AN: This definitely isn't my best work nor the most original story ever. There are plenty of cliches but I've worked on it for a while and wanted to share. Enjoy!
Synopsis: Zoe Blackwell's life changed forever in a single night that ended in tragedy. She lost her little brother and was nearly killed herself all because of the greed of another person. When she woke up two weeks later she found herself in a strange and dangerous prison for extraordinary people. There she was tortured and experimented on for months until one day she managed to escape. Now she finds herself on the run, scared and confused about the world and the hidden truths that she has discovered about her own life. With the help of a group of strangers who happen to be running from the same thing she is, Zoe desperately tries to get back to her family after months of being apart. However, this proves to be difficult as she finds that the people helping her have their own demons they are fighting and unexpected obstacles are placed in front of her.
My heart pounds in my chest as I sprint through the trees. I can hear voices and dogs barking behind me, slowly getting closer and I pick up my speed, fear driving me forward even as fatigue starts to take hold of me.
I have no idea where I am or even what month it is. All I know is that I need to get away, that can't go back to that hellhole. I refuse to. What they call scientific advancement, I call torture.
The rough ground cuts my bare feet and the frigid air sends chills up my body as I run. Every muscle in my body screams for me to stop, not used to so much activity after months of being locked up, but an animalistic fear keeps me going.
The voices are closer than before and I panic. I have no clue where to go or what to do. I'm exhausted, dehydrated and weak. I can't keep running forever and I know Onyx will do everything they can to get me back.
I try to jump over a fallen tree but my foot catches on a branch and I fall, cutting my arm open. For a second blood pours out of the wound but as I jump back up to my feet the cut closes and the only proof that I injured myself is the blood staining my white shirt. I take a few steps but suddenly I feel much weaker. Healing like that usually doesn't drain me this much but because I have been running for so long and I've already pushed myself to my limit, it has drained me more than usual.
I try to keep running but I'm so dizzy all I can do is stagger a few feet before falling to my hands and knees. My vision is blurry and my body shakes as I crawl forward, desperate to get away from the advancing people. I can hear them shouting to one another, like a pack of hungry wolves closing in on their prey.
My head spins as I decide what to do. At this point there's no way I can get away if I keep trying to run. So instead I crawl over next to a tree and use all the strength I have left to focus my mind. I look down at my hands using every bit of concentration I have to make them disappear.
As I concentrate, I will my breathing to slow and my mind to focus, but all I accomplish is a split second of invisibility before my body gives out and I collapse onto my stomach. I can't hear the voices anymore but I'm sure that's only because my body is shutting down and my senses aren't functioning right anymore.
I try to get up and keep running, but all I manage is to feebly move my arms. Tears spring to my eyes as I realize that there's nothing I can do. That I'm going back to that hellhole. That I'll never get to see my family again and tell them I'm alive.
Suddenly, I see movement to my left and I know that they have found me. Boots appear in front of my face and hands push me onto my back to I can see my captors face. He's young, probably the youngest member of Onyx I have ever seen, with light brown hair and green eyes. His lips move but I don't hear what he says and then he slowly moves to pick me up.
That's when the fear takes hold completely and I find enough energy left in me to lift my arms up and weakly try to push him away. Small, animal-like noises leave my mouth as I try to scream for help. I know no one will hear me but I have to try.
He grabs my wrists as I try to keep him from grabbing me and looks me in the eyes with the most unlikely expression I would expect from a member of Onyx: sorrow. His look makes me stop struggling. He gives me a small, sad smile and this time I can actually hear what he says.
"It's ok," he says in a gentle voice. "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm here to help."
I look at him in confusion, not fully able to comprehend what he just said and I only manage to get one word out before everything goes black.
I feel like I'm floating, as if I'm as light as a feather. Every once in a while, I can hear muffled voices around me but I can't make out what they are saying. I try to force my eyes open but it's as if I have no control of my body. My mind goes in and out of focus and I can't seem to stay conscious for more and a couple seconds at a time.
