The Prodigy Project (Completed)

*I wrote this when I was, like, 12. I swear I probably didn't even understand what a full stop was for. This is here now only to show progression in my writing* 5TH PLACE RUNNER UP IN WATTPAD 2012 WATTY AWARDS.

Ever believed in super heroes? Nadia didn’t. That is until she became reality’s equivalent to one along with 239 unfortunate others. Put together a division between good and bad form, a battle for freedom and potential war develops. This is T.P.P – The Prodigy Project.
“You are all the best in your category; you specialize in it in every way possible, with a little unfair advantage of mutation and modern development. You are all the prodigies.”


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17. Chapter 16

That moment of utter desperation, that moment when you don’t know what to do next.

“Well?” Stacey persisted.

I stared blankly at the vast amount of water separating us from main land. I could see lights and land in the distance. But the gap was large, too large for all of us to swim. Perhaps the Ultimatums and athletics would be able to cross, but the rest? No chance.

Within seconds of everyone arriving on the edge of the forest, it became silent. They knew just as well as me that there was now even more trouble. No chance we’d cross the water before someone from the school had a chance to catch us. What to do now?

“I don’t know,” I admitted while staring blankly to the vast amount of water.

Ray came forward from behind me. “I’m sure we’ll think of something. What I say we do for now is move around the edge of the beach and see if there’s a closer opening. If it comes to the point when we have to cross it, I’d rather it be shorter rather than longer.”

I was about to start walking, start on my way to go as far as I could around the island, but Stacey’s growl of frustration held me back.

Rolling her eyes she acted as if it was obvious. “We can’t make the mind control students or savants walk with us, they’d only make it a quarter of what the ultimatums could. I suggest we make the athletics run around the island, twice for good measure. The rest of us will stay and wait it out,” Stacey finished.

Even with a fowl personality, she was smart, I’d give her that. Walking backwards a few steps I came back into my original position right beside Ray. I tilted my head upwards in the direction of Ray with no actual intent. Stacey had sauntered off to gather a few athletics which left us two to ourselves.

“What’s on your mind?” He asked gently, resting an arm around my waist pulling me closer.

I couldn’t answer the question. I had so much to say but it wouldn’t come out. Would we ever get to go home? Will I see you again after this is all over? No, I wouldn’t tell him what was on my mind. My worry burdened on him wasn’t necessary right now.

Shivers settled into my bones as the chill that was swept from the sea came closer. Moving in closer to Ray, he settled his other arm around me in a tight hug. I think he was the only person who seemed to be coping just fine, the only one who wasn’t affected. Even Stacey had lost a certain spirit to her since yesterday. Reality was kicking in, we were all waking up and realising that this wasn’t a dream. We’ve had over a month to get used to it, over a month to come to terms with our new lives. I don’t think I’d ever get used to it.

The day had been long and all I wanted to do was sleep, or rest at the very least. Ray sat us both down leaning against a tree with clear view of everything that was happening on the beach.

I wasn’t concentrating at all on Ray, but more so on everyone else. I noticed Emily a little further off sitting around a fire that an elemental most probably made. I didn’t approve, but I wouldn’t stop them. Emily seemed to be laughing, but no one was laughing with her, in fact, everyone had a glum look and I didn’t blame them. Emily was Emily, the new attitude and old attitude all the same. She’d laugh off her nerves no matter what.

Scanning around a little more, I spotted Harry – the other ultimatum. He was with Aisha and a few others who I didn’t recognise. All just solemnly chatting between each other.

I didn’t want to see how everyone else was doing. I didn’t want to watch and feel pity for them as well as myself. I closed my eyes and it seemed to lessen my fear. With Rays arms around me I felt safe, but not for long. In not even an hour and a bit we’d need to come up with some way to cross the water. One way or another.

The wind that had picked up its pace hit me hard, wiping my hair in a flurry of brown strands. I could hear the ocean louder and I didn’t have to open my eyes to realise it was probably going to start raining.

