The Shimmer Project

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Caleb

I was still getting over the fact that Eris wanted to be my girlfriend. I had realized suddenly that I loved her. At the café watching her, I’d realized how much she meant to me, how much I wanted to hold her, to have her as mine, to protect her from all her fears.

I took her to the mall. A girl who hadn’t heard of shopping. She would always amaze me. She even met Pam and Victoria. It went better than I thought, she wasn’t stiff and her eyes stayed normal during the whole meal. I had often noticed them flashing when she was around other people. I had never had the courage to ask her about them, nor her shimmering, I had the feeling she didn’t want to talk about it. I knew she had a bad past and I wanted was to make her happy. I wanted to help her forget, and I think she did when she was around me.

Vigidis and Concordia spent most of their time together, staying away from me. They acknowledged my presence smiled and chatted for a few seconds. I had the feeling they were angry, with me or at Eris I wasn’t sure. They weren’t happy with our relationship that was obvious. Eris didn’t talk to them either, I tried sometimes, but they always made an excuse to leave. I wondered why.

The phone call that I got from Eris’ father just complicated everything. Dangerous? That was ridiculous, Eris always felt so soft and in need of protection. I knew the police was chasing her so I tried to save her. She was far from dangerous, mysterious yes but not dangerous. And that man had called her Number 5. How ridiculous was that? Was she the fifth child? And why did she run away from her island. Nothing made much sense, how did her father get my number and not hers?

Eris insisted for us to go out that night. She held my hand and walked silently, her head bowed. We walked down to the beach. We stood on a dune staring out at the dark ocean. The beach was deserted. She seemed a bit disappointed.

“ Caleb…”

“ Last one to the ocean!” I grinned at her. She let out a laugh and took off. I bolted behind her, she laughed trying to push me back. I just kept going and picked her up in my arms as I went. She was giggling when I set her down by the side of the ocean. The sand was wet under my shoes.

“ You’re light,” I comment planting a kiss on her flaw-less pink lips.

“ I’ve been on a diet all my life,” she answered.

“ What? Why? You’re pretty thin!”

“ It wasn’t my fault. I wanted to eat more,” she paused her expression hardening, her eyes flashing. “ Caleb I want you to know everything about me,” she admitted. I held her close to me pressing our bodies together.

“ Yeah. Me too.”

“ No. Seriously I need you to know. What did my father tell you? Did he tell you where I’m from?” her eyes were wide, almost with fear. I paused letting her go and sliding down into the sand. She sat next to me her white hair shining the moonlight. She wasn’t wearing her cap, her hair slithered down her back straight and beautiful.

“ He said you were from an island off the coast of Miami,” I admitted. She nodded slowly.

“ Anything else?”

“ Uh not really.”

“ Did he tell you what I was capable of? What drives me?” I frowned confused.

“ No. What do you mean?” she bowed her head tracing circles in the sand. Her hair fell forward covering her face. I quickly brushed it out of the way.

“ Caleb, today I realized how much you mean to me,” She told me, then looked up the silver in her eyes glowing. “ Caleb I love you!” I started at her shocked, love. She loved me. I could feel my heart beating rapidly in my chest.

“ Yeah. Me too,” I smiled, she bit down on her bottom lip and bowed her head again.

“ So I don’t want to loose you. I know you will hate me. But just know that I love you.”

“ I don’t understand.”

“ I know. And telling you will be too hard. I’ll have to show you. Come,” she got up wiping the sand from her black jeans then held her hand out to me. I took it suspiciously. We walked across the beach and up the dunes again. A little old man was passing with a sour expression. Eris ducked behind the dune.

“ I’m so sorry I kept this from you Caleb,” she breathed then her eyed turned completely black. Her whole eyes black, I couldn’t even tell if she was looking at me. Her head was turned towards me, her bottom lip was trembling. She bit down on it furiously, she looked like she was fighting something.

“ Watch,” she breathed then stood up and approached the old man slowly. He was stumbling along half bent over. Eris jumped up then and barreled into him. He toppled down onto the pavement.

“ What are you doing?” I hissed following her. I couldn’t believe she’d knocked him over.

“ Shhh,” she place her pale finger up to her pink lips then turned back to the old man. “ I’m sorry. It’ll be better soon,” she whispered kneeling next to him stuffing weeds into his mouth. He spat them out rapidly. I noticed the ground slightly shaking under me as large hunks of grass and weeds ripped away and rushed towards them. They weeds all somehow found their way towards the old man’s mouth muffling his cries. I couldn’t move just staring at the grass flying above my head. Then a loud crack sounded and the man cried out despite the weeds. His hand was cracked in a horrible position. I watched with wide eyes as it slowly ripped away blood covering the pavement. Eris kneeled next to him holding her legs up to her chest hugging them. She was glowing, dimly, but more than before for sure.

