The Shimmer Project

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Number 5

I stood waiting and watching, on our balcony facing South Francisco. The warm air blew gently against my face. There was a fog covering the Golden Gate bridge in the other direction, I could only see mist. But the south was clear. I could smell the pollution, a dark car parked on the street was dripping with oil. I held a pair of binoculars up, in the distance I saw them. Two planes, landing in a field near Pacifica, then the helicopters. I watched the lights as the trucks wound through the field, then only the highway as they cruised towards town. They had come, they had found us.

“ They’re suicidal,” I murmured.

“ What was that?” Concordia stepped onto the balcony behind me.

“ Look,” I handed her the binoculars and pointed in the right direction. She looked through them then handed them back frowning.

“ How could they be so stupid? Don’t they know how powerful we are?” she pursed her lips gazing out at the city.

“ Maybe, they’re a decoy. Either way, we shouldn’t go. It’s a trap.”

“ What? Are you kidding me? Of course we have to go! They will keep coming Connie!”

“ You know, we could run. We could leave here. We don’t have to kill them all,” she suggested.

“ We can’t run. We can’t run all our lives. We have to make a stand! We have to fight.”

“ It’ll be a massacre!” she cried back. I glanced at her wide eyed.

“ I know you hate it Connie,” I whispered stepping back inside our room. “ So do I. I’m not asking you to come with me. But I have to stop them,” I started towards the door. I could sense her hesitate then rush after me. She clung to my arm.

“ I’m your sister Eris. I’m not letting you do this,” I turned my head slightly gazing into her black eyes.

“ You shouldn’t try to stop me. You know that,” I told her bitterly.

“ You would never hurt me.”

“ I would, you know I would,” I insisted. I noticed Vigidis appearing in the doorway wearing boots. Her eyes were hard, she was ready. Concordia glanced at her as well.

“ Please,” she begged. My brows pulled together in frustration. I shook my head violently.

“ You know I have no choice!” I cried. “ They must be destroyed!” I felt Concordia’s grip loosen as she crumpled to the ground sobbing. Vigidis ran to her side, then realizing she wasn’t hurt she looked up at me.

“ We should go,” she said. Concordia balled up, her sobs racking her shoulders.

“ It’s a trap!” Concordia cried.

“ They can’t catch us, we’re free,” I replied nodding to Vigidis. We left Concordia crying on the floor and marched out of the apartment. I glanced at the square box Caleb had called an elevator then started running down the stairs. Vigidis followed behind me.

We took a taxi, it drove us to Pacifica in about twenty minutes. I paid the driver and hopped out. Vigidis and I then started walking out of town. It took us about ten minutes to find them, resting, waiting in the field. They were lying around waiting. Probably for the others down town to find us and bring us back. Were they the trap, or the bait? I felt Vigidis tense beside me. We were crouched behind a bush.

“ Should we attack or tell them to leave first?” she asked me in a whisper. I shrugged slowly.

“ Either way they’re going to try to attack us aren’t they? So whatever pleases you most,” Vigidis grumbled something.

“ Let’s ask nicely to start,” she suggested. I nodded in agreement grinning. I could hear all those men, feel their strength, I longed to take it from them. I could imagine all their strength flowing into me. The last time I killed so many at the same time, we were escaping. I had so much power that day, I could fly. I felt almost giddy to kill the rest of the soldiers. My powers were restless inside me. I pushed them down, trying to listen to my human instincts first.

I stood up the moonlight reflecting off my pale skin, I watch and awaited until they had all noticed me. The field grew quiet, the soldiers stared at me in horror. I saw them gasp and shudder as Vigidis stood up next to me.

“ We know why you’re here,” I said softly, but they could all here me, the field was so quiet. “ And you know what I will do to you if you don’t leave. So this is going to be simple. Leave now, and never come back,” they didn’t answer. I cocked my head to one side. “ Or die. My powers can feel your strength, they want to devour you, I can only hold them back for so long. I recommend, you make a quick decision,” I continued casting my gaze over them. They were trembling, scared out of their wits. I recognized their guns, one that had been fashioned for us, to hurt us. I recognized the sigils on their outfits: Morgan Laboratories. My teeth ground together, these men had been trained to keep me and my sisters locked up until we died. Trained to destroy us, like I was made to destroy humanity.

