Her long, platinum blonde hair was unevenly cut. Or at least, I think it was blonde, but the sun just shone down so brightly and I couldn’t help but notice her dark roots and the amber tips. So in fact, her hair wasn’t just blonde. Her hair was just like mine.
Evident droplets of sweat trailed down her impossibly perfect skin. Not a blemish graced her pale complexion unless you would count a couple of freckles scattered across her sharp cheekbones and slim nose.
As far as I could tell, she wore nothing but a large T-shirt with a hem no lower than her thighs. Not even her feet were covered. I would’ve noticed sooner, but that sort of thing is supposedly pretty common in San Diego. Not that I would know. I’d only been in California for a few months and was planning to leave the country once I had scrounged up enough money.
This girl terrified me. The only female that ever noticed me just happened to be my mother, and I liked it that way. This girl was boring holes with her eyes in the back of my head. I was almost invisible. I made sure not one person paid any attention to me. And this girl just stared straight into my soul.
I didn’t like it. She knew something. Her eyes held knowledge. Her expression, stoic. She was dangerous.
I stood, knocking my coffee over in the process. Her eyes followed mine as I rose from my chair. A waiter rushed over in order to clean the mess, muttering apologies even though I’d created it. I fumbled with a few dollars, casting them the waiter’s way, then left without looking back- I didn’t need to. I picked up on a security camera broadcasting the events. The waiter scrambled to grab the dollars before the coffee wet them. The girl stood in her spot, watching me. No, not me, she stared straight into the security camera’s lens.
My breath caught in my throat as I crossed the second block- in half the time it took me to pass the first. I immediately cut off my connection to the camera. “Holy shit. Holy shit.” I mumbled to myself. I reached my loft in a little less than ten minutes. As soon as I arrived at my door, of course, my century-old neighbor waddled from hers. “Oh, Archie! I saw you leave quite early! Back again? Because of that storm, right? Yeah, I was shocked, we haven’t had rain in a while-” Mrs. Tuttle gently placed a hand on my bicep, but her steel grip pulled me closer.
I couldn’t care less about the weather. That woman would not be the reason I get murdered in my bed. Diane Tuttle was seventy-eight- seventy-nine in a few months, very close to having her license permanently revoked, and may have a foot fetish (according to recent search history). Things like this usually popped up in the back of my eye once I came in contact with someone’s fingerprints. It used to drive me insane. Sometimes I would trip up during a conversation and bring up personal information that I was never verbally told. To which the person would reply with a suspicious, “How did you know that?”
“Definitely, Mrs. Tuttle. I’ve gotta go get my umbrella.” I pulled away and hurriedly jiggled my key into the rusty lock. Click. “And, it’s Aaron.” I corrected her before stepping in and slamming the door behind me.
I didn’t realize I had been so panicked until I let out a sharp breath. My palms were slightly clammy and I rubbed them on my jeans, attempting to gather myself before I did something irrational. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have time to draw a bubble bath and drink some hot tea.
As if on cue, thunder rumbled outside, ripping me away from my thoughts. I sourly admitted that Mrs. Tuttle had not gone completely senile. It began with a few small droplets echoing on my window. Eventually, the rain clouds transformed into heavy, angry storms. I soon discovered that my loft had a few holes in the roof.
The stress overwhelmed me and I lost my grip for a second, falling back onto my couch. It didn’t last long, as I bolted back upright, pain like knives embedding themselves in my skin.
I was born with a weak spot near the middle of my back. My old pediatrics doctor used to call it my “Achilles Heel”. She described it as a permanent bruise. The doctors wanted to test it, but I strongly remember my mother disagreeing with their opinions. It wouldn’t matter much, because I left a few months after. It had been six years since then. It was almost an instinct, sleeping on my side or stomach and avoiding any pressure on my back. I hissed, lightly rubbing the spot. I usually never slipped up like that.
It had been about an hour since it began to rain. I’d been running around my apartment, trying to find pots or bowls to catch the rain before it gathered into a puddle on the floor. My brain was running, too. Conspiracy theories fueled my thoughts. That girl couldn’t have been government, could she? She looked so young and innocent. Unless the government had resorted to using teenagers as undercover bait, which was unlikely.
I ran a hand over my face, rubbing my eyes. I really needed to get out of the country.
The storm was becoming so heavy, I could hear thunder rumbling. What was all that about a drought I’d been hearing? I heard the thunder once more, but this time I waited by the window and counted the seconds until I saw lightning. It had become a habit ever since fifth grade.
The lightning briefly lit up my street. She stood there, across the street from my loft. She leaned against a burned out street lamp, seemingly tired or weak. Her head was hung towards her feet.
Something in me snapped.
I stormed out of my loft, slamming the door open so hard it cracked the wall and bounced back. I leaped over the railing, practically skipping over the staircase. My actions hadn’t caught up with me yet. I stepped outside, onto the pavement. Rain droplets enveloped me immediately. It was still hot and humid but the storm showered over me until I was ice cold. I continued to march across the street until my fist collided with her temple. It was only then I realized what I had done.
She stumbled backwards, into the dry brush surrounding the streets. “Who are you?” I gasped, raising my voice over the storm. The girl only gazed up at me. I questioned her again. “Who sent you?”
She glared, warily at me, unmoving. I wondered why she hadn’t tried to strike back. My paranoia was slowly growing. I suddenly heard faint car brakes. Both of us turned just in time with the lightning to see an outline of a van. It had stopped in the middle of the street, clearly breaking a few laws.
