Mutant (Updated version)

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.

*** I've edited these three chapters again and I would really appreciate it if you could read them and then tell me what you liked and what I could improve on. Thanks :)

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3. The Right To Free Speech

 

“Come on Zaida, you have to tell me!” Flick says for the umpteenth time since the Leader of Combat left the hall and the chatter from young Mutants returned.

 “I told you! I. Don’t. Know. Yes, he is my guardian but that doesn’t mean that he is entitled to tell me everything. Actually, if I have to be honest, he doesn’t tell me anything. If he wants to let me know about something, he assembles all of the Mutants at this camp together and tells us all. You can’t count on me for any gossip, I’m afraid.”

           Flick mumbles something under her breath but I really couldn't care less. We are heading towards our first lesson of the day. A thought. An idea. A plan. I grab Flick's hand, which instantly stops her seemingly never-ending babble.

           “Zaida, I love you but not in this way.”

           “I need to check something out and you're coming with me.”

           I don't wait for a complaint. I break into a jog and drag Flick along with me. Mutants stare at us as we pass them, but I don't care. They will just think that we are going for a casual warm up jog before lessons begin. Nothing out of the ordinary. I stop when we reach the Leader Headquarters: a strong fortress rigged with the greatest performing security system. No one can get in, never mind being able to plant a bomb inside. I let go of Flick's hand and let my arms drop to my sides. Confused is an understatement. The Leader Headquarters looks exactly how it did yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

           I become aware of the heavy breathing next to me. I turn to face Flick, whose face is bright red and her bare arms and hands are covered in scratches and blood. It takes a second longer that it should do for me to realise that perhaps I hadn't been going as slow as I thought I had.

           I bite my lip, eyeing the blood. “Sor - ”

            Flick's pretty features contort into a scowl. “Sorry? You're sorry? What is wrong with you today, Zaida?” Her features smooth out and she shakes her head in disbelief. “Why are you acting so strange?”

           Good question. Why am I acting so strange? It was just a dream. Just a dream. But a very realistic dream at that.

           Flick glances at the Leader Headquarters and then shakes her head at me. “Come on,” she says, tugging at my arm, “we’re going to be late.”

           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 years old 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 on 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—”

           “Ron.”

           “—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.

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