“ Too slow,” I growled allowing my powers free. They surged through my body, I felt my skin tingling, my heat racing. My eyes clouded over.

“ Take aim!” someone shouted. The soldiers didn’t move, they knew how dangerous we were. I looked at them, fear, I read it in all their eyes. They were young, all of them.

Then someone fired, the bullet headed straight for my heart, it didn’t take me a second to react. I took command of it and sent it flying in a straight line directly back into the shooter’s own heart. Him falling against the earth was the only sound heard. His death replenished me. Gasps, I saw all around me the soldiers taking aim, their guns clicking into place. I heard Vigidis chuckling lightly, I glanced at her standing a little behind me her eyes black.

“ Ready when you are,” she said aloud, loud enough for the soldiers to hear. More gasps. They were pathetic really, unable to run, to save themselves. Primates, stupid primates. Following orders. They thought they could beat us, destroy us, they had more chance surviving by running away. I’d let them live, if they left.

Vigidis made the first move. Lifting her hands, I felt her straining as she took control of the closest five soldiers. They lifted into the air, then split in two. Their screams were cut short and their bodies toppled to the ground. Vigidis let out a gasp as their life flooded into her. I saw her skin begin to shimmer, I could feel her powers radiating beside mine. An instinct, deep inside me, told me to kill her, to steal her awesome powers and be the most powerful. I pushed it down and faced the soldiers. They’d begun to shoot. There were men in the trees that I hadn’t noticed, they were shooting as well. Bullets showered down over us. Like I had practiced in the testing area in the lab, I unleashed my powers and allowed them to wrap around my body and glue itself to my skin, like a shield. I was the first Chimeramortus to ever be able to stand in front of a shower of bullets and not be harmed. Neither Vigidis nor Concordia could stretch their powers like I could. I remained standing, my powers flowing through my body and sending the bullets shattering to the earth at my feet.

Beside me, I saw Vigidis drop. She had to concentrate on each bullet coming towards her, send it back with her powers. Her powers were stressed, she could deflect the bullets, as she always had done, but she wouldn’t be able to attack. Not until I got rid of the shooters.

I killed the first twenty quickly, absorbing their strength then I faced the tanks. They were lined up, ready to fire, all of them pointing at Vigidis. They’d obviously understood that I’d die before I let them take her. They were going to use her against me. I suddenly regretted that I’d encouraged her to come and I was glad Concordia had the sense to stay home. They were my weaknesses. Maybe the soldiers knew this, maybe that was their plan of action. Concordia was all alone!

I gasped quickly and wheeled around towards town. A tank fired As soon as one of the tanks fired I took control of the sabot round and sent it flying back into the tank. It burst into flames. Smoke billowed into the air, the soldiers in it and around were roasted. I felt their strength flow into mine. With my new strength I lifted two tanks into the air and crashed them together. They collided in a spectacular explosion that echoed in the silent night. Trees burst into the flames, a large column of smoke rose into the night sky. Soldiers withered in the dirt, screaming as the fire licked up their bodies. Their pain and their deaths only strengthened me more.

In the reflection of a truck’s windows shield I saw myself; my skin, my hair was glowing, shimmering, almost as bright as the stars. The trees behind me, the earth at my feet was illuminated by my glow.

I turned back to town quickly, would Concordia be strong enough to defeat them, or was this their plan? Would James know she’d refuse to fight?

I started running, away. I felt the bullets suddenly stop raining on me, I turn in time to see the men showering their bullets on Vigidis and moving closer to her. If I went for Concordia they would take Vigidis, if I stayed with Vigidis, would they get Concordia? They did know where she was…I hoped. Letting out a moan I wheeled around and ripped the heads off the closest soldiers to Vigidis. They cowered back shouting orders.

The sharpshooters in the trees kept their fire aimed on Vigidis. They were weakening her. To remove them, I tried taking control of the trees. But they refused, they didn’t like being burnt. Instead I took control of the flames on the burning tanks and transferred them to the bases of the tress with men in them. Smoke rose as the men tried to find a way down without touching the flames. Everyone was watching the flames rising slowly up the trees trunks. The men started dropping from the trees. One fell in front of me. I knelt down to look at him. He was still alive, breathing his last breath.

