Mark didn’t know how to take it. I could see he was trying to decide between emotions, but everything in his eyes told me he was heartbroken.
I tried to take a step towards him, but he held a hand up, stopping me going any closer to him. He was crumbling and there was nothing I could do. I could feel my heart breaking with his, knowing how much he had wanted to have one more child, even though doctors had said there was no way they could.
‘How…’ Mark started.
‘I found Mum’s black book. I found the page and I knew you should know. I found out a few minutes ago.’
Mark walked right to me and held me tight to him, trying to contain his sobs. He knew he had to be the man and be strong, but what he knew crushed any happiness he’d had out of him. He released me and tried to recover himself.
‘I’m sorry, Amy.’ Mark wiped tears off his cheeks.
‘We should confront her.’ I knew the choice had to be made.
‘Are you sure about this?’
‘I’m as certain that my name is Amelia Thomas.’
‘That’s pretty certain.’
‘That’s the point, Dad.’
Mark gestured for me to take the lead. I led us out the target range and down the corridors towards the main room. The noise that carried down the corridors drove me further into wanting the truth for my family from my supposed mother. We walked into the main room and I could see Matt, Owen, Jacob, John and Finley were tensed for an attack from me. Mark cleared his throat, getting silence from the family.
‘Mark, what’s going on?’ Cameron asked.
‘Amy, you’d best handle this. Charge with the crime.’ Mark knew he was at a weakness.
’Ashleigh Thomas, I charge you with the crime of deceit and treason against the IPS. You have been found guilty of hiding the test results you gathered from a DNA modification in 1995 to then give birth to a child through said DNA modification on 5th June 1996. Through your notes I discovered that you used Harriet Thomas’s DNA as the mother DNA and used either Matt, Owen, Jacob or John Thomas’s DNA as the father DNA to form a fertilised egg you inserted into your own womb. My mother is not Ashleigh Thomas. My father is not Mark Thomas. My mother is Harriet Thomas and my father will need to be deciphered by DNA matching.’ I informed the family, glaring right at Ashleigh.
‘Are you off your rocker?’ Ashleigh tried to cover her back.
I picked up Ashleigh’s black boo and found the page, showing it to Mark. He was mortified. I knew this was going to be a long shot, but there was no other options.
‘Cameron, Dominic, take Ashleigh to the cells in the basement. She will be held there until we decide what the correct cause of action is.’ Mark couldn’t look at her.
Dominic and Cameron did as they were asked. Ashleigh was half-dragged out the room, kicking and screaming. I sat on a nearby sofa, trying to take in what had just happened. I could feel my chest heaving as I attempted to hold my tears back. I couldn’t see who, but someone sat next to me and held me close to them, me burying my face in their shoulder.
‘It’s alright. I’ve got you.’ Owen’s voice spoke to me.
I held onto him as if he was my last resort. His hands gently rubbed into my back as his form of comforting me. Nothing could right this wrong done to us all, not now I existed.
‘Uncle Mark, what do we do?’ Edward asked.
‘We train Amy up as much as we can. She must graduate next week. The sooner we can get her as a fully-fledged member, the easier it will be to keep her safe. Who knows what else Ashleigh has hidden from us?’ Mark tried to keep it together.
I slowly managed to come out of Owen’s shoulder. He wiped my tears away and offered me a tissue.
‘Thanks.’ My voice had shrunk.
I blew my nose and put the tissue in my pocket. I looked up at Owen and his blue eyes focused on mine. I could see his dark brown hair was slightly tousled, but it was almost in a neat way somehow. He was just as stocky as Edward, but he was bulkier for certain.
‘You alright, Amy?’ Owen checked, a definite American accent appearing on every word.
‘Did I do the right thing?’ I was conflicted now of the change of attitude towards my training.
‘Yeah. Mom was living a lie. She’d lied to all of us. You’ve done the right thing telling us.’ Owen tried to convince me.
I took a deep breath and rested my head on Owen’s shoulder, making him chuckle gently.
