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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7. Thirteen: Chapter Six

Naida tugged me down the hallway, singing a cheerful song at the top of her lungs. She was trying to get my mind off having to lie to B12 after he'd chosen me specifically because he thought I could handle myself.
    "Cheer up, Dani," Naida nudged me. "It could be worse"
    "How?" I grumbled.
    She thought for a second, but didn't cease on skipping me down the corridor. "You could be... bald!"
    I rolled my eyes. "You're right, that's much worse," I sighed and Naida stopped, allowing me to shut my eyes. "B12's gonna kill me; I can feel it"
    "Well then, I'll just have to be there to make sure he doesn't" She rummaged around in her pocket and shoved a scrunched up piece of brown paper into my hand.
    Raising my eyebrow, I pulled open the paper and inside was the most beautiful necklace I had ever seen. A bight blue ribbon was tied to a small clear diamond-shaped stone.
    "What's this?" I cradled it carefully in my hands.
    "It's a Moon Stone. Water Nymphs have been able to make them from tears for years and when the full moon is up it gives us strange powers. But that's only a legend; it rarely ever happens," She pressed my fingers around it. "And I want you to have it"
    "Wait, tears?" I suddenly realized what she had said. "Have you been crying?" My eyes flashed up to hers, worry forming in my stomach.
    Naida bit her lip and refused to meet my eyes. "No. This one was made... from your tears"
    "What?" I looked down at it. It was too pretty to be made from anything that came from me; no way it had been from my tears. How had she even been able to make something like this by herself?
    "The first night here, I had heard you crying in the middle of the night. I was worried about you, in a place like this, so I collected your tears using my magic and transformed them into the crystal"
    "Why would you give this to me? I can't use it, a Moon Stone's only for Water Nymphs" My eyes scanned herself for any information she was trying to withhold and a huge grin bloomed on her face.
    "You may not be able to use it but I can. If you're in danger, I'll know"
    "It can let you do that?" Removing the wrapper, I shoved the paper into my pocket and carefully tied the ribbon around my neck. It wasn't as heavy as I'd thought it would be and it sat perfectly along my collar bone, feeling as if it had been made for me.
    "Sure," She pressed my stone lightly and it shone and glowed blue. Pulling out another necklace from her pocket, she wrapped it around her neck and held it towards me. "Please press the stone"
    I touched the stone cautiously and it shimmered and started glowing green. "Do you just have a supply of Moon Stones?" I joked.
    "Just the two," She laughed. "Only one can be made from one person's tears"
    "Well... what did that do?" I lifted my gem and smiled at my reflection in the bright blue surface.
    "Mine lets me know if you're in trouble and yours lets you know the same but for me. Watch" She scrunched one hand into a ball and punched me. Her diamond glowed a blood red and started vibrating violently.
    "Ow! But cool" I rubbed my arm and hit her back. My gem burned a bright red as well and started shaking.
    "See? So if you're in danger you have no say in me helping you because I'll already know," Naida crossed her arms and smiled knowingly. "And I have a funny feeling that you'll be in a lot of trouble"
    My eyes narrowed as she examined her necklace. How could she possibly know I was going to get myself into trouble? I didn't do that many bad things!
    Did I?
    I hadn't done anything so far to annoy anyone so what was she talking about? Maybe she could tell the future and saw me fighting some cult or something because I didn't do as they said.
    But how likely was that.
    "What do you want to do now?" Naida asked.
    "I have no idea what we can do in here," I shrugged. "There might be even more hallways that we know nothing about"
    "Well, we should probably stick together in case we get lost," She giggled. "I know you'd get lost if I wasn't here"
    I scoffed. "Yeah right. More like you'd get lost and cry because I wasn't there to help you with my amazing navigation skills" We laughed in unison and exploded into a fit of giggles, almost ending up on the floor.
    Abraxas was right. Even though I had only met her like two days ago we were acting like sisters. Knowing me, I wouldn't have gotten close to her even if she was my partner. That was my thing; I didn't usually make friends with anyone if possible. I just didn't want to have to deal with having to lose them when my 'parents' died. When they left, so did I. And that was the hardest thing about living forever. You couldn't get close to anyone or you'd probably end up hurting them.
    But Niada was trying her damned hardest to get close to me and so if she was trying I should at least return the favor.
    "Shall we just have a wander?" Naida asked after she'd caught her breath.
