Shadow of Ashes – Chapter Review

Chapter III – The Genius

Flashing light, booming bass so loud it feels like the Earth is shaking. The malodorous mix of perfumes, delirium producing smokes, and desperation filled the atmosphere. Ecstasy moved around the dance floor as youth filled liberation run rampant. Standing at the bar sits a pair of women laughing, enjoying what the night brings.

One with purple hair dressed in a short black dress covered in spiked studs up top, buckles across the midsection and flaring from the hips. The other, wearing a skintight black dress with red lace. Sitting with her legs crossed, her dress hangs just low enough to make any onlooker beg for it to slide just a bit but also rejoice at the sight of her legs as she moves in her seat.

Across the bar, unable to turn away, almost salivating at the sight of women, there he stands. The women start to giggle amongst themselves, one stirring the straw in her drink while the other bites her lip. There he stands, unable to focus his gaze, a six-foot tall, thin man. A man so thin that a gust of wind might blow him over, wearing what he describes as an homage to early 21st century fashion.

His shoes glittered as it reflects the lights. His pants and shirt, a matching bright yellow with a dull purple shoulder wrap. He tilts his hat down covering one eye moving closer towards his targets with an almost empty drink in hand. He strides with confidence towards them like he owns the world, but he slips and trips over a stool. He hits the floor leaving a dumbfounded look on his face as he looks up and sees the women chuckle at how this wannabe ladies’ man face planted right in front of them.

“Don’t wanna be rude, but you ladies owe me a drink.”, he says as he stands back up.

Confused by what he just said, “We owe you what? Why?”

“Because when I saw you, I lost my mind, flipped head over heels, spilled the drink. It should be illegal to be so beautiful. Both of you.”

The women began to giggle. They were amused at his bravado and thought he would make for good company, at least for now.

 “They call me Calix.” he says. “You can get me another house special along with both  your names.”

The night progressed and Calix just knew that this was going to end well. Time passed and the night began to wind down, but the women wanted to keep the party going.

“We don’t live to far from here, how about you come back to our place?”

He couldn’t believe what was happening, two of the most beautiful women he has ever laid eyes on was about to make a dream come true. At least that was what he hoped. Calix began to stand, but everything started to spin. He knew he hadn’t drunk that much, yet he could barely make it to the door. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and now he felt that he was about to blackout.

“Are you ok? Should we call it a night” the women asked.

Not wanting to spoil his chances, “I’m good to go ladies. We can keep this party going.”


The morning construction has begun, the soothing but also alarming white noise and wails can be heard in the distance. Calix wakes up immediately trying to decipher what became of the night. He hears a woman singing in the shower and the smell of food cooking fills the air.

“Two women, what a night.”  he said with joy.

But that joy quickly transformed into disappointment as he realized he couldn’t remember a thing. Did he just have the best night of his life with no memory of it ever happening? How can he go on living knowing his fantasy has become a nightmare? He looks upwards, screaming softly aloud,

“I hate my life. I finally achieved the mythical tricycle, and I can’t remember a single moment.”

An unfamiliar voice interrupts him,

“Rest assured you did not have…a tricycle.”

Calix eyes begins to tear as he sees a man in a well-tailored suit sitting at the edge of the bed. He prays to himself that his dream night did not end with a batman in the closet situation.

“What’s going on? Who are you? And how do you know I didn’t have a tricycle? You had better not did something to weird to me.”

The man immediately dismisses the notion that he participated in any of the previous night festivities and introduces himself as Ashton Vexx. He is the Director of Genetic Research, Manipulation, and Development and the heir apparent of InterVent Corporation. InterVent has sought after Calix for years and Ashton apologizes for using beautiful women, Calix’s known weakness, as a ploy to get a sit down.

How could someone be so cruel? In an attempt to garner favor, he instead tortured Calix with a memory of a unfulfilled destiny. Calix jumps out of bed knowing that no matter what Ashton has to say, he could never let this go.

“Breakfast anyone?”, one of the woman from the night before ask, as she interrupts them.

Calix looks around for his clothes, but Ashton Vexx insist on a few moments before he leaves.

“Give me a few moments of your time to hear me out. If you don’t like what you hear, my company will not bother you again. As a bonus my friends here will be glad to continue where you left off last night.”

Calix thought this sat down may be worth it, at least for a meal and another chance with the ladies. He began to eat stating they have until he finishes. Ashton Vexx smirks thinking that it has been a while since anyone was so bold towards him, but he begin with his proposal.

Over the past 10 years, Vexx’s team has been researching the next evolution of man. The goal was to bond picotech into embryos to create superior humans that can be aged in the matter of months. The superior human would have increased durability, stamina, and even recover from injuries faster. All their senses would be heightened at least doubled that of a normal human. They would be the thinkers, the workers, the soldiers of the future. Great strides have been made in this endeavor, but all the test subjects they created had a much shorter lifespan than anticipated.

He explains he needs help with stabilizing the picotech from rapidly aging the human tissue due to the extreme enhancements the subjects receive. His team believes that they need to be able to halt the rapid growth commands within the picotech that give them the abilities. Currently, this is also the same structure that allows them to rapid age the subjects into a mature age. Calix may be the only person alive who can advance this achievement.

Calix was intrigued with the concept, but suspicious with the true intentions of the project. He tells Ashton he will consider the offers but would needs to see everything including the test subjects data before he can agree to anything.

Manipulating evolution can be a foreshadow of homo sapiens bringing about their own extinction. As a new species thrive, the inferior one ultimately goes extinct. Calix figured that the experiments would continue with or without him. If he was involved, at least this may be a way to save lives, albeit even if they are artificial.  

A tentative deal has been struck. Ashton excuses himself and heads to his vehicle leaving Calix to finish his meal. Entering his vehicle, he reaches out to his research lab.

“Make sure everything’s in order before he arrives. Now that we have him, we can move up our timetable. All it took to lure him in were a couple women and the right story to pique his interest.”

Ashton Vexx’s true intentions have yet to be revealed. Calix may have made a decision he would come to regret in the future. Time will be the judge, and future events has yet to be revealed.

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