Flashes of multicolored lights pierced human shadows between jumps and movements to the rhythm of thunderous music, artificial smoke of a whitish hue pierced the ground silently while walls, floor and windows vibrated with the simultaneous jumping of an ecstatic crowd.
Thirst began to fill my throat and an absurd heat rose up my chest like a lava flow.
A crescendo of expectation in the crowd, my heart felt rising to its rhythm knowing that probably every person in this place was palpitating in almost exact synchronicity. I felt Kenny's arm encircling my shoulders, jumping up and down beside me; he screamed just before the drop sounded and a blast of effects, a mixture of bubbles, smoke and probably alco... soda, was ejected from the stage in the direction of the dozens of people around us.
I saw a big smile on Stan's face next to me, and Cartman... the asshole hadn't come, probably because he was a grumpy little shit; but whatever, absolutely everything felt better without him around.
"Aren't you guys thirsty?!" I yelled, because I was, and it seemed to increase as the seconds went by extremely quickly.
"Same here, I'll go get a drink, do you want some?!" Wendy answered, everyone gave their order and Stan said something but the sound was so loud I could barely hear myself think. Bebe followed him and God, the heat was impossible, and it was freezing out there.
I moved away from Kenny's arm to lessen the suffocation and took off my sweater only leaving a T-shirt I was wearing underneath while the crowd continued to go crazy around me. I took a breath and tried to continue but a layer of sweat had washed over my forehead in a matter of seconds, I could already feel it descending down my back and...
"How long until Wendy gets here with the drinks?!"
"I don't know, she just left!" Stan said "You want me to get her?!" I nodded.
"Please!" And he walked away, probably going after them at the bar. The sound of the beats suddenly became unbearable, so loud and poignant, the beats seemed to stun my conscience repeatedly "God" I whispered covering my ears, trying to lessen the impact, feeling the world go round and round while endless aromas squirmed in my nostrils impregnating them, or more like fucking raping them "What the fuck did they throw?!"
"Of what?!" Kenny asked, confused. I wrinkled my nose, suffocated by the smells, the noise, my head hurting more and more, barely hearing him amidst the din that had stopped being music seconds before.
I had to get out of there.
"Nothing, never mind" I tried to get away but I felt his hand around my wrist "Wait, I'll get some air, I think they threw away some drugs or whatever" and he started to take me away from the place, I saw the sign of the bathrooms in neon flashing in the distance "I don't want to go to the bathroom, I want to go outside!" I shouted exasperated, but the son of a bitch wouldn't let go, he looked over his shoulder detailing something.
"Just come, I'll give you something!"
"What?!" And we went in. The noise died down a bit but it still hurt, I thought he would let go but he opened one of the cubicles and put us both in it despite the look of a guy who was peeing there.
"Fags!" he shouted.
"Your fucking dad!" kenny replied of course. I covered my ears one more time because of the scream, I felt like I was in the middle of a fucking hangover without even drinking a drop of alcohol.
"What the fuck are you doing?" I asked, I was sick of the whole situation, angry at everything but him, but still, putting tedium into my voice. He came over, breathed in the air around me as if trying to catch something.
"I don't believe it" he muttered, sinking his nose against my neck, I pushed him away.
"Kenny... what the fuck are you doing?" he watched me silently for a few seconds, his eyebrows furrowing in a slight trace of concern.
Voices were running down the walls, footsteps were marching and the noise outside kept hammering... and the smell of the bathroom, god. I had to get out of here.
"Wait, I have something" and I watched him once again disdainfully as he looked for something in his pockets, gagging threatening to emerge, I wanted to vomit, I felt dizzy and... "This" I looked at his hand, a small white pill with the playboy magazine rabbit carved on it was resting on it, and as much as I wanted some relief right now...
"Dude, you know I don't do drugs..."
"It's nothing bad, just take it, it'll make you feel better" I watched him incredulously, he was one of my best friends but... "Trust me" he tilted his head pleadingly waving his hand in front of me. I gave a sigh of surrender, taking it carefully.
"If I wake up in your bed, and naked tomorrow, I'm going to remove your balls" he smiled.
"Believe me, if you do it it will be of your own free will" I grunted in response watching the pill. I left it on my tongue and passed it without tasting it with difficulty due to the absence of any liquid, my mouth dry from the heat by this point and... where the hell was my sweater?
"What is it?" I asked.
"So you swallow first and then you ask, curious order" I frowned in tedium.
"tell me" I looked at the door "And why the fuck did you lock us in?"
"Look..." he took my shoulders "If you don't know what's going on I assume you don't know anything about it so... I'm about to tell you something extremely crazy..." I looked at him confused, while feeling the distant noise diminishing, the heat slowly but surely descending and a greater degree of awareness returning to me "So please try to listen to me until the end" I slowly nodded formulating my way out of here right from the start.
"Fine" he smiled contentedly.
"You promise?" I nodded a little more confidently. What was the worst thing he could say to me anyway?
"Great" he cleared his throat.
The bathroom door closed and opened by people coming and going... I saw someone taking a picture from the bottom of the cubicle as if they had just discovered the unthinkable, a couple fucking in the bathrooms of a club.
"Quickly please, this is making me very uncomfortable"
"How the fuck do I say this without sounding like a sick fuck?" he asked himself, biting his lip in frustration. I took a breath, instantly regretting it because of the smell of the bath and... "Your first heat will soon begin."
"Heat?" I couldn't help but let out a slight chuckle in amusement. He groaned softly.
"God, I feel so stupid" he looked down and then continued "About two percent of the population goes into heat every few months"
"Heat... like dogs" he nodded, looking for my eyes "And that's because..." I had promised to listen to him, playing along was the least I could do.
"Because unlike the vast majority, which are betas, these are alphas and omegas..." his eyebrows joined in concern "And because of your smell... most likely you are an omega" I let go another laugh because of the drama in his voice, he almost seemed to tell me I had AIDS or something.
"Really" he nodded "And that's wrong" he looked up at what was more of a statement than a question.
"It's not wrong, the system made it wrong" and by this point total seriousness had taken over his tone, seriousness that I rarely saw in him.
"... System" and once again he came up against me.
