Author: LacyMaeDay PM
Karleigh is just a regular seventeen year old girl... except that all of her senses are heightened. She is okay with this difference until two strangers kidnap her and try to taker her power. Over time she learns about her past, what she really is, and why she possesses this gift.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 5 - Words: 13,192 - Reviews: 2 - Updated: 02-17-13 - Published: 12-18-12 - id: 3084158
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Feet pound against earth. They're after me. I try to run faster but my boots are stuck in something. I look down to see water covering my knees. The footsteps come closer, closer. Trees grow all around me in an instant. I reach for a branch but it is too far away. My feet slowly trudge through the thick water until my hand grips onto the bark. Just as I am almost out of the water, a figure yanks me back in. I fall down, sinking deeper and deeper into the dark abyss. Two familiar eyes float toward me. He glides his hot fingers along my cheeks and whispers two little, desperate words: Help me. I attempt to tell him that there was nothing I could do, but the water fills my lungs and I can no longer breathe. A light envelopes the cold darkness. But there is no source for the light until I look down at my glowing hands. The person in front of me is then replaced by a small, dirt-covered mirror. What I see when I look into the mirror is my face but it doesn't really look like my face—because of the eyes. They shine a bright golden light. I reach out to the mirror but it disappears. In its place is a pair of wings. The earth begins to shake. I swim upward, but I can't move. The shaking becomes more fierce until the light is gone, and so is the water.
I wake to Andrew shaking my arm. "Stop, stop," I mumble tuging the flat pillow over my face.
"Get up. Wilkinson is pulling in."
I sigh and listen for a car. Nothing. "No he is not."
Andrew throws the pillow across the room and hands me a t-shirt and some jeans. "Get up now!"
I swing my legs over the side of the bed and run to the bathroom just to get away from him. Gross. This room is even more disgusting than when I was half asleep. The dirt on the mirror is even thicker than last night. Taking the towel wadded up on the floor, I wipe off as much brown as I can until I see my flustered face looking back at me.
This mirror looks a lot like the one from my dream, only two times smaller and a hundred times nastier. That dream seemed so real. Like it was trying to tell me something, or warn me.
Light on, I think. And just like last night, the bulb over the mirror lights up. I glance at the bathtub and flinch back. It doesn't look like anybody has occupied this room in ages. Or at least cleaned it.
After taking a hasty shower, I hear wheels squealing to a stop which makes me jump. I knock over a picture, cracking the glass.
"Hey, what's going on in there?" Andrew bangs on the door. Rude.
"I slipped, chill. Oh and by the way, Wilkinson just pulled in." I say this while picking up the big pieces of glass. Inside the picture frame is a sketch of a person standing ontop of a hill with large wings spread out, like she is about to take flight. I fold the piece of paper twice and tuck it into the back pocket of the jeans.
Blake is waiting for me on the other side of the door. He pulls out his remote to turn the light off but I beat him to it by thinking the command. Sighing, he pushes me out the door while holding onto my shoulders. "I told you, if you want my help you can't go around using your powers."
"I like to think of them more as talents or abilities. Is turning the lights on and off the only thing I can do?" I ask feeling hopeful as we enter the elevator.
He looks at me then presses a button below the first floor. "Probably, but I'm not going to explain them to you until after your talk with Wilkinson."
"Where are we?" We drove for hours and it seems like we're out in the middle of nowhere.
"In an elevator."
Blake's sarcastic comment gets a very squinty eye-extra annoyed look from me. "I meant, where is this building located on a map?"
He thinks about it for two floors then answers, "Technically we're not on a map or GPS. Sorry, classified information. Can't have you telling everybody once we set you free."
Finally, we reach the -5 floor. Yes, negative. As in, below the above. Or below what I am comfortable with.
I step out of the elevator into an enormous room full of pictures and papers taped on the walls and overflowing in boxes. A few people sit at desks spread sporadically around. They seem to be really focused on what they are working on. Pencils scratch against paper, and fingers furiously type on computer keyboards. I can still hear the soft voices somewhere in the building but it is much quieter down here.
Blake opens the door at the opposite side of the room. Before I walk out, on the wall beside the door, I see a picture identical to the one in the bathroom—except it's an actual photograph—and a news paper article titled "WINGS WITHOUT LIFT-OFF".
Through the door is a hallway wider and longer than the one on Fourth Floor. Andrew is standing in front of a black steel door halfway down the hall. I try to act brave, but really, I am scared to death.
"Relax. Breathe, it's going to be okay." Blake soothes me, as my body begins to shake. "It's going to be so dark even you won't be able to see. But it's okay. Wilkinson just wants to talk to you. Nothing will happen. I'll be here when you're done." He explains this as we slowly make our way towards Andrew.
Andrew gives Blake some kind of knowing look then his eyes meet mine. "Hope you're ready for this." He grabs me by the arm that Blake just let go of.
The huge door squeaks as he swings it open. Hesitantly, my foot crosses over the threshold and into blackness. Pure black that I have never seen before. Usually I can make out shapes and occasionally colors in the dark, but nothing is visible. For the first time in my life I feel almost normal.
