A man with a short curly hair breathed heavily as he ran through the darkness. His dark skin blended in with the dark and only his white teeth could be seen when he breathed.
The man turned to his daughter who was on his back and saw Savina’s smiling face.
“Go without me.”
“What are you talking about?” Marco was surprised.
“I know what happened to the refugee camp. Laura said sorry. She told me we can’t stay anymore.”
Marco became silent and Savina spoke to the person who had given up.
“We’re running away because people disappeared, right?”
It hadn’t been long since Marco realized something was wrong. Some people Marco knew who lived in the refugee camp disappeared without any notice. There were so many at the refugee camp that it was hard to realize at first. But the organization that supported them first moved out and people began disappearing at an alarming rate. Marco realized it was happening when the number of refugee camps went down from tens of thousands to under ten thousand. He first thought they just left for another camp, but when he was on his way to the toilet last night, he witnessed people moving.
They looked like they were zombies or something. They moved toward a certain flute sound. Marco hid and watched hundreds of people following the sound. When the sun came up, he quickly packed his things and was on the way out along with his daughter Savina. It took a long time for them to just escape the camp alone.
Savina was too young and underfed so she quickly became exhausted. Thus, Marco had to carry her on his back. But he too was on an empty stomach. They barely made it out of the refugee camp and Marco’s legs were already shaking.
“I will never leave you behind. I promised your mother that I will protect you.”
And with that, Savina couldn’t tell her father to go alone.
“Okay. Then let me try walking on my own.”
Marco then smiled and placed Savina down. They held hands and began to walk and when they heard the sound of a flute. Marco flinched and tried to run but he was held back.
Savina was dazed and she tried to walk toward the flute. Marco became shocked and grabbed Savina to run away. Savina fought back but her weak body couldn’t leave her father’s grasp and she became exhausted. Yet the flute playing stopped and a man appeared in front of Marco.
“I get paid to do this, but it’s interesting to see a human resisting against my power.”
Marco shivered but he didn’t let go of his daughter. The man scoffed and swung the flute in his hand. Marco’s head was hit and he fell down. As his consciousness faded away, he felt like the man was carrying him over his shoulder. And then came the flute sound, with Savina following it from behind.
When Marco woke up, he saw people from the refugee camp lying down. It was an eerie sight. They had laid down there as if they were all dead, but they weren’t. They were still breathing, but none of them woke up even when Marco shook them. That’s when he heard voices coming from outside. He quickly laid back down and squinted his eyes to look. There were people wearing white lab coats with syringes, injecting each person. People who received the shot trembled for a bit and then stopped after blood flowed out of their mouths.
They then walked over to another man and did the same thing. It took them one minute to move from one man to another and there were about thirty people to Marco’s left. He realized it would take them thirty minutes for his turn to come. Marco gulped. There were six men with lab coats. Two of them did the injections and the rest helped them. They didn’t look like they were guards or anything but there were six men in total while he was alone and hungry. Marco had starved for days because the refugee camp stopped passing out food after people began disappearing.
Marco glanced around. He was lying down on the ground so there was no way to hide. And he couldn’t get away alone as he needed to find Savina. And as he waited, men came up next to him. Three men worked on the man next to Marco and waited after injecting the shot. The man, after trembling heavily, woke up. It was the first time for Marco, and those administering the shot experienced it for the first time too. The man got up and opened his eyes.
He breathed heavily and the man who had the syringe ordered, “Report that we one specimen is successful.”
Another man ran out and the man with the syringe looked at the awakened man, “Congratulations.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
He wasn’t even sure where he was.
“You have become an Avatar.”
“Avatar? What the heck is that?”
The refugee camp was slow in getting information so they didn’t know about the monsters and Avatars running rampant in the outside world. The man who became an Avatar then glanced around and saw others lying down as if they were dead and became suspicious.
“W-what is going on here? What are you doing?!”
The man swung his arm and the man with the syringe was thrown back, falling over the others who were lying down. But they didn’t wake up. The man stood up and saw that the people to his left were all dead.
He screamed and ran out. This was a chance for Marco, so he also got up and checked the room. Savina wasn’t here. He carefully walked out and it seemed the man who had become an Avatar was making a mess. Marco then moved into the next room, and onto the next. In the third room, he found Savina. Fortunately, she was asleep and hadn’t gotten the shot yet. Marco shook her but she didn’t wake up so he scooped her up in his arms and walked out. And when he got out, he heard a loud sound from inside and became quiet. He didn’t know what happened to the man, but Marco had to get out now. He ran. There were many tents with hundreds of people lying down inside, and others with lab coats.
As he ran out, he came across men with lab coats. They quickly reached for their weapons.
But a voice came up behind Marco and everyone stopped. Marco turned. It was the man with the flute.
“You’re awake. I figured you would become an Avatar. Don’t run away yet.”
“W-why are you doing this?!”
“I think since you resisted my power, you might succeed.”
The man then spoke to the others who were in lab coats.
“Give me a syringe.”
A man walked over to him and handed one to him.
“If you succeed, you will become an Avatar. We have had only a few successes, but we are very surprised to see how it really works.”
The man spoke with an excited look on his face.
“I think you will succeed too, so I’ll try it on you myself. Grab him.”
The men in lab coats surrounded and grabbed Marco. He tried to resist but he couldn’t get out of the grasp of the four men holding him. He shouted, “D-don’t kill me!”
“I don’t think you will die. Don’t worry.”
“Please keep my daughter alive! Then I’ll take the shot!”
The man then stopped. He was only interested in Marco because he had resisted the power. But this man was now trying to negotiate with him, and that made him grin.
If Marco were to become an Avatar, that request was no big deal. And if he failed to become an Avatar, then there was no need to keep the promise. As the man walked over to Marco with a syringe, someone grabbed his wrist.
“Is this the one you guys made?” a black-haired man asked in English. The man with the flute tried to shake the black man’s hand off but his wrist didn’t budge.
“Get off- AAARGH!”
The man screamed as his wrist was crushed. Woojin grabbed the syringe that dropped.
“They really made it,” he said as the man jumped to the back.
“And they are testing it on people,” Miho added after knocking out the men with the lab coats.
“I’ll take care of the inside.”
“Yeah. I’ll catch up soon.”
Miho moved out and Woojin turned to the man. The man brought up a flute and was playing it and Woojin swung his sword. The man was cut into two with no signs of realizing what had happened. Marco was shocked. He had never seen a man being sliced in half.
Woojin grabbed the flute and mumbled, “They lured all these people with crap like this?”
It was astonishing that the Avatar who only had the power to lure people gathered this many. It seemed like there were at least thousands here. Woojin got the flute and walked out and Marco shouted, “Thank you!”
Woojin turned and saw Marco bowing down with Savina in his arms. Woojin then remembered what the man with the flute had said. Did he resist the lure of the flute? It wasn’t much power in Avatar standards, but it was not easy for humans to resist it. Woojin informed him, “There will be a car outside if you walk out this way. Tell them Ko Woojin sent you and wait there.”
Marco was scared of the man, but he knew that it was this man that had saved him and Savina and bowed. Woojin then turned and ran inside. He wasn’t sure which Avatar was guarding this place, but he had to meet him. With some luck, it might even lead him to Amon.