Falling. I was falling helplessly passing parts of the sky in a split second.
The air was too thin. Winds too harsh.
Stale tears trickled down my cheeks, I was in shock, the whole world was now moving in slow motion.
Every passing moments represented all the parts that made up me; Evan, my mother, my father. All the people I subsequently left behind.
Maybe it was honestly for the best, truthfully I knew that surviving on my own was edging on absolutely impossible but one thing my father always managed to hammer into my head, was never stay in a place that’s mentally and emotionally draining, that’s how you truly lose yourself all the aspects, the hopes, the dreams, the aspirations, that make you, you. Gone. Never, ever find yourself in that situation.
Stupid really thinking it was the right thing to do.
But either way I’d be free, so I couldn’t really focus on the downfall, I hope Evan doesn’t miss me too much, gosh I never thought how he would take it.
Isaiah. Isaiah was the only explanation as to why human arms wrapped around me despite this enormous deceleration rate we were going at.
This abnormal amount of relief washed over me. I guess I’d live to fight another day.
With the adrenaline pumping in me, Isaiah flipped us over and in an instant that same luminous flash glowed and we landed on concrete, actual ground. Roughly I might add.
The force threw us into what I would assume a road, considering it was morning, rush hour was well ahead.
Pain radiated throughout my body, my legs especially burned. He really had to work on his shifting skills. We almost died due to whatever he had done wrong.
Steadily, I pried myself off the ground, dusting off any asphalt I collected along the way. Blasting horns brought me into real time, the noise of the streets and bystanders telling me to get out of the road, louder erupting horns. I was tempted to crouch and just let the earth swallow me whole, the incessant ringing added more salt to the wound. Concentrating was a difficulty right now.
As quickly as I landed, a hand hauled me out of the main road. Grabbing my face with both hands, forcing me to look directly into his now blue eyes.
Subsequently the ringing subsided, my vision somewhat returned to normal. Everyone resumed their daily routine not even a glance my way it was as if I could read their minds, just another one that couldn’t take it anymore, just another one that found a way out, a way they all longed for.
Their faces merged into one, marks of weakness, marks of woe. We were all the same. Right now there wasn’t any differentiation of race, gender, religion, social status everyone was treated equally. Equal respect, equal disrespect.
“Alexis are you okay?” His eyes scanned every inch of my face possibly looking for any major injuries.
But I was fine. I felt fine.
Pushing his hands away, I pursed my lips,“Yeah, I’m okay. Can you not fuss over me?”
Obeying my command it was followed with a frown and I couldn’t help but feel guilty, I guess I just had to keep reminding myself that he’s not an enemy.
“Sorry. Thank you though, for everything and you know saving my life. But you really need to work on your ‘shifting’ skills or what you seem to call it.” The old me would never accept my wrongdoings but it was time for changes, right? Everyone had to go through stages in their lives and overcome their flaws, these were one of mine.
“You’re welcome. But I’m the one that should be sorry, I don’t know what I even did wrong.” His frown deepened. I could tell he was having a hard time coming to terms of what almost happened. Almost.
“It’s okay, Isaiah. At least we didn’t end into any sort of body of water. Or a different country.”
That frown, cracked again into a faint smile. “I guess that’s a silver lining.”
“Yeah. Are you okay, though? You’re limping.” I glanced down at his leg, that was sticking at an unnatural position, he took the brunt of the fall, yet he looked completely fine. No pain. No excessive bleeding. Nothing.
“I’m fine. Come on. Let’s go. ” Forcing my eyes to meet his it held no malice whatsoever, more of understanding. He must have realised what I was trying to do. Yet, he gently nudged my forearm urging me to follow in his direction.
Blending in wasn’t exactly easy, both of us were painted with dirt on our clothes, hands. Scratches and bruises from the impact littered our faces. Not to mention that these clothes were starting to smell pretty ripe. But truth be told, this whole area was stinking a lot worst, trash scattered everywhere for the wind to pick up, faeces resided alongside the trash. Stray animals wrecked havoc everywhere, some were cemented into the roads, lifeless, some were eating the faeces and evidently the rubbish. The homeless fixed at different places, hunting for more roadkill as their dinner, fights erupted over it, knives drawn and the rest- history.
Shrouding his arm around the small of my back, Isaiah guided me and ensured my safety with him. This time he’d hear no complaints from me. This wasn’t the best place to find yourself walking alone, daylight or not.
“Just don’t draw attention to yourself.”
Glancing over to him, his face fell victim to series of cuts and green bumps and bruises. He was trying his best to conceal it but I knew he was in some sort of slight pain, he did take most of the fall.“Tiny bit hard don’t you think.”
Smirking he looked down, ” Yeah, with that beautiful face of yours, I imagine it would be quite hard. ”
I knew he was lying, in fact I was dreading to see the state of my face even worst my hair. ” Did they teach you how to be annoying at Nations, too?.”
Again he gave me that irritating grin, despite the state of his face he still managed to look all the more beautiful. I wondered if he truly knew the extent of his beauty. Feigning surprised he replied, ” Now, why wouldn’t they do that? Not everyone we go after are males.”