"Can you smell it?" He extended his neck giving way to my nose and a scent of some form pleasant and new to me ran through my senses... sweet and smothering, with a touch of spiciness in it that seemed almost sexual; it was a perfume that I had noticed minutes before but had not fully detailed because of all the scents of this unpleasant context.
"I think..." and he moved away once more.
"Just like you smell now."
"So... you're an omega too" assuming there was any omega, at all "If there's only a two percent it's pretty... convenient that there are two of us in one bathroom, huh?" I joked, he rolled his eyes.
"There's five hundred of us in high school, Kyle, so by the statistics there should be at least twenty there."
"ten" I corrected.
"Only ten?" he asked, surprised by the same figures he had given, I rolled my eyes and let out a smile.
"Then... what is Stan?"
"Beta... I think."
"If they haven't developed some kind of scent by this point I assume they're betas. We are the minors, the others should already be developed" I nodded in agreement with his point.
"Not aroma, beta."
"Wendy?" he was silent for a few seconds.
"Alpha" I raised an eyebrow in confusion.
"I see... Cartman?"
"Okay. So you just change over and that's it... shouldn't it be a smoother process or..." he let go of a short laugh.
"Not at all, it's like a kick right in the balls Kyle, quick and painful, which then spreads to the rest of your life and..."
"And what does this imply... being alpha or omega?" if the vast majority was beta that meant that being beta was basically being an average person.
"Control and subjugation respectively. People in power tend to be alpha... are alpha. They are distributed among branches of control, military leaders, political, economic, media monopoly owners..."
"Yeah, yeah, I get it. And Omegas are..."
"Remember that Jekyll & Hyde musical we did last year?" I nodded, "Remember... Lucy?"
"Whores" I assumed "Omegas are whores" he bit his lip shrugging.
"Don't say it like that, you're making me feel bad about myself" he feigned embarrassment.
"So for reasons of... no fucking clue, by developing as an omega I automatically became someone like you"
"Ouch Kyle, ouch. That hurt" I rolled my eyes "I'm like that because... well, it's me but..." he took a deep breath trying to explain himself "should I walk you home? maybe I can explain it better if we go out" I looked at him curiously. The feelings of discomfort were not more than a memory at this point so it seemed a waste to go "Please" but I had promised to listen so... well.
"Fine" he smiled contentedly opening the door. I just followed him.
We moved forward through the crowd, looks dug into us... more than usual, as we moved towards the door.
And at last we got out. I tensed up in the cold, I'd thrown my sweater in the middle of the chaos probably.
"Damn it" I muttered, shivering.
"I'd lend you my coat but I haven't washed it since... I don't know, two weeks ago?" That didn't matter much right now, they were just excuses. Fucker.
I took my cell phone out to text Stan, we'd left the drinks behind and that was my biggest regret. And we walked, streets still congested, it wasn't that late at night and we decided to take the road through the commercial district, once again eyes following Kenny's figure.
"Why are they looking at you so much?"
"I haven't taken my pill, that's what I wanted to explain."
"The one you gave me?" he nodded.
"As I told you, each specimen gives off a characteristic smell that defines them among the hierarchy. Most of them are beta, we are so used to their smell that it already seems inherent to the air itself. On the other hand the aroma of an alpha or omega is... uncommon, seeing or smelling one is very rare. Those pills hide that scent."
"Why would they hide their scent?"
"Alphas don't really have the need, in fact, their simple perfume gives off dominance and power but..."
"But not the omegas"
"Nope. The pill I gave you is illegal."
"It's like hiding your ID, being undocumented or something. Throughout our evolutionary processes, methods have emerged to eradicate the lines between the two extremes of the hierarchy, pills to control heat, hormones, pregnancy and so on, there are even surgeries to remove the glands that produce these aromas. To this point the only legal thing is the pill that controls the heat stage and therefore reproduction, but keeps the smell. They are suppressive methods, suppressive pills and so on”
"But... why hide it?"
"Remember all that politically correct human rights crap they put us through in school? Let's just say this system doesn't give a shit about that" he laughed at his own comment. "All this talk of equality and fairness falls a little short when it comes to this purely hormonal and primitive issue. The alphas have benefits that are superior to those of the omegas and betas. They are guaranteed entry to prestigious universities if they pass a series of physical exams and apply to the favourite careers I told you about, and they can easily access positions of power simply by... smelling different. Their development is not limited to that but it is still absurd"
"And the Omegas?" I didn't know whether to believe him yet, sorry for doubting everything I'm told.
The eyes kept looking for him, people sniffing the aroma that he gave off in a concealed manner passed by him.
"The probability of two betas having an alpha and omega child is reduced. Even though it does not result from genetic or hereditary factors, for some reason over the last few years such offspring have decreased. The chances of an alpha or omega child coming out of the alpha and omega relationship is, on the other hand, more viable. Because of the rarity of both, there is very strict control over omegas, which, unlike alphas, are not visible to everyone”
"What kind of control?"
"It's just rumors I couldn't confirm, they say there's a list" I looked at him confused.
"Of omegas?" he nodded.
"As soon as one is discovered this one is added to a wait list. I told you they were like whores, right? They are because they can't choose who to be with, and they're sold to the best bidder, or the best alpha, which is the same thing" the phrase stopped me in my tracks, if this was a joke it was taking a somewhat crude course.
"That's why these suppressive methods that hide the aroma are illegal, because it will make it harder for them to find us and therefore they won't be able to use us as alpha breeders" I looked at him in shock.
"Then the pill you gave me... They might find out you're one, isn't that bad?" he smiled in my direction with a friendly tone.
"Nothing will happen for one night, there's a fun part to this, hopefully you'll see it"
"But everyone is watching you"
"Amazing, isn't it?" I looked at him in confusion, not fully understanding his contradiction.
"What if they discover the use of those pills?" He was silent for a few seconds.
"Although the Omegas do not have as many rights as the others, when given to their respective alpha they can appeal to a code of treatment. They cannot be hurt, abused, left, replaced... in short. I guess when they discover the use of non-regulated pills you can't use that code anymore, you become even less than an Omega"
"What an imagination you have, that or you've been reading too many conspiracy theories."
