16 Years later
Eris has to kill. She has no choice, all her instincts push her to destroy. All her life, her powers have torn her up from the inside, her hunger for murder is so strong, too strong most of the time, so she caves. She lets it take over her. When she uses her powers and takes lives, she feels complete, whole, there’s a certain bliss that she obtains. If she doesn’t use them to kill, she’s in pain. Physical pain. They burn up inside her, crushing her insides and breaking her from the inside. When she heals wounds, she grows weaker, her powers drain so much faster than when she kills. When she takes a life, she sucks the victims life-force and it wraps around her, surges though her body making her stronger and more hungry for power. It’s either her or the victim. She needs to take lives to live. If she doesn’t kill, absorb another’s strength, she will die. She has no other choice. That is our mutation.
My own powers are very strong, any human is defenseless against me, they told me that I was stronger than my mother. But I don’t know what that meant; I never met my mother. I never had a family. All I had was a grey torn dress that was too small for me. That was all I owned. It was still all I had rightfully owned; the penthouse wasn’t ours, we knew that. We knew that we would have to fit in someday, to try to live normally. But how can you have a normal life when you were born in a lab and you were never considered a human before? Because we are humans, we have hearts, we get tired, we cry, we love and we hate.
The only thing that’s different, is our powers. The fact that we can move things, control things, anything, just with our minds. The fact that we live to kill. Our powers work against us most of the time, they are part of us, yet we are not part of them. We can chose to listen to them, give into them, or not. Although, not giving in means not killing, and not killing means dying. Our powers are like a muscle, they can be weaker or stronger, although I know my powers could never be compared to Eris’s. We use our minds to take control of an object or a person, but our powers are limited, lifting a plane would be impossible even for Eris, she could lift a truck, a car, a bus even; a horse is about as heavy an object I can lift. With nature it’s different, our powers communicate with it, we have to ask permission to the earth, water and fire, and they can refuse, if they have enough will. If not, they control their own movements, but keep up with our will.
They say we were created to destroy humanity. They told us we were dangerous, that we needed to be locked up. It was true of course, we are dangerous. We are deadly. Eris is the most dangerous creature I’ve ever met. Maybe we were made to change humanity, to protect it from something. That was what I believed at least. Vigidis tried to believe the same as me but I could tell she was conflicted. And Eris seemed to think that what they told her was true, that her ultimate purpose in life was to kill and destroy and that our healing powers were only useful to stay alive and save our sisters. That we were an invasion.
Eris had always been in a little bubble, always thought silently, always kept to herself. The scientists believed it was because she was the queen. That was what they called her. The queen bee. The most powerful of the most powerful. The most deadly of the most deadly. I was amazed by what she can do, achieve so much faster and better than Vigidis and I. I watched the scientists’ eyes grow wider as she showed them all she was capable of.
When we lived in the lab we had been put into different cells on different floors. They brought us food every day, vegetables, meat, fruit. We got a variety of foods to stay healthy. We also had sport days where instead of being tested on in the arena, we ran around it. On every other day we’d be tested on. There were all sorts of tests. Sometimes they only took our blood, sometimes they inserted needles into our veins and poured liquids into our bodies to see how we’d react. That never hurt, because no sickness that they ever exposed us to affected us. We were immune. Other times they would concentrate on our ability to kill; how much, how fast, how powerful? Then we were tested on our healing skills. In a way that was almost worse because it drained us of all our strength. Almost every time I’d faint and they’d have to haul me away for the rest of the day to recuperate. They also tested our defenses. I remembered the first time I deflected one of their bullets and sent it back into the skull of the shooter. There was a long silence then the scientists behind the glass window started cheering. They tried burning us, but we took control of the flames, they tried gasing us and we almost died, they would shower us with bullets to see how many we could deflect, then they started shooting sabot rounds at us. I didn’t want them to know how strong I was, I held myself back, so that one day, I could surprise them and fight back. And I could get out.
Sometimes I wonder how we survived in the lab. We were constantly in pain, our powers burning inside us. The only time we could use our powers to kill was in the arena during a test and when James would bring an animal into our room. Once a week for me. It broke my heart killing it. Unlike killing humans we never got any joy killing animals, in fact it was almost the opposite. I was racked with tears after killing them. I overheard a guard saying that it was because we were more animal than human and that killing animals was like killing kin. It was true that it felt fundamentally wrong whereas killing a human felt utterly right.
I was told they brought animals more often into Eris’s room because she needed them more. In a way, her more overwhelming need to kill made her the weakest of us all.
When we were little they put us in an enclosed room with windows facing into another white room. The floor and walls were cushioned so we could run against it screaming and beating the walls without hurting ourselves. I never understood why they cushioned that room then shot us the next day. It made no sense. But there we were. As soon as they discovered Eris’s amazing healing powers when we were very young they stopped holding back on Vigidis and I. We would be brought in a wheelchair to the room where Eris was waiting and she’d heal us with dark sad eyes. It was all she could do for us. I knew how she hated seeing us all broken. After we were healed we would talk, like sisters. We talked about our tests warning each other of what was going to happen next. We didn’t have anything else to talk about. It was mostly Vigidis and I doing the talking. I would tell stories that I invented listening in on the guards lives and James. Eris would sit in one corner curled up and looking out the window. Sometimes she’d get up screaming and hit against the walls then collapse weeping. I knew they had a video camera in that room because they always seemed to know what had happened in the room. And the day when Vigidis had first fought with Eris, and Eris had almost killed her, they came in running with guns and chains. For a while after that we didn’t see each other then we were put in back together. Eris and Vigidis were both crying when they saw each other and rushed into each other’s arms. It always pleased me to see them together. Like sisters should be.
