The physical training is extreme, and I am exhausted. Try as I might, I can't sleep. This writing seems like a compromise between my weary body, and my wired mind. We ran for hours, going through obstacle courses that they wouldn't know we were going through. if it wasn't for their devices. I have slept well since the change, though my dreams are haunted by the faces I'm never supposed to see again.
I can't help but keep thinking about the change, the process that made me this way. This stranger in the world that used to be my home and it kills me.
I was dragged away, and though it was late and there were few people out, it seemed like no matter how I called out, they couldn't hear me. They brought me here, the doctors, and I was strapped to a bed. There wasn't an explanation, just a weird thing I now realize was a body scan, and then I was hooked up to a drip.
That's when I felt the first flicker of the flame. When that first drop touched my so human veins, I stood no chance of ever being the same. It took hours, they say, and I suppose it should be considered a mercy that it didn't' feel that way for me. In my mind the burn only lasted minutes, the longest minutes of my life, but minutes all the same.
Landen and Isa have been here longer than I have. Isa had been changed first, and claimed when they were alone, that there had been others when she first arrived. She didn't have to say where they went, because our briefings left no need for questions. We were being trained for a very specific reason. Because you couldn't stop what you couldn't see.
Landen was quiet, only changed a day or two before I was. He was nice enough, but he didn't want to be here, and he didn't hide it as well as Isa or myself. He talked in soft tones of escape, and offered to take me with him, and I so wanted to agree.
What was out there for me now? Then again, what was here for me?
If the change didn't kill us within the first month, then we were considered a success. Isa had seen it gone wrong, and had assured both Landen and me that we would be having symptoms by now if it was going to fail us.
Still, even if we made it, we were going to be sent out. Isa and Landen would be my partners. My pack, as it was called. Pack sizes varied, and from what I heard in whispers I wasn't meant to hear, there wasn't peace among them.
We Greeters were meant to be the peace keepers, at least that was our official position, but some of us were being trained for something a lot different. There were haunting words of the secret mission, the one that would wipe out a large population of us.
New Greeters were put out onto their home streets first, when they proved themselves there, then some were upgraded.
It seemed like the upgrade was suicide, and Landen didn't plan on us doing that well. It was a bit more complicated than that. If we didn't do well, if we didn't function well enough, we would be destroyed. Neutralized, we were told.
The doctors often speak as though we aren't there, or as if we aren't human enough to care. I know that we aren't human now, at least not completely. The infusion was alien, though I know not the species. I know I am now half, at least half, something else, but that doesn't make me less of a person.
I still care what happens to me, and I care what they plan to do to my new friends. I have only known them days, but I would die to protect Landen and Isa.
I suspected that felt the same. I am not sure yet if this is from the alien DNA or from the human, but I know what I choose to believe.
There is a knock on the door, I will return when I can.
The first clue that it wasn't the doctor was that I could see no one outside my door. It was Landen, how he got here without being discovered- he hadn't been overly eager to share- but that doesn't matter. I will try to record the encounter as accurately as possible, but it is late, and I hope I can do it justice.
'Aidan, move aside.'
'Laden?'I would like to point out here, that I should have known that for a fact, but I'm still new to this invisible thing.
'Move, before they make their next pass,' he insisted, and I did as I was told, stepping to the side.
I could feel him brush by, more a mental feeling then a physical. They said it would happen, the longer we spent with our 'pack', and that we would learn their position by thought alone.
He was sitting on my bed, something I wasn't entirely comfortable with, but didn't speak about. This was obviously important if he would take the risk of being found, so I waited for him to speak again.
'We have to go,' his voice was quiet, though it normally was. He sounded too tired now, too tired to be making such a rash decision, anyway.
'Go where?' I questioned, keeping my voice as casual as I could maintain. I could feel his worry within my own body, and I had no desire to add to his discomfort.
He didn't answer at first, and I didn't have to be able to see him to know that he was studying me. Nor did I have to know what he looked like before, to know that his eyes would be a muddy brown, if they could be seen. His mind was dancing with mine, not quite close enough to be considered a partner, but close enough an outsider might have though such.
I imagined he could 'see' me as well. I wondered if he knew that my eyes had been a light blue like my fathers, my hair as black as the night. Or if any of that mattered anymore now.
'If I can get us out of here, would you go?' he asked, hesitant, but rightly so.
Would I go with him, the question had been hinted at but never so directly put to me. Would I risk running away, but really it was all a matter of choice. If I stayed here, they would decide where to take my life, what way it could possible end. They would do it without concern about me, or Landen or Isa. To them we weren't people anymore. To them we were hybrids, hybrids of their own creation, dangerous but under control.
Did I dare to break lose?
Today we made our escape, with a lot of help from Landen. He had found a way to short circuit their sensors, leaving us a very short amount of time to get out of the compound. You can't stop what you can't see, their logic was their downfall. I refused to leave without Isa, who was hesitant. I don't believe that she wanted to stay; only that she doubted our chances on the outside.
At long last I convinced her, and she slipped her hand into mine. The touch was intense; as if I could see her there with me, see her in every fine detail, even sharper than my normal sight.
