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CHAPTER 1

Chapter 1

Cold Cold Crush! Cold Cold Crush!” The in-sync recitation of the legendary hip-hop crew’s name, along with the stomach-pinching depth of the accompanying drum patterns, appeared as though they had sparked a sense of fear in all inanimate objects in the cobweb ridden walkway. “Cold Cold Crush! Cold Cold Crush!” The nail hole-riddled doorframes and paint-flaking walls bounced. Cipher had never heard TR808 drum kicks reach such peaks. His progression down the mildewed corridor brought him closer to a wretched mildew stench and a progressively increasing decibel. With the planting of his next step, the corner sprung forth with life and bellowed a cringing hiss. Cipher’s attention quickly focused on the corner, and with his eyes, he made out the faint distinction of a strayed black cat. The dark-hued coat of the feline subtly leapt from the darkened corner as it scurried past Cipher’s white-on-white Air Force 1 sneakers.

Stupid cat,” he remarked under his breath while regaining the little composure that remained. With each step toward the aged door that hid the focus of his attention, the splintered floorboards buckled and released a characteristic cracking noise.

A yo, Cipher, releasing a knowledge orb will reveal the secrets of the hidden,” a voice spoke from the general area of his left wrist.

Cipher deciphered the telling statement that bounced from the odd-shaped mechanism that wrapped his wrist and immediately reached for the gold relic that hung around his neck. The relic was dreadfully scary to anyone who saw it for the first time, but this would eventually be superseded by the intuitive understanding that it represented something big and quite possibly masked something magical. The two awkward faces represented on the relic differed in their expressions, but found a sense of mutuality in a shared crown and rod. The moveable on/off switch on the rod confirmed without question that it was in fact an MC’s microphone. Perched upon a solid gold sphere, it was high profiled as it adorned patterns of clustering black, red, and traditional-colored diamonds. Cipher grabbed hold of the draped relic and maneuvered it in a counterclockwise manner, causing it to release a greenish orb that hovered and morphed into several visual panels, all depicting what appeared to be a cache of obscured instructions. The drag-and-drop interaction between young Cipher’s hands and the panels broke the principles of secrecy when a couple of seconds of image shuffling brought forth a sense of clarity and direction.

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