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Whispers from Words. . .
The pens scratched across the dotted lines as the contract was passed around the room. With each new signature, the paper became closer to the tip of my pen and the only thing I could think of was this:
We were now someone else's property.
Our lives are now in their hands.
If they grow tired of us they'll snuff out our flames and pull another candle from the wax. My hands shook as I looked over at my best friend, Mira, sign the crude document with a quick flourish of black ink.
Why don't we just sign in our own blood?
I jumped as the question was written on a piece of scratch paper. Behind me, two rows back, I saw a piece of white parchment fly a short distance and land on the polished wood of a desk three rows away. A girl with flaming red hair quickly snatched it away before one of the monitors walked by. The man in the dark trench coat passed her before she unfolded the note under her desk. Her pen had been taken up so she whispered the words onto the edge of the paper. As each letter was etched onto the note I heard them as clearly as if someone were whispering them in my ear.
Because then they'd have to clean it up.
The note flew from her fingers and landed back on its original desk. A dark hand reached out and grabbed the note before the other girl had a chance to pick it up. In the amount of time it took to blink, a woman seemed to materialize next to the table. The girl who began the note cringed as the paper was unfolded. The woman seemed like a shadow in her trench coat,elbow length gloves, and thick, black boots. Her deep brown eyes skimmed over the words. In a second, her hand was tangled in the blond mane of the teen age girl, the billowing curls being pulled towards the ground. With a swift jerk she was pulled into the aisle,her small yelp echoing through the room as her hair was released and her chin met the cold, stone floor.
“Where do you think you're going,” the woman snapped.
The girl was on her hands and knees, trying to crawl away with one hand clasped against the tender scalp. Mira had her hands balled into fists as the woman took three steps and slammed the heel of her shoe onto the girls left ankle.
Her name is Riley...
Mira scribbled the short statement onto her hand. I looked over to her and then brought my attention back to Riley.
Her chin was cut, the blood running across her bronze skin. The gold dripped onto the floor and I caught the faint glow of red in the pooling liquid. Her eyes met mine and I caught the color of the sun in her fear filled irises.
“Help...” she whispered and threw her bloody hand around my ankle. The gold burned as it dripped down my skin and I flinched away just as the woman dragged her back a with a claw-like hand.
“No, no, no...”she screamed as her fingers grabbed at the smooth granite.
“Get over here,” the woman growled and reached for something in her back pocket, “filthy little sun spot!”
The girl's eyes sparked as the needle from the woman's pocket pierced her skin. The gold hair lifted from her shoulders, and her skin seemed to be suddenly plated in gold.
Everyone in the room jumped as the deep voice broke through the film of our silence and the struggle between Riley and the female monitor was forgotten for a short second.
I looked around the room for the producer of the sound. He stood in the doorway; the coat billowing behind him from an unnatural breeze. His hair was a tangled mess of silver, slashed with thin streaks of black.
“Ruin all the fun,” Mira muttered under her breath.
“Darren, leave,” the woman, who was supposedly Vera, snapped.
“Get your a** out here,” he snapped back, “now.”
Vera narrowed her eyes at him before plunging the needle the rest of the way into Riley's arm.
“No! Dammit Vera,”Darren ran over and gathered Riley into his arms.
Vera planted herself in front of him so he couldn't carry the unconscious girl out of the room. He tried shoving past her but she shoved back and he had to catch himself on a desk so he wouldn't topple over with Riley still in his arms.
“She's one of them,” Vera hissed, “the b**** was asking for it...if your father knew what was going on he would have your head on a platter!”
“My father's dead...so if you could get the hell outta my way that'd be great,” he smiled mockingly.
Once he realized she didn't plan on moving he walked right through her with out a backwards glance.
Right now I should explain...these people are just like us, gifted. However we are not all pure-breeds so the mutts are sent into slavery or peasant jobs that no one else wants. You might have already guess my gift. We don't really have a name for it because it's so rare but what ever someone writes down I can catch it. It's almost like I'm reading their minds but it's limited since it's only what they put on paper. No matter who they are I can hear their words if we are in the same room together.
“Viv, hello earth to Vivian,” Mira threw her pen at me.
“What,” I said and looked over to the doorway to make sure both monitors were gone.
“What the hell was that,” she whispered.
“What was what Mira,” I asked completely clueless.
“Did you see what he did? He just walked right through her,” she said, her eyes widening with ever syllable, “have you ever seen that?”
“No,” I whispered back and then ducked my head down as the same guy who saved Riley walked back through the door.
Once again his voice rung through the room and caught everyone's attention, “Vivian Kinston?”
I looked up and met his blue eyes. They were bluer than I would have expected; a pure cobalt like the night sky just as the sun retreats behind the hills. I stood and ran my hand across the front of my sweater, trying to smooth out the wrinkles. My sneakers scuffed along the floor as I walked up to him. He reached out and brushed my hair out of my eyes. I froze, physical contact between mutts and pure breeds was strictly forbidden.
“You have nice eyes,” he whispered and led me down a hallway that was as blank as my confused stare.
The smooth stone had melted into polished marble tiles as the walls changed from blank white to a deep red. He hummed to himself as each step brought us closer to my new life. I laughed to myself that he would actually be laughing while I was trying to stop my hands from shaking by pressing them against my back. He turned and I stopped as the blue irises pierced through me. My steps faltered as I caught the hum of words through the doorway we were standing next to, and had to lean against the wall.
