The Shimmer Project

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The Escape

Number 6

One month before.

The iron cuffs cut into my skin. They were connected to chains, long chains hanging from the ceiling. I was kneeling on tiles, my blood dripping onto the ground. I could hear it splattering against the cold tiles. Keeping pace, constant. My arms were tugged upwards, stretching me out. My head hung, my long hair falling in front of my face. I was wearing a short grey dress with no sleeves, it was the only thing I ever wore.

I heard the sound of the clicking gun then a large baseball-sized iron ball came hurtling towards me from across the testing room. I looked up just in time to turn it around and make it drop to the ground shattering tiles. Then my head hung again.

They were testing my reflexes, my defence; they wanted to see how long I could hold up against their attacks. But I had no strength left, my arms were aching, I felt they were being ripped from their sockets. The click came again and this time I didn’t have the strength to do anything about it, the ball scraped past my waist ripping my skin, more my blood poured out. I didn’t bother crying out, it wasn’t worth it. It didn’t help the pain. My powers cowered inside me, I was drained, empty.

I looked up slowly at the large glass box on the other side of the room. James stood in it, gazing at me, his face hard. A woman stood by his side, I knew she was his assistant but I’d never met her. Three men sat in front of him with computers watching my reactions and calculating them. Another man was holding a large handle, the handle moved the gun shooting baseball-sized iron balls at me.

It wasn’t soundproof, I could hear their voices. And I knew they could hear me just as clearly. I was looking at James, he looked away, he could never meet my gaze when they did these sort of tests on us, yet he was the one in command. I hate him. I always have, how could I not hate the man who kept me locked up? He claims he’s just following orders from Director Morgan but as far as I’m concerned he is the one in the box giving orders.

For years now he fed me, nursed me and broken me. I love him as well. I love him because I need someone to love. After all, he is always there for me. No matter what, he is ready to comfort me. I know he isn’t allowed to touch me, but sometimes, when I am broken he would hug me, murmured sweet things in my ear. I love him for being there for me.

Concordia is crazy about him, she trusts and loves him. She is never angry with him for hurting her, though he’s the one commanding the process. Eris hates him, she hates him so much I’d never seen her hate anymore more. And she is a champion hater. Even better than me. She doesn’t love him at all, she would listen to him, talk to him, laugh when he said something funny but inside she hates him. I know that she would get her revenge someday. She is the queen, she is the strongest of us all, and she will get her way. She will come after him first.

“One more and that’s enough,” I heard James say in the box. The handle man frowned.

“Director Morgan said they got twenty each. She’s only done nine!” he protested.

“Maybe but twenty is too much for them. We’ll stop at ten for Number 6.”

“But Chief…”

“She’s already let two past. This is her max. She’s losing blood. One more. She’s not going to stop it anyway,” James snapped back.

I felt like jumping into his arms and kissing him. He looked back up at me. Suddenly my arms were wrenched up as the chains started rolling themselves up pulling me off my knees. I bit down on my bottom lip to keep from shouting. The click sounded and the iron ball headed straight to my leg, I didn’t have time, the strength to stop it. It ripped through flesh pulling half of my calf off. I couldn’t help screaming. James’ head hung.

“Stop. Now,” his voice ordered. But the shooting man wasn’t listening, he fired again, the ball ripped past my waist, shattering against the tile wall behind me. I screamed again, but not in pain, in fear. I saw it in his eyes, the shooter, he was grinning, he was enjoying himself. He wanted to kill me, to destroy me.

Balls kept coming, James wasn’t stopping them, he stood with his arms crossed over his chest his head hanging as the man aimed and shot. I cried out each time from then on as the balls ripped into me. I knew it hurt James seeing me in pain, crying out. So I did.

“Please!” I begged. “Please stop! I’m so scared! Please stop it! James! Please! I don’t want to do this anymore! I’m so scared! Please!” another ball came and hit the top of my head, enough to knock me out. The last thing I saw was James advancing towards me with the last iron ball in his hand.

When I woke up again I was healed, Eris and Concordia sat beside me in our playroom. They were silent. Their expressions were hard. We all had metal cuffs around our wrist attached to long chains that were bolted into the wall. We only had a few meters. We could break them if we wanted to, but we’d be punished and separated. They just wanted to show off their authority.

“Vi?” I nodded at Concordia’s voice.

