A few random ideas I was playing around with.

Yes, the thing’s name is really ThatRandomGuy.


There was a scream from below, but Merr decided not to look down as she balanced on the balcony railing. “Who’s screaming?” she yelled to her companion, James, instead.

“I don’t know!” James yelled back; he too was standing on the railing, but with the perfected grace of an acrobat, which was no surprise considering that he was practically a robot.

Another scream echoed from below. “That sounds like Abby!” Merr told James, continuing to clutch the railing.

“You stay here, I’ll go find out,” James ordered. Without waiting for a reply, he leaped off the railing and fell out of sight down the side of the tall building.

“James, don’t leave m–” Merr started, but broke off as he jumped. Instead, she gripped the railing harder, about to slide onto the balcony.

The balcony door slid open and a figure stepped out into the open. It was completely white, like untouched snow without the sparkle, but it had no face, hair, clothes, nothing. It was a smooth-surfaced thing that resembled a human shape, without the ups and downs, like a filled-out balloon of the same shape you saw in front-facing diagrams of the body.

It held a sword in its hand. “I never thought you’d betray us, Merr,” the thing snarled, the voice coming from an unknown source. “I thought you and James would be more loyal to your father than the humans.”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, ThatRandomGuy,” Merr snapped, “I am human. And you know as well as I do that my father is an irresponsible and cruel tyrant controlling the king by taking advantage of his trust! Humans are not to blame for the earth’s problems.”

“We’ll see about that,” ThatRandomGuy hissed, swinging his sword at Merr. She ducked, hearing it whiz above her head, and stood up, trying to balance on the railing like James had done. She wobbled for a moment, and fear made her heart leap into her throat; it was a long way down if she fell from up here.

When she had regained her balance, which was tricky as she was still dodging ThatRandomGuy’s blows, she drew her own dagger and began to block his strikes. “Where’s Theo when you need him?” she muttered under her breath as she blocked yet another strike; Theo had been her swords-teacher at the academy she had attended as a child.

More of ThatRandomGuy’s companions leapt out beside him. Merr shook her windswept brown hair out of her eyes and held up her dagger defensively, trying to control the dangerous wobble on the railing. Her despair must have shown in her eyes, because the enemies began to advance upon her with outstretched weapons.

“Give it up, Merr, you’re surrounded,” ThatRandomGuy growled. “Come with us quietly, however, and swear allegiance to your father, then we will spare you and your friends.”

“You were never after my friends,” Merr spat. “Just me and James.”

“Ah, but they know too much.” If ThatRandomGuy had eyes, they would likely have a malignant gleam in them. “But you could stop them from getting hurt. I’ll call of their pursuers if you do what I ask.”

Merr’s heart raced even faster. “What have you done with them?”

ThatRandomGuy broke into a raspy laugh. “Do you really want to know the answer to that question, Merr?”

Merr bit her lip as a realization struck her. “Something tells me you want me alive, or you’d have killed me already.”

ThatRandomGuy’s tone turned from soft and gentle to one of annoyance. “If you don’t give up, we’ll take you by force,” he warned.

“I’ll never surrender!” Merr jabbed her long dagger at him, but he backed out of range, then thrust his sword at her. She quickly parried his strike, then began to worry as the others came closer, brandishing their wickedly sharp, gleaming swords.

“When I said I wanted adventure,” she huffed as she blocked another blow, “I never meant battling lab-generated hybrid species on a balcony miles above the ground because of a rebellion against a robot organization to wipe out humankind!”

There was a sudden, fierce, searing pain in her arm, and she dropped her dagger. She hardly heard it clatter to the floor as she clutched her sleeve, which was slowly staining with dark red blood. ThatRandomGuy drew his bloodied sword-tip back, then kicked the knife off the balcony. “Nowhere to go,” he snarled.

“There is one way to go,” Merr said faintly, seeing ThatRandomGuy through a haze of red mist that obscured her eyes as she fought the agonizing pain. She stood up straight, not fighting the wobble that threatened to pitch her over the side. Taking one last gasp of the thinner atmosphere, she fell backwards, hearing ThatRandomGuy’s yells of shock, as well as his companions’.

“James, help!” she cried out as she plummeted to the ground. “This fall doesn’t go on forever!”

She felt herself stop as she fell right into James’s arms. Unknown to him, he was digging his fingers into her wound, but she took no notice of it. “Thanks,” she breathed, staring up into James’s green eyes.

Then everything went black.