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The Beast Within
I glanced towards the young man who was still tweaking the headphone in his ear, even though he had been at it since we had sat here. The stormy air of the night seemed to hover around us and keep us freezing on the rooftop. One minutes until initiation. I glanced down to the city streets off the edge of the roof to see millions of lights coming from lamps, stores, and cars. None of the lights reached as high as the eighty floor skyscraper we sat on top of, but that did not seem to worry the man who still fiddled with the headphone. Twenty-eight seconds until initiation. I leaned back in the roof top and quietly looked to the sky, “Twenty seconds.” I whispered and was surprised when the man stopped moving around his ear-bud and just watched the building that stood next to our own and surpassed it by 20 floors, “Showtime.” I whispered before looking away from the sky and to the man. His eyes suddenly radiated green as I felt his brain waves focus and intensify. This man was no normal fighter if he could use fifty percent of his brain at will. The man pressed the button on the side of his ear-bud.
“Two guards to your left, Alpha, and one at the next corner. Gama, six guards down the next hall and three have guns. Proceed carefully.”
The ear-bud I had suddenly beeped before someone spoke, “Beta, is Delta in a secure location?”
I frowned and forced down the button, “Delta is secure and under full protection. Proceed.”
“Target spotted,” The man next to me whispered, “Gama, it is located in the next door to the right with two guards inside. Alpha, go down the next hall, I will lead you there after that,” There was nearly twenty seconds of silence, “Now go into the third door on the left. Gama is fighting the two guards.”
Neither of us spoke as we waited quietly for someone to respond back. I was relieved when Gama’s voice filled my ear, “Target retrieved. Fall out.”
I looked to the man beside me and we both stood, but I jumped in front of the man as a man with a knife suddenly appeared at the roof top staircase door. I threw down the button, “There is an attacker here for Delta, permission to attack?”
A smile slid across my face as the word filled my ears. I let go of my humanity and pulled the knife out of my side pocket, “Let us pass.”
The man seemed to anger, “You will not leave.”
“Suit yourself.” I whispered before going after the man. I let go of my mind and allowed my yellow eyes to show as the beast took over. I watched as the beast slaughtered the man within a minute before I took back control and looked to the man I was protecting, “Let’s go.” I hissed and made sure he followed me as I started in a sprint to the staircase. I ran down the stairs with the man following me until we reached the back entrance of the building and proceeded to exit. Al stood straight as we came out and then proceeded to grab my arm and the man’s arm. My eyes closed and when they opened back up we were at the front entrance of headquarters. I slowly went in as Al and the man followed.
“How long did it take you to kill the man?” Al asked, but I did not turn around to look at him.
“Forty-nine point three seconds.”
“Is that a new record?”
I shook my head, “Last week I got forty-seven point nine.” I stopped talking when I saw Henry and Chris standing in front of the chief. The three of us quickly went over so that we went down in line by Al, Henry, me, Chris, and the man I had protected. The chief looked to us from a paper she had just signed and smiled towards the new comer.
“So you are the man named Kesler I have heard so much about?”
The man I had protected took one step forward, “Yes, Ma’am. I assume you are the Chief and Leader of the Corpse branch.”
The Chief sighed, “I am merely the Chief, not the Leader. I only take on some of the responsibilities of the Leader.”
“Then is the Leader here? I must thank him for assisting me on this mission.”
The Chief smiled, “Yes, but he is very busy at the moment.”
Henry smile down at me, “He is very busy.”
I elbowed him in the side and he grunted, “Adelle, stop,” I frowned and crossed my arms over my chest, but did not fight her, “So, Kesler, the mission was a success?”
He nodded, “There were no problems, except for someone trying to stop me from leaving, but Adelle took care of him quickly.”
“Good work, Adelle,” Chief said but then stood and walked around her desk. She took my wrist in her hand, “How much energy did you use up?”
I looked to my wrist, “Not much.”
The Chief looked to Kesler, “Please excuse Adelle and I, she must be weak if she used her ability.”
“I actually have something to ask of Adelle.”
