Summer, the season where the days are longer than ever, the only moment when the schools are closed, and you
e free from all the boring homework and able to enjoy your life, and its also the perfect time to hang out with your friends.

And thats what James and his friends wanted to do for the rest of it.

Theyd like to walk through the dimly lit streets of their city, which, at that hour, were usually empty. But after a while, when hunger settled in, they would go to ”Da Peppino ”, their favorite pizzeria. There, Mr. Giuseppe (the owner of the pizzeria) would always reserve for them a table, and of course, they would never refuse the free table. ”Cheap and good ”, thats what everybody in town thought about the food there. Then, after settling down and ordering the pizzas, they would usually start a conversation or play around, just to fill the wait.

Lorenzo was the only one not interacting a lot. He was a timid guy since childhood, with brown hair, always dressed in a blue checkered shirt, with black shorts. He was usual to spend his time at the table looking at his phone, scrolling through Reddits infinite subreddits.

Franco and Freddy were brothers, with Franco being the youngest of the two. They were the type of people to talk first, then think, getting themselves in trouble most of the time; with James being the one that had to come and rescue them from whatever mess they would have got themselves into.

James was the smartest of them. He always talked about science, as that was the major argument of discussion at lunch. His parents were very strict about with who their son spent his time, as they wanted for him to follow in their footsteps. He was extroverted and went straight to the point, while also enjoying making jokes in dangerous situations; this aforesaid characteristic was marked by a scar behind his right ear, given to him by ”The Gang of The Fours ”, the neighborhood bully bunch, after mocking and push them, to defend Franco.

One day though, as they were waiting for the waitress to take their orders, Lorenzo unglued his eyes from his phones screen. He looked straight ahead, with his eyes focused on something that not even he could comprehend, and then came back to normal. After that brief moment of being hypnotized, he tried to call the attention of his friends, who at that moment were being as loud as they could.

Lorenzo: G-guys?

As nobody even looked in his direction, he raised his tone.

Lorenzo: Guys, I need to tell you something.

All three then turned toward Lorenzo, looking at him in his eyes.

Franco: Whats the matter, Lorenzo?

Right then, he forgot everything. He couldn stand all those eyes looking at him. All those people, waiting for him to say something. But nothing was coming out of his mouth. He felt as if he was going to be compressed under all that pressure, but then he shyly said: Well guys, I just want to tell you that…that…Im a furry…

They didn know what a furry was, so they looked for it on their phones, then looked at Lorenzo again, and all said: ”And? ”.

Lorenzo was confused at their reaction; he thought the revelation wouldve weirded them out, subsequentially leading him to being kicked out of the group. But it was all, thankfully, flushed into the toilet after their uninterested reactions, so he simply shook it off by saying: ”oh, uh nothing…just wanted to let you know ”.

After that, they continued their night like usual. After eating, they went out for a little walk to digest the heavy food, and then set off to their respective homes; what Lorenzo said that night was forgotten, but James didn forget, he remembered and wanted to make his friend a surprise.

That summer would not be that monotonous after all, and the same would be for the ones coming ahead, all thanks to James and his next project.

But James closed himself in his room, away from any distraction. He would emerge from it only one week later, destroying the beliefs of what was thought impossible. He wanted to scream at the top of his lungs, but since it was the middle of the night, he withheld his excitement and whispered: ”eureka… ”

He felt like a god. He had done what would have taken an entire team of scientists in a highly controlled environment to achieve.

James: Now, if the human testing goes smoothly, maybe I could start commercializing my work. Hopefully earning the respect of the biggest minds in the world, while also saving the lives of lots of people, of course.

Since the substance had to reach every single part of the body, it had to be injected through a syringe into the blood system. So James took one of the empty syringes from the medicine container behind the mirror in the bathroom and put the substance in there.

The syringe was now shining with fluorescent purple color. Now, all he needed to do was to get rested and call his friends the next day to show them what he had done.

The next day, when he woke up at noon, he immediately called his friends and, with a raspy voice that made him sound like he had just come from a concert where he screamed for hours, told them: ”Guys, I must show you something, well meet in my garden at 4:30 P.M., don be late, the gate is already open, close it behind yourselves ”. They all agreed and gave themselves an appointment to where James told them.

When 4:30 PM came around, they were all reunited in Jamess garden, sitting on a gray sofa, squashed all together, waiting for him. But while they waited, James secretly observed them from up above, through the window of his room, anticipating how they would react to what was about to unfold, all this while with a malefic grin. He then got out of his room, walked down the stairs, and finally, he was downstairs, right in front of the spruce sliding door that led to the garden.

The moment he was outside, he approached the group and started talking.

James: My friends, this is a memorable day, as I have created this.

He took the syringe out of his cloak and held it high in the air, pointing at it with the other hand.

The friends were puzzled; they didn know what to say. Breaking the silence, was Freddy, asking confused: Yeah uh, whats that?

James: This, my friend, is the culmination of a week-long research. This…is…the future! People won ever suffer again from the downsides of the natural evolution process, say bye-bye to birth defects, to genetic diseases, and say hello to full body customization!