“ You should have left when you had the chance,” I murmured brushing my hand over his chest. I took control of my heart and crashed it. He let out a gargling sound, spat some blood, then stopped breathing forever. I felt his life flowing into me, strengthening me even more.

Most soldiers had stopped shooting, those who still were aimed at Vigidis. Some were running. I was glad. They weren’t cowards, they were smart. The rest were just stupid. Vigidis stood up, she could defect the few bullets that were directed on her easily now. But her eyes were hollow, her powers were exhausted. She understood that I’d come back for her, that she’d needed me to save her. She didn’t like feeling weak, in my debt.

I watched her concentrate on the a jeep. She was unable to lift it, so she moved flames onto it. It exploded. I saw her powers growing again. She started glowing, just slightly, not like I was. I was so bright now, brighter than the flames.

Tanks all turned against us more seriously now. They prepared to shoot at the same time. I turned my powers to protecting my sister. I let them slide around her body. She glanced at me gratefully. Under my protection she was able to crash one jeep against the other. Her powers continued to grow quickly as she moved on to slaughtering three soldiers hiding behind a burning tank. I was watching her fighting, making sure she’d have enough powers to protect herself more fully. Then I felt it, the horrible sting as the gigantic sabot round came shooting past my stomach. I cried out and dropped to the ground. The round had just brushed against my belly, ripping deeply into my flesh, but it hadn’t done more damage than that. I could feel my warm blood poring out, soaking my shirt. Vigidis took a step towards me her eyes wide. I stopped her reaching my hand out and sending the sabot round right into the tank. It exploded immediately.

The soldiers showered us in bullets as Vigidis knelt down to work on my stomach. I protected us wrapping my powers around us then healing my waist as well. It took under five minutes for it to be healed. I stood up slowly. I wasn’t shimmering anymore. My powers were exhausted. Gritting my teeth I crashed two jeep into each other, taking their strength I crashed another tank into a jeep and played with the flames, dancing them away from the shrieking trees and towards the soldiers.

In the distance I heard sirens. I turned to face the highway, racing towards us were a dozen police cars and a few jeeps.

“ Damn,” I heard Vigidis mutter. She glanced at me as I took control of three of the police cars and crashed them together.

“ Vi, we need to leave. We need to stay together and leave. They may have gone after Concordia!” I said feeling my powers strengthening. I glanced back in the truck’s window, I hadn’t touched in on purpose, to see how I was glowing. I was so bright now that I couldn’t even see my facial features through the glow, I could only make out my black eyes and a scatter of blood over my nose.

Smoke filled the sky, soldiers lay on the ground coughing. The smoke didn’t touch Vigidis and me, something we’d found out in the test room when they had filled the whole thing with thick grey smoke. We could just tell it to stay away, and it would, gladly.

“ We need to get to Concordia. If they already have her, we need to get the upper hand! Destroying the tanks is the most important, they are the only things that can hurt us. Then the trucks. We leave the police alone if possible. But if they dare fire at us, we’ll teach them a lesson,” I said watching the cars and trucks cruising towards us.

“ ’Kay,” Vigidis agreed. I sent two tanks crashing into each other and onto a truck. There was a horrible explosion. Gunshots could be heard, the remaining few tanks started firing. I had to duck to dodge one, I sent one round flying back to its source then jumped to the side and rolling over the scorching earth to avoid a third one. Beside me, Vigidis was taking care of the trucks, her powers growing steadily as she took the men’s lives. I looked at the last tank. It suddenly seemed very small. It took aim and fired at me. I used my hands to help my mind manipulate the sabot round, it arched into the aim, spinning them dropped down onto the tank. While I tank exploded I kept the sabot round in my control and dragged it towards the police cars. They all swerved in time. The sabot round dropped onto a truck instead.

Shots came from a police car that had parked behind a burning tank. I swirled around quickly to glare at it. The police officers were shaking in fear, one of them wet his pants.