I don't know how long it is before I finally am able to stay awake, but when I do I wish I could go back to that nothingness. My head feels like millions of little needles are stabbing into my temple and every muscle in my body aches.
I keep my eyes closed, partially because I know opening them will increase the pain in my head, but mostly because I'm scared of what I will see.
I know my escape attempt failed and that I'm back in the Onyx research facility, but I feel like if I don't open my eyes I can delay that reality for just a little while longer. Frustration and despair build up in my mind and I clench my fists.
I was free. After weeks of being used as a lab rat, being cut open and injected with who knows what, I was free, but I screwed it up. If only I was stronger, I could have gotten away, but no, I'm weak and pathetic so now I'm back, ready to be used as a pin cushion for the rest of my life.
Suddenly, I hear a voice say, "I know you're awake."
My breath catches in my throat and I open my eyes only to squeeze them shut again at the pain that shoots through my head when I do. I give my head a small shake and slowly open my eyes, blinking a few times to let them adjust to the light.
When my eyes finally do focus, I see that I am lying on my back on top of an old mattress. I slowly turn my head in the direction of the voice and see a girl around my age sitting on a chair giving me a cold look. She has long, curly blonde hair and brown eyes that give me a suspicious and angry glare.
I try to lift my head to get a better look around the room but pain shoots through my head and I bring my hand up to my forehead. Or, at least, I try. I can only lift my hand up a little way before something hard stops it. I look down to see that I am handcuffed to the rail of the bed.
I look back at the girl, confused. I've never been handcuffed to anything at Onyx before. They know they can control me and that there's no way I could overpower them.
The girl scoffs and says, "What? You thought we would just let some random person in here without taking some precautions?"
Confusion runs rampant in my mind at her words. What is she talking about? I'm not some random person. Onyx knows exactly who I am. And why is this girl here? No one ever talks to me when I'm here. Why all of the sudden do I get the pleasure of human conversation even if it's with such an unpleasant person?
She sees my confused look and her smile grows even bigger, "How stupid are you? You really think you're back at the Onyx facility, don't you? Well, news flash, you're not. Just take a look around. We saved your ass."
It takes my groggy mind a few seconds to process what she just said, but when it finally clicks, I do take a look around the room.
What I thought was one of the holding cells at Onyx is actually an old bedroom, with wallpaper peeling off the walls and uneven floorboards. There's even a window letting in early afternoon sunshine. The only things in the room are the old, musty bed I'm lying on, the chair that the girl is sitting in, and a couple cardboard boxes in a corner.
After a few minutes of disbelief, I look back at the girl and manage to croak out one word, "How?"
"I just told you," the girl says in a nasty voice, rolling her eyes. "We saved you. Or more accurately, Dylan and Jesse did. I can't believe they thought it was a good idea to help you. Now we're gonna have Onyx on our asses again. If I had more of a say, you would have been back at the facility in no time."
She pauses for a moment before squinting her eyes at me and saying, "Speaking of which, how did you get out? As far as I know it's impossible to escape from an Onyx facility."
I look at her, not sure if I should tell her how I got out, but before I can make a decision the door swings open to reveal someone standing in the doorway. It takes me a moment but I recognize him as the person who approached me before I blacked out.
When his green eyes meet mine, they widen and he immediately runs over to me while saying, "Britney! Why the hell didn't you tell us she was awake?"
"What would be the point she can barely talk right now," she says while the boy looks me over, putting a hand on my forehead to check my temperature. I'm not sure why, but I instantly panic when he goes to touch me. I shake my head, trying to get him to stop, and suddenly with that rush of fear I feel as if I have at least a little more energy and I bolt up into a sitting position. Without thinking, I swing my free arm at him, but he just barely dodges my fist as it grazes his cheek.
In less than a second I am trying to scramble away, my mind instantly panicking as I realize what I just did. I'm sure to get punished for that. Tears well up in my eyes and I bring my legs up to my chest as the boy moves towards me. I see his lips moving but I can't hear what he says over the panic in my head.
