The Shimmer Project

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The Cell


I was lashed up with chains, around my feet, my hands and around my neck. I couldn’t move, I was aching too much anyway. James had come back after that first meeting and gave me food. He told me about Eris then, all about her mother and about her sisters. He filled in all the little blanks that Eris had left. I was shaking at the thought of the room, where she had spent most of her time.

It was on the second day that I realized how much I missed her. I had spent so much time with her, I felt numb without her presence next to me. I missed her more than I missed anyone else. I dreamed about her and spent all my time looking at photos or imagining her smile.

Time flew by for me, days maybe weeks, I had no idea. Things were the same every day. I spent all my time in Eris’ old room, chained up to the wall or the ceiling or sometimes the floor. James came in with food on time, it wasn’t very good and not enough but I ate it anyway. While I ate James told me about Eris and her sisters. He told me his memories and sometimes he brought in photos of them when they were little. He told me about the tests they had to do and he showed me photos of their mother. James came to see me even when he didn’t have any food. He’d sit and talk to me, I had the impression he liked talking to me. Like he’d missed being able to talk freely. He even told me about his childhood in Alaska and how different this island was. He told me about the massacre outside the city, how Eris had let him live, he was worried that the next time she saw him she’d kill him. I had the impression she could never kill him, he had raised her and he was her father. And I could tell, that he loved her dearly.

One day he told me about his studies. He majored in genetics at a young age, he skipped two classes and was only twenty-three when the facility heard about him.

“The director told me it was the beginning of a new human race. A top-secret and classified government facility; and they wanted my help. I was young, I was interested. It was only until I was too far in that I realized it had nothing to do with the government. It was all Director Morgan’s baby. I arrived to see Melanie, the girls’ grandmother, turn seventeen. She wasn’t nearly as powerful as the girls. She was almost human. Almost. I was the one who mentored her until she had Ebba. I mentored Ebba all her life. I watched her grow up behind a glass wall. You know, she called me Dad. The girls never did, but she did. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. The Director doesn’t let you leave and live. I decided that staying would allow me to take more care of the girls when they were born. I hated the idea that someone else would be mentoring them. My daughters, only I could protect them. You must wonder, why so inhuman? Why couldn’t they be treated as guests? Because they aren’t human. They show their true colours as babies when they make their first kill. And kill humans. They’ve only ever used their powers against humans. If they can help it. They hate killing animals. That means that they are the enemy of mankind Caleb. Our enemies.”

As the days went by I started counting the drawings next to the bed. I wondered how Eris had drawn them, then come to the conclusion that she had used her powers. I missed her so dearly my heart ached. I felt dizzy sometimes and would collapse unconscious against the hard stone floor.

I had the impression James didn’t want me to be there, he admitted it had been his idea, but he hadn’t wanted me to be hurt or chained up. He had expected us to sit at dinner together and chat, I would be kept prisoner but not exactly against my will. All his orders came from his Director Morgan that he spoke a lot about with a stiff expression and a dead tone. I understood he hated him, he’d caused his daughters so much pain after all.

I barely realized it when I forgave Eris. I didn’t expect I could forgive her for destroying a whole city and my life. But I loved her too much to care about that. I had forgiven her. James hadn’t encouraged me but somehow he knew when I had. I felt he could read me, read my mind, he knew when I forgave her, and he knew I felt empty and weak. He told me he was glad Eris had met me, not another man, he liked me.

Then they brought it in. A gigantic metal construction. They took hours installing it. It took up most of the room. They shoved me and the little steel bed to the very front where we were out of the way. The large chamber looked deadly. I shivered as I saw the number 5 painted on its doors. I understood immediately what it was for. A new and improved prison for Eris. And only Eris. I understood, just by listening that Vigdis and Concordia were not expected to live in coming to my rescue. I felt sick. How could they do such a thing? Make such a thing in so little time?

Men worked on it for a few days, fixing things, testing the doors. They blew up a grenade in it, when it didn’t budge, the walls weren’t even damaged, they moved onto dynamite. I wasn’t in the way, they ignored me, I was a spectator. I knew, that no matter how powerful Eris was, she would never be able to escape that chamber. I think the Director was trying to scare me by keeping me in her room.

I started making plans for my own escape. I watched the men, remembered when they were in the room working and when I was left alone. I studied the window and the doors. I knew that even Eris couldn’t barge out, but I also knew that she could not come for me, or they would all be doomed. I focused on getting out. I listened to James, trying to guess if he would stop me, or he would just step aside.