“Then please follow us. Adelle can’t wait much longer for help,” The chief said as she started dragging me behind her by my wrist and Kesler followed, “You promised me you would not use your ability!”
I looked to the back of the Chiefs head as she walked quickly, “I didn’t plan to, Christina. The man came out of nowhere and I didn’t sense his presence until he was right in front of me.”
“How could someone slip in without your knowledge?”
I watched as Christina brought me into the medical room, “You know what it was if I couldn’t detect it.” She brought me over to the operating table so I would lie down.
She went over to a machine in the room as Kesler stood near the door, “But why would someone like that be against a mission that had nothing to do with them?”
I looked to the ceiling as the needle went into my wrist, “Either he was hired by the people we stole from or came to fight me.”
“What do you mean? Wasn’t he just a regular guy you fought?”
Christina froze and looked over to Kesler as I also looked to him, “That is something you do not need to know if you are not part of the Corpse branch.”
Kesler watched me and never looked away, “Who exactly are you, Adelle?” He asked with all seriousness he could show, “You are so young but can kill so easily.”
I frowned, “How old do you think I am? You know there is an age limit for people of this corporation.”
“Yes, and you don’t look old enough to meet that. Sixteen is four years shy of the cut off.”
I smiled towards him, “Let’s just say I am much older than I look.”
“Is your age also a Corpse Branch secret?”
“Yes,” Christina mumbled as she took the needle out of my arm and I sat up, “Now if that is all, I ask that you leave.”
I stood and stretched, “If you ever need help again, feel free to come see us.” I replied before Christina brought him out of the room and I left to go to sleep.
I slipped on my navy blue shirt, white button up shirt, high socks, and black shoes before leaving the house in the morning. As I walked to school I ran into three of my friends and talked with them as we went on our way. When we got in the school a group of three of our guy friends joined us to go to our classroom, but when I walked in I froze. Kesler turned to me and dropped his piece of chalk as he stood by the blackboard. “What’s up, Adelle?” Erick, one of my guy friends, asked.
I cleared my mind and smiled towards him while turning away from Kesler’s gaze, “Nothing, sorry. I just forgot that our teacher is on leave due to having her baby.”
“Ah.” Erick replied before following me as I hurried over to my desk. Kesler started class soon after and I could feel his glance always following me throughout the day. When school ended at three, my friends started to leave so I hurried to join them, but was stopped when Kesler grabbed my hand.
“Ms. Owens, could I have a word with you?”
I looked to my friends, “Go on ahead guys,” I said before turning towards Kesler as we waited for everyone else to leave the room. When the last student left, Kesler finally let go of my hand, “Do you need help with something?”
Kesler frowned, “Don’t play dumb Adelle. We both know what’s going on here,” His green eyes burned me; “You said you were older than 20 but you are in a freshman high school class.”
He grabbed my arm, “Don’t give me that ‘it’s a corpse branch secret’ crap. I was just assigned to your branch this morning.”
I watched him, “That’s a lie.”
“How would you know?”
I slapped Kesler’s hand away, “I don’t have to tell you anything.” I hissed before quickly leaving the building. I hurried back to the base and when I came in Christina was waiting.
“Why are you so late? You missed a call from the President.”
I sighed as I put down my bag, “I got held up with something. What did the President have to say?”
She followed me as I started towards my room to change, “He has requested that Kesler join our branch.”
I grabbed a tight shirt I used for training as Christina shut my room door, “If it came from the President, it wasn’t a request. It was a demand most likely.”
Christina sat on my bed as I changed, “What are we going to do?”
I looked to her once I was fully changed into my training outfit, “The only thing we can do is allow Kesler into the group. Our branch is very powerful, but not powerful enough to surpass the President.”
“Kesler is supposed to arrive soon.”
I opened my room door, “Bring him to the training room when he arrives.” I ordered before heading down the hall.
Chris shoved me against the wall, but we both stopped our battle as the door to the training room opened. Kesler watched me with those deep green eyes as Chris wiped blood off of my cheek, “I seem to have scratched you.” Chris apologized but I smiled.
