The ground began to tremble with a distant rumble accompanied by a rush of wind sweeping through the tunnel. The rumble became louder and erupted suddenly into an immediate and deafening roar as the train shot along the twisted maze of its vast concrete nest. He was used to this now, he barely even noticed. He was himself barely noticed, the odd-job man, the grubby and strange mechanic who could fix anything, the weary man whose eyes flickered with some distant fire, and whose mysterious knowledge of the inner workings of things was all that kept him employed. Nobody knew where he came from or where he lived, nobody knew he lived right beneath them, buried in the concrete. Nobody knew that in one of the many subway tunnels was set a long-forgotten maintenance door which led into a small room, a room which had once housed heavy equipment of all kinds, but which was now littered with tools, food and books.
A thin coating of dust covered almost everything except for the books which were read too often to collect dust; their covers worn and creased, the pages dog-eared and yellowed. Books were piled onto piles, books about science and mathematics, books about yoga and qigong, books about the samurai and the ninja, comic books about dark heroes. In the corner was a tattered once-white sheet covering a large box which betrayed nothing of its contents, hidden perfectly against the damp and ragged walls. Affixed to the wall behind the door was a small tap, its copper faded and coated in the turquoise patches of its own corrosion.
This is where he lived, and he was preparing himself.
He awoke. He knew it was midnight, that it was time. He did the same every night; wait for the 12:04 train to blast by, sneak out of the dust and oil-coated door, walk along the tracks toward the deserted platform, up the steps and into the night.
The air was cool but dry - the winter was finally turning into spring. He strolled into the middle of the empty road and breathed deeply. Breathe through the nose. He held his arms outstretched. The size, shape and convolution of the nasal passages are designed to extract maximum energy from the air. He felt so alive, standing and breathing, filling his soul with the energy of the universe, watching the sky passing by. The moon was gleaming pure white light, hidden only in fleeting moments when the black fragments of torn clouds drifted across its perfection, blotting out every star behind it. So many trillions of tons of burning nuclear fire, put out by a tiny wisp of water droplets.
He began to walk, feeling his power. Over the last year he had felt his chi increasing considerably; all-pervading energy, seeping into his bones, opening his chakras. Soon he would be ready. He began to run, feeling the energy rush through him with the wind, alone and powerful in the deserted streets.
It was daytime, but in the perpetual darkness of his small home there was no way of telling. The only light came from an old angle-poise lamp which now illuminated an upturned crate serving as a desk. He was reading comic book after comic book, hungrily taking in the heroes and villains with superhuman speed and strength. That could be me. He looked over to the covered box in the corner, then back to the printed page. That will be me. The final piece was almost in place. Everything was coming together with perfect timing, the universe was looking after him.
He ventured out that evening to enact the final part of the plan, the plan to make him ready for the real thing. The fading daylight showed him to be younger than many suspected, a man of maybe thirty who had once been handsome before some great weariness had clawed his features. He walked with a hurried pace, in fear of those around him despite the power he knew he had. All he saw were people too enwrapped inside their own petty grievances to even consider the possibility of a bigger picture. He feared them, and they made him feel sick. He went into the small shop he had been frequenting for months, an old shop which clung to the last remnants of character of which the rest of the city was so desperate to rob it. It was a shop selling items from all around the world, but every time he entered, without hesitation, he went over to the same corner to stand and stare at the mannequin decked in its traditional samurai outfit. He turned to the old man behind the counter. "I want the helmet and that sword," he said in his quiet, softly-spoken voice, pointing as he spoke.
The next night he arose earlier than usual, knowing this was it. He slowly walked over to the box in the corner and threw back the sheet. Inside, wrapped in plastic which he now unfurled, were the helmet and sword he had bought the previous day. The sword was in its beautifully ornate red sheath, cords hanging from the end, the weight at the end of the handle richly engraved. He carefully took it all out, revealing the rest of the samurai armour. Under all of that were the fabrics he had yearned to wear for so long, the traditional garments to wear beneath armour during battle. He stripped totally naked and went over to the small tap, washing himself thoroughly as the cold water splashed onto the concrete and ran reluctantly down the small square drain beneath.
He felt his chi coursing through him,burning to be set free. Soon. I will be ready soon. He stood and donned his clothing and armour in the traditional order. Short fundoshi, tied around the waist. Long fundoshi, tied at the back. Into the shitage, tie with the obi. Kobakama for his legs. Tabi on his feet. Kyahan around his shins. Waraje. Sun-ate. Haidate. Then the armour.
Do, made of black metal plates.
He tied his sword to his belt.
He spent almost half an hour, slowly dressing, the donning of armour, the freedom of knowing this was the moment, now was the time. He finally put on the helmet and tied it into place, then pulled down the face mask. There he stood, tall and imposing upon the blackness of space, burning with power. He stepped out the door and made his way along the tracks. Nobody noticed him. Nobody ever did. He walked slowly up and into the empty night, his every step creaking and jangling quietly with the kinetic energy of a vast storm withheld into the potential.
He kept walking until he reached an empty car park, where he walked directly into the middle and just stood. He breathed, feeling the universe's energy enter him, calling him back. Soon. He closed his eyes and felt his chakras opening in a flood of light, the light of all things, flowing into and out of him in a constant and unbreakable circle. Once the macrocosmic and microcosmic orbits are complete, the practitioner can summon energy at will from the surrounding air. He filled his body with light. This lays the foundation for progress to the true realm of the spirit. He felt his sixth chakra awaken, his third eye begin to open. It is these advanced levels of power which are said to give to men the mind and eyes of God.