“How do you feel?” Eris pressed leaning towards me her eyes wide. I shrugged.

“Fine. I’m fine. What is it? What’s wrong?”

“James,” Concordia answered standing up smoothly. She ran her fingers through her messy hair and tugged at the knots. Her chains clinked together with her movement. My expressions hardened.

“Oh,” I growled.

“It’s Director Morgan. No, I don’t know who it is. We’re turning sixteen tomorrow,” Concordia rubbed her temples. I frowned.

“Really? Already!” Eris frowned.

“Remember what James told us once. That our mother was impregnated when she was sixteen,” she whispered.

“Our grandmother was twenty, what of it?”

“How can you be so oblivious!” Eris hissed.

“They know that sixteen is the ideal age for our species to have children, we’re not stupid. They’re going to impregnate us soon,” Concordia murmured pacing, her hands knotted in her hair. Her chains held her back when she walked too far. She paced back again.

My heart hammered in my chest; I could feel my stomach tying knots I couldn’t unravel. My breath came short, fast and I felt like I was choking. It had all come so fast, sixteen. I had never accepted that I’d have the same fate as my mother. In the back of my mind, I held onto the hope that I’d get away. I had never thought I would end my life in the laboratory. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t get out someday.

I was expecting it to come miraculously someday. I was just waiting. I waited too long; I was going to be sixteen. I was going to be trapped in the laboratory and die after giving birth to my daughter who would then become a very powerful monster. Who would kill me and so many other people? And James would watch her.

My whole frame was shaking, I felt empty. I realized I was condemned. It was just a matter of time now. I had no life, I owned nothing, how could I have dreamed of freedom? How did I dare dream of something that had never been possible? Something that I could never have? I had wasted my life, not even that, I didn’t own life, I never had, Director Morgan had always owned me. He took every decision for me, about me. I belonged to him; how dare I ever think the opposite? All my time on this earth, I had never been outside. I was a specimen, not even human. I was more, special, different, rare, a monster. It was an experiment gone wrong. That’s all. Nothing more, it was normal that I had been locked up, tested on. It was the only thing I knew.

I watched through hazy, teary eyes Eris standing up her fists clenched by her side. She pulled at her chains and tried looking through the little window in the door. Concordia was watching her as well. I stayed curled up still shaking. I finally understood Eris, she hadn’t hoped. Not for one day. She’d always understood, she’d been waiting for this day. Concordia was like me, she’d believed. Tears streaked down her cheeks slowly.

“James is coming,” Eris announced scowling.

We waited long silent seconds before the iron door was unlocked and swung open. James appeared in the doorway, as usual, he held a little needle ready to puncture us with it. It was the sleeping drug that they used to transport us from our rooms to the testing rooms.

“Time to go girls,” he informed us walking towards us.

“Where?” Eris demanded, her voice hard, full of anger. Her fists tightened and she hooked them behind her back.

“Where?” he hesitated, his brows pulling together. “Back to your rooms. Number 6, come on,” he reached towards me. Eris jumped in front of me.

“You can’t!” she cried. He stared at her.

“Number 5, Eris, what’s going on?”

“You can’t take us! You can’t!” she shouted shaking her chains. James glanced at Concordia, then at me.

“Eris why don’t you stay here. Your sisters will come with me. They’ll be back here very soon,” he murmured reaching for my hand. Eris stood in front of me glaring.

“I’ve thought about this for a very long time,” she growled at him. “I’ve always wondered how you would do it. Would it be them at sixteen, then me later, or all of us at the same time, or just me, to see how powerful my daughter would be? I always wondered just which mix you’d chose to best serve your company!” she started shouting. “Just who you’d kill first! Which one of us will you breed to have powerful children and which one of us you’d keep seeing how long we live!” James stepped back slightly. In the doorway, I could see the assault team with their guns.

“Eris,” I murmured reaching towards her hand. “Don’t do this,” I could imagine the repercussions her outburst was going to have. She shrugged me off.

“So this is the idea? Vi and Connie will have triplets, and you’ll continue testing my powers until the last minute? Then I’ll die and have one daughter. Then you’ll have so many of us that you won’t even need to think of holding back in the test rooms! If they get out of line you won’t hesitate to kill them! You’ll breed them like animals!”

“Number 5!” James reached out and grabbed her wrist.

