Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth – The Day After is a direct sequel to Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth. Following the destruction of Murinova, Vice returns to their family home to seek revenge on their parents for their dehumanizing imprisonment. After enacting this petty revenge however, Vice is confronted with the fact that they are not the only god who exists within this world.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, locales, and events are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any intellectual properties referenced are property of their respective owners.
This novel contains sexually explicit activities, extreme violence, strong language, violence against children, incest, cannibalism, ableism, and homophobia. Reader discretion is advised.
This novella was originally released on May 18, 2023, three and a half years after the original November 18, 2019 release of Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth.
Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth
The Day After 01: Re;Coil
Date: August 18, 1985
Location: Apoiburg, Virginia
The sounds of silverware and chewing filled the Vespa household as the family enjoyed their Sunday dinner. They sat at a table perfect for four, but only three seats were filled.
The father, Peter, was a man well into the latter half of his life. His brown hair was growing thin and gray, his cheeks had given way to jowls, and his once smooth ivory complexion had become reddish and coarse. He was dressed in a light blue dress shirt, sleeves rolled up to just under his elbows, while a pair of suspenders held up his loose and faded jeans.
To his left sat the mother, Susan. Much like her husband, she was in the latter half of her life, but she clearly took greater care of herself. Through a mixture of modern skincare and makeup, she didn’t look a day past forty, despite nearing fifty. Her blonde hair permed and fluttered past her shoulders, giving her a youthful and trendy look, while her slender body was dressed only in a short-sleeved pale pink dress.
Across from Susan sat their son, Zach. A young man, age twenty, with a boyish face that wore a meek expression. His body was tall and lanky, standing at nearly 190 centimeters in height while weighing less than 60 kilograms, causing him to slouch as he poked away at his dinner on this low table. As he moved about, his green t-shirt bobbed up and down, revealing flashes of his belly, and his jeans stopped three inches above his ankles. He fidgeted with his clothes as he sat in his chair, before brushing a shaky hand through his shaggy brown hair.
The family sat in silence as they dug into their plates of pasta. Not because they didn’t have anything to say, but because they were listening to the radio, its volume loud enough to overpower the sound of their chewing and the clanking of metal against ceramics.
“As Federal funding has decreased for public schools, budget cuts have been a necessity, and it does not seem like that’s going to change anytime soon,” the news anchor began, his voice calm and bereft of emotion. “A recent proposal from President Ratters seeks to end the deductibility of state and local taxes in determining Federal income tax. Critics warn that the removal of this deduction could inspire tax revolts around the country and lead schools to cut their budgets by up to 20 percent.”
Following a four second pause, the man on the radio moved to the next story.
“Following yesterday’s fire at the rural Missouri town of Murinova, rescue teams have been unable to find any survivors. Though we don’t have an exact body count yet, experts say that over three-thousand residents perished that day, making this the most deadly fire in American history. Analysts are still searching for a cause of this disaster, with many experts baffled as to how the flames could spread so quickly given the climate of the town. With one expert saying ‘a whole town doesn’t just go up in flames like that. Fires need to grow and spread, and when they do, people run away. Something of this scale could not have been a mere accident.'”
As this story came to a close, Susan shook her head, her face twisted in disgust.
“How can they have no idea what happened when it killed so many people? I swear, with every passing day, this world just gets worse and worse.”
“They know what happened,” Peter said, his voice carrying a slight southern drawl. “This was a terrorist attack. A bombing. They’re just moving up from trucks and planes to entire towns.”
“But how could they even afford something like that?” Susan asked, putting down her silverware.
“Where do you think all that drug money is going?” Peter replied, his tone authoritative and certain. “They’re filling out cities with crack and using the profits to make bombs. And they won’t stop until we’re all dead… or we kill them all like the dogs they are.”
Zach looked away from his father as he peddled his personal conspiracy theories, only for his hazel eyes to land on the Sunday paper. Its front page showed an aerial photo of Murinova, completely covered in flames. It was a place most Americans had never heard of until yesterday, when it made national news. However, it was a name that Zach knew by heart, despite having never even been to Missouri. Because that was where they took his big brother, Dan.
Zach last saw him on July 21st, 1980, over five years ago, but despite so much time passing, he still missed him dearly. Even now, when he blurred his vision, Zach could still swear he could see Dan sitting in the empty chair. His reassuring face, always brimming confidence, slick blonde hair, and crystal blue eyes. However, he knew that he would never get to see him again, especially not like… this. Because… he was dead.
“Son!” Peter shouted as he slammed his fist on the table, causing every plate to clatter.
Zach flinched back to reality and looked at his father, almost shaking.
“Y-Yes, Pa? S-Sorry, I was just—”
“Zach, please,” Susan said, grabbing one of Zach’s hands. “We know what you’re thinking of when you look off into the distance like that. He died five years ago. You were just a kid then, but you’re a man now. You need to move on.”
Zach looked at his father’s disapproving glare before swallowing hard and coughing up a response.
“I know, it… I know. I will. I will forget about… him.”
Peter grunted in response, before going back to his dinner. Zach sighed as he prepared to do the same, sticking a fork full of spaghetti into his mouth. But just as he began chewing, he heard the doorbell ring.
“Zach, could you be a dear and see who that is?” Susan asked, her response almost robotic.
Zach did as requested, standing up and walking through his home. An illustrious manor furnished with valuables and memorability around every corner, from statues to tchotchkes to antiques dating back to the 1850s. But with all the open space, it hardly felt cluttered.
Zach swiftly opened the door… and immediately froze. Before him, he saw a man. A handsome blonde man, about ten centimeters shorter than him, dressed in a black polo shirt and black pants, shooting a familiar grin. Zach thought that his mind was merely misleading him, making him see something he wanted to see. But as he saw those crystal blue eyes, he knew that there was no other option.
“D-Dan? Is… is that you?”
“I’m pretty sure I’m the one who should be asking that,” Dan said with a smirk. “I don’t look like I’ve aged a day and you’ve grown, what, twenty centimeters in five years? I knew you were a late bloomer, but this is just stupid.”
As Zach recoiled from that comment, Dan leaned forward and wrapped him in a hug, patting him on the back in a way that made Zach’s eyes grow even wider.
Before Zach could ask any further questions, Dan broke out of his hug and moseyed on in, announcing his arrival to his parents from the foyer.
“Ma! Pa! Guess who’s back!“
A flurry of sound erupted in the dining room as Dan’s voice traveled throughout the house, but before either Peter or Susan could get up, Dan had already reached them. He casually moved over to the radio, turning it off before looking at the table, where saw that Peter, Susan, and Zach’s plates were all empty.
“Guess I should’ve called in advance. It’s been too long since I had you cooking, Ma.”
“What the FUCK are you doing here?” Peter said, standing up and smacking the table with both hands.
“Geez. Can’t a guy visit his family for Sunday dinner without getting cussed out these days? I get you guys have a lot of questions about me, but let’s not get too angry. In fact, let’s all get some dessert and go over things like a bunch of adults. Sounds good?”
