Sharp Crown

A dark-haired woman in a white suit approached the pale teenager sitting on the edge of a cliff. He looked 15-years-old with a black widow’s peak dipping into his forehead.

“Hi. What’s your name?” the woman asked him. She inched closer to the edge.

“I’m not gonna jump,” he said. “I just like the view,” the kid said.

“That tiny jump wouldn’t hurt you,” the boy looked at her in surprise, but she smiled. “What’s your name, Corona?” she asked. A red outline in the shape of a crown glowed on his forehead under the tip of the widow’s peak. It breathed red light then disappeared under his skin again.

“How’d you know?” he asked. He turned his attention to her fully and stood from away from the cliff to appraise the woman. “You’re just a Zero,” he searched the area for someone or something that might be giving her information. He saw no sign of anyone else, nor any vehicle to explain her sudden appearance.

“It’s my business to know Uniques, and you’re a special one,” she stepped closer to him. They stood about the same height, due to the boy’s youth. Her dark brown eyes locked with his light grey eyes. “My name is Dana Sharp. I recently acquired a company you may have heard of, InnerTech.” The boy’s face softened for a fraction of a second, but Dana noticed it.

“What do you want from me?” the teen asked. Dana smiled at him.

“Expansion. I want to distribute the AlterNet the way InnerTech never could.” Dana appraised the boy from top to bottom. “I’m told that I need you for that.”

“How do I know I can trust you?” he asked. Dana shrugged and gave him a knowing smirk.

“You don’t. After all, you can never be too careful,” Dana said. “But what you do know is, you’re a mighty Corona, and I’m just a lowly Zero.” The boy’s eyes narrowed and he looked around again. She was telling the truth, but something bothered the back of his mind. How did she get there?

“Let’s say I trust you a little bit. What’s in it for me?” he asked.

“Anything you want. If you’ve been here as long as I think you have, it’s been a long time since you’ve met anyone, right?” Dana asked him. The boy nodded and sadness darkened his face.

“So, what do you want?” She asked. His light, rosy lips opened, but he hesitated. Finally, he visibly gritted his teeth and nodded his head as if he convinced himself of something.

“Friends,” he said. Dana placed a hand on his shoulder.

“If you work with me, we’ll end up being great friends,” she smiled. “Not to mention all the new playmates you’ll have in the AlterNet.”

“Okay. I’ll help you, but first I have to know. How’d you get here?” he asked. Dana Sharp shrugged.

“Janet.” When the woman said the name a large black hole opened in the air next to Ms. Sharp. A short, round, woman wearing leather stepped out of the portal. The teenager saw a red skull tattooed on top of her bald head.

“What’s your name?” Dana asked the boy again.

“Oren,” he said as he stepped into the dark portal.

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