I remember when I’d sit at my small window staring out on rainy days as a kid and pRay for it to stop raining. I wanted to play with my skipping rope. I remember my brother shouting at me to get away from the window and play with him his war game... I enjoyed it. I enjoyed getting kill scores. My brother used to tell me someday he’s be in the army, someday he’d be fighting with guns like those game characters he loved. He was only eight years old.

It’s so strange to think of how naive we were in ways, that we wanted to become monsters. That we wanted to kill people, and all because of what? A video game. I felt disgusted that my parents even allowed us to play the games; I was disgusted because I agreed to play them.

T.P.P had given us everything we could ever hope for, and our worst nightmare. Gave us a chance to be a somebody, it gave me a chance to have some purpose that was important. I could have been working with the government in carrying out   mission’s right up until the day I was no longer able. In ten years from now, I could be sitting on top of millions having the president on speed dial all because of T.P.P...

But because of T.P.P there’s a good chance I would never see my family again, I’d be treated like a freak, an outcast. I’d be different, and I could die. In a war that was guaranteed to happen I had next to no chance because it certainly isn’t like those video games I played years ago, we didn’t get kill streaks and unlimited lives. This was real life, in real time. I wouldn’t have days to perfect my shooting skill... or ultimatum skill anyway.

There were so many puzzles, so, so many. I wondered about the teachers... Seeing as they are ultimatums – all of them – then they were obviously very much in on the prodigy project. They all supported it... In the beginning anyway. Who’s to say none have regretted their decision like Mr. Brent?

“Hey Nadia?” Taken from the cramped place inside my head I was pulled back into real-time. My eyes open a slit and I tried to move. My fingers were so numb; it was as if I’d sat in a bath of ice, and my hair so wild it obscured my face. I didn’t bother to move it; I didn’t want Ray to know what I was thinking. Not right now.

“Yeah?”

“I... I don’t understand what The Prodigy Project actually means. Like, why do they call it that? I know the abbreviation is T.P.P but... Are we the prodigies? If we are... How?” Looking up briefly, I noticed he was staring intently at the sand we sat on, his eyes crinkled at the corners in confusion. “I mean, we’re not prodigies at all.”

Are we prodigies? In the real world we’d be mutants, but... in some ways we are superior to the human race, we are... super-human. First time thinking of it that way, I suppose. Better than being a mutant. In the new world, the one that T.P.P will create if it succeeds, we’d be heroes – to those who didn’t despise us. If T.P.P succeeded, we’d become hate targets of the normal working human world, but heroes to the few people who support the idea. The most lethal, superior people in the world are also the most hated.

“If T.P.P succeeds we’ll be the most superior people in the world. If T.P.P fails, we’ll be the most in danger human beings to ever walk.”

Every regular day-to-day working human being would want our heads.

I wanted to be the strong one in our friendship and tell him everything would be alright, but everything wouldn’t be alright and I’m not the strong one.

He looked me in the eye. “I wonder what’s across the water...” Ray sighed suddenly. “What country are we in?”

I tried to think. I had gathered hints with a few other people. The TV channel I had found called ‘pacific today’. Then there’s the letter I had gotten my hands on in computing class, the one from Mr. Davidson asking for records and reports on some pupils – including Russell – to be sent to him. I remember it mentioned ‘North Border training Facility of France’. Both the evidence pointed in opposite directions of the globe...

“There’s a TV channel on the TV in our dorms that was called ‘Pacific Today’. Doesn’t that imply we are in an area somewhere around North America and South America?” It made sense, but it might not be strictly true. It could be a channel played in European countries airing American shows... Who knows?

“That far away from home, huh?”

His face seemed to drop just a little bit more. “Actually, you could be closer than you expected. Remember that letter I’d found that had something to do with a ‘North Border Training Facility’?” Ray nodded. “Right across that water, could be England.”

Tilting my head, I looked up to the sky. It was cold enough to be England, I thought to myself.

His hand moved from behind my back and rested on my shoulders playing with my hair. Looking across the water it was dark. You could see no stars or moon because of the clouds.

“You really think that?”

Facing Ray, I noticed he was already looking at me. My hair was still plastered to parts of my face, but that didn’t matter right now...

Yeah, I did think that. Across the water could be anywhere, anywhere in the world... But I’d just settled telling him a brief yes. “Yeah, Ray. You really could be close to home.”

