My first story on this site; reviews are much appreciated.

The Mysteries of Life

Sullivan gripped the knife tighter in his right hand. Holding his breath and clenching his teeth, he slowly drew the knife across his left wrist. He held his hand over the wine glass, letting his blood run into it. He clenched his teeth tighter as the knife completed its pass. His wrist cried out in pain.

The girl named Rebecca looked eager to see the blood. She jumped up from the red velvet chair and leaned closer to the glass, watching as Sullivan's blood slowly filled it.

He knew that this would satisfy the girl's craving for now. He would have time for a couple more experiments before her thirst returned. It was only a matter of time before he had enough data to isolate her unique genes and begin to copy them. The children at the Crank Seminary on Level 7 were ideal subjects. There was one boy in particular that stood out among the rest. His preliminary tests were the most promising. He would be the first subject.

Perhaps then, if he was successful, the people of Basel could finally live as free, unbound beings. They would no longer be bound to a quartz. They would be immortal. Zenith would become obsolete.

The glass was filled. Sullivan took the cloth and pressed it against his wrist, slowing the flow of blood to a trickle. The cloth slowly stained crimson.

Rebecca looked up at him with shimmering eyes. He nodded at her, while pressing the cloth tighter. The girl smiled and took the glass, filled with his blood, and quickly ran away.

In time, the blood stopped. He quickly bound the cloth around his wrist and tied it in place. The pain lingered.

Of course, there was still the matter of Cardinal Rowen's experiments at Aetersyl. Nineteen of the subjects had already died, as planned. He had personally seen their shattered quartz crystals in the laboratories. Everything was progressing smoothly until a few weeks ago.

He had heard from the other scientists that the twentieth subject, the girl named Leanne, had been allowed to leave Aetersyl. There was no doubt in Sullivan's mind that she had learned about the experiments, and that she knew that her quartz was programmed to shatter next Christmas. It was a minor setback, but nothing that Sullivan had not anticipated. Even if they could no longer keep track of Leanne, he had more than enough data to analyze Zenith's movements and find patterns. In time, they could control the giant mechanical deity, and through that, control the life of every single human in Basel.

He had initially questioned Rowen's motive for the experiments. Rowen was a man of great faith, the leader of the Cardinals. He had no reason to challenge Zenith, to challenge "God". But then Sullivan remembered Rowen's relationship with Prelate Frieda.

The late Prelate Frieda, he reminded himself.

It was no surprise to anyone that Rowen and Frieda had feelings for one another. Sullivan smiled as he remembered the desperation and anguish in his voice.

"Help me control Zenith. Help me bring her back…"

Still, Rowen had no idea that Sullivan was conducting his own experiments with Rebecca. She was the key figure in his research. Rebecca was a perfect specimen, a human from the outside world. By copying her traits onto his own, perhaps he could finally see what life was like outside of the clockwork cage that was Basel.

Sullivan walked across the room, up the small metal staircase, to the circular window. Outside, he could only see clouds.

But soon…soon he would be able to see so much more.

The realization dawned on him.

It was only a matter of time before his research was put to the ultimate test. And when that time came…he would be free. Zenith, the mockery of God, and Basel, the mechanical cage, would be a thing of the past.

He felt something tug at his jacket. He turned to see Rebecca holding up an empty wine glass in front of him, an innocent, childish look in her eyes. There were still traces of a thick, dark crimson liquid in the glass. He looked down at his bound wrist.

Sullivan sighed deeply. He smiled slightly and reached down to pat the girl's light silver hair.

"All in time."