Thirteen

What happens when everything you love changes for the worst?

Danielle Miles wants to be normal. She wants to feel normal.
And yet she can never be normal because of her secret; the one thing she despises about herself most of all.
But what happens when she if forced to use her secret to help others who are just like her?
Who are... different.

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10. Thirteen: Chapter Nine

My eyelids fluttered open and I stifled a yawn. The thing I was laid on rose a little but went softly back down, then repeated itself.
    As if it were breathing.
    I turned slowly and rested my chin on the soft surface. But then my eyes snapped open from confusion and pure terror.
    Sebastian, who was sprawled out across the sofa, and me, who was wedged between the small crevice that was Sebastian and the back of the sofa and laid against his warm t-shirted skin, were asleep.
    Together.
    I stayed as still as I could, trying not to wake him.
    "Crap..." I murmured. He inhaled deeply and I quickly shut my eyes. Gently turning my head again, I rested my cheek on his chest and hid my face slightly with the blanket.
    Calm down. He doesn't know you're awake.
    "Dani?" He mumbled sleepily. I breathed slowly as I tried to calm my irregular heartbeat.
    This shouldn't have happened. I remembered watching the movie with Sebastian, him criticizing my favourite parts and me defending them by pushing him, but I didn't remember getting to the end. I didn't remember falling asleep.
    I felt him slide around me and carefully slip his arms underneath me. He made sure I was still wrapped in the blanket as he carried me away. I knew he wasn't wasting any energy picking me up but I still felt guilty. Guilty for pretending to be asleep when I wasn't and guilty for spending time with Sebastian.
    When I built up the courage to peek at where were we I saw that he was carrying me down the hallway and towards my room, mumbling something incoherent along the way. It sounded sort of like 'I can't believe this is happening' but I couldn't be sure.
    As he came to a halt in front of my room he pushed it open with his back easily. Sebastian opened the door and carefully put me down in the bed, pulling the covers up to my chin. He placed the key on the bedside table and walked out and shut the door behind him. As soon as I heard the door click I shot out of bed and ran checked the mirror. I stared at my reflection in the mirror.
    "I knew my face was red..." I muttered, fixing the bed. Not knowing what else to do, I changed into my jumpsuit and tied the arms around my waist. Throwing my pajamas into the corner, I checked the time.
    Five in the morning. I stared disbelievingly at the clock, willing it to change. I had never been up this early before.
    "Damn Nova, messing up my sleeping patterns" I sighed, standing back up again. Then I remembered why I'd been with Sebastian that night.
    I was dead. They'd said I'd died.
    I couldn't see them; I didn't want to. But what could I do? I didn't want to stay in the room and I didn't want to run into them.
    I decided to walk around Nova and would try and get acquainted with the twists and turns of the place on my own, just to think. I checked the vial, which was still intact, and flicked the lights off, locking the door behind me and then proceeding down the long hallway.
    This place was so huge and creepy and if you listened closely you could hear the ghost of past screams. Or that could've just been my imagination playing tricks on me.
    It'd only been four days and I was already imagining things.
    I stood for a while just to take it all in. It felt like much longer and so much had happened in the small amount of time that it made me feel like I'd been here for months. And, with a sudden sinking feeling, I realized I'd be there for much longer.
    Remembering I was stood in a Nova hallway I continued down the hall. I had no idea where I was but judging by the stains on the walls it must've been some abandoned part of Nova. When I came to a different door, one that was made of thick metal and had a giant padlock chained on the door handle, I had to see what they were hiding.
    I grabbed the padlock in both hands and judged its weight. It was quite heavy; must have been made from pure silver. Why would they spend so much money on locking a door? And I could sense something behind it, something that was making the shapeshifter side of me go crazy. I just didn't know what it was.
    I shut my eyes and imagined flames and fire and felt the heat run along my arms towards the handlock, melting it with red hot flames. Wiping the remains on the wall, I pushed the metal door open.
    It was empty.