"Please!" I cry, too terrified to think. "Please, I'm sorry! I won't do it again! Please, don't take me back to the chair! I promise I won't do it again!"
Through my tears I see more people run into the room and I hear someone shout, "What's going on?"
Suddenly, someone's face is right in front of mine and hands gently grasp my wrists.
"Hey," his gentle voice says. "You're ok. You're safe. No one is going to hurt you. Just calm down, ok?"
I stare into his eyes, my heart going a mile a minute, and see… kindness, compassion, warmth. Things I haven't seen in anyone's eyes for I don't know how long, and suddenly my fear eases and I stop struggling.
He gives me a small smile and says, "You're ok. Onyx isn't going to hurt you anymore. You're safe."
I swallow and nod my head. Then I take another look around the room as the boy lets go of my wrists. There is now two more people in the room with us, most likely coming to see what all the noise was about.
A boy, maybe a little older than me, leans in the doorway eating a sandwich. He has dark hair and blue eyes. He's thin but muscular and stands slightly taller than the girl next to him.
She is a young Asian girl, about the same age as me, with black hair that is pulled up in a messy bun and her eyes are a dark brown color. She holds a book in her hand as she calmly observes the room.
"What happened?" I ask, my voice hoarse and weak. "Onyx was nearly on top of me."
The boy next to me looks from me to the other boy with a frown. He opens his mouth to speak but before he can the black-haired boy speaks.
"We rescued you after we saw you trying to use your powers," he says nonchalantly.
I look around the room, confusion strongly gripping my tired brain.
"Yeah, I know that part," I say, a small amount of anger in my voice. "How did you get me away from Onyx? They should have easily found us."
The boy next to me clears his throat and hesitates before he says, "You know how you have abilities?"
I slowly nod my head, my mind flashing to things I am able to do.
"Well," he continues. "We can do things like that too. We can't do exactly what you did, but each of use has our own… specialty."
"Ok," I say, his revelation not surprising me in the least. After spending so much time in the Onyx facility, I have seen plenty of things that would be considered impossible to most people. "But that still doesn't explain exactly how you got me away from Onyx."
The boy's look goes from hesitant to confused at my words. No one speaks for a moment, and I awkwardly shift my position as all eyes watch me.
"You're… not confused?" the black-haired boy says, his sandwich halfway to his mouth.
"No…" I say looking at each of them.
The brown-haired boy clears his throat before he says, "Sorry. We've always had to do a lot of convincing to get people to believe what we can do."
"Yeah, well," I say, looking down at the handcuff on my wrist. "I saw a lot of things that should be impossible while I was in that facility so not much can surprise me anymore."
"Well, we used our powers to get you away. Jesse," he nods in the direction of the black-haired boy. "has enhanced senses, strength and speed and so he heard you running while we were out collecting some stuff. We decided to check out what was going on and that's when we found you."
I look over at the black-haired boy, Jesse. If I heard about his powers before I ever saw him I would have imagined someone large and muscular, but at first glance Jesse is tall and thin, almost lanky. However, taking a closer look, I can see that he still looks fairly muscular.
"When we found you, and saw you trying to use your powers we knew we needed to help. By the time I approached you, you were nearly unconscious. I made sure you didn't have anything on you that could be used to track you and then I had Jesse take you back here while I dealt with the Onyx people that were following you."
I watch him as he takes a short pause, his green eyes looking down at his hands. Everyone else stays quiet as we wait for him to continue.
"My ability," he says after a while. "Is a little different than your's or Jesse's. It's a little harder to describe. Basically, I have a connection with animals that lets me know what they are feeling and it let's me influence them to do what I want."
"So, you can read their minds and control them?" I ask.
"Not exactly," he says, shifting his position a little. "I can't read their minds or control them but I can kind of tap into their mind and feel what they are feeling. I can't know what they are thinking but I can feel their emotions and manipulate their feelings so that they want to do something that they normally wouldn't."
