A whole week was spent leisurely before Helena was called to the Rehabilitation Center, RC for short, for some check-ups. The call had come from the usual way, the mail, but it left the girl feeling like there was something more to it than just checking how she was doing.
"Do you have any problems walking? Moving around in general too," asked the nurse sitting before her.
The brunette girl thought about it, she didn’t feel much difference between moving in the game and moving in real life, she was good. Ultimately she nodded at the question.
"That’s good. Most people have problems walking for a few days‒" the teenager zoned out the instant she realized her nurse was a blabbermouth.
“Ah, would you look at that wall? Such a beautiful white color,” she thought to herself, observing her surroundings.
She knew the room like the palm of her hand. It was the room she had been assigned upon entering the RC, place from which she could access the game and have the regular check-ups. She was number 44, while her sister was 51.
"How are you feeling emotionally?" the nurse asked, snapping the girl out of her daydream.
"Emotionally...?" the younger repeated cautiously, not sure she had heard that right. When did a normal person ever ask an Alter how they were feeling emotionally?
The older woman nodded slowly, she wasn’t even sure as to why she had to reassure the girl that she had heard right. Many told her she was a bit airheaded, but at least she knew what were the questions she was supposed to ask her patient.
"Is that so? That’s good."
Truthfully, she had been already told that the girl would have answered something among those lines, but actually hearing her say it with such an empty expression... She felt like she was failing as an adult, not being able to help someone so young.
"I will submit the results of the check-up. Please wait here a moment," she informed the teenager, walking to the door with her tablet in hand.
“Did she say something just now?” Helena wondered, walking out the door shortly after the woman had gone.
She walked down a long corridor of doors, an all too familiar place to her. Looking left and right, she saw that all the name tags were still there.
“Why am I even looking at the name tags?” she briefly wondered, confused at her own actions. Was she searching for someone in specific? She didn’t really know people under her number, so why was she going down the corridor as if she was searching for someone in particular?
Abruptly, she stopped in front of a door with no name tag. It was room number 28, on her side and just two doors away from hers.
Curiosity overcame her as she stepped closer to the door. The tag was surely there until some time ago, it must have been removed in the four years she was out of it. Why it was removed bugged her greatly, urging her to open that door.
Grabbing the handle, she let herself be consumed by the urge, however it wouldn’t budge.
“A locked room? In the RC?” now she was even more curious. Curiosity wasn’t one of her fondest traits, it often got her in trouble when she was younger, but there were times in which she just couldn’t resist wanting to know certain things.
"Miss Kingsbery?" a voice called from down the corridor.
Helena hurriedly let go off the handle and backed away from the door. It was as if she had been possessed into finding out the mystery behind the room.
"Yes...?" the teen drawled, prolonging each letter as she slowly turned around to see who had called her.
It was one of the many nurses inside the building, one she was not even sure of ever seeing in her whole life there. That fact bothered her, and even more because the woman knew her name.
"If your check-up is done, please head over to the examination room," the woman told her, before disappearing off to somewhere.
"Not that place..." the girl grumbled under her breath, walking down the corridor.
The examination room was a well known place to Alters, especially to those whose powers went often out of control, like hers. Basically it was where they were treated even less as human beings.
Upon standing in front of that door, the girl hesitated for the first time ever. The door itself radiated coldness, the kind of coldness one could only feel upon death, and the proportions of it made her feel even more insignificant than she already was. Last time she stood in front of this door was when she was not even half its height, and, she was sure that at that time, she was not feeling as scared as she was now.
She tapped on the door once and slide open, letting her feel more of that deathly coldness. Inwardly she shivered, all the bad memories of the place were coming back to her.
“Me...mories?” something inside of her wasn’t clicking right. She was forgetting something, something extremely important.
"Miss Kingsbery, on the examination table please," the doctor ordered, the ‘please’ he had uttered was just a form of courtesy considering the tone with which he had said it.
Helena took off her jacket and lied down on the steel examination table. They didn’t even care enough to put a mattress over it, those were the small bits of discrimination an Alter had to suffer, however the girl didn’t care, she didn’t experience enough of the world to know how it was to be treated as a human being before she got those powers.
"The status of your power?" the doctor asked, after having connected all the necessary cables to her body.
"I haven’t been using it for four years, it tends to surface randomly," she explained, feeling talkative with the anti-social man.
A nod was all she got, and she certainly didn’t miss when he typed into the computer the words: ‘powers out of control’. Simply, she decided that getting angry wouldn’t solve the problem.
Now that was a question that didn’t click right with her.
"What does my memory have to do with all of this?" Helena questioned, her tone seemingly calm but seething.
"Answer the question."
"Perfectly fine," she spat out, sitting up on the table and facing the older man.
