Paradigm Shift Ch. 01byDiamondbarrow©
The world had become a dark place, full of hatred and righteous bigotry. After the collapse of the United States due to civil war, the world slowly became a mass of bickering, quarreling nations, each trying to scrape their way to the top. Naturally, it was the civilians of the world that suffered. Wages and living conditions plummeted into poverty, crime rates rose, education dropped; it was seen as the new Dark Ages. This persisted for years, no one country truly rising above the tumult.
Not until, from the ashes of America, the self-proclaimed World Government came to power. They began to show care for the people, and touted that Democracy would win the day. They built centers for education, and drew up efficient plans for how the world should be run. They vowed that their plans would see fruition, and, seeing how happy their citizens were, it did not take long for both of the American continents and Africa to willingly become part of this World Government. Eurasia, however, was another story. Europe believed that the promised 'Democracy' was truly a façade to hide dictatorship. Asia, which in all honestly was least affected by the collapse of the world economy, believed that the whole of the world should not be ruled by any single governing body. The Government insisted.
The Government had no military bases in those countries refusing to join, had no beachhead from which to launch an attack. They did, however, have access to a few Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles. With the press of a button, Portugal, and most of Spain, became devoid of life. When the hastily created European Alliance tried to launch their own nuclear strike, they found their missile silos conveniently disabled. Three months after the first transports carrying soldiers wearing anti-radiation suits landed on the beaches of Spain, all of Europe was conquered by the Government, and all citizens back in the Americas celebrated the joyous victory of their great leaders. After the swift defeat of the EA, the Government gave Asia one more chance to willingly join. Asia, however, had different plans.
Unbeknownst to the rising 'Democracy,' their saboteurs, whom they had sent to disable the Asian missile sites, had failed. Seventy-five percent of the Government forces were obliterated when Asia's missiles scorched the earth. The fallout from the counter-strike darkened the sun for the next 5 years, as both armies began gearing up for war. The Government secretly sent another force against Southeast Asia, which easily tore through their meager defenses. By the time the Last War came to bear, Russia was surrounded by World Government troops.
Her cheek burned; stung. He'd hit her. He'd fucking hit her! This son of a bitch is dead, she thought to herself, and her mind went into motion. There were three ways she could kill him from this angle, and all of them were messy. She wasn't too averse to messy ones. She started to draw the butterfly knife from the hidden pocket she had sewn into her hosiery. With a delicate flick of her wrist, and a dexterous twist, she brought the knife to bear. Someone had beaten her to the punch, though. The bastard was lying at her feet, part of his head missing. Well, not missing, really. It was on the wall, not so far away. A .357 magnum, she guessed. She kicked the rapidly cooling corpse, and looked around for the shooter, thinking to stab him for stealing her kill. Not kill him, though, because part of her appreciated the help, and another part admired the method.
Most of the people in the club didn't seem to notice, but then again, this sort of thing happened quite often. She tried to judge the direction of the shot by remembering where the punk was standing, and where his brains were on the wall. She looked, but no one there was wearing enough clothing to hide a .357 caliber weapon, and their hands were rather busy with other things. She pushed the event to the back of her mind. She could find out who had shot him later. She didn't want her drink to sit too long. If the ice melted too much, it would become watered-down, and rather disgusting. She hated watered-down drinks. Sometime later, about 4:30, she walked out the door. She was tired. Nights like this always wore her out. It was about this time that she noticed him. He was sitting on the sidewalk, resting his back against the brick foundation of the building. In the pre-dawn light, she could see that his hair was relatively short and unkempt, and the rest of him was adorned in dark grey casual attire. He looked as if he was spacing out, his eyes unfocused and glossy. He spoke:
"You're rhythm is good, but you lack creativity." She quirked an eyebrow, and placed a hand on her hip, where another knife lay tucked into her provocative, but oddly tasteful undergarment. "Do you normally critique women's dances," she quipped, "or am I merely a special case?" She smirked, being used to men like this: Intellectual, critical, and all-around perverted. "I was referring to your knife work," he remarked, his eyes coming back into focus. "Your dancing was something else all together," he finished, his eyes traveling up her body. "It was quite entertaining, and very enjoyable, if I may say so." She smirked again, shifting her hips and drawing her hand from her blade. "You may. You're looking for entertainment?" she asked, figuring his answer to be something grotesquely male.