Before asking for any of their permission, Dan gathered everybody’s plates, bringing them to the sink and rinsing them. Zach slipped back into his seat and shared expressions of awe with his parents, only for Dan to shout over the sound of running water.
“Hey Ma! What’s for dessert tonight?”
“Um, I made some b-blackout cake in the fridge,” Susan answered, her voice weak.
“Seriously? You didn’t know I was coming, and you still made my favorite. I see your sixth sense is still as sharp as ever.”
Dan then casually reached into the fridge and pulled out a chocolate cake on a plate, setting it down on the table before grabbing four plates and a knife from the kitchen. He served them all, giving one and a half slices to Peter, half a slice to Susan, and a slice for both Zach and himself. The three watched him intently, like directors judging an actor’s performance, looking for even the slightest mistake. But everything from the way he held a knife to how he grabbed a plate matched their memories of Dan.
With the cake distributed, Dan sat in the fourth chair, wiggling his butt into it, looking like someone putting on a familiar pair of winter boots after a long summer.
“It’s good to be back home, but I suppose I should get started, shouldn’t I? Let’s start with the short version. It all began this past Friday. After years of trying to finally escape the house they put me into, I finally got past the locked door, had some fun in the town, watched it burn, and drove for twelve hours before arriving home. Pretty simple.”
“…How is any of that simple?” Zach replied.
“Did you just cure your retardation?” Peter asked.
“Well, that’s chapter one of the long version right there. See, most of the past five years I don’t remember shit other than being locked up in a padded room. I was too stupid to wipe my own ass or do anything but moan like the retarded man-whale I was. But this past Friday, something magical happened. Suddenly, I found myself walking down the hall, ready to escape… when the woman who was taking care of me— Jessie Shines— saw me. I had to make a decision and, with my retard wisdom, I decided to jump at her and bash my head against her. Next thing I knew… I was inside her body, controlling every contour and facet as if it were my own.”
“Okay, now you’re just fucking with me!” Peter shouted, spitting out bits of cake across the table.
“Pa! Is anything I said half as retarded as someone just being un-retarded and getting their face un-mutilated? Personally, I don’t think it is. Just calm down and let me tell my story. I always listened to your stories, no matter how made up they were.”
Dan then took a bite of the blackout cake in front of him, shaking his head as the flavor danced across his tongue while looking at his mother, who shot him a reserved smile. Glad that she could bring her son joy, but still not entirely sure how her ‘son’ was in front of her.
“So, in the body of Jessie— a Black girl— I got up to all sorts of shit! Because, as it turned out, I wasn’t just able to transfer my soul to another vessel. Oh no. Instead, I realized that I was a god. I could do whatever I wanted with just a thought. Creating matter from nothing. Moving objects by exerting my will. Transforming a woman’s mind into goo. Though, I suppose the last one is not quite that impressive. Heh.”
At this point, doubt and skepticism had infested the faces of every audience member, but that did not dissuade Dan.
“My first night as her was a wild ride, but the important thing is what I did the following day. You know how the media are all baffled by what happened in Murinova? Well, it was not natural. I suppose you could call it a ‘terrorist attack,’ and I, personally, was responsible for it. All I had to do was plop down some tanks of napalm, brainwash the town children into my slaves, and block off the roads. When all was set, it just took one spark to set everything off, and… boom! Fire everywhere, mass hysteria, and over three-thousand people dead. Though, I did save one for good measure.”
“…Are you done?” Peter asked.
“More or less. I expect you have a lot of questions, but I felt it was best to lay the groundwork fir—”
“I-If what you said is true… Dan, then h-how do you look like… you?” Susan asked, her voice shaky and quiet.
“Oh, this?” Dan said while tugging on his cheek like a cheap mask. “This is all just a facade. If you saw what I looked like now, you definitely would not have let me in, let alone listened to me. Here. Let me show you my new look.”
Dan then leaned back in his chair, looked up at the light hanging overhead, and took a deep breath. He held his hands and arms out for his family to see, and as they looked at them, they saw them… transform. Dan’s ample muscles faded away into nothingness. His large masculine hands shrank to something dainty in comparison. Fingers were shorter and slimmer, and those two words described every aspect of his arms, as his arms rescinded into his shoulders.
It was as if he had someone else’s arms grafted onto him, and after examining them, Dan stood up. Immediately, the three onlookers realized something was very wrong, as he went from roughly 180 centimeters to only 170. Looking past the table, they saw his black pants covering his shoes and dragging onto the floor.
“I think this alone proves that I am being truthful beyond a doubt, and I would love to hear another explanation for this. But I’m not even at one of the good parts, so allow me to continue.”
As Dan spoke, he brought a hand to his chest. His tee was snug against his muscular chest, but as the seconds passed, it seemed as if he was… deflating. The shirt got looser, and his stature further shrank. Standing at 165 centimeters, he looked like a middle schooler in his dad’s clothes. Examining himself, he let out a loud “tsk” before snapping his fingers.
A wince of pain struck his face a second later, and he puffed up his chest, letting the shirt hang off his now lanky frame. He remained in this state for a few seconds before his frame to suddenly change once more as a pair of bumps appeared on his chest. Bumps that blossomed into modest breasts, only to grow and billow over into a set of what any sane man would call ‘huge tits.’
As this happened, Dan’s hip bones went from narrow to flared. So large that his pants were struggling to stay in one piece as they clutched his frame, much like his shirt did with his breasts. He took a moment to bask in the look of shock on his family’s faces… before tapping his own face.
His chiseled manly features then softened into something that would better ‘match’ the rest of the body beneath his neck. His brow and chin shrank as bone condensed into nothingness. His cheeks swelled until their shape was something larger and rounder. While his skin went from something that carried with it a light stubble that could be felt, to something that was soft and utterly bereft of hair. Well, aside from the hair on his head, which grew from something short and fashionable to something voluminous that cascaded down to the middle of his back.
While the three knew the person before them was Dan. Or, at least the person who claimed to be Dan, they no longer saw him as a man. They only saw a woman in extremely ill-fitting clothes that did little to obscure her beauty.
“So, this is what I would look like if I decided to be a White woman,” Dan said in a far lighter and softer voice. “Eh. It’s a bit too vanilla for my tastes. Let me just finish this.”
Dan did as they declared and began the final phase of their transformation, but rather than change the shape of their body, the change pertained to its… color. It started with their hands, with a dark brown splotch appearing on the back of their right palm, before similar splotches appeared throughout their exposed arms, and even their face. Though small as a penny at first, the splotches grew, spreading across Dan’s skin like water flowing through a crack. Once it spread to their scalp, it began to flow through the hair, transforming it from a lush blonde into a sharp black. The eyes, similarly, were darkened, taking the crystal blue color of Dan’s irises and replacing it with a far more common brown.
At first it seemed like just ‘darkening.’ But as the three looked at Dan’s newly colored face, centered around a flatter and smaller nose, they realized it was more substantial than just a change in pigmentation. That Dan had not only changed their physical sex, but their race, becoming a Black woman.