Rolling my eyes earned a laugh from him, “So what you mean to say, is that women are subjective to your flattery. Every single one?” The more we past through the streets, increasing our distance from the site of the crash, the more it began to dawn on me that I was falling through thin air and if he wasn’t there. I wouldn’t be walking next to him right now, or that creature that’s following us would have caught up and finished the job. He saved me. Twice.
“Not all. But some of my missions has ended in an interesting night.” He was ordered and collected, he seemed so responsible that it was hard imaging him slept with all these girls on the job. Especially, the people he’s actually after.
“You sleep with the people you’re trying to attain.”
“It’s not exactly like that. I don’t go out of my way to do it. Sometimes it just happens.”
“You seem to take your job, very seriously.” Why would he even tell me this?
Nevertheless he still smiled, not showing any offence taken. “I know a safe house not too far from here. Some people will be there. But we’d be safe.”
“Can they be trusted?”
“These people work alongside me. They’re my units. I trust them with my life.”
“The Nations assign us to different units, throughout. Normally, you’re given it when you come of age to go out to missions, but we were given it from birth. I’ve fought with most of them, my whole life.”
“If the Nations are so rich and power and distributed around Europe and some parts of the world. Why haven’t they investigated everything that’s happening here? Why can’t they give us answers?”
“There are limitations to what they can do, Alexis. Some of the agents are permanently stuck in certain countries, for one reason or the other. And there’s nothing the Nations can do to help them. We may be powerful, but we’re not invincible.”
“Isaiah, do you even trust me? What makes you think that I won’t out at this organisation. Which I know for a fact that no one is aware about. I think we deserve some truth to our lives.”
The next few minutes were silent filled, only the busy patter of footsteps was the only thing anchoring me to sanity, We’ve been walking for about ten minutes and still have no idea where we were or more importantly where we were going.
His burning gaze, piercing into me was so intense I was almost tempted to look away, almost. “Of course I do and if working for the Nations wasn’t a way that helped all people, I wouldn’t do it. But the more important question is if you trust me? You are putting your life in hands of a stranger.”
Did I trust him? I’m suspect he was waiting for what seemed like a reply but he wasn’t getting that at least not now. Yet again, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be so relaxed walking side by side with him.
Once again, he laughed. “Still as shut off as from the moment I met you-”
Was he serious? “You kidnapped me.”
Again he proceeded to give up on walking, staring me down this time the intensity was too extreme I shrunk back, not out of fear but his eyes were so expressive it was sort of painful to look at, all his emotions flowed out, “I saved your life and if that meant I had to do it again. I would. Without even a second thought.”
He was telling the truth.
Fifteen minutes later of speechlessly walking and mostly blending into the shadows we arrived to our destination, to be honest I was still trying to grasp what Isaiah told me, yes I mean it’s his mission to protect me but I never actually thought he really cared. Maybe I really should put my trust in him.
But then how many people have screwed me over, the people thought I’ve trusted the most. I shouldn’t be so naive to fall for his tricks. You’re better than this, sternly I had to remind myself.
You get nothing from putting your faith in others.
The vast change of environment slightly stunned me, coming out from the vast busy, crazy streets into somewhat quiet green area, the complex more like a skyscraper which merged to appear as a single mansion without a doubt looked out of place with the rest of the greenery. But, this couldn’t possibly be our destination.
I did a double take on his face trying to suss out any hints of humour in his statement but no, he was actually being honest.
He watched me for a minute as I was trying comprehend how this could be a safe house, “What?” One side of his lips pulled into a smirk.
“You’re joking right, this cannot be it. I thought you said a couple people were here, not hundreds. Are you sure we won’t be found here?”
He was standing so close that when his laugh erupted, the vibration emitted over to me, giving me such warmth. Maybe it was Isaiah himself, he just seemed to radiated heat.
“I’m sure and I’m not lying. I guess they like us to live comfortably, we can die in any one of our missions and they know that. Might as well enjoy ourselves.”
It was utterly confusing why his last comment left an empty pit in my stomach. How incredibly sad. Your whole life, handed to people that just wanted to use you for their personal gain.
Scratching his head, his smiled., “Maybe that’s why it’s forbidden to fall in love, it complicates things.”
“You’re not allowed to fall in love at all. So, you have no one to share your life with. That sounds extremely-“”
“Lonely.” Asserting himself finishing my sentence for me, he didn’t think that I captured that flash of sadness , I did, before it disappeared behind a grin, "I know. It could be worst. I mean most of us were orphanages, we’d be living of scraps on the street. They adopted us and made us one of their own.”
Ever since everything happened, the whole economy worldwide turned upside down one of the many consequences was that money wasn’t going into orphanages they were starving, orphans unfortunately started dropping like flies, murders of innocent children just to get more food round, worldwide governments shut all of them down, some were lucky getting taking in by families that were willing to help but most were scrubbing on the streets. It was worst in India, they had to be herded into a government facilities completely against their own will. No one has seen them since.
" And turned you into their own personal servants, risking your lives. Strange thing for family to do, don’t you think? What happens if they even find out? Do you get punished?”