"Seems like a system too well structured and planned to have never heard of."
"Because there is no real need to talk about it, there are betas who never get to know that they are betas, for example. It's natural and inherent in today's society, no one analyzes or condemns it, no one is outside that ideology and therefore its rational field more than a few, usually Omegas, who as soon as they decide to do something about it they are very likely to disappear..." a girl crashed into Kenny out of nowhere, we stopped suddenly, and shame washed over her face as she backed away.
"Excuse me" she breathed around him before lowering her gaze in repentance and continuing on her way.
"What the fuck?" I muttered, kenny let out a sound of appreciation with his eyes still fixed on her ass.
"What I wanted to show you, look what a simple aroma does to betas" and he turned to me "Imagine what it does to alphas" and we continued on our way to the residential district.
"Like I said you're about to start your heat period, we're kind of in sync apparently. At that time we released a greater number of hormones and... those hormones attract others, especially alphas" he smiled in my direction "At the same time it wreaks havoc with your sexual desire and theirs. As animals, we basically involuted for a period of a few days" I watched him in confusion, I had too many questions right now and I really didn't know where to start. The whole world seemed to be acting on his testimony and...
"Does it not affect the betas equally?"
"Not equally, just less. The primary need for the omega is reproduction. His instincts tend to have a natural predilection to look for an alpha, but in a context where the possibility of finding one ranges from two to zero percent, his hormones can also attract betas to a lesser extent" I looked at him slightly surprised, and the son of a bitch got only zeros in biology.
"Will you keep hiding?" he nodded.
"I just have to get more, they're expensive and there's been a witch-hunt lately... or drug dealers hunt... but I have my methods" he sighed "I didn't think someone like you could be an Omega, I was almost convinced you'd be an Alpha"
"You're smart, with a high sense of duty... anyway, you're Kyle Broflovski, you're the opposite of me. I almost found it natural to be an omega but... you."
"You seem disappointed."
"Don't mind me" I glimpsed my house a few yards away, I looked at him still confused "What will you do?"
"Don't ask me that, half an hour ago I was at a fucking concert enjoying my simple life and now you're telling me there's an openly elitist structure that oppresses us and that I, because I smell different, am at the base of the pyramid" he shrugged.
"At least you had me around to save your ass" and we stopped in front of my door, he would have to go straight I guess "What are you going to do?" he asked once more looking for my eyes. I sighed.
"If I'm on that list what will happen to me besides being distributed as merchandise?" He looked for something in his pockets, a cigarette.
"You can be taken at any time, you won't be able to say no, your family won't be able to say no and you'll have to spend the rest of your life procreating with that alpha. It will mark you as its own, an indistinguishable and irrevocable mark" he shrugged, lighting the cigarette, talking boringly about it "It may not sound so bad to reduce yourself to an object of expensive care but, well, if humans were that simple there would be no class struggle. The problem is that the system paints it pink and people accept it because 'it doesn't sound so bad'" he sucked in, then let out a puff of smoke.
"Can't I study? Be like my dad?" he snorted.
"Education generates knowledge and that in turn generates a certain degree of power, do you think they will give some power to mere Omegas?" He took a second puff. "If it could be known whether we would be Omegas, Alphas or Betas from birth, they would probably isolate us immediately from others so that they would have more control over us; but fortunately they have not found any method for that" I wrinkled my nose at the smoke that he basically blew in my face.
"How long can we hide?" he tilted his head thinking about it.
"I don't really know... maybe until we graduate, maybe even longer but... but well, every country has its policies on these issues, there are some more flexible, some more oppressive... then there's this one. I was thinking of going to one of those other places, or at least that's my plan" I looked at him in surprise.
"Are you planning to disappear after graduation?" he smiled.
"It's not like I have too high expectations about my life, but living as someone's sex pet is pretty low, even for me."
"It seems like something you'd like to do" he rolled his eyes, letting go of some dull cigarette butts as he touched the snow under our boots.
"The code of the omega treatment is easily impugned, alphas are powerful people who have committed worse crimes than one omega disappearing We are less than animals to them..." he took another puff "Playing with that code is nothing more than an extra cost of maintenance for their petty, easily replaceable toys" he smiled "That's why I'm hiding, because it would be exactly the same not to" I looked down trying to assimilate the reality to which I was being exposed "What will you do?" he asked again. I had to admire his patience, I would have lost my shit by now.
"Hiding seems the smartest thing to do" I looked up hesitantly, feeling stupid for making a decision for something that was probably no more than an elaborate joke.
He smiled contentedly, letting go of the last puff of white smoke to drop the remains of the just smoked cigar.
"Wait" he started to look for something in his pockets. He wrinkled his brow in confusion to take out a small, half-wrinkled piece of paper which he read quickly, an almost lewd smile bathed his face and he put it away again, then he took out a small pill, similar to the one I had just taken "During your heat you must take one daily, when it passes you can take one every week" he extended it to me. I took it, still hesitating "Unfortunately it may affect your senses a little at first" he pointed out his nose "As you will have noticed, everything feels a little stronger" I nodded "Well, this will help you to reduce it while you get used to it" he tilted his head to the side "I will bring you more tomorrow, take it when you wake up, you can go normally to study".
"Anything else?" I asked, in response to the barrage of information. He smiled.
"One very important thing is that in the middle of your heat, which I suppose must be soon and lasts about three days or so, you're going to... have a strange state of..." he looked up at the sky "How should I put it… loss of control?" he smiled to himself "That sounds so gay" and turned his gaze towards me.
"Loss of control?"
"Yeah, even though the pills help you control the smell, they don't control the need to... fuck." I looked at him blankly for the comment. It was quite impossible for me to imagine myself completely engrossed in the need to have sex to the point of 'losing control' "Yes yes, it seems stupid but it will happen to you, believe me. When that happens, lock yourself up or get as far away as you can, because believe me, you can do things you'll regret for the rest o your fucking li..."
"Hey, what do I see, a couple of fags..." the familiar voice tensed me up, what the fuck was the fat ass doing out of his fucking hole at this hour? "Wow, I didn't know you were picking up kenny's bad habits" apparently he was on his way home. I saw him staring at the pill, I closed my fist and put it in my pocket suddenly pissed off.