The closer he was to home, the further I’d be from mine. I lived in Nevada, he lived in England.

“I wonder what Jocelyn’s up too...” He mumbled to himself. I realised this was the girl he’d told me about a while back... I didn’t know if he purposely said it aloud, but I didn’t comment on it. He missed her, that much was obvious.

He missed her loads, but now I was questioning if I still missed my family? At the start I was a wreck over the matter, but now? I had more or less forgotten about them, and I didn’t nearly as much Ray, miss my friends. Yes, they were special, and I had at first thought about them a lot. But now I couldn’t see us becoming friends again, if we ever would get the chance in time to come.

I think I’d be scared she wouldn’t recognise me. She’d see me as a freak now driven by seriousness, she’d no longer see me as her double, constantly happy and in need of company. I suppose this was the same with my family. I was scared they’d no longer accept me as part of their family.

But I’d take it as it came. Yes, that’s what I’d do.

Everything around us then seemed to fade, or, around me anyway. I didn’t know the time, but it was late enough for the sky to be a huge black abyss of darkness. Everyone had begun to settle down and I presumed the assigned athletics had left to circle to island at their fastest speed.

Looking across the water one last time before I dozed off, which I was guaranteed to do, I tried to gauge the gap... A mile or two? Not far.

Not long after that I felt my eyes slide shut and I fell asleep.

***

Commotion had awoken me from my sleep. Everyone was arguing it seemed.

Looking over to my right I realised I was alone. Ray was no longer beside me. Trying to find him, I sat up groggily.

It was then I realised it was day time, the sun just rising by the looks of it. Still no telling what time it was, though.

Making my way towards the noise, everyone was gathered around whoever was arguing. I had no idea what was going on, and I intended to find out.

Thinking against barging straight into the crowed, I picked at random from who lingered near the back.

She looked tired, probably hadn’t slept, unlike me. Her brown hair was messily tied up into a pony tail and her mascara was smudged around her eyes. I would have told her, but I had other things to worry about.

“Hey!” I tried to get her attention. I grabbed her shoulder forcing her to turn around to face me more. “What’s happening? Why’s everyone arguing?”

Her lips pouted outwards as she most probably tried to think of a suitable answer. “The people who were sent out to circle the island came back.” Briefly explained, that didn’t answer my question.

“But why is everyone arguing then?”

I wanted to rip my hair out, wanted to leap inside this girls head and take the answers that way, because mouth to mouth didn’t seem enough. I may have been frustrated and impatient, but I didn’t like being left in the dark.

“Turns out we aren’t on an island. Well, we are, but not the sort we thought at first...” She sighed a little, as if she, too, was tired of all of this.

So where were we then? I asked exactly that.

She stuttered in her reply, her eyes wide. “I-I heard the name France a few times...”

I didn’t say anything back to her. If we were in France, we were close to that North border Training Facility which I presume everyone who was taken from T.P.P would be there. That also meant we were told we were on an island just for the sake I suppose. If we were told we were in a well known country, more of us would try to escape. Then I remembered the diagrams we’d drawn in military tactic were complete lies too. We weren’t on an island; we were in some remote area in France.

Looking across the water I saw land. No idea what was across the water, but I didn’t care anymore. We were on ground that was somewhat familiar to us.

Barging my way to the centre of the argument, it took some pushing and shoving. Moving in closer Emily was one of them at the centre along with Aisha, the fierce Canadian. Behind Aisha stood Stacey, the controlling Irish girl. I didn’t know how to stop whatever was happening, and instead I decided to listen in instead.

“We can’t just walk into the unknown. We may know we aren’t too far away from ‘normal’ anymore, but anything we do at this moment in time could be dangerous!”

“Don’t be so stupid! We know we are in France, this means we can easily escape. France is huge; there are a lot of people around. They won’t come near us if we go into a public place, they would never risk it!”

“They made T.P.P with intent on using it, they want to dictate the world with one government, and they won’t care! And I hope you remember France is part of T.P.P too.”