Dan winked at their parents and brothers before snapping their fingers. Within the blink of an eye, their black shirt and pants were replaced by a cream-colored sundress that stopped right before their knees. One that neatly contoured around their womanly frame and showed off their ample chest. Dan then snapped a second time, and their long straight hair went from a billowing mane that coated his back to a ponytail contained by a crimson band.
Dan smiled as they looked down at themself, before approaching the table once more, planting their hands down while giving the three a generous look at their cleavage window.
“So, Ma, Pa, Zach, any further questions?” Dan asked in a chipper sing-song voice.
Silence followed as the three took in what they had just seen. The foundational principles of reality, the rules he had learned and accepted, were broken in so many ways that he could barely count. It was almost enough to break someone… and for Susan, it did.
“Who in the fuck are you? What did you do to my son?!”
Susan leaped from her chair and grabbed Dan by their shoulders, pressing their body against the nearest wall. Her arms were slender and lacked much strength, but she exerted enough force on Dan’s exposed shoulders to draw blood.
“You are not my son! You CANNOT be my son! My son is DEAD! He might’ve been a monster, but wasn’t a faggot! He wasn’t a tranny! He wasn’t a ni—”
“BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” Dan cackled as their mother berated them. “Ma, please. You know what I did and how I ended up in such a sorry state. You just don’t want to accept that your son was the worst kind of faggot of them all. The kind of faggot who fucks little boys to death and eats their cocks!”
Before Susan could say another word, Dan grabbed her arms and nudged her away. Despite looking like little more than a light shove, Susan recoiled into the table, nearly toppling it over as she braced herself. The righteous fury on her face was replaced with fear as she looked up at Dan, who offered her a coy smile.
“Now then, I suggest you all get your aggression out now, as I know you all must have pent up rage over me. I understand, for the feeling is mutual. Though I might not look like it, I am seething over what you did to me.”
Dan gazed over at Zach, the only member of the Vespa family still at the table. His body shook as he locked eyes with Dan, and Dan shot him a cute smile in return. In response, Zach’s eyes grew wider. A gesture that puzzled Dan for a moment… before a bullet penetrated their skull.
Dan’s body collapsed onto the wooden floor, blood gushing out of their head. Susan and Zack looked in the direction of the gunfire, and saw Peter, a hunting rifle in his hands.
“What the fuck, Pa?! You just killed Dan!” Zach shouted as he left his seat, the chair falling behind him.
“No, I didn’t,” Peter said, his voice confident and controlled. “Whatever this is, it ain’t Dan.”
“…Did you not see and listen to him? That was Dan. That had to be Dan! And you just shot him because he started… saying things we didn’t understand! We could have been a family again and—”
As Zach argued with his father, Susan slapped him in the face.
“Zach! You should have never let this… thing in our house! I don’t know what it is, or what you think it is, but… it’s not Dan! It’s a demon! We… we need to burn it. Right away! Pete, where’d you put the fire pit?”
“I’ll get it. Susan, if the neighbors ask any questions, say it was an accident while cleaning my gun. Zach, go to your room.”
“Ma, Pa, you realize how crazy you sound, right? You think you can just cover up a murder like this?”
“Zach, sweetie, you— you’re having one of your fits again. You are hearing and seeing things that aren’t real! Go upstairs, take your medicine, and lay down a little.”
“I took my meds, Ma! I know what I saw, and this was—”
Zach froze as he felt the barrel of his father’s rifle touch the nape of his neck.
“Go to your room, son,” Peter said, his voice calm as could be.
Zach did as the man with the gun said, shaking as he made his way out of the dining room and to the stairs… until he heard a boisterous girlish laugh.
“BAHAHAHAHAHA!!! And you fuckers called me a monster.”
Dan rose from the ground, their bullet wound miraculously healed, and no trace of blood on their cotton sundress.
“Part of me hoped that you would have changed your ways, would have reflected upon yourselves and see where you went wrong, but it appears you did just the opposite.”
Rather than engage with the reanimated figure before them, Susan took the knife from the table and thrust it at Dan’s neck… only for the knife to stop an inch away from him. As she hit this invisible wall, the knife silently fell to the rug below.
“Tsk. If it didn’t work the first time, why the hell would it work the second time?”
Dan then snapped their fingers once more. Susan tried to speak to Dan, but she found herself unable to move her lips. In fact, she could not move any part of her body. Peter saw this and aimed his rifle at Dan, but before he could plant the trigger, Dan snapped their fingers, subjecting Peter to the same fate as his wife.
“Now that your urges have been contained, return to your seats.”
Susan and Peter’s bodies then began to move against their will. Their legs moved as if they were made of metal as they walked, but it was enough to bring them back to their seats at the dining room table. It was an eerie sight. Seeing two people robbed of all autonomy, their faces expressionless, and eyes unblinking. Dan smiled as they admired their work, before their eyes landed on the rifle, still in their father’s hands. With another snap of their fingers, the rifle vanished.
Dan chuckled at this display, before returning their attention to Zach. He remained standing in the doorframe, every inch of his body shaking. Dan’s expression soured as they saw this, they began gently walking toward their brother.
“D-Dan, w-what are you going to do?” Zach stammered.
Instead of answering, Dan gestured to Zach’s usual chair.
“Please, take a seat. You’re an adult now, and you should be involved in all family matters.”
Zach cautiously nodded before doing as Dan requested, sitting down and looking at his parents’ dull expressionless faces. Once the three were sitting, Dan walked around the table, a smile upon their cute face.
“Did it never occur to the two of you to ask why I turned out the way I did? To question why I became a person who lurked in the woods, hunting for victims to rape and consume? For me, it was all about power. I had everything I wanted… except for the opportunity to exert my power onto others. I hunted small game at first, nothing ‘too out of the ordinary’ for boys my age. But as I grew older and continued to spend more time in the woods, unsupervised, you never questioned it. You were far too preoccupied to care about what I was doing, especially when I ended every semester as a summa cum laude.”
Dan and Zach both snickered at the Latin term for high honors.
“I thought that I was a mere exception, a victim of society’s ills. But now that I have borne witness to your true natures, it seems that the apple did not fall too far from the tree. Tell me, how do you justify such hypocrisy? How can you decry someone as a monster and assault them in such a brutal manner? You didn’t even ask me to leave.”
Dan gestured at Peter and Susan, who both began speaking against their will.
“Because you’re not human. You’re a demon,” Peter answered.
“Because I wanted to forget about you. I don’t want to be reminded of what my son became,” Susan said.
“Because we were going to kill you back then… and we should have.”
“Oh? Is that true, Pa? Do go on.”
As Dan snapped their fingers, Peter and Susan regained their autonomy. They could move as they pleased, from their eyes to their digits, yet they remained seated. For they knew what the punishment for disobedience was.
“…When we saw what happened to you, we wanted to keep you alive,” Peter explained “You might have been a mutilated retard, but you were still our son, and we had the means to take care of you.”