There was another who I cared for greatly. James. He was the one who came into our rooms without fear and gave us our food and water. He brought the animals and cleaned up after our massacre. He would stay with us and watch us eat and just chatted as well. He was the one who walked us, covered in chains, to the tests room then rolled us in a wheelchair into the playroom. I knew he visited Vigidis and Eris as well. He cared for our wounds when Eris was too weak to do so. I knew that he cared for us more than he let it show. In the tests room he stayed in the glass box and stared out at us, his eyes clouded with sorrow. I also knew that he was very important to the facility. He could boss almost everyone around, he shouted orders. I barley saw anyone say no to him. He always wore a suit and tie and shinny shoes. His hair was combed back. He was tall too, and stood up very straight and kept his shoulders back and head held high. He looked invincible. But he was doing all the dirty work. Taking care of us. It was obviously his choice. He didn’t need to.
He wasn’t too old, only around forty and he had the most wonderful light brown eyes and wavy ebony hair. He had a nice smile as well and would tell me jokes to make me laugh, just because he could. Sometimes he would come in with another man. This man was getting old, he was quite a bit shorter than James, with graying black hair and small black eyes. James called him Director Morgan, so I knew it was this old man that was in charge of me, of my life, of my future. He owned me. I knew he didn’t consider me human, I saw the way he stepped cautiously around me, watching me, admiring his handiwork. He considered me to be some sort of wild animal. I guess it made sense, I was a wild animal in a cage. Vigidis and Eris told me that they never saw Director Morgan so I knew that I was the one James trusted the most. Maybe also my powers were weaker than the others and I don’t need to kill as much as they do. And I trusted him too.
I overheard Director Morgan calling me a Chimeramortus once. James explained to me that that was the name of the mutation. He told me that the first Chimeramortus found was called Sue Jones and that she was my great, great grandmother. Since Vigidis, Eris and I had no other name for ourselves, we called ourselves Chimeramortuses as well. We also came up with first names for ourselves. We asked the guards for names, they rarely answered, James told us all about mythology. It was one of his passions. We chose our names from there. Eris was the goddess of discord and destruction. Vigidis goddess of war and Concordia goddess of peace after a battle. James even called us by theses names. He told us that he had names for the others before us also, Melanie, our grandmother, Ebba, our mother. Names that he invented, he told us that they had caught on for some of the workers, but most kept to the numbers. Apparently, they were easier to keep track of.
Once, I don’t remember it, but James told us about it, when we were only two, they began testing Eris. She was so young, and had never been tested on so seriously before. They wanted to test her powers to kill at such a young age. They put fifty men in the room, they were all dying of various illnesses and recorded Vigidis and I screaming which they then turned on in the arena. In a shock and in under two seconds Eris was killed every man in the room and was searching desperately for us, to save us. A picture was taken of her, James showed it to me once. Eris, as a small girl standing in the center of the room, surrounded by dead bodies. She was covered in blood, it trickled off her frame, soaked the ground and the walls. Her eyes were wide with fear, her skin shimmering so brightly. From that day on her hair grew white. I cannot even remember a time when she had the same ebony locks as Vigidis and I.
When we were twelve Vigidis tried breaking out while James was bringing her food. She slipped out of the room before he could make a move to stop her. But security was waiting for her outside with guns that they fired without hesitation; their job was to kill us if ever we made one wrong step. They shot at her making her topple to the ground. James had dragged her back into her room then called for Eris. Eris was given a sleeping pill and carried in chains to Vigidis’ room. She made it just in time to save Vigidis’ life. It was then that we decided together that one day we would break free; but we would do it together. And I knew we needed James’s help. Vigidis and Eris didn’t trust him like I did, so I never told him about our plans.
Sometimes the scientists guessed that I was holding back my powers and they brought me down to Eris’ testing room where I had to watch her being hurt and tortured until I confessed. Usually it didn’t take me a second as soon as I understood where I was going I confessed. After a while they brought me there almost every day. So I got to watch Eris’ powers develop. She was amazing, more than anything I could imagine. She really was a queen. I could sense her powers as she used them. I wasn’t jealous of her powers, I was amazed and awed that she could exist. I was even proud that she was my sister. She was so strong minded and willed with her powers, I knew I could never control such a force. Vigidis however was jealous. Which of course was the cause of most of their fights. She would keep snapping back at Eris even though she got smothered into the cushions. But they would always make up, almost immediately.
Sometimes we got to eat together. They brought us into our little room and James came in with our food and his food and we ate together. We would laugh with James, even Eris could laugh. When it seemed so impossible, she had the best laugh. James would tell us a little about our mother sometimes. I asked James why we were here, why they did all these test on us. His answers were very vague. Some days he told me it was because we needed to be confined, so we didn’t kill everyone. Other times he said it was God’s will, though I never understood who God was, besides obviously being Director Morgan’s superior. Once he told me that they tested on us to see if they could discover a cure, use our genes to fight a horrible diseases.