    "Sure, why not" I linked my arm with hers and we skipped further down the hallway. We passed many scientists but when they saw us they gave us odd looks. Maybe they were just confused at how happy we were. I knew Naida wasn't going to let this place bring her down just because of what they were going to do to us so I should try and not care like her. They could give us as many weird looks as they wanted; I wasn't going to let them pressure me into being unhappy.
    I wasn't going to change my attitude just because of some building.
    I heard Naida giggle and noticed we had stopped. God! I kept getting lost in my head but it was getting cramped with all of the questions I needed answers to. And I realized that the questions were always going to be simpler than the answers were going to be. If I ever got the answers I wanted.
    "What are you laughing at?" I asked, trying to look around her. She couldn't answer; she just pointed constantly at the white door we had stopped outside of and covered her mouth with a hand, attempting to stop her laughter. I pushed her aside and peeked through the frosted circular glass of the door.
    Sebastian was stood with his back to us yelling at a doctor that hadn't had the pleasure of meeting me yet.
    I pushed the door open slightly and prayed to goodness and hope that it didn't creak or make any noise.They didn't seem to notice so I listened carefully to their conversation, squatted outside of the door and probably looking very strange to people passing by.
    "She's a nightmare! That... girl is driving me crazy!" Sebastian exclaimed. I quietly exhaled. He was so lucky he said girl then instead of calling me something else, which he had been planning to do, otherwise I would have gone in and smacked him.
    Unless he wasn't talking about me, which was doubtful knowing that he hated me. And I just realized then that his attitude towards me had changed again; only a few hours ago he had been my best friend but now he was bitching about me. Unless, again, he wasn't talking about me.
    "I'm sorry Sebastian but I can't do anything about Danielle," The scientist apologized not very sincerely. "You know how Doctor Cerulean feels about her ability. I'm afraid you're going to be stuck with Danielle for a while"
    "But she's such a pain. She's telling people I wanted to kill her!"
    "You almost did" I whispered furiously. I couldn't see Sebastian's expression but I was able to see the doctor roll his eyes.
    "I know. I heard," The doctor sighed exasperated. He put the beaker he was holding down and turned to fully face Sebastian. His eyes seemed to skim across me and I held my breath, hoping to the high heavens he didn't say anything to Sebastian, but he showed no signs that he'd seen me. However, I still smiled to show my gratitude just in case he had actually seen me. "And what do you want me to do about it, hmm? This is all of your doing anyway, why should I get involved?"
    What was that supposed to mean?
    "I..." Sebastian paused, rethinking the next thing he was going to say.
    Naida jabbed me in the side and I waved my hand at her, trying to make her stop being annoying when I was busy being nosy. She ignored it and poked me again.
    "What do you want?" I hissed.
    "Let me see; you've been hogging the door for ages!" She demanded quietly, prodding me again.
    "Hold on!" I swatted her away and she shoved me, pushing me into the door. I accidently let out a shriek and she grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the doorway. I heard either Sebastian or the scientist gasp and we bolted down the hallway in a fit of giggles.
    "Keep running! I think he heard you!" Naida gasped breathlessly.
    "Me?! You... were the one... who pushed me!" I panted. We glided round another corner and pressed our bodies against the wall.
    "You were the one in the way of my view" She wheezed. I opened my mouth to speak but Naida put a finger to her lips when she heard Sebastian yelling for us. Gulping, I hoped for my life that he didn't actually find us.
    "I know you two are here somewhere!" Sebastian shouted. We tried to make the wall absorb us as his voice got closer and closer.
    "What are you yelling about, Sebby?" I heard Lexi's voice complain loudly and breathed a sigh of relief.
    Thank you!!! I screamed in my head, biting my lip to stop myself from yelling it out loud.
    "Don't get in my way" Sebastian commanded and I heard Lexi scoff in reply.
    "I'll do whatever I want, thank you very much! Who are you even looking for anyway?" I picked up on the uninterest in her voice and was almost offended.
    "Is that any of your business?" His voice faded as if he were walking away.
    "I was just asking!" She called after him. "God..." I listened closely as her steps seemed to grow louder and louder and then almost jumped out of my skin when she popped her head round the corner. Had we really been that close to them? We had been so lucky Lexi had been there or-
    I don't even want to think about what Sebastian could have done to us for eavesdropping on his conversation.
    "Hey Lexi" Naida grinned.
    "Hi Naida. Um Dani, I think Sebastian might be pissed at you. You know, he had that look in his eye" Lexi smiled as if she were being helpful, motioning to her eyes to make sure I actually knew what she meant. I wrapped my arms around her neck and hugged her tightly.