Kenny snapped his tongue as he rolled his eyes; he came up to me subtly, his scent filled me up once and I couldn't help but feel how nice it was. He placed his hand on my shoulder.
"Be careful" he whispered before walking away, then took one last look at the fat ass "Don't forget to bring your part of the project tomorrow, fat tits, I don't want to get another zero because of you" and started to walk away slowly in the opposite direction of his house, I thought about telling him; him but it was obvious that he wouldn't sleep there tonight.
He threw a vague goodbye before getting lost in a corner.
"Poor fuck" whispered Cartman following him with his eyes, then he turned to me, looking once more at the pocket in which seconds before I had put the pills. I looked at his clothing, more formal than he was used to, maybe he had had a family reunion or something.
He didn't ask... oddly enough, neither did I. We just went our separate ways without making a big deal out of it.
As soon as I opened my eyes the next morning, the first thing I did was look for the pill on the table... and there they were. I felt my eyes absurdly heavy moving slowly along the bed, it was Monday, fucking Monday.
The laptop was still lying on the floor, still lit, at least ten windows along the browser with the word omega or alpha in their respective places.
Apparently it was all true... the problem was that there wasn't much information about it, it didn't seem to be a major issue in society but at the same time there was no page denying any of the existing information. The data that were found were mostly quite... scientific, far from political or social analysis, nothing outside of simple explanations about the nature, qualities and deficiencies of each one.
The political, social, humanistic and other analyses were about the system itself... I was already aware of that, it was more than obvious that we were not living in a meritocratic, egalitarian, fair society. We are exposed to this reality from birth, we know that if we grow up in the lower classes we will stay in those lower classes, if we are born in the lower middle class we may rise to the middle middle, and from the middle middle to the upper middle and so on. Power relations are a natural part of our daily lives, adding a word to those in charge was nothing more than formalizing in a biological way the ruling class that had already been called in one form or another many times throughout history. Emperors, kings, capitalists... Alphas. Likewise the subjugated class, slaves, vassals, workers and omegas, and a class in the middle distributed among the different roles that helped the alpha to exercise control over the omega as slavers, landowners, foremen... betas.
It was as if primitive factors came into play in this twisted scenario called reality to justify the division of classes.
Nothing had changed, and nothing could be changed.
There was nothing about the list Kenny named.
I let go of the air by stretching out my hand in the direction of the night table, took the pill, and swallowed it in disgust standing up.
Throughout that superficial search, data congruent with those given by Kenny, I even found the code for treating omegas but... a yawn froze my thoughts as I listened to my mother call me from the first floor.
"Coming!" ... but other things like code violations and so on were not so easy to find. There were isolated cases without any relation, somehow justified by stupid reasons; news so lost that I never got to see one on TV in my life... I guess the abuse or death of an Omega meant nothing.
Anyway, I was surprised that Kenneth was so aware of the issue, he didn't seem like the type to give a shit about the world.
After the usual routine I left my house, nobody noticing my smell but... the smells still felt more vivid than usual as well as every fucking noise, sleeping the night before was almost impossible not to say hopeless; every fucking step of some lonely passer-by in front of my house was enough to open my eyes.
I stopped in front of the bus stop, my eyelids so heavy that for a moment I closed them and if it wasn't for the approaching footsteps I would have probably fallen asleep right there.
I watched boredly the figure that was coming, I looked at him with a sleepy look from the huge smile on his face to... the open zipper of his pants. He noticed the direction of my gaze...
"Ow, shit" and he immediately pulled it up standing next to me, took one of the pills out of the same little bag from yesterday and swallowed it, he extended the rest in my direction "Hey, did you get some sleep?" I let go of an exasperated sigh by formulating to throw him into the nearest car just for asking that, but I held back my wishes. I took the bag and put it in my pocket.
"I didn't sleep a damned thing the first week, or the first month" he surrounded me by my shoulders, he was wearing exactly the same clothes as yesterday "Do you remember the girl we bumped into?" I didn't answer, I just looked at him sideways watching him take out a piece of paper from his pocket that he then moved in front of me, the same one from last night if I remember correctly, a phone number "Being an omega is not so bad, everybody wants to fuck you or everybody wants to be fucked by you" I grunted down without real interest.
"Great" I said with clear sarcasm.
"You just have to... open yourself up to the possibilities, Kyle" I saw Stan approaching from afar, yawned a second time.
"Opening up to possibilities isn't opening up your legs, Ken" I muttered in exhaustion. He laughed softly.
"Yeah, it's hard for me to tell the difference sometimes" he said before taking his space and waving to stan.
"Yesterday you left me with the damn drinks I had to pay for" he spoke after a quick exchange with Kenny "Why did you leave by the way" god, I didn't know what to say, I hadn't bothered to think of any kind of alibi or whatever.
"Well, you see, I went out for a walk with kyle because out of nowhere he felt bad and this girl crashed into us, right?" Stan nodded and looked at the time on his cell phone, distant footsteps lazily approaching.
"By the way Kyle, I found your sweater lying near the restrooms, I forgot to bring it with me, I' ll give it to you later" I nodded closing my eyes one more time, nodding in my position "And what happened to the girl?" he urged Kenny to continue.
"Kyle went home because he's kinda gay and I went to get the girl and..."
"And he fucked her, end of story" concluded the fatass stopping by our side.
"Ey!" I laughed underneath "Did you bring your part of the project?" and the bus was coming. I could hear it and it wasn't even in sight, I could hear voices of a small crowd arguing in an enclosed space, coming closer... they seemed like whispers next to my ear.
"Yes yes" he answered bored and after a few more minutes of mundane conversation the bus finally arrived.
"Hey... hey!" I started to open my eyes with heaviness, my neck screaming for a more humanly viable position "Jewfag, the class is over"
Yeah... right... it's over?!
I stood up out of nowhere looking around, eyes fixed on me while giggles filtered through the air. Fortunately for me, most of them were gone.
"What the fuck were you doing last night? There's a bit of face in those fucking bags" I looked at him in disgust, then at the blackboard overflowing with formulas and half solved exercises. Neither Stan nor Kenny saw this class with us.