“It’s alright,” I said before walking over to Christina and Kesler, “Nice to see you again, Kesler,” I said with a slight smile, “The President informed me of your transfer a little while ago. I guess I never properly introduced myself yesterday. I am Adelle Owens, Leader of the Corpse branch and it is nice to have you joining our team.”
Kesler’s eyes widened, “You are the leader? But the Leader of the Corpse group is supposed to be the toughest fighter in the entire corporation!”
I went to the door of the room, “Follow me, Kesler. We should talk about this in my office,” Kelser followed me down to my office and sat across a desk from me with shock, “I’m sure you have many questions.”
“Who are you really?”
I looked to the desk, “My physical age is that of a sixteen year old, but I am actually 52 this year,” I looked at the grains of the wood, “I was actually the first member of the Corpse branch and it was named that because of me.”
“What do you mean?”
I finally met his gaze, “I am the only member of this organization that is one of the living dead,” His eyes widened again, “The reason I look so young is due to the fact that I died when I was sixteen years old. The President was actually one of the scientists that brought me back to life 36 years ago,” I met Kesler’s gaze again, “What I just told you is one of the most well kept secrets of our business, so if you tell anyone you will be terminated by the President.”
He was silent for a moment, “Does everyone here know who you are?”
I nodded before turning my chair to the side to look to the wall covered in books, “That is why the others found it funny when you asked to see the Leader of the Corpse branch, since you had been beside me the entire mission.”
“Is Christina your daughter?”
I whipped my head around to give him a menacing gaze, “What in the world gave you that idea?”
He froze at my anger, “W…well you two seem really close.”
I looked back to the books, “Christina hates me more than anyone in the world and I feel the same towards her. She was against my existence once she found out what I was.”
“Then why does she stay by your side?”
My mind reverted back to old times and I tried to fight it with a sigh of anger, “The only person I hold dear in this world disappeared thirty years ago. Right before he left, he told me that while he was gone I was to follow anything Christina told me and that we must work together to further this team while he was gone,” I closed my eyes with regret, “That man was Christina’s father and my true creator. He was the person who raised me after I was brought back to life.”
I turned my chair towards Kesler as the door opened to show Christina, “Adelle, how long do you plan to chat with Kesler? Have you forgotten that you have been asked to join the Vice-President for dinner tonight?”
I stood with annoyance, “I didn’t forget, Christina, I was just about to leave to get ready,” I turned to Kesler who still watched me, “If you need anything, ask any of the team members and they will assist you.” With that I left my office and headed down the hallway towards my room.
Kana opened the car door before holding his hand out towards me. I took his hand in my right hand as I used my left hand to hold onto my clutch purse and the bottom of my dress so I would not step on it while trying to stand from sitting in the Mustang. Kana kept my hand in his as he led me into the base, which was disguised as a large mansion. He opened the door for me before following behind me inside while still holding onto my hand, “So where is your new recruit, Elle?”
I sighed as we stopped in the entrance of the base, “Probably in his new room.”
“Well,” Kana started to say, but then pulled my body against his, “Thank you for accompanying me tonight, Elle. I had a marvelous time.”
I smiled towards him, “It was my pleasure, Kana. But, could I ask a favor of you?”
“Anything, just name it.”
“Follow me.” I replied before leading him by our joined hands towards my office, but we stopped when someone entered the hall.
“Adelle! You’re finally back!” Al said happily as I noticed Kesler standing beside him while looking at my hand that held onto Kana, “The President said that he received a job for us and Christina was freaking out since you weren’t here.”
“The President called here personally?”
“Oh! Vice-President Kana! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you in our base! What do we owe the honor?”
Kana smiled at Al, “It certainly has, Allen. I actually have been out of town recently and tonight is my first time back, so I requested that your leader join me for a meal so I could be filled in on what has happened since I left.”
“Al, did you get that research I asked you for?”
He nodded, “I sent it to you about an hour ago.”
“Thanks a lot, Al,” I said before leading Kana past them and into the door of my office, “Kana, I need you to look into something for me.”
“What’s so big that you need me to look into it? Doesn’t Allen usually do that for you?”