    "Don't care!" I screamed. "Thank you!"
    "O... kay..." She tried to pry my arms from around her neck but I wouldn't budge. "You're welcome? Oh, and Saffron was looking for you Naida"
    "What would she want with me?" Naida's eyebrow shot up. Lexi shrugged awkwardly. "I'll see you later, Dani" She added before running off down the hallway.
    "Have fun" I called after her. I finally released Lexi and she took a dramatic breath.
    "Thank you for not strangling me to death," She rubbed her neck. "Why was Sebastian looking for you anyway?"
    "How did you know he was looking for me?"
    She gave me a look that read 'seriously'. "I've known him for years; I think I can understand his facial features by now"
    "So, can he tell what your expression's mean too?" I asked.
    "No," She said simply, shaking her head. "So tell me why he was chasing you? He hadn't confessed his love to you and you rejected him, did he?"
    "No nothing like that. I'd been listening to him whining about me," I grimaced and put on a far-from-Sebastian voice. "'She's a nightmare. That girl is driving me crazy!'"
    "Sebastian doesn't really like people" Lexi shrugged. I sighed and let my head fall back onto the wall.
    "This place will be the death of me. It really will. If the tests don't kill me then the people here will," I shook my head and let my lids slowly close. I heard Lexi let out a huge sigh and she grabbed my arm, towing me away from the wall. "Where are we going?"
    "We're going to cheer you up. I don't want you to get depressed on me just because a boy was chasing you" She dragged me through countless of hallways as if she knew where she were going, which she probably did, as I groaned like a five year old.
    "Aw! Can’t you just leave me alone?"
    "No. When all of the feelings you were supposed to have on the first day come to you I want you to be doing something fun so you won't feel it and so you won't cry for hours" She pushed me through a door and into the room where I had played Just Dance. It had seemed like years ago and it'd only been before lunch. She made me sit down and then smiled at me, waiting for me to say anything.
    "How did you even get a room like this?" I asked. It was obviously the wrong question for me to ask but she answered anyway.
    "We were given it when we wouldn't leave the scientists alone to do their work. They made it because we were bored and we annoyed the people supposed to be working"
    "How many people know about this?"
    "Well, only us and Doctor Mayhew. He's the one who got this stuff for us"
    "Who's Doctor Mayhew?" I wondered aloud.
    "Doctor Mayhew's our supervisor," She grinned. "He makes sure we're given the correct tests and that the scientists get the right subjects to work with. He's also supposed to manage us but once he sorted out this room we were fine. He was actually surprised that it hadn't taken even more to convince us that testing on us was the best thing in trying to figure out what we were"
    "Why didn't it?" I didn't understand what Lexi was trying to do. By telling me this was she preparing me for the future or was she giving me secret background information to help me? Did she know I was attempting to get them out and wanted to help as best as she could? "Why didn't it take a lot more to make you do the tests?"
    "I don't know about the others but I knew what they were capable of. I knew that if I didn't agree to what they said they could do a number of horrible things to me. Back then I didn't know if I was still immortal or not so I was scared that if I disagreed they would kill me and then I'd never get back home"
    "Wait, immortal? Not meaning to sound rude but what are you?" I'd gotten intrigued by the conversation we had slipped into and now was wondering even more if Lexi was giving me secret hints without actually telling me. And I was wondering now what Lexi really was to be in a place that tested on mystical creatures.
    "I'm a fallen Angel" She smiled, taking a bow and laughing at my expression. My mouth fell open as I stared at her. She was an Angel? To be more precise, she was a fallen Angel?!
    She looked nothing like an Angel, to start with. She didn't have the wings or the halo and she certainly didn't act like an Angel. Weren't Angels supposed to be heavenly beings who were all sweet and nice and caring? Beings who helped people instead of hating them, like Lexi did with Sebastian? No offense to Lexi, but what Angels were supposed to be was the complete opposite of her.
    "I know what you're thinking: where are the wings?" She'd taken a seat on the sofa and left me to stare at her as if she'd told me some deep dark secret. "Well, when I fell from Heaven I hit the ground pretty hard so I lost my wings. And then I had to live on this crappy planet for years, meeting the most horrible people and wishing I could get back home. Nova must've known about me because they brought me here the same way they brought you here: with that stupid green gas," I felt in my pocket for the vial and found the cold surface, holding onto as if I were withholding evidence in an interrogation. "I've been here for quite a while now. And guess what; my names not even Lexi Ember!"
