The Shimmer Project

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The Elevator

Number 7

Vigdis was furious, she screamed around the apartment throwing things and breaking them. Eris and I sat on the couch watching her.

“In the newspaper!” Vigdis cried.

“You know Vi it was to be expected,” I said. She glared at me a vase flying in my direction, I ducked before it hit me.

“We’ve completely blown our cover!” Vigdis screamed. “She’s done it!” she pointed her finger at Eris.

“Vi stop it. You’re the one who started it in the alley last night,” I reminded her. I could feel Eris beside me fuming, her eyes were flashing. I placed my hand on her shoulder reminding her to calm down. She was barely able to keep it together.

“Connie, you don’t believe in our happy ending do you?” Eris asked. I shrugged.

“Why not? Why can’t we have a happy ending and so many other people can?” I asked.

Vigidis moaned collapsing into an untouched beanbag.

“Well, I think your study idea is out the window,” Eris answered. “Like the library,” I rolled my eyes.

“I do have something to say about the library you know. In this case, it was not at all necessary to kill, and where are we going to learn how to read now?”

“The guy was going to bring us the police!” Eris defended herself.

“Oh come on Eris! How would he do that? And I don’t think he would. I think he was just curious! He wasn’t doing anything wrong! He’s the first person we’ve had a conversation with since the facility.”

“Hey, I talked to the guy on the train!” Vigidis pointed out. I rolled my eyes at her.

“Then you killed him. This guy is still around.”

“His name is Caleb,” Eris informed me. I stared at her wide-eyed.

“How do you know?” Vigidis demanded sitting up straighter. Eris shrugged standing up and moving towards the door.

“It was written in his notebook,” she answered. Vigidis and I watched as she left the room silently.

“She is starting to annoy me!” Vigidis cried getting up and slumping against the couch next to me.

“You can’t expect everyone to be perfect,” I answered calmly.

“Where did he go? The guy? Caleb.”

“I don’t know. He just ran off. I wanted him to stay. I liked him, didn’t you? He was nice.”

“He was tall," she breathed. "And he was well proportioned, I guess."

"Yes Vigdis, he was very attractive," I chuckled at her blush.

"Whatever," she rolled her eyes. "I'm never having children. I don't want my daughters to have the same life we did," she grew quiet for a few seconds. "What are we going to do about the police?”

“We can stop going outside.”

“There is no way I’m staying cooped up in here! Not ever. We escaped for a reason, not just to find a new prison to hide from them in.”

“I agree.”

“What are we going to do about Caleb?”

“What do you mean? Nothing.”

“You don’t think he’s suspicious?”

“No, I think he’s a nice guy who just saw a horrible murder on the beach and was trying to understand. We just happened to be there. I don’t see why he would suspect us,” I answered. She shrugged.

“Whatever.”

“I’m going to get dinner,” I murmured. “We still have some money,” I said glancing at my bulging red purse.

“Hey, I’ve seen these people use cards to pay. We should get one of them?”

“How?” I asked, she shrugged. I sighed standing up. “I think, life in this world is a lot more complicated than we expected.”

Vigidis and I went to the little supermarket just a few blocks from our building. I did most of the serious shopping while Vigidis tossed things she thought looked good into the cart. Since we had first escaped we had had to learn how to cook. At first, we stole food from people’s houses, after a while, we discovered money and supermarkets. I used to choose food with a recipe on the back. One day I discovered cooking channels on the television. Since then I’d been playing around with ingredients. I made sure we had vegetables and fruits to stay healthy. James always told me that vegetables and fruits were healthy. I picked out eggs in a carton while Vigidis placed a large handful of peaches in the cart ginning.

“We had peaches yesterday,” I frowned

“That’s because I like them,” Vigidis replied grinning.

“What do you think of this?” I asked holding up a hunk of cheese. Vigidis shrugged.

“It’s cheese,” Vigidis told me.

“I did know that. But how about we do a fondue!” I suggested reading the back of the cheese’s packet.

“A what?” Vigdis demanded.

“Oh no never mind, you need special stuff for that. Never mind. We’ll just have an omelette,” I waved the idea away. Vigidis grinned. She loved omelettes, she loved food.

We paid for the food then started home with our shopping bags. We discovered Eris walking down the street looking annoyed. She spotted us and jogged over.

“You could have told me you were going out,” she murmured taking one of the shopping bags from me. “I was looking for you.”

“Sorry, it was a spur of the moment,” I replied smiling at her. She shrugged one shoulder then turned back to our building. We were walking down the street when Eris let out a small cry and stuffed us into a small street adjacent to ours. We stood silently watching five police officers walking by. One of them stopped to buy a doughnut at a shop. The others stopped to wait for him. I realized we were in earshot.

“She said she was FBI,” one of the said.

“FBI wouldn’t want an army coming here just for three girls. They’re not FBI.,” another replied. My breath caught in my throat and I glanced at my sisters.

“What army?” one of them asked confused.

“Some chick called about an SAT arriving here tonight. They’re looking for three girls that they think are living downtown,” the first one replied.

“SAT?”

“Special assault team moron!”

“For the missing girls huh. The ones from the psychiatric hospital?”

“Yep.”

"Why can’t they just let us do it? It’s our city. How dangerous can they be?” the confused one answered.

“I dunno. They’re sixteen,” another said.

“Still in high school. What about their parents?”

“Dunno. Did you look at their photos? Their sisters, triplets,” the police officers slowly started away.

“Chief Samuels thinks they might have something to do with the murders,” that was the last thing we heard.