"Why didn't you wake me up sooner?" I yawned as I grabbed my notebook, letting out a moan of disgust over the little area of spit staining white pages.
"Why should I?" I clicked my tongue in annoyance in response. I yawned once more taking everything out of the place, Cartman followed me.
Along the hall, I didn't know if it was my imagination or... something else, but I felt glances on me; one or two comments floating around while I was just looking for my locker, I was getting a little nervous.
"Don't you feel like... they're looking at us a lot?" I saw him shrug.
"Look at me" I said, he turned in my direction "Do I have something on my face?" He raised his eyebrows to bite his lip as if he wanted to hold back from something. He shook his head.
"Nothing" he cleared his throat, pointed in the direction of the cafeteria, and said a quick goodbye as he walked away. I sighed as I reached for my locker, they were definitely looking at me... God, the pill didn't work? Did they notice?
"Hey Ky..." I looked for the voice immediately colliding in the process with the look of more people looking at me.
"Kenny" I muttered with some relief "Hey keep looking at me, is the pill not working or..." he smiled clearly amused by whatever the fuck was going on.
"No, you have a..." he pointed to his chin to enlighten me.
"What?" he let out a little laugh.
"You have a pair of balls drawn on your chin and... Anyway, you look like you're sucking a dick" he came a little closer, I backed off in disgust "And says... 'Cartman's balls'" he let go a second laugh "I'm going to the cafeteria, see ya" and the son of a bitch left. I heard his laugh in the distance as more laughs came in unison with his.
"This son of a..." I took a breath of air looking for calm.
I went to the cafeteria after spending a few minutes cleaning up that shit in the bathroom. Stan as usual was next to Wendy; Cartman and Kenny on the other hand were at another table. An intense mix of aromas was coming through the place and one in particular was really... nice, it even almost quenched my need to kick Cartman for a moment.
"What a fucking piece of shit you are, Cartman" I approached him not bothering to hide my annoyance to kick him in the leg, the Fatso of course didn't manage to avoid it even though he tried.
"Damn it, what the hell, fuckin' jew!?" I heard Kenny's laugh next to him as I took my place at the table.
"You can shove your jokes up your ass next time, if they please you that much" I said, annoyed, unwrapping my lunch, watching him rub his leg.
"Pf, did you tell him?" Cartman asked Kenny, still in pain, he shrugged.
"What could I do? Everybody was making fun of him."
"That's the joke, you poor little shit," I rolled my eyes.
"The joke is your imbecility in action fat fuck" the asshole snorted at my words.
"Fuck you," he spat out, regaining some of his recently damaged composure. Kenny stood up to go around the table, he sat down next to me and smiled in amusement.
"Can you smell it?" he whispered in my ear.
"I can smell a lot of things, you should take a shower" he clicked his tongue, Cartman looked at us curiously.
"No no, something nice, like..." he sniffed "I don't know how to explain it, is... something just different from the rest, like your dick quivers at the smell of it" I was silent for a few seconds analyzing his description, I let out some exhausted breath after putting the first bite of food in my mouth.
"Yeah, I think so" he laughed softly.
"It' s an alpha."
"Alpha?" He looked over at Stan's table, I remembered his words last night, Wendy was an alpha, right? I guess that explained her sudden surge in popularity.
A considerably large group surrounded her, some people had even moved chairs to sit at her table. Stan seemed confused by the situation at first but seemed to get used to it eventually. Carman followed our gaze.
"I don't understand what they see in that bitch" he should be able to smell it too, the day before when we were walking down the street several betas noticed the smell Kenny was giving off. Maybe he was just ignoring it, the fact that she was an alpha must have hurt his pride quite a bit.
"A faggot like you wouldn't understand it" Kenny commented without taking off his eyes from Wendy, fascinated by both her smell and her appearance. Between opposites they tended to appreciate each other's scent more, they belonged together by nature.
I saw her gaze settle for a second on this table, connecting with Kenny; he winked at her and she just rolled her eyes to continue talking with Stan.
"You see? She looked at me" he joked, pretending to be some kind of desperate teenager.
"She's Stan's girlfriend you know" I commented on the obvious even though I knew it was all some kind of sick joke.
"Yeah yeah, I wouldn't touch her with a stick" he stood up "Well bitches, with your permission I'm gonna go smoke a joint in the backyard" and walked away from the table "Hey Craig, move your ass!" I heard him scream in the distance, he sometimes looked like the soul of this high school. Meanwhile Cartman was looking at me inquisitively.
"So... what were you talking about with Kenny so much?" he asked casually, hiding his interest, sounding dismissive and then taking a bite of his burger.
"Nothing interesting" he looked up.
"About last night's pill?" I smiled.
"Why are you so interested?" he shrugged and took a second bite. I waited for him to chew long enough to talk.
"You're so lame I was surprised" he spoke with half a mouthful.
"And you? Why didn't you come with us last night? It was that DJ's last night in town."
"Sure..." he took one last bite before he got up.
"Anyway, it's none of your fucking business" and he left me alone at the table. I just finished my meal, the bell rang a few minutes later. These breaks seemed shorter and shorter.
Somehow everything seemed the same as always, my perception seemed correct. I still didn't know what it meant to be on the list and I knew there was something really bad going on there; but, it seemed like one of those latent non-visible problems, the kind you know you can't solve just by having the damn good intentions and arguments to spare about the dysfunctional distribution of power, human decadence and stupidity.
I could use my words to give a whole speech to a large audience, I could move a small group of people, maybe a large one; but, they who does not know history is condemned to repeat it. It would not be something new. Someone opposing the system? right now some modern artist must be 'opposing' it in a gallery in New York, maybe in some street with the gnawed case of his guitar displayed on the floor in the expectation of a tip to acquire supplies processed and controlled by an alpha at the other end of the chain.
And if it did work, if it managed to gain some kind of 'power', if it advanced enough to be a danger to the system in power, it would be crushed like a cancer in its earliest stage.
They don't underestimate, they don't forgive, they don't languish in the face of a massacre of thinkers outside their rational field, or at least that's what history showed because, well, that was human nature, Alpha nature.
