Chapter 1: An Obsession
“Hey Gary, get your butt over here and check out the highlights from yesterdays Altered fight!” A boy yelled from his class seat.
The sound of the school bell rang out through the halls, signaling it was time for lunch. Immediately opening his drawer from under his desk, the boy pulled out an object. However, it wasnt a packed lunch like one would expect, instead the boy had taken out a tablet and put it on the table, propping it up, tilting it so he could comfortably watch the video.
The immediate destination, PouTube, the number one video sharing platform. Soon there was a crowd of classmates around him. All with their eyes glued to the screen.
“If youre not here in five seconds, Im starting the video without you,” Tom warned. Looking over at his friend he saw Gary focused on playing with something under his desk.
He could see Gary was moving his knees up and down, and he had made sure to cover his actions from the eyes of others. Tom was starting to think his friend was doing something that could get him in serious trouble.
Bro. were in the middle of class, come on! At least go to the bathroom if youre that desperate, Tom thought.
“Just give me a sec, okay?!” Gary shouted back. “Cant you see Im in the middle of something?” Underneath his own desk, Gary was staring at his phone. He had received a message and wasnt sure how to reply. It was already the fifth time he had typed out his response, but ended up deleting it because it seemed insufficient.
[Be there this evening at 6.] The message read.
*Duuuuun nun, dun, dun na na!*
With the sound of the opening theme song playing, Gary understood they had really started without him. He had given up coming up with a proper type of response, and in his haste, he wrote one letter. K.
“K? … K?! Who does this kid think he is?!” A man shouted in frustration as he received the message on his end.
Meanwhile, Gary had gotten over to the others by shoving his way through the crowd, allowing him to stand directly behind his friend Tom. Just in time, for the fight was about to begin.
Two men stood opposite each other in nothing but tight shorts. Their abs and muscles on full display. Proud of all the hard work they had put in for the fight this day.
In one corner, weighing in at 200 pounds, undefeated for 13 fights in a row, stood Kirk Summerfield. A man with a small goatee beard and black spiked up hair, short on the sides.
His opponent, weighing in at 190 pounds, similarly with a win record of 10 straight wins, was Sam Dillpickle. He was a shorter bald-headed man with a creepy smile.
“Hey, dont you think these two look a bit like Tom and Gary?” one of the students suddenly mentioned.
“Holy crap, you are right! They totally look like those two!”
The students in the crowd laughed together at this discovery. Everyone, but Tom and Gary themselves. Unfortunately, it was hard to deny the similarities between the two friends and the fighters.
Although Gary didnt have facial hair, even though he was sixteen, he never could grow a single hair on his face, body, chest or legs. He was hairless.
It was the genes that some women wished they had. Although he did have hair in one area, he promised and made sure everyone knew that.
It was an incident many of his male classmates wished to forget. Having been teased so much about it, he decided to show everyone proof. Of course, flashing your fellow classmates wasnt the best way to prove it, and it had cost him a weeks worth of detention.
At least he made sure it was during the males P.E class; otherwise, it could have been worse.
Still, he did have the same hairstyle as the first introduced fighter, only that his hair was green in colour. It wasnt his natural hair colour, but a decision he had made over the summer. Everyone was initially surprised when he had come to class looking like that, but at the same time it wasnt that strange for Gary to do something crazy like that. He already had a reputation of always doing crazy, absurd things.
As for Garys best friend, Tom, he looked like the spitting image of the other man in the video. His hair wasnt exactly bald, but he always got a number one when going to the barber.
When Gary asked him about his choice of hairstyle, his friend had explained how it was low maintenance to keep it like that. That was pretty much his motto in life. He liked things like computers, games, TV shows and books. Things that couldnt talk back to him.
Tom hated interacting with people so much that he refused to go to anything but the self-service scanner at supermarkets. The idea that someone would try to make conversation with him about something he didnt like was enough to send shivers down his spine.
Given their complete differences in character, it was odd that these two boys had become friends in the first place, but it had somehow worked out.
While their classmates were all busy laughing away, the fight had started.
As soon as the bell had rung, the appearance of both men in the ring had started to slightly change.
“Ladies and Gentleman, it looks like our Altereds are starting off full throttle right from the bat!” the announcer for this match hyped up the crowd.
The most notable changes in Kirk were his grown nails as well as his skin color which had slightly yellowed. Going up and down his arm, black spots started to appear, and small patches of fur showed up on his face.
On the other side, Sams cheeks had puffed up, and his legs appeared to be slightly webbed after his change.
“As you can see, Kirk is an Altered based on a cheetah-like beast, while his opponent Sam is based on a frog type. Its going to be an interesting match up if I do say so myself!” The announcer shouted.
The transformations took less than a second, and the first one to make a move was Sam. He whipped out his toad-like tongue and grabbed onto Kirks forearm.
The look on Kirks face just screamedDISGUSTING!. He tensed up his arm, making his huge biceps from before grow even larger in size. The veins were visible, practically bulging out, and with a single slash, he managed to cut off the tongue of his opponent.
“Yes!” Gary shouted. “Come on, Kirk!”
Speeding across the small cage, he ran faster than any natural human should be able to. At the same time, Sam had leaped up, jumping higher than any normal person could thanks to his frog powered legs. Alas, it just wasnt quick enough. Kirk managed to grab him by the leg before he slammed the opponent to the ground.
It didnt take long for the referee to declare Kirk to be the winner of this match and also the winner of this Altered fighters rookie tournament.
What the kids and everyone was watching was known as an Altered match. It was currently the most popular combat sport globally, mostly because they featured a new breed of humans called the Altered, although some argued whether they could even be called humans anymore.
Humans had discovered ancient fossils that belonged to the ancient beasts that used to roam the earth. They were undoubtedly the progenitors of todays animals, only fiercer, larger and more powerful.
In the end, a scientist had made a major breakthrough and discovered a way to alter humans, which would allow him to inject the fossils DNA into a human, thereby creating what people now knew as an Altered.
Thesespecial humans possessed the ability to shift their appearance, changing parts of their body to mimic the beasts they had been infused with. They were stronger, faster and even aged slower than normal humans. If one was ever struck with a disease, it could change the human composition to the point where it felt like a new body, ridding it of such a thing.
But not everyone could become an Altered. The fossils discovered were limited in number and although every so often new fossils would be unearthed, until science found a way to artificially recreate them they were valued at absurd prices. Only the rich and powerful could afford to turn themselves into an Altered.
Even the contestants they were watching right now, had only received this opportunity because they were sponsored by some big corporations.
Nearly every boy looked up to the Altered. In a way, they were like real-life superheroes. But the two biggest fans in the room were undoubtedly Tom and Gary. They were the ones who had gotten everyone hooked on the sport in the first place.
It was normal for people to wish to one day become an Altered and it was the same for these two. Only the reason for them wanting to become one differed greatly.
“A big round of applause for our winner, Kirk Summerfield!!!” the announcer called out the end of the show.
When a beautiful female came on to the stage to deliver the large check for 10 million dollars, Garys eyes practically turned into dollar signs. The young boy was obsessed with money, and watching the Altered fight, especially the large check, he couldnt think of an easier way to quickly become rich and famous.
Ironically, it would be this obsession with money that would soon enough take him down a dark path. A path which he wouldnt be able to turn back from.
Author of My vampire system bringing you My Werewolf system.
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