“Of course I remember. I wasn’t given the savant power for nothing!” Emily was growing more and more frustrated. If she had the elemental power I was sure she’d have some sort of fire shooting from her palms.

It was time to intervene. Stacey looks fuming and that was dangerous enough. I felt like a scolding mother as I stepped into their line of sight and began to tell them off.

“Are you seriously fighting at a time like this?” My question seemed to quieten them both. All eyes rested on me and it unsettled me further. “Your yelling is jeopardising everyone. Your yelling is splitting the group into two sides.” It was true. I could clearly see the division of who agreed with whom and I didn’t need that right now.

I turned my head gently to the side to examine everyone, to make sure fully that everyone was fine. My lips turned downwards at the corners for no apparent reason and I waited for someone to speak up.

Emily eased a little. “So what do you think we should do, Nadia?” Her voice was meek, high pitched and innocent. I was reminded of the girl I met almost a month ago, it was as if she was back in front of me. I knew that wasn’t possible.

I didn’t know how to reply without asking more questions. I was going to search the crowed for Blake seeing as he was an athletic and would have been with the team to run around the ‘island’ but I remembered he wasn’t with us any longer. I’d deal with the emotions I was bombarded with later.

“Who was part of the team who did a perimeter run?” At that moment about five people raised their hands. I recognised one as being the US athletic I’d met in class called Cammy. Seeing as I knew him, I’d ask him first.

He replied fast. “It taken about an hour to realise the island wasn’t actually as small as we first thought, so the maps we were using and made in military tactics were useless. Soon later we came across a small farm, the guy who lived there started shouting at us in French and after taking a turn away from the place we came across some village. Turns out we are in fact in France so we came back.” His answer was down to the point, so it made my position of deciding what to do, a lot easier.

My lips turned up at the corner in a ‘thank you’ gesture before putting on my game face. “So what are the options?” I asked no one in particular. I crossed my arms over my chest, trying to warm myself up. A breeze was picking up and I felt a shiver chill my bones.

“We can wait about to be taken back to the school or we can walk as far as we can until sun down and pRay we are going in a good direction,” Emily replied with a shrug.

Personally I liked the second idea, but was the second idea really the best? I’d say so. The further we lingered on this part of the shore, the quicker we’d be found. I was actually surprised no one had come across us yet.

Staring at my feet, I kicked sand over my shoes. I was only troubling myself when I probably shouldn’t.

“We have to stay,” Stacey more so demanded. She held a strong looking emotion on her face, but her stance looked weak. Her hands quivered slightly. I think the sight scared me more than how much she herself was scared. If yet another strong person without the group was breaking down that could mean worse for us all, it meant that everything was slowly unravelling and I couldn’t stop it.

I tried to handle the situation carefully. As gentle as I possibly could. “We have to go, Stacey,” I kept my voice low. “We can’t stay like sitting duck.”

“We should have stayed at the academy!” She wailed.

Emily seemed frustrated by this point. “You’re one of the people who suggested we escape in the first place! The least you can do is go through with it!”

Stacey stepped forward, her nose wrinkled on the bridge and her lips pulled back in a snarl. “I was wrong! Remember your place, savant!”

She said it like it was dirt on her tongue. She’d grown cocky with her powers. It was bluntly obvious she thought ultimatums were immediately ten times superior to everyone else.

“You little-.”

Emily was interrupted by Ray who I hadn’t noticed to be standing there before. “Shut up!” he pushed his way forward, but without moving you’d still be able to see him because of his height. “Everyone who wants to get as far away from T.P.P follow me!”

And at that he’d taken control of most people around us.

He stormed forward, past Emily who tagged along at his tail and stopped in front of me. 

A smile slowly broke out. No one else would have seen due to our close proximity, his face bent downwards in my direction which caused a shade to overcast onto his face. “Good work, Nadia.”

Then standing back, his face changing to full seriousness and continued on his way, but not before linking his arm with mine and pulling me along with him.

Pleased that I didn’t have to deal with everything that was going on, I continued as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was early yet so there isn’t much telling as to what could happen.