Tuesday... I took the pill and everything went on as usual, just like Wednesday.
Then Thursday came.
At the moment there was only one alpha in the high school, Wendy, and since most of them had already developed it was very unlikely that more would emerge. There were only two Omegas, me and Kenny as far as I knew.
Classes were over, Stan was walking beside me, we were having a stupid conversation when we saw a considerable number of people going in the same direction, a familiar smell filled my senses for a moment and my chest jumped in fear.
"Can you smell that?" he asked beside me, I looked at him with some degree of concern.
"An omega" he ended up looking in the direction towards which the crowd seemed to be moving.
"Yes" I murmured, feeling my heartbeat increase at the fact. I saw him inhale, raise his chin to the air as if trying to capture the scent more appropriately.
"Is completely different from Wendy" he concluded, I watched him curiously.
"Is this the first time you've... perceived one?" he nodded "And what's different?" I asked with real curiosity.
"Don't you feel it?"
"Well, I guess Wendy's gives off authority and power, people come in by instinct, they feel safe around a potential leader, around someone... superior I guess; it's an aroma that you appreciate and contemplate from afar because you know you can't just... possess it. This aroma on the other hand is the opposite; it does not imply respect, it is an aroma that attracts in another way, because unlike an alpha, it is something that you can consume, subjugate, use and therefore it stimulates more primitive desires" he frowned at his own words "It is curious how nature can be so unpleasant" he observed once again in the direction towards which people kept going "Anyway, you can go and see if you want, they will soon come to pick them up I suppose"
"Pick them up?" he looked at me in confusion.
"You look a little more lost than usual" I smiled.
"Well, until recently I heard about this" he raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"Are you serious?" I nodded, he smiled with a certain degree of empathy "They'll come and take them away, I don't know where... there are rumors that they're taking him away with some alpha that requires... their services I guess" he shrugged "Don't you remember last year when an ambulance came?"
"Was it a Omega?" I asked in surprise, he nodded.
"He was completely destroyed in the bathroom between an Alpha and several Betas before the authorities arrived" he sighed "It's as if they completely forget their humanity as soon as they are exposed to that smell, and since it's such a common thing you can't really reprimand them because it's their nature, and unless the Omega is linked to an Alpha, they can't 'avoid' it" there was clear displeasure in his voice, as well as helplessness. I smiled with relief at his posture, remembering the many reasons why he was my best friend.
"There's something I have to tell you, St..."
"Fight, fight!" the cry ran down the hall echoing among the locals, as the degree of people going in that direction increased exponentially. We exchanged glances and decided to go.
As we approached the end of the corridor the number of people increased. We struggled through the crowd in the courtyard.
"I can't see shit" I muttered forcing my way into the multitude, a cheer resounded from above, shouts and screams demanding more were heard, moving around something or someone, a strong aroma emanating from the center, the omega must be fighting "Do you see anything?" I asked Stan.
"It's Kenny..." my chest stopped cold at his words...
"He's defending the Omega I think, Cartman's helping him."
"The fatass?" Why the hell would Cartman do that? After pushing a few people around on the adrenaline rush I saw the scene. Bebe cornered against the fence in the courtyard was the one giving off that scent, shaking in place, horror bathing her face as she shrank into place feeling completely helpless and vulnerable.
"You touch one hair on her head, and I'll impale you on the fucking flagpole, you fucking pigs!" Kenny screamed in anger. I rarely, if ever, saw him like that; on the other hand, Cartman was breathing heavily beside him, wiping away a trickle of blood from a recent fight, saving his threats for the moment when he could make them happen, probably making a list of whoever had touched him and then, unlike Kenny, making real his threat and impaling them on the student flagpole.
I watched the men in front of them, at least five or six... betas.
"We have to help..." I looked for Stan, but by the time I saw him, he was already standing next to the other two. I smiled thankfully at his conviction and advanced to his side.
A flurry of cheers for the reinforcements ran out and the Beta's who wanted to get to Bebe threw themselves red in anger at our support, which they said was absurd, for an Omega.
And chaos took over the courtyard. Phones raised in the air recording the fight in an act of morbidity and, shouts urging hatred and violence as if we had just gone back at least a millennium, left me displeased.
The first punch flew, Kenny knocked out one of those who tried to get close in one move and screams of admiration flew through the air. The four of them kept going despite the fallen one, I didn't have time to see the others because by the time I reacted one of those sons of bitches had punched my abdomen. The air flowed out of me but I got it back fast enough to knee him in the crotch. I was afraid for a moment that someone would yell at me that low blows weren't fair, but the warning never came.
The guy threw himself on the ground holding his parts and I smiled contentedly to see the next one coming. He threw a fist against my face so out of nowhere that I barely managed to raise my arms to cover myself. His knuckles hit the back of my forearms and I was going to return the favor but...
"What the hell is going on here?!" a sound that more than just vocal joints seemed like a thunderclap stunned the crowd, I saw the body of the beta in front of me freeze for a second before fitting the fist that was directed at it from me. Not only him, I saw how every person around me seemed to have been influenced by the same effect.
The only sound that pierced the silence of his voice was the sound of my knuckles against the cheekbone of that beta followed by its weight against the ground.
All eyes were directed almost immediately to the source, Wendy was watching us in disgust as she moved through the crowd, all under complete silence... I looked around confused by the sudden tension.
What the hell was that?
"What's going on?" she approached Stan who threw a guy off his neck, he watched Bebe.
"They wanted..." he tried to look up the word but couldn't find it.
"I understand" said Wendy of course aware of the essence to omega. She observed the group of betas involved in this with overwhelming repudiation and then set her eyes on her friend. She approached her with delicacy and leaned in her direction "Excuse me Bebe, I was at a council meeting" part of the crowd started to disperse, the sons of bitches who were fighting a moment ago as if their lives depended on it were the first to flee.
I looked at Kenny, he smiled in my direction victorious, although his smile was somewhat atrophied due to the eye that would probably be extremely swollen in a while, the broken lip and the bleeding nose.
"Thank you for coming," he said to me with real gratitude. Cartman let go of air annoyed at Wendy's presence and started to walk away, Kenny followed when he saw that apparently they didn't need to be here anymore after a quick goodbye.
