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Title: Blood Animus


97k scifi thriller

V.E. Schwab’s VICOUS, Dark Phoenix, and John Wick.

In a world where bloodlust is currency, humanity is loose change in a mercenary’s pocket. In 2039, ever since she was orphaned on the criminal infested, tropical island of Toppanga, twenty-three-year-old mercenary Alex Mercer searched for the answers to her past. After leaving the island, she’s presented with a high-risk contract that offers a different payment – information about her parents and her past. Alex and a group of assigned mercenaries must apprehend the elusive rogue soldier Maximillian Roivas.

As the mission progresses, Alex feels something lurking in her mind, a dark psychological entity that’s finally manifested and is vying for dominance. The presence yearns for a hunt, and it craves complete autonomy, and Alex can’t ignore the presence any longer.

When she uncovers more clues about the mysterious Roivas, she finds disturbing information about clandestine experiments by the U.S. military on superhuman children because she envisions a future if her parents hadn’t given her up. Now Alex won’t rest until the experiments are permanently ended, whether it’s by her own volition or by a beast with an insatiable bloodlust guiding her hands.



 Scene 1: Preying


As part of her recent nightly routine, Alex Mercer watched from across the street as Henry Shen stepped out from his doorway with his briefcase and firmly locked the door behind him, oblivious to her shadow across the street cast by the streetlights. She saw the gold chain’s glint dangling around his neck as it swung. Embedded around his eyes was his occipital interface – titanium that ran around his orbits like metallic eyeliner.

Across the street, the fleeting glow of Alex’s cigarette crumbled to ash when she rose as she maintained a watchful distance. Alex followed Shen through San Francisco’s Chinatown night market, passing vendors selling cheap imitation sneakers and jackets, the trendiest synthskin coatings, and a lavish suit store. In front of a twisted, blooming cherry blossom tree, the pink petals scattered across the damp ground, trampled into smears by unaware pedestrians. Shen stopped in the marketplace center. Alex paused, hiding near a vendor selling opulent knock-off purses. Just get on with it already. Her restless hand instinctively slid down to her holster. Quit prolongin’ the inevitable. Shen casually glanced down at his watch, then turned left into the ever-growing homogeneous sea of pedestrians.

Pushing her way through the fleshy tides, she caught a glimpse of Shen as he disappeared further into the crowd. Her nose twitched as it caught a whiff of soy sauce, a brackish aroma that made her stomach howl. She thought about gorging herself, but losing him would leave her with one pissed-off Woozie… and a visit from Mr. Sun. Fuck that idea.

Alex watched as Shen’s head swiveled, eyes scanning the surrounding faces, and dipped into an alleyway behind the Lemon Grass restaurant. Its grimy yellow neon letters flickered as Alex lurked close behind the wall, bathed in shadows, watching. He knocked three times, and the back door flung open. When the door slammed shut, she scurried over, then pressed her ear to the door. The noise was a mixture of muffled shouts, cheerful laughter, and chairs scraping across the floor. Her eye darted around the alleyway, and she found a fire escape that led up onto the roof, giving her the perfect vantage point.

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