Looking behind I could only just see through everybody. Stacey stood almost on her own with a glaring, fowl expression. Beside her stood Aisha who couldn’t be less bothered and other than that there were only a few other people who I didn’t know the names of.

The more people who come with us, the better. It’d be safer, I’d reckon.

“By nightfall I’d say we will have most probably reached the same distance the athletics reached. They did it in a few hours while running pretty fast, so it’ll probably take us a good amount of time. That sounds good to you?” Ray asked for my opinion. I love how Ray thought of what other people might think before he goes through with things, it gave me hope.

I slanted my head up at him. “Sounds perfect.”

“Good.”

We continued to walk further and further away, so far that when I looked back I could no longer see those who stayed back. I wondered if I should be scared for them. If I should insist on going back to bring them to their senses?

As far as I knew, it was Aisha and her Canadian team who came up with the idea and it was Stacey who took control of it once she got her claws in. Why work so hard just to back out? It was stupid.

“Hey Emily?” Ray asked from my right, over my shoulder to the opposite side of me where Emily was walking.

Raising a single eyebrow, she replied. “Yeah?”

“Take control for now. I’m going to run back and see what’s happening. I don’t like the fact they’re staying behind...”

Emily nodded in agreement. “Sure.”

Ray slyly snuck his arm from mine and before I could ask, he’d already run off. Emily walked around me and stood now where Ray had before and replaced his arm with hers.

“He’s a nice guy,” she mumbled.

I screwed my eyebrows together with a half hidden smile. “What makes you say?”

“He obviously cares for you and everyone else. He’s not like most of us here who only care for ourselves. I mean, I really don’t care what happens to everyone else as long as people I’m close to are alright.” She shrugged as if it wasn’t a big deal. After everything that’d happened, this wasn’t at all a big deal. Every man for themselves.

“Selfless.” It was the only word I could come up with to describe Ray. Maybe it was too generous, but it fit.

Emily nodded.

“First thing I’ll be doing once I’m back in some place sane is finding the first restaurant and eating proper food!”  She exclaimed. “The food they provided was vile; no wonder people were getting thinner. It was all protein enhanced food with added supplements.” She complained further but I’d blocked her out.

What did she mean supplements? The original packaging wasn’t ever on the food we ate – don’t know why – so how would she ever find out about the ingredients? “What do you mean ‘Protein enhanced’?”

“In class. Russell stole a few chemicals. Nothing big. There’s a lot we didn’t tell the group about and Russell pulled some of his magic and with the aid of a microscope and asking questions to the teacher he found over average protein amounts in even the most average foods...”

“Do you suppose it’s to bring on our powers faster?” I questioned. It was an acceptable guess I suppose, but I was sure if Russell was here, he’d know the answer for sure.

Emily looked indifferent. “I suppose.”

“There are so many questions I want answers too. There’s been so many, that I’m slowly forgetting them each time another is added on.” I was worried that soon enough, everything I wanted answers too would soon be long forgotten.

“You’re an ultimatum though, surely you can’t forget.” Emily’s confused face was all the answer I needed in proving I was weak. Even she could spot the faults in my so called powers.

My head tilted to the ground. “That’s the point. I’m weak. I shouldn’t be an ultimatum at all. I’m losing the abilities that everyone else ultimatum has access too!” Heads turned, and I shyly tried to brush them off.

Emily became wary and only replied after looking in several directions with glares. “You’re not weak, Nadia! You’re just so stressed out that you’re falling apart-,” That was worse than being weak. “You just need confidence!”

Confidence. It was something I’d never grasped. In school back in Nevada I was loud, I was in people faces but I wasn’t ever confident. I guess nothing had changed there.

Listening around me, I could hear the sea only slightly and the wind catching in my hair and then on top of that was the chat of people in the large group. My unique hearing power wasn’t active, I could tell, but I was easily enough able to peak in on other peoples conversations.

“Just think of it this way-,” it was an unknown voice. “- when you wake up next you’ll feel so much better. You’ll be one step closer to being in familiar ground. You’ll be back home and you’ll love every second of it!”

Would I enjoy every second of being home? Would any of us? It wouldn’t be the same. Every step we took, we were one step closer to being an outcast in a flawed world.

 

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