I turned once more to Wendy who was holding Bebe quite close, of course she didn't seem to mind... there was a strange sexual tension going on there.
"Wendy" called her Stan. She jumped in place and walked away from Bebe as fast as she could.
"Sorry, sorry" she laughed underneath ashamedly holding her nose "Go home, I'll talk about all this with the principal" Stan helped Bebe to her feet. I watched curiously as both Stan and Wendy seemed unable to take their eyes off her.
"Well, I'll call dad to pick me up, see you tomorrow then," she muttered, said a weak goodbye and started to walk away slowly and awkwardly, probably too dazed by the situation.
"Will she be all right?" I asked worriedly.
"She doesn't live far away" commented Stan.
After that we left, Wendy stayed to do... whatever an alpha student president does and we walked home as usual, it was too late to take the bus.
In the process we passed a number of police officers in the business district handing out flyers. Some overloaded banners on the platform about the ban on the use of odor suppressants caught my attention and nervousness started running through my chest.
I took a deep breath trying to forget the events and the bombardment of information, and focused my attention on Stan and some questions I still had unanswered.
"Aren't you afraid that at some point Wendy... will decide to leave with an omega?" he was silent for a few seconds. Hadn't I thought about it?
"That's not possible, omegas are treated like... a pet basically. An Alpha can't 'go' with something that society classifies as less than human, it's like someone out of nowhere decided to marry their dog" my chest shrank from the description, I kept silent because I really didn't know what to say to it, I had so many arguments about how that was immoral, stupid and retrograde but... the world seemed to agree with those ideas and therefore it felt useless to even discuss it.
"I thought there was a code of conduct" I finally said.
"Yes, a set of non-existent statutes for alphas and betas. Although there are certain 'punishable' acts against Omegas, they cannot marry Alphas or Betas, or ask for rights over the children they procreate or... well, many things" he sighed "So no, I'm not afraid that Wendy will leave with an Omega”
As the days went by this became more unreal and rough, I knew I was living in a shitty world but god, I felt up to my neck in a dunghill, a dunghill that people seemed to accept without a word at all.
"How come everybody knows so much about it except for me?" I asked humorously trying to break the tension. He shrugged.
"My parents talked to me about it years ago, then I researched it myself because I found it extremely absurd and... I guess they don't teach in high schools about it because it's only in college that you have to learn about it. At the university the hierarchy is more strictly classified, mainly the alphas, because certain careers are exclusive to them"
"But if Omegas can't get into college they can't get to know..."
"That's most likely the point, isn't it?" he finished with bitterness and I understood his point... a subjugated people without education regarding their nature and the reasons why they are subjugated is an easily controllable people.
As soon as I left Stan near his house and went on to mine, it was enough to open the door to run up to my room and lock myself in.
I felt like I was suffocating. Now that I was in the solitude of my room and could organize the ideas that I put aside because of the adrenaline of the situation... I felt sick, sick of everything and everyone.
How could they accept something like that? I had already answered that from the beginning, it was inherent to society. From the moment we are born until the moment we die, we are exposed to a destiny imposed by our context. Even at the time, Plato, Socrates and Aristotle did not question the enslavement of what I suppose were Omegas, they considered it normal since they were used to it.
This was just a more elaborate reproduction of the system, Beta, alpha or omega was just another way of calling it but... but that did not justify such a loss of reasoning, such a degeneration on the part of the human being, such a... degradation of reason.
Something was very wrong with society to treat someone with the same cognitive, rational, emotional and other capabilities as... as less than them just because they have a different set of characteristics.
And here we were at the bus stop, Friday morning and all four of us with at least one piece of gauze stuck to our faces, but proud in some way because of it.
Once again I had not been able to sleep very well the night before, not only because of the noise, or because of the unpleasant thoughts that bombarded me every second, but also because I had been suffering from this tedious fever since morning. I had only worn a thin sweater because of the heat.
"They took Bebe" Kenny said out of the blue, and everyone was silent for a few seconds processing the sentence. I felt my chest tremble at the thought of it and found his look, he smiled kindly, as if he wanted to reassure me but...
"Where?" finally someone asked, Stan.
"No idea, it was the same people who took last year's omega" and we didn't talk about it anymore. We got on the bus and the first thing I did was follow Kenny, I sat next to him.
"You said there was a list" he nodded.
"Before there was a waiting time, they took a few days, weeks, even months to take them according to my parents and other old people who have talked to me about the subject, but lately they take them the next day" I shrank in my seat thinking about the situation, maybe an increased demand for omegas? it sounded like I was talking about items for sale but it seemed the most rational thing to do, and what was the reason for that? no idea, but it made me really nervous "Everything is going to be ok Kyle" I nodded in my place trying to calm down.
"This is fucked up... really fucked up"
"I know, but there's no way to fight it, the alphas are too far away, the only way to reach them is to... get on the list I guess"
"God" I covered my face feeling impotence rise up to my throat. Now more than ever I was grateful to have had Kenny around that night.
The first class went on as usual, I slept half of it and spent the other half flapping a notebook at me, Cartman was gone for some reason, he must have left while I was sleeping but who cares, it was hot as hell and everyone was walking around in their fucking coats.
I went out into the hallway for a drink at the end of class and I remembered the feelings, an almost exact reproduction of the discomfort of that night at the club and my heart went down to my stomach... Kenny had told me about this, the day I was supposed to be locked up...
"Fuck me" I whispered as shaking ran through my hands, I left the corridor and walked towards the classroom, I took my notebooks to get out of there, but come on, if there are no obstacles life wouldn't be fun, would it?
The heat eventually transfigured into a strange sensation in my lower abdomen, my legs lost strength with every step I took, and my throat and tongue burned with dryness. I pulled out my sweater to stay in no more than a shirt passing through the people around me, feeling some degree of relief at the sight of my locker.
"Hey Kyle, are you ok?" Stan was next to me, our lockers were relatively close.
"No... do you know where Kenny is?" my voice sounded hoarse, so... alien to me that for a moment I was scared. He came up to me worried and I backed off almost instinctively.
