Spoiler Alert: I Die

A number of mysterious killings begins plaguing Sector 25, the murderer a mysterious figure whom the media have- very smartly, of course- dubbed "Unknown". They have no idea who Unknown is, where they come from or what they want from people, only that one person is to die a week and that there is no way to stop them.
Alcie Knowles, prodigy investigator, is recruited to investigate the killer and these mysterious deaths, in hope of working out the truth behind what is going on. But he's promised to himself that he won't get attached to anything. Getting attached distances himself from his work. Who knows what'll happen if he loses focus and falls for someone?


1. Chapter One

The women leads me down a dizzying maze of corridors, staircases and offices. Everything is so perfect, pristine, that I could almost imagine it was fictional. There was no sign of disorder anywhere, no coffee stains on the cream coloured carpet, nor the pure white walls. Pictures and certificates lined the walls in neat rows, the windows polished to perfection. It felt like a hospital, like it was sterilized- which gave me the feeling that behind the walls was sickness, or some sort of wrongness. That the cream carpet was just the first layer, and that underneath was just some horrible, gooey mess that was waiting to slip out. I shuddered, definitely pleased that I wasn’t going to be staying or working here, I didn't think I would enjoy it much if I did. 
The lady herself was someone I wasn't sure I wanted to associate myself with much either. Sure, she was good looking- that seemed to be a trait every single secretary had to have- but her eyes were too dull and bored, her perfume overpowering, like a sugary sweet poison. Her silver name tag glistened, reading 'Laurel', pinned close to her almost embarrassingly low-cut shirt. Her heels made a clicking sound as she lead me through the halls. After what seemed like an infinity, she stopped in front of a set of glass doors. 'Laurel' turned towards me, darkly made up eyes fell onto me.
"You can go in now..." she drawled, weakly gesturing to the doors. I peered through the glass, but it was blurred and any figures that were inside were warped. Taking a deep breath, I looked behind me at the perfect walls and straight rows. I definitely wanted to get out of this place.
The air condition was set on full, but I could still feel my palms get clammy as I entered the room. If anything, it was a lot like many of the other places where I had previously sat 'interviews'. A large window was placed on the left wall, a desk in front of it. There, sat two people- a man and a woman. Both wore smart business suits, the number 25 sewn into the hems of their shirts. It almost looked like they were the property of Sector 25, or like branded cattle. I quickly brushed the thought from my mind, what if I had accidently said that? I would have been sent back for sure! Slowly, I slid into the seat in front of the couple, so I was facing them- eye to eye. 
"Alcie Knowles..." the woman began, like they all do in interviews like this. I feel the urge to roll my eyes, this is the most important job I'll ever get... but it's just so typical. Not to mention they're always surprised about my name. Most assume I'm female, Alcie is a rather feminine name. I don't really like it, but then again not many people like their given names. I usually just bear with the comments.
"Age 17originally from Sector One Hundred and Twelve." the woman continues. She kind of looks like a cat, with her rimmed glasses. "Tell us about yourself..."
This question's typical too. I can't count how many times someone has said a variation of that sentence to me, but if I did the answer would be approaching at least fifty. At least I'm prepared, I've had a lot of practice, but you never know what they want from you.
"Nice to meet you. I am a 12th case YO with my main area being investigations. I have just flown from Sector 99 today to be here, just having been working on the assassination attempt of the PM. I have moved here to study the current 'Unknown' case." I recite. I usually say some variation of this, of course, with the details being applicable to the time. This time though, it seems I have struck a nerve. The man flinches at the words 'Unknown' running his hand over his bald head. However, the woman remains unfazed- scribbling something on her notepad. She turns back to me.
"And what do you know of this case?" she frowns, her blonde curls falling into her eyes. I wait a beat before answering.
"The Unknown case has been going on for about six months in Sector 25. Every week, a serial killer- known by the media as 'Unknown' kills a different victim. However, there is no link between any of the killings, as various methods are used, and there is no locational link nor any link between victims. Even with the curfew for the whole city from eight at night to eight in the morning, the killings still continue. There are yet to be any leads on the Unknown case." 
Glasses nods, she seems to be pleased. It seems Baldy has regained his composure, as he leans forwards in his chair- towards me. 
"And what do you think you can bring to this case?" 
Interesting question. "I have had experience with previous murder cases, though nothing to this scale. While working with the investigation team and attending school here, I believe I have a stronger chance of being able to approach and relate to the public. People usually tend to trust those they befriend. Not only this, but I come from one of the top schools for YOs in the world, you can check my credentials in my file. The history I have with other cases should be a helpful asset, I hope." I say, trying to sound more confident than I feel. The man is definitely more cynical than the woman- it'll be harder to convince him.
"So you believe that Unknown is a member of the public?"
"I don't have any certain facts to prove it, but judging from past experience it is highly likely." 
He rapid fires me a few more questions, what other cases have I been involved in? How would I approach this one? With every question he sits even more far forwards in his seat- I'm afraid he'll fall off at one point. The lady scribbles on her notepad with every answer. Finally, when I think I've answered enough questions to fill her whole book- she stands up.
"Thank you for your time Alcie. Your answers have been deemed satisfactory, well done. If you exit through the left door, a driver will be waiting to take you to your apartment. In this envelope" she passes a while package to me "are the identification passes and keys. The DNA scanner is also complete with the DNA provided back in 99. In here are also the sets of information for your schooling and work. You can ride the bus to each place, though we have provided you with a bike for personal transport. Please remember lockdown begins at eight, and there will be severe penalties for being caught out after curfew. Good luck." the woman smiles at me. 
"Thank you." I say, taking the passage. My hands are still shaking, even though the interview is over. I'm very pleased with myself for managing to pass through, though the fear of failing was irrational. I push open the doors, surprised at how cold it is outside. I suppose I should have expected it, as 99 was situated in the desert and 25 is further north. Still, it is at least 4pm, and the weather still feels like early morning. I shudder, wishing I had brought a jacket.
"Cold, eh?" a voice behind me questions. A tall man with a mop of dark hair stands there, wearing a blue suit. He reaches out his dark hand to shake mine, though I'm quite bewildered. "I'm Noah, generally I work in security- but today I'm driving you to your apartment." he says, shooting me a grin. 
"Oh, nice to meet you. Alcie." I respond, returning his greeting. "Sorry, I didn't know who to expect."
"No problems there!" Noah smiles, grabbing my suitcase and bag- wincing at the weight. "Gosh, what's in here... rocks?” He makes his way to a dark van parked in the corner… that must be his car. After piling my bags in, he climbs in the front and I make my way into the seat next to him.