“Don’t you dare touch me!” she cried slipping away, her chains catching her before she got too far. I could see her eyes flashing, I wondered how far she’d go.

“Don’t hurt him!” Concordia cried suddenly rushing forward her arms out to stop Eris.

“Stop Connie!” I shouted reaching up in time to grab her chain and pull her back. She fell hard on the floor and glared at me. By then a few members of the assault team had entered the room and loaded their guns.

“Oh God no,” I breathed as they aimed.

Eris’ eyes flashed completely black, the men started dropping, cut in half, blood splattered the room.

“No more funny business!” a man cried, his gun was pressed against Concordia’s neck. “If you move I will pull this trigger and kill your sister,” he warned us. My eyes flashed black, I glared at him. Eris stood as far away from James as she could, squashing herself against the wall. Men were closing in with their guns. Concordia was shaking with fear. For the first time in our lives, we were actually at risk of losing our lives.

“Number 6. Please. Come quietly,” it was James reaching for me. I screamed. I let my powers fill me, I opened my eyes wide-spreading my arms, I tossed my head back. Blood, everywhere, on the walls, on the floor. The men slid down their expressions showed no fear. They hadn’t even had the time to register what was happening. The man holding his gun to Concordia’s neck slid down, his head sliced off his neck. Eris stared at him her eyes completely black. Concordia was splattered in his blood.

“Oh, dear. You shouldn’t have done that,” James murmured pressing himself against the wall.

“No James. Your men just made a big mistake thinking they could impregnate us,” I answered almost smugly.

“You will never have us!” Eris screamed.

“You’re only making it worse for yourselves. There’s an army of armed men arriving, now, they’ll be here in seconds. Just, cooperate,” he begged.

Concordia stared at him wide-eyed. Eris stood closest to him, her eyes clouded over, completely back.

“You could tell us. How to get out of here. The secret passageways,” I said. James looked towards me his eyes wide with fear, he shook his head.

“Do you have any idea of how much damage you’ll do out of this place? You’re monsters, you don’t belong out there. You don’t have a place in this world except here!”

I blinked once, hurt by his words.

“We’re not going to stay here until we die on some stupid hospital bed!” Eris shouted. “You are going to show us out! Do it for our mother!” she shoved him, her chains rattled.

“Your mother, I loved her,” he told us darkly then slowly started walking past me then past Concordia. We all watched him scowling. “I loved her with all my heart. She was my reason to live. When she died you were all I had left of her,” he kept walking, his back to us. I could hear the steady pace of heavy boots approaching, the clink of guns and the grunts of large men.

“I thought…” Eris trailed off bewildered. James turned to us slowly.

“What do you three know? For sure? Nothing. You are certain of nothing. You know nothing about me, about your mother. About my past. If you want to run, to escape now’s the time,” he stepped to one side stretching his arm out pointing down the hall. We approached slowly.

“Do you…do you know our father?” Concordia asked her voice trembling. James laughed, a loud laugh full of pain and cruelty.

“You already know your father, you all do,” he answered shaking his head still laughing. I heard as the army of men turned the corner and stopped us down the hall.

“How could you do this to us!” Eris screamed her eyes black. She turned to face me suddenly. Then I felt it. My bones breaking, I heard Concordia scream and I knew Eris was hurting her as well. We collapsed on the ground cradling out broken arms.

Above me, I heard the crash as the walls crumbled down. The men arriving started exploding, staining the walls with more blood. I stared up at Eris in horror. She’d taken our strength, she’d become so powerful. She was glowing, in the dim-lit room, she was shimmering brightly. I had never seen her do that before.

“We dreamt about you, our only hope of ever getting out of here. You would save us! Bring us somewhere safe! We’d live peacefully,” Concordia cried.

James gazed at her not even flinching as the tiles shattering on the ground at his feet.

“Live peacefully,” his voice was heavy, dark and empty. “A peaceful life. Impossible. It has always been impossible,” he shook his head darkly.

“Impossible,” Concordia murmured looking like she was going to faint. My head was churning, the sound of guns shots, James’s empty voice telling the truth.

I was torn, my hopes, dreams evaporating. My father was a traitor. He didn’t care for me, he wasn’t looking for me, he wasn’t lost without me. He had been there the whole time watching me, hurting and tearing me apart. Then finally tearing me in half, taking the only thing I did own, my dreams, away from me. My frame shook with anger. I had dreams of meeting my father, I had dreams of him holding me tightly and telling me he loved me. Telling us we’d get out, he was going to save us.