The library, the beach. The bloody murders that had been going on. Even all the accidents. They all looked like this. The people torn apart and killed. My whole body started shuddering. The old man lay in agony. The invisible knife I had imagined. My head churned. Eris was staring at me her eyes still completely black.

“ Do you understand now?” she asked in a harsh voice. I stared at her, she had been there every time there was a murder. Every time, she was the murderer. I was starting to feel sick. I loved her, I loved the girl who had killed so many people. I couldn’t believe it. It was too horrible. A murderer. I began to shudder violently. No, no it was impossible. She couldn’t have! She couldn’t have!

“ How could you?” I breathed taking a step back. I was disgusted. She looked after me her eyes overflowing with tears.

“ I can make it better now,” she told me placing her palm on the old man’s chest. I watched slowly as the hand was pressed back against his wrist the blood evaporated and the arm crack back into place. It happened in a matter of seconds. Soon the man wasn’t wriggling in pain anymore. She stood up slowly.

“ I’m sorry. Go home now. I’ve gotten rid of your arthritis. I’m so sorry,” she said aloud then stood up smoothly. I crept back into the shadows so that neither she nor the man could see me. The old man sat up straight staring at Eris with wide eyes. He blinked once and stared around him.

“ Who are you?” he asked getting up smoothly, his arms seemed stronger, he stood up straighter. He seemed to notice this. “ It’s a miracle!” he cried suddenly jumping into the air, Eris broke a small smile. The old man started down at his hand then ran off down the road without his cane. I stared gapping after him. Eris appeared in front of me silently. Deadly. I shuddered, but I couldn’t know if it was because of my fear or my love.

“ What are you?” I breathed.

“ Human, I wish. I don’t know. I could be many things, a mutant, a specimen, an alien, a goddess maybe, the devil, an angel. James always said we were from the stars,” I glanced up into the sky. The stars shone brightly and beside me, Eris shone just the same. “ It started with my great great grandmother we believe. The scientists found her when she was pretty young. Well Director Morgan did. James told me he fathered her child, so technically, I’m related to him,” she made a source face. “ It’s been passed through the generations, getting more and more powerful. It’s a mutation. A mutation gone very wrong. It’s also a long story. I never wanted you to know. And I’m sorry you have to. Concordia and Vigidis will kill me when hey hear about this, literally,” She took a step closer to me, I didn’t move. “ I was born off the coast of Miami on a small island, there’s only one building on that island. It’s a laboratory. I was born there, a specimen. My mother died in childbirth. It’s part of the mutation, we can’t reproduce without our daughters killing us. And we can only ever have daughters. I don’t know why, I’m not the scientist, I’m the experiment. My mother was forced into pregnancy, not raped but put under anesthesia. The guy you had on the phone, my father, he’s the chief of that organization. He’s also the monitor, he watched my mother grow up behind the glass windows, and he was the one who fed her. And they chose him to be the father. She didn’t know, only guessed while she gave birth to us. Uh then when we were born he had a hard time choosing sides. His daughters’ or his Director Morgan’s. He opted for Director Morgan’s. He kept the truth from us, he fed us and monitored us growing. Uh you see we were prisoners in chains in rooms separated on different floors with lots of metal doors. To keep us safe, keep us imprisoned. They also did test on us, worse than torture, they shot us, drowned us, poured chemicals that burnt us. Every other day it was something different,” She paused stroking her arm. I gazed at it. I wasn’t sure if I could believe her. Yet she looked like she was telling the truth.

“ Go on,” I pressed. She smiled knowing she was going somewhere.