"Might sound a little dark, 22, what with all the media- but we pull through okay" Noah explains as he backs out of the parking. "Sure, Unknown is a horrible person whoever they are, but the curfew makes everyone feel safer. You wouldn't think we're like this by looking at us."
He's right. Looking out the window, it almost seems like any other normal city- people walking by and doing their daily business, sitting at cafes and cycling. I could imagine living here, going to school. I spot a group of teenagers about my age walking along the sidewalk. A boy with blonde hair laughs at a joke, and for a moment I almost feel envious of them. How is it they get to live such a carefree life, while I'm here- too afraid to stand out, to get safe for fear of falling or losing everything? What I would do for a day with no worries.
Listen to yourself Alcie! What are you saying? You're important, you're dedicating your life so that people like him don't have to live in fear or pain! Envy and selfishness aren't going to get you anywhere!
"-pretty close to the school" Noah continues, turning a corner. Slowly the rain starts to drizzle onto the windows... rain! I haven't seen rain in so long, except on TV. I have an odd urge to burst open the door of the van and run out into street, but I contain myself. I wonder, perhaps my apartment has a balcony where I can just stand in the rain. That would be nice.
    And seasons! Before the desert, I lived in the tropics- so I can hardly remember seasons. Still, I could imagine that autumn would be my favourite. It's the start of September, maybe I can hope to be here for when the leaves start to fall. Of course, I may not be here long at all either- it could go the other extreme too and that I leave as soon as I enter, maybe I'm not useful. Or I could be here for ages. 
    Don’t know which one would be nicer....
    The rain makes a sound like drums on the roof of the van, almost like a rhythm. I can’t believe I’ve gone for so long like this, without rain or any weather. I guess it could mean something. This rain is going to be new start. This time I’m going to lie as little as I can, no more deception. I won’t let anyone be hurt. I won’t get attached, I can’t do that to people.
But maybe this time, it’ll be enough.
“You’re not so used to this weather, huh?” Noah shoots me a grin, as if he was expecting this reaction. I nod, staring out the window- in awe like a child who had gotten a new toy. “You know, you’re going to get tired of it after a while.” 
“Maybe not so much.”