“ Dare to shoot me,” I growled leaping into the air. My powers were growing, I could feel that I almost had control of the air. It was a power I’d discovered the night of the escape, controlling the air meant that I could fly. I was able to push myself up and arch in the air, before my powers lost their grip and I rolled to the earth in front of the police car, twenty meters from where I had stood. They started at me in awe.

“ Mercy,” one of them begged. I glanced down at the cowering man, his pants were soaking.

“ They never had any for me,” I muttered as his head slipped of his neck. The other officers got the same treatment.

“ Kill the bight one! Keep the bullets on the dark one. She is powerless like she is. Kill the other one!” I looked up at the man shouting. He stood on top a truck with a large gun pointed at me. He was young, he looked about twenty. The soldiers obeyed him immediately showering Vigidis with bullets. I ground my teeth together turned to face the man. He shot, the bullet bounced away from me into a soldier. His eyes widened. I was about to kill him when a truck exploded over my head and hurtled into the trees. Vigidis chuckled.

“ Stop!” I turned quickly to see who was shouting. It was him. Wearing a black suit, carrying a small pistol in one hand. He was the only one not trembling with fear. The only one daring to meet my gaze. My father. In his arms he held and unconscious Concordia. He’d most likely lured her into a trap to knock her out. Now he was using her a bait. What sort of a father would do that?

“ Stop now! Or she dies!”

“ Do you really think that will work on me? That I would let you take her!” I stood up straight making trucks explode behind me into a wall of flames. James cocked his head to one side then pursed his lips. I felt my powers strengthening, I could tell I was glowing brightly because he was squinting at me. I turned quickly and lifted two men into the air, they crashed together and I peeled their skin back and knotted their bodies together in a gruesome bond. They fell back to the ground.

“ Eris!” I snapped my head around to see James towering over me. He was still holding Concordia. He gazes at the intertwined bodies. He could never kill Concordia. He was the wrong person for this mission.

“ No more than what they deserve,” I spat. I could see his shoulder trembling. I scanned the battlefield then realized everything was in flames, the trees, the police cars, and the soldiers. Everything had gone up on smoke. Vigidis stood gazing at us wide eyed. A few men cowered in the distance, staring. The young man who had been standing on the tuck watched us, gripping his gun tightly. I looked down at James again. He put Concordia on the ground gently. Then turned to face me as he stood up, his hand snapped out and caught me across the cheek. I went sprawling against the ground. There was an audible gasp from the soldiers watching.

“ Chief! He’s mad! Get away from her!” the young soldier called. I glared up at James, tasting the blood in my mouth. He ignored his men.

“ Happy?” he asked me waving his arm around. “ Are you proud of yourself now? ”

“ I wasn’t the one who brought them here,” I growled standing up slowly and spitting the blood out at my feet. Vigidis moved towards us.

“ You’re a stupid girl Eris,” he said. “ What are you trying to accomplish? You’re powers are too great,” he was shielding his eyes. “ You are too powerful to live in this world. You’ll kill everyone!”

“ How dare you?” I growled. “ You’re the one who made me what I am. You should have killed my mother, my grandmother before this could ever happen. It’s your fault we’re alive, you kept breeding us to get stronger!”

“ And what a price I’ve had to pay! To see you, grow up behind glass windows, never being able to kiss you, hold you when you were tried, sad, hurt. I love you. I’ve never loved anyone, as much as I love you! I did you wrong, so wrong, but now that you’re free, I’ve lost you. What a price to pay for your happiness.”

“ James,” Concordia breathed. She gasped on the floor. I could see her eyes rolling into the back of her head.

“ What did you do to her?” I growled.

“ A sleeping drug,” he growled back.

“ Another one?” I spat. He turned away from me and picked Concordia up off the ground gingerly.

“ Come back with me,” he murmured. “ You cannot live here, you know, just as well as I do, that you’ll kill so many people, and it will break your hearts. You’ve never had this much power,” he was still squinting. “ I’ve never seen this much power. We don’t know what it could do to you. It may corrupt you, hurt you. What if it makes you turn against each other?” I rubbed my stinging cheek.

“ Our powers are what’s kept us alive all these years,” I murmured.