He opened his eyes and walked forward, each step yawning out over a million miles, each movement taking place in a fraction of a second yet spanning aeons. He began to jog, then to run. He knew exactly where he was going, he had always known. He felt light and destiny flood through him, heard war drums beating.
He ran up deserted roads, across gardens bathed in sorrowful moonlight, into the town. He ran through the high street, sparsely populated by a handful of people scattered throughout, people who had been out drinking, partying, and who still wanted more. People who squandered their lives and robbed the earth and the universe of its own life. People who refused to notice how small they were. People who should not be alive. This was urban guerrilla warfare, and he was the divine warrior born to restore balance.
A group of three young girls was walking his way; with a wave of dark excitement, a white hot needle point of terrible purpose, he began to run toward them. They saw him coming; they screamed and tried to run, but he was already there. He smashed into them like a stone battering ram splintering wood, and with an almighty shout he drew his sword and brought it down hard amongst them. The blade encountered soft resistance, a body collapsed, but he lifted it from its grotesque crimson kiss and brought it down again. More soul-wrenching screams, more panic, more struggle to stay alive. He had never used a sword in his life, but what did that matter? The power and wisdom of the entire universe was inside him, he would not need to think anymore, just act. Again and again the sword came down with soft thuds, until the screams turned to whimpers and stopped. He looked down, breathing hard, his breath making tiny clouds which rushed out to their deaths. At his feet lay three beautiful corpses, drenched in their own blood. Shaking with unstoppable energy, he stepped over them and walked on.
He realised that there were screams coming from all around him, but the war drums were getting louder, sounding out their rhythm, vibrating through his cells at the frequency of pure light. He walked through the screams, into the next street. Another group, this time five men in their late teens, early twenties. He barely heard their taunts as he ran toward them, mowing them down, spinning, burning them with the steel of his blade, running on, shouting, running, into the doors of the first building of his divine plan, a room full of people dancing to loud music and drinking, now dying and collapsing to their knees into growing pools of blood, next, another bar full of people, dying in their own blood, next... next... ... dying... all dying.
He was almost blind with the bright white light which grew more intense behind his eyes, running out of control, war drums pounding, people screaming. He ran out of the town square and heard car tyres screeching, sirens sounding, an amplified voice telling him to drop the sword, but he knew it didn't matter anymore. He was destined for more than they could possibly imagine, and they were playing right into his hands. Yes, all of this was meant to happen, every last part of it, all of it intersecting and overlapping, weaving together into a coherent and brilliant play upon the twisted stage he inhabited.
He had done his job. Police cars were sprawled out in the road ahead of him, and he ran back into the town square, just as he had known he would. Shots were fired, sudden thunderous bangs echoing off the buildings as they pierced the night. He suddenly felt as if someone had punched him in the back, and a sharp pain slashed through his side as a bullet tore through him. He felt the warmth of his blood pouring beneath his armour, but he kept on running.
He ran through the square and out the other side, heading back to his underground home. He knew he would never see it again. Back over the gardens, back down the roads... a helicopter flew overhead, a spotlight shone down on him, but it was nothing compared with the pure whiteness which now enveloped him. Cars behind and in front, screeching to a halt, men hiding behind doors. He did not stop. He surged forward, heading between the two cars in front of him. The men were getting out, drawing their handguns, but still he ran, pulling out his sword with a kiai shout of death and terror. All the soldier's powers being fused and channelled through the pitch and vibrations of his voice. He swung his sword and cut through one of them. There were another two deafening shots, another terrifying impact and a burning sliver of pain in his chest, but he did not stop for one second. Sword against flesh, again and again.
As the last man collapsed he leaped over the four bloodied corpses and ran on, feeling fainter every minute as his blood began to drip onto the asphalt. He felt his garments soaking wet under his armour, and suddenly another tearing pain in his abdomen accompanied a gunshot. He ran, the white light coursing through him getting purer and brighter. He ran down the steps into the underground station and onto the rails.
The war drums still pounded, almost blocking the sounds of the armed police following him down. The men stopped when they saw him running into the tunnels and fired after him. Another sharp pain, and another. Pieces of his armour started to fall to the floor with a clatter, shattered bamboo and twisted steel, but he kept running, his breath rasping painfully, choking on his own blood until he began to slow down, the laughter of relief welling up and bursting out from him. He finally stopped and stood, arms outstretched on the tracks, looking upward, laughing. All he felt now was the pure energy that he was becoming and the rumble of the tracks he was standing on. His seventh chakra was flowering, the final step to liberation, and he could feel his spirit rise to the crown of his head. Such energy fields represent the only force in the universe that resists the law of entropy. No longer would he be trapped inside this rotting corpus. The dissolution of all compound matter. He was finally going to be free.
A light appeared behind him as the rumbling became louder and louder. The average subway train weighs 150 tons and travels at a maximum speed of 60 mph. He closed his eyes and laughed. The spirit becomes one with the universe rather than being dissolved by it, and remains there forever in a luminous state of exalted universal awareness. The train was only feet away, it would only be a fraction of a second before it hit him. The train will impact with approximately 54,000,000 joules of kinetic energy. He laughed, his torn muscles aching in searing agony. Enough energy to dissolve the flesh and propel the spirit to heaven. Tears streamed down his face.
Somewhere, someone's watch ticked out 12:05 and fifty four million joules of kinetic energy trapped in one hundred and fifty tons of steel shot along its tracks past an old, dusty, oily door. Nobody noticed. Nobody ever did.