“That was the plan,” Zach interjected. “But… things changed when I found what you left. That box with those teeth and… your journal. I… I’m sorry Dan, but when I saw this, I had to show Ma and Pa and then…”
“…I said we should kill him,” Susan continued. “I hated looking at you. I hated seeing this disfigured beast masquerading as my son. I hated those awful moans it made whenever it wanted anything. I hated the way it looked at me. I hated everything about it… and I tried to kill it.”
“Heh. If I had any sense at the time, I would have asked for as much,” Dan said. “I would have been revolted if anyone beyond close family saw me in such a piteous state, and a swift death would have brought with it solace… but it would have also ended my existence. On the other end, if you had chosen to keep me as ‘part of the family’ then I would have lived a life of humiliation, for I would be a human without the sapience that makes one human.”
“Yet,” Dan continued, “You chose neither. You chose to send me away to that wretched home. You robbed me of an honorable death, forcing me to live as a subhuman husk. And you even deprived me of my very name. I stewed in hatred and resentment for five years, and by the time I regained control, by the time I attained true freedom… Revenge was my second objective. My first was… well, I already said as much.”
Dan then slid the Sunday paper across the table, reminding Peter and Susan of their immense power
“In a sense, I suppose I should thank you for your decision. If you chose any alternative, I would not be standing before you today. Your avarice and desire to see me suffer made me who and what I am today. Thanks to you, the darkness within my blackened heart grew until it transcended my body and contaminated my very soul. Until I became, as that righteous fool called me, ‘Black Soul.’ Without you, I would have never transcended past Daniel Vespa and become something more than human. Without you, I would have never become Black Vice.”
“R-Right! So, there’s no need to get revenge on us… right?” Susan said as nervous laughter escaped from her lips.
Dan, or rather, Vice, looked at the woman with a perplexed gaze before adopting a sinister grin.
“Regardless of the outcome, it was you who made me suffer. And one of the only thoughts that I could fathom during those five years was your deaths. Still, I am not a wholly irrational being, and gave you one last chance to see if you cared about me. If you were willing to invite me into your family once again. It was a test administered without your knowledge or consent… and you failed.”
“D-Dan, please, they were just confused and—” Zach began before being cut off.
“Zach, please do not try to defend your abusers. They assigned you an illness just so they can control you.”
“W-What are you talking about? A-After you died, I developed schizophrenia and—”
“You didn’t ‘develop’ anything. Ma and Pa manipulated you. Because they did not trust you to keep quiet. All so they could have an excuse if you ever panicked and started talking about how your beloved brother was a murderer and rapist.”
Zach’s already pale face became positively white as he heard this, and his eyes moved to his parents. Neither of whom wore assuring expressions.
“Lying will only make things worse, and I can coax the truth out of you with profound ease,” Vice reminded their parents.
“Dan’s right,” Peter grumbled. “We put you on Navane for our own sake. You’re not a schizo. All those tremors you’ve been feeling, all those nights you couldn’t sleep, they’re all side effects of the drug.”
Shock had been replaced by fury on Zach’s face, and he clenched the table before him, exerting as much pressure upon it as he could while glaring at the liars before him. He looked like he was going to explode, but before he could unleash his rage, Vice approached him. As they neared, they planted a kiss on Zach’s forehead. It was an affectionate familial gesture, similar to the kisses Susan gave the two when they were little. For reasons beyond Zach’s comprehension, this made him… calm.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you, Zach,” Vice said while ruffling through their brother’s hair. “But don’t worry. I’ll make sure Ma and Pa are sufficiently punished.”
As Vice turned away, Zach began to speak… only to stop. He had just seen who his parents truly were. People who would kill someone and expect him to not question them. People who would drug him for half a decade in order to protect themselves. People who, for years, have been telling him to forget about his favorite person in the whole wide world.
Part of Zach wanted to defend them… but when he had his moment to speak, he remained silent.
Vice walked back to Peter and Susan and placed their hands on the two’s shoulders.
“Now then, I have something very special planned for you two. But first, let me show you two my old stomping ground.”
Terror filled Peter and Susan’s minds as they imagined what fate their eldest child had in store for them… before they, along with Vice, vanished in the blink of an eye.
The Day After 02: Re;Incarnation
Twilight had taken hold of the forest surrounding the town of Apoiburg. The lush greenery rustled in the crisp evening winds, and the heat of the summer’s day was fading away with the sun. While assorted critters scampered about, from squirrels to chipmunk to deer, there was not a human soul in sight, or even a sign of humans at all. At least, until two appeared from nothingness and fell onto the forest floor.
Peter and Susan groaned as they found themselves laying face-first in a pile of dirt, twigs, and leaves. Shock delayed their reaction, but they soon lifted themselves up and looked on at the forest before them. The silence and tranquil imagery brought them a moment of respite, but that ended when they turned around and saw Vice, brandishing nothing more than a smile.
“Are you going to rape and murder us… like you did with all those kids?” Susan asked, her anger failing to obscure her fear.
“Please, Ma. I may be a deviant, but I am neither a motherfucker nor a fatherfucker. Your bodies hold no such appeal to me. Even if I did… such a thing would be so easy that it would fail to be even remotely empowering, let alone erotic.”
“So, you’re just going to kill us? Make us suffer until we beg for death?” Peter said, pulling off a ‘tough’ look far better than his wife.
“That was my plan two days ago… but now I realize that would be deeply unsatisfying for me. I know I am stronger than you, superior in every way. Even in morals— Especially in morals. Instead, I will have the two of you play a little game.”
“What kind of game?” Susan muttered.
“A test of resolve and determination. The rules are simple. We are currently in the direct center of the woods. If you escape these woods— if you reach anywhere beyond its borders— then you shall be reborn. Your life as you know it will end, but your soul will carry on into a newborn body, and eventually, your memories will resurface. If you fail to escape… then it is all over. You will die, and your soul will be erased.”
“…What’s the catch?” Peter asked. “Knowing how twisted you are, it can’t be that simple.”
“How right you are, Pa. You shall be hunted by a timber wolf the size of a grown man. If it catches you, death is a certainty. However, for as much fun as it would be to see you struggle to run in your middle-aged bodies, I think it would be more… appropriate if you had some extra youth.”
Before either Peter or Susan could ask any follow-up questions, Vice snapped their fingers, and the two felt a sickening sensation slosh within their stomachs. They hunched over, gripping their guts, but as they opened their eyes and looked at one another, they began to see what Vice meant by ‘youth.’
The first thing Susan noticed was her husband’s hairline. It had been receding for years, but with every passing second, more strands were growing back, as thick as ever. As Peter investigated his scalp with his hands, he looked at Susan, and saw the makeup and foundation fall off from her skin. While he expected to see her many wrinkles and hidden imperfections behind, he instead saw a face identical to the one he had seen a minute ago.
Peter’s attention was then shattered as the pressure returned to his gut, only to find that it was receding, the mass spreading and hardening itself into his arms. He felt a strength and a sense of fitness he had not felt since he was a young man— since before he was a father. Susan, meanwhile, looked down at herself. The slight flab of her arms and legs had vanished, her sagging breasts had become ‘perky’ once more, and her skin had a youthful softness to it.