“ You can negotiate. We can make new rooms for you. You can live together. Whatever you want, but come away with me, save this city from yourselves!”

“ No!” I stepped back shaking my head. “ No! Never! We’ll never go back there! This is a trap! You’re lying! You haven’t changed! A real father would never, never do this to us, again! Don’t you think we know what will happen? Pregnancy as soon as we arrive, we’ll be locked up until we die in childbirth because we’re too dangerous, but maybe our daughters will be different. Just how powerful will my daughter be do you think? No, this has to change, this cannot go on. Our family line ends with us. Free. Where we want to be,” I growled.

“ I didn’t think you were so selfish,” James murmured.

“ Selfish!” I roared. My eyes clouded over and I ripped his body away from Concordia’s. She dropped to the ground heavily. “ Selfish! A real father would be helping us in this world, he’d protect us, train us to use our powers less. Teach us so that we can get jobs and live in society. You could save us, and everyone else. You’re just too scared,” I shouted. “ You are no father of mine! Trying to kidnap my sister to get to me! How dare you!” he glared down at me.

“ She agreed to come,” he growled.

“ You manipulated her!”

“ I told her the truth!” he snapped back.

“ You don’t even know what that word means! You and your foul, foul father, you’re just the same!” I saw a flash of hurt cross his face. He took a small step back. His eyes skidded towards Concordia lying on the ground. Then he glanced up at me.

“ You’ve destroyed my men, over two hundred men came here tonight, and you’ve wiped most of them out. What for?”

“ Why did you come?” I whispered. “ Why did you bring them here, when you knew I could defeat them so easily! You are the true murderer!”

“ We need you. I need you. Eris, come home, before you kill, everyone else,” I glared at him.

“ You made me,” I muttered stepping back towards Concordia. “ You’re the one who made me. I’m innocent! It’s all your fault!” with a cry I lifted his body into the air then dropped it down onto a broken truck.

“ Is he…” Vigidis squeaked.

“ No,” I muttered. “ He’s going to live a long, lonely life.”

“ We need to get away,” she murmured grabbing my arm and pulling me towards the highway. I lifted Concordia’s body into the air and carried it behind us. We rushed through the ashes of the field until we got to Pacifica. We found a truck, one of the army ones that had been abandoned. I’d tried driving before. I knew the basics. Vigidis sat in the back while I drove us back to town.

I parked it a few blocks away from our apartment, then we walked. We walked past our building and all the way to the beach below the great red bridge. I didn’t stop, I dove under the freezing waves. The dark water was illuminated by my glow of powers. Concordia lay on the sand as Vigidis sat beside her to heal her. I turned my back on them and dove back under. The currents were strong, the water was cold. I came up sputtering. I could control water though, so I wasn’t worried.

I swam towards the bridge. It took me seconds to realize I was being watched. When I broke the surface I saw him sitting on a large rock near the bridge with a towel and he was wearing a pair of boardshorts. Caleb. His hair was wet, dark hanging over his pale shoulders. He had been in the water. He chest was much more muscular than I would have expected, carved perfectly. He was all muscle this guy. Not an ounce too much of anything. A perfect body really. I stared up at him moving my legs keeping my head up. He was gazing down at me, then he smiled, squinting down at me.

“ Elise?” I cocked my head to one side, he shook his head grinning. “ Irene? Iris? Erin?”

“ Eris,” I answered softly. He nodded.

“ Eris. I remember. Pretty exciting huh?”

“ What?”

“ Well the explosions. Over there. Did you hear it? God it woke me up. Woke the whole city up. Scary stuff though. My aunt was screaming. Do you know anything about it?”

“ No.”

“ Huh,” he scratched his head then to my surprise he slipped in the water and paddled towards me. I inched back. He face was illuminated by my power’s glow. I could see my reflection glimmering in the dark water.

“ Do you like swimming at night?” he asked. He moved smoothly through the water, he had a total control of it. I had never seen anyone move to smoothly in the water.

“ I…” I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t feel like killing him, any other night I wouldn’t have hesitated, but I really felt like talking to him. Talking to anyone. Even though I didn’t like him much.

“ I swim whenever I can,” I answered, he chuckled lightly moving closer to me. I moved back again. He paused and smiled again.

