The Scarlet Tower

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The Pink Haired Girl

3 days till move

I told Annika not to go to school today. I needed her to come with me somewhere. She guessed what it was, she was the second girl I found. She then helped me recruit the rest. I was supposed to tell her about how good of a princeps Annika would be, but something about having her know, truly know what I was doing made me hesitant. I was going soft, I needed to be around her. She had a way about her, a way to make everything seem like we had to all of this shit. Almost like she could change thoughts but that was crazy, she wouldn’t do that. I had known her for almost 20 years now, so why would she lie to me.

Before she saved me, I was in Spain for a time but what happened there is fuzzy. All I can truly remember of my past is that nightmare, sometimes strange sudden flashes of memories and then her finding me. The memories seem to always start coming back the longer I am away from the tower. Showing I had to get back soon, it was obvious I didn’t want to remember those memories.

It was around mid-day when Annika and I left the house and walked for a long time. We walked in silence, my past hanging heavy on my mind, what Annika was thinking about I had no idea.

We reached some train tracks and followed them. The reason we were out now was that I had sensed that some girl with new powers was somewhere around here. I brought Annika due to her ability to sense and change emotions. Girls who had just found their powers can be very dangerous as well as more likely than not suicidal. I was careful to keep my emotions back behind a thick wall, if Annika could feel my dread, guilt, and sadness she would question me. I couldn’t let that happen we had too much that had to be done. Everything would be just fine once we got to the tower, something I had to keep repeating to myself.

We both saw the girl sitting on the edge of the tracks. Annika gave me a look which meant she was feeling badly, which was obvious she was crying softly and looked like she was thinking of jumping off the bridge. She was a young thing probably around 13 or so. I could tell that she was one of us, but I couldn’t tell what type she was since her powers were so underdeveloped. We walked up to her and sat on either side of her. She looked up startled and a touch defensive. Again, not a surprise, I had been told I was intimidating, I my long red hair was pulled back into a ponytail and I was in jean shorts and a tank top showing of how fit I was. I did train often, Annika on the other hand was beautiful with blond hair and green eyes, but something about her was always a touch unsettling. Like a doctor who always knew the worst things about you. Being the princeps I spoke first.

“Hi there, let me guess you have been an outcast because you have powers” I say getting straight to the point she nodded. I smiled at her sweetly. The young ones were the easiest to have join. They didn’t know how to take care of themselves, the older ones who had been able to survive needed more convincing.

“Why don’t you come with us then? We give homes to those who don’t have one because they are powerful like you.” Annika says the girl looks back and forth between us then nods. Her eyes tended to linger a bit too long on me. Part of it may have been because she could feel my power. The worse option was that she could tell something was off with me. The girl agreed and walked with us. Something about the way she so quickly agreed with us had me a touch suspicious. It was almost too easy.

I forced myself to ignore my doubts and think of how she would be so pleased that another one was found.

Annika gave her a tissue to clean her face and escorted her to the house for testing. We only had a few more days until we would leave but she could still be useful depending on her powers.

After introducing her to everyone and giving her some food, I took her to the basement. Testing was simple we sat in the training room and followed some exercises. I had her sit on the mat and close her eyes. I asked her to imagine a wall between her and everything else. That was the most important thing, not only does it prevent any unwanted attention from others who are not on our side. But it also kept that dangerous thing in the back of our minds blocked. Which was why it was so bad that It was breaking through the wall because of that boy, it would destroy you if you let it. That is the first thing she taught me.

After a wall I asked to her become at peace and tell me what she felt around her. She sat for a moment thinking then spoke.

“you are wondering what type of powers I have. You also are thinking of driving to the scarlet tower not taking a plane and there is a boy with green eyes but then it is all fuzzy.” She said her eyebrows furrowed in concentration. I felt my heart stop.

“How was that?” she asked smiling, I faked a smile and patted her head.

“Very good. Now don’t tell anyone about your power yet alright?” I asked and she nodded and went upstairs. She glanced back, something in her look made me feel like I had just been played. I shook my head it was just me being paranoid.

I went to my room and sat down. I concentrated holding a small mirror and contacted her. She answered after a few minutes her image smiling back at me. She had soft gray hair and a stern face, but she smiled slightly when she saw me. Her smile never reached her eyes.

“Arlie. Good to see you alive. When are you coming home?” she asked always business, I had been away from home for about 3 years finding, more like collecting the girls. Collecting them and bring them in to a horror filled world, part of me felt that it would be better if I never found them. I ignored that I just needed to get back to the tower.

“In three days so on Sunday.” I say and she nodded and made a note somewhere.

“How many girls have you found?” She asked this was the topic I had to talk to her about

“I have 6 with me now.” I say and she smiled widely

“A good amount, you have gained one since we last talked.” She said looking pleased, she was about to not be pleased.

“Yes, she is young we found her a few days ago. She was feeling outcast and debating suicide. We saved her.” I say she nodded but didn’t seem interested in my words. She was writing down something, most likely battle plans. I always felt like she didn’t care how many girls died she only cared about how many monsters died. But there was always casualties in war.

“What is her power?” she asked, this was the bad part. I mentally prepared myself to be yelled at. She noticed I didn’t answer right away and looked up staring at me through the mirror, she wouldn’t ask twice.

“She is a mind reader, more powerful than I have ever come across before.” I say she looked extremely upset and angry.

“You have not taken care of her? Why did you not send her away? She is dangerous, and you are jeopardizing everything we have worked for.” She said her voice was not raised but it still made me tremble slightly and be happy I was in another state from her. She was dangerous like this.

“She is a child and would die on her own.” I say she glared harder

“She needs to die. You have gotten soft. We will speak more of this when you get here, and don’t you dare bring that vial creature to the tower. She must be killed.” She ordered and disconnected the mirror from her own. I sighed and felt like crying. I was soft, too soft.

(princeps Latin for leader)

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