‘We should get into the meeting about this. Amy, I know you’ll hate me for this, but it might be best if you sit out on this one.’ Mark watched me carefully.
‘Dad?’ I asked carefully.
‘What is it?’ Mark knew something was wrong.
I sat up on the sofa and looked right at Mark.
‘I didn’t tell you my vision.’ I explained.
‘What vision?’ Mark was confused.
‘Amy screamed her lungs out after Matt and Jacob came back in. Amy was gonna leave to get her anger out before punching Matt when she had a vision.’ John updated Mark.
‘Amy, what did you see?’ Mark crouched in front of me.
‘Laura-Mei Thomas is back. She knew Mum was hiding something but she couldn’t say. She warned me I was in danger, but I’m also the greatest weapon we’ve got. Dad, I think they might be close.’ I tried to explain as coherently as I could.
‘Who’s close?’ Owen asked.
‘The Falling Stars.’ I said.
The whole family tensed up immediately. I could see all of them were horrified I had such a strong feeling about it.
‘Amy, do you know what they do to us?’ Mark hoped.
‘More like what happens to me. Just after I’m a full member they invade the base. You give the Protocol 5 command for us to move to our base in Nevada. We get into vehicles, but one of the Falling Stars vehicles crashes into the car I am riding in. I’m the worst hurt and am put into a coma. It’s in that coma I have to stay to figure out how to save the family. Laura said I have to learn a couple of things along the way, one of them being sacrifice.’ I confessed.
‘Was this all from your vision earlier today?’ Mark checked.
‘No. A bit of this I knew from the last time I saw her when I was fifteen. It didn’t make sense until now.’ I shrugged.
‘Ok. Amy, I’d like you to get some sleep if you can. Owen, can you make sure she does?’ Mark tried to take control.
I carefully stood from the sofa, Owen taking my lead. He carefully took my hand and I stumbled a little, tiredness hitting me. Before I knew it I was in Owen’s arms and he carried me upstairs to my room. I was carefully placed on my bed. Owen took my trainers off and got me under the covers.
‘Get some rest, Amy. We’ll see you in the morning.’ Owen brushed a bit of hair out my face.
I found my eyes slowly closing as I heard Owen leave my room quietly. I tried to stay awake, but my body rebelled, yelling at me to get some sleep.
Waking in a dank, dark room with the only bits of light in my direction were the colour was blood definitely didn’t do anything for my fear of what was to come. I tried to move my body, but my wrists, ankles and waist were tied down with a mixture of leather and chains. I heard a laugh cackle through the space, but there was no way I could have told where it came from.
‘Enjoy hell, Amelia!’ A male voice boomed.
The chains started to tug against my body, pulling me in separate directions like they wanted me drawn and quartered. I tried to fight against it, but there was nothing I could do. I then screamed as loud as my lungs could manage, hoping it would yank me out of this horror I found myself stuck in until I got hit round the face, knocking me out.
I woke with a start in my bed, Mark by my side.
‘Amy?’ Mark was petrified.
I clung onto Mark, not wanting to let go of him. Mark wrapped his arms round me and tried to support me as best as he could. I knew this was going to be hard on all of us, but my visions were getting worse by the second.
‘It’s alright. You’re safe, Amy. I won’t let them hurt you.’
I tried to keep my tears back, but there was no point. I was completely crushed by that vision, seeing the blood-like walls in such close proximity. Mark rubbed his hands into my back, but I knew I wasn’t going to get to sleep that easily now. I could still feel the cold sweat beads on my back and the goosebumps down my arms. I took a deep breath and released myself from Mark’s grip.
‘A little. Dunno I’ll sleep now.’
‘It’s not been easy for you today. It’s understandable.’
‘I’m scared to go to sleep, Dad. What if I have another dream like that?’
‘If you want I can see if Harriet has any serums she can give you to sleep it off. You’ll need your rest if we’re pushing your graduation.’
‘Are you gonna pull it forward?’
‘Yeah. We’ve agreed we’ll do it the day after tomorrow. Edward was quite convinced you were up for the tests then.’