After about ten minutes driving through crowed city and tall, arching buildings, Noah begins to slow down. Immediately I glance out the window, taking in what should be my home for at least the next month. A tall, sleek black apartment complex greets my eyes. There are at least twenty floors and it looks very high tech, but I’m not surprised. Generally, the institutions around the world have quite a bit of money. I suppose it’s an upside, I’m getting paid pretty well- but accommodation is taken care of until I’m 20. I should take note of all these places while I’m here, I have a feeling I’m going to fail when it comes to picking.
Our van slowly moves into the parking area, where Noah enters using a key card. Once done, he tosses it to me. 
“That’s yours now. Don’t lose it, it’s really important. The building would have to change the entire lock system if you did.” He tells me, but I have a feeling he knows I won’t.
I fidget with the package in my hands. I’m itching to take it out and read all the information, but I contain my excitement. I can read it when I’m settled in and alone, after all I have the rest of the afternoon to myself. As if reading my thoughts, Noah turns back and faces me.
“There’s a couple shops a way back, you should pop down and buy some stuff to last you the week. There’s a bit of cash in there, I think…”
I nod, resolving to do that after exploring the apartment. The key in my hand is cold, a blank white card with the number 54 printed in block black letters. 
“This is where I leave you, gotta get back to my actual job. I trust you’ll find your way, just use the card to get into the elevator, and the room is going to need to do a DNA scan, but your fingerprint should work”. Noah says.
I thank him, grabbing my bags from next to me. “I should see you at work, since I’m security there.”
“Thanks a lot!” I say, waving at him as he drives away. I’m alone again.
The elevator is as modern as I thought it would be. A cool voice welcomes me, asking me which floor I would like to go to. As I zip upwards, I think about Noah. I like him a lot, he seems really friendly- but that might just have been his job. Perhaps if I was somebody else I would have talked to him more, gotten along better with him. But I’m not, I’m myself. 
Stepping out of the lift, I drag my bags behind me. There are three rooms per floor, mine being on the 18th. There doesn’t seem to be anybody living in the other two rooms, though I wonder who else lives in the complex. There is sure to be a lobby, I just haven’t been down to see it yet. I reach my key and swipe it in front of a black rectangle, only about five centimetres long. A green tick appears, and an image of a finger replaces it. Unsure, I hesitantly place my finger on the box- perhaps it’s the DNA scan. I seem to be right, as a woman’s voice calmly states that I have ‘granted access.”
The door opens with a click, and I hesitantly open it. The first thing that greets me is the smell of paint, which causes me to wrinkle my nose a little. However, once I see the room- my disappointment is wiped away completely.
The room is done amazingly. A white rug covers the floor, I haven’t had a rug in my apartment before. The living room and kitchen are in one big area, a large TV situated on the wall, and a black sofa faces it. The kitchen is huge, with a big stove- but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be using my microwave a lot more. No, the best thing is the huge window on the side of the dining table. I can see everything, the whole city in one glace. It extends all the way across the wall, to a pair of glass of doors that I know leads to the balcony. I smile, just like I wanted. 
My room is just as good. The bed is fine, the colours dull- but I don’t mind. I like the desk, it’s large, and I have a pin board. That’s going to be helpful especially when I can note and put notices. 