One day I was sitting on the bed my wrists chained and connected to the wall beside me. The engineers were working behind me on the chamber. It was almost ready. I heard them saying Eris and her sisters were on the way.

I was gazing at a photo of Eris when she was fourteen, it had been her birthday. She was standing, wearing a small ripped grey dress then hung of her small frame delicately. Her black eyes shone in the camera’s flash, hair was out and long, it hung halfway down her back in its same straight shiny line. She was a bit bruised on her arms and her face was cut but she seemed more preoccupied at glaring at the camera.

Vigdis and Concordia were sitting on the floor in the distance, they looked like they were talking. There were photos of Eris at all her birthdays, all of them except her sixteenth. She had run away a day before. At two she had a gaped tooth mouth, a weird smith and straight black hair. At four her hair was long and white, then at five it had been cut off roughly hanging by her shoulders. She was never smiling. Except when she was two. James explained she had been a happy baby, she had only started to be tested on after her second birthday. Before two, she had barely had any powers. Concordia and Vigdis had had none at that time. There were photos of her when she had very short hair, cut off roughly again, I could even see the cuts in her scalp where they did a bad job. At the age of ten, her hair was left alone, it grew long and white. I kept the photo of her at fifteen in my pocket at all times. She looked about the same, her face rounder but her expression just as terrifying.

I was coming back from the toilet with a soldier and he was chaining me up when another soldier barged into my room. I didn’t know him. I had never seen him before. I slipped the photo into my pocket and watched him make his way towards me. The other soldier scooted out of the room. The engineers ignored us. The soldier was tall and muscular with a big chin and a fierce expression. He grabbed the only chair in the room and sat across from me.

“Want some news pup?” he demanded. I didn’t answer but glared back at him. “You don’t talk much huh. Do you scream?” he lashed out with his fist and hit my cheek. It sent me sprawling against the floor. My chains caught me cutting into my wrist. I knelt of the flood my arms pulled backward my body falling forward. I stayed silent. He kicked me then, under my chin. I was tossed back against the bed. I could feel my warm blood slipping through my lips. My face and chin throbbed and my mouth was full of blood but I stayed silent. The man laughed tossing his head back.

“Tough guy huh? Well, that’s fine. After all, I can do the talking. It’s about your murdering whore. The mutant,” I felt my anger balling up in the pit of my stomach. “She is on her way. She was spotted at a boat shop just a few hours ago,” he grinned, I glared at him fighting back from jumping on him.

“Her sisters will be killed. And your mutant will stay here. I’m guessing you’re worried about your own skin huh? Well don’t, we’ll throw you out the window, and if you survive, we always have the test room. You’re mutant will die here, and I’m proud to announce it has been decided that her daughter, will also be mine,” he grinned.

I lashed out at him then. I couldn’t hold back. The punch sent him sprawling backwards against the floor and hit his head on the far wall. His nose was crushed and my fist was covered in his blood. He got up with a horrible expression and jumped towards me. He hadn’t expected my quick move, I dodged out of the way then jumped on him wrapping my chin around his neck. He roared as I tightened the chain. I heard the engineers gasping but not moving. The bolts clicked up and the doors burst open. Five soldiers came through holding guns.

“Let him go!” one of them roared pressing his gun to my throat. I let my chain loosen and let go slipping from his wide back. The big man coughed while I was pushed against the wall. All five guns pointed at me.

“Son of a bitch!” the big man roared and laid a punch in my stomach. I balled over my knees buckling under me. He kicked me again and again. I stayed on the floor in a ball. I was bleeding, it ran smoothly out of my mouth, my stomach felt horrible and my legs, where I was kicked were bleeding. Staining my pants. I heard them snickering then I got kicked again then they left. I heard the clicks of the door, then from the ceiling as the chains started pulling me up. I was dragged upwards, my feet dangling in the air, my head hung. I swayed slightly my arms already aching. Eris. I couldn’t even reach for her photo in my pocket.

I was taken down what seemed like hours later. It was James with a fierce expression. He handed me a painkiller then unlocked my chains. He held them in his hands looking me over.

“Sorry about that. Usually, we have a lot more security here. He shouldn’t have been able to come here,” James explained, he paused and continued. “But that day, the day the girls escaped, the guards all died. This is a new batch. That fine gentleman was Lucas Morgan. The director’s only son.”

“Eris could fix me,” I breathed, then stopped bluntly. It was the first time I’d spoken. James gave me a small smile.

“Yeah. She could. She’s on her way. Caleb, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you,” I nodded slowly then allowed myself a small smile as well.

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