    The room was small, with a low roof that I could reach up and touch with my fingertips, and was painted in dull colours. The only thing that was worth any value was the small wooden table in the middle of the room with a silver ring on it.
    I walked over to it and examined it, bending down and peering closely at the raised designs on it. Whatever was on it looked alien to me; it looked like something way before my time and when I went to pick it up a sudden coldness seeped through my fingers. I pulled back and held my frozen hand in the other.
    A mist rose from the ring and hung around the air, turning white, then a faint blue and then finally grey. I stared as a mouth formed in the air and then a pair of big grey eyes stared back at me. After a few minutes I was looking at a small ghost girl with short snowy hair.
    "Um, hi," I said, waving at her. She stared at me with her head tilted, tail instead of legs whipping about furiously. "What's your name?"
    "My name?" She asked, her voice a ghostly whisper, which I found amusingly ironic. "Why would you want to know my name?"
    "Because I'm curious?" I spoke it more like a question when I meant for it to be a statement and that seemed to confuse her even more. And I was already confused as it was. Why would Cerulean have a ghost in a room with a ring?
    "My name's Ivy," She smiled sweetly. "What's your name?"
    "Danielle," I answered hesitantly, using my full name for a reason I couldn't explain. I just felt compelled to use the longer version of my name. "Why are you in here?"
    She sighed. "I knew you were going to ask that sooner or later. If I tell you will you promise to keep it a secret?"
    "Of course" I agreed instantly.
    She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. As she thought about what to say I knew that ghosts couldn't breath; they didn't need the oxygen. "I'm a ghost"
    "I can see that" I laughed.
    "But I'm stuck in this room," She floated closer. "I cannot leave"
    "That's terrible," I breathed, taking in the sweet smell of clean air seemingly coming from her. It felt so good to be able to breath clearly. "Why?"
    "You see this ring? I'm tied to it. It was my mother's and she loved it so dearly that when I died, it was all I could think of. I remember closing my eyes for the last time and then the surprise when I opened them again, but no one could see me. I went crazy; no one spoke to me and I followed my mother around everywhere even when I didn't to. But when she died I was all alone. My sister sold the ring to pay her bills and I was trapped in a scary shop for years. It was awful; I couldn't do anything. Then Doctor Cerulean found the ring and stole it, claiming it was of important value to his family," She grimaced, her voice going cold and dark. "When he brought me back to this place, he locked the ring and me away for a very long time. This is the first time in many years I'm able to talk to anyone"
    "But if you couldn't talk to anyone how are you talking to me now?" I asked.
    "I don't know," She shrugged her slim shoulders helplessly. "Why are you here?"
    "I'm a..." I stopped myself before I could utter the word monster and swallowed it down. "I'm a shapeshifter"
    "Oh... so, you can turn into anything?"
    "Only things I've seen before"
    "If you can transform into me you can understand me! Oh finally, I've been so lonely! I've so much to tell you!" She paused when we both heard someone faint calling my name.
    "I have to go" I sighed, pushing the door open.
    "No wait!" She tried to grab my hand but her small fingers went straight through. She left goose bumps and caused me to shiver. "Take me with you. I cannot spend another hundred years waiting for someone else to open that door. What were the odds of you being that curious?"
    "But I-"
    "Please!" She pleaded desperately, tears brimming in her eyes. "I can't stay here any longer. I'll surely go mad with no one to talk to!"
    I stared into the eyes of this poor innocent ghost girl and reminded myself that she'd had a life; she deserved to be set free. Ivy must've died for some reason and she had been through so many hardships that I was truly surprised that she wasn't mad now. For what she'd been through and what she'd had to deal with I believed that life should give something back to her; a chance to be free. "Okay, okay" I grabbed the ring, ignoring the cold sensation in my bones, and slipped it on.
    "Thank you so much!" Tears of joy now poured down her pale cheeks and I instantly felt closer to her. She looked down and bit her lip. "But, Danielle, sorry to be a bother, it's just I would feel more comfortable on your ring finger. If you don't mind"
    "Not at all," I grinned and moved the ring to my ring finger. It felt comfortable for me as well; as if it were supposed to be there. "Let's go. I think I heard Lexi calling me"
    "Who's Lexi?"