“Oh, we’re in trouble now,” Vigdis murmured. I nodded looking at Eris. Her eyes were flashing dangerously.

“Stupid primate,” she spat.

“It’s not their fault Eris. It’s their chief,” I answered.

“We need to find this chief,” Vigdis agreed as we quickly started towards our apartment building again.

“And do what? Kill him?” I demanded.

"You got a better idea?” Eris asked her eyes still flashing. Vigdis placed her arm on Eris’s shoulder to calm her. It didn’t work very well.

“Maybe it’s not the chief who was the first one with that idea. Maybe it’s James. Who else do you think called? It’s Director Morgan behind all of this,” I said.

“Connie that’s not helping. If they put our faces in the paper as murders we’re screwed for the rest of our lives,” Vigdis reminded me.

“Anyway Director Morgan is already on my list. It’s a real bummer we didn’t run into him on our way out of that stinkin’ facility,” Eris uttered.

“Sure. A bummer,” I echoed. We entered our building and started up the stairs. It was a pretty long climb with our shopping bags but we were all very fit. When we arrived on the eighth floor a strange square machine pinged then two doors slid open. We all started in surprise as he walked out. Caleb. A head taller than us, two bodies broader, with a chiselled jaw, high cheekbones and dark eyes that seemed to bore into my soul. He stood there only a meter away staring at us wide-eyed.

“Caleb,” I smiled, his eyes widened even more.

“Hi…how do you know my name?” he asked cocking his head to one side. His voice was deep and yet soft.

“Uh, it was written on your notebook,” I replied quickly, Vigdis and Eris stood by my sides nodding in agreement. Eris looked away, she was blushing.

“Oh,” he smiled slightly.

I had never seen anyone like him in the facility. It had been new to me as soon as we were free to see people like him with slanted eyes. In the facility, everyone was white and pink. His skin was pale with a honey tint to it. He had longish strangely shiny black hair that hung in front of his eyes. And his eyes were coal-black, like ours, only they were slanted, almond-shaped. His brows were thick and black and his lashes were pretty long. His lips were full for a guy and his nose dipped between his eyes. He had a strong build as well, thick muscles straining against the white T-shirt he wore.

“So uh what are you doing here?” I asked curiously. He jutted his chin to a door.

“I live here. What are you doing taking the stairs?”

“I don’t understand,” I asked.

“Why not take the elevator?” he tossed his thumb back to the box he’d just come out of.

"The elevator,” I echoed then shrugged smiling. “Does the elevator go to the penthouse?” I asked.

“The elevator goes to all the floors. Do you live in the penthouse? My aunt told me it was a couple.”

“Oh well they moved out a month ago, about, we got here two weeks ago.”

“You living alone?” he asked. I frowned at him. He always asked so many questions. “Don’t worry, I won’t give you in to the police,” he glanced at Eris. She continued to look away.

“Thank you.”

“But what are you going to do about the bills?”

“Bills?”

“Yeah, to keep your water and electricity running. If you don’t have any adults running around, and if you don’t have a job… you’re squatting in the penthouse until someone realizes.”

“That’s why the lights went out last night!” Vigdis murmured. He arched his brows.

“Is squatting bad?” I asked.

“It’s against the law,” he frowned. “You’re, not really from around here, are you?” he cocked his head to one side.

I didn't answer. He pursed his lips, his gaze moving quickly over the three of us.

“Listen, if you like, seen as we’re neighbours, I can help,” he said. I blinked at him in surprise.

“We’re fine. Thanks,” Eris replied coldly. He stared at her in surprise, a hint of a smile playing at the edge of his lips.

“Honestly I don’t mind. I mean, I don’t have the money you need, but I can lend you a few battery lamps that I can charge up in my place. And, I can teach you to read and write too,” his smile widened.

I stared at him.

“How…how did you know?” I stammered.

“I overheard you in the library,” he admitted.

“I knew it!” Vigdis hissed. He smiled slightly.

“So, what do you say?”

“What do you get out of it?” I asked. He shrugged then grinned.

“Your charming company for the summer,” he smiled again, his gaze shifting towards Eris. I noticed her blush again as she turned away from him.

“We accept!” I blurted. He grinned.

“Connie!” Vigdis hissed.

“Great! I’ll bring you those lights tonight! So uh what are your names?” he asked. “You’re Connie?”

“Concordia,” I replied watching him slowly make his way to his front door. Vigdis hesitated then answered as well.

“I’m Vigdis and uh…” she glanced at Eris who was not going to answer. “And this is Eris,” Caleb nodded reaching his hand out, I immediately grasped it and shook it. Vigdis did the same, Caleb paused glancing at Eris, she didn’t move so he ran his palms down his jeans.

“Cool names. I haven’t heard them before,” he said. I shrugged.

“Yeah, we chose them.”

“Connie!” Vigdis moaned.

“You chose them?” he arched one brow curiously. “So why Concordia then?” he demanded. I pursed my lips and answered automatically.

“It’s Latin, mythology, the goddess Concordia was the goddess of peace succeeding a battle,” I explained. Caleb nodded slowly.

“All your names come from mythology?”

“Yes,” Vigdis answered. Caleb smiled swinging his door open. “Would you like to come in for a drink?” he asked.

“Uh no thanks, we’re good. Got to make dinner,” I held up one of the shopping bags I was carrying. He nodded. “Maybe another time.”

“Yeah, sure, I’ll be up with the lights,” he nodded then waved slightly before closing his door. Eris glared at me as we continued silently upstairs. As soon as we were in the penthouse she exploded. I had the feeling she didn’t like Caleb very much.

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