This realization was enough to snap me back to reality. I pressed my hands against my broken arms and let my powers shoot through me directed at heeling. I heard the sound of bodies falling, guns crashing to the ground, the bullets were less frequent. Eris stood, watching the men fall. James was pressed against the wall staring at the bloody sight, his eyes full of sadness. I watched as the last men fled, Eris turned on her heels back to James and grabbed him by his collar. She was glowing so brightly he had to squint to see her face.

“How could you do this to us?” she hissed. “How could you watch us and not tell us?” we all heard the snapping before James crumbled to the ground on a broken leg, shouting out in pain. She slammed her foot down on his fingers and we watched as his arm twisted cracking. He cried out again.

“You are no father of mine! You’ve taken everything from us! Everything! You were giving up on us too, you were going to get us pregnant, you were prepared to watch us die, for the sake of this company! Was it worth it?” she screamed. He stared up at her. She cracked his other arms and sliced his cheek open. I watched the blood gushing out. Concordia placed her hand on mine, like me, she’d finished healing.

“Eris,” Concordia’s voice was small and bleak, she was hurting. She had trusted James with everything. He had betrayed her. “We have to go now. They’ve probably already started the lockdown. We have to go!” she stood with me by her side.

Eris glanced down at James then spat on him. She looked towards us then bolted away down the hall. Concordia was just behind her. I held back looking down at James.

“I trusted you. Concordia trusted you,” I told him. “You betrayed us,” my eyes flashed as his other leg cracked. He cried out slouching against the wall bleeding from various points unable to move, in complete agony. I let his pain fill me with more powers than I shot after my sisters.

An alarm started in the hallways.

“A state of emergency has been declared. The research blocks will be sealed in 60 seconds. All staff please evacuate immediately. This is not a drill. I repeat. A state of emergency has been declared… The mutants are loose.”

We ran down unfamiliar white halls taking turns we didn’t know. We had entered a different wing of the laboratory than our usual living quarters. However the halls were empty and dark, the lights had been switched off except for the red emergency ones. We kept running, we ran towards light, a metal door was placed in our way. Eris turned to us slowly.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured then I felt our arms breaking again. Concordia and I ground our teeth together in pain. Eris used her new powers to rip the metal doors open.

“Now come,” she started at a run. Turning a corner we discovered five guards with loaded guns.

“Fire!” one shouted, and they did. Eris stepped in front of us. She deflected the bullets quickly and moved on to ripping their heads off. The hallway was coated in their blood. Eris only glowed brighter. She turned back to us, and taking control of our bodies, she lifted us into the air and ran. I had never seen her so powerful, I didn’t even know such power existed.

Squads of guards lined up in each corridor to stop us, but their deaths only made Eris more powerful. She ripped metal doors down, used guns against their owners. The corridors echoed with screams and gunshots. My blood was rushing in my ears. I held my hand over my arm, concentrating on healing myself, even though it only drained me. The guards stared at us in utter horror. They started turning and running. But Eris didn’t let them live. She cut them down, one by one, slowly. Her powers only grow until she was so bright I could not look at her. I’d never seen her so powerful. I’d never seen that much power.

The alarm continued in the hallways, I could hear the sound of great doors locking. But they couldn’t stop Eris. She was more powerful than they had ever predicted. Guards drained their guns shooting us, then Eris picked up all the bullets from the ground with her powers and redirected them at the guards.

Before they died, the guards would shout orders in their walkie-talkies.

“They’re headed towards the emergency exit. Bring the partition down and lock them up!”

Eris pushed us through another metal door then we found ourselves in what looked like a lounge. There were sofas, desks, chairs, coffee tables and coffee mugs still steaming. This was where our torturers had lived.

Eris let out a blood curling scream. She dropped Concordia and I then turned towards a window. It was a small window, outside I could see nothing but darkness. I could hear something, a sound I’d never heard before. I could smell salt, humidity in the air.

