Even before her alarm went off, Abigail Brazen knew that today was going to be like every single day before. Even so, after silencing the beeping monstrosity she called an alarm, she threw her legs over the side of the bed, slipping her feet into her slippers. Then, she trudged to the bathroom, shoving her strawberry blond hair out of her face. After taking a scalding hot shower and brushing her teeth and hair, Abbie sat down at the card table and ate her usual, bran cereal and cinnamon toast. For some reason, she could handle bran. After breakfast and when she was done feeding her bassett hound Cooper, Abbie threw on a polo, khakis, and her white sneakers, grabbed her coat, and headed out for another long day. Her morning routine would have seemed normal to most but those people didn't know the truth about Abigail Brazen.
Twenty years earlier, Dr. Ed Grant made a discovery. That discovery was the safe production of 3 children, three special children. Abbie had been one of them. They were perfect, never got sick, had an odd healing factor, and were academic prodigies. It had all been too good to be true. Abbie and her "siblings", Lyanna and Nate, were adopted by average families and grew up as any other child would in the bustling metropolis of Joshua. But, as the children grew up, the city grew down. Normally pristine buildings were now covered in graffiti. There were more people sitting on sidewalks, begging for money. Abbie had tried to take it all in stride, but it was hard. Then Lyanna had gotten sick. Not even Dr. Brentwood, Dr. Grant's successor, could figure out what had gone wrong. Now one of the only people Abbie considered family lay in a coma, on life support and constantly surrounded by attendants. Since Nate had left Joshua the first chance he got, Abbie had no one left, her "parents having died years ago along with her "sister" Maya. Now the only thing she did on a regular basis was go to Brentwood's lab, since she was the only one they could keep track of. She would have hated it, but the lab was in the same clinic as Lyanna, so it gave her an excuse to visit. Every day Abbie went through the same routine. It was almost normal.
finished doing Abbie's blood work, and moved on to her blood
pressure. She was the one Abbie liked, Mary or something. There were
so many of them; it was hard to keep track. They were the only thing
that changed about the sterile white clinic. It always smelled the
same, the schedule was the same, even the buzzing flourescent lights
in the back hallway.
"Hey, you." Dr. Brentwood greeted her as he entered with his white plastic clipboard and crisp lab coat.
"Doctor." Abbie nodded. She never talked too much, at least not whens she was here.
"Any weirdness since yesterday?" Brentwood asked, sitting down on a white rolling stool. He then proceeded to poke and prod Abbie all over. If she had one muscle twitch, he wanted to know about it.
"No, there hasn't been any weirdness for twenty years." she hated to snap like she did to the one man that was keeping her alive.
"OK. I'll bet you need to get downstairs." Brentwood said, scribbling down completely illegible notes on her record. She didn't even respond; she just got up and left.
doing any better, but she wasn't doing any worse. Abbie wished she
could see her eyes again. She hadn't in ten years. Lyanna had
missed so much. Their sweet sixteens, high school graduations,
everything. Abbie kept hoping that she would awaken before Nate
finished college in two years. Her heart hoped but her head had given
up. It was her heart that squeezed Lyanna's hand that day. It was
still warm, except for the intravenous drip keeping her vitals
steady, which was cold as ice. Abbie felt her cheeks go hot and her
vision blurred. The tears retreated when she felt a strong hand on
her shoulder. It wasn't the doctor's. At least, not Brentwood.
This man was in a button down shirt and pressed slacks.
"Hello Abigail." he said.
"Hello. Do you work here?" she asked.
"Yes, I just got hired. I'm Bill Edwards; I'm in genetics."
"Oh, I'll bet you know Dr. Brentwood."
"Yes, I've known Joss for years. In fact, I've known you for almost as long." The man's words surprised Abbie. Had he been there when the three of them were created? His face gave her the answer.
"I never met Ed, but his daughter Lucy and I were rather close. She told me he was always talking about you three." All of a sudden, Abbie got a feeling about Edwards, and it wasn't good.
"Listen, it was good to meet you, um, Bill, but I have some things to take care of at home." Then she hightailed it out of there. Edwards had made her so nervous that she didn't even say good-bye to the secretary on her way past.
Abbie laid back
on her couch, letting the solemn darkness completely consume her.
This darkness was only pierced by the few candles she had set out.
They filled the whole room with the gorgeous scent of lavender, and
it felt as though the calming sensation of them was mixing with the
darkness, creating for one heck of a night. Even Cooper knew not to
bug his master when she was like this. He lay curled up in a corner,
silently knawing on a bone. It remained peacefully silent for what
felt like hours, but was rather minutes. Suddenly, the quiet was
punctured by the ringing intercom. Abbie rolled her eyes, dragged
herself off the couch, and lazily pushed the button that connected
her to the front desk below.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Did I wake you?" A too peppy voice questioned. Abbie hated the Wednesday receptionist. She was barely out of high school, and was no doubt too focused on her pending escape to lend any attention to her clients.
"No." Abbie responded.
"Oh good. Listen, there's some weird guy down here saying he knows you. Should I send him up?" the girl asked.
"I'm standing right here you know." A voice piped up behind her. Abbie's heart leapt to her throat. She knew that voice.
"Send him up." she said, just barely finding her voice.
All their lives,
Nate and Abbie had disagreed about everything from food to rumors.
Nate was always the first to believe the craziest things. He'd
always thought that everyone was out to get him and his sisters, even
though he knew nothing of the world outside the city walls. Abbie was
more cautious than a tightrope walker with larger-than-average feet.
Lyanna just stood by and watched. Her siblings wondered if she
actually enjoyed it. Anyway, as Abbie walked down the corridor that
led to the elevators, her heart was in her throat and pounding a mile
a minute. It made for a very odd sensation. Even though it had seemed
like she'd been dragging her feet, the banks of stainless steel
doors came quicker than Abbie wanted. Almost instantly, the one
furthest away opened with an ominous hiss. Nate stepped out, looking
for all the world like the hobo and hermit that he was always trying
to avoid. His gray shirt looked like it hadn't been washed for
years. He was still wearing the same plaid shirt he had worn on the
day they had said goodbye. Over the years, different people had
patched it with all sorts of different fabrics, so much that you
could hardly see the original pattern. But, Abbie didn't care. She
was just glad to be back in his arms. She didn't even care that his
stubble was diffing into her scalp.
"How's my gal?" he said, smoothing down her hair.
"Better now." Abbie replied.