away from the island. That won’t be the last I see of him…

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