Once the two of them looked up from their own bodies, they were met with the sight of the person they had met over 30 years ago. The person they had originally fallen in love with during their teens. Their heartbeats grew faster, and they felt a virility the likes of which they hadn’t experienced over a decade… only for their transformations to continue.
Their faces began to grow fatter and rounder as the effects of puberty were undone. Their bodies shrank until they were both less than 150 centimeters tall. And try as they might, they could not see one another as anything more than a child no older than ten. Panic set in as they worried they might grow even younger, only for their transformation to enter its final phase.
Peter’s lush youthful head of hair fell away and faded into nothingness, leaving behind only the remnants of a thin buzz cut. Looking down, he saw his work clothes replaced by a striped collared shirt and a pair of shorts. Susan’s hair shortened down to something above her shoulders, and went from a fashionable perm to a set of curls, accessorized with a ribbon wrapped around her head. As she felt her hair, she looked down to see her dress morph in both color and texture, becoming a thin red and white plaid dress adorned with light frills.
As the two looked down at each other, they were met with a wave of nostalgia. For not only were these the bodies they had as small children, but these clothes both felt and looked exactly like the clothing they wore in the early 1940s. There was a moment where they basked in the novelty… before remembering why they were transformed.
“D-Dis ain’t gonna help us, Dan!” Peter said, his voice high, raspy, and bearing a thick southern accent.
“Did I say it was going to help you? I think not. Now, I will give you two a minute to familiarize yourselves with your older forms. Then, once I fire my gun, I advise you to run like hell!”
Vice then held out their hand, and a starting pistol spontaneously appeared. As they examined the weapon like it was a piece of produce, Susan and Peter looked at themselves. Disturbed expressions grew on their faces as they realized just how smaller and shorter their hands were, and as they walked, they felt more like they were waddling.
“H-How are we going to do this, Pete? I was never a sporty girl and even with all this energy—”
“We don’t gots no choice Sue! We shoulda known he’d try somethin’ like dis!”
With the two stewing in rage and both looking to be on the verge of tears, Vice fired the pistol. After a moment of hesitance, the two ran.
Their tiny feet stomped against the crunchy floor of the forest as they headed in a random direction. Through a mixture of adrenaline and youth, neither of them felt even the slightest bit of fatigue as they ran, nor did they feel a drop of sweat trickle down their face. However, that did not mean this mad dash wasn’t taking a toll on them.
After running nearly a kilometer, Susan began to cry. Peter looked at her with concern, grabbing her hand in an attempt to comfort her.
“C-C’mon, you can’t give up now!”
“I… I don’t know what’s happening! None of this should be happening! I… I can’t believe this. This has to be a dream, it just—”
Susan’s fit of panic was brought to a sudden end as she tripped on a large root, causing her and Peter to both tumble. They stood up a second later, seemingly not worse for wear, but as Susan patted the dirt off herself, she felt a stinging sensation in her knee. Pulling up her dress, she was met with a bloody gash along her kneecap.
The two cursed as they saw this wound, and before they could resume running, they heard the sound of thunder clatter in the distance. The clouds were rapidly blocking out the setting sun, and visibility grew worse with every blink of their eyes. Rain then began to drizzle down from the branches below, and as the two were at the cusp of asking one another how things could possibly get worse, they heard that dreadful sound. The howl of a wolf. A wolf larger than the two of them combined.
A second shot of adrenaline sent the pair moving, but their path was far more treacherous than it was before. The rain transformed the dirt into a thick muck that threatened to swallow their tiny shoes with every step. The darkness masked the countless trees and bushes covering their paths. And after running into a steep slippery stony hill, they heard the wolf’s howl once more. This time, it was far louder.
“Shit! Shit! Shit! What are we going to do! We can’t climb this!” Susan shouted.
“W-We just gotta hide! Climb up a tree or… or a cave or somethin’! Didn’t Dan write about there being a buncha tiny caves?”
The two then switched their tactics and began rubbing their hands against the stone surface before them, hoping to find some hole or hovel big enough for them to hide in, and small enough to avoid the wolf.
As they searched, time became something abstract and fickle. Seconds stretched out to minutes, while minutes passed within seconds. They hoped. They prayed even while knowing they had been forsaken by whatever god existed in this world. Then, with their desperation at its apex, they finally found it.
As Peter reached his foot past a bush, he found a tiny cave, no more than two feet tall. It was too small for even a regular wolf, let alone a giant wolf, but it was the perfect size for a kid. Peter immediately crouched down to this hole and called for Susan… only to be met with the sound of sobbing. Peter struggled to see anything through the rain, but as lightning flashed, he saw Susan. Her leg wound had gotten worse, and she was barely stranding. However, she was only ten meters away, close enough that Peter could drag her to and through this cave. He took a step toward her… only for the howl of the wolf to penetrate his ears once more.
It sounded close. Incredibly close. So close that Peter’s mind froze and, in the fraction of a second, he forced himself to make a decision. Should he try to save his wife, but risk dying in the process… or should he run away?
He weighed these options in his mind… and ran for the cave.
Susan screamed as she saw him run away, but he did not turn back. She crawled through the mud as best she could, fueled by the desperation only felt by those on the verge of certain death. …And then she felt something press against her back. She was unable to turn around, but just from the sound of its breathing, she knew what had happened. The wolf had captured her, and her life— her existence— was at its end.
As Peter crawled through the narrow cavern, he was assaulted with the sounds of his wife’s childish screams. Guilt and conviction dueled each other in his mind, but as Susan was finally silenced, conviction won out.
He murmured to himself, saying that if he had stayed and helped her, they would have both perished and, at least this way, one of them would get to live. At least he would get to live.
By the time Peter reached the other end of this tunnel, his entire body was soaked, he had lost his shoes, and his chest was coated in mud. The fatigue he had been so immune to minutes earlier wrecked his body, and with the rain and darkness all around him, he could barely see anything. He trudged through the mud in his soaked socks as he continued, never stopping. For, if he stopped, then death was an inevitability. This was a final test of his resolve to live and, after everything he had been through, failure was an unacceptable outcome.
His determination eventually brought him to a road. A road that, much like the forest floor, had been flooded. His body collapsed as he reached this place. The border of the nature preserve. The finish line he had been trying so hard to reach.
Sitting on the floored street, every part of his body soaked with rain, Peter sobbed. He did it. He had escaped. He was free, and though his life would be lost, he would be reborn. Truthfully, he did not understand what that meant, but when faced with the threat of nothingness, it was worth shedding tears over.
He remained in this state of relief for some time, only for his attention to be drawn back to the world by a sound. Not the sound of thunder or a bestial howl, but the sound of tires tearing against water. Of a car driving through a flooded road.
He rose from his fetal position and looked down the street, where a car’s headlights illuminated the darkness. He waved his hands from the side of the road, shouting to draw the driver’s attention, and the car, a black station wagon, came to a halt.