"So how did you use this ability to get me away from Onyx?"
"Onyx was using dogs to track you and so all I had to do was get close enough to the dogs to divert them. I convinced them to follow a different trail."
Everyone stays silent for a while, letting me process what he said. Before Onyx took me and held me captive, I would never have believed a word these people have told me. But after spending so much time in the Onyx facility, these things seem almost normal now. Suddenly, another question pops into my mind and I fidget a little, afraid of the answer.
"What's the date today?" I ask as I look around the room and I see that everyone except the brown-haired boy give me odd looks, as if this is a stupid question.
"November 15," the girl with the black hair says.
My heart sinks at her answer. I knew I was in the Onyx facility for a long time but, six months?
I bring my hand that isn't cuffed to the bed to my forehead and let out a shaky breath.
"How long did they have you?" the brown-haired boy asks in a quiet voice.
"Six months," I say in a shaky voice.
No one speaks as I try to process the amount of time that I lost. I think about my family. I think about my parents, my brother Brian and the grief they must be going through. I think about how much I want see them right now. I want to be there to grieve with them because its been so hard dealing with the death of my little brother by myself. But they most likely think I'm dead, so of course they probably don't think they'll ever see me again. And I don't think I could face them after what happened the night Onyx took me. They may even hate me.
I look up at the sound of my name, confusion and shock running through my mind as I snap my head in the direction of the brown-haired boy.
"How do you know my name?" I ask, weariness taking hold in my mind because I never told them my name.
"Are you kidding?" Jesse says with a smirk. "You're practically famous."
"What do you mean?" I ask, looking at him in confusion.
"Your story was all over the news for weeks after your disappearance," he explains.
He gives me a small smirk but it soon falls when he sees I'm still lost, and he looks to the brown-haired boy.
"Dylan," he says and waves his hand indicating to the brown-haired boy to continue.
The brown-haired boy, Dylan, gives me a sad look before opening his mouth to continue explaining, "What do you remember about that night you were walking home with your brother?"
Suddenly, I freeze up. I don't want to tell them what happened. I'm ashamed that I couldn't do anything. That I couldn't stop the man who shot and killed my brother, Sebastian, and then tried to do the same to me.
I shake my head and keep my mouth shut as tears well up in my eyes. I want to get out of this room. I don't want these strangers to keep looking at me with pity in their eyes. I don't want to share my last moments with my brother to a bunch of people I don't know.
Everyone stays quiet as they wait for my response but I don't know what to say. I don't want them to know the details of that night so finally, after what feels like hours, I make up my mind to tell them the very last thing I remember that night.
"I was shot and I blacked out. The next time I woke up I was in the Onyx facility."
Dylan sighs and frowns before he says, "From what the news reports said you were taken to the hospital. When you got there the doctors were amazed that you were still alive because you were shot directly in the heart."
He pauses and looks at me, expecting to see some kind of shock on my face but I don't react at all. I know how I survived.
After giving me an odd look, Dylan continues, "You were alive but you didn't wake up. I don't know the exact details but apparently you stayed like that for a week until one day you just disappeared. No one knew what happened. As far as everyone knew you didn't wake up and the security cameras never caught anything out of the ordinary. They never even caught you leaving."
I stare at the wall as I take everything in. I don't know what to think about all this information but Dylan's next words make me look up.
"After you disappeared, I guess your family tried everything to find you. They had posters everywhere and your face was on almost every news station at least once a day with a statement from your family begging anyone with any information to speak up."
I close my eyes as I imagine my family, desperate to get me back. My parents are two of the strongest people I know. I can't imagine how they felt after my disappearance, especially since they already lost one child to this horrible situation. And then there's my older brother, Brian, who has always been there to protect me. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my family and now because of one night I've caused them more pain and misery than anyone should have to deal with in one lifetime.
"So, how did you survive a bullet to the heart?"
I open my eyes again and turn in the direction of the voice. The blonde girl stares at me with her arms crossed over her chest and a nonchalant expression on her face.
