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MR: The Emerald Project
It must’ve been late morning when I opened my eyes. I saw stone walls surrounding me, and one light bulb dangling from the ceiling. I tried to stand up, but found it difficult because of my sprained ankle. After struggling for a minute, I was on my feet trying to find my way out of my damp, cold prison. After about an hour, I gave up my search. “There’s no way I’m gonna find my way out of this one, so much for escaping this month…” I whispered, feeling the cold seep through my dress.
Being only 16, it was tough to not freak out hysterically all the time. But then again, I’ve been through this kind of thing my whole life.
When I was a newborn baby, I was taken away from my mother and father. I’m not sure where they are now, or if they’re even still alive. All I know is that they live somewhere in the US… that’s it. I know pathetic right? Well anyway, I was raised here in this heck hole or ‘The Cavern’ as it is referred to. The Cavern is a place kind of like a lab, except that there are also living quarters, a huge control center, and a whole bunch of torture rooms that I would prefer not to go in to… to many horrid memories.
I knew what I was up against, and I didn’t like it. I also knew that I had to get out of here… fast.
Just then, the door opened. Two scientists and three erasers walked in, making a weird shiver creeped down my spine. “So, how is our little oversight this morning?” The Chinese scientist said. I glared at him, and tried to think of a decent comeback. “My day was goin pretty good… until I saw you’re ugly mug.” I smirked, watching his face heat up in anger. “You might want to think about taking off that mask. Oh wait… That’s your face! ”
Almost as soon as the last word left my lips, I felt a sudden burst of pain run through my whole body from the shock rod that had been jabbed into my side. I let out a scream of pain, and curled up in a ball to protect myself from further damage. I felt a bloody spot where the shock rod was shoved into my side. It hurt so badly! I wished that I could get out of here! But even I knew that it was impossible with all the guards surrounding me, so I knew that I would have to wait until they left before I could escape.
“Don’t even think about it.” I looked up to see an eraser standing over me. “You’re not going anywhere Dakota, so you might as well make yourself at home… because you’re never getting out!”
BTW, Dakota’s my name. Personally, I think it fits me pretty well. I’m pretty tall for my age, and I have long, light blonde wavy hair, and green eyes that practically glow.
Since I was a baby, I’ve been tested on. Like, by scientists and stuff. I have certain chemicals in my body that would kill normal humans, plus, my DNA has been messed with big time. And I know that I’m not the only one with my… condition.
You see, I’m not your average 16 year old girl. I’m 96% human, and 4% bird. Now that 4% has a really big impact. I have a pair of blonde colored, 15 feet long from tip to , wings. And yes… I can fly, well, sort of. I’m not that good ‘cause I don’t get out much. These people really know how to treat a girl.
“But don’t worry,” The eraser continued, “I’ll make sure you don’t get too bored…” He sneered. At that second I snapped upward, kicking the eraser square in the chin. He staggered back, gave me a look of dark fury, and launched at me… just the moment I was waiting for. I got on my back, and flipped him over me. He knocked into the other eraser and scientists, and while they struggled to get back on their feet, I ran straight out the door. My ankle was killing me, but I knew if I stopped I was toast. I ran down the many hallways until I finally saw the door… that had erasers guarding every inch. I knew I was never gonna be able to fight all of them, so I decided to release my secret weapon. I stepped out into the open, all of the erasers eyes were now on me. ‘It’s now or never…’ I thought. I took a deep breath, got into my firing stance, and released my power balls.
My ‘Power Balls’ as I call them are balls of energy I can create with my hands and eyes. I can also manipulate energy if it’s strong enough. But at this moment, I was using some of my inner energy.
I fired it at them, the explosion big enough to knock me into the wall behind me. I staggered, got to my feet, and ran out the now blown to bits door.
I ran through the thick woods, found a big enough clearing, spread my wings and took off! It felt so good to be in that air, it was the closest thing to heaven that I’ve ever been. I began flying as far away from The Cavern as I could. I stopped in mid air to decide which way I should go.
