Mom said: "I can't tell you what happened", when the bodies started to wash ashore. That was when I first realized that something was strange about her. It was a pretty big sign. I was about seven at the time and didn't really say anything. But that moment certainly haunted me. I always thought about it. It was the first time I saw a dead body and there were tons of them. Maybe my young mind exaggerated the number. But any amount of corpses was significant.

We never talked about it. My mom never brought it up and I wasn't sure how to. By the time I was twelve, I had convinced myself it was a weird dream. But when I was twenty, the same thing happened. I was at the beach in the early morning. I liked to take walks sometimes if I woke up early enough.

I was walking across the shore and saw a few things floating out on the horizon, but they could be anything. By the time I crossed a considerable stretch, they were closer and some were on the shore. Bodies, about a dozen or so, floating in the water. I just stood and watched. I was recalling that time and other times. Several things rushed back at me, things that I had forgotten that I'd forgotten.

I felt the sand hit my back but it wasn't until my eyes reopened and I was in bed that I understood what happened. I had fainted in the middle of the beach. My mother must have been the one to get me. I sat up. Now was the time to confront her on this. I was an adult. I deserved answers. And if she wouldn't give them to me, I'd find them elsewhere. I'll figure out where that is later.

I stood and immediately felt lightheaded, but powered through it. I left my room and went downstairs, searching for my mom. She wasn't anywhere to be seen, so her room was the next place to look. Before I could turn back to the steps, she came in through the front door.

"Cris, you're awake", she smiled. "Are you feeling better?"

"Why were there corpses in the ocean?"

Her face and body froze. It was the most still I'd ever seen her. She composed herself and held her hands together. "You know I could never lie to you. And so, I simply cannot tell you."

"If you do, I might not be able to protect you. Please, Cris. Trust me."

"I can't. Not if you can't trust me."

"Cristobal", I heard her whisper harshly.

I walked past her and out of the house. I couldn't be in the same house as her right now. Just what was she hiding? Where was I supposed to go for answers? I felt the ground under my socks and realized I'd left the house too quickly. I had no shoes on. But I couldn't go back. That was a pretty solid exit. Maybe I could have waited until later to make a more dramatic exit.

"Hey, want to go somewhere?"

I looked over to see some guy in a black car. Was he trying to pick me up? This felt uncomfortable. I kept walking but he kept following.

"Don't you want to know about those bodies in the water?"

Getting in a stranger's car might be alright once. Obviously, you shouldn't for safety reasons, but this was a special case. Besides, what are the odds that he has something to do with these strange happenings and wants to get in my pants? I bit my lip as I stopped walking and thought it over. I looked at him. He looked around my age, maybe a little older. In the end, I went over to the passenger side and he unlocked the door for me to get in, and then drove off with me inside.

"So what do you know?", I asked before even a minute had passed.

He grinned. "Not even going to ask my name first? I know yours. And your mother's."

I glanced at him before looking back to the road before us. "What's your name?"

"The name's Alejandro Santos and you're the reason for all those dead people. I'm sure you won't believe me without proof, which is where I'm taking you now."

I looked out the window and saw my neighborhood was gone. We were driving through town, and then out of the town. Naturally, I began to worry. I was being taken by a stranger to an unknown location and I had no shoes. I looked down at my feet. Really wishing I wasn't just in socks right now.

"It's not far now. You really don't know anything about the town you live in…or anything really. Haven't you ever wondered why there wasn't some sort of commotion over those bodies all those years ago in the ocean?"

I shrugged. "I convinced myself it wasn't real. I didn't ask my mom about it. Time passed. It didn't feel like it actually happened."

They drove up to a little gas station. Cris really hoped they were filling up and leaving. He didn't want to step foot in that kind of place without shoes. But luck was against him today.

"Come on. Let's go", Alejandro said as he stepped out.

Cris followed him out of the car and into the small convenience store. A young man sat at the counter, reading a magazine. Alejandro walked through one aisle and picked out a bag of chips. "You want anything? Candy? A drink?"

"Uh…" Cris picked out a chocolate bar and followed Alejandro to the register.

"They haven't promoted you to manager yet, Elvis?"

The cashier looked up from his magazine. "They keep saying they'll look out for an opening, but there's never one unless someone dies."

"You don't want to be manager anyway. All you do is watch monitors. But I hear Gertrude just turned 67. She'll probably retire soon."

"Why do you keep acting like you buys things?", Elvis asked. "Is it for that kid?", he glanced at Cris.

"Well, partially. But also I wanted something crunchy."

Elvis rolled his eyes and input something into the register. Instead of the register opening for cash, the floor behind the counter opened and revealed steps leading into darkness. Cris looked back and forth between Alejandro, Elvis, and the opening.

"Before I go anywhere, I'm going to need some information." He wasn't going to just follow anyone anywhere. He couldn't believe he'd gone this far without questioning as much as he should.

"I'm going to show you what your mother has been hiding all these years. It's everything about you and everything we stand against. Now come with me", Alejandro said, going around the counter and starting down the stairs. Elvis picked up the magazine again and continued to read it.

Cris wasn't sure what he was expecting. Perhaps there would be a huge room filled with monitors and people working and milling about and one person who looked in charge of it all. There was one large monitor in the center on the wall that lit the dark room in a dim glow. But there was only one other person in the room.

Alejandro put a hand on the person's shoulder. "Cris, this is Prisha. She's been monitoring you for the past few years. I know it sounds creepy as hell, but it hasn't been private stuff. Just when you leave the house or go into your mode."

Prisha turned in her chair. "Nice to finally meet you in person. It's really weird seeing you in three dimensions like this…", she gestured strangely with her hands.

Cris raised an eyebrow. "My mode? Okay, hold on. Before we do anything else, you guys have to tell me who you are, where we are, what you're doing, and just…just tell me everything."

"We know everything about you, Cristobal Menendez", Prisha grinned, bringing a knee up to her chin. Without looking behind her, she reached around and typed something. "We've been waiting for you to come." On the screen, both of their identification profiles appeared.

Name: Alejandro Santos

O#: 313AM11222014

DOB: 07/04/93

CC: Gray

Name: Prisha Misra

O#: 315AM11222014

DOB: 04/02/91

CC: Black

"But instead, I brought you here. It just seemed like the right opportunity. You have a strange gift, Cris. And you don't even know about it."