‘He has been training you for a few months now, Amy.’
‘That is true.’
‘John and Owen will be on hand, John to help with the training and Owen if you get spooked by anything. You’ve connected a lot since I last saw you both in the same room.’
‘Siblings always do that. We argue and make up loads.’
‘Shall I get Owen to sit with you whilst I help Harriet find something?’
‘Ok. Just stay here. I’ll send him in.’
Mark kissed my forehead and headed out my door.
‘Owen, can you sit with her?’ Mark called over the landing bannister.
I could hear running footsteps and then Owen was in my room holding me close to him.
‘I’m sorry, Amy.’ Owen sighed deeply.
‘It’s not your fault.’
‘It feels like it. I should have made sure you were alright.’
‘You can’t keep an eye on me 24/7.’
‘I can try.’
I couldn’t help but laugh with him on that one. He looked into my eyes and tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear.
‘Trying to be a tough cookie?’
‘Don’t give my secrets away, asshat.’
‘Thanks for that.’
‘You asked for it.’
‘It’s what happens when I’m your brother.’
‘Uncle or father, actually.’
‘I totally forgot about that. We should try and get it checked.’
‘Sure. Maybe we should do it after I’ve graduated.’
‘I think we should.’
‘I’ll start training harder tomorrow.’
‘It’s not training tomorrow.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘It’s the test we do the day before graduation. You have to pass the test to graduate. It took me a couple of times to pass.’
‘Like you taking two goes to pass your driving test?’
‘You know about that?’
‘I find out things I shouldn’t, remember?’
‘I’m sure you’ll pass with flying colours.’
‘Amy?’ Harriet was in the doorway.
Both of us looked at her and I knew Owen was worried. Harriet was tall and as her brothers would comment she looked fit due to her body prepared to run or fight if she needed to. Her doctor’s labcoat covered a lot of her body, but she radiated strength the lads struggled to match up to. She had a box for a syringe in one hand, cautiously stepping into my room.
‘Dad said he wanted me to help you sleep. I found this serum that should help.’ Harriet tried to be careful round Owen.
‘Are you sure there’s no side effects?’ Owen checked.
‘I’m sure. I’ve used this on other patients when they needed it.’ Harriet shrugged.
Harriet sat on my other side, looking right at me.
‘Amy, this will sting at first, so you might want to look away from what I’m doing.’ Harriet tried to be gentle.
‘You sure it’ll work?’ My voice shrunk.
‘Yeah. It’ll help you get some rest before your test tomorrow.’ Harriet gently squeezed my left hand.
I offered her my left arm and she nudged me to look at Owen. Owen moved closer and held me close, keeping me from looking at what Harriet was doing. I felt the needle enter my arm and I let out a small groan from the pain. I then buried my face in Owen’s shoulder as I could feel the pain increase as the liquid flowed through my veins. I felt the needle taken out and Harriet cleaned the wound as best she could, whilst putting a plaster over it to ensure it didn’t bleed everywhere.
‘How you feeling, Amy?’ Harriet checked.
‘Fine. I don’t feel drowsy or anything.’ I shrugged.
‘Seriously?’ Harriet’s voice hitched suddenly.
‘Should I be?’ I looked right at her.
‘Yeah. You should be feeling like a tranquilised elephant about to fall over.’ Harriet held a hand to my forehead, checking my temperature.
‘How is she?’ Owen asked.
‘Burning up.’ Harriet freaked.
I got up from the bed and stumbled out my room. I found myself stumbling down the corridors until I got into the medical wing. The room was just like a hospital wing. The walls were bright white with a grey almost plastic tiled kind of flooring. I got to one of the beds and leaned on the bar at the foot of the bed. I tried to get my breath back, but my body was almost not responding to it properly.
‘You really don’t like staying down, do you?’ Laura was leaning against the wall pillar opposite me.
’You’re so not being helpful.’
‘Who says I’m trying to be?’
‘You’re a pain in the neck, you know that?’
‘More like it.’
