Growing up, we were all told stories; monsters, aliens, princes and princesses, witches and wizards. And how they were all defeated by magic, love or by laser guns from a distant planet that the writer thought up, probably while sat on the toilet. The story I’m about to tell you, however, is based on fact. I’ll give you some context first.
One hundred and fifty years ago, two giant scientific research facilities came together in order to create one giant Corporation, ‘Moolsoft’. With the joining of these two facilities, the potential for their research and experimentation grew significantly and before any of us knew it we were plunged into a new era of technology, science and then, eventually, politics. But, to quote a film from years ago, with great power comes great responsibility, and despite being some of the smartest people in the world, the corporation allowed the technology get the better of them. But the technology spread, developing itself in every corner of the world. Some countries, Australia, Japan, Peru, took advantage of this, moulding the new technology in order to benefit the world and it worked, for a time. Other countries did not, and began conducting experiments that would destroy mankind.
That’s when the monster hunters started to appear. But they weren’t hunters like you see in the films. There’s no travelling around the world, no quest to complete, no certainty that life as we know it will end. The guy doesn’t get the girl. No, these monster hunters popped up all over the world, each one developing their own unique weapons to fight for mankind. As the years went on this become the way of life, at least one in every family. But the weakest began to die, leaving behind only the swiftest and strongest warriors, and monster hunting became a profession that only the bravest would take on. Eventually Moolsoft went out of business, although the wealthy who invested millions became richer as smaller companies developed their technology for good. We still had the monster problem, but as soon as they came up they were dead and gone, and for a while this “peace” lasted 130 years.
It was one afternoon that would turn Jax Hackey into one of the best monster hunters ever. Now, you’ll have to bear with me as this did happen seventy-something years earlier so what I’m telling you may be more myth than fact, but here it goes.
Jax Hackey was born in 2866 in the north of the UK; the exact location varies so I’d rather not guess. He was an only child and, from what his friends told everybody, he was happy this way. Monster attacks were quite rare in the north, so parents would often let their children run around until late times of the night, or until their tea was ready. Rumour has it that, one night, Jax strayed too far from home, meaning his mum had to go out looking for him. After so many hours, any parent would call the police to join in the search, so that’s exactly what Jax’s dad did. It wasn’t until an hour later, with the sun disappearing behind all the surrounding houses, that Jax wondered back in, muddy and out of breath. But his mum wasn’t with him. In fact, she didn’t return at all; her body was found the next day beaten, bruised and practically ripped apart by the claws of the most prolific monster in the area, Talon. But Talon is just a nickname. His real name is a long serial number, a memento of his escape from a facility, long forgotten after he had evaded capture for who knows how long.
After that night Jax swore he would find and kill Talon, but his first priority had to be his dad. He had fallen into a deep depression at the loss of his wife and Jax, feeling guilty, did all he could to look after his father. He cooked, he cleaned, he shopped, anything to keep the house together. But it wasn’t enough. When Jax was seventeen his dad committed suicide, and Talon stole his body for food. After that Jax disappeared. No friends heard from him again and he wasn’t documented in anything official for several years, until 2903 when a marriage certificate with his name and signature was found and preserved in a museum, because of his legendary status.
This brings me to 2869. The year of Dasia Hasslocher. Born and raised in a children’s home in the south of the UK, she had always been fascinated with the stories of Talon and other monsters from around the world. People say that about once a month she would pack a rucksack and go looking for monsters. They also say that she would usually be found tangled up in the broken gate that surrounded the garden. She never formed any emotional attachment as she knew they could be pulled away from her in a heartbeat, and she didn’t like getting hurt. When she turned 18 she left the home and disappeared off records for several years. Disappeared, that is, until her name was found on a marriage certificate.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In the year 2888, him at age 22 and her at age 19, Jax and Dasia ran into each other. Literally. Both running from the monsters they had found earlier on that day, colliding with great thuds of bodies and bangs of metal from their guns. Legend says that they worked together instantly, without speaking a single word, to destroy the monsters they had been fleeing. The legend goes on to say that with just a handshake they formed a bond that would stand throughout time as we know it.