Without waiting for him to dismiss her, she got on her feet and stormed out the room. Something inside of her was boiling, boiling in anger.
“I just knew it. There was something wrong with this check-up,” she thought, walking briskly though the rehabilitation facility, searching for that unused exit she had discovered years ago while trying to run away from the place.
The place wasn’t guarded so she could easily sneak out without getting caught. She now stood outside, free to do as she liked.
Taking a deep breath, she uttered two words and disappeared. All that was left in her place was air.
Helena reappeared inside her room. Her calm expression was gone as soon as she realized what had happened. She had ‘teleported’ from the center to her room, in the outskirts of the city.
“My powers...? But how...?” she asked herself, trying to come up with a reasonable explanation in this illogical world.
Her power was called Void, and the void was something that didn’t have matter, something that, in other words, didn’t exist.
"First void, Void of Power. It nullifies other people’s powers," she mumbled, hoping that listing the forms she could use might help her figure out the mystery. "Second void, Void of Gravity.."
As she pondered more and more on the effect of her second void, she realized something. Her second form involved the deletion of gravity, not just the nullification of it as she used to think. Her new form must have been able to teleport her by deleting the air, to get where she was she must have deleted space and distance.
"Fifth void, Void of Movement."
It finally came to her, those two words she said before teleporting. Her power didn’t just have 3 forms; there were more, how many they were, however, she couldn’t remember. At the moment she was certain she had five, of which one was missing from her memory.
"Memory?" she mumbled confused. The whole day had revolved around that specific word.
She wracked her brain in search of an answer. She concluded that people around her knew, they were also keeping quiet about it, so she was the only missing something.
"Memory... Void... Mem‒Four years ago!" she realized that her answer was there all along.
Her four year denial of reality. Why had she done something like that? She didn’t know, and that was her answer. Her answer was not knowing why she did something. Not knowing meant no memories, and no memories meant that her fourth form was capable of erasing memories. Four years ago something must have happened to make her erase her memories and lock herself up.
"I can’t get this memories back but... I can still have them back in my life somehow."
Quickly, Helena went through her drawers and all small boxes in her room. Her mother had given her, for her birthday, a memory crystal, capable of recording a person’s whole life.
“Found it!” the brunette girl cried in her head, holding proudly onto the clear blue round sphere. Hurriedly, she walked to her nightstand and placed the sphere on top of its holder.
The small orb began to give off a pale blue light, and a round control panel floated up, allowing the girl to choose what to watch as well as warning her that 1% of the recorded memory had been lost.
Ignoring the message, she input the date of a few days before she abandoned the world.
The image of a girl with reddish-brown hair and blue-green eyes, which were almost a turquoise color, came up. She was smiling as she sat next to her, who was working on the computer.
“Who..?” she wondered. She couldn’t remember that girl.
Curiosity promptly built up inside of her, and soon enough she couldn’t just stand watching that particular record. She quickly flipped through the records, the girl always showing up.
"Le..ah..?" her name sounded unfamiliar, as if it had nothing to do with her, but the records were telling her that they were close, closer than friends but not family.
That loathing sensation she felt for herself returned. She could feel it in her heart that the girl was someone important to her, and the fact that she had erased her from her memory painted her as a monster, something which she really was.
"What happened to her? Why...?" she didn’t need to wonder that much. Even with her messed up memories, she could tell what destiny the girl had met.
She was dead.
Her aching heart confirmed it. She had denied the world for four years because the girl had died, she even went as far as erasing her memories.
“Why didn’t I just erase my emotions together with it?” she wondered bitterly. She felt an incredible sadness at knowing the truth, but even more than that she felt anger, at herself especially. She had done a really half-assed job, if she wanted to deny things so much she should have destroyed everything that connected her to the girl, even the emotions that were currently trying to devour her.
She lied on her bed with her eyes wide open, today she was not going to sleep well for sure. Tons of emotions were swirling inside of her, and as many questions were clouding her mind.
More or less she could understand why she was feeling more dead than alive, the feelings she had for that person ran deeper than a simple friendship. What she was feeling could be settled with the words ‘loss of a loved one’, but the questions driving her crazy wouldn’t settle down no matter what.
"The only way to answer my questions is..." whispered Helena, setting up on the wide mattress.
Her silvery-blue eyes locked on the floor-length window, as if her answers were somewhere out there waiting for her. No matter the consequences, she was going to find out what was going on and solve the problem.
“My, infiltrating the rehabilitation center sounds like a really epic thing to do,” she thought, smirking to herself at her plan. Her powers were the perfect tool to get what she wanted.
"Third void, Void of Sense."