Peter was momentarily amazed by the size of the thing, as he couldn’t even see above the roof, but he was too relieved to dawdle over such trite things, and instead rushed to open the passenger door.
He immediately thanked the driver for stopping, but as he looked forward, his heart sank. For this car was being driven by none other than Susan Vespa. She had returned to her middle-aged form, wearing the same clothes and makeup she was an hour ago. She stared at Peter not with anger, not with sorrow, but with a look of utter disappointment.
“Get in, Pete,” She said with bitterness ringing through her hollow voice.
Peter did as Susan said, traipsing his soaked body onto the cloth passenger’s seat, before shutting the door behind him.
“I… I’m sorry! I’m sorry Sue! I… I didn’t wanna leave ya like dis, but I didn’t got no choice! I promise, when I—”
“You could have saved me. You had enough time. This was a game. A test to prove your merits and love for me. And you fucked it up. If you grabbed me, it would have been harder, but we could have entered a new life together. Instead… this is the final moment I will experience before I am reduced to nothingness. Are you proud of yourself?”
“N-No! I… I’m sorry, I was just so scared and didn’t want to—”
“Is this how you want to say goodbye to your wife? Apologizing like a sniveling child? You should be happy. After all, your crude maroon soul will live on. In fact, it looks like your re;birth has already begun.”
Peter’s eyes then drifted away from the darkened silhouette of his wife to his own body. His clothes were already warped by rainwater and mud, but as he stared down at his hands, he could tell they were getting even smaller. He felt his head and back sink lower in his seat, and before too long, he could not even see the windscreen.
Peter’s physical age was regressing once more. He had gone from a 9-year-old to a 6-year-old in a minute, and the changes continued just as quickly.
“W-Wha happenin’, Sue?”
As Peter looked at his wife, he felt his mouth seal itself shut. She had always been shorter than him, and their height was comparable as children. But now… now, she was a giant who towered over him even while sitting.
“You are being reborn. How can you be born again if you are a child? This will continue until you are in an ‘appropriate state’ as Dan put it.”
As Peter tried to speak, he realized that his teeth were receding into his mouth. When he grabbed his face, he was met with a soft fatty mass that he felt with tiny imprecise nubs that he could barely consider ‘fingers.’ Clothes that once covered his form had become poorly arranged blankets, and as he looked down on himself, his suspicions were confirmed. He was a baby… and he was still shrinking.
He cried like the toddler he appeared to be, but Susan did not even look at him. She kept her eyes glued on the road, and with every breath, Peter grew smaller. Until he was not but an infant. Until he was nothing more than a pink skinned newborn. And even smaller still. He became silent as his body was reduced to a mere fetus, and after becoming a bean-like wad of flesh, he became lost in the clothes surrounding him.
As the silence lingered, Susan brought her hand to the clothes, pulled them up, and saw nothing. Peter had regressed to something invisible to the human eye, but he would live… while she was not. She sighed at this realization and returned her eyes to the road. A road that gave way to a cliff.
The car flew off the cliff and into a body of water, where it sank like a rock. Pressure locked the doors shut, and once the headlights went out, Susan found herself immersed in darkness. Darkness that crept through the seams of the car doors and windows, and clutched at Susan’s body. Once it came in contact with her person, it pulled away at her, bit by bit, until nothing remained.
The Day After 03: Re;Cruit
Night had fallen on the Vespa household, and Zach was all alone. The rain rattled across the roof and echoed through the empty rooms. The young man attempted to ease his worries and anxieties by doing the dishes, scrubbing away the remnants of what he feared would be his parents’ last meals. Even after putting away the final dish, his hands continued to tremble.
He told himself that it was just his medication. The medication he had been so wrongfully prescribed. Instead, it was out of fear. Fear over what happened to his parents, and fear over what would happen to him.
Just as Zach dumped the water, he heard the front door open up, the sound echoing through the home. He wasted little time before scampering to the door, where he was met with Vice, taking off a yellow raincoat and hanging it on the coat rack.
“Sorry about leaving you like that, Zach. But the deed is done, and my vengeance has been achieved.”
“S-So, you… you really killed them?”
“They are both dead to the world. All their belongings, all their wealth, is now yours, Zach. And they shall never harm either of us ever again.”
Zach’s eyes went wide as he heard this news. It was as he feared. And despite knowing that he was abused by them, despite seeing them exert their true nature just hours ago, he was still filled with rage. Rage that made him go against his better judgment, and grab Vice with his lanky arms.
“YOU! You… You’re no better than them! It’s like they said, you’re a killer and a rapist! I… I…”
Zach’s trembling hands then fell from Vice’s shoulders, and he collapsed onto the floor.
“I… I can’t do anything to you… and if I get in your way, you’ll just kill me too. Why… Why Dan? Why are you like this? I looked up to you. I loved you. And now… Now you’re something else. Someone else.”
Vice kicked off their shoes before joining Zach on the floor, embracing him in a hug.
“I hate to say it Zach, but you’re right. I am not the Dan you once knew. I am something else. Something more. Someone more. I am Black Vice. Something beyond human and someone with the memories and souls of three people. …Actually, come to think of it, it may actually be five. But regardless, I still love you. You’re still my baby bro. And you always will be, no matter what.”
As Vice affirmed their affection, Zach gripped his older sibling tightly, and spoke softly into their ear.
“So, does this mean that you won’t kill me? That… you will stop killing people?”
Vice paused for a moment as they deliberated their response.
“I may be a person of many vices, and my soul may have rotten away into something black and vile. However, as I have settled into my new self, I can feel the foundations of my very soul change. It was defined by darkness and disdain at first. But after bringing such untold destruction… I can feel my desires shift. After what I have accomplished, I would gain nothing more than modest satisfaction from repeating the events of Murinova. Not even something a thousand-fold. Instead, while the image is murky, I find myself desiring something more… constructive. I have the power to destroy the world… but I also have the power to change it. And the latter strikes me as far more compelling than the former.”
“However,” Vice began as they rose from the floor. “I shall not commit myself to an oath of non-violence. Death and killing are an essential tool for every civilization in recorded history, and to agree to such a thing would be unbearably dull. But I shall attempt to put away such ceaseless malice in favor of adopting a more pragmatic approach to my killing. To eradicate a city is worth it if it enriches the lives of billions. And something thrice the magnitude of the second World War is well worth it if it brings about a century of peace or prosperity.”
“S-So, you’re saying that you’ll try to make the world a better place?” Zach asked as he rose from the floor.
“Not try. I will make the world a superior place. And as I do so, I would like you to be by my side, Zach.”
Vice then held out their hand to Zach, who looked down at Vice with a confused expression.
“H-How can I help you like this, I’m… I’m just a guy and you’re—”
“Zach, you are talking to someone who can do just about anything. And that includes giving you power beyond that of any human. With me, the possibilities are endless… but we don’t need to decide things tonight, this week, or even this year. So, for now, what do you say, brother? Are you with me?”
A small smile crept on Zach’s face as he saw Vice’s chipper expression. Despite his hesitance and concern, he grabbed Vice’s tiny hand, and shook it.