At that moment… I felt this weird tugging feeling in my heart. It was telling me to go west…
So west was the way I was gonna go.
I flew west till I came to these mountains. I walked a bit, till I felt like I was supposed to walk into this small forest. My ankle was still really sore, but I could tell it was already starting to heal. I walked for about an hour, till I saw what my heart was leading me to…
…A house that was in the air, or on posts. I smiled, and flew up to the porch, opened the door, and warily stepped inside. There was no light in the house, and it looked abandoned; the perfect place to rest. I explored a bit, coming across what looked like the kitchen. Feeling how tired and starved I was, I eagerly looked around. I found quite a bit of fresh food, which could mean only one thing…
There had to be other people living here.
The moment that thought crossed my mind, I heard movement behind me. I quick turned around to see six faces looking at me, all of them looking like they were gonna murder me. I watched them with great focus; there was no way in heck they were gonna get close to me. Then, I saw the youngest one relax and get really happy.
“It’s ok Max, she won’t hurt us.” She said, her voice sweet. The brown haired girl she was talking to ‘Max’ seemed to not believe her. She looked at me harshly, then said, “What are you doing in our house…” Her voice pierced me like knives, but she wasn’t the only one who could intimidate. “That’s a pretty big voice for a girly-girl.” I hissed, my eyes glowing. She looked at me, shock written across her face. I smirked, pleased that I had out-hissed the she-snake herself.
“It’s ok Dakota, we’re not gonna hurt you. See?” She rolled her shoulders, and wings came from behind her back.
I was shocked, no… I was stunned.
The rest of them all looked horrified, but I was amazed. How old was she? Where did she get her wings? Did she come from a lab too?
“I’m six, I was born with wings, and I came from a lab called,”
Before she could tell me anymore, a black haired teenage guy clamped a hand over her mouth. “Get out. Now.” Max said, her voice again like knives.
I couldn’t leave, I had to find out more. But I needed them to trust me first.
“Wait! I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was your house. I thought it was abandoned. I’m really, really sorry. Please don’t make me leave…” I begged. They all looked at me like I was insane.
Then, I did something that I was pretty sure I was never gonna do… I exposed my wings.
I rolled my shoulders, and spread my wings out a bit. All of their mouths hit the floor when I did.
“How did you find us?” The little girl asked, squirming out of the black haired guys grip. “I’m not sure…” I replied. “I just kind of, followed my heart I guess. For some reason I felt pulled toward this spot. Now I think I know why.” I said, hoping they would let me stay.
“Of course you can stay! But, maybe you should come into the light a little more so we can see you better.” She said. I realized that I had been in the dark part of the room. I wasn’t sure if I wanted too, but I knew that if I wanted to stay there I would have to. I took a step into the light, and I heard the little girl gasp, and everyone else just looked shocked.
“I know… I’m not really the best thing to look at, but really, I just want to learn. And I’m willing to if you’ll teach me.”
I saw this blonde haired guy ask this smaller boy what I looked like. I was really confused, until I looked closer. The tall blonde guy’s eyes were pale, icy blue that seemed to look right through me. He was blind. That’s when an overpowering urge swept over me. I walked slowly towards him, until I was standing right in front of him. He, apparently, could feel me near him because he seemed uncomfortable. I took his hand gently, and placed it on my cheek. He then pulled back quickly, but I held on to his hand more firmly. Max made a move toward me, but the little girl stopped her. They seemed to be having a conversation or something.
“It’s ok,” I whispered, putting his hand back on my face. “I understand… I don’t mind. Go ahead.” I urged. It’s not that I was uncomfortable with this, but it was like there was this thing forcing me to. He looked uneasy, but began to trace my facial features with his finger tips. It felt really good, too good.
Now don’t think I meant that in a dirty way, because I soooo didn’t. I just meant it like I’ve never had anyone be that gentle with me. It felt weird, but also nice. He traced my jaw, my nose, eyes, and lips. He seemed surprised, but kept tracing. Finally, his hands stopped under my chin. He seemed to be looking for something. Then, almost without thinking, I placed my hand on his cheek. I thought the girl Max was gonna slaughter me, but this time the black haired boy stopped her.
