Not every adolescent is accepted by society - especially if you have developed 'wrong'. From the age of eleven, children begin to do things that were thought to have been impossible. How they could read their parents' minds and make things move without touching. Banished to camps in the middle of nowhere, they learn to control their Powers and undergo intense combat training.

Zaida Hunter is the only exception. She has lived at this camp all of her life - she was born with her Power. For years she has seen Mutant teens beaten and executed for going against the rules set by society. But she's willing to do just that.

If it means that she can kill her guardian.


4. Telling the Truth

Sociology. It just has to be the most boring subject ever. I have been in class for precisely eight minutes and I am already beginning to die of boredom. I doodle on the front cover of my exercise book that is already covered in fashionable military boots, personalised machine guns... the usual girly stuff. This time I add a ring disguised as a bomb, a bowl of porridge, a carton of milk... BANG!

           I convulse violently and look up at my sociology teacher, Mr. Hallows, a Human who looks even more boring that the subject he teaches. If that is even possible. He is about fifty with thinning hair and tired brown eyes. He wears a tweed jacket with those awful brown patches under the elbows. His hand is on top of a heavy book that wasn't there before. His face is purple and his eyes are slits.

           “And,” Mr. Hallows says, “you will answer when spoken to!”

           Blink. I feel exactly how Howard must have felt in the dining hall – taken by surprise. I mentally shake myself.

           “I'm sorry, Sir,” I begin, “I'm just a bit preoccupied.”

           Preoccupied? Preoccupied? Did I really just say that?

           Mr. Hallows throws his head back and laughs, heavy with sarcasm. He then looks at me right in the eye and lowers his voice, but still loud enough for the entire class to hear. “Well I do apologise if this lesson is so inconvenient – do you want to leave early? Pick some apples and bake a pie?”

           “Even if I wanted to,” I say, my anger brewing, “nothing grows in the Camp; it's dead.”

           “Oh, what a shame,” he smirks. “I do love a freshly baked apple pie, don't you?”

           Chuckling, he moves back to the electronic board and clicks his fingers so that the page changes. He turns to the class, his eyes focusing on the back of the room, over our heads. “As you all know, Humans are the superior race. Research teams have been trying for almost four decades now to discover why puberty affects the base sequence of the DNA of some children once they hit puberty,” Mr. Hallows clicks his fingers and a diagram of a double-stranded helix appears on the screen. “Young Mutants do not understand what they are capable of when their Power makes its first appearance so they are brought to special Camps so that they and society can be safe,” he picks up a book and flicks through it. “I want you all to turn to page one-three-nine and read the introduction of race studies.”

           I turn to the page assigned and groan at the first topic: Choosing a Potential Mate. Scientists through the decades have been trying to figure out the statistic of two adult Mutants having a child that inherits their Powers – or develops into a Mutant at all. So far they have failed; two Mutants can have a Human offspring; two Humans can have a Mutant offspring; couples of either species can have multiple births where one child can stay a human whereas the other develops Powers. There is no pattern.                 

           “The Highest Leader in power during the first recorded cases of adolescents developing superhuman abilities made an order for these children to be kept in secret research clinics. This information was, inevitably, leaked as soon as more children began to do things that were thought to have been impossible. As you are all quite aware, new laws had to be put in place and a concordat was drawn up - ”

           “Um, Sir?” I notice the small boy that is sat alone at a front row desk on the other side of the classroom. “I'm new and I don't really know why the concordat came into place...” His voice trails off and he turns pink in the face.

           The teacher glances at him before smirking at me. “Oh Zaida, perhaps you could tell... what's your name?”

           “Ron. Erm, Ronald Jackson, Sir.”

           The teacher nods absent-mindedly. “Yes, yes, well Zaida is going to explain everything to you considering the fact that she knows so much that she feels that she doesn't need to concentrate in my lessons.”

           All eyes on me. I can feel them. I sit up straight and clear my throat. I may not listen in Sociology lessons, but I certainly know everything about the truce; it has been drilled into my head all through my childhood – including the parts that I should never have overheard.