“I’m with you Dan… or… what did you call yourself? ‘Black Vice?'”
“Just call me Vice. The name ‘Dan’ doesn’t quite suit me after all I’ve been through.”
“O-Okay… Vice. Um, about that, are you still a boy or a girl or—”
“I have chosen this form as a means of experimentation. If one has the ability to change their race or sex on a whim, it would be wasteful to not make use of it. Personally, I find something intoxicating about a form like this. A Black woman, a third-class citizen, with power beyond that of anything else in this world. Besides, after a lifetime of being handsome and treated like the master of the world, I have found it… enlightening how people simply looked at me as if I belonged to a different species.”
“W-Wow. I guess I never really thought about that… But are you still my brother or—”
“Call me your brother, your sister, or… I suppose ‘sibling’ if you really want to. As a god, I have no need for a gender. But given my current form, I would expect people to refer to me as a woman.”
“I… I don’t think I really get what you’re saying, but I guess I’ll try calling you… sister.”
Vice smacked a hand on Zach’s back as they laughed.
“No need to force yourself, Zach, I don’t care if you refer to me as a man.”
Silence followed as relief flowed through Zach’s body, and in that silence, Vice’s eyes drifted to a grandfather clock located near the front door, its hands reading 8:22.
“…Say, do they still have that Sunday monster movie special on channel 37?” Vice asked.
“I, uh, I think they do. It’s been a while since I watched it—”
“In that case… I think I know how we’re spending our rainy night!”
Vice grabbed their brother’s hand as they scampered throughout the house, running through the familiar halls before making it to the den. A cozy room with a distinctly modern look, with a cushy leather sofa, wooden panel walls, lush carpeting, and a large 24 inch television on a TV stand containing a VCR and a collection of VHS tapes.
“Huh, I see you upgraded the entertainment setup,” Vice said as they sank into the couch.
“Yeah, we used to have a Betamax player, but VHS won the format war. Even though Betamax tapes were smaller and better quality…”
“Seriously? Didn’t you say there was ‘no way in hell’ that would happen?”
“Yeah… but I guess I was wrong,” Zach said with a shrug.
As Zach joined Vice on the couch, he plucked the remote from a nearby table and flipped to a channel playing Attack of the Monsters. A localized version of 1969’s Gamera tai Daiakuju Giron. It was a film that the two of them had watched together several years ago, and the two quickly fell into the familiar habits they adopted when watching films of this genre. Casual mockery, occasional rejoicing in the craft of the film, laughing at the poorly direct English dubbing, and cheering on at the sheer spectacle of destruction. While their voices and bodies had changed, the two both felt like they were kids again.
The films continued one after another, each offering a different flavor of camp and creativity, but after the third film came to a close, and the clock struck midnight, the two grew tired. In the warm glow of the television, with the volume turned down to a whisper, their eyes slowly shut, and the two drifted off to sleep.
The Day After 04: Re;Sonative
Vice’s eyes fluttered open to the sight of a static-riddled image on the television, the frustrating garbled mess of noise just barely audible through its speakers. They lifted their head from off their brother’s lap as they searched for the remote… only to see a woman resting on their lap. A woman with tan skin and long dark hair, dressed in a green sweater.
“Who the fuck are you?” Vice muttered.
The woman’s eyes then opened, revealing a set of peculiar purple irises. She looked up at Vice with a smile before rising from their lap, and sitting upright.
“Sorry about that, but you two looked super cozy, and I didn’t want to intrude.”
As the purple-eyed woman spoke, Zach’s eyes fluttered open, and he looked at her with a bemused expression.
“I’ll say it again,” Vice groaned, “who are you?”
“The name’s Verde Dusk, and I’ve been watching you these past three days, Mx Vice.”
“Mix Vice?” Zach repeated. “What does that mean?”
“My apologies. I shouldn’t have used such a post-modern term. I’ll explain things in detail, but let me get everything situated.”
Verde then got off of the sofa, turned off the TV, turned on the lights, and pulled an armchair into the center of the room. With things all ‘situated,’ she stepped out of this cozy den and pulled someone into the room. A tall dark-skinned man dressed in flannel, with long black hair not dissimilar to Zach’s and a handsome face adorned with light stubble.
“Hey Vice!” The man said with the enthusiasm of a small child.
“Hey Abi. Feel free to take a seat in the armchair in the corner.”
Abi did as requested, plopping onto the second leather armchair and looking at both Vice and Verde with rapt attention.
“Vice, how do you know this person?” Zach asked, perplexed over everything that was happening.
“The short version is that I essentially adopted a 7-year-old after she killed her parents, and turned her into an adult man to drive me from Missouri to Virginia.”
“You also gave her road head,” Verde added.
“…Oh. You had sex with a 7-year-old… who looks like an adult?” Zach muttered, covering his mouth as he processed this information.
“They also made me sleep in the truck! When it was raining! I was all alone and cold until Miss Dusk rescued me!” Abi exclaimed, punctuating every sentence by slamming her hand against her armrest.
“Anyway,” Verde said as she plopped into her armchair. “Now that we’re all together, I’m going to ask you all to shut the hell up and let me explain things. I, Verde Dusk, am GOD! I forged this universe with the power of my very mind, and though you may think thou art the hottest shit, Black Vice, your power is nothing compared to mine!”
“Oh, really?” Vice said, rolling their eyes. “Then prove it.”
Verde then pointed a finger at Vice, whose body poofed and transformed into a chocolate bar.
Both Zach and Abi looked at this absurd sight in awe and disbelief, before Verde broke the silence.
“Come on now, Vice. Turn back to normal.”
Vice the chocolate bar said and did nothing in response..
“Ha! Let’s give you the ability to speak and—”
Immediately as Verde pointed at Vice the chocolate bar, they began to speak, but how they were able to speak was a mystery the likes of which would baffle even the greatest scientific minds.
“—WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!?!”
“See! I can do things you can’t. Now, let me turn you back into a humanoid and you try turning me into chocolate!”
Vice’s body then poofed back into their human form. A look of absolute horror painted their face, but after patting themself down and rubbing their boobs, they let out a sigh of relief… before scowling at Verde. Vice pointed at Verde, clearly trying to turn her into a chocolate bar, or something worse, as a form of revenge, but such endeavors proved utterly ineffective. Frustrated, Vice attempted to do the same to Abi, only to see her immediately poof into a chocolate bar.
“Noooooo! Abi loves candies, but she wants to eat them, not be them!”
Verde then pointed a finger at Abi, who poofed back into a grown man. She chuckled in relief as she threw her arms up and hugged herself.
“Hooray~! I’m a person again and now I can eat all the candies I want!”
“As you can see, Vice, everything you can do, I can do better, and if I wanted to, I could end your very existence here and now! …But I’m not going to. I thought I might need to, as I can’t really have all-powerful malicious misanthropic pedophiles going about and wrecking havoc… and then you surprised me. You showed affection for another person and claimed that you wanted to make the world a ‘superior’ place. As such, I will allow you to keep your powers, and make this universe into whatever the hell you want it to be… under four conditions.”