I didn’t expect him to look so shocked, surprised even. “They do what they need to and so do we, Alexis. It’s the way the world works. My guess is that we’re stripped of our titles, or rankings but if it’s seen as an extreme case it’s left in the hands of the director.”
“So, they haven’t found out about you yet and your extracurricular activities?”
He knew what I was hinting to and just laughed. “Sleeping with people, is vastly different from falling in love, Alexis. Anyway, I didn’t peg you as a caring one.”
Intentionally he searched my eyes trying to bring me to lock eyes with him, eventually I gave in, “There’s a lot you don’t know about me Isaiah.”
“Isaiah!” A blob of blonde followed with the voice of a women running from the entrance of the complex and practically tackled him. Tightening her embrace around him, he returned it back with almost the same ferocity. Almost. But the fact she was so openly free with him was slightly upsetting. With the way she was with him, they had to be something.
Nevertheless any creeping feelings for him left. Back to square one.
She pulled away examining his face before frowning, gazing back into his eyes, “I was so worried. Your intercom went offline. My gosh, I thought you were dead Isaiah.” Wrapping him back in an even tighter hug, she whispered what she’d like to think was just to him but, it was loud enough for me to hear every word. “Don’t even do that again to me, okay?”
She pulled away, smiling and he returned the favour, silently nodding, ” I’m sorry.”
“I’m just glad you’re okay.” Cupping his cheek in her hand, tenderly stroking his cheek.
Someone broke the lingering silence, but this voice didn’t come from either of them or me, it sounded stern, calculating even, “Veronica, enough. We have surveillance everywhere, you don’t want people getting the wrong ideas... ” I’m guessing it’s the fact that they couldn’t fall in love. But where was this surveillance? Scanning the area, a couple of trees and short shrubs came into view, no camera, nothing.
Tracing back to the voice to see two tall boys and one girl, one standing up his brown mousy hair and bright eyes, human eyes, cupping his hands over his mouth in an attempt to possibly give Veronica a hard warning, but the other was leaning on the metal door entrance looking somewhat amused with this situation but then his eyes fell onto me and his piercing green eyes didn’t leave mine. Lock down. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking and I couldn’t read him, I don’t know what made me more terrified. One thing I knew was he wasn’t coming from hateful intentions but that was about it. Even after breaking contact I still felt him burning daggers into the side of my cheek.
Swaying her way over, the second girl, her skin resembled that of eclipsed sun, close to mine but not quite, but still exceedingly beautiful, everything drew me to her, her glistening skin, her broad nose perfect for her face, her warm eyes and bouncy hair. The black boots contrasting with her white skin tight top and ripped jeans. Definitely the epitome of beauty.
Tugging me into a strong hug, pulling back she looked over to Isaiah, ” So this is the saviour of the world then? Well they’ve made a good choice.” But what did she mean, saviour of the world? Was it the Nations code for something?
Isaiah grinned, “Nice to see you again Zee. I hope you’re putting Jordon in check.” Nodding over to where one of the boys where, following her gaze landing on the boy closer to us the look on her eyes were blooming. So much love. It was clear. I wonder if Nations discovered about them, yet.
Another set of daggers pierced into the side of my face it was as if this was the first time ‘Veronica’ actually noticed my existence, our gazes locked her hazel eyes. She beamed at me what seemed like a smile twisted into a slight grimace. “Why didn’t you introduce me?” She threw the question to Isaiah but her focus never left mine. If she thought she was intimidating me, she was deeply mistaken. Returning back the harsh stare Isaiah intuitive eyes scanned the current situation, he could visibly see and feel the tension, rotating his stare between the both of us he frowned.
“Yeah, I was planning too. You didn’t really give me a chance.”
Her next move more or less startled me, she draped her arm through my arm urging me forward, she flicked a gesture to Zee, like they were connect through a hive mind she instantly trapped my other free arm leading me closer and closer towards the entrance, passing the other boys, making their way to formally greet Isaiah, the staring boy pushed himself of the door in a swift motion his green orbs still penetrating mine, all their moves quick, precise, calculated.
That would explain why I hadn’t had the time to edge in a quick disappointed response, on their part at least.
“We’re going to make you up so well. We never get visitors, I’m so excited.” Veronica piped, far too happy for her own good. It wasn’t comfortable having people you’ve only met for the first time, tell you all of that.
Protesting, I tried to stop in my tracks but the strength of them combined was too much, “I don’t need a makeover.”
A makeover? At this time seemed a little inappropriate, considering this world was practically starving, but their biggest concern was makeup
“It’s not a makeover, you’re already stunning, more like a clean up.” Zee attempted to reassure me like that would ease my nerves.
Being there in unknown territory wasn’t exactly satisfactory never mind the incessant grabbing.
Straining my head back, seeing the boys standing in unison.
Isaiah. I could clearly read behind his message. For some reason, it seemed he knew a lot more about me than he was letting on. Everything in his blue orbs screamed at me to go with them, enjoy myself and possibly make the friends I never could.
Reassuringly he smiled, which reduced my nerves, ironically now I was terrified of why I felt his smile, his presence, him, so calming.