 

 


    "You want me to do what?" I screeched.
    "Calm down," Lexi sighed. "I don't want you to do it either, I am very much against it, but Cerulean said you had to be punished"
    "For breaking some doors?" I knew I'd lost the argument.
    "He thought you were trying to escape," Scarlett laughed through her nose. "He wants to punish you for breaking Nova property" I crossed my arms and pouted.
    "Anyway, enough of that. You wanna hear what they want you to do?" Lexi asked.
    "Not really," I sighed, pulling my hands over my face. "What is it?"
    They all turned to me then and the expressions on their faces told me that it wasn't going to be pretty.
    "They want you to do a... test" Scarlett tried to smile reassuringly.
    "Oh God" I put my hands into my face and sighed deeply.
    I couldn't wait. Note the sarcasm.

 

 

"I cannot believe they're making me do this!" I hissed in Candace's face, not caring whether Sebastian heard me or not. She smiled at my obvious discomfort. 
    "I'm sorry" She chuckled, not looking sorry at all. I sighed and slumped against Sebastian's back. 
    The 'test', if it could even be called that, was on how I would react being chained to the ceiling and Sebastian for a couple of hours. I could tell you that I felt like murdering some scientists right about then. 
    The thick chains wrapped around my arms were freezing cold and I had to concentrate hard not to shiver. Sebastian took my hand in his and I had to look down to make sure I hadn't imagined it. 
But there it was; my hand firmly linked with his. 
    "You don't mind, do you?" He asked innocently, glancing down at me with a slight smile. I blushed and ended up shaking my head like an idiot and then turning away when I felt it colour my entire face. 
    "You're welcome," Scarlett whispered. I looked up to smile sarcastically but my attention was drawn to her green eyes. What did green mean with emotions again? When I was about to ask though they quickly changed to a light blue. "Have fun" 
    "Wh-" The wind was knocked out of me when we were pulled up towards the ceiling. One minute my feet were firmly planted on the ground and then the floor was gone. 
    "See you at dinner!" Lexi called, sounding a little reluctant. I knew she wanted to stay and see what we'd do but she let Scarlett drag her out the door. Truth be told, I didn't want her to leave either. 
    That was exactly what I had wanted to avoid. I didn't want it be awkward between us because of my little... episode. 
    "So," Sebastian shifted about, making us both swing a little. "What did you do to get us into this?" 
    "Oh sorry, am I boring you?" I spat. 
    "Not at all, I just want to know what happened for you to get us chained like this" 
    "I didn't do anything. It was the stupid scientist's that made me go crazy!" I hissed through gritted teeth. He stiffened against my grip and I released his hand so I wouldn't end up breaking it. 
    "Okay... but that doesn't answer my question," He tried not to laugh. I mumbled something about breaking and hoping to kill Cerulean, bowing my head. "What was that?" 
      "I broke some doors!" I yelled. My body filled with rage, but not towards Sebastian or anyone else. I was mad at me. Kicking my legs furiously, I hated myself for being stupid and getting pissed off for something I should have expect from them. We swung back and forth and Sebastian tried to yell over my screaming. "I tried to kill Cerulean but I couldn't!"
    "Dani!" He yelled for a final time. The authority in his voice made me stop automatically. "Calm down, alright? Now!" 
    "Why should I?!" I shouted, tears forming in my eyes. We swung dangerously close to the wall. "Why should I be calm about the fact that I'm stuck in this stupid place with crazy people, the most annoying doctor in the world and a big headed superhero Marvel reject who won't leave me the hell alone?!" 