James: Want to be immune to a certain disease, simple stuff! Want to have inhuman resistance? Done. And the cool part hasn even come yet! We can program this liquid to do anything by everybody! Yes, dangerous, but a minuscule price to pay for the cheat codes of life!

Everybody was agape by what they just heard and asked for more information about the marvelous substance.

Franco: Who will be the first subject?

Freddy: Is it safe?

James: I need to test it to be sure. And I believe the perfect subject for this test is among us.

The friends, from being amazed and curious about the substance, went to being shocked and wanting to have nothing to do with it.

Everybody: What?!

James: You heard me right.

After that sentence, he began looking at everybody there, with a movement that resembled the pendulum of an old clock, going back and forth, back and forth. In that movement, there wasn any kind of randomness. He had already decided who was going to be the subject of this trial a week ago. After a while, his movement ceased. And at the end, his head was pointing right at Lorenzo, so he added: ”And itll be you, Lorenzo! ”.

As his name came out of Jamess mouth, Lorenzo panicked and started running away.

Lorenzo: Wait what?!

James: Oh, don worry, the needle won hurt you.

Said James while running toward him

Lorenzo: Its not the needle that worries me, but rather, whats inside the syringe!

Then, from the group stoop up Freddy, who ran toward James and, once reached him, he put a hand on his shoulder. James immediately slowed down, as the sheer force of Freddy was holding him still.

Freddy then released him and began talking to him.

Freddy: Hey dude, I will not repeat myself, so hear me out. Don you dare to put weird stuff in somebody elses body.

Franco: Yeah, you think you know everything just because your parents are scientists!

James: No, thats not true! I don know everything, but a rather discrete amount of it, and by the way, its not because my parents are scientists! I can prove it!

Franco: Then do it!

James: Alright Ill do it! Let me just grab the proof of it in my bedroom.

James then began directing himself to his room, but when he was in front of the sliding door, from the reflection on the glass, he saw that everybody had spread out, leaving a clear path to Lorenzo. Seen this opportunity, James sprinted and pinned Lorenzo to the ground, successfully injecting the substance through the left bicep; all while Lorenzo was struggling and screaming.

James: There, see? It wasn so bad after all.

Then, right after the liquid had been fully injected, Franco and Freddy finally took James away from Lorenzo, but when they did that, they didn account for the needle to still being inside Lorenzos skin, so when they pushed James away, the needle dug a scratch in the skin, making Lorenzo scream, and grab his arm.

Because of that, Franco accompanied Lorenzo to the kitchen to grab a paper towel to cover the scratch, while Freddy stayed with James.

Freddy: ARE YOU INSANE?! WHAT WAS IN THAT?

James: You mean in the syringe?

Freddy: OH MY GOD, YES! YOU MORON. YOU KNOW THAT HE NOW MIGHT DIE BECAUSE OF THAT SHITTY SYRINGE OF YOURS, RIGHT?!

James: Im sure he won beca-

Freddy: YOURE SIXTEEN JAMES, YOURE NOT A FUCKING SCIENTIST!

James: Bu-

Freddy: STOP DEFENDING YOURSELF, AND FACE THE REALITY, YOURE NOT A FUCKING SCIENTIST, WHO KNOWS IF HE MAY DIE IN HOUR BECAUSE OF YOU!

But as James was about to open his mouth again, they heard a thud coming from inside the house, and subsequentially, Franco screaming for their help. So, Freddy stopped and ran to where Franco was. James did the same shortly after.

And, in front of the stairs, there he was, Lorenzo, unconscious.

At that sight, Freddy, joined by his brother, started scolding James. The air was getting filled more and more with anger, panic, and fear. Their friend stood there, on the ground, breathing, but not showing any other sign of his presence. They couldn do anything else than shout at the culprit.

But in that din, a groan from Lorenzo stood out and made the three of them return to reality.

Freddy: He is alive!

Freddy shouted with relief.

James sighed at the hearing of that incomprehensible sound.

Franco also rejoiced at the hearing of the groan.

Then, they all surrounded Lorenzo as he opened his eyes again; Freddy then stared at James and said, ”You
e lucky that he is still alive! You
e an irresponsible, sick person. I don want to see you for a while, freak… ”

He then turned to Franco, as he hadn just said what he just did, and added: ”Lets go home, Franco ”.

And, as he said that, he took Lorenzo by his armpits, and put him on his shoulders. Before opening the entrance gate, he turned back at James and looked at him for a second; that moment, for James, felt like years in hell, being tortured while you can do anything other than to experience it.

Then Freddy, Lorenzo, and Franco began disappearing from Jamess sigh, as they were now walking toward the sunset, and, as they vanished, James stood there, staring blankly through the opened door, not moving a muscle.

After a while, he came back from his catatonic state and began preparing his dinner, as his parents always came late from work. What would he eat tonight? It depended on what he found in the fridge.

James: Tonights special dish will be…some bread with a few slices of ham in between, yummy.

In the end, after eating the sandwich, he undressed, put on his pajamas, and went to sleep.

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