I was barely seven years old when my mother woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me the worst had happened. To tell me that we were only moments away from fleeing our home in Sicily.
The rioting had gotten so bad that the government had no choice but to step in. The law that my mother and so many others had been fighting against had been passed. In the morning we were all to be rounded off and shipped off to containment camps for extermination. That is what we were now, pests that needed to be killed off. Because of a flaw in our genetic code everyone like us had been deemed unfit and unsafe to live amongst the general public. Too unstable to live at all.
My mother had been preparing for something like this to happen. Ever since the scientist stumbled across the Lakelyn Gene, named after the small girl they had tortured before making their discovery during a supposed clinical trial, my mother had been on high alert. She knew how people would react to this discovery. She knew it wouldn’t be long before they came for us.
The scientist who discovered the gene also discovered that at least twenty percent of the world’s population had the mutated gene inside of them; giving them abilities that had never been seen before. Pyrokinesis, shape shifting, mind control and a whole handful of other abilities that scared the shit out of so called normal people. Abilities the government was not too pleased with us having without their knowledge. They began calling us “Warped.”
Luckily for us, not all countries decided to handle their “Warped problem” in the same manner that Italy and the other European countries had decided to. Not all believed that killing us off was the best solution. Some countries, like America, decided to handle the issue in a more civilized manner.
The American government had taken it upon themselves to open their borders to those seeking refuge. They instituted the “Americans with Warped DNA Act,” or AWDA. This allowed some of us to enter the country, granted we took the proper steps. All Warped seeking sanctuary were required to register with the government, divulge their abilities, give a blood sample and follow the strict rules put in place to protect non-Warped. If they did all of this they were granted temporary citizenship. Refuse to register and get discovered, or break a rule, and you risk deportation. It didn’t matter if you had lived in the United States your entire life. Being Warped somehow made you less of a citizen then others.
Weeks before the rioting increased to all out hell, my mother had secured us passage on a ship heading for America. We were smuggled into the country under the nose of the government and left on our own. It was our choice whether or not we wanted to register. The coyotes who had smuggled us in didn’t care. If you had the money then they could get you anywhere you wanted to go. But once your feet hit land you were left to fend for yourself.
She thought she had hit the jackpot. She thought we would get a fresh start. She thought we would be safe.
Two years later they came for her.
She had gotten a job in the sorting department of the local post office. Months of practice and failed jobs had taught her that, if you act like nothing is wrong with you, then people would assume that you have nothing to hide. She had perfected the act of passing as normal. Everything was going fine. Or at least she thought it was. In the end, acting normal is what got her into trouble.
During their annual office Christmas party one of her co-workers husbands had made a pass at my mother. She had shot the man down but that didn’t matter. Her co-worker had been consumed by jealousy. She contacted the Warped Assessment Force, better known as WAF, claiming she had seen my mother do something only a Warped could do. The woman’s goal was to embarrass her. Get her fired. She couldn’t have know the events that would unfold due to a simple act of jealousy.
Had it not been for Richelle, the older woman who babysat me while my mother was at work, I would have been taken in as well. We watched from the safety of her back porch as my mother was pulled from the house and handcuffed. Naturally my mother fight back. She was shot and killed, right there in the street.
Richelle cared for me as if I was her own daughter. She used what little contacts she had to come up with forged documentation stating that she had adopted me from some out of town, government run foster home.
She taught me how to blend in. How to protect myself. Everything I would need to know to keep myself from being discovered.
Last year, a week after my birthday, the cancer finally claimed her. Once again I was left all alone in a world that wanted nothing more than to kill me. To punish me for what I was.
When the lawyers called me into their office I was informed that she had left everything to me; the house and what little money was left in the bank.
I later discovered the letter she had left for me, hidden under a drawer in her dresser. I don’t think I have cried that hard since my mother died.
What happened to your mother was terrible but I hope our time together has taught you that we are all not the same. I know I could never replace her but please know that I never saw you as anything less than my own flesh and blood. It has been a pleasure to watch you turn into the fine woman you are today. Don’t let this life harden you. You are not a monster. You are not worth less because of what you are. Remember everything I taught you. You must fight for the live you deserve. Do not let them find out what you are. I love you.
Forever and always,