His eyes glanced up to her before going back to take in her curves. There was just enough light now to glint off his eyes. "Not actively, no. Not unless you are offering. But, if you require company, I'm sure I could escort you somewhere." His words threw her off some. They usually stopped being polite at this point. Was he offering to walk her home? She decided to get to the point. Perhaps she didn't need to stab him after all. "Are you the one who shot the pig that hit me?" she inquired. "Yes," he replied. "I don't tolerate abuse towards women." There, she thought to herself. He was a chauvinist. She was about to call him as much, but he spoke first. "Not that I think you can't take care of yourself, as your knife work showed. I just figured I could kill him faster." He seemed thoughtful for a moment, and nodded to himself.
Now she was really confused. He seemed a perfect gentleman. She didn't think it was possible in this day and age, especially in this hell hole. There was something about him, something mysterious. She liked mystery. She reached into her coat pocket, and drew out a scrap of paper and a pen. She wrote her name and number, and handed it to him, being careful not to get too close. "Do call me some time. For now, I'm off to bed." He looked mildly surprised, and tucked the number into a pocket. "I'll be sure to," he replied slowly. "Pleasant dreams, milady." She looked back at him one last time as she began walking home.
"Damn," Barrow muttered to himself. He smiled, pleased with all of the action in town lately. He usually despised his time above ground, seeing it as too boring. He mostly spent his time observing what had become of humanity. He marveled at how different they were compared to how they used to be, before the war. It had become depressing to watch, but he still visited the clubs and bars, and observed. But, lately, there seemed to be more activity from the real scum. They were swarming, it seemed. He didn't mind so much; it gave him something to do.
He suddenly got an idea, and he got to his feet, jogging in the same direction as the woman he'd just met. He caught up to her a few minutes later, and she seemed mildly surprised to see him. She'd had a strange feeling she hadn't seen the last of him, but she didn't think she'd see him so soon. Honestly, though, she didn't mind. "I realized that I was headed in the same direction, and I figured 'what the hell'," he lied. There were many entrances to the complex he called home, and none were in the direction they were going. She smiled some, not believing him, and subconsciously began to swing her hips slightly as she walked.
He moved up beside her, and looked around a bit as they walked, playing the strong silent type. "So what were you doing at the club? I didn't see any 'fair maidens' hanging off your arm" she teased. She was beginning to like him, she told herself. He was intriguing. "Ha-ha," he replied coolly, and smiled. "I was watching, observing," he said, truthfully. "Oh?" she quipped. "What were you observing, exactly?"
Barrow smirked, seeing the trap. He mentally shrugged, and dove in. "You mostly. Or maybe it was your hips..." he scratched his chin, thoughtful. She started to laugh, coming to a stop. "Did you like what you saw?" she asked, finding it odd that she honestly wanted to know. "Yes, very much so," he answered as he turned to face her. "Your panties were in the way, but, other than that, I liked what I saw very much." She quirked an eyebrow, and assumed a questioning, yet seductive, posture. "Are you coming on to me, sir," she asked coyly.
He looked thoughtful for a moment before nodding a little. "Yes. I think I would have to be crazy not to, madam." She smiled, going over the possibilities in her mind. She certainly had no qualms with seducing this one, but, in this city, you couldn't trust anyone to be who they seemed. She continued walking, and both were silent until they reached her apartment building. He opened the door for her, continuing the gentleman routine, she told herself. She paused before entering, and looked demurely at him. "Would you be so kind as to escort me to my door?" she asked, knowing the answer. He once again seemed thoughtful. "Yes, milady, I believe I shall."
She smirked, and started walking to the elevator, until she saw the out-of-order sign. Damn, she thought to herself. She was planning to ensnare him on the way up, see if he really was a gentleman. Her mild distress must have shown. "Is there something wrong?" he queried. "The elevator is out of order again. And my feet hurt so much..." she put on a pouty expression, and looked to him. "Shall I carry you up the stairs? Which floor are you on?" She thought for a moment, and decided that it might be fun. "Yes," she answered, "you may carry me. I live on the fourth floor, number 427."
"Do you have a preference on method, my lady?" he questioned. That confused her a little, as she wasn't really sure what he was asking. So, she improvised. "No, any method you deem necessary is fine with me." She realized what he was asking the moment he picked her up, and laid her over his shoulder. He began marching up the three flights of stairs, and she struggled to stifle a laugh. She lost that struggle, and giggled up the third flight. He surprised her by carrying her all the way to her door, where he gently set her down. She giggled some more, but managed to compose herself. "Thank you, kind sir. Your help has been most appreciated." He bowed, and took her hand, kissing it lightly. "It was my pleasure, milady."