‘You’re trying to goad me?’
‘It’s a pass time I seem to enjoy.’
‘What’s happening to me?’
‘You’re having a reaction. It’s got into your bloodstream but you’re not being affected by it at first in the usual way. It’s slowly killing you at this rate.’
‘What can we do?’
‘You need to hold on tight, for now. The fight isn’t here just yet.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘Your big fight is yet to come. You must learn the true meaning of sacrifice without being wrapped in cotton wool or bubblewrap by the family. You have to step out on your own for once.’
‘Become the adult?’
‘Like you’re not already.’
‘So what can I do to stop this for the moment?’
‘Not much, I’m afraid. You’ve got to fight this one on your own.’
‘Amy?’ Harriet called from the corridor.
Laura grabbed hold of me and led me back out to the corridor. Owen and Harriet stopped in their tracks when they saw us.
‘What’s going on?’ Owen saw I wasn’t fighting Laura.
‘We need to talk to the family. Now.’ Laura took charge just like Harriet liked to do.
Harriet and Owen led us downstairs. I was almost dropped onto the sofa.
‘What is going on here? Who the hell are you?!’ Mark was furious.
‘My name is unimportant right now. Amy’s reacting to the serum you gave her to knock her out. It’s starting to kill her. I need your help to save her before it’s too late to do anything about it.’ Laura was cool about the entire family giving her evils.
Laura checked my pupils for something, but she didn’t look happy about what she found.
‘You think I would trust you with Amy?’ Mark hissed.
Laura walked right to Mark and stood right in his face, immediately marking she wasn’t one to be crossed.
‘I think you would if you want her alive, Mark Thomas! She’s your granddaughter for crying out loud! You want to leave her as she is?’ Laura nearly yelled in Mark’s face.
‘Laura, that’s enough!’ I groaned.
Laura gave Mark one last evil glance and then walked back to me. Laura checked my vitals for anything and then pulled out a syringe filled with a blue liquid. I tried to move away from it but Laura gently took my hand, reassuring me what was to come would be alright. I nodded and she injected the liquid into my left arm. I immediately felt the tenseness of my muscles relax. I felt so relaxed it was weird. Laura supported me and helped me to lie down on the sofa.
‘What did you do?’ Mark was furious.
‘My job, actually.’ Laura was full of anger, just like I was.
’What’s your full name, Laura?’ Mark insisted.
‘Laura-Mei Thomas.’ Laura gave her cover up.
The whole room fell silent. I felt my stomach heave, but John was then at my side, a sick bowl in his hands. It was just in time as my body decided to empty my entire system of any nutrients I’d gained over the day. It was worse than my reaction to white fish.
‘That’s it, Amy.’ John gently rubbed my back, ensuring I was alright.
I threw up again, making my throat and mouth feel so dry. Owen was just in sight as he handed a bottle of water to John. John checked I had grip on the sick bowl as he unscrewed the lid off the bottle. He took the sick bowl from me and swapped it with the bottle of water. I took sips, knowing if I went too fast it would mean that I would most likely bring it back up again with anything left in my system.
‘You’re a Thomas?’ Harriet struggled to get her head around it.
‘It’s not that hard to believe. There’s worse things to have existing, you know.’ Laura’s sarcasm bled through her words.
‘What now?’ Edward tried to keep a clear head.
‘You keep an eye on Amy overnight. She’ll be a little sick, but nothing you can’t handle. It’ll take the night to repair the damage to her system the serum had done. She’ll be completely fine in the morning. She’ll just need food back in her system and then she should be able to graduate from her test with flying colours tomorrow.’ Laura informed them.
‘You know about that?’ Edward was shocked.
‘You know Amy pretty well. Both of us are along the same wavelength. Trust me, she’s gonna pass just like I did. Oh, Amy, remember what we talked about, alright? You’ll need to remember when you’re in there. Stay strong and fight like hell.’ Laura smirked weakly at me.
Laura was then gone, like she hadn’t been there in the first place. The whole family were in shock. Mark shook his head slightly, almost like he was trying to wipe a thought from his mind.
