Author: rugsrat PM
Caroline James is your regular girl. She's just turned 16. She's running from the law because of a new Power Registration Act that will probably get her killed. Fortunately, running is a special talent of hers.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,690 - Reviews: 1 - Updated: 11-14-12 - Published: 06-20-12 - id: 3034298
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Happy Birthday Caroline!"
That's what the cake said in its icing lettering, written almost like musical notes across the smooth white plane of the confection. There was a large G-clef in the upper right-hand corner, and Caroline smiled when she realized that the notes along the staff were the notes to the "happy birthday" song. Someone at the bakery apparently knew how to read sheet music. The candles were also strategically placed along the sides with icing flags that turned them into music notes as well. Seventeen in total, including the one for luck. The flames flickered slightly in the dim light of the room, and reflected on her face, giving it an orange glow.
Caroline grinned broadly at the assembled family and friends that had come to the get together for her Sweet 16 party. The smile faltered every so slightly when they started to sing to her. None of them could seem to decide on what key they wished to be singing in. Her mother was decidedly in the key of B-flat, while her friend Michael was in the key of A, and her father a resonate key of G. Then there were her brothers, singing in a gregorian chant of some kind. The cacaphony was physically painful to listen to, at least to her anyway, but the song was thakfully brief, and then it was time for her to make a wish.
She screwed her eyes shut for a moment, pulling her long, dark brown hair back over her shoulders, and thought hard about what she wanted: a car to go with her new lisence? A boyfriend? To finally pass her black-belt test (third time's the charm!)? Or maybe to be normal? Normal would be awesome. She sucked in a deep breath and opened her eyes, seeing the beautiful cake laid out before her, and exhaled over the cake, blowing out all of the tiny fires that signified her age. All of them were extinguished by the time she was done blowing on them, so hopefully the wish would come true.
She smiled again while everyone clapped and her mom hugged her around the shoulders. Time for cake!
That night Caroline found herself sitting and looking out her window towards down-town. Patriot City was still a new place, full of promise and with the idea that anyone could be anything. Except for folks like her. She could already hear the sounds of the riots starting again. The screams of rage and frustration, even though they were miles off. The man-made island creaked loudly. Very loudly. She heard all of it. Every groan of every girder, all of the so-cars whizzing along on battery power now that night had fallen. She could hear the newlywed couple three building down as they made love.
She crammed her hands over her ears, willing the sounds to stop being so loud. It wasn't fair that she could hear everything! It just hurt. None of the migraine medications helped, and she'd tried all of them. Ear-plugs were useless.
During the day she had an easier time, and could ignore the sounds of all of the little bugs and the lapping water and the people shouting across town. But at night? Night-time was aweful. She couldn't ignore the sounds at night. Especially the shouting. The riots. People stabbing, strangling, clubbing, punching, and in some rare cases: shooting. How they got guns into Patriot, Caroline didn't know. But they did. Those sounds were so loud they sounded as though they were right next to her. But she knew better. They were all the way across the city, or in the Canals.
And she could hear people talking too. She heard the gardener across the street who could secretly fly talking to his wife. He was going to join OneMind in California. OneMind was promising to help the Super Mortals win. They were already winning. They'd destroyed San Diego, the haven for the Red Buzers, and they were going to push to Los Angeles to set up a capital there.
She heard every word. And she also heard her parents talking softly about Caroline registering with the Beareau tomorrow.
She froze when she heard that, ice-cold running over her. If she registered, she'd be dead within a week. Her abilities weren't even very strong, and certainly nothing that was dangerous. Nothing that warrented registration. Hell, no one even knew except her family and Michael!
She couldn't register. Her life would be over. How could her wish have gone over so badly? Did someone hate her that much?
"No." She whispered. And quietly got up, grabbing her backpack from the closet. She dumped out all of her text books, then started cramming in some clothes. Some underthings, a T-shirt, pair of shorts, blue jeans, a sweater, her deck of Tarot cards. Then a hair brush and the money she'd gotten for her birthday. She slipped out quietly after her parents went to bed. As she left, she felt a quick pang of guilt. She hadn't written a note of any kind, her parents were going to wake up in the morning and not have any idea as to where she had gone. There was a small memo pad on the table, so she tapped the interface, and as the yellow screen lit up, she started to write.
"I can't register. Love you all. Please don't worry about me. I'll contact you when I can. Love, Caroline."
That would have to do. She glanced at the clock on the wall, the LED display glaringly red in the darkness. It read 3 in the morning. The first ferry to the mainland was at 3:30. She could just make it if she ran the whole way, especially since the subway should be pretty much empty at this point. She opened the door and glanced into the hallway, just to make sure that no one was out there. Having a big back-pack on at 3am was not really normal, especially since everyone knew each other in her building. Then she glanced behind her: no one was there, but this was probably the last time she'd ever see her home again. She at least wanted to get a good look, something to remember. And she would. That much she was certain of.
The kitchen was small, a sacrifice they made to get the bigger bedroom for her brothers to share. But it was never cramped, and she had always loved this place. So what if the sink was basically broken all the time and the TV was so old it was still seperate from the wall? Dad was old-fashioned that way.
Oh man, her dad was going to be so mad at her. He was always talking about how they needed to perform their civic duties, even when they didn't want to. Jury Duty, voting, taxes, and now, as a Super Mortal, he wanted her to register.
Tears welled up for a moment, and she shut the door behind her. She was running out of time to catch the ferry. She bolted down the stairs, shoosing them instead of the elevator so she wouldn't have to wait, and when she made it to street-level, she took off. The ferry was on the other side of the Freeman district, west from her building. She mentally plotted the route in her head: Take the main road until Liberty street, then the subway, then she'd have to put her Parkour training to the test, and hope she didn't get a broken arm like she did during her last Black Belt test. And she'd be running right past the police station. Not that that was suspicious or anything.