Why am I alive? I shouldn't be alive. They killed me, I know they did, and yet here I am. My mind is still in darkness, my body lost somewhere in the recesses of the shadows. But I can think, and I can feel, so I am alive. But it is still nothing but hell. My mind is overflowing with memories, the gunshots, the crimson blood, the pain, the sadness, and most of all the fire. Scarlet traces of liquid heat still burn brightly in the corners of my vision, but my body is gone. I am unable to open my eyes to see anything other than blackness and fire. I don't know how long that it has stayed this way, days, months, years? I have no way of knowing, not even my own breathing to mark the passage of time. I float in the darkness, the human part of my mind asking the same question over and over again, how?
I don't have the answer. I don't know how my body could have survived what happened. I don't know how my mind could still be in one piece after what I've seen. But somehow I've survived.
After another immeasurable moment of time, I begin to realize a subtle yet monumental change, I can feel, but not only that, I can also hear, smell, taste. Feeling creeps back into my toes and fingertips, and the smell of antiseptic stings at my nose. I'm now aware that someone is talking at me in an urgent tone, his voice hoarse with age, maybe mid forties. I still cannot open my eyes, but my other senses are awakening rapidly. I hear more voices around me, the slight smell of cologne and mint mingle together with the stench of the antiseptic. I can now feel rough cotton sheets rubbing the skin of my back, and can slightly move my fingers. I flex the digits of my right hand tentatively, closing them into a weak fist and then relaxing them. I repeat this action with my left and find there is no damage to the muscles. I work my way up as my body allows, checking not only muscles, but nerves, bones, and skin as well. As I make my way to my neck, I find a hot stinging sensation waiting for me. A burn, a scarring reminder the event. I wince, and then slowly, very slowly, I open my eyes.
My retinas are immediately bombarded by strong, blazing white light. When my eyes adjust they reveal three men standing above me. I recognize the voice of an older man with unkempt dark hair and one dull red eye. He has a small silver earring on his left ear and he reeks of too much cologne. I also pick up heavy scent of mint gum. Buried beneath that scent is the subtle stench of alcohol and cigarettes.
I attempt focusing on the other two men. Both of them are cleanly shaven with combed back straight sandy hair, maybe 20 years old. It's obvious they're twins. The only discernible difference is the one has much deeper green eyes than the other, jade rather than emerald. They talk urgently in hushed tones to each other and occasionally to others outside my range of vision. None of them have notice that I'm awake and watching, with the exception of the elder man. He's talking to me in a low voice now, devoid of urgency. He asks me what happened, I don't know, so I just shake my head. He says he wants to help me, but I don't trust him. The throbbing pain in my head has begun to subside, but still I lift my hand to my head as a reflex. The white haired man seems puzzled and attempts to grab my wrist, and on instinct I pull away. He stares, grunts, then turns away, leaving me alone.
When I wake again, the light is dim, but still hurts my eyes. The floor beneath me is cold, smooth, and hard, so different from when I last woke. My head is clearer, and I sit up. I look around to find myself encased in a huge glass box. Through the glass I see people in lab coats focusing on a monitor. Among them is the red eyed man. My glass cage seems eerily familiar, but not comforting. The white coats are absorbed with something that has captured their attention. As I look up, I notice a large complex looking speaker that is beginning to hum with energy. I get a deep sinking feeling in my stomach as the sound starts to increase, and then stops all together. Suddenly, a deep echoing boom extends in a wave over my enclosure, and the pain hits me.