“Lock them up!” orders shouted on the intercoms. The ceiling shifted above us, and heavy metal walls began to descend around us. Eris let out another scream then launched herself out the window. Concordia and I quickly followed. Then I was falling, two stories, there was grass below and all-round a dark blue ocean. I’d seen pictures, James had shown us pictures. I understood the sound was the crashing of the waves. We were on an island. In the far distance, I could spot more land.

I could see the whole island, the army base, the port and the high cliffs. I could see the wide ocean stretching out. But then I was too low down; the thrill of the fall wearing off as the ground sped towards me. I bent my knees and took the impact on the balls of my feet. I screeched as the pain shot through me, but then I was running again. An army was waiting, tanks, big guns pointed at us. I let my eyes cloud and kept running.

James appeared, there was a wild-looking woman by his side, her eyes wide with fear.

“Get a sniper,” he shouted at her over the bullets. “Take them down with one shot. With Number 5, they’re not getting a second chance. A fifty calibre anti-tank rifle, their powers haven’t been able to repel those bullets,” it was just loud enough to hear. My gaze met his, for the shortest second.

Then I was past him. I followed Eris, keeping my eyes on her, she ran straight towards a cliff. I trusted her enough to follow. I wanted to stop running, touch the grass with my fingers, lie back and enjoy the full sunlight against my skin. I wanted to laugh and climb a large number of trees growing around the laboratory. But I couldn’t, those snipers were coming.

Then Eris leapt off the cliff. Another freefall. I followed screaming the whole way down.

We were free. Free to swim to shore, free to live our own lives, no forced pregnancy. Free to own, to have a life. Our secure meeting room, the partitions with five locks each, the security system, had been perfect for a less powerful Eris. Eris had never used our pain like that before, it had probably never occurred to her, but it did, when she was hurt most by a person she loved and trusted. She’s had never been so hurt I understood, causing us pain was nothing compared to how she was already feeling. And causing us pain was our ticket out.

I hit the cold water hard, headfirst. It shocked me. I gasped as my lings filled with water. I panicked making swift movements and choking in more water. The surface was forever getting further away. My lungs were full of water, I kept sinking, the sunlight barely visible shifting through the water. I tried reaching up for it. Trying to grasp the last light. Eris’ glowing light started to fade.

Then suddenly she was beside me. Swimming, like she always knew how. She grasped my hand, she helps Concordia also, then we were moving. Up and out. The water gave us a safe break to the surface, held us there so Eris could regain her breathe. Then the water let go and we were being lifted into the air.

I understood, they’d tried seeing how our powers reacted with nature and the elements. We had to ask, but we could control earth, trees, flowers, water, even a little fire. Air had always been impossible. Until now. Eris was glowing so brightly, I had to squint. She manipulated the air, surfing on it. And we flew away. In the distance, I could just make out the sound of guns and tanks being fired. But they fell too short. We were away. We were free.

When I woke up again I was in a bed, in a room. A bed, a real bed. I had never felt anything so soft. I had never wanted to hug myself against anything before. It was comfortable, soft, squashy and warm.

The walls were painted red, there was light gushing through the large open window, the curtains moved in the slight breeze. I turned my head to one side adjusting my eyes to the light. Such a strong light. It almost gave me a headache.

Concordia lay in the bed next to me asleep. She looked peaceful. She had her arms wrapped tightly around the pillow squashing it against her. I had never seen her face so relaxed.

I couldn’t see Eris anywhere. There were lights and posters on the walls, wardrobes and a desk. I peered at all the unfamiliar things that I had only heard of. James would draw things for us, so we knew what we were talking about. I always thought it was because one day he was going to let us free and he wanted us to know a few basic things. But I felt like I was going mad seeing a desk for the first time in my life. My heart was pounding in my chest.

I sat up slowly running my hand through my hair; it felt messy and dirty. I frowned slightly and swung my legs over the bed. I gasped when I saw what I was wearing, a little white dress, simple. I had never worn anything like it. I had never worn anything but my little grey dress. It felt so soft against my worn skin. My feet were bare and light health pink. I rubbed my temples in confusion. Where was I? How did I get here? Was Eris flying?

I moaned and sat down on the floor. My movement was enough to wake up Concordia. She took things in much faster than me her eyes adjusting then zooming around the room. Then she turned to me her eyes now wide the red in them visible.

“Vi? How are you?” she asked.

I glanced at her scowling.

“I feel fine, but I don’t know where we are,” I replied.

Concordia smiled slightly.