    "You're only here because I told them to bring you here!" Sebastian yelled. 
    "What?!" 
    "I told Cerulean he could learn a lot from you if he brought you in as well as the Water Nymph" He explained. 
    "Naida" I grumbled. I knew I shouldn't have gone crazy but when he brought it up it brought up all of the suppressed emotion I had tried to bury. And I hated Sebastian for making me feel emotions. 
    "Yeah, Naida. He agreed but said I had to go get you. I didn't know you were on a bus at the time..." 
    "Wait," I thought for a moment, making sure I had all of the facts right before I made any assumptions. "So you asked Cerulean for permission to kidnap me from my life just so you could see how powerful I was?" I tried to turn to look at him and smiled. "Obsessed much?" 
    "I realize now that it was a big mistake," He mumbled. I didn't know if he was talking to me or himself. "Although you can still help us out-" 
    "That's what I needed to talk to you about actually," I cut in. He stiffened again at the firmness in my words. I realized that if I brought it up before he was able to then he wouldn't be able to surprise me. "Why do you want me to help you out all of a sudden?" 
    "Because I've been trying to escape ever since I got here," Sebastian admitted. "And I think everyone else would agree that it was about time to destroy Nova" 
    "Believe me, I know everyone will agree. They're just as sick as this place as I am," I sighed. "I've only been in here for four days and I've already almost died twice" 
    "Just think about being in here for years" Sebastian said grimly. 
    "How long?" I asked, trying to look over my shoulder at him. He didn't answer; he probably thought I was going to have another mental breakdown or something when I found out how long he'd been in Nova. "How many years have you been here?" 
    "I have been here since I was a baby..." He whispered. 
    "What?!" I yelled. I remembered to hold in my anger so my fists were shaking at my sides to prevent me from kicking my legs. "You've been here your whole life?" 
    How could they keep a child in a place like this? Did the others know about this? Something must have happened years ago for them to, the only way I could put it was, turn against him. I just needed to find out what had gone on that many years ago for them to act like they did towards each other to this day. 
    "It doesn't matter; I have grown accustomed to having been raised in a hell hole," He sounded bitter; I could tell he wasn't truly used to it at all. "And my parents gave me up anyway; the scientists were the only ones there for me" 
    I stared down at the ground, trying to imagine being raised in Nova, and a tear rolled down my cheek. "This place is history..." I murmured. 
    "What?" He asked. 
    "I'm going to destroy Nova!" I yelled, not caring who heard me. "I know you were raised here but Nova shouldn't even exist! This place is a hell hole and we, but mostly you, shouldn't have to put up with this. You should've broken out of here ages ago; this place shouldn't even be standing!" 
    "I know!" He took hold of my hand and the gentle way he held it made my anger disappear. "I've wanted to get out of here for a while now, or more like my whole life actually, and I know you can help" 
    He waited for me to say something but I just couldn't. The one question I had been thinking of since he had talked to me about escaping was now attacking the sides of my brain in an attempt to get out through my mouth. I wanted to ask it. He knew I wanted to ask it. 
    Better now than never. 
    "But what can I do?" I finally moaned. There, it was out. Now wait for him to tell me that I'm special and I can do whatever I- 