My peripheral vision picked up a slow but steady movement. The girl edged closer to me. My eyes shot daggers but she didn’t seem to mind. Suddenly, a dart had seemed to embed itself in her arm. It didn’t seem to faze the peculiar girl. She looked annoyed as she picked it out with her fingernails. I tried not to get too close, but my curiosity got the best of me.
It was definitely a dart. It looked like a cheesy tranquilizer from a cartoon, one might use with a gorilla. The needle was thin, but it held a cartridge of sorts. I wasn’t able to see if it held classic mutant sludge, however. The outsides were covered with a black, rubber material.
It took me a while to process these occurrences. Unfortunately, no one was waiting for me to catch up. The girl was the first one to act. I was infuriated when she rammed into me, throwing us both to the ground with an unreal amount of strength. I spluttered in the rain puddles while she jumped off me and into the fog. Was this a girl or a jaguar? Just seconds ago she looked as if she were on the verge of death.
A gunshot rang through my ears. I knew it had to be one- it wasn’t my first. I managed to lift myself from the ground. “Crap.” I mumbled. The government had been after me before I’d even left Colorado. Their database was nothing but a gossip stream with a firewall over it. Not that a firewall would do any good. It was basically a blanket covering a treasure chest. I had also transferred their money to one of my many traceless accounts a few times. Needless to say, if the Government knew who I was, they’d be after me.
Another gunshot rang out. This time, I made a move to run back to the comfort of my apartment. No such luck. A burly man stood at the entrance. Though it was difficult to see anything in the dark and rain, I was able to make out a suit and gun. The man was also able to see me. I stopped in my tracks, frozen.
Maybe if I stood extremely still the man would just see through me. I realized my plan had failed as soon as he raised his gun-holding hand and pointed at me. “Aaron Ellis.” He growled. I groaned, shoving my hands in my pockets. My heart was beating so loudly I could barely hear anything else. “Yeah?” My voice cracked as I stupidly called back.
He cautiously stepped forward. I waited, watching him. “You’re coming with us.” He commanded.
“And who the hell are you?” I stalled.
He reached up with his left hand and touched his earlobe. There it was. I grinned in triumph.
“Earbud, huh?” I asked. The man’s eyes flitted back to me, widening. “No-” He objected.
I closed my eyes as he continued to plead. The energy revolving around me stopped. I felt everything, though I could see nothing. “The earbud.” I murmured, concentrating my energy. All of it was redirected, overloading the small device. “More.” I pushed it, gathering the energy from other fields as well. There was a faint sizzling noise, barely audible above the rain.
I opened my eyes to a chilling but familiar sight. The man was unconscious. His body lay limp in a puddle of mud and dirt. Dead? I wasn’t sure.
It wasn’t long until I was in the mud too- pushed. I grunted at the searing pain slicing through my back. My Achilles Heel. Another gun was pushed against the back of my head. I heard the safety click off.
“You can electrocute me, sure. Not as fast as I can pull this trigger though, huh?” A woman’s voice hissed in my ears. Her breath tickled the back of my neck for a moment. I felt a slight tug on my arms, then nothing. The gun’s pressure on the back of my head disappeared.
“Primum!” The same woman’s voice gasped. I turned on my side in an attempt to push myself off the ground. A woman, who I assumed the voice belonged to, was in the same position I had been in seconds ago. She would have looked posh and fancy in her expensive pantsuit. Given the circumstances, however, I don’t think anyone would. She crawled to the dark van and used the door as support while she lifted herself up. The woman’s focus was not directed on me. She stared past me, behind me. I didn’t need to look.
That same girl stalked forward, towards the van. Her short platinum hair stuck to her face and neck. She was still barefoot on the pavement, but it didn’t seem to bother her.
The woman by the van didn’t seem to comprehend the situation. She gasped and hid behind the van’s door. “H-how did you leave?”
The girl didn’t bother in answering. I watched in horror as she reached the van. The peculiar platinum girl wasted no time in ripping the van’s door off of the hinges and throwing it to the side. The door skidded to the side of the road, finally coming to a stop as it dented a ramp. I covered my eyes in disbelief. “This is not happening!” I yelled over the storm.
After I was satisfied that I had been hallucinating, I uncovered my eyes to the same scene. This time, the girl had the older woman’s throat in her hands. I felt as if I were watching a Stephen King movie. She raised her attacker’s body by her throat and simply watched the woman struggled. I watched as well, as she clawed at her neck and struggled to breathe.
She was going to die.
“Stop!” I yelled, my voice hoarse. To my surprise, she glanced back at me. I stumbled to stand. My back still throbbed from its past attack. “Let her go!” I commanded. She released her grip on the woman’s neck, not bothering to look back at her.
My attacker’s body fell to the ground and lay limp near the van. She showed no signs of life. The platinum blonde slowly made her way toward me, hanging her head as she walked. Was she ashamed? I stepped back in response and she froze.
“Who are you?” I demanded again. “You’re not with them so who are you?” I placed a hand on my forehead as I tried to discern the insane occurrences. “What’s primum? Is that you?”
At “primum”, her head shot up. It had to mean something.
“I-” I gazed at the van, the two bodies, and my apartment. My apartment. “Okay.” I mumbled. Leaving no time for thought, I grabbed Primum’s wrist. She thankfully cooperated as I dragged her inside.
“You need to explain this, you know. You can’t just- you can’t-” I muttered as we moved up the stairs. I wasn’t sure who I was talking to, but I was certainly blabbering. She stood and waited patiently as I fumbled with my keys.
The door creaked open. Primum idled awkwardly beside me. “Oh my god.” I muttered before pushing her inside.
She stumbled forward, unfazed. The door shut behind me and I flinched from the noise.“I-” I gasped. “Did- did you just kill them?”
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