Something deeply buried erupts in my head, engulfing my mind so I cannot think of anything else. The pain is searing and unstoppable. My fingernails dig into my scalp, my eyes squeezed shut against the tears that threaten to flow down my cheeks. One after another the sound waves continue, and now the pain is no longer simply internal. The area around of my back and shoulders begins to tingle with energy, closely followed by a deep aching pain that sinks into my bones. More memories flood to the front of my vision, tainting everything I see with fire. Scenes are flashing in front of me at unnatural speed, each one staying just long enough for my brain to register what it is before being replaced with another. The emotional pain is brought to the front of my mind now, along with the physical one, the two mixing together in the most horrible ways. My pulse pounds in my head with such force I fear the veins will not be able to handle the stress. My heart is racing at a million miles an hour and I see the faces of all the people I've killed. Melania, the girl who so much loved snakes and got her wish to be like them. Aki, watchful, fierce and playful as a cat would be. Sora, detached and flighty without a care in the world, despite what he'd been through. The little twins Kuro and Shiro, so different yet so alike. And finally, there was Leon. Aggressive, short-tempered, selfish, possessive, but also comforting, strong, protective and understanding. My best friend through everything, I thought he could never die. But I thought wrong, and now I wish I hadn't survived.
Tears are now streaming down my face, and I have to clench my now jagged teeth together with enough force to snap a steel cable just to keep myself from screaming. I want to run, but I cannot. I want to fly away from this place, want to escape this hell.
It gets worse before it gets better, but the sonic bursts seem to be spacing out more, taking the edge off the pain. The intervals between bursts get longer and longer, eventually stopping altogether. I unclench my head and put my hands down in front of me to keep myself from falling over. My breathing is labored, and the pain in my head is gone, but the tingling sensation on my back and shoulders does not go away. I sit there for several minutes, unmoving until the loud purr of a motor somewhere above makes me to flinch. Still not moving my head, I move my eyes to see the large glass box elevate into the air. The entire group of scientists rush in under the receding glass, and the first one to me is the man with the silver earring. He kneels to the ground next to me, but has learned from his mistake and doesn't touch me. He looks me over and bends down so that he can see my face. My eyes dart to him, looking him up and down and wondering where his electronic prod is. The other scientists gather around me, getting in close and staring at whatever has just appeared on my back. I start to feel cornered, and adrenaline begins to leak into my bloodstream. Just as I'm about to knock away the nearest white-coat, the man with the silver earring shouts over the urgent conversations.
"Yo! Back up! Give her some space!" He appears to have some authority over them because they back away reluctantly. He is still kneeling in front of me, and for the fist time I see a small symbol embroidered on the breast pocket of his coat. It depicts a winged pole with two snakes twisted around it. It isn't a lab coat, but a medical jacket. There is a possibility that his wanting to help me could be sincere, but only a slight possibility. He hesitantly moves his hand forward to brush my hair back, and I allow it. He studies the claw marks in my scalp from where my nails had managed to pierce the flesh. He looks at my eyes, and I expect him to cringe away, call me a monster as so many others had. But he does nothing, and instead he says three, soft words. "Are you alright?" He doesn't ask me what I am, how I came to be, what made me react to the sonic charges like that, he simply asks if I'm okay. Curiosity tints my eyes and I wonder who exactly this man is. I nod in response. I rock back and pull my knees my chest, laying my head down and closing my eyes. I'm not yet asleep and am still fully aware of those around me, but with adrenaline gone I find it nearly impossible to keep my eyes open. I hear the mumbling of the doctors behind me,
"Why isn't she moving around any more?"
"Is she sleeping?" And then I really do start to sleep, unable to keep awake any longer.
In my dreams, I relive the night I will forever regret. I open my eyes to see myself, suspended in eerie liquid within the familiar glass tank. My eyes open, and I see myself pull up and kick glass that holds me captive. I spill onto the floor, ripping the iv from my arm and scaring a man in a white lab coat. I don't know how may times I've lived this nightmare over in my head, but every time I attempt call out to the other me, tell her how reckless and stupid it is to do what I'm about to do. But as always, I'm trapped in silence, unable to change the course of what is about to happen. The man I startled hits a button and sirens begin to screech in my ears, dull red lights flashing above me in the darkness. The first tank I come to houses Leon. His tank has always been next to mine, since we were little. I suck in a breath and smash into the glass cylinder. The liquid pours from the tank, and I catch Leon before he can hit the floor. His black hair is stuck wetly around his face and he's still unconscious. I set him down in my lap and gently tap the side of his face.