"I have the ability to heal," I say automatically.
"But I thought you could turn invisible?" Jesse suddenly says with a confused look.
"I can," I say, not understanding why everyone looks so confused. I look over at Dylan, who seems to be the only one giving me clear answers, and raise my eyebrows.
"Zoe," he says hesitantly. "We've never heard of anyone having two abilities. It's impossible."
"So is having super powers," I say matter-of-factly. "Watch."
I hold out my hand and concentrate. In an instant my hand disappears and everyone in the room watches with curious eyes. Once I see that everyone is satisfied that I can turn myself invisible I let my hand go back to normal and start looking around. I notice the frame of the bed has a jagged spot and before any of them can stop me I run my hand across it, cutting a large gash into my hand.
"What the hell?" Dylan says, in a concerned voice. He tries to grab my hand to try to stop the bleeding but I stop him and hold out my hand for everyone to see.
It bleeds for a couple seconds before slowly closing up and the only evidence that I was even injured is the remaining blood on my hand. Everyone stares at me as I lower my hand.
"You didn't have to do that," Jesse says in a quiet voice.
"It was the fastest way to get the point across," I say with a shrug as I wipe the remaining blood on my old shirt that I was wearing when I escaped the Onyx facility.
Suddenly, I feel dizzy and I close my eyes bring my free hand up to my head. Using my abilities usually doesn't do anything, but today it seems to be causing more fatigue then normal. Probably because I used them so much while I was escaping from Onyx. The one thing my healing doesn't help with is fatigue, in fact, it usually makes me more tired after I use it.
"You ok?" Dylan asks in a worried voice.
"Yeah, just a little tired," I say with a forced smile.
He gives me an odd look and then says, "Why don't we let you rest."
I nod and Dylan and the others are about to leave but before they reach the door I speak up, "Excuse me. Can you take the handcuffs off? I promise I won't do anything."
"Of course," Dylan says with an apologetic smile. He takes a few steps towards me before the blonde girl stops him.
"Dylan, we can't just let her go," she says in an angry voice. "We don't know her! What if she's crazy?"
"Oh, shut up Britney," the dark-haired girl says. As she walks out of the room, apparently not interested in staying.
The blonde girl, Britney, glares at the girl as she leaves and then looks back at Dylan and says, "I don't think we should take them off."
"Come on, Brit," Dylan says in an exasperated voice. "You really think she's going to do something? She's answered all our questions and seems to be telling the truth."
Before she can say anything else, Dylan unlocks the handcuffs. I look at the girl see her fuming but she doesn't say anything. Instead she glares at me and out of no where I'm hit with a feeling of pure hatred for this girl. I want to hurt her, to make her feel what I felt everyday while I was in that Onyx facility. I start to rise ready to challenge her but I stop when Dylan speaks up.
"Brit stop!" Dylan says in an angry voice as he steps between me and the girl cutting off our eye contact. "What the hell is wrong with you? You know how dangerous that is!"
Suddenly, all animosity I was just feeling for this girl disappears and in its place I feel… hollow. As if something's missing. However, as fast as all of those emotions came, they disappear.
Britney lets out an angry breath and then storms out of the room. Dylan runs a hand through his hair, sighs, then turns to look at me.
"I'm sorry about her," he says. "She has a hard time trusting people. Just give her time and I'm sure she'll turn around."
All I do in response is nod my head. I'm not sure what just happened. I have no idea where that hatred for that girl came from or why I felt it. All I know is that it felt foreign.
"I guess we'll let you rest for a while," Dylan says as he walks to the door. "When you feel up to it you can come out to the living room to meet everyone."
All I can do is nod my head as I lay back on the bed. Dylan and Jesse close the door behind them and I'm left alone to think about everything that I've learned. There are so many things I still don't understand but I'm so tired right now it hurts to think about them so I decide to try to get some sleep.
AN: Thank you for reading! Let me know what you thought by leaving a review!