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My boot clad feet hit the ground and I reminded myself once again to not stop. ‘Go, go, go now’ was my chant and it rang through my head louder than my heartbeat. Green eyes blocked my line of sight. Everywhere I went and saw, a cocky smile flashed at me and those green eyes sparkled.
I loved him. Ezra, my love. Why? was my silent and agonized cry into the night. After they locked my up in that terrible room I lost count of the days. Maybe months I was there, receiving their so called ‘modifications’ and it was all because of Ezra. My lips twisted into a bitter and malicious smile as I thought of their surprised faces to see me gone, using their advancements on myself against them.
I looked at my watch to see just how long I had been running. Thank god my watch was of intelligent design, as was the rest of my stolen clothing. My tracking boots were meant for harsh terrain and my Kevlar tank top could defend against anything and it was all with jeans Ezra had given me for my 17th birthday.
My birthday. That was the day it happened. It rushed back as tears pricked at my eyes, sharper than the knife hidden in my boot. My annual July birthday party where Ezra had used his father’s money to shower me with the most lavish party one could have. I looked so nice that day, for him of course. My dark hair pinned back to show my long neck and pale skin, my hazel and gray eyes carefully covered with expensive kohl liner.
I sighed, resigned to the memories of his haunting countenance. An hour ahead was good enough for now. I started a brisk walk with my senses alert to everything. They would probably attempt to track their latest soldier eventually but I did leave quite the mess back there.
It was midnight though my eyesight was fine. The forest around me glowed with life like night vision to me. My legs should have been burning and I should have been on the verge of an asthma attack but I wasn’t even winded so, without stopping my stride I followed the sound of rushing water.
It was a small, clean creek and I bent down with my feet skimming the water. I balanced my now wet boots on a few rocks and took water to splash on my face. I gasped at the icy temperature of it though it did do a good job of clearing my quickly cluttered mind. I looked down the creek and with perfect clarity saw ice melting and releasing itself into smaller portions and floating down towards me, all while continually getting smaller.
If ice was melting already, how long did they keep me in that tiny room? The question and its possible answers caused anger to flood my veins with a shock worse than ice water. It truly did chill me to the bone. Yet anger had my pulse racing with heat, I felt like ice on a hot stove, steaming and slowly giving away.
It was all because of him. His father paid for my birthday using money he gained from doing this to other girls. It was a present for the apparently clueless Ezra, a quicker and more efficient model of a tall, skinny teenager struggling to make it through Spanish let alone training and brainwashing to become some machine. Oh yeah, that’s love Ezra.
He could be so dense sometimes.
Somewhere in my mind that stupid, optimistic voice sounded ‘Maybe he really knew nothing. Ezra never lied to you before, right?’ but I shut the voice out and continued walking along the creek. How should I know that that was his only lie? Exactly, I didn’t.
“Aurora!” an all too familiar male voice sounded. “Please, love, come back.” I stopped dead and quickly assessed my options and decided to quietly climb a nearby tree. My reflection in the creek scared me have to death. I looked like an avenging angel with my surgically enhanced grace. It was prenatural, the speed and instinct I used to climb.
Ezra certainly wasn’t being quiet as he tromped through the leaves and twigs. He was making his presence known as if I was stupid and wouldn’t have heard him a mile away like that. I couldn’t help grinning and rolling my eyes. I had him. His mop of sandy blond hair quickly appeared a hundred feet away from where I had stopped running and he too approached the creek.
Then I saw it. I cursed myself as I made them out perfectly, my boot prints close to the muddy shore of the creek and more wet footprints leading away towards the tree that I was supposedly hiding in. Needless to say, my grin quickly faded, while he adopted that adorable one of his own.
Stalking towards me, Ezra looked at the various trees skimming the creek near my tracks and quickly narrowed it down to a handful. Without warning he sprinted after my tree and jumped quickly onto a branch just below me.
I ducked and rolled clumsily after his inhuman jump and gasping, tried jumping out of the tree altogether but he was too quick and experienced for me to match. With expert speed he grabbed my ankle as I passed him and, like a cobra snatching a mouse, he lifted me with both his arms and hugged me tight.
His sigh of relief was hot breath on my neck and I was struck dumb. “Why did you run?” he whispered.
“Because,” I whispered, equally quiet, “your father kidnapped me so I could be a perfect soldier like all his other pets, including you, Ezra. If you can’t accept me as some gangly girl who loves and accepts you then that’s just tough. I won’t, no can’t, be what you all want me to be.”
His arms temporarily tightened even more and it was the first time I ever recalled being uncomfortable in his tight embrace. “No, I told you Aurora, I didn’t know. I swear it. I love you and I know what his training is like.” His words were so honest and real I melted though I tried to stay tough and hard towards his affection, still he continued “I wouldn’t put you through that. I even helped the search party look for you after you disappeared. I won’t do his dirty work anymore. I’m don-” but he never got to finish.
The distant sound of helicopters sounded an ominous thrum through the air and Ezra had me in his arms carrying me in a direction I couldn’t comprehend for a moment. Soon, a garage appeared in a small clearing and kicking down a door, Ezra set me down and rushed to a heavy duty looking car.
The sound of breaking glass temporarily alarmed me. Ezra didn’t appear affected as men in camouflage rushed around from every direction and every window or feasible exit. They shouted various commands at both Ezra and I but the only sound I truly heard was that cars engine starting as my knight hot-wired it.
“Aurora, get in!” Ezra shouted as quickly as he could.
I was surrounded by the men but using every technique that had been drilled into my head for the past unaccountable days and months, I fought like no other. Doing whatever I could to defend myself and shift my way towards Ezra I sought help from every object in the room. I never knew I had such good aim.
Finally I got in the car with Ezra and he sped off without bothering to open the garage door. The car wasn’t affected by its ordeal though; it was simply being used for its creative purpose. I looked back at the disarrayed building.
“Wow,” I said, breaking the tense silence, “I thought my exit was dramatic but you’ve got me beat, honey.” I was surprised to hear Ezra laugh brightly with a carefree abandon.
“Does this mean you forgive me Aurora?” I didn’t know how to answer so I grabbed his hand and squeezed it. It was good enough. I didn’t know if I would stay with him, I needed answers about the time in that room with details I couldn’t yet remember.
“I trust you for now Ezra.” He didn’t respond because there was no need. We would stay together for now, for each other.