“ James, the chief, my father was the chief of that operation so he decided how to torture us. I hate him. I always have. Concordia worships him. He’s a good person doing a bad job and he had no choice. You can’t live and know about the laboratory. They kill you. Anyway it was at sixteen that our mother got pregnant. So we knew our turn was coming soon, that we would die. We escaped. But we had to kill so many men. Well I did. But we got away and we’re trying to live a dream that had been impossible all my life. All this is so new to me. Our powers, we can move things without touching them, I can lift cars with my mind. I can also control objects, and the elements. My power is stronger than Concordia and Vigidis’. They called me the queen in the lab. I’m the strongest specimen. We also have healing powers. As you saw, mine works in seconds. For Concordia and Vigidis it takes them minutes. I’m stronger and faster then them. I’m undefeatable. Also our power pushes us to kill. Part of the mutation. I need to kill like you need to eat and breath. I can’t help myself. I get so unhealthy and die if I don’t. Trust me I’ve tried. Our powers burn inside of us, killing us slowly. When we use our healing powers, they burn harder. I didn’t kill tonight, but I will have to. I can’t stop. When I kill, my powers grow, I glow… The brighter I glow, the more powers I have, the more strength, sometimes, I can control the air. I can fly. When I kill, I can’t just rip someone’s head off, it’s not enough. I have to cause tremendous pain. That’s why the murderers are so bloody. Their pain, gives me strength, if I use my powers to kill, or even to hurt, their strength flows into me. I can’t really explain more than that. When I feel emotional my powers get stronger. Like now, the deaths have increased haven’t you noticed?” I blinked at her. “ It’s because I’m in love with you.”

“ Why can’t your powers satisfy themselves with saving people instead of killing?” I asked. I was amazed I wasn’t scared, I’d been spending all my time with a murderer. She never once had shown any signs in killing. It was Eris, my girlfriend, and I loved her. It seemed too impossible, but true. We were talking about killing, taking lives. Like Mom died. All those families. Eris shrugged.

“ Because it will kill me faster. That’s why they did experiment on us, to find out. They had to be more careful with my mother and her mother etc, not to kill them. But there are three of us so they were always harsher, if one of us died, it wasn’t so important. They were more interested in finding out what we could withstand. When I was in the lab my powers were much weaker than they are now, because I couldn’t kill, my powers racked me, they hurt when I can’t kill, I was weaker then. But now, I’ve never been so strong.

“ How can I believe you?”

“ I’ve never lied to you Caleb.”

“ But you never told me either,” I answered sharply. She cringed back.

“ I thought I had a good reason to hide it. Caleb I’m sorry that I came here. To this city, your beloved city. I know how much you care for it. I destroyed it, I fought an army just outside and killed everyone. They were the lab’s special force trained to kill Chimeramortuses. That’s what I am, a Chimeramortus. It’s the name that was given to us, us mutants.” she paused bowing her head slightly. Her silver hair hung down in front of her face. My heart was beating rapidly in my chest, I stared at her, I couldn’t move my eyes away. She looked so beautiful, so mysterious, only her mysteries were all uncovered.

“ Concordia and Vigidis want to leave. To move to some other small city and stay undercover, try not to kill, and keep moving when they slip. I will never be able to do that. I’m the one holding them back, they could live a normal life if they wanted to, if they really tried. They could be the ones to survive. I could never. Everywhere I go people disappear. And I can’t help it. I’m not pleading innocence. I’m guilty and I feel just so bad. You couldn’t understand. I feel sick all the time, and I just want to die when I see those people dying. Except when I’m with you. I feel happy around you, I don’t feel my powers pushing me around, and I really love that. I don’t have to force a smile on around you, it’s always there anyway. And Caleb you’re my antidote. I know it must be really weird hearing this. But I’ve never smiled so much laughed so much all my life. I swear I’ve never been so happy. One of the happiest moments of my life was my fifth birthday. The first time I ever laughed. It was James who cracked a joke. I didn’t even know what was happening to me. The rest of my happiest moments have all been with you. I love the way you look at me, it’s like you can see under the murderer and see who I am. I know it must be different now, but I just wanted to know how good it feels to be you around someone. You’re special Caleb, and I need you,” she paused taking a deep breath then looked me in the eyes. Tears were spilling over running down her cheeks. I felt like my heart was being crushed inside my chest. I wanted to reach over and hold her against me. To stop her crying, to make her happy again but I just couldn’t.

“ Eris…” I started, she held her hand up.

“ Number 5 is my real name. I was the fifth mutant to live in the lab. Eris is just a name I chose so I could live a little more normally. It helped me dream when I was chained up. Anyway I just told you all this because I hope it’d be useful to you. Maybe when the time comes you’ll be able to learn more. I hope I will be there when it happens. Uh but I might not be able to be there, or to stop it. I’m so sorry about all this Caleb. Really, if I knew this would happen I would have spared you,” she shrugged.

“ I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I admitted.

“ I know. But you will and soon I believe. Soon,” she sighed. I stood in front of her just not touching.

“ Why don’t you kill me?” I demanded. She laughed without humor.

“ Kill the man I love. I could never lay a wrong finger on you Caleb. If it’s a comfort at all you’re safe from me, and probably from Concordia and Vigidis, I can stop them easily.”