    "What is it?"
    "I can't remember, because I've used Lexi Ember for a while now, but I'm sure it was something close to Lexi" She was acting so casual about this, it was like she had planned what to say and was now just reading it from a script.
    Maybe she had. She could've been looking for me when she ran into Sebastian to tell me this information. I just had one more question for her.
    "Why are you telling me this?" I looked at her more seriously then. If she could answer this one question then I would know what her intentions were.
    "I don't know," She admitted, sitting up on the leather. "I guess I'm telling you this so you know what kind of people are around you. I'm sure that when they have your time the others will tell you what they are as well but I guess I'm just telling you this so you have the hope of knowing what kind of people can help you"
    What kind of people can help me. She did know I was trying to escape; that I was going to try and get them out. How though? I hadn't told anyone; I had decided that I was going to help them the first day I had met them but I had only confirmed that in my head.
    What wasn't she telling me?
    We sat there awkwardly for a while as I pondered each theory but then pushed them aside. I yawned and rubbed my eyes.
    "I'm gonna go to bed" I thought aloud and she looked at me with a sort of sad expression.
    "Okay," She got up off the sofa and smiled. "I'll see you later?"
    "Of course" I answered. The way she'd asked me made me think that she thought I was going to leave. Why would I do that?
    Walking out, the sudden realization dawned on me.
    She knew about escaping.
    I wondered who else knew.

 

 

In the morning I didn't want to open my eyes. Everything yesterday had felt like a nightmare; blurry around the edges and feeling not quite real. I just didn't want to see that it had all been my imagination playing tricks on me.
    But I forced them open and breathed a sigh of relief.
    The room was still there and on the alarm clock flashed the bright numbers '6:00'. I sat up and lent against the wall. I didn't want to feel glad that it hadn't been some sick thing from my imagination but I was. I was glad that all of the other subjects hadn't been fictitious and I was glad I was still in Nova.
    Because I was still able to help them.
    I smiled and jumped out of bed. Today was going to be better than yesterday. I could feel it. I was free. And that thought couldn't stop me from smiling.
    Getting dressed into the jumpsuit, I snatched the brush up and pulled it through the nest of tangles that was my hair.
    I shouldn't be so happy! I'm in a prison! The voice inside my head screamed. But the smile never left my lips.
    I walked down the hallway and couldn't help but think that everything looked so dull. The first day I was confused in this upside down place that I hadn't really noticed but now that I was in a good mood I realized just how grey the place looked.
    "Dani!" Scarlett called. She slammed into me but grabbed my arm before I even had a chance to notice the impact. "Good morning," She smiled brightly. Again, her mood contrasted with grey. "Shall we go to breakfast? I think there's gonna be an announcement"
    "An announcement?" I asked curiously.
    "Yeah, we have a meeting every month to find out what experiments we're having that month and if anything's changed with the employment of doctors. And other stuff like that"
    "Oh. I suppose now Naida and I are here they need to change their schedule" I shrugged, not really bothered about meetings and such. We continued in silence down the hall until we got to the already crowded lunch room. It was packed with scientists of all sizes and ages that I hadn't seen yet or had had the pleasure of meeting.
    Merlin, Rufus and Lexi were already sat at our lunch table and when Merlin spotted us coming through the door he waved us over and we took our previous seats on the bench.
    "Isn't it such a wonderful morning?" Lexi said sarcastically. "I can't believe we have to have this stupid meeting early. If it wasn't for this I could still be in bed asleep instead of having to be up at this ridiculous time," She looked over at me and punched me lightly on the arm. "This is all your fault"
    "Ow! I can't help if I'm the new girl, can I?" I pouted and rubbed my arm. She knew I was joking so she just laughed at me.
    "I've been meaning to ask but, what's wrong with your hair?" Merlin asked, motioning with his coke can.
    "What do you mean?" I raised my eyebrow at him.
    "Your hair looks fake. No offense or anything but it looks unreal and looks too crazy to be real hair"
    "That's probably because my hair is not usually meant to be black" I shrugged.
    "Your hair's not usually black?" Merlin's eyebrow raised as he took a sip.
    "No. My hair is actually blonde and my eyes are usually brown," I told them. They shrugged and I sighed at their expressions. "Whenever I've transformed I'm in danger of having my actual appearance changed. If I turn human again unconsciously my looks could change too. So that's why my hair is black and my eyes are red"
    "Can't you change them back?" Lexi asked.
