At times like this, I wonder if things are worth fighting for. I wonder if I should let myself go into this swarm of metal blades and glowing pupils if I can finally rest forever, for the first time in a long time. If this could just be over once and for all.

And then I quickly remember that if I die, the Organization would laugh over my corpse, relishing my demise as a punishment for defying their order and not selling my soul in the first place. That they would deem me as a personal failure, just another teenager who dies earlier than most—for the right reasons. That they would desecrate my corpse, siphon the remnants of my powers, and use my own Catalyst to fuel usurpers with powers they do not deserve. That's the cruel fate I think about, the ones who I fought with faced in the end.

If I die here, then the Organization wins. But I'm not going to let that happen. I can't afford to lose everything again. They'll pay—they'll all pay. I will not rest or waver. Not until every last one is cut down.

I've spent eight hours and seventeen minutes exerting all my time and effort into the occupation of an executioner; a conductor of a steel massacre under a full moon and a cascade of cold rain. I can barely hear my frantic breathing, my ears deafened by lighting, as it cracks the sky. I shudder from the very echo of my beating heart, as it reverberates from inside my aching body. I'm without a scratch, but I feel like I'm about to pass out from the ordeal. But I know every breath I make, every step I take, I am alive.

The Oculi still outnumber me, at least twenty drones encircling me, like a pride of lions closing in on a lone gazelle. Bulbaceous, giant neon-purple eyes as their entire body, levitating in the air, wire tentacles with barbs, programmed to skewer with precision. Their demonic slit pupils glare at me, their light refracting in the puddles on the sidewalk. They ignored the corpses of the ones I have already dismantled, scattered piles of scrap metal littering the streets, soaked in their own oil and mud. This street is a scrapyard, a cemetery for fallen robotic souls I put to rest. Lovecraftian entities left to decay and rust.

I've dismantled so many that I stopped keeping score at 37.

The nearest Oculus screeches, and rockets towards me in a frenzy. All eight appendages whirl around it like propellers. But I don't flinch. I don't run. I don't back the fuck down.

I keep my ground, arch my right arm back, and dart straight towards it on the wet pavement. I lunge forward and impale my blade right into the bastard's beady eye, a fixture of solid red light pulsing with crimson lightning. The Oculus' light flickers on and off as a result of the electrocution and falls on the wet earth, its heavy husk joining the rest of its people.

"Is this your friend? Is this your friend? Don't worry, you'll join it soon, like the rest!" I casually goad, arms extended out, as I step onto its lens with my moistened sneakers. Their screeches break the short silence and charge at me in a do-or-die assault. I wonder if robots get pissed off, but if they do…nice. As its lights dim for the last time, theirs gleam a hellish violet, brighter than the sole lampposts that clings to life.

But my sword is the brightest; it flows with neon bloodlust. This is just another night for the both of us.

I lift my heels off the pavement and soar towards my next target. All eight prongs spiral in front of it like a drill, aiming straight towards my heart. It's quick, but I am quicker. My blade cleaves through the second eyeball like softened butter, and the two bifurcated halves tumble down towards the street. I can feel the adrenaline surge through my veins as I cut through the assembly of machinery one-by-one, saber in hand, illuminating this empty night with my own scarlet light, as I snuff theirs out.

Left. Right. Up. Down. Side-to-side. Forward and backward. Deactivated corpse continues to litter the streets, sparks flying out from their severed and pierced shells. I pay my respects by trampling on every platform I can leap off of. I make it my sworn duty that everyone pays in full. No one tries to kill me and gets away with it. I brandish out Blade No. 2 from my left and cross-cleave two Oculi in my way. I see all of my enemies approaching closer, their blades stretched out and honed for the kill. Their blades are sharp, but mine is sharper! I rotate the sole of my feet 90 degrees and swipe the wet air with both of my hands, neon-rouge shockwaves pulsing out like an EMP. Each Oculus caught in the wake detonate in a streak of flames, utterly decimated. They decay and fall like shooting stars before their empty lives break into the nothingness.

Droning blared across this empty shell of a metropolitan environment. Lights illuminated the streets, on these dilapidated shells of machinery; busted, broken, butchered, executed. I turned around and viewed the next wave of Oculi swarmed in the air, staring at me with their beady eyes, demonic and hollow. Too many to count, but I guessed there had to be thirty of them, all filling the empty space in the air, giant mechanical eyeballs with lashers flailing like maces.

All of them are programmed to eliminate me under a sky filled with oblivion. I inhale my first-again breathe, and exhale into the cold night. Each drop numbs my skin, each vein pumps adrenaline-filled body across my entire body. My heart races through the anxiety and exhaustion. And yet, I stand ready to go, alive and unwavering. I'm outnumbered, but they are out of their league. This changes nothing.

My scarlet blade surges, and I charge into the distance.