“That’s Iggy. Iggy, that’s Dakota.” The little girl said. I looked at him; I felt so weird. It’s like I knew him already, but I was sure I had never seen him before in my life. Besides, I was sure I would remember a face as cute as his.
“By the way, I’m Angel. This is Max, Fang, Nudge, and Gazzy. We’re the flock. And Ig, Dakota thinks you’re cute.” Angle said, as I blushed like an idiot trying to figure out how they heck she did that. Iggy on the other hand, was blushing as well.
“Angel can, um… read minds.” Gazzy said, looking pale, and little freaked out.
Well… that explains a lot.
I let go of Iggy, and took a step back before I did anything else. Man, he probably thought I was freak.
“No, he likes you! He thinks you’re pretty and really sweet!” Angle said, I assumed she read Iggy’s mind. Iggy blushed even harder, so I decided to back off a bit. I walked around the flock who had their eyes practically glued to me, and walked out of the kitchen, and into the living room. There was a flat screen TV, a huge couch, a coffee table, and a few pictures hanging on the wall behind the TV. I picked up one of the pictures, and looked at it closely. All of them in the picture looked really happy; they looked like a family. “So this is what a family looks like…”
“Do you have a family?” Nudge asked, looking at me curiously.
“No,“ I said, looking away from her. “I’ve never had a family. I was taken from my parents when I was born, and after that the jerks all treated me like I was less than nothing… ”
“But you’re not ‘nothing’!” I turned around to see Iggy standing a few feet away from me. “You’re not nothing, lint is nothing. Grass and rocks are nothing.” He paused, and said in a much softer tone,” You… you’re NOT nothing. ” The last part almost came out in a whisper, but I still heard it. I smiled, walked up to him, and gave him a small kiss on his cheek. I must have surprised him, because he froze like a statue the moment I kissed him. Then I realized what I did, and blushed.
“Wwwhat was that for?” He stuttered, but he didn’t look repulsed or anything.
“I just thought you were really sweet. I’m sorry if you didn’t like the,”
“No! No, no, no, It wasn’t that!” he said, still blushing. “You just…. Caught me off guard is all.”
I gave him another smile, and then walked around the room a bit more. I kept taking hidden glances at Iggy. He was taller than me, he was slightly muscular, he also seemed to have really good hearing, and he was really cute. I had never felt this way before, but I liked it.
At that second, I felt something rushing at me. I turned around, snatched the object out of thin air and kicked it across the room. My eyes locked on to the object, and I shot one of my energy balls at it with my hands, it exploding in mid air. Once the object was in flames on the ground, I took a closer look. It was flat, round, and neon pink. ‘What is this?’ I thought. ‘It doesn’t look like any weapon I’ve ever seen.‘ I turned to look at the others who all seemed either amazed or dumbfound. “Hhhhow, how did you do that?” Nudge asked, looking slightly pale. “What do you mea,” Then it hit me. “I used one of my energy balls. It’s literally a ball of energy that I can create and project with my hands and eyes.” Ok, now they were dumbfounded.
“So what?! You had to show us by blowing it up inside! You could’ve burnt the house down!” Max yelled, running to find a fire extinguisher. “Danget! It’s only a toy!”
I moved out of the way while max put the flames out. I was pretty embarrassed. I didn’t even know the difference between a weapon and a toy… that’s just plain sad.
“Why did you do that?” Gazzy asked. “Do you have something against Frisbees?”
“What’s a Frisbee?” I asked, completely clueless.
“You don’t know what a Frisbee is? Did you live in a cave all this time?!” Max said, giving me a look that made me feel pretty stupid.
