Choices: The common misconception that we are in control of our own fate, and the choices we make affect whether good or bad tidings are called upon us.
Eve waited patiently at the window. It was the same one that she had stared out of that morning, just as it was the same one she stared out of every morning and evening of every day. From her position she could see the street, perfectly clean but with a dirty feel about it, and the same half a dozen windows that she could always see, each holding their own wife, waiting for their husbands to come home.
The overcast sky hung heavily around each of the houses, flooding the street with a dull glow, but venturing no further than the gate of each house. The street lamps' light was little to none and Eve could only just make out the figures of the men arriving home from work. As usual she could see none of their faces, just bodies passing by, so she waited for the tell tale clang of the gate to reach her ears, and prepared herself to admit her husband once more into her home.
A low cry echoed around the otherwise silent study. Eve turned almost reluctantly from the window to face the child in its cradle, now sitting up and holding out its arms. Eve lifted one hand to her face, before seeming to think better of it, and crossing the study to the child, hoisting it into her arms and returning to the window.
All but a few of the men had now reached their homes, but Eve had still not heard the clang of the gate, or the rattle of the key in the lock. She remained by the window for several minutes, until the street had emptied, and was once again undisturbed.
From her expression you couldn't tell whether she was pleased or worried. Her eyes stared cold and hard from the window, her lips pursed firmly together, and her arms tightening around the squirming child in her arms.
The man with the eyebrows strode through the streets of Kide, retracing the steps he had walked only that morning. He moved through the shadows as someone who was accustomed at doing so, silently slipping from building to building, eyes darting through the light of the street lamps, assuring himself that no one knew he was there and, more importantly, no one cared.
Coming to the corner he had started on, he turned his eyes towards the house that occupied Eve and her child. He regarded with disdain the thought that she would be worried that James had not returned to her. She would obviously be different too, and it would just take time for her to break, and to take her child with her.
A grim smile overcame the man's face, as he turned back to the brick wall he had been leaning against that morning. He walked forward casually, carrying on, into the brickwork.
As the man with the eyebrows faded from sight, the first few flakes of snow began to fall.
Eve stood at the window. She had been standing at that window, unmoving, for thirty-two minutes and four seconds. She had counted. That was all she could do. Her child had fallen once again to slumber, and all the men had long since entered their homes, their wives therefore withdrawing from the windows to tend to them.
It was because James had not appeared that Eve stood where she stood, refusing to move until James stepped through the door, to prove to her that things could never change; would never change. Things must always remain the same.
Because she was at the window, she was the one that saw the white things falling from the sky. She was the only person in the whole of Kide that looked to the sky, and saw something different. The white seemed to drift through the clouds, moving like vast chasms, intruding into the world; not welcome anywhere else.
The dots, for that is what they looked like to Eve, floated through the air, with the ease of something gifted with flight, and came to rest on the roads, on the pavements, on the rooftops.
They were undiscriminating and… Eve found it beautiful. She could not remember the last time she had thought anything that was not her child beautiful. She followed the white as they danced downwards, skimming the street lamps, and leaping from the pavements as they were kicked up by their fellows.
Eve rested her left hand on the window sill, her right still cradling her child, and tilted her head up even further, as if she were trying to see past the white, past the clouds, past her very existence. The sky strained to stay hidden, moving clouds in unnatural movements, distorting the fall of the white.
Across the road, the plain texture of the brick wall warped again, and the man with the eyebrows stepped through. He had not thought that this would occur again so soon, but something had changed in Kide, and he could feel it.
He stepped away from the wall, feeling it fall back into solidarity behind him. Glancing across the street, he looked straight at Eve, who still had her eyes fixed on the sky. The man raised his head, until it mirrored her image, gazing at the clouds that once again were motionless.
He blinked as a white flake landed on his face, and surveyed the ground around him.
White. Different. Wrong.
Raising his eyes again, he began to walk across the road, towards the house that contained the only differences in a town of constant similarity.
James was watched as he rose from his knees and lent against the brick wall. His posture was one of hopelessness as he silently began to shake, sobs wracking through the frame of his body.
The people, for that is what they believed themselves to be, watched James with the expressions of those regarding an experiment that had just succeeded for the first time, after many pain staking hours of failure. The barely contained excitement, shown in raw blue eyes, promised that a lab rat would get more respect than the man being watched.
"This is the specimen?"
"Yes, sir." The second voice was the one that held the excitement, hands fidgeting as if the man could not wait to get his hands on his latest prize.
"You will allow time for questions. When he does not give us what we wish for, you will take him."
The second voice swallowed. "To do with whatever I desire, sir?"
The first voice was dry, amusement tinging the edges. "Naturally."
Edited: 14/09/10 - Thank you for all the feedback I have received. It has been a great help and this chapter has been edited accordingly. :)