    "Usually I can but I'm weak from my last transformation. I have to 'recharge'," I used my fingers to make air quotes around the last word. "But that's what you get from not being a fully fledged shapeshifter yet"
    Just at that moment the other Subjects came into the lunch room all together and sat down at the table, except for Sebastian, who chose to sit alone at the end of the table again. I watched as Naida went straight for the fridge in search of food.
    "Good morning," Candace beamed. The others just waved, obviously wishing they were still asleep. "How come you were up so early?"
    "You heard me?" I asked, taking the Coke can that Naida held out for me and laughed to myself as she sat down with a bowl full of cornflakes covered in sugar.
    What a way to live on the edge, Naida. I thought, rolling my eyes at her.
    "My rooms next door to yours. I heard you rummaging around"
    "Oh. Sorry if I was too loud" I nodded, understanding that she had the ability of super hearing or whatever they liked to call it. Naida leaned across the table and gave me an alarmed look.
    "Why is Sebastian looking at you like that?" She tried to point towards Sebastian without him seeing but judging by the sound he made she obviously didn't do a very good job. I shrugged, not wanting to look up.
    I hated to admit it but Sebastian kind of scared me with the way he looked at me and the way his moods changed so suddenly, one minute him hating my guts and the other acting like a love-sick puppy. If he did have multiple personalities and one hated me and the other liked me then maybe it was best for both of us if I steered away from him and didn't get involved in anything he did. Last night I had been angry so it had blinded my views towards him but just in case he was two separate people it would be healthier if I just stayed away from him.
    "What about Sebastian?" Lexi asked, leaning forward.
    "He's staring at me" I shrugged again. Lexi rolled her eyes and looked over at him, not bothered if he saw her looking or not.
    "I don’t like the look he's giving you," She muttered darkly. She glanced down and must have noticed the expression on my face for she pulled my chin up with a finger and whispered, "Just so you know, if you two get together I'm gonna kill both of you"
    "Don't worry," I laughed. "I'm not really thinking about that" I murmured the last part, not wanting the others to hear. If they knew I was going to try and escape they might either try and talk me out of it or want me to get them out now. Both of those might not happen but I had to consider everything as a possibility. It was best to keep my plan quiet for the time being. I didn't want to risk any of the scientists hearing about it and then never letting me out of a locked room ever again. How would I be able to help the others then?
    But then I had a thought. What if they did know? They could have heard me talking about it to B12 and that was what this meeting was. I was either going to be kicked out, which was very unlikely, or they would pull me away from the others and I would never be able to see them again.
    Just as I was about to ask Cerulean strode into the cafeteria and the whole room fell into an eerie silence. He walked to the front of the room and stood on the higher part of the floor, allowing him to be just that little bit taller than us. He opened his mouth to speak but stopped abruptly when I popped the top of my Coke can, causing a loud hissing sound as pressurized air escaped the compact metal.
    "Sorry" I called out. The Subjects snickered and some of the scientists were having a hard time not laughing. I was confused at first but then smiled to myself when I saw the look on Cerulean's face.
    "As I was about to say," He sighed. "There's been a little change in plans. Subjects one through eleven will be undergoing less tests today so the remaining scientists have more time for subjects twelve and thirteen," He paused to give me an evil grin. "Subjects twelve and thirteen will take part in the usual tests today and then have the tests specifically for them afterwards. Groups A, B and C will be working with subjects twelve and thirteen while the other groups will split up to work with the other subjects. Sebastian," Cerulean turned his attention to Sebastian, who was sat scribbling on a piece of paper. "You will be doing the fitness test today. If that's not a problem"
    "No sir" He replied bluntly.
    "Well then, let's get to work!" Cerulean clapped his hands and the whole lunch room sprang into action, all except the subjects table, who still sat where they were as if they didn't give a care in the world. I didn't know what the hell I was supposed to do so I just sat there as well. A large group of men came up to the table and looked nervously at Naida and me.
    "Are you ready?" The one at the front asked, not looking up from his clipboard.
    "No," I heaved a sigh and stood up, causing a few of them to flinch. "And yet, what other choice do I have?" They looked guilty for a second but smothered it quickly, leaving their faces blank masks. Naida stood up and we followed the group out.
    Looking back, I saw the others leaving with their doctors as well and Rufus turned his head. He smiled and gave me a reassuring thumbs up. I smiled back weakly and Naida squeezed my hand.
    I tried not to think of what they had in store for us but I had a feeling it would not be fun.

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