"Leon! Leon wake up, we have to go." He starts to stir, propping himself up on his elbow "Kai? What? How did you...?" But I cup my hand over his mouth before he can say more. "We don't have a lot of time, will you help me get the others out?" He nods.
Aki is the first to wake, followed closely by Melania, her forked tongue flicking in and out of her mouth, tasting the air for what her blind eyes cannot see. Kuro and Shiro awake at the same time, and after them is Sora, who has always been the last one to wake. But that is when the dream ends, because now the bombs begin to fall, and the last thing I see is Leon being burned alive.
I wake with a start, my head coming into contact with a hard, blunt object. The force knocks whatever it is backwards. I clutch my head as a reflex, although the actual contact doesn't hurt. I look up to see the man with the silver earring holding a damaged chin.
"Ouch! your head is harder than it looks!" The man says, trying to reposition his jaw. I hear a muted cracking sound before he begins to speak again.
"Mornin' sleeping beauty, how was your little nap?" I just look at him, unsure of what to say or do.
"Although I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen someone sleep for three days straight before." I blink with wide eyes, still unsure of how to respond. I look at him curiously curiously again, but still remain silent.
"So what's your name, bright eyes?" he asks with genuine interest. I hesitate for a moment, but then answer.
"My name is Kai." My answer seems to peak his interest even more. "So you can speak. What about your last name?" I rake my memory; last names were terms used by normal people to distinguish between families.
"I don't have one." I say frankly.
"Really? Okay then, what's you favorite food?"
"I don't know."
"Never listened to it before."
"Hmm..." The man sits thinking for a while, rubbing his goatee.
"Where are you from?"
I stay silent now, not wanting to bring up my what I am for fear of rejection.
"It's alright. I doubt anyone will be awake at three in the morning. No one here but me." I look him in the eyes.
"Why should I tell you?" I ask. He thinks again for a second.
"Well, I suppose you don't really have a reason to. I'm just curious." I start to realize that this man isn't interested in what I am, but in who I am. There is something about him that is understanding, almost like he would never give up a secret entrusted to him. Maybe it's because his attitude reminds me of Leon, but I find it easy to trust him.
"I came from a very...unpleasant place." He seems shocked that I'm confiding in him, but he sits still, listening intently.
"Is that so? Is that why you have no last name?" I nod. "Did you have friends?" He asks quietly, avoiding asking about family. I smile, but it's not a happy smile.
"More like family than friends."
"You must really love them." Tears start building up in my eyes as I remember. "I did. more than anything else." The man scoots his chair closer to me, folding his hands together and resting his chin on them.
"Something happened, didn't it." I look down at my lap, not meeting the stranger's eyes. I nod.
"And it's all my fault. They're dead because of my stupid mistake." I don't realize I'm crying until I see dark patches on the linen sheets. The man puts a large, rough hand on my head in a comforting way.
"Now, I doubt that. And if you're friends were here, I bet they would too." I wipe the tears from my face, and blink a few times to make sure no more are escaping.
"That's not how I see it." I say, keeping my voice steady. He smiles again, a warm smile.
Just then something in the corner starts to stir, and it catches my attention immediately. In the corner under one of two mounds of blankets, comes a voice.
"What the hell's with all the racket?" The man kicks off his covers, which in turn wakes someone else. The second mound flips away his sheets, mumbling sleepily.
"Come on, Daren, don't be so rude."
It's twins that I saw when I first woke up.
"Well, I don't sleep as heavily as you do Cota." Daren still has his back to me, so Cota sees me first.
"D-Daren..." Cota stutters as he stares at me with wide eyes.
"S-she's a-awake." Daren spins around, spotting me and the man with the silver earring.
"Raiden! Why didn't you wake me up sooner!" He shouts at the man with the silver earring. He groans.
"Because I knew you'd make a racket! Now keep your voice down!" Raiden hisses. Cota is on his feet and standing next to the man named Raiden within a few seconds, Daren follows closely after. Cota sits down backwards in a chair next to Raiden.
"Hey, did you ask her about... you know..." Raiden blinks a couple times.