‘We’ll have shifts to watch over her. John, take the first watch. Owen, take the second watch four hours in. Matt, take the third watch four hours later. Finley, relieve him in the morning and ensure Amy has a healthy breakfast to get her started for the day ahead.’ Mark tried to take command.
John and Edward helped me up from the sofa and onto my feet. We walked with me in between them, one arm over John’s shoulders and the other arm over Edward’s shoulders. We walked at a steady pace for me to keep my balance as they led me to the medical wing. They sat me on one of the beds, tucking me under the sheets. I felt so tired, but I knew I wasn’t down and out just yet. John found a towel whilst Edward got me sat up for a minute. John placed the towel over the pillows and then got me to lie down.
‘The towels are just to make sure if you throw up in the night you don’t do it all over the pillows, alright? Just get some rest, Amy. I’ll be right here if you need anything.’ John pointed to the desk opposite the bed.
I nodded and started closing my eyes. I heard someone leave and someone scrape a chair against the floor as they sat on the chair. I tried to let myself drift off, but I also knew this was going to be a long night at the same time.
I started coming round at some crazy hour and I struggled to find air to force down to my lungs. Feet started running round the medical wing and John was by my side, helping me get an oxygen mask over my face. I started taking in the air and I started to relax again. John sighed of relief, but sat in the chair next to me, just in case I started freaking out again.
‘You’re gonna be fine, aren’t you?’ John hoped.
I nodded as best as I could, but I knew from John’s expression he was worried I may not make the night. Footsteps entered the wing and Owen came into sight.
‘John, I’m here to relieve you…’ Owen then saw the state I was in, trailing off.
‘She’s alright. Just struggled to breathe for a second.’ John stood from the chair.
Owen walked to us and shook hands with John, swapping the shift over. John kissed my head and tried to leave as quietly as he could, at least until he crashed into one of the trollies that spilled its contents all over the floor. I couldn’t help but laugh at John being so clumsy. John couldn’t keep the grin off his face that he’d made me laugh. He tried to put everything back on it, but it definitely was looking like he piled it all in a mound on the top of the trolley before he left the medical wing for some sleep. Owen sat in the chair next to me.
‘Bit of a clown, isn’t he?’ Owen smirked cheekily.
I carefully took the mask off and found I could breathe properly.
‘He’s my Johny. Of course he is.’ I spoke quietly, trying to save my energy.
‘Come on. Get some rest. I’ll keep an eye on you until Matt comes in, alright?’
I nodded and snuggled into the sheets more than I had after my small breathing scare. Owen pulled the sheets up just over my shoulders so I could just focus on sleeping. I let my eyes close and I felt him gently kiss my head before I heard him sit in the chair next to me. I could have stayed chatting to Owen all night, but my energy was draining through the bed.
A loud clutter woke me from my sleep. I was rather drowsy, but my eyes opened a little anyway. I tried to keep myself under the covers on my bed, but I saw Owen wasn’t in his chair. I surrendered and sat up in bed, not knowing where he was.
‘Owen?’ I called.
I got no response. Fear throbbed its way through my heart, but I knew I had to be strong for this to work. I got out of bed, pulling my trainers on in case I had to run. I carefully walked towards the office, but it was completely empty. I walked back and found no one else in the wing. I heard dripping of something against the floor, but I didn’t know what it was. I slowly looked down and saw it was my left arm where I’d had the two injections. My blood was trickling down my arm and to the floor, pooling by my feet.
‘Owen?’ I called a little louder.
I got no response. I started to get panicked about what was going on. I then knew I had to. The pain started increasing, so I let my body release its pain in as loud a scream as I could muster. My balance went so I stumbled to the floor, resting my back against the bed I had been sleeping in. I tried to keep my breathing steady, but it wasn’t working very well. Feet ran towards me and John was by my side.
‘Amy?’ John was horrified to see the state I was in.
