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Second Chance Slaughter

2

Chapter 2- Gallery

20

 

 

It had been a few days since Avery woke up in this new body, and he couldn’t be more content.

 

Gone were the restless nights of his past life, where he slept with one eye open, constantly on guard.

 

Here, in this ordinary world, he could finally rest easy, free from the fear that tomorrow might bring another deadly mission.

 

“This is heaven,” he mused.

 

If dying at the hands of the Righteous Faction’s leader had brought him to this peaceful existence, then maybe death wasn’t such a bad deal after all.

 

Adapting to this new world had been surprisingly easy. Though there were still moments when his old habits slipped through—a sudden, precise movement or a turn of phrase straight from his assassin days—his coworkers at the convenience store quickly got used to his quirks.

 

They seemed to find his occasional odd behavior more amusing than alarming.

 

But what truly brought him joy in this new life was something entirely unexpected: his Android phone.

 

Avery had discovered the wonders of mobile gaming, and it was nothing short of a revelation.

 

He spent hours engrossed in various games.

 

Out of all the games he tried, farming simulation is what he loves most. A small, digital slice of the simple life he had always dreamed of.

 

Every day, he diligently harvested his virtual crops as soon as they ripened. He tended to his digital chickens, pigs, and cows with care.

 

There was only one downside: other players could raid his farm, plundering his hard-earned produce.

 

As a free-to-play (F2P) player, Avery found it challenging to keep up with the big spenders who poured money into the game for an advantage. His farm was modest, but he didn’t mind.

 

The slow, steady grind of daily farming suited him perfectly. He found satisfaction in the gradual progress, knowing that with patience and persistence, he would eventually build the farm of his dreams.

 

“Just like in real life,” he thought.

 

Perhaps the only thing missing in this new life was family.

 

Avery often found himself wondering what it would be like if his parents were still around. His mom had died in a tragic accident when he was in high school, and as for his father, he had no memories of him at all. According to his inherited memories, he had no siblings either.

 

Sitting on his bed, Avery unlocked his phone, about to login into his favorite farming game.

 

As he was about to open the app, he noticed a familiar red dot on another icon—Night Gallery. The red dot, indicating a notification, had been there since the day he woke up in this world.

 

He couldn’t recall what the app was for, though. It’s like a part of that foggy memory. It seemed like just another pre-installed feature, probably some kind of gallery for viewing photos.

 

“Maybe it’s just a system update or something,” Avery muttered to himself.

 

The app didn’t seem important, so he usually ignored it. His focus was on the messaging app where the store manager left reminders and, of course, his beloved farming game.

 

 

One weekend, with a rare day off from work, Avery decided to visit the seaside.

 

He had heard about the bustling activity there—people gathering seaweed, drying seafood, and bringing their catches to market. To him, it was another form of farming.

 

Catching the bus from his apartment, he settled into a window seat for the hour-long journey.

 

The familiar town slowly faded, and soon, the salty tang of the sea drifted through the air. The bus rattled along, and Avery watched as the scenery changed, houses giving way to open fields and then to the shimmering coastline.

 

When he finally stepped off the bus, the scent of the ocean hit him full force—a mix of salt, seaweed, and something faintly fishy.

 

He followed the directions he had gleaned from friendly locals, winding through narrow streets until he reached the shore. There, he was greeted by the sight of a small, industrious community.

 

In the shallows, men and women waded through murky, muddy waters, skillfully catching octopuses with long poles. Nearby, groups of women were bent over large basins, their hands deftly working with squids, cleaning and preparing them for drying.

 

Avery approached, eager to observe up close. But before he could reach the workers, a man with a friendly, balding head and eyes that crinkled into near-invisibility when he smiled stepped into his path.

 

“You’re not from around here, are you?” the man asked.

 

“No, I’m not,” Avery replied.

 

“What brings you to our little town?” the man continued, tilting his head slightly.

 

There was something in his tone that made Avery pause—a subtle edge, as if he were being sized up.

 

Avery hesitated, studying the man in return. Something about the encounter felt a bit off, like he was being lightly interrogated.

 

Sensing the tension, the man quickly added, “Oh, forgive me if I’ve come across too strong. I’m Theodore, the acting chief around here. We’re a tight-knit community and don’t often see new faces. I’m just curious, that’s all. It’s good to be careful, right?”

 

Avery felt his tension melt away as he looked into Theodore’s kind eyes and relaxed his guard.

 

“Absolutely not. I was just hoping to see how people here harvest seaweed or dry squids.”

 

“Ah! Thinking about getting into the business, are you?”

 

“Something like that,” Avery said.

 

With that brief exchange, Theodore took it upon himself to guide Avery around the bustling seaside.