Low and shallow breathing comes closer to me. I try to back away but Andrew still has a tight grip on me. He pulls me forward and I close my eyes. This has to be a dream. This isn't really happening. I'm going to wake up in my bed at my own house.
I open my eyes as a small light switches on. This is not a dream. I'm really here in this place of nowhere. The light is coming from a lamp standing beside a metal chair. Andrew lets go of me. Normally, I would run, but my feet seem to be paralyzed.
"Karleigh, please have a seat," a deep voice booms from the darkness. It echoes off about a thousand walls.
Andrew pushes me forward and my feet unglue themselves from the floor. Cautiously I saunter to the chair and sit down. Out of the bleak darkness, a man appears. His face wrinkled from age and his suit wrinkle free. Gray hair lies on the side of his head, shining bald on top. He folds his hands in front of him as he advances towards me.
"Hello, my name is Wilkinson. I'm sure you've heard a lot about me. But, how are you doing Karleigh?"
How am I doing? Did this man really ask me how I am doing? "Not so great." I answer truthfully but vaguely. There are so many emotions going through my head right now, too many to say even if we were here all night.
Wilkinson's expression turns sad. "Why? Is Andrew not treating you right?"
Andrew jumps in from behind me, "No! I've been doing just what—"
He silences with only a look Wilkinson's in eyes. "Andrew, leave us to talk alone. Karleigh, would you please answer?"
My hands start to quiver as I feel Andrew's harsh stare on my back before he leaves. I thought I would've been relieved when he left, but I felt more of a longing. He is familiar, Wilkinson is stranger.
"Everything is fine, other than the fact that you kidnapped me," sarcasm creeping into my tone.
"Oh no, no, no. Don't think of it as kidnapping. Think of it as giving you an opportunity you never knew about." Wilkinson says pulling up his own chair and sitting across from me.
"Well," I start, placing my hands under my legs so the shaking isn't obvious, "I respectfully decline. I don't need an opportunity for something I don't have."
He tilts his head in confusion, "What do you mean 'don't have'? You are Karleigh Varner, aren't you?"
"I am, but I don't have any powers."
Wilkinson sits back. "Don't have any powers? So you can't hear those quiet voices on Seventh Floor? See the symbol on my ring from where you sit? Feel the intense thickness of the dark?"
"Well, yes I can. By the way, why is it so dark in here?"
"So you can't see what's around us."
I glance around suddenly feeling terrified. "What's around us?" I ask, straining my eyes to see through the black.
A small chuckle escapes Wilkinson's frail lips. "It doesn't matter right now. All I want to know is if you have the power to control energy?"
"No, not at all," I answer shaking my head repeatedly.
He blinks a few times and repeats, "You don't? Andrew can you come in here please?"
A thin light peaks in through the door. Then as it opens all the way, I see misty smoke fly around in the light. That must be why I can't see anything.
Andrew's silhouette is followed by another.
"Yes Wilkinson?" he asks as the door closes behind them.
"Andrew, who is that with you?" Wilkinson asks, watching me—probably because I am the only thing he can see.
"Wilkinson," I identify the voice as Blake's, "I came because I heard you doubt what she said about her powers. She really doesn't possess the gift of control. Or any other abilities for that matter."
Blake appears beside me. "You see? Look at her eyes—they're completely green with a hint of gold. She tried to escape from the car when I mentioned control, but she couldn't."
Wilkinson gets up and walks toward me. He bends down to look me right in the eye. "And you don't see any gold?"
"Not but just a single fleck in each."
"Well," Wilkinson stands back up still looking at me, "this is not good. She's definitely not the one we're looking for. But she has the senses so we will keep her here. Go now." Wilkinson waves us out.
Andrew lifts me out of the chair, but I step forward. "No! I won't stay here. You can't make me!"
Obviously I shocked everybody in the room with my outburst. Wilkinson, looking agitated, tells Andrew, "Make sure she gets to her room." Then he pulls out a rectangular electronic device thing and says, "Wait. The lights on Fourth Floor blew out. I thought you said she could not control. Did you lie to me?"
Blake backs out of the light so I can't see him, but I hear him step behind me. "She must be developing now."
"But Blake, you know the power doesn't work like that unless the energy was already transferred. Look at her eyes."
Blake's hands turn me around to face him then lightly hold my face. He sighs and replies, "There's is more gold, but only a little."
"Then we will keep her here until they are fully developed." Wilkinson disappears then reappears by the opened door.
I walk out between Andrew and Blake.
"Andrew, stay here."
Andrew turns back, leaving me and Blake alone in the hall. We walk in silence until the wooden door, to the room with the pictures, is only a few feet away.
Blake whistles a long, deep note. "That was close."
"I didn't mean to. I don't even know how it happened!" I defend.
"Ssh, don't be so loud. I definitely didn't expect for you to be able to do that yet. We should really work on your control so this kind of thing doesn't happen again," his voice drops quieter as we enter the picture-and-paper room.