Harriet came in not long after him, stopping in her tracks when she saw the state I was in and the puddle of blood not that far away from me. Harriet got into action and pulled out a massive first aid kit. She knelt on my left side, plastic gloves on her hands, and checked my wound where the needles had been inserted into my body. She took a deep breath, the sight obviously worrying her.
‘How bad is it?’ John asked.
‘I need to clean the wound and see the damage from there. Amy, can you let me look at it properly?’ Harriet didn’t want to hurt me.
I nodded and let her get on with it. Harriet pulled out an anti-bacterial wipe and cleaned the wound to see the damage. Harriet tried to muffle her gasp, but then she just got to work. She got me to hold my arm above my head for a bit, trying to get the blood out my arm so she didn’t have to worry about it spurting all over her PJs. I watched Harriet work and it was interesting to see her mumble to herself of what she needs to do in order of instructions she would have learned in medical school. Then she was wrapping the wound up with bandages I didn’t recognise. She carefully brought my arm back down and checked my pulse.
‘Where’s Owen?’ John only just noticed.
‘I don’t know. I heard something clatter, but he wasn’t anywhere.’ I started to shiver.
Harriet and John helped me to my feet and got me back into bed. Matt jogged in and froze seeing the scene in front of him.
‘What happened?’ Matt asked.
‘Amy’s arm bled uncontrollably. We’ve got it under control for now. She just needs to get some sleep. Have you seen Owen?’ Harriet shrugged.
‘No. Did he leave her?’ Matt hoped not.
‘Appears so. We can’t think where he could have gone.’ John pointed out.
‘Right. You two go to bed. I’ve got her.’ Matt tried to be kind to his siblings.
John winked at me before leading Harriet out the medical wing. Matt helped me get comfortable in bed and then took his seat next to me.
‘Get some rest, Amy. I promise I won’t go anywhere.’
I nodded and kept watching him.
‘Go to sleep.’
‘I’m not that tired.’
‘You screamed the building down, so give us all a break and sleep it off.’
‘Only if you try and figure out where Owen went.’
‘I’ll do what I can. Now go to sleep.’
I scowled at him before sticking my tongue out at him. Matt chuckled at me, so I thought it was best to try and sleep. I let my eyes close and I tried to get comfortable on the bed, which took a lot of wiggling around under the covers. I let myself start to drift off, but I heard feet walking into the medical room. The chair Matt was sat in squeaked as he stood up and stormed over to the new arrival.
‘Dude, where the hell did you go?!’ Matt hissed as quietly as he could.
‘Toilet?’ Owen was confused.
‘Her arm bled on the floor after she freaked out you weren’t here. She was terrified because where she’d had those injections had started trickling blood everywhere. Harriet and John dealt with it because you didn’t think to use the toilet in the office?!’
‘It wasn’t like that!’
‘Don’t talk to me like that. I did what I could, so get off my case.’
‘Then go to bed. It’s my watch. I don’t think I can look at you anymore.’
‘I’m sure it’s not that serious.’
‘Owen, she’s still a kid. We have to look after her when she’s like this. Trust me, this is the best move of action when you mess it up.’
‘You think I messed it up?’
‘You are tempting me to tell Dad about your wandering away. I’m sure he would have heard her scream.’
’You are so useless sometimes, you know that?’
‘At least I don’t belittle every effort she tries to give to keep our family in one piece. Or have you forgotten what she managed to do for the controls so they are unlikely to be hacked into?’
‘She’s still a kid. She’s not going to get past that.’
‘She will. Only if you let her.’
I could hear someone walking away, slamming a door behind them. I heard someone walk back towards me and make the chair squeak as they sat down. Matt sighed deeply, almost growling at himself.
‘You should be sorry. You have no idea what I’m capable of. Go and stay in the office. Your attitude stinks like the garbage bins out back.’ I stared right at Matt.
Matt got the hint and left me to it. I heard him slam the door into the office, leaving me in peace. I closed my eyes and allowed myself fall into the pit of sleep I prayed wouldn’t yank me into some vision that would leave me scarred for life.
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