 

The sights and sounds were exactly as Avery had imagined—and even more fascinating in person. The meticulous process of drying squids and harvesting seaweed might seem mundane to others, but to Avery, it was captivating. After a life drenched in blood and shadows, the simplicity and rhythm of these daily chores were a balm to his soul.

 

As the sun climbed to its zenith, casting a golden light over the sea, the workers began to wind down, retreating from the intense heat.

 

Avery felt a sense of contentment as he prepared to leave, turning to thank Theodore for his hospitality.

 

“How about a cup of tea before you head back?” Theodore offered.

 

“That sounds nice,” Avery replied.

 

He followed Theodore to his quaint home, a small bungalow nestled amidst tall shrubs that formed a natural fence. The yard was a delightful surprise—neat rows of vegetables and a modest garden that reminded Avery of the simple, quiet life he longed for.

 

“Maybe I could start a small vegetable garden behind the apartment,” he thought wistfully, picturing Mrs. Kim’s reaction. It wasn’t a bad idea at all.

 

As they approached the house, the door swung open, and Theodore’s wife appeared, greeting them with a warm smile.

 

She was dressed in an old-fashioned, upcycled skirt that gave her a homely, welcoming aura. She reminded Avery of the kindly woman from those old Campbell’s soup commercials.

 

“Honey, could you prepare some warm tea for our visitor? He’s come a long way, and I’d hate to send him off without offering something.”

 

“Perfect timing! I was just brewing a fresh pot for you. There’s enough for the both of you. Why don’t you take him out to the backyard and show him your vegetable garden?”

 

Following his wife’s suggestion, Theodore led Avery through the cozy bungalow and out to the backyard.

 

They stepped into a small oasis of greenery, where neat rows of vegetables thrived under the gentle care of their gardener. Theodore gestured to a sturdy wooden bench, and they both sat down.

 

Avery took in the sight with quiet admiration—lush tomatoes, vibrant peppers, and leafy greens all flourishing in the rich soil.

 

Not long after, Theodore’s wife appeared with two steaming cups of tea. The aroma wafted over to them, warm and inviting. Avery stood up and accepted his cup with a grateful nod.

 

“Thank you so much,” he said.

 

“You’re very welcome,” she replied with a smile before retreating back into the house.

 

They sipped their tea in comfortable silence.

 

After a while, Theodore broke the silence, his smile never fading.

 

“So, what brings you to my territory?”

 

Avery blinked, caught off guard by the choice of words. Territory? Was he talking about this small town? Hadn’t he already explained his visit earlier? He felt a flicker of confusion.

 

“Just as I said earlier...” Avery began.

 

But Theodore cut him off, his smile unwavering but now with an edge that sent a shiver down Avery’s spine. “I don’t want to hear those flimsy excuses.”

 

There was something unsettling about the way Theodore smiled—too calm, too knowing. As Avery focused on it, the friendly facade began to crack, revealing a hint of something darker underneath.

 

“I knew you looked familiar the moment I saw you,” Theodore continued “I knew it was you, Enigma. Don’t think I’ll let you run wild here. Your build, body structure, even if you are wearing a bunny mask, I know it is you. I own this place. Nothing happens in my town without my permission.”

 

“Enigma?” Avery echoed, his confusion deepening.

 

Theodore’s smile remained, but there was no warmth in it.

 

“Oh, I understand. Anonymity is essential in our line of work. Deny it all you want, but consider yourself warned. Stay away from my territory.”

 

A tense silence settled between them. Avery was bewildered, but the instincts from his previous life as an assassin kicked in. He could sense the thinly veiled threat in Theodore’s demeanor, the simmering bloodlust that clung to the man like a second skin.

 

For a moment, they just stared at each other, Avery’s mind racing to make sense of the situation.

 

Then, with a sudden shift in tone, Theodore called out, “Honey, our guest is leaving now.”

 

Theodore’s wife appeared quickly, her warm smile a stark contrast to the cold tension that hung in the air. She gently tugged on Theodore’s arm, ushering Avery towards the gate with a cheerful goodbye.

 

“Don’t be a stranger!” she said brightly. “Our town may be small, but we have plenty to offer. Come back and visit anytime, and bring your friends. Right, honey?”

 

“Of course,” Theodore replied.

 

Avery forced a smile and nodded, his mind still reeling from the encounter.

 

As he walked away, he couldn’t shake the feeling of unease. The bloodlust Theodore emanated was enough to keep Avery on high alert.

 

He took cautious, deliberate steps, each one feeling heavier than the last. Just as he was about to step out of the gate, Theodore called out again.

 

“Oh, one more thing,” Theodore said. “I’ve noticed your gallery hasn’t been very active lately. I always enjoy checking out your masterpieces.”

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