“ But you wanted to. When we met in the library. You killed that mother and her little girl, to stop from killing me.”

“ You were our first human encounter since the lab, one that we hadn’t killed. I hated you,” she stared out at the ocean. “ I used to think all humans were evil. I left the lab planning to kill you all and to create a new world where I would be safe and no one would come after me, would hurt me ever again. If this world couldn’t accept me, then I’d destroy it. But I realized, I could never do that. Because most, people are good. We try only to kill the bad people, the ones committing crimes. Did you hear about that explosion in that big prison fifty kilometers away. That was us. You see. We try.”

“ Do you think that you’re evil?”

“ I don’t know. James told me that we were put on earth by God, to help the human race. I heard others say that we are here to destroy it, again? It had been destroyed before?” I shrugged.

“ I suppose, Noah and his ark. So you’re angels?”

“ I don’t know,” she shrugs. “ I don’t want to know either.”

“ I…” I stare at the ocean. “ I need you to leave me. I need to think,” I said turning away from her.

“ Caleb,” she breathed. “ It’s best I stay with you.”

“ No!” I shouted turning back to her. “ No! Go away! You may be torn inside, forced, but you’re still a killer!” she stared back at me with wide eyes. “ Just go. I need to think,” I finished sinking to my knees on the pavement. She stared at me then bowed her head.

“ Just remember how much I love you Caleb. No matter what. I love you,” I didn’t answer. I heard her steps walking away. I lifted my head in time to see her glow disappear into the darkness.

Images flashed through my mind, the scene at the library, she was crying out, in pain, staggering to get out. On the beach she screamed. She hated killing that was obvious. If she had a choice she’d stop. But she didn’t have a choice. Yet what was the point of having powers to heal if you were driven to kill? The old man, she had stopped his arthritis, given him his strength back. He’d called it a miracle. Was it? I moaned and leaned back lying on the cool pavement. I couldn’t image that she was sent by the devil, if she was the devil herself. A devil could not love. I stared at the stars. A star, that’s what seemed the most probable. She was a star. A burning, consuming light, that brought death and life.

I got up slowly and stated walking home. Out of a dark alley way them men appeared. I walked more quickly. But then they started running. I bolted forward onto to run into three others. They tackled me to the ground. They held me down, cuffing my hands and stuffing a piece of cloth in my mouth. I struggled pushing two off but it was too late. A needle entered the back of my neck and soon things got blurry, their voice were slow and muffled. They were shouting orders and I was being moved. I couldn’t even lift a finger. Soon my hearing stopped then my sight and I was in uttered darkness. Something was moving though, a silver light approaching. A girl wearing a long flowing white dress with silver hair and large black eyes. She smiled and reached her hand out to me. I couldn’t take it, she hesitated then casting her eyes down then she walked off. I cried out after her, I struggled to move but it wasn’t possible. I woke up again still calling her name.

I was on a metal bed with no mattress. I could feel cuffs around my wrists and stared in horror at the complicated knot they were connected to. The chains hung from the ceiling, it was high up and completely black, I could see mechanisms, chains wrapped around them. There were hooks in the white walls, and a very small window at least three meters up. It cast a little sunlight in but most of the light was from the blinking yellow light just above the door. It was a very big door, metal with concrete all around it I could guess the bolts behind it. The light was giving me a headache, I stared around the room some more. The walls were covered in dents, large dents that looked like a canon ball had been thrown into them. It was clean but I spotted, just next to the bed a large piece of concrete had been written on. Little lines marking days. I couldn’t count them all, there was too many, years, it looked about sixteen years. I sat up slowly my back aching from having slept on the metal springs. Almost as soon as I moved a video camera appeared popping out of the wall and looking at me. I stared at it fiercely. Suddenly there was a click from the ceiling and my arms were wrenched up the chains puling me so I stood with my feet strong on the ground but my arms pulled up above my head. I grimaced in pain. I heard more clicking noises then slowly the door slid open. A man appeared with graying black hair and pale skin. He was tall and handsome but his face seemed more aged than it should have been. Next to him stood a young lady with blond hair in a tight ponytail and sparkling blue eyes. She smiled at me.

“ Some great prison you’ve got here,” I muttered darkly. The man chuckled shutting the door behind him. He walked around the room for second then looked towards me.

“ This isn’t a prison Caleb Matsumoto. This is a bedroom,” I recognized his voice almost immediately. I had had him on the phone the night before. Eris’s father. James. “ Number 5, this was were she grew up. You’re girlfriend’s bedroom. Like it? She got to design it. I think she did a good job with what she got,” he chuckled. I glared at him.

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