I looked to Kana as I sat in my chair behind my desk and he leaned on the desk while at my side, “Because I do not want to worry my team if I don’t have to,” I pulled up one of the pictures Al had sent me and turned to Kana, “This man died three years ago, but he attacked me during a mission last night. I never felt his presence even though I was mentally scanning the area all night.”
Kana looked to me with seriousness, “Do you think someone on another team is creating the living dead?”
My body raged at the idea, “That’s the only way it would make sense, but who has that kind of technology?”
Kana looked away with regret, “You know the most likely answer.”
I felt the beast fighting to come out, “He wouldn’t do that.”
Kana sighed and stood properly, “I will look into the matter and get back to you as soon as I can,” He whispered before leaning down and kissing me gently, “I hope we get to see each other soon.” He added before leaving the room.
In the morning I opened the door to greet my client, “You look as beautiful as ever, Adelle!” Mr. Trevor praised as he walked in, but I was distracted by the little girl who latched into my leg, “I’m terribly sorry, but once Mel found out I was coming her she refused to let me leave without her.”
I kneeled down to the girl, “It is nice to see you Melody, and you have grown since the last time you were here.”
She smiled towards me, “Yea! I’m going to be taller than you someday!”
I laughed, “I’m sure you will be.”
“Mr. Trevor, if you and your daughter could please follow me, I will determine if our branch can assist you with your problem.” Christina stated before I watched the man and little girl follow her. I watched their backs until I heard someone walking towards me and I turned to see Kesler coming.
“Adelle, what’s the matter? You look like you’re about to cry.”
I closed my eyes and gained my composure, “I guess my memories still stir up this fake heart of mine.” When I opened my eyes he seemed even more worried.
“Memories? What memories?”
Kesler followed me as I started towards the supply room that resided on the left of the training facility, “That man was my twin sister’s husband.”
I put a code into the code pad on the door and it opened, “Yes, she died of cancer a year after her daughter was born. She married that man when she was twenty and died right after her thirtieth birthday.”
Kesler watched as I studied the ear buds that hung on a rack on the wall, “Is that why they came here for help? Because they are your family members by marriage?”
I shook my head but never looked to the man, “Of course not. I died. My sister watched as I got hit by the car she had walked out in front of and I had pushed her out of the way. I couldn’t let my family know that I was artificially brought back to life.”
Suddenly the open door was lightly knocked on and I looked to see Al smile towards me, “Adelle, the Chief asked that I help you receive treatment while she is talking to the customers.”
I nodded before following Al as Kesler followed me until we reached the medical room. I sat on the table and Al quickly put the needle into my arm, “What exactly is in that I.V.?”
I looked to Kesler and Al moved a chair over so he could sit in front of me, “I am not entirely sure,” I replied as I felt my body loosen, “The previous chief of this branch created it. He said it was the key ingredient to keep my body alive.”
Al sighed, “But we are running out of the ingredient and the only person who knows what it is made of or how to make it is Chief’s dad.”
I stood and pulled the needle out of my arm before hustling out of the room, “Adelle!” Al called as he saw me start to run down the hallway, but I didn’t stop. I ran to the front door and threw it open before hustling outside to grab a car door.
“Even though I can sense when you are on my property, it is still considered proper to call before showing up at someone’s house.”
The President frowned towards me as he got out of the car, “I own this place, Elle, so I do not have to announce myself,” He waited as Kana got out of the car before I shut the door, “Where is Christina?”
I led them inside, “She is with a customer at the moment, but they should be done soon,” I looked to Al and Kesler as they stopped at the sight of the President and Vice President, “Sir, you remember Allen, and this is our newest member Kesler.”
The President watched Kesler, “Elle, how powerful is Kesler?”
I looked to Kesler, “He is very powerful, not the most powerful of his kind that I’ve seen, but he could be with training.”
“I did not feel Weaver could further hone his skill, which is why I took him from Weaver’s branch and sent him here,” The President cleared his throat, “Kesler, be sure to follow all of Elle’s commands. She has trained many of the best fighters out there.”