“I think that might be obvious. We are free.”

I smiled. We both heard the footsteps approaching the door. My eyes clouded over completely black as the door swung open. So easily without any locks unbolting or any pins. I heard Concordia breathe out a sigh of relief as Eris gave us small smiles.

“Hey girls,” she greeted us closing the door behind us. She advanced quickly and hugged us both. I got up from the floor and sat on Concordia’s bed watching her. Eris slumped in a big chair that turned. She was smiling, I had never seen her so happy. She gazed out the window then grinned at us.

“I’ve been exploring. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful,” she told us breathless.

“Where are we?” I asked her bluntly.

“Someplace called Miami,” she answered calmly. I noticed her hair was shiny clean and sparkling, she was wearing pants, jeans with a dark green top.

“Miami?” I scowled.

“Yeah. This guy lent us this house.”

“Lent us?” Concordia’s brows rose in surprise.

“Well, it was his.”

“No anymore huh,” Concordia answered sourly. Eris gave her a hard stare. I felt for the first time since we escaped, the hard burning feeling of my powers gnawing at my insides. I needed to kill.

“Listen. I don’t know why but here, my need to kill is much stronger. My powers hurt me so much. I think it was because I had so much. Now, I need to consume more. Does that make sense?” she pressed her hands against her stomach.

“Nothing does with us,” I muttered.

“How many have you already killed?” Concordia demanded flinging her sheets off her. She was wearing a little blue dress. She peered at it for a second then got up to face Eris.

My powers were burning through me. I knew that somehow, I too was stronger. In the lab, our powers had been contained. Here, in the freedom, we were unstoppable.

“I don’t know. I don’t understand,” Eris answered shrugging one shoulder. Concordia looked annoyed. I knew she was feeling the same flame inside her as me.

“God. Do you know what this means now? We have to get out of here! Too much killing, they’ll find us,” Concordia snapped.

Eris nodded slowly.

“I know. They’ll be coming after us from now on. They won’t give up easily. But we have each other now. There’s a bath here and plenty of clothes. We’ll pack then leave. I saw a way to get away from here,” she said, her eyes shining brightly. I sighed angrily.

“Stealing,” I hissed.

“Live with it, Vi! We have no lives, no money, we don’t even exist! We have no choice!” Eris snapped back at me. I was a bit stunned then smiled at her.

“Did you fly?” I asked, she hesitated then smiled also.

“Yeah. I couldn’t believe it when I did. I didn’t even know it was possible. But the air answered me. It was happy to carry us. I can’t do it anymore. I tired. I need more power. I’d never had that much power.”

“I didn’t know that much power even existed,” I murmured in agreement.

“Neither did the security system in the lab,” Concordia grinned at us.

For the first time in my life, I took a bath. Eris, Concordia and I slipped into a large tub of warm water. In the lab, they just hosed us off. Eris showed us soap and razor blades. She had got the guy to explain some things to her before she killed him.

We took our time, getting ready for our freedom. Concordia and I went out at night, our powers were killing us. In the lab I only needed to kill one animal per week, now I needed to kill, not only hurt a human to feel normal. Eris came with us and killed four people in a blink.

We took something called a train, we all had a backpack full of clothes and food and we were leaving Miami. We hadn’t realized we were illegal until we saw someone being taken off the train because he didn’t have any tickets. We hid after that under the seats, no one saw us. We got off at the last stop. We had no idea where we were but we jumped on another train, then another and another. Our trip took us over two weeks. We ate what was in our bags, we had to steal and kill, but then one day I was peeking out of the train’s window and I spotted the sea. It was so different, the water a deep blue-green, splashing white against the shore. I couldn’t see anything on the horizon, I could barely tell when the water met the sky. It looked magical, the afternoon sun glinted red on the waves, there were people in the little city, a pretty city with a few large buildings and busy streets. The beach was swarming with people as well. I felt my heart warming at the sight of such a pretty city. I had always wanted to live in a pretty city. I felt Concordia place her hand on my shoulder.


“I love it here.”

“Then here is home,” she announced, I grinned and hugged her.

“For now,” Eris muttered, I ignored her.

“Thanks, Concordia,” she nodded smiling. I was home, my dream was finally coming true, a dream that should never have existed. A dream that had been impossible. It was now possible, I was free and I could do anything I wanted.

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