‘Babe, can you pass me a pen please?’ Dasia asked as she kept her eyes firmly on the TV.
‘Yeah, here you go,’ he said passing it to her, ‘what you doing?’ He shifted on the couch, away from the TV and to his girlfriend.
‘There’s a story about Talon on the news, so I was going to add it to your board.’ She took notes as she said this, as if it was a special skill.
‘Right,’ Jax said, turning away from her and back to the TV. She didn’t even need to look at him to know he wasn’t happy. She could sense it.
‘So that’s a no,’ she whispered under her breath. She’d known him for 10 years and knew that would set him off. She put the pen and notebook down on the arm chair, stood and sat herself down by him skilfully avoiding the large mug of tea that was too close to the edge for comfort. She tucked her legs underneath herself and gently pulled him back onto her chest and shoulder. ‘Talk to me baby.’
‘No you’re not,’
‘I don’t want to think about him at the moment. I’m happy.’
‘I know you are, I’m just trying to help you.’
‘I know.’ She stroked his short brown hair and rubbed his chest.
‘I know it’s hard, and I know you’re happy. But this isn’t about just you, it’s about all those other mothers who were killed by him. Anything we can do to help. And don’t forget the phone could ring at any moment about him.’
‘Now, put a smile on your face or I’ll have to tickle you. You’re 32, not too old to get out of tickling.’ She smiled.
‘You can’t tickle, and I’m not ticklish.’
‘Yeah well I can try.’ She kissed his head and gave him a hug, hoping it would make him feel better.
‘I love you,’ he said tipping his head back and kissing her.
‘I love you too,’ she replied.
Later that night they were in the kitchen cooking. This is the part where I must tell you that even though they were now very renowned in their field they lived very simple lives; I know, I’ve been to their house. It was silver, almost like a box, there was no character to it with only the occasional photo placed on the window sill or the fire place at the heart of a place called Chester. A very modest home for two of the richest people in the world. It made a lot of people question what they actually did with the money they earned. But I like to believe they took only what they needed and gave the rest back.
Anyway, later that night they were in the kitchen cooking, Dasia in charge while Jax tried not to take over when the TV switched itself on.
‘I really hate it when it does that,’ Jax said as he turned to the TV.
‘I wonder what this will be about now,’ Dasia said, not even looking up to it. The emergency broadcast music sounded (and apparently it was a generic back then as it is today) and the news caster came on the TV.
‘Emergency broadcast: Moolsoft’s chief scientist Dr. Prakash has created a new species of monsters with the capability of wiping out human kind.’
‘Really?’ Jax said with a sense of fatigue in his voice, ‘when will they actually stop?’
‘Didn’t that company go out of business years ago?’ Dasia asked as she put the knife down on the chopping board.
‘The whereabouts of Dr. Prakash is unknown, and authorities are looking into how he managed to create such a species. The people of the UK have been told to remain in their homes while local police carry out searches of the areas for any disturbances.’
‘Crap, I needed to go shopping,’ Dasia said.
‘Don’t worry about it. I’m sure it’s just a hoax.’
‘I hope you’re right.’
They settled down for a lovely tea that had eventually been taken over by Jax, as they discussed possible reasons why this was happening and what it would mean in terms of the end of the world like the news caster had said. An hour later, they were about to settle down for a film when they got a call. Dasia answered it, wedging it between her head and Jax’s armpit. She was too comfortable to sit up.
‘Is this Dasia Hasslocher?’
‘This is Queen Elizabeth the tenth.’ Dasia sat bolt upright, scaring Jax into doing the same.
‘Your Majesty, it’s an honour. Again. How are you?’
‘Very well. Yourselves?’
‘Very well too. What can we do for you?’
‘We need your help.’
END OF PART 1.