“President, I am sorry, but I will have to insist that you not allow Adelle to train anyone.” Christina announced as she walked over to us.
“Mind your own business, Christina.”
The President put his hand in front of me to tell me to stop, “What reason do you not agree with me, Christina?”
She looked fiercely towards me, “Adelle’s body has started rejecting her treatments. If she uses her power again she may not return to normal and having her fight will just make the odds worse.”
The President stared me down, “Why haven’t I heard about this before now, Elle?”
I watched the President with power, “Of anyone, I know this body’s abilities,” I looked to my hands as I held them up, “I will have control for another month.”
“Why didn’t you tell us earlier?”
I stared down the President, “Regardless of if I told you or not, there is no one who can stop it that we have contact with. The only thing telling you would do is create more worry. There was nothing positive to be gained from telling, so I kept it to myself.”
“I could try to help you, Elle.”
I turned away from the President with anger, “I told you a long time ago that if he didn’t need me anymore, then I was alright with finally dying,” I squeezed my hands, “He knows that I will die soon, but he hasn’t come back. That means I am of no use to him anymore.”
“But we need you, Elle!” The President hissed but froze when he saw me smile towards him.
“I’m sorry, but I will follow his wishes, even if that means I will finally die. I have come to terms with death.”
I looked up as Chris walked into the room, “Are you ready to practice now, Adelle?”
I nodded towards him, “Took you long enough to come get me,” I went over to him, “Today I will pay you back for that scratch on my face.”
The President grabbed my arm, “What is going to happen after a month’s time?”
I felt my eyes start to glow yellow, “The beast within will take over my body and I will finally die. All that will be left is a raging beast that can’t be stopped by any means.”
“There has to be some way to stop it…”
“You have to kill me before time is up.”
His grip tightened, but nothing was said.
“Elle, we have located another Corpse,” Kana said quietly.
I watched the President, “Give me five minutes. I’ll be ready to leave by then.”
“How long do you expect to leave us without a leader, President?”
The President stared towards Christina, “She will be gone until the job is finished, Christina, you know that.” With that I quickly left the room. When I came back I was in all black and ready to go.
“Christina is in charge while I’m gone and Al is second in command if anything were to happen.” I mumbled as I made my way to the door with the President and Vice President following me.
“I would like to introduce to all of you the future Queen of our fair country! My fiancé, Adelle,” the son of the President sang as he turned towards me. I felt everyone’s eyes fall on me even though I was an ordinary looking girl in the back of the room. My feet quickly moved me to his side as I put on an act for the crowd. I latched onto his arm and intertwined our hands while leaning into him, “Adelle and I will be getting married next month.” The pile of serpent reporters tried to slither past each other in order to reach us for answers to this sudden announcement.
I turned when I felt a familiar hand on my shoulder. The President smiled towards me, “The security guards will help the two of you get out of here. Go to your base and I will come get you two when the reporters calm down.” I nodded before following orders and aiding the security guards in getting the future President out of the building safely.
“We don’t have a car, Adelle, how are we supposed to leave?”
I hurried over as a security guard drove up my motorcycle, “We will be faster if we go on my bike.”
“You know how to drive one of these?”
I smiled back towards him, “This was the first vehicle I ever drove.” When I got onto the bike Mason quickly latched onto me from behind and I handed him a helmet. Once he was ready I took off quickly and set off towards the base. When we got there I had Mason get off before I hid the bike in the bushes off to the right side of the base. I then went back to him and held his hand in order to bring him inside, “You can calm down now, Mason. We are safe here and I have the entire area being monitored.”
Mason looked at me with worry, “You are going pale again, Adelle. You should rest for a while.”
I smiled, “Thank you for the concern, but I have a lot to do before I can rest”. A lot of noise was suddenly made off to our right from the training room. I quickly led Mason by our joined hands towards the noises and when I opened the door I presented Al and Chris battling against Kesler and Henry while the Chief wrote observations down. Everyone stopped when they heard us, but Christina was the first to come near.