"Oh, Blake," I stop and grab his elbow, "who is this?"
He looks at the picture I am pointing to. It's the one that is identical to the one in my pocket. "That's… um, a story for another day. Come on, it's almost breakfast time."
Breakfast is ready before we get there. It is served in the big room we walked through before with a lot of tables and chairs.
Blake and I grab a tray and pick our way through the line. When we reach the end, I grab a banana while spinning to look back at Blake and say, "You know, I could escape right now."
He takes an apple and asks, "And how would you do it?"
I explain while walking to a table towards the back, "I would cut off all the lights, then y'all couldn't see me as I run out the front door."
"You wouldn't last but six miles, if that," he threatens playfully.
I sit my tray on the table and scan the room. There are groups of three to eight people spread out around the room, except for my group of two. "Blake you don't have to sit with me. I won't do anything stupid, yet."
He sits down beside me as he states, "Rules are that we can't leave an angel by themselves."
Still, I laugh at the term angel when referenced to me. "Fine. Then can I ask you something?"
"Sure." He picks up a piece of bacon, ready to listen.
"Can I call my friends? I promise I won't tell them anything other than not to worry about me."
Blake finishes chewing before asking, "What's your story? Why shouldn't they worry?"
I think for a minute then come out with, "I'm a runway. Or I had to take care of something with a friend. The second one is closest to the truth."
"Maybe, but they would never fall for something so unspecific."
"I always say things like that. Trust me, they'll believe it."
He thinks for a moment, "Okay, I'll let you call them later when we're alone. You know, away from listening ears."
Breakfast goes by much slower now that I have something to look forward to. Five others accompany us on the elevator ride up to Fourth Floor. Two of them stay on to go to a higher level.
Blake walks beside me down the hall. Before I open the door to my room, he grabs my hand and pulls me into his. He keeps the light off and opens the curtain to the balcony. I follow him outside. A breeze catches in my hair and I smile. The scent of the lake below fills the air. There is something about being outside that makes me feel better. That is, until I have to go back in.
"Okay, we have to do this quick. What's the number?"
I rattle off the numbers from memory and he types it in after pressing the speaker button so he can hear. It rings four times before I hear the familiar voice.
"Hello?" Chris shouts over the loud music.
"Hey, it's Karleigh."
"Karleigh, hey. Where are you? You were supposed to meet us here twenty minutes ago," Chris scolds.
"Is that Karleigh?" I hear Annabelle in the back ground. "Let me talk to her!"
I can't help but smile. It feels like days since I've seen them instead of only hours. These are my best—and only—friends and I won't be seeing them for a while. This realization wipes the grin clean off my face.
Blake moves the phone closer to me so I can speak. "Chris, I just called to let you and Annabelle know that I left. I need to take care of something, and I don't know when I will be back."
"Why?" even if I didn't have heightened hearing, I could hear the pain and confusion in that one little word.
"What is she saying?" Annabelle whispers.
"A friend needed me," I answer Chris's question.
"You shouldn't have gone alone. Why didn't you ask me to go with you?" I detect the anger added to the hurt.
"No I couldn't. Please, don't be mad. Tell my parents I love them. Good bye Christopher," quickly, I hit the end button. I turn my back to Blake so he doesn't see the tear that falls down my cheek.
"Karleigh," he steps around to look me in the eye, "listen to me. I will get you home as soon as I can, and I will make sure you are completely unharmed."
"How many are there?" I suddenly ask.
I clarify, "How many other angels are here?"
Confusion sweeps across his face. "Oh, um, fourteen right now. Why?"
"We have to help fourteen people get home."
Blake begins to look frustrated. "And they will, after we're done with them."
"Done with them? Done with me too, then! I'm just like them, and we are not science projects. You don't even know how it feels to be taken from your home in the middle of the night. You don't know if your parents are okay, and you don't even know where you are. So you don't understand what we, fifteen people, are dealing with right now. We like who we are. And you monsters have no right to change us!" When I finish yelling, I storm to my room and see that my bedroom light has exploded.
Though the bed is not comfortable, I plop down on it and cover my face with my shining gold hands. How could he be so inconsiderate!?
Footsteps charge up the hall until they barge into my room. Andrew's round face appears in front of mine.
"Girl, do you have control of these lights?" he gestures to the shattered bulb above us. Instead of answering the obvious, I stand and start to walk away. He grips my shoulder and pulls me back.
"I asked you a question so answer me!"
"Yes!" I shout in his face. "Yes, I control the light that was there, but that's it! I don't even know how it happened."
I yank my shoulder away and slam the door in his face. If only I locked it first…. The deadbolt clicks as it locks. Apparently I am in control of a lot more than I thought.
Andrew jiggles the knob but it doesn't open. He starts banging on the wood, and I run down the hall. Some people peak their heads out of their rooms while others run to see what is going on. But before anybody could see me, I am already standing in the elevator. I press the -5 floor button and feel the energy transfer through my finger.
The last thing I see, before the doors close, is Blake's face racing toward me.