Chapter One

They say that I'm young—seventeen, maybe eighteen years old. But when I stop to think, caught in the swoon of that ever-present yet painfully obscure déjà vu, I simply can't see that as a possibility. When I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful girl, a tall woman, startlingly pale, with very strait and thick and lustrous black hair. It reaches my knees, though I do not remember growing it. My eyes are large, a deep shade of blue that seems both innocent and eternally deceiving, both dark and bright. Strangely enough, they have never looked particularly familiar.

They say that I'm young, that my past has been short, but whenever I take the time to honestly attempt to fathom it, I know that they are wrong. For all of their advanced vocabulary and degrees in medicine, I know that they are mistaken on at least this point. I am much older, have been around much longer than they could ever imagine. I know this though I truly know nothing at all.

Mysterious head injury, they said, total amnesia, two weeks unconscious and lucky I was ever to wake up at all. "Who are you?" a booming echo inquired as I opened my oblivious eyes. "You don't seem to have an ID."

"I don't know," I said honestly, feeling strangely at peace in my half-awake state, trapped just on the surface of total peacefulness, floating dangerously close to an unkind reality, an unwelcome awareness that would no doubt become available to me the second I sat up from the bed. But when I did sit up, fighting a short and unpleasant bout of dizziness, the knowing never came. "I don't know," I said again.

The stout, white-haired doctor jotted something down on his clip-board. He looked back up, and through his thick glasses I saw a pair of gray eyes so light, so nearly colorless, that a part of me felt faint. Another part, a more recently familiar part, said that this was normal; this was fine. I could identify the source of neither thought. "Where are you from?" he asked distantly, as if he were trapped in my eyes as well.

"I don't know," I repeated, wondering what these words meant, but knowing all too well: I was lost. Lost in a world of people who had minds and who had memories. I was alone. More truly alone than I had ever been before. In some other mysterious part of my mind, I counted this as a blessing, though I had no idea why.

And then another walked came in—another pale, white-haired, gray-eyed person. But this one was young, a full four inches taller than the older doctor. From the moment he entered the room, I knew for certain that this man was the doctor's son. He wore no glasses, though the shimmer of contact lenses was very apparent over his pale corneas. His face was handsome, not unpleasant to look at, and he was very, very young, no older than they were later to say I was. He greeted me with a smile. "Hello, I'm Mercivious." He pronounced the name "MER-si-vis.""It's good to see you up." He turned to his father. "Dad, has this beautiful lady given us a name yet?"

"Mercivious!" his father said, pronouncing it a little different than his son—"MER-si-vus"—which I instantly knew to be the more proper pronunciation. "That is a very inappropriate way to speak to a patient."

Mercivious' pale face took on a reddish tinge. "Sorry, father."

"Very well then. And no." He turned to me, as if to be polite. "She seems to have suffered from some amnesia as a result of her injury."

"Amnesia?" I knew the meaning of this word. I had heard it before.

"Yes," the old doctor said politely. "But with proper psychological tests we can find out for sure."

"Tests?" I inquired, not sure why I suddenly felt so reproachful. "I don't want them."

The doctor smiled politely. "Now, young lady, it would be wise to allow us our tests. We have to find out where you came from."

I was startled. "But how can you not know? How did I get here?" I began to stand up from the bed, feeling the dizziness capture me instantly. My head began to throb.

"Young lady, you're not well. Please have a seat."

I all but fell back onto the bed, my eyes tightly shut, and my palm pressing into my forehead. "How…?"

"You were found not far from here, in an open field. Your injuries were extensive, and your recovery has been amazing. But you're not well yet. You should rest."

"A field? What are you talking about?"

The doctor sighed. "You've been through a lot. Get some sleep."

"I don't want any sleep!" I yelled, shocking everyone in the room—including myself. "I want to know what's going on here!" The anger that engulfed me at that moment felt more familiar than anything had so far. "Tell me everything you know!" I calmed a bit, sighing. "Please…"

They both trembled slightly, as if their lives were being threatened by a nightmarish monster. And then the father coughed and squinted at his clipboard through his thick glasses. "Well, you're no more than fourteen, for one thing. Bone density tests based on your race have proven that..."

"My race?" I asked with a bit of anger. They had been performing tests on me in my sleep!

"Yes, Dear. Octavian, aren't you?"

A memory came in a disorienting flash. Eyes. I saw eyes. "I…" I mumbled. "I don't know; I guess."

He frowned. "Are you alright?"

I nodded, refocusing my vision to his face. "Fourteen?" I asked in disbelief. "As in years?" Earth-years? I almost added, but stopped myself. I didn't understand my own prospective comment.

"Of course. Age is the same anywhere you go. It's all based on the schedule of Mother Earth."

"But we're not on Earth?"

He seemed shocked. "Of course not. This is New Earth One, my dear, remember?"

"No."

"…I'm sorry, then. Let's go on."

"Go on to what?" I asked. "I don't want any more tests."

"…Fine then," Mercivious said. "It's your choice." He smiled. I repressed the urge to smile back.

"Actually," the older man said with an angry glance at Mercivious, "She is, by our prestigious calculations, a minor without a guardian. I can't simply let her out on her own."

"But do you have authority over her?" Mercivious cut in, equally annoyed.

"Son, I think you're overstepping your bounds a bit."

"You both are," I said, rising to my feet. This time, the dizziness was sickening but brief. "I am going to leave now. I am going to leave without your help and you are not going to stop me."

"Young lady—!" The older man had grabbed onto my arm. I turned, took his wrist in my hand and threw it off. Stopped mid-sentence, he stood holding his wrist as if he was in pain, his face alive with shock.

It was at this moment that I—and coincidentally, the old doctor—discovered my unusual strength.

"I owe you both. You saved my life, apparently." I laughed a little, and found that my voice was charming. I knew that Mercivious had discovered the same thing. He put his hands on his father's shoulders and held tight, as if to give me time to get away.

"Have a nice life, Beautiful," he said with a smile.

I smirked back and left the place, cool and collected, completely lost.

- - -

That night, I saw a man with purple hair and purple eyes. He was beautiful, exotic. He enraged me. And I knew—though I knew nothing at all—that he had to die. I knew that there was a reason, that the reason was righteous. I wondered what that reason was.

- - -

So started my years of murderous destruction, the years I inhabit at this very moment, sitting on this small hill in the setting sun. I'm apparently some eighteen years old now, and I've managed to develop the shadow of an identity—I am beautiful, I am elusive, and I am misunderstood.

I saw no righteousness in killing the little, furry animal that I roast over my tiny blaze. Perhaps I even felt guilt. But it is justified. I was hungry, there are no stores for miles, and my purpose is greater than that of this tiny thing—I am sure of that. I have to survive.

I have to survive and discover what that purpose is.


From the Author: Please let me know what you think.