Her eyes are blue, like mine, but her hair is light, very blonde. She is beautiful, and I can say that it is a shame that the world will not get to see her again. I can only take some comfort that she is seen by me.
She walked with Landen and me willingly. It wasn't too hard, really. With no sensors we were able to slip past the guards, past the doctors, and out the gates. That wasn't the hard part, the hard part is not being found now.
I imagine that they will send other packs to find us; Landen says they will probably just use sensors they have set up in town. I notice that he didn't mention that before we left.
He seemed apologetic about it, but that doesn't keep us safe. Doesn't keep Isa safe, or even him. He wasn't thinking about that, I assume. Only thinking about what it would feel like to be free.
It was nice to step into the moonlight…we had to leave at night…and feel the cool breeze wrapping around my body. A warm hand reminded me that we had to get away, and that was what we did. We are hiding in an old house; Landen did a check and declared it secure.
I trust him, despite the lack of information about the sensors before. He worked as a technician before he was taken, but he refused to speak in great detail about that. The house is dark, I am only writing by a sliver of moonlight, we can't chance candle light.
Isa is asleep; I can hear her soft breathing fill the room. Landen and I tried to make her comfortable; we both seem to have a sense of duty to her. Even now he is watching over her, I can't see him, but I can feel his careful eyes glancing at her now and then.
I am the oldest; Isa is a year younger, Landen only a few months. I suppose that makes me responsible for them, though I hardly feel like I am the best choice.
There is no movement outside, the curfew firmly in place for years now, but somehow I can still sense something.
"Another pack," I hear Landen whisper, distracted as I am I hadn't noticed him moving closer to me.
He is still, glancing at me from time to time. I imagine he is wondering what I am writing, but I don't offer to share. This is something that is just for me.
"Stay with her, I'm going to go check it out," he tells me.
I stay my pen.
2 hours later.
Our first night and I thought that we lost him. I had sat near Isa, more than willing to protect her from anything if I could. She became restless for a while, but I didn't want her to wake. I didn't want her to have to worry.
I hummed an old lullaby, which my mother used to sing to me. The words are a bit fuzzy, but they weren't before the change. I kept humming, long after she had settled again, trying to stir the memory.
I don't want to lose anything of that old part of my life. I can remember her telling me about it, how it was from the Old Days. Days before her birth even, days when there was no Earth Two, life was simple.
Days before the change, I imagine. No, I know. Landen has returned, though he was shaken up. It seemed he was cornered, I never should I have let him go. He was unharmed, managing to lead them away from here.
Apparently the connection is much harder to feel with another pack, something he claims saved his life.
I wonder how I would have taken it if hadn't made it back. I hadn't known him long, but I did like him. I felt protective of him, though that may be the bond, I can't say for sure.
I know I should sleep, especially since he says we have to leave tomorrow. There isn't long before dawn, he says that is when we will go. If we can get far away from Silo, then we stand a chance. Far from everything that we hold dear, is the only way that we might be able to make a life for ourselves.
I'll write again soon. For now, I must really try to rest.
It's evening, and we are in a forest. Not near as comfortable as the house from last night, but we had to stop, and at least we are out of town.
We would have been a lot farther, but Isa begged to see if she made it on the wall. I was curious as well, but I wasn't going to be the one to bring it up. Landen it seems has a soft spot for her, and he agreed.
We had to make it quick, even if none of the mourners would notice us. We took the shortest route to the wall, and I could sense both of them in my mind. Isa was nervous, Landen equally so, but for different reasons.
The wall is the standard for mourning. Since just before the Universal Standard, they have required every dead body be cremated. There just wasn't room for the bodies anymore, grave yards packed to the edges. It made sense.
If you wanted to remember your love one, more than just in your own personal memory and stories, you purchased a spot on the wall. Their name, only their name, would be forever carved into the marble.
It was a lot like that old war memorial, except these people weren't heroes, just people who their families wanted to remember.
When we arrived there were few mourners. It was early on a Tuesday, most people had jobs to be at. Death was a fact of life, not a reason to miss work.
There was an older woman at the end, hair grey, fingertips touching a name. I didn't go near, but I could see her tears. Isa wandered away, I wanted to whisper for her not to go far, but I knew that she knew.
I was more surprised when Landen left to look, following Isa down to the new section, farther down the old lady. I really didn't imagine my parents would take the time to put my name on the wall. My father had always been strict with his money, and in truth it didn't bother me.
I wasn't really dead, to start with, but even if I was it was just a name. I can't say I have really done anything worth remembering me for in this life, at least not yet.
I heard a soft sob from Isa, and Landen was reaching for her before I got the chance. I could read her name over her shoulder, finding out her last name for the first time. Isa Kat Steel.
I saw Landen name just a little farther down, he touched it briefly, but returned his attention to Isa. Landen Brayden Lot.
I couldn't help looking at that point, and sure enough there I was. I was shocked, I never expected it, and it made me wish that I could reassure my parents that I was alive.
That couldn't happen though; any contact would lead to trouble. Not just for me, but for my pack as well.
My life, that life was ended. Now I was just a name on the wall. A memory that they might bring up from time to time. The man I was died days ago, and all that is left is this man.
Maybe I am lucky, maybe we are lucky. Not many people actually get a second chance. We do.