Second Wind: Rebirth of the Strongest Fighter
Rebirth of the Strongest
I looked up at the skies filled with dark clouds, black, acidic rain pouring around me. This was a common sight ever since the Mutagen hit the Earth, an unknown virus that warped the vast majority of mankind into horrific abominations.
Whenever Mutants died, they released spores that plagued the skies, darkening them and dooming humanity to slowly die in a sunless, friendless hellscape.
A hole in my chest reminded me that it was now my turn to die.
I was a Fighter, the term used for the blessed few in humanity who were not only immune to the Mutagen, but also developed the ability to harness Qi in its wake. Fighters were humanitys final hope, superhuman warriors who could shatter concrete walls and Mutant flesh with our punches.
I was the strongest Fighter of them all, but in the end, none of that mattered.
All those countless hours training martial arts breaking wooden boards, then stones, then bones, all of it had led up to this.
Winds howled around me, singing a eulogy for my end.
I never expected to be surrounded by friends and family at the end, hell, I didn even have a family to begin with, and all my friends were dead or dying by now.
But dying alone like this, it still hurt.
Even through that hurt, I couldn help but crack a smile.
I always did appreciate irony.
And the irony here was palpable, felt through the very lifeblood looking through my chest.
I, the strongest fighter of this era, a man of many titles – the Phoenix Fist, the Unstoppable Flame, the Reaping Pyre, the Reaping Hawk –was dying a dogs death.
A lonely death. A meaningless death.
All that fighting, all that killing, all that trying to save the world, all of it meant nothing in the end.
The plague that mutated mankind into monsters and sent humanity tumbling into post-apocalyptic hell would still rage on after my death. The last remaining Fighters would fall eventually in spite of their efforts.
My death, like my life, had been full of violence and nothing else. No woman to love. No close friends. No mother or father or brother or sister to protect.
Though my death was lonely, I accepted it.
I was never a hero. I was always a killer. A weapon. Sometimes I pointed myself in the right direction. Other times, not so much. It was why at the end, I was so nonchalant. I had no resentment about how I was dying.
You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Though in this era, it was more apt to replace sword with fist.
My last few breaths wheezed out from my collapsing lungs. My vision darkened, tilted.
This was the end.
I closed my eyes before they shut down by themselves. I wanted one last bit of control before I faded into the vast expanse of nothingness where I had sent countless many before me with my fists.
I never believed in an afterlife. My master did, superstitious as much as he had been cruel. Thought there were cycles of reincarnation.
But that felt too easy and safe. Too convenient. Too out of place compared to the harsh, horrific reality of the world around me.
As my heart slowly stilled, I felt a strange sense of emptiness within myself, as if this life had been wasted.
I felt tired.
Tired of fighting. A stupid thing to think, when I was on the brink of death, too late to change anything.
But I found myself wondering: if I did get another chance at life, what exactly would I change?
I didn have an answer for myself, and I didn get to ponder that question for very long before I finally died and eternal darkness took a hold of me.