"Oh, I forgot. Kayana, these two are Daren and Cota, they're the heads of the research and development team. They want to know why you had such a strange reaction to the digger."
"The digger?" I ask quietly.
"The glass device you were in earlier. We call it the digger because it drags up memories."
"My mind is different from most peoples, and my memories can't be accessed that way."
Daren seems to find this interesting.
I begin to open my mouth, and then I realize I really don't want to answer his question. I don't want to answer anyone's questions. I just look at him for a second, then at Raiden, and then at the wall to my right. Raiden spins around in his chair so that he's facing Daren.
"You shouldn't ask her about that kind of crap right now. Now go do something useful and get her something to eat. The poor thing's probably starving." Daren starts to protest, but Raiden interrupts him, this time facing Cota. "Cota, you go with him and make sure he doesn't break anything."
"Yes, sir." Cota responds, a little disappointed, hauling Daren out the door and down the hallway out of sight.
"I would tell you they aren't always like that, but then I'd be lying." Raiden says with a chuckle, rising from his chair.
"I'll be right back. I'm gonna attempt to find some somewhat normal clothes that would actually fit you." He says, a joking smile on his face as he steps out into the hallway, closing the door behind him. I listen until the sounds of his heavy boots padding down the hall completely disappear, before flipping the sheets off of me. I stand up quickly, and have to hold on to the bed frame for a few seconds as the blood rushes from my head, blurring my vision slightly. I regain my balance and look around for a moment before finding what I'm searching for. I walk up to the tall mirror in the corner of the plain, white room. My thick brown hair is messy and tangled, and I have dark bruises under my eyes in spite of how much I've slept. I turn around and pull off the hospital gown, facing away from the mirror and looking over my shoulder so I can clearly see my back. My long hair conceals a large section of a single, massive marking that covers most of my torso. I pull my hair up into my hands and pull it around my shoulder to get a better look at it.
All sizes and thicknesses of curved lines come together in the enormous marking. The shape and look of it reminds me closely of wings. I breath a heavy sigh. It's a type one reaction, so the effect won't take place right away, but it will hurt. But this is nothing new; pain is very much second nature to me now. But the sheer size of the mark is still shocking. It stretches down to the base of my tailbone, the black tendrils brushing around my sides and licking my shoulders and collarbone.
The padding of feet returns within my range of hearing, but Raiden's heavy boots are not all that I hear pounding across the smooth floor. A stampede of sound varies from small petite tapping, to heavy thundering booms. I snatch the medical gown from the floor and slip it back on, vaulting over the foot of the bed frame and landing in a sitting position on the mattress just as Raiden slips into the room, slamming the door behind him. He exhales heavily, a smile lighting up his face as he twirls the loop of a key around his finger, catching it in his palm and chuckling to himself.
"Let's see those nosy bastards get in here without this." There is pounding and aggravated voices from behind the door, but after a few minutes the noise dies down and the the sound of the footsteps trails off down the hall, back the way it came. Raiden rubs the back of his head as he looks at me, his smile turning from that of triumph to a sheepish grin.
"Sorry I took so long, that research and development team doesn't know how to keep its nose out of other people's business." He puts his hand down, pulling the small bundle he had been concealing from behind his back, holding it out so that I can see it.
"The only thing we had with a possibility of fitting you was in a storage closet clear down on the first floor, and we're on level 127." He tosses the clothing towards me and I catch it between my hands, finding a loose black long-sleeve shirt and a pair of baggy sweatpants in the ensemble.
"127... where am I exactly?"
"Relanto hospital on 87th street. Our emergency team pulled you out of a massive fire after some unknown facility went up in flames. You're lucky to be alive." My eyes narrow a fraction.
"Lucky is an interesting choice of words." I say softly, staring out into the lightening sky and wondering where to go from here.A/N:Soooo, this is one of the stories that my friends keep bugging me to continue, so I though if I posted it and maybe got some reviews it would help revive my muse -_- so R&R pretty please and input is very welcome, as with all my stories. Thankyoubunches