Neon Hell

Neon Hell: The Architect's Abomination

Everyone makes mistakes. I get that. I really do. But when your fuck-up gets multiplied by the thousands, it becomes a city-wide issue. I was a fool to think it wouldn’t. Some people call me the ‘architect of this abomination’; isn’t that poetic? Most just call me an idiot though.

The thing is, I never saw it coming; but then, nobody did. Living in this city, everything became so… clinical. It’s hard to know exactly what to blame for the state of things, but it was just a fact of life that humanity began eroding away. In our futile attempt to save the very earth we were destroying, we just became better at pushing against each other. Anything to come out on top–or at least stay alive longer than the poor schmucks below us.

That’s how I ended up in my pathetic little corner of the world: tinkering with genetics and biomechanics, hiding from the neon twilight in my underground lab. The city above was running out of food, resources, and even time; it was suffocating under the weight of its own progress, like a disease that had consumed its host. Like any vermin in a pinch, I just tried to survive.

I thought I had a great idea. Seemed obvious enough: create a clone workforce like they did in the pre-Fall days. Let ’em take care of business so the rest of us could focus on fixing the mess we’d made of things. Simple enough––too simple, I guess.

My first creation was… well, let’s just say it left a bit to be desired. The body had been augmented with mechanical enhancements, and—like a twisted homage to Doctor Frankenstein—I had reanimated the whole thing using some ancient tech I’d dug up during one of my late-night raids.

Poor bastard… he never asked for this. None of them did.

But that’s not the problem. Hell, the problem wasn’t even with the next couple hundred clones. It started when I began running out of material to work with. The city was so starved of resources that even the simple act of creating something—or someone—from nothing became nearly impossible. People don’t just give away dead bodies anymore—too valuable.

It started small. I’d cut corners, shave away at a piece of flesh or wiring here and there, hoping it wouldn’t matter. Nobody wanted these new creations, anyway; they were only interested in what the clones could do for them.

And then it got worse.

I had no choice, really. No one was going to help me scrounge around in the dark, ransack seemingly abandoned houses to see if anyone had forgotten a cadaver or two. I couldn’t let my work die; it’d be giving up on what little hope I still held onto for humanity’s sake.

So I began raiding Black Market trade centers for discarded or failed experiments. It was a risk I was willing to take… but not without consequence. The modifications I made, the splicing; they all started to blur together until I couldn’t tell which clones were my own creations anymore and which were someone else’s stolen prototypes.

And that’s when everything went haywire.

The clones began to evolve; adapt to one another. They were no longer copies—they were hybrids between metallic nightmares and the freaks who used to be someone’s dinner, inhabitants of a twisted world where nothing was sacred anymore.

The city began falling apart even more rapidly than before. Clones were eating away at everything that was left, fighting each other for survival. A true dystopian reality where the creations of desperate men are now annihilating each other—and what’s left of us—in their struggle for supremacy.

I thought I was saving us all, but I only made it worse. The guilt overwhelms me, but I can’t escape it; I can’t undo what has happened. I can only continue to exist in the shadows of this neon hell.

I look at each one of them, the monsters I’ve created, and in their lifeless eyes, I see my own mistakes reflected back at me. They are my children, my legacy. A legacy I can only hope will one day wash away with the tide, as should all memory of this city.

But until that day comes, I will continue to hide in darkness, working to undo the damage I have wrought. They say that to create is human. But what am I? Just another monster trapped in the belly of this dying world.

Author: Opney. Illustrator: Dalli. Publisher: Cyber.

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