Just like the name suggested, the void of sense made her invisible in the eye of other people. It could also be applied as a means to make her intangible as well, but she didn’t have full control of that ability. She could erase herself without noticing.
Infiltrating the RC at night was most certainly the most impossible thing to do, however being imperceptible to the eye made the job easier for the teenage girl. She easily slipped past the guards and inside the building.
“Interesting,” she mused, walking down the corridors like she owned the place. She was one pricey bitch, and she was not going to change her ways.
However, no matter how invincible she felt, arriving at her destination proved to be harder than she thought. It was the main computer center, where all the Alters’ information were archived and stored away for future uses.
"Third void, Void of Sense," she muttered, lightly tapping her fingers on the computer she was going to use. As unstable as her powers might be, she could muster a fairly good amount of it to use on objects.
She skimmed through the register of Alters, searching for the number 28. She knew for sure that the room used to be that girl’s.
"Number 28... Leah Goldstain."
She had found it, a smile gracing her features as she clicked on the file. There was a picture of the girl and her personal information. All the information archived there were things she once knew, but now sounded completely new.
"Orphan because of the 12 days... Death unknown.." the girl did a double take when she read the words ‘unknown’. "What do you mean by ‘unknown’?!"
In her fury to know more, the girl accidentally stumbled upon the encrypted code of the simulation of reality game. The game was just a mean to keep the Alters’ powers under control, yet the code seemed to be more complicated than that.
"I have never seen such a script before," Helena mumbled, taking out the memory crystal and recording everything. She was going to analyze the code later.
Right when she was about to go back to the Alters’ archive, a sound alerted her that she was no longer alone in the room. She heart thumped at an incredible speed under her skin, the feeling of being cornered not new to her.
"What are you doing?" a voice questioned from the entrance door.
The teenage girl smirked. She felt more alive in that moment than in any other. The racing of her heart, her nerves on the edge, her muscles tensing; she was like a beast ready to rampage.
"I was merely checking something out," she answered, standing up and facing her current enemy.
The man was incredibly tall, with noticeable muscles under the fine black suit he was wearing. His jet black hair slicked back and surreal blue eyes, his skin was almost a ghostly white color.
"Are your eyes real?" blurted Helena without thinking over her question much.
"They are," was the curt answer she received from the man, an icy smile directed at her.
"They don’t‒" she was interrupted by the sudden appearance of the security guards. It was a fortunate thing as well, the man didn’t like people pointing out that he was wearing contact lenses, he needed them to see.
The girl cautiously stepped away from the computer, already thinking up of an escape route. She was one reckless person after all.
"Could you enlighten me once again as to why you were searching the facilities’ computer, Miss Helena Kingsbery?"
The brunette froze, he knew her name. Her eyes locked with his as she tried to figure out what he was thinking. She could easily tell that he was someone important, therefore there was no need for someone like him to know her name. The situation was getting more complicated.
"I will tell you under one condition," she proposed, smiling at the older man. "You tell me who you are, and I will explain what I was doing."
The man sighed, cursing the cheekiness of the girl before him. Since day one, he had been keeping an eye on her; she had a formidable power and her control of it was exceptional as well, until the accident four years ago that is.
"Hadrian Ainsworth, director of the Rehabilitation Center," the older man presented himself, a smirk darkening his face.
“Such an important person?!” the girl was left utterly shocked at the revelation. She had the unfortunate luck of being discovered by the highest ranking person in her list of people that she didn’t want to be discovered by, right after her parents.
"Leah Goldstain. Why is her death unknown?" she went straight to the point. If he didn’t have an answer, she was getting out of there before he could say ‘a’.
"Her powers caused an instability within the game and she died," the man informed.
Helena observed him, she had this strange sixth sense which could pick liars. The director was a lock on target, he was lying to her face.
"It was nice talking with you, Director," she said, sneering at the man. She bowed in fake respect at him before disappearing into thin air, leaving everyone in the room in a state of semi-shock.
Hadrian groan as he greeted his teeth. His anger towards the cheeky brat was almost tangible. With a grunt, he stormed out of the room and marched towards his office, where everyone was sure he was going to vent his anger.
“That damn brat!” he cursed, greeting his teeth once more. “Four years wasn’t long enough to bind a force like her,” he thought, damning the course of events. Everything was working out the way he had planned, but the girl had that horrible habit of getting in his way.
She was a kid who thought outside the box, a person who did not bent to the rules of society. She had proven that countless of times. Her sense of self was an obstacle to his ambition.
"There is no other choice," he mumbled to himself, pulling a USB flash drive out of one of his desk’s drawers. "She will have to join Leah Goldstain."
The man smirked evilly to himself as his computer analyzed the files inside of the flash drive. Black locked folders appeared on the screen, his plan was moving onto a new unexpected stage.
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