I look at the alarm clock I placed at the side of my bed. It reads 5:00pm, I should probably go out and find some food for dinner. I change out of my formal suit, it would feel odd going out in something like that. Instead, I change into a pair of jeans and a jumper. It’s nice to get out of the stuffy clothes, but I suddenly feel out of place in these clothes and this apartment. 
Dumping my bags and my suitcase on my bed, I fish through them until I retrieve an umbrella. I’m glad I have one, I bought one before coming to 25 just in the hope that there would be a chance for rain. 
Slowly, I close the apartment door behind me, checking in my pocket to make sure I still have my key. The silence is almost eerie and I feel the need to knock on the two other doors to confirm that nobody lives in them. I think I’d have a heart attack if someone appeared out of them, though I’m certain nobody lives there- judging by the thin layer of dust that had fallen on the door handle. There’s no need to linger…
The only way to get out is through the lobby, which I haven’t been to yet. The elevator stops with a ding, the doors slowly opening to a fairly large room. A few waiting chairs are strewn around, and a young woman- she looks about 20- stands behind a desk. Her black hair is tied into a tight knot, and her eyes are busy scanning over a piece of paper. As soon as I enter, however, they dart towards me. She gives me a smile, but it seems almost forced. 
“You must be the new arrival,” she says. Her accent is familiar, perhaps British? 

“Welcome, then. You look rather young to be living alone…” Perhaps she doesn’t know why I’m here.
“Oh, overseas education. I love travelling.” It’s a lie, but a safe one. She probably would still wonder why I came to 25 out of anything. “I’m heading out to the shops, do you know where the nearest one is?”
“Hm!” Her dark eyes light up. It must be a boring job, so she’s probably glad to do something. “There’s a little road some ways to the left where there’s a supermarket. It’s the closest, about 15 minutes by foot. Are you sure you want to head out in the rain?” 
I pause. “Yes.”
“Ha-ha, alright then” she pauses “It’s pretty close to curfew, I expect you know all about that?” I nod. “I’m Caele, by the way.”
“Alcie, nice to meet you.” I respond. The people here seem to be very nice- perhaps it’s compensation for the serial killer. I smile, bidding my farewell to her, making sure to note the building. I didn’t like lying, but at least that one I had no choice in. 
The air is cold as I step outside, and it smells fresh in the way only cold air can. I remember the feeling, almost nostalgic, from when I used to live in a colder climate as a child. Opening my umbrella, I step out into the rain, shoes and socks almost immediately soaked by a large puddle. Swearing, I step onto the pavement. Newbie mistake, huh?
Walking along, I can see where Caele was leading me to, a road where cafes and small shops sat, lining the road. At the end, almost the only shop still open- was a supermarket, its neon light reflected in the pool of water gathering on the road. Walking towards it, I spot a couple in a café staring at me. When they catch me staring though, they do something completely unexpected- they smile! Coming from 99, where people are so refined, and before that 102, where people were generally just mean, it made a nice change. Hm, maybe things won’t be so bad here. 
The rain hasn’t stopped, I can still hear it splattering on the windows- causing the trees to flail around in the howling wind. It’s a real storm, anyone else would be annoyed at the weather, but I’m glad. Even in my apartment the air is cold. I should turn on my heater, but I have no idea how to work it. Lying back on my bed, I can do nothing but stare blankly at the ceiling. I’m bored.
Maybe I could turn on the TV, or listen to some music- but it’d just be dull. I’m too nervous right now to do anything like that, with my classes and the investigation starting tomorrow. In fact, the only thing I can think of is Unknown. 
Who are they? Of course, there are many theories that they are actually a large group of people carrying out mass killings. I don’t believe it. It’s one person- that I’m sure of. How they travel around when it’s supposed to be forbidden? There’s no doubt that they’re smart –how else could they be doing that- but the extent of their intelligence is something I’m not sure of. The killings are different every time, different people, different places. Their motives are… confusing is probably the best way to describe them.
Maybe I’ll wait until I get more information. 
I feel the urge- I need to get out of here. I need to do something, I’ll go mad if I’m left with all these empty theories. It’s either I go out or do something, or I start to freak out. My eyes flutter to the clock, 6:30 PM, it’s nearly curfew. But... I …
Before I know it, I’m outside. The rain comes as a shock, waking my senses. My eyesight become sharper, the cold making my teeth chatter and bones shake, but I relish in it. My clothes are drenched, stuck to my skin and I’m freezing. But I’ll stay here. I like the rain.

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