“Yes.” I said blankly. It was the only answer I had. I was pretty sure she was using sarcasm, but I wasn’t sure. I was really bad at being sarcastic, and I didn’t get sarcasm at all. “You lived in a cave for…..” Max paused in the middle of her question; I could tell she was deep in thought. “Hey how old are you anyway?” Max asked. The others watched me as my eyes narrowed. Why did she want to know? Could I trust her? Was she an enemy or a friend?
“You tell me your age, I’ll tell you mine.” I snapped. I did not enjoy Max. She seemed surprised at my answer, but then her eyes narrowed as well. “I believe I asked you first.” Her voice was low and deadly, but two can play that game. “And I believe erasers want to rip me to shreds, but I’m still not gonna tell you.” My voice sounded much deadlier then hers did, but when I saw the look on her face I was no longer concerned with the question. “You know about erasers?” Fang asked, sounding a little surprised. “Yes, I grew up surrounded by them.” I answered.
“You mean…they’re still alive?” Nudge asked, suddenly looking scared. I was really confused. “Of course they are. They’ve been alive for years. I should know,” I looked at the scars all over both of my arms. “I’ve been tortured by them practically my whole life.”
“You lived at the school?” Iggy asked, looking in my direction intensely. “No, but I’ve been to the school. The School and the Cavern have a big trading contract. I know that I was the Cavern’s main project…” I paused, a dozen bad memories flashed through my mind. “I was known as the Emerald project, because of the strange affect the chemicals had on my eyes.” I said, my glowing green eyes staring at them.
“What’s the Cavern?” Angel asked. I looked away, walking over to the window and staring at the moon that was now sinking into the distance. “All I can tell you is that the experiments at the school had it easy…” A tear streamed down my face and landed on my dirty, blood stained dress. “I would have given up both of my wings just to live there.”
I heard gasps from behind me, so I turned around. My face showing the fact that I had been crying. “Why would you want to live at the school? The school is horrible, terrible, and awful!” Nudge said, walking over to Iggy, taking his hand and squeezing it. “Compared to the Cavern, that place was paradise. I used to go there every once in a while if I was really good. I had a friend who lived there.”
“Who was you’re friend?” Gazzy asked. I felt like they were all drilling me for information, but I thought I should at least answer a few of their questions.
“My friend had lived at the school for almost his whole life; he was actually my best friend. We would talk when were together, and he would protect me from the other erasers. He was always telling me that I was the only person that he cared about and that I was his only friend.”
“He?” Iggy asked, sounding really disappointed all of a sudden. “Yeah, but we were just friends. He was much younger then I was.” I said, hoping I didn’t turn Iggy off for good. I saw him look up at me, and a small smile played across his face.
“Anyway,” I continued, “He was always talking about how he was gonna kill this group of kids who stole his father away from him. He was really hurt and angry… and…” I drifted off as I saw the reactions on the flock’s faces. “What’s wrong?” I asked, concerned.
“What was this guy’s name…” Fang whispered, turning to Max who looked wretched.
“Ari… why?” they all looked like they had murdered a saint or something.
What the heck was going on?
“I said, why?” I repeated. No one had answered my question and I was starting to get irritated.
“When was the last time you saw him.” Max asked, her voice sounding funny. ‘Quite a few months ago, maybe, but what does that have to do with…” It dawned on me. ‘Did you guys know him?”
They nodded, none of them looking me in the eye. I was overjoyed! Maybe they could tell me where he was! I missed him, and I really wanted to see him. “If you know him then you can tell me where he is right?!” I said happily. “I asked if I could see him at the Cavern, and they said he had escaped!” I paused, still confused about how sad they all looked. “Please tell me where he is.” I said, practically begging. I know, I know, it’s sad. But I really missed my big fur ball. But you wanna know what was really starting to bother me…
Almost everyone had been dead silent since I brought up Ari’s name.
“What’s going on?” I asked, suddenly scarred. Still and yet, no one was answering me. Now I really scarred. “Someone please answer me!” I cried. I felt tears well up in my eyes.
Iggy walked up to me, and put his hands gently on my shoulders. “I’m sorry Dakota…” he whispered, as tears streamed down my face.
“Ari died, about eight months ago…”