    "I don't know," He sighed. We swung in silence while I pondered his answer. He seemed to be thinking as well. If he didn't know then what was I supposed to do? Wait until the power just came to me or was I supposed to transform into a dinosaur or something and go mental? "We have to do some planning" 
    "Ya think?" I laughed, though I was shaking on the inside. We were actually going to plan an escape from the place that trapped us for what we were. It was exciting. And frightening at the same time. 
    I kind of liked it; being able to do something really thrilling for once instead of just living my life normally. 
    Sebastian looked down then, mumbling to himself and nodding his head as if he were counting. 
    "What are you doing?" I asked, looking down as well. 
    "Judging," He replied shortly. He released my hands and shifted his shoulders. "But the chains are too tight..." 
    "You were thinking you could wiggle your way out?" I joked. He didn't laugh; he just kept looking up at the ceiling and then checking the floor again. 
    He finally gave up and slumped against my back. "We're going to be here a while," We were still swinging slightly and I felt ashamed of myself for getting so angry. Why did I get so annoyed with everything all the time? I could have acted like my age and taken it like a normal person but I always got angry about everything. What was wrong with me? "Why doesn't Lexi like me?" 
    I stopped. That was an odd question. And so out of the blue! Why would he care about what Lexi thought of him? He didn't when I first met him. Why now? 
    "Um... I think she doesn't like you because you're a douche to her?" It was supposed to be an answer but I said it like a question and I probably didn't make it better by shrugging. 
    "It's just that she always seems to be angry at me and never talks to me like a proper person anymore" He sighed. 
    "Maybe she just doesn't like your personality," I suggested. "Or maybe she doesn't like the fact that you talk to me now" 
    "What?" 
    "What I think is because she hasn't like you for a while she doesn't like you even more now because you talk to me and she doesn't want me to be friends with you," I explained. "Did something happen or did you do something to her?" 
    "I have no idea..." He sighed. "Eight years ago I was pulled away from the others for something I-I can't grasp and when I came back they had changed" 
    "Maybe it was you" I told him softly, taking hold of both of his hands and lacing my fingers with his. 
    "Maybe," He lent his head against the back of mine and let out a deep breath. "Why is life so hard?" 
    "I've been asking that question for years" I laughed through my nose and slowly closed my eyes. I felt him start to twirl the ring around my finger and shiver when the cold left me and seeped towards him. 
    "What's this? Why is it on your ring finger?" He asked, some emotion laced in his voice that I couldn't understand. 
    "Oh, I found it in... in my room and it was the only finger it fit on" I lied through my teeth, hoping he wouldn't notice. 
    "Really?" He sounded as if he didn't believe me which was the appropriate response; I wouldn't have believed my terrible lying either. 
    "Yes, really. It looks good and I would rather you didn't bring it up again" I hissed. 
    "Okay, calm down. I was just asking" Sebastian's shoulders slumped but I could imagine his eyes rolling. 
    I couldn't tell anyone about the ring yet. I had only just met Ivy; I didn't think she would want to be introduced to so many people at one time when she had been alone for so many years. 
    And she didn't seem to like Sebastian anyway from the way she was burning away my skin with extreme cold.

