As soon as the music started everyone went silent. There was not a sound among the audience, not even a wailing baby. The interlude was beautiful; but that’s not what the audience expected to hear. They expected me to crack a joke or present another disaster just like the last time I had to perform.
This time would be different. This time I actually was doing something I knew how to do; but I haven’t used my voice in over a decade due to what it usually does to people. My father’s ancestry is a little bit strange. He comes from a very long line of sirens, in the forms of mermaids; but he is human. Same with my mother, she is human but comes from a long line of wizards. So, when the two met on land, got married, had a kid; that kid obviously couldn’t be human because that would be too perfect. So, the universe decides to create a siren wizard hybrid; I like to call myself a wizren. And being from both worlds I have advantages in both realms; I can breathe underwater and have super strength for swimming and running. While I’m underwater my fingers and toes become webbed and when I’m dry the webbing disappears. With that kind of condition; I try to avoid pool parties as much as possible.
As the music slowed and it was time for me to sing; my mind went to my wizren powers how my siren voice effects everyone, not just my opposite sex, because of my wizard powers; heightening the risk factors of using magic and of course being found out. My mouth opened as I started to sing the words to the song I wrote for this special performance marking the 4th annual celebration for the victory for Jamara over the empire that occupied it for more than 300 years. Living as long as magical creatures do; most of us today were alive for most of the empire’s reign.
My words started soft and gentle, my usual way of coaxing people to listen getting louder and sharper as I go until the audience doesn’t know what hit them. I started the process and watched my audience grow mesmerized and they’re eyes glaze over; but as I looked into the audience today there was only one who’s eyes never glazed, he wasn’t hypnotized, but he still looked impressed.
I concluded my song with a very high sharp note and held it until the music stopped. Just like all my performances, the audience stood and clapped; but this young man I saw in the audience didn’t move at all. He actually looked like he was about to cry, which was strange because I had chosen my song to be a call to arms rather than emotional. Being who I was emotion was a strange concept; I wasn’t human but my parents were partly at least; my humanity was in question, I had no idea if I possessed any at all.
I walked off the stage to the back to get out of my old uniform from when I served in the navy; although I told people it was my fathers I went into the navy under my father’s name and since I was a wizren it was rather easy for me to help with the sea battles. As I put my dress back on there was a knock at the door. One of the stage hands, Sarah, came in. “Emily, there is a young man wanting to see you. He won’t tell me his name but he says he knows you. He won’t go away until he sees you.”
I finished zipping up the back of my dress and wondered if it was the same young man I had seen in the audience. “Odd, I never have visitors. Well, he may come in five minutes, I need to finish taking the stage makeup off. Thank you, Sarah; oh, and don’t forget to take a cookie on your way out. I know you like the extra chocolate chips.” Sarah smiled as she grabbed a cookie and left. The makeup was thick and very colorful and the fake blood I used to make my performance more lifelike was dry and was starting to peel off my face.
My five minutes was up and there was a knock on the door. I wasn’t quite finished taking off the stage makeup, but I was decent, “Come in,” the door opened very slowly. The boy from the audience who was about to cry walked in as expected. “Hey Emily.”
“May I help you with anything, uh, sir?”
“Emily, you can stop pretending, it’s me.”
I just gave him a confused look. Who did this boy think he was?
He let out a frustrated sigh, “Emily when you first found out you were a wizren instead…”
I couldn’t let him finish that sentence. I ran over to him and pushed him against the wall almost choking him. “How do you know that?”
“You really don’t remember do you?”
I dropped him. His words playing over and over in my head. “What is that supposed to mean?” he lowered his head and brought his hand to his throat coughing a little, “Wow, still have your iron grip huh?” I gave him a blank stare, everything he said didn’t make sense. My iron grip? I had never even seen this boy before; yet he was talking to me like we were old friends. Who was this boy and what did he want?
“Emily, you really don’t remember?”