“Where in the hell have you been Adelle? You have not contacted us in nearly three weeks! Do you know how worried we have been?” She hissed as she tried to pick me up by my clothes, but was stopped when Mason stepped in front of me.
“I know Adelle looks very normal right now, but she is in a lot of pain so please refrain from attacking her.”
“And who the hell are you?”
I looked over Mason’s shoulder towards Christina, “I guess you two have never met. This is the President’s heir, Mason. Right now Mason is under my protection, so he will be staying here for some time.”
Christina watched me, “So why is he here, at our base, when only select personnel are allowed in here?”
Mason smiled, “I guess you guys did not just see the public announcement made by my father earlier.”
I nodded towards Christina, “President announced that Mason and I will be marrying in nearly a month.”
Christina looked to me as if I was a ghost, “What are you talking about, Adelle?” She whispered in horror, “You run off to get engaged instead of going to find a cure for your death? You only have a week left to live! So now, after all this time, you decide to act like a child!”
“And what about my dad?” She hollered as she went around Mason and shoved me against the wall behind me of the training room, “You said you would love him forever and would follow his wishes!”
The beast took over control before I could even take another breath and shoved Christina onto the ground while pinning her down, “Don’t speak of that traitor in front of me!”
“Elle.” Mason whispered and the beast quickly retreated so that I could take control again. I got up slowly as I felt my legs shake below my body weight, but was relieved when Mason helped me stand by putting his arm around my waist, “She took over really quickly that time.”
I closed my eyes and tried to calm down, “I didn’t have any time to react.”
“You’ve lost control over the beast?”
I shook my head but never looked to Christina, “My control over the beast has weakened, but I have not lost control.”
“That doesn’t make any sense! Your true self just attacked me!”
I grabbed onto Mason’s shirt as the room started to spin, “You’ve never wanted to know anything about me before, Christina. Please don’t choose now to ask me questions when I have no idea what is happening.” I put my head against his shoulder, “Has the President contacted you, Christina?”
“Why would he need to contact me? If there’s a problem that needs to involve the Corpse Branch he always goes through you.”
I slowly stood straight on my own, “Obviously he hasn’t spoke with you,” I replied before handing over a small box to Christina, “As of yesterday morning, the President named you as the new Leader of the Corpse Branch and Al as the Chief. Also, I did not come back here to run this group anymore. Mason and I will be staying here for a week or so in order to follow the wishes of the President. He believes that you will need me to help you understand how to be the leader, even though I told him you pretty much have been running this group since you were legally allowed to join.”
“Are you resigning due to the fact that you will likely die in the next week?”
I sighed, “Obviously no one has informed you of anything,” I leaned back on Mason, “My life span has been lengthened to six months.”
“That is wonderful Adelle!” Allen cheered.
I smiled, “Thank you for the praise Al, but I didn’t do anything. Mason was the one who lengthened my life span.”
“How did you do it?” Henry asked.
Mason pulled me closer to him, “I have been researching Elle for the past ten years and found a small error in her creator’s research.”
“You mean to tell me that my father’s research was wrong?”
I wrapped my arms around Mason, “She doesn’t have to know.”
“Tell me, Adelle!” Christina hissed as she pulled me away from Mason, “If my dad did something wrong, I don’t want to be told by a stranger! I want to hear it from you!”
I shoved Christina from me, “I am keeping it from you for your own good, Christina! You may hate me, but I am not evil enough to tell you!”
“I can handle it!”
I smiled evilly towards her, “Oh? Have you suddenly matured, Christina?” I mocked, “Fine. If you think you are old enough to handle it, then I’ll tell you, but don’t come crying to me.”
I shook my head as I watched Christina, “She wants to know, so I’ll tell her,” I sighed and pulled out the IV bag from my pocket, “This antidote your father left to help me if my body started to give was a lie,” I tossed it towards Christina and she caught, “Your father knew that the chemicals in that would relieve me of my symptoms for a day or so, but would actually worsen my body,” Christina’s eyes shot up to me in horror, “You father purposely left this so he could see the true powers I hold,” I felt it become difficult to breath, “Long story short, your father was trying to kill me faster.”