 

 

"How was it?" Lexi asked.
    "It was..." I waved my hand in front of me to help me find the right words hidden in the mess my brain was in. I couldn't tell her about what he'd said about Lexi. "I can't explain it"
    "Did he try and-"
    "If you seriously ask that question I am going to get up, leave and pretend I don't know you," I threatened. A plate was served in front of me and I had to look away to not throw up. "I can't even look at food right now. I still feel sick from the ceiling adventure"
    "Yeah, you get used to being tied to ceilings after a while," Scarlett laughed bitterly, eagerly taking the plate filled with steaming food and grabbing her knife and fork. "I'm starving!"
    I noticed Lexi was without food and pointed with my fork. "How come you don't have any food?"
    "I don't eat" She replied simply.
    "You don't eat?" I asked, my eyebrow raising.
    She shook her head. "I can't eat. I don't get anything from it and I don't need it to live so what's the point?"
    "I guess... but what would happen if someone asked you to eat?" I shrugged, taking a sip of tea. Before Lexi answered, Rufus took the seat next to her with a tray of gorgeous food. My stomach rumbled when my mouth started watering and I started eating my food, getting over my nausea instantly.
    "Basically, I'd tell them to fuck off" Lexi answered and I nodded, already used to the answers Lexi gave me. When I looked up from my food, I saw a nervous scientist shuffling up to the table and hiding behind his clipboard.
    "Um, Scarlett?" He mumbled, staring down at the floor. "It's time for your test"
    "I don't see why I should," Scarlett hissed, scowling in his direction. "You keep trying to find out what I am but you fail every time. Why do you need another blood sample?" The scientist looked taken aback by her tone and motioned for another scientist. A strong beefy looking woman came up to the table.
    "What's wrong?" She asked in a deep voice.
    "Scarlett won't go" The nervous doctor stuttered. The woman growled and glared at Scarlett. I saw a hint of red shimmer in Scarlett's eyes.
    "Listen, you'll go for your test, you'll listen to us and you'll do what you're told. We own you here; that's not going to change" The woman grabbed Scarlett and dragged her to her feet.
    But in the next second she flew across the room and slammed into the wall. I looked up in shock to see Scarlett's eyes blazing red.
    Candace gently went for her hand but Scarlett pulled away as if Candace had burnt her. Scarlett's grip on her knife tightened as workers went to help the confused woman. Scarlett lunged at them with a crazed look in her eye and everyone dived out of the way just in time to see her plunge the knife into the woman's stomach.
    My eyes widened as the red liquid seeped from the hole and the woman fell in slow motion.
    Everyone on the Subjects table came alive; Lexi and Candace grabbed Scarlett, Derek and Saffron helped the scientists they could get out of the lunch room before Scarlett saw them, Merlin sat shaking at the table, knowing he wanted to do something but couldn't because of the Generator, and Sebastian sat watching me stare at everyone.
    The ring started stinging and burning against my skin.
    We have to do something! Ivy's voice exploded in my head. I was forced to stand up and I gripped the edge of the table while the other hand was a shaking fist.
    "No," I tried to sound firm but it was ruined by how scared I was. "I might get the others" I shook my head and saw Sebastian give me an odd look.
    This is our chance to give them some pain for what they've done.
    My hand shook by my side. "I don't want to"
    I stopped shaking and couldn't move any part of my body. If you're not going to do anything, I will. I felt myself slowly changing; my eyes shifting and hair fizzing. A white mist shrouded my vision; it was as if there was a fog in my head and I couldn't think clearly.
    "Dani...?" Merlin stood up and came around the table. He looked at my face and instantly pulled away. "Dani, are you alright?"
    I'm not Dani," Ivy used my voice to speak. "And I'm not alright" She made me grab hold of Merlin's throat and lift him off the ground.
    "Dani!" Lexi yelled and my head whipped round to stare at her. My eyes narrowed and I released Merlin, advancing on Lexi. "What are you doing?!"
    "Don't talk to me like that!" Ivy scoffed. "Give me respect; I'm your elder!"
    Lexi scoffed. "If you say so"
    "That's it," Ivy growled and grabbed Lexi's throat. "You give me no choice" She took a deep breath and threw Lexi across the room.
    I screamed but nothing came out my mouth. I wanted them to hurt Ivy the way I wanted to hurt her. I'd trusted her and she was making me harm my best friends because they were there. It wasn't their fault they were Subjects here. I felt hot tears pour down my cheeks.
    "Stop this instant!" She looked round and growled when she saw the man from the first day glaring at me in the doorway.
    "You cannot tell me what to do!" Ivy laughed, resting my hands on my hips.
    Then I remembered the vial. It'd been a couple of days since I made it; the potion would be ready to put Ivy and me in a coma. It would make her stop hurting people but it would leave me asleep for whoever knows how long with her still inside my mind. And she was draining the remaining energy I had and the lights were fading fast but I was getting control of my body as Ivy weakened as well.
    I'd have to put myself to sleep but it was worth it if she stopped hurting the people I loved.
    I reached for the vial and Ivy tried to protest but the doctors grabbed my arm and tried to push me to the floor. Popping the cork off, I threw back the liquid and a sweet taste ran slowly down my throat, making me bawk.
    Ivy saw what I'd done and pushed my thoughts out the way as she tried to take control again. I swayed on my feet and my knees buckled. "Dani, don't go to sleep," I wanted to yell at her and watched as my arms wobbled under me and I fell to the floor. "Dani..." My eyes fluttered closed.
    Stay awake...

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