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FOUR YEARS after the name Midnight Velasquez had been erased and became nothing. The owner of that name opened his eyes. Darkness welcomed his sight. Accustomed to the darkness, he got up from the bed to start his day. Following his routine, he freshened up, changed into his running clothes, and step out from his bedroom to run before the sun peeked in the sky.

After his ten kilometers run, he returned and went straight to the gym to lift weights. An hour later, he went home and made himself breakfast according to his dietary requirements tailored to follow his older brother's body weight and build.

He must be a perfect double. Even a minor flaw was unacceptable because he couldn't afford it.

Finishing his morning routine, he went downstairs carrying his laptop and walked towards the nearest coffee shop from his apartment.

He nodded at the woman behind the counter and ordered a regular coffee and a veggie panini


Without a second thought, he answered, "Knight." He then walked over to a vacant table, opened his laptop, and began doing his task.

The laboratory gave him a tasked to learn different languages. It started two years ago when the laboratory suddenly stopped experimenting on him and even let him live on his own as he wished.

A false sense of freedom.

That was the reason he was in Scranton, Pennsylvania. A faraway place from that abysmal house. However, even though he was thousands of miles away from that hellhole, one call from his father would all it take to drag him back.

And to Midnight, whose mind had been twisted and trained since childhood, his father's words were absolute. 'No' was not in the option and definitely not an answer.

Being away from that house did not make any difference. No matter how far he went, the tightly locked shackle around his neck rendered this so-called freedom useless. He might be able to breathe in the distance, but that did not mean he was living.

From an early age, he came to the realization that he was merely existing, not truly living. Because that was what he was instructed to do.

Although it was a wretched way of life, he willingly embraced it for the sake of his only family. Ready to descend into the abyss - even if it meant becoming a nobody, forgotten by the passage of time.

"Order for Knight!"

When he heard that name, he casually got up to pick up his order, then he silently went back to his table, put back his earphone and continued his Thai language lesson.

Listening to the Thai speech, he picked up his cup of coffee and took a small sip, unconsciously glancing outside the coffee shop's glass wall.

This part of the city was quiet at this hour. Only a handful of people were walking in the pedestrian lane and a few cars were passing by. And amidst this peaceful atmosphere, he saw a girl running. As if she was afraid for her life. One look and anyone would know something was amiss.

But Midnight withdrew his gaze and continued sipping his coffee and listening to the Thai speech as if he saw nothing.

While most people would be concerned or slightly curious, he felt no emotional response and proceeded with his daily routine.

When it was time to go home, he closed his laptop, left the coffee shop, and then went back to his dark apartment. It's not because the lights were not working, he just did not like brightly lit rooms. He preferred being surrounded by darkness—it makes him feel safe.

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