"No, I don't know, do you have a fever? You look extremely red" He didn't seem to mind because he slid his hand across my forehead to confirm my fever. The simple touch made a stream of neediness pour down on me like a bucket of cold water, and I pushed him away instinctively.
"No" I immediately murmured with regret over the push. He looked at me in surprise at the act "Sorry, it can be contagious" I was losing, I was losing to something and I didn't know exactly what and it was fucking me up, shit, it was fucking me up big time "Sorry, I really need Kenn..." something was starting to grow down without my consent, it was just touching my forehead and... "Kenny" I finally said feeling dizzy, more because of the anxiety this situation was causing me than the symptoms themselves. I needed someone to get me out of here and he was the only one I felt I could trust right now.
"Okay, I'll go get him, you wait here" and he walked away worried, the halls were starting to get empty because of the class that was coming up but one look or another stuck on me accuser.
I felt bad, very bad; like a sheep in wolf's clothing, clothing that was about to tear, unable to contain my libido.
I wanted something, a thirst that came from the top of my belly to my chest and went up my throat; but I knew that no matter how much I drank, it would not be satisfied.
I leaned against the lockers and slid until I felt myself touching the floor, the aromas becoming extremely sharp, I looked for one in particular but nothing, there was nothing... and I didn't want to move, I felt that the slightest touch from a stranger would open the pandora's box that Stan was about to open just by touching my forehead.
But then this smell came to me, two sources, and I recognized one.
Wendy, it was sweet, laden with femininity, a scent that came up through your nostrils and played in the back of your throat like it was overflowing with honey and pudding and... then came down to obscene, unspeakable parts. Then there was the other source; unknown but its nature was evident, indescribable but similar to a dark and bitter chocolate mixed with rum or whiskey, so strange and intoxicating that unlike the first one it was only necessary to feel it a couple of times to know that it was the ideal one. The sweet and I never got along too well.
My need hit my last rational barrier in a brutal assault that almost brought it down, and I stood up, regaining every last ounce of strength for that little hint of a fragrance that was completely filling me up.
I looked around; as if every damn thing had ceased to exist my senses had merely focused on that essence... I needed it, I really needed it and step by step I followed it because it was the only rational way right now that seemed to exist to appease that unbearable thirst, that fucking unease and I wanted it, God.
With each breath a stream came down my spine, danced in my belly leaving behind a trail of fire that felt like burning and ended up in a strange sensation that I would qualify as pain but... it was not unbearable, it was a twisted and intoxicating feeling that asked for real pain in return.
I followed that sweet thread that seemed to form in front of me, an indistinguishable trace that called to me as if I belonged to that someone by right.
I felt sensations hitting me, my consciousness recovered enough to see me halfway through the school's backyard, a strong breeze sheathed my skin in seconds and snow began to fall covering part of the wooden benches of the place. My whole environment was isolated by the class that had just begun and... my skin was boiling, my sense of smell was searching insistently in the breeze for the smell that I lost from it and an almost irrational frustration filled me as I looked around exorbitantly; hearing even the slightest oscillation of the feathers of a flock of birds fighting the wind currents in the distance, visualizing in the distant, through the blizzard and snow falling with such clarity that the very white of the snow seemed to have acquired a thousand more tones.
"Where" I whispered.
I heard someone call my name in the distance but I didn't give a shit... I moved forward with no idea where to look for that smell once again. I had to find it, God, I had to find it.
I don't know how much further I went, but there it was once again, I had left the institute behind a while ago; but what did it matter, if the smell coming back was enough to make me forget about any kind of repercussion on my actions.
I searched among the trees that were dry because of the constant winter for some recognisable figure. Nearer and nearer, and...
"Kahl?" my whole world stopped making sense for a moment... it had stopped making sense since Sunday but... this was beyond me.
"Cartman?" I articulated with difficulty in a guttural tone sucking in the aroma to affirm its origin... it was him but... "You're a beta" I confirmed, he nodded.
"Bravo, captain obvious" and I walked over. Our difference in height was almost non-existent so I had to bend over a bit to look for his neck "What the hell are you..."
"Stay still" I ordered, and although I was aware that he would probably not pay attention to my words, he did so to my surprise.
The aroma permeated me completely, like a drug satiating my needs and in turn instigating misunderstanding and hatred for the situation itself. This was not possible, it smelled like Alpha, I could feel it... my dick could feel it.
"Would you stop sniffing me like a fucking dog?" and I walked away "My ass is freezing out here and you're wearing a T-shirt, are you an idiot or..."
"Shut up" he frowned in irritation... this was bad, this was very bad, fucking bad.
"The fuck is your problem" I had to go, run away, if... yeah, that would work, if he didn't touch me... if I didn't smell him anymore...
I immediately covered my nose and backed off, he looked at me like a fucking freak and I didn't blame him, I felt like one right now.
"Are you…" and I tripped over something in my confusion, I fell on my ass in the snow and as I put my hands in reaction to the ground a branch stuck in the palm of my hand, but the pain was in the background right now, everything was in the background, in my head there was nothing but a conflict between asking him to fuck me here and now and running away.
I saw him smiling amusingly at my condition and hatred almost won the fight to get away.
"God, what the fuck is wrong with you?" he asked with a soft laugh "Did you find mushrooms or some shit like that? that's what you get for following Kenny's shit" he held out his hand in my direction, the smell filled me up one more time and my lust reacted.
I watched the hand feeling the temptation to approach me, take it and breathe from it, drink from it... lick it, surround it with my tongue and... I took it, he tried to pull me to help me stand up but instead I pulled him.
He let go a scream of surprise losing his balance, managing to stop part of his fall with his free hand and knees to avoid putting all his damn weight on me. His heat covered me completely and the pain and the snow wetting my back was nothing compared to that and his fragrance... he was an alpha, he had to be an alpha, that or…
"Ey! What the..." I covered his mouth with my hand, blood from the recent wound leaving a trace of carmine on his pale skin. Two wells of infinite blue in their beauty detailed me in confusion and I couldn't help but smile about it, anxious to make them my property.
I remembered Stan's words.
A scent you can only observe from afar since you cannot possess it .
But I could, and I would.