He looked sad, like someone had stolen his favorite toy train and he lost it forever. In some strange way I thought it was cute. I shook my head; I had never had this kind of thoughts before. Who even was he? He got out his wallet and took out a picture. He took a step closer holding the picture out to me. I took a step back afraid of what I would see; as soon as I did I regretted it because the boy looked even sadder. He set the picture on the makeup desk and took a couple steps back.
I looked at the picture sitting face down on the desk. I didn’t want to look at what was on the other side; but my curiosity took over and my legs moved on their own towards the picture; my hands took the picture and flipped it over. It was a picture of the two of us in front of an ugly green car. We were looking at each other; almost like we were about to kiss with our arms around each other.
“Do you remember anything at all? Not even our secret passcode to sneak out of the room; most likely to make out?”
“What? I’ve never even had that kind of a relationship with anyone! How did you get this picture? Who even are you?”
“Emily…” he gave me another sad puppy face, “My name is Jason. I was your partner for the HICUP organization 5 years ago, then on one of our cases you were shot in the stomach. I carried you back to one of the private HICUP heath centers but the only one in the country at the time was abandoned and I had to take care of you myself. The wound was deep and you were in so much pain; so, I took the bullet out, stitched and wrapped the wound so you would hopefully stop bleeding to death. After you woke up from the sedatives I used you were delirious. And you said somethings that I believe you wanted to keep secret; you were so embarrassed those things had come out of your mouth,”
What did he mean HICUP? That sounded familiar, like something from a dream.
“Later the agency wanted to transfer me to another country. By this time, we were a thing, I know this must be weird to you but let me finish,” I closed my gaping mouth, Jason wasn’t exactly the ugliest boy in the world, he was quite the opposite; what am I thinking? “After I was transferred the agency put you undercover. They wouldn’t let me communicate with you at all, then the agency went offline; we couldn’t reach them at all. So my new partner and I were sent to find out what’s wrong, I thought you would know what’s going on.”
“I was an agent? I used my wizren powers for an agency?” he just gave me another puppy gaze. “An entire agency just vanished?” How did an agency just disappear? And somehow with my memory?
“Just one question,” he looked up at me, “am I the same person?” He looked confused. “Well since I don’t remember you or the agency or even something so traumatic as being shot; am I the same person?”
“Emily from what I’ve seen you do, nothing could change you. Not even losing your memories.” Bang! There was a gunshot from upstairs; I could hear screaming and people running. Something on Jason’s belt buzzed and he touched something in his ear. “Ok we’re on our way.” I had a feeling that Jason wasn’t planning on leaving me to fend for myself, which I guess was kind of sweet but I can take care of myself; apparently, I had already been shot before and survived!
“Emily, I know you aren’t going to like this, but I need you to come with me and my partner. It won’t be for very long, just trust me and come with me until we can figure out what’s going on and that you’re safe. Please?” before I could say anything someone started banging on the door; I heard another gunshot and instinct took over. I used my mind and willed everything heavy in the room to block the door.
“It still gets me every time.” Jason whispered under his breath. He grabbed my hand and started for the back exit; as soon as his skin touched mine, something in me broke a little. “Ahh,” I fell to the floor. I could see flashes. Flashes seemingly from past dreams.
“Emily what’s wrong?” something more snapped in me and I was taken back in time to a memory I had never known was mine.
I was crying on my front porch; sad that my life had taken yet another wrong turn and those that I had once called friends were now against me. It’s not that I couldn’t handle it; that has just happened over and over again; being betrayed was one of my specialties; I was holding a knife planning on ending my life so no one else would be harmed by my choices. I heard something from behind me and turned around. There he was, Jason, standing there looking concerned. “Emily what’s wrong?” and I didn’t even answer him, I about fainted and he caught me brought me inside and wouldn’t leave my side until I fell asleep.
“Emily!” he woke me up from my daze, “We don’t have time for this!” that was the last thing I heard him say before my world went dark.