31 Years Ago

Miriam opened her eyes to find that after a week of nonstop rain, the sun was finally shining through the window of the one bedroom house that she and Frederic shared.

After their boat docked, Miriam had learned just how good of a manipulator she was. She'd expected to date him a few months providing the Guardians didn't find out about what happened anytime soon. Instead, he cut to the heart of things, followed her cross country and proposed to her. She'd been glad to take him up on his offer despite her promise to just fulfill the duties for the Guardians. On the contrary, she found him shy, endearing, optimistic and loyal and she rather liked it.

But she also found he was a far better liar than she was, he suffered from insomnia and was just troubled. More often than naught, she woke up to find that he was watching TV in the living room after they got married. He was haunted by the things that he'd done and seen when he was sixteen but he didn't want to tell her about them because he was scared that she'd leave him.

She might as well get used to it through. She was going to be married to this guy for a while.

Miriam checked the clock and realized that her alarm hadn't gone off. She threw the covers back and muttered to herself as she walked down the hall. She had too many things to get done and she really didn't have time to sleep in.

"Hello Miriam."

She jumped and screamed in surprise when she saw that it was Starkson. Two guards were at his side.

She turned to see that two others were standing behind her, both had guns aimed at her head. If she tried to freeze time and get away then she'd probably end up getting shot.

Starkson stood, "I said hello Miriam, don't tell me you lost your etiquette now that you're married to someone…normal."

She backed up, "Starkson, I can explain."

He just stared at her coldly. Any affection that he'd had for her growing up was now gone, "I don't want to hear it. Do you even realize what you've done?"

"Yes."

"We've been training Diana since she was a child to take this assignment and although she was hesitant, she would've done the job if it weren't for you ruining everything."

He spoke so calmly but thanks to all her years of pressing his buttons, she knew when he was angry and this was one of those times that he was beyond pissed, "I didn't do anything that anyone else wouldn't have done."

"I said I didn't want to hear it. Luckily we prepared someone else in case Diana wasn't the mother and something happened to her. We'll erase his memories of you and put someone in charge that has some idea of what they're doing."

Miriam's eyes widened, "You can't do that!"

"That'll be all," Starkson began to walk towards the door, "James, have everything cleaned up when you've finished the execution"

The guard grabbed her and twisted her arm painfully behind her back. She screamed in pain as she was forced to the floor.

"No! Wait! I'm pregnant," she said before he reached the door, "I'm pregnant! I'm pregnant!"

Starkson stopped. He could easily replace Miriam, and whatever children that came of that would most likely be Joseph and Naomi. However, he wasn't low enough to cost an unborn child its life on account of something the mother did, "You're lying."

"You think so?" she walked to the kitchen and pulled out a positive pregnancy test from the trash, "Frederic and I sat in this living room when I took it." She threw it at one of the guards, "Try erasing his memories of that."

Starkson sighed and rubbed the back of his head. He couldn't deny that there was a bit of relief he felt because he didn't have to kill her. But that wasn't going to stop him from making her life miserable, "You've really managed to screw everything up this time."

"Diana could've never pulled this off half as well as I have."

"We'll see about that now won't we?" Starkson said and walked back towards her, "You realize that when this comes back to bite you…and I guarantee you it will. You'll be the one to fall hardest."

"We'll see about that," Miriam immediately threw his own words back in his face and stood up, "Frederic's going to be home soon. I'm guessing you know that since you happened to be here while he wasn't. You can find your own way out, can't you?"


Present Day

Miriam pulled her blanket around her shoulders and looked up when she heard the door open. Starkson came in and shut the door quietly, "The jury has made its decision."

"It's only been two hours."

He looked genuinely hurt, "I thought I should be the one to tell you-"

"They voted guilty," she said quietly.

Even though she knew the verdict would more than likely be guilty, the news filled her with a dread that settled deep in her stomach. She wasn't ready to die. She was still young. Why couldn't they just imprison her for the rest of her life? No, that wasn't how they did it, imprisoned people could escape. And she would have to serve as an example.

And it filled her with anger, "Those hypocrites…"

"They're not the ones on trial Miriam, you are," he looked down, "I wanted you to hear it from me."

"Because of everything you've put everyone through, you suddenly care now?"

"The same could be said about you and how you treated your family," Starkson put a pair of blue scrubs and a white t-shirt on the bed, "You will be taken to the Guardian penitentiary and you will be executed at a time of my choosing."

Miriam stared at it and then something occurred to her, "SO just how long did you expect to fool me?"

Starkson blinked, "Excuse me?"

She continued, "I'll admit you had me fooled for awhile, I'm just curious at how long it's been you that's had me and not the real Starkson."

Starkson…or the fake Starkson smiled and the image of his face melted away.

She looked at the tall gaunt blockheaded man standing across from her, "Bernard Harving I assume?"

"How did you figure it out?"

"Starkson wouldn't look as pathetic as you presented him as when he delivered my death sentence."

"Yes, I did have some difficulty with that one, I'll admit."

"How did you get in here?"

"Same way I always do. There are plenty of people in this world pathetic enough to just turn the lock for me if I press the right buttons for htem. I watched the trial. Quite a sad state of affairs if you ask me. And these people are supposed to try and defeat me? You think your going to train Naomi to defeat me? It won't work you know. She joins me and no matter how much you attempt to change that, it's not going to happen."

At the mention of her daughter, Miriam stood up. It was obvious that this was all also a delusion and Bernard Harving was hiding in the room using his ability so she couldn't see or hurt him.

But she wasn't going to let him touch her.

She tried to kick him in the abdomen but before she could land the blow, he drove the palm of his hand hard into her throat. Pain shot through her body and she found herself lying on the ground, unable to breathe.

"Now I can understand how you'd be a bit reluctant to help me out. But if you don't then you'll be faced with even more charges of murder because I'll see to it that you get blamed for the three men I killed to get to you. And you know that the more murder charges you have, the more ways they'll find to torture you before you die. And that'll be after I'm done with you."

She forced herself to sit up, "What do you want from me?"

"I don't want anything from you personally, but if you want to have any hope of surviving then you'll tell me everything I want to know about your daughter."

The End