1 Year later...
The shrine I’m kneeling in front of is one of many littering the city streets. I place down a candle and some flowers that I got from a corner store. A small picture of a toothless -yet smiling- Millie is framed and hooked to the side of a building.
She’s been missing since the day of the Awakening. That’s what we all decided to call it. When magic awoke and “infected” almost everyone between the ages of 16 and 24. They say that only about one percent of that age population was unaffected. Some say that I’m one of the lucky ones, that I don’t have to go into hiding or be taken away by SIFA (Supernatural Inspection Force Agency). Where I would be experimented on, or maybe even put out of my misery. But as I sit here mourning a woman I used to see every day and taking in the glares of each passerby, I don’t know how true that is.
I stand up and wipe the dust and grime off my jeans. My watch beeps and I let out a small curse as I realize I have my weekly checkup.
I walk casually to my next destination, knowing that if I run it will cause more ruckus then if I didn’t. People are scared of the young nowadays. What we are capable of. So, slowly I walk with my head facing forward, avoiding as much eye contact as I possibly can.
The streets are full of people, none are my same age. Sparks fly from the corners of buildings every few minutes when the lights become too overwhelmed with power. There’s too much electricity in the air. Everything in the city has changed. Even though it’s busy, the lack of hobos and street sellers is noticeable. Then of course there are the army trucks that make their rounds through the city and remind us that life will never be the same.
I wrinkle up my nose at the smell of crusty trash and pee. At least the smell hasn’t changed...
Lining up for my checkup is probably the easiest part of my week; the line is always short. I only know about fifty other kids in the city that haven’t turned, disappeared or moved away. The numbers are always dwindling though.
“Hi Lark.” An older girl named Abigail greets me as I show my identification card to the armed guard. “The clouds are sad today.” She says and smiles up at the sky.
“Hey Abby, is that all the forecast you’ve got for me today?” I ask her, she’s got down syndrome but it doesn’t slow her down one bit. She is the best person to have a conversation about the weather with. I look forward to them because she can usually put me in a better mood.
“No,” she giggles. “It will be partly cloudy until six, then the rain will start and won’t stop until tomorrow afternoon.”
“The clouds really are sad today, aren’t they?”
“Yes. Did you hear ’bout Jordan?” she asks me quietly as we finally step into the building.
“What about Jordan?” I ask, feeling my heart sink. I think I might already know.
“He was taken by SIFA last night. My mama said he was a demon.”
“Did they just take him? I mean, I saw him last week and he was fine. There weren’t even any signs that he was-”
“Miss. Reynolds.” A voice interrupts me. It’s Dr. Jene, she’s been my so called ‘doctor’ for the last few months. “Come on in, it’s your turn.”
I force a smile at Abby then follow the Doc into the examination room.
“See you next week.” She calls out. “Or not.”
Her lasts words reach me just as the door shuts and I feel a large pit in my stomach. So much for her putting me in a better mood.
“Sit down, please.” Doc says making me jump a small bit. I comply and sit on the white exam table. “Have you been having headaches recently?”
Straight to business I see.
“No more then usual.” I say and she gives a me a look. “I had one last night but it was just because I didn’t drink enough water during the day. Once I had some, I was fine.”
She writes something on her notepad then grabs a thermometer from her desk. “Have you experienced any strange happenings lately such as unusual urges, craving, excessive strength or visions?” she asks as she checks my temp, ears and throat.
When she mentions visions, I think about the dreams I’ve been getting each night. The ones that either contain images of my best friend ripping me to pieces or people I don’t recognize dying before my eyes. They’re always screaming so loud and yelling out words I can’t quite make out.
“No, nothing out of the ordinary.” I decide should be answer.
“Ordinary is no longer an existent term.” She mumbles under her breath before writing some more things down in her notes. “We’re going to have to take another blood test today.”
“I’ve already had my blood test for this month.” I protest.
“Well due to unforeseen events I have been instructed to take another one.”
“No buts. This is just how it is. Unless you want me to get a SIF’er in here to hold you down, I suggest you lay out your arm.” She spits at me and I want nothing more than to give her a piece of my mind.
Tell her how her pixie cut would look better on a toad, and how she smells like moldy sour croute. I restrain myself though and put my arm out so she can stick a needle in it.
The rest of the checkup went smoothly. I answered truthfully to all the rest of her questions and then was allowed to leave. They gave me my new identification, saying that I was in processing until I got my blood test back but otherwise, I wasn’t dangerous.
I walk out of the clinic and make my way towards the university. There are only two classes that I have each day so my schedule isn’t super busy. Because of the new set curfew, I don’t have much time for anything. 10:30 AM is when I can leave my apartment and 6 PM is when I have to be back. It sucks.
The class isn’t very full when I arrive, there’s never been more than ten students at a time and usually they’ve been in their thirty’s or older.
Today I have phycology 1, which is a fairly easy class. The professor is nice to me so that’s really all that matters. A lot of the teachers here won’t let me take their classes which is a big downer. I’ve had to do a lot of things online and let me tell you it’s harder than it seems.
I start scribbling down notes as the professor begins to speak. There’s a whisper next to me and I turn quickly to see who it is... but no one’s there. I look behind me to find I’m all alone. Everyone else has sat on the other side of the room. Away from me. I shake off the disembodied voice and look back to the front of the room, only to hear another sharp whisper on my other side. I try to ignore it but soon the whispers start coming from all directions. My hands itch to come up and cover my ears but I know the scene that would cause. Headaches are the first ‘symptom’ of the turning... but this is no head ache.
My eyes search the room for anyone that might be doing this, that maybe it’s a prank of some kind. The voices are persistent and just get louder and louder while the rest of the room seems unfazed.
When I look to the front again an unfamiliar woman is standing to the side of the white board. Blood is seeping from her forehead and she’s covered in a layer of dust. Glass and other assortments of shrapnel are sticking out of her skin. A look of terror is plastered on her flushed face.
Her hand rises and she points directly at me. Words begin to tumble out of her mouth, seeming to scramble before they can reach my ears. The voices soon become overwhelming and I can’t help but to cover my ears. They’re persistent and only seem to become louder with each passing second.
The woman moves closer towards me and with each step the room starts to close in. There’s a hard tickle in the back of my throat that’s preventing me from speaking out, from telling whoever is doing this to stop.
I squeeze my eyes shut but as soon as I do, the voices yell for me to open them. My muscles tense and my breathing quickens.
I can’t take it anymore. Everything’s too loud and my throat is on fire.
I slam my hands onto the table and watch as the women freezes. The voices halt for a small second and my harsh breathing is the only noise to be heard.
Then just like that the voices begin to scream in my ears and all I can do is scream with them.