“ Then why are you fully dressed?” he demanded. I took a deep breath and dove under. He followed moving next to me in the freezing water. I could see him gazing at my body, at my shimmering skin. When we broke the surface again he was almost touching me. I had never been so close to anyone like him before, anyone not already dead.

“ I escaped the city’s horror to go for a swim. It gives me time to think. I was scared,” I answered quickly.

“ It’s rare to swim alone I didn’t expect to see you. Where are your sisters? I’ve never seen you without them.”

“ You’ve only seen me twice,” I reminded him then chucked my thumb backwards towards the beach. Vigidis and Concordia were still curled up together. Caleb nodded spotted them.

“ Why aren’t you with them?”

“ We sort of fought,” I explained and he smiled.

“ During world war three just outside out city you three were having a family fight?” he laughed. I really couldn’t help smiling.

“ Yeah. I suppose so.”

“ So uh you’re not too traumatized about the library earlier?” I glanced at him and shook my head slowly. He was looking up at the moon, then back at me.

“ I uh, I’ve seen things like that before,” I whispered. He smiled and started towards his rock again. I followed curiously.

“ So have I,” he announced heaving himself up. He reached a hand out for me too, I hesitated then took it. He was stronger than I expected, he pulled me up rapidly, easily.

“ Hey you’re pretty light!” he said grinning. I sat down next to him curling my arms around my pale legs.

“ So where have you seen anything like that before?” I asked.

“ Here actually, a few days ago. Remember?” he said staring at me. I stared back at him. I bowed my head. He smiled suddenly then gazed up at the stars, they shone brightly.

“ So how did you get silver hair?” he asked me. I paused looking at my waist long straight wet hair glittering in the moonlight. It was just as bright as my skin.

“ I don’t know. My father said it was from a shock when I was little. I barley know where I’m from. It’s just always been like this,” there was a short silence.

“ You have a father huh?”

“ Yes. At least, I like to consider myself more of an orphan,” this time the silence was much longer and I heard him sigh.

“ My mother died ten years ago, in the city. My father was a coward, he couldn’t face her family here and fled to his home. He was too selfish to see how unhappy I was. As soon as I could I came back here. I have no siblings. I never did. But I always wanted some,” I was quiet listening to the waves. Caleb’s voice was calm. Soothing almost. I felt all my battle anger fading.

“ My mother died in childbirth,” I started in a whisper. Caleb didn’t speak so I understood he was waiting for the rest. I gazed out at the black ocean and my sisters still balled up.

“ She was very young, seventeen. She didn’t want to have us. She was sort of forced.”

“ Raped?”

“ In a way. And uh my father, he was a horrible man. Uh we ran away from him. As soon as we could.”

“ I knew you were runaways, as soon as I saw you in the library.”

“ Yes.”

“ I’m sorry.”

“ For what?” I was puzzled. I heard him chuckle.

“ For, you know, I’m sorry you had such a bad father. You had to run away,” I paused.

“ But it’s not your fault,” this time he laughed, it was serious topic but he was laughing. I liked his laugh.

“ You know, whenever you want, if you need anything, you can come down to my place.”

“ Thanks.”

“ I’m serious,” I looked up at him sitting gazing down at me. His black eyes boring into mine.

“ Thanks. I’ll uh think about it. I’ll tell Vi and Connie,” Caleb nodded.

“ Great,” I nodded as well then tipped my head back to look at the stars. I could hear the sound of sirens on the other side of the city, ambulances and fire trucks. They were all too late. The loud chatter of people. I thought about all the men I had killed.

“ Caleb,” he smiled looking down at me.

“ Yeah Eris,” he ran his fingers through his wet hair. It spiked up. I wanted to laugh.

“ Why don’t you tell the police about us? Squatting, running away from home?”

“ I suppose, I believe that you need to be given a chance. I have the feeling that going home wouldn’t be the best thing for you right now. Maybe, you’ll go back on your own terms someday, ” I took a deep breath and jumped into the water again. When I popped up he was gazing down at me.

“ Thank you, for believing in us,” he nodded. I dove under again and swam off. I could tell he wasn’t following me. I swam back towards my sisters.

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