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Chapter Thirty: Natalia

The electricity in the air only intensified, making the hairs on my arm stand up straight. "Don't move!" a guard shouted at me.

I tapped my foot against the ground. Anxiety was seeping in the air from everyone in the courtyard. They hadn't expected me to show up out of nowhere. I had them on edge. Good.

"The officer behind you will escort you to where you need to go." My arm was snatched up and I was half dragged, half led to my destination.

We walked up a couple flights of stairs and down a long, empty hallway before the officer stopped outside of a door. I looked around thinking I'd see someone, but the hallway remained empty.

The officer threw me into the room I'd seen in my dreams. It was dark with the single light bulb swinging in the very center of the room. Melinda and my parents were standing in a perfectly straight line, watching the darkness in front of them. I could sense two additional people in the room, one was a Molecular and the other an Electro, Jesse's parents.

"Natalia, I presume." The man with midnight hair appeared at the edge of the light. His steel green eyes glowed as they looked at me. The man looked so much like Jesse.

"Yes."

Both of my parents risked a glance in my direction. They weren't too thrilled to see me standing before them. Melinda didn't look over, but I saw the edges of her lips angle up. She was happy to see me. The torture would stop now that the TWA had me.

"It's so nice to finally meet you. Your disappearance caused a lot of chaos within the TWA."

I slowly moved deeper into the room, assessing the situation. I had to be ready to make my escape at a moment's notice. "What made me rattle the mighty TWA?"

The man smiled. "Don't play coy."

I licked my lips. My heart was beating a mile a minute and the man knew it. It was like he could hear every time my heart smacked against my rib cage. "How did you guys find out about me?"

The man chastised me. "We don't give up our secrets so easily."

He was playing with me the way a cat plays with a mouse before killing it; I didn't like the new role I was cast to play. "I was always careful."

The man grabbed the light bulb above him to steady it. "You slipped up."

He was grasping at straws and I could finally see it. The TWA only thought I was a Telepath because my parents were. They had no idea if I was one or what kind until I showed them today in the courtyard. That was why they were all so on edge. They weren't ready for a Molecular. They were waiting for a Storm.

"I didn't though. I've covered my tracks thoroughly until today." I was beginning to gain some of my confidence back. "I hung out with a soon-to-be Trainee at my school and attended one of those famous parties Anthony the Molecular throws with tons of soon-to-be and TWA trainees in attendance. Yet, not a single person there detected me."

I walked right up to the man, Jesse's father. "So I didn't slip up, Molecular Officer Gaines. Tell me then how you figured out my family and I were Telepaths."

Molecular Officer Gaines smiled. "You're a very clever girl." He let the light bulb go. "You're correct that we never caught you using your powers. That's not how we found you." My heart dropped into my stomach, silencing the annoying thumping for a second. "Come here." I hesitated. "I won't hurt you."

Molecular Officer Gaines walked over to a desk at the edge of the light bulb's reach. He shuffled some papers together before handing me a thick pile of paper. The shiny and slick feel told me they were photographs. "I'll give you some time to look these over and speak with your parents." He beckoned his wife out of the darkness. They exited the room together.

I held the pile of pages in my hand, afraid of what they would show me. Before turning them over, I ran my finger over each edge, counting ten pages of mistakes I made over the years. I turned to look at my parents, huddled with Melinda at the other end of the light's range. They didn't care about the contents of the pages. The only thing they cared about was the consequences that followed each transgression.

I sat down on the edge of the desk, contemplating whether or not I should look at the photos. It didn't matter what mistakes I made over the years to get on the TWA's radar. I was already on it and in their clutches. The pictures wouldn't change that.

But my curiosity won out. I lowered my head as I flipped the pages over. I flipped through each page, quicker than the last in total disbelief. This can't be happening.

Every page was blank.

My fingers clenched into fists with the paper still within their grips. I crunched the massive pile into a large ball. I ran for the door Jesse's parents exited through. "I don't understand." I pounded against the metal door repeatedly, feeling my skin break and heal in a vicious cycle.

This couldn't be happening. There was no way. Why were the pages blank? "I don't understand!" I screamed, no response.

The world around me began to spin out of control. I searched for the nearest wall before collapsing to the ground. I placed my back against the wall, anchoring myself to reality in hopes that it would stop spinning around me.

The TWA never had evidence I was a Telepath until I gave it to them. All they knew were the people I lived with were Telepaths, but I could've been a human adopted by a few rogue Telepaths.

No. That wasn't right.

They knew I was a Telepath even before they grabbed my parents. They knew it was me all along in that school filled with humans. I'd been in Melinda's head as well, conversing with Molecular Officer Gaines. They sense my presence every time. Hell, Molecular Officer Gaines called me "Great Telepath." They knew what I was. They knew without any evidence to prove it.

I hugged my knees close to my chest. "No." My life was slipping through my fingers too quickly. "No."

The space around me shuddered before a portal ripped open beside me. It felt familiar to me, like I'd sensed this presence before. But it didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. I continued to stare at the wall in front of me. They always knew.

"Natalia," said a voice muffled by the blood pumping in my ears. "Come on." Someone was pulling my arm and I let them. "Natalia," they said harsher.

I turned my head to see the person beside me. It was a guy with medium length, jet black hair that fell just at his eyes. His eyes were a vibrant emerald that twinkled in the dim lighting. They were eyes I could never forget. I screamed, flailing my arms about. He couldn't take me. I wasn't letting the TWA get me.

The guy's hand clamped down over my mouth, muffling my panicked screams. "Sh. You're going to alert someone. It's me. Jesse."

My parents and Melinda rushed over to the portal. "What's going on?" asked my mom. They eyed Jesse, who was standing in front of his portal attempting to drag me in. "Who the hell are you?"

Jesse removed one of his hands from my arm and waved to my parents. "I'm Jesse. I've been seeing your daughter for some time now." I rolled my eyes.

Both of my parents' eyes fell on me. They were not happy. this was the second Telepath in almost two week that I'd brought them even thought they forbade it. "We will discuss this later," said my mom.

Jesse and my dad helped me get to my feet. "Where are you taking us?" asked my dad.

I was able to get to my feet, but my knees were making it incredibly hard to stay there. "A Rebel base."

We never made it into the portal sitting six inches from where we stood. A high pitched whistling sound filtered into the room through large speakers. The portal deteriorated in front of us first before our own ears picked up on the whistling.

My body began to shake and my jaw locked itself down so I wouldn't bite off my own tongue. My brain felt like it was being scrambled from the inside from an unforgiving whisk. My already shaky knees gave out on me, causing me to fall weirdly on my arm. I heard the snap loud and clear over the high pitch whistle. I tried to move my hands over my ears to soften the sound, but one of my arms refused to move the way I wanted, the other was just too slow to react.

My eyes began to roll into the back of my head. The last sight I had was of the light bulb swaying once more. My eyes fell shut. I welcomed the darkness with open arms once more.

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