She decided to take a chance with this one. Unlike most males, this one had managed to do enough to earn a good fuck. "Would you care to come in, good sir? Join me for a drink, perhaps?" He hesitated for the shortest of moments, then nodded some. "I would enjoy that greatly, Lady..." He paused, and reached into one of his pockets, producing the paper bearing her name. "Lady Sara," he completed. She laughed lightly, and pressed her hand on the pad next to the door. It accepted her hand print, and swung open. She suddenly remembered the mess her apartment was, and turned to him, dropping the chivalry act. "Er... my apartment is a mess. I'm sorry." He also seemed to drop the act, though he was still polite. "Don't worry about it, its fine." He smiled, and she felt better.
She tossed her bag onto the couch. "Lights," she said, and the room lit up. It was indeed a mess. Not really a dirty mess, though. It was more of an unorganized kind if mess. Her clean clothes were piled in a corner, books and magazines covered the table haphazardly, things of that sort. If anything was really 'dirty,' it was the kitchen. There were dishes piled in the sink, and coffee grounds lightly covered the counter and floor near the coffee maker. "What'll you have?" she inquired. "Whatever you're having," he replied. He picked up one of the books of the table, and read the spine. "You've read Stranger in a Strange Land," he stated more than asked. "Yeah, isn't it wonderful?" she remarked from the kitchen. "Indeed..." he replied offhandedly. He started to suspect that there was more to this woman than he had first thought. He had no idea that copies of Stranger still existed. In fact, if he remembered correctly, it had been outlawed shortly after the war...
She came back from the kitchen carrying two small glasses of an odd colored liquid. She handed him one. "You may want to sit down," she advised. This drink was an old family recipe, and would knock the socks off an elephant, whatever that was. Her grandfather had said it many times. He took a small sip, and looked thoughtful for a moment before downing the rest. He didn't seem to be affected by it at all. She was surprised, but hid it well, and downed her drink. It burned like it always did, and she kept as straight a face as she could, but still ended up slapping the table, or rather, an issue of National Geographic; another outlawed publication, he noted. "More vodka, less vanilla," he stated matter-of-factly, "but all in all, a most excellent concoction."
She was a little weirded out, but hid it. How did he know what she had put in it? She shook the thought from her head. She stood, thanked him, and took his glass, carrying them both to the sink. She suddenly felt that arousal that took her when she was with someone intriguing. She bit her lip lightly, and made her way back to the living room. Barrow had sat down, finally, and she saw her opportunity. "So you liked what you saw at the club? You liked my dancing?" she baited. He looked to her, and she saw his eyes moving slowly down. "Yes, I did. You're very... graceful," he said slowly. He was biting, she told herself. "But you wanted to see more..."
His eyes moved back up to hers. He nodded some. "What exactly was in the way, again?" She realized that she sounded a tad cheesy, and vowed to make up for it later. His eyes again traveled her body, taking in her curves. "I believe it was those oddly adorable panties you're wearing," he stated. She swallowed lightly, and took a couple of steps towards him. "Do you still want to see more of me?" she asked, feeling that familiar knot in her stomach. He sat up slowly, and tilted his head. "Yes, I do."
She awoke the next morning, still in that hazy lust from the night before. He was gone, as he'd said he'd be. She turned to her back, a hint of a smile on her face. There was definitely something about him. Perhaps it was his chivalry. Or was it his charm? Maybe it was the way he made her toes curl, while at the same time making her writhe with pleasure...
She smiled at this thought, memories of the night before still vivid in her mind. Was it possible that he was perfect? No, she thought to herself. If he were perfect, he'd still be here, fucking her senseless. He'd given proper reason, though, so she did not feel spiteful towards him. How could she? He'd just given her the best sex of her life (thus far). She felt oddly clean, and looked at her bedside table. There sat a large bowl filled with water, and a washcloth. She grinned, remembering now; he had bathed her afterwards (her legs weren't functioning at the time). Barrow, he'd said his name was. She couldn't wait to see him again.
She forced herself out of bed, though she was still a little wobbly. However, she could support herself well enough. After throwing on a robe, she wandered into the kitchen. She blinked, then her eyes widened. The dishes had been washed and dried. The mess from the night before had been cleaned. In fact, her kitchen seemed spotless. Just when she thought her morning could get no better, the coffee began to brew. She laughed, and smiled.