           “Two hundred years ago, the New Order came to power in a bid to bring peace to the world,” I pause to roll my eyes, “after the Great War between the Humans and the Mutants. The Mutants were shunned by society and were either taken as slaves or they led undercover lives, constantly on the run.

           “Seventy years later, as the result of the Mutant Uprising, a concordat was drawn up. The Highest Leader agreed to abolish the slave trade and set the Mutants free, but only if Mutants – present and future – kept out of Human society. Known Mutants from the developed world are banished to Hell Camps. Humans have always been afraid of Mutants because of their 'supernatural' powers and how - ”         

           “That's quite enough now, Miss. Hunter,” Mr. Hallows interrupts.

           “But Sir, Rob over there - ”

           “Ron,” the boy corrects.

           “ - needs a brief summary of the truce.”

           “And you have given him quite enough information now,” Mr. Hallows' anger escalates.

           “But Sir,” I say, sarcastically, “I really do think that Rob - ”


           “ - should understand that the Highest Leader was merciful in exiling us to these ever-so-scenic Camps when we deserved nothing more than a noose around our necks or a bullet to our chests.”

           “Be quiet, Hunter!” Mr. Hallows hisses.

           “The New Order brought justice to the world – Mutant children deserve to be tortured and then executed by Human adults and - ”

           Four Peace Keepers barge into the classroom. I knew this would happen. I make for the door but a sudden shock runs through my body. My body spasms and then I am on the floor. A cry – mine or someone else's, I'm not too sure – and then another shock. Another cry.

           Everything spins and my stomach turns inside out.




When the effects of the stun gun start to wear off, the Peace Keepers are all too prepared. Many strong hands restrain me and a hand clamps down on my mouth, muffling my screams. I am still groggy from the attack of the stun gun so I am not entirely sure of what I'm doing. Kicking, screaming – it is all instinctual; no thought put into it at all. They are never going to let me go. I am being half-dragged down the seemingly incessant white corridor until we reach a metal door. One Peace Keeper places his hand on the sensor and the door slides open. Blanketed in darkness, I stumble a few times before being placed on a slightly raised round podium. As soon as the Peace Keepers back away, purple laser bars appear.

            I am trapped.

           From past experiences, I know better than to scream abuse at the emotionless Peace Keepers or to touch the purple laser bars. I don't want to be stunned again; I am still nauseous from the first attack. I sit down, hugging my knees to my chest. The Peace Keepers are watching me through their black helmets. Although unable to see their eyes, I can feel their stare. And it makes me uncomfortable.

           “Can you please stop staring at me?” I say, in a low but angry tone.

           But the Peace Keepers remain still.

           “Stop staring at me!” I get to my feet and in my anger I forget about the laser bars. A shock runs through me and I fall back down.

           I throw up. Right there in my cell. I choke on the acidic vomit and, trembling, wipe my mouth. My mind spinning, I almost don't recognise his voice.

           “Well, well Miss. Hunter! What a mess you're in!” His cheerful voice is certainly not the right voice to use in this sort of situation. This isn't unlike him.

           The Leader of Combat pauses, as if expecting me to say something, before walking right up to the cell, his nose just an inch or so away from the laser bars. “So... why do you find yourself in here this time?”

            I don't even bother to shrug.

           “Oh come on, you must have done something,” he grins. “Do you like it here so much that you come here in your spare time?”

           The Leader of Combat smiles. I roll my eyes. “I told the truth.”

           “You told the truth...?” He lifts an eyebrow and narrows his eyes.

           “About society. I told the truth about how prejudice, how hypocritical society is.”

           He nods but then his face breaks into a smile before he lifts his head back and starts laughing. I do not say anything; I am used to his erratic behaviour.

           “Oh Zaida!” He says in between gasps and laughter. “You're just like me – strong minded.”

           “I am nothing - ”

           “Let her go,” he orders, tears prickling in his eyes. “Just let her go – she isn't a threat and even if she was, she is too funny to be punished!”

           I would say something but I don't like it in the cell: alone and surrounded by the mashed up remnants of my breakfast. The purple laser bars disappear and the Leader of Combat extends a hand but I ignore it. I step down from the podium and walk past him.

           “Oh Zaida, I am going to miss you!”

           That doesn't make two of us.

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