Vice glared at Verde as she said that. After gaining access to unlimited power, the last thing any person would want to hear is the restraints they will be operating under. But unless Vice wanted to spend the rest of their life as a piece of chocolate, they didn’t really have a choice.
“Very well then. What are these conditions?”
“One, you cannot have sex with anyone under the mental or physical age of 18. Both of which are defined by time passing, none of that ‘mentally mature’ bollocks. If you even try to do anything, your body will prohibit you. Two, if you ever attempt to invade, steal, or claim an additional universe for yourself, I will interpret that as an act of war, and your punishment will be both swift and painful. Three, no ending the lives of your friends. I tried it before, and it will fuck you up, no matter how warped you think you are. Four, based on your track record, I cannot fully trust your consciousness, so I’m going to need to appoint someone to look after you. Abi is a child and Zach is your brother, but we both know someone who would be perfect for this task.”
“…I am willing to agree to the first three points, but who is this ‘perfect’ person?” Vice snickered.
Verde merely snapped her fingers in response, and Vice immediately felt something crawl up their throat, forcing its way into their mouth. It felt large at first, but as it crawled up the walls of their esophagus, its size only seemed to grow. Eagerness led to desperation as this nebulous thing crawled up into Vice’s mouth, and they began to use their hands to expedite the process, pushing this object from their throat like a stone lodged in a hose.
This agonizing process lasted a minute until the object finally escaped from Vice’s mouth, and fell onto the carpeting below. As they stared down, they saw what they could only identify as an egg. It was nearly the size of a football, and its shell bore a distinctive dark brown color. Vice glared at Verde, furious that she would put them through the act of… orally birthing such a thing, but then the egg began to move.
At first it wiggled, but then it grew, larger and larger until it became the size of a human. Zach retreated behind the couch as it continued to grow, only for it to abruptly stop… and for its shell to be shattered by an arm, punching its way out. One arm was followed by another, and then a face. A face that Vice immediately recognized. The stern features, the dark skin, the voluminous kinky hair, and that bitter glare. It was… Jessie Shines.
“What. The. FUCK! Just happened?” Jessie shouted, vile coursing through her voice.
She shattered the shell and revealed herself, drenched in slime yet completely naked, and looked at the four around her. She was practically steaming, but her anger turned to confusion as Verde began to clap her hands like a child watching a magic show.
“That was even better than I thought it’d be. Thanks for being such a sport, Jessie.”
Verde then pointed at Jessie. In a millisecond, the egg fragments and goop vanished, and Jessie’s body became clothed in a simple dark blue tank top and gray shorts. She looked down at herself with confusion… before turning back to Vice, fury burning within her dark brown eyes.
“You raped me! You killed my friend! My parents think I’m dead because of you!”
Vice tried to stop her with a snap of their fingers, but instead they got a mouthful of Jessie’s fist.
“Jessie will be your consciousness,” Verde said. “And if you act out of line, she will correct your behavior. Either with her skills as a psychologist… or with her fists.”
“What?!” Jessie replied. “You mean I need to spend the rest of my life with this fucker?”
“Oh no,” Verde began. “You need to spend the rest of eternity with them. That is, assuming Vice agrees to my conditions. Otherwise… you lose your powers.”
Vice looked at Verde with glazed eyes as they compromised her proposal.
“You know Verde… I think I might actually like this idea.”
“W-What? Vice, are you serious?” Zach asked, still standing behind the couch.
“I already had plans to go on adventures with you and Abi, to experience things that normal people could never even dream of. While Verde’s restrictions limit the realm of possibility by a smidgen, this is a more than reasonable compromise. And even though I never thought about letting Jessie out to play again… I think she would make for an interesting companion. Someone to really spice up our dynamic. That is, assuming she agrees to spend the rest of eternity with us. So, what do you say, mon chère?”
Jessie glared at Vice as she formulated a response.
“…You know Vice, I fucking hate you. You’re a rich White dude appropriating the body of a Black woman for kicks. And the first thing you did when you had your full power was commit mass murder! You are one twisted, ignorant motherfucker… but you also fascinate me. I don’t want to do this— to dedicate my entire life to babysitting you and trying to make you a halfway decent person. But fuck me if I am going to let someone like you go off without someone like me watching you like a hawk.”
“I think that means yes!” Abi declared. “Does that mean I don’t gotta give up my powers, my boy body, or my smarts?”
“It means that and far more, you sweet murderous child,” Verde cooed. “It means that you will go on an adventure greater than anyone else in history. Well, the history of your world, that is. So, Vice, do you agree to my terms? In fact, let’s do this the proper way.”
As Verde made a gesture, a stapled contract and pen appeared in Vice’s hands. Reading through it, they found it was a formalized version of the proposition Verde introduced, with the same four conditions, but with a dash more of legalese. Vice read through it carefully, raising their eyebrows at a few things, but upon finishing the contract, they jotted down their signature, and tossed the document into Verde’s lap.
“You are an interesting woman, Miss Dusk.”
“Pfft, buddy, you don’t even know the half of it. I’ll leave you and your friends alone for now, as I’m sure you have oodles to discuss. But if you ever need me, give me a call.”
Verde then threw a business card at Vice, one featuring a peculiar 13 digit phone number.
“However, chances are, I’ll contact you for a ‘special assignment’ soon, as I expect great things from you. Until then, ciao.”
As Verde gave her farewell, she vanished in a tuft of smoke, and the four— Vice, Zach, Abi, and Jessie— all looked at one another.
“So… what are we going to do now, Vice?” Zach said, looking around awkwardly.
“We have worlds of possibilities at our disposal, my dearest brother. But to start, I would like to keep things simple. Something quaint that, with my powers, we can make extraordinary. And something that should cure me of some of my ‘ignorance,’ as Jessie called it. The third item on my list— after the destruction of Murinova and my parricide— was to explore Europe once more. But why settle for a continent… when the entire world is at our disposal? And why see the world as ourselves, when we can be… anyone?”
As Vice’s mind began to comprehend the magnitude of possibilities this simple premise offered, they saw rays of sunlight trickle in through the windows and, upon drawing them, they were greeted with a sunrise. The beginning of a new day, and the beginning of a new era in their life.
This marked the end of Black Vice’s origin, but this was far from the end of their story. Where things would go from here was a mystery even to Vice themself, and all they knew for certain was that the possibilities… remained endless.
Fortsetzung Folgt In…
Psycho Shatter 1988
Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth Main Page
Phase 01: Re;Birth
Phase 02: Re;Member
Phase 03: Re;Discovery
Phase 04: Re;Turn
Phase 05: Re;Assembled
Phase 06: Re;Juvinated
Phase 07: Re;Action
Phase 08: Re;Union
Phase 09: Re;Join
Phase 10: Re;Fresh
Phase 11: Re;Call
Phase 12: Re;Venge
Phase 13: Re;Joice
Natalie Rambles About Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth
Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth – The Day After