“What,” he said and leaned against the wall as well.
“I'm sorry,” I whispered and looked down at my sneakers.
The black fabric was worn and the white laces were dusted with brown from the walk to this god forsaken building.
“For what,” he said and reached over to touch my hair again, “exactly.”
I batted his hand away before his fingers met the curled bronze that ended at my waist. My feet dragged me over to the doorway and I stepped through before he had a chance to speak.
“Miss Kinston,” I cringed at the voice that called my name, “please sit down.”
I looked over to the chairs set against the stone fireplace, and dropped onto the plush cushions. The smell of pine clung to the clothes of someone standing behind me. I turned to be faced with a man shriveled from old age looking down a beak nose.
“Hello dear,” he said and placed a hand on my shoulder.
I closed my eyes and looked over to the door. It was wide open and Darren was standing there, staring at me.
“Hello,” I said; unsure if the greeting was to the man or Darren.
“Are you ready to go,” the old man asked as he walked around to grab my bags that were placed on the floor next to my feet.
“Yes,” I said through still lips.
Darren was still in the doorway, just looking at me. Mrs. Benton, the leader of the group of monitors for this building, cleared her throat as I stood up.
“Miss Kinston,” she said and motioned for me to come over to the wooden desk.
I stood and walked over to place my hands on the glossy wood. Her sharp yellow eyes seemed to pierce through my hand as it trailed across the edge of the desk. I pulled it away as she looked up to my startled eyes.
“Sorry,” I said and looked over to the elderly man still holding my two suitcases.
“I'm sure,” she had a thick Scottish accent, “Please follow Mr. Flanagan to the testing room so that we can come to a conclusion of your...talents.”
Th last word seemed like a sneer as she nodded towards Darren leaning against the door frame. He tossed the silver out of his eyes and walked over to take my arm. His fingers wrapped around my forearm in a tight grip and I flinched as his blue eyes pierced through me. God, did everyone have eyes like daggers in this place? I shuddered as he dragged me out of the room and towards a door labeled Exit in bold red letters.
“What are you doing,” I asked as we came closer to the double doors.
He sped up his pace as his eyes darted over his shoulders. I followed his gaze, but the hall way was empty. The doors opened and I had my first taste of fresh air in months. The pine trees that surrounded the building had a strong aroma that twined with the metallic scent of dug up earth. The building was fairly new and the workers with yellow plastic hats showed that work was still happening on the grounds. They looked over at me then checked the black, plastic cuff that was latched onto my right arm.
“Darren,” three men walked past us in business suits and nodded to him as he opened the door to a smaller building.
The cold air from the giant vents whipped through the fabric of my sweater and raised bumps along my arms. I shivered and he looked over his shoulder to see me rub the backs of my arms with my fingertips. His hand was still wrapped around my arm and I tried to pry his fingers off from my sweater sleeve. He dragged me past a table covered with different sets of knives, a shelf holding multiple books, and the left corner of the room had a chair with what looked like a stack of dentist utensils.
“What the h--” I stopped my sentence as he pulled a dainty looking knife from the table.
“Just stand still...” he murmured as he ripped the sleeve of my sweater with the edge of the knife.
I was frozen in shock until I felt the tip of the blade pierce my skin. I jumped and tried to squirm out of his grasp, but his hand tightened on my arm. The tip dug deeper into my skin and I clenched my teeth against the scream.
“Darren, what are you doing,” I gasped as I heard a small click.
The tip of the knife came away from my arm with a small chip hooked onto the tip of the blade. He flung the small computer chip onto the ground and crushed it with the edge of his boot.
“What the hell was that,” I asked and pulled my arm out of his grasp.
He slapped me, “you need to learn how to respect you superiors.”
I grasped the side of my face and took two steps back, it wasn't unheard of that monitors were sometimes abusive of the 'mutts'. That slap was multiplied a million times over since Darren was delivering it. I looked up at him, waiting for something, an apology or a spark in his eyes that showed regret, but he was as cold as the knife still gripped in his hands. Why did I ever think i could trust him?
I felt something cold in my hands and looked down at the door knob that was now being strangled by my fingers. I never remembered backing towards the door but i flung the door open and ran out onto the walk way. The sudden brightness from the sun overwhelmed me and i had to pause for a few seconds before my eyes could adjust.
"Vivian," I heard Darren calling from inside the small building.
The sound of his voice made my muscles tense and in an instant i was running away from the walkway and towards the trees. To get to the forest I had to run across a blank concrete slab that multiple tools strewn across the site. Large men in torn jeans and dirty white shirts stared at me as i vaulted over a concrete mixer. My heart was pounding in my ears as i kept my sight trained on the trees. The image of them standing in the shade made me run faster and i dove under a bush as one of the workers recognized the large cuff on my wrist. My body began to shake as i hid under the small bush, i could see the entire construction site i had ran through to get to this mediocre hiding spot.
One of the workers that had noticed me began to walk over to my bush, his dark skin was glistening with the sticky sweat dripping off the sides of his face. His boots met the crisp grass and i slowly began to back deeper into the leaves of the shrub I was cowering under. Once the man reached my bush i wasn't shaking with fear anymore, i was shaking with anticipation, if he was going to drag me back to the monitors so i would be relocated, i wasn't going down without a fight. My legs tensed, ready to run or send me out from my hiding place and towards the man that was standing at the edge of the woods.