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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18. Chapter 17

The sun was slowly setting and sure enough people had begun to run ahead and spot what was slowly looking like a farm.

Through the small gap in the trees I could make out a large wooden structure that was probably the barn some people had shouted about as they ran ahead. Cammy appeared beside me and we walked on further in a comfortable silence.

“We first saw the farmer just ahead. If we are going to stop soon, I suggest we stop before we pass the farm...”

“Agreed.” Cammy yelled ahead for people up front to check out the barn, which I presume Cammy thought was a good place to sleep for the night.

Nearing the shady looking structure, most people had already found their way inside and settled down. Lingering slowly behind, I tried my best to observe the surroundings. Ray had yet to catch up with us after going back to speak with Stacey and Aisha and people had began to get worried. I’d wait out here for a while; I’d make sure he knew where we were.

Sliding down the splintered wall of the barn, I put myself into a sitting position as I peered into the slowly fading light. Turning around slightly, I faced a warm glow from inside the barn; I presumed it was fire light.

The barn door was half open and about to shut it over to exclude the noise, it swung open further disallowing me. Standing there was a tall girl, pretty built and all. “Cammy told me to tell you the elementals will be practising for a bit... Everyone else is going to go to sleep.” And that was all she said before she closed the door completely isolating the noise. I sighed loudly and let my head fall back and smash hard into the wood. It didn’t hurt, thanks to the athletic trait.

My powers were pretty under-developed, weren’t they? I could do virtually nothing compared to the others. No wonder I wasn’t chosen to leave T.P.P in the test... When they told us that we were the weaker of our category in our group, it all made sense to me. It all clicked inside. Originally I thought – we all thought – that you got to stay if you were stronger, but that turns out not to be the case. It turns out to be the opposite. Well isn’t this all turning out to be messed up?

Why split us? Why not keep us all together?

I breathed out heavily and slumped further down the splintered barn wall. Noise inside the barn was minimal and night was enveloping the light.

Ahead I could hear shouts, ahead into the trees. Trying to pin point where exactly, I tried my best to keep my eyes open as a wave of sleep washed over me. This would be nothing compared to the others in the group who hadn’t slept at all.

Yelling drew my attention once again to the far end of the field, right on the edge of the first few trees. Something or someone was approaching. Should I worry the rest?

What if it was T.P.P officials finally realising we were a threat? If they thought we were dangerous threats we would have been gone ages ago... No, they wouldn’t wait to capture us this long if they wanted us. It wasn’t them.

Bang. Someone had shot a gun shot into the air and screams furthered. It sounded dangerous. If I don’t inform everyone else, and it does turn out to be someone we should be scared off, I’d be to blame...

On the edge of the forest line a figure came darting out with a few more tailing them running directly this way. They weren’t far away, but with the falling darkness I couldn’t make out who it was... What if it was Ray and perhaps a few people who he’d convinced to come with us?

I squinted my eyes into tiny slits. I still couldn’t see them. If it was them, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me using my powers to try and light up the way? If it was someone else, then I’d be screwed.

I’d take my chances. Pushing a single palm outwards, I clenched the fist by my side so it wouldn’t light and held the other open and a far distance from my body. I’d done this a few times before, but those times I had help, or at least some protective clothing. I have fast healing, I convinced myself I was safe.

I still wasn’t used to the feeling of power that surged through me, the feeling of being unstoppable. I wasn’t, no one human would be able to stop me. Focusing my anger direct towards my palms, I forced the flames to emerge. Engulfing my entire hand up to my wrist, it was as if someone had doused my hand in gasoline. Only I knew it wasn’t gasoline or some terrible accident that ended in my hands being charred by a raging fire. No, this was something totally different, and I doubted the real world would be able to handle it.

The light radiating from my palm allowed me to see clearer, although still faint and dull. As they neared, it was noticeable that the people nearing were Ray, Aisha, Stacey and a few others. Behind them another gunshot echoed as another figure erupted from the trees. I didn’t know who it was, but it wouldn’t be someone from our group. For one, why would they have a gun? For two, it seems everyone else is running from this mystery person.

The person seemed to be causing most of the noise and as everyone from the group neared, they stood beside me in complete confidence.

Still keeping concentration, I shifted glance on them all with questions in mind. What were they thinking?

“You can’t blame us, Nadia, we were just in shock, that all!” Stacey replied sharply. Mind reader. Oh yeah, I forgot.

“Glad you’re back. Wasn’t the same without your snappy comebacks?” I felt myself opening up to her for the first time. For once sine I met her, I think I actually understood what she felt for once, and she for me. We weren’t that different, after all.

A second gunshot penetrated the air. I felt my feet leave the ground in a shocked jump. Just one of the many things bound to go wrong. I felt myself lose that concentration I thought to have so much control on and the sense of being indestructible left me and so did the fire as it shot through the air. All I could do was watch. Perhaps I could create a gust of air to redirect the flame, or a downpour or rain to extinguish it? No use, it was going to hit something and soon. No time to play hero.

I heard an alarmed scream as the body that was chasing the others fell to the ground in a fast attempt to avoid the flame. Succeeding, he rose to his feet in the matter of seconds.

The presence beside me left my side and a thump to the ground met my ears. Taking my eyes of the threatening man, I peered down to my left. Stacey was slumped to the ground with her hand covering her arm.

“Stacey!”

“The bullet hit me, Nadia!” She got worse from there. Taking the pressure of her arm made blood dribble down her clothing and her hand was horribly covered in blood. She has athletic healing, why isn’t it working?

I panicked; I didn’t know what to do. Aisha and Ray seemed intent on not loosing eye contact with the strange man, which was best, but Stacey needed help. Fast.

“Stacey, put your hand back on it. You aren’t healing.” Worry fell across her face. She looked so vulnerable, eyes wide. She quickly placed her hand back on it, wincing in the process. “I’ll be back soon.”

I had to deal with other things.

Perhaps accidentally aiming a fireball at him was just as bad as taking a bullet, but the difference was I missed him – much to his luck – and he didn’t. I had a right to be angry.

I didn’t even have to try as both hands were engulfed in fire. I approached fast with my athletic ability, the air sweeping through my dirty and in-need-of-TLC hair. He stumbled backwards but tripped over. Falling fast, he landed on the ground with a bang, his gun falling from its position beside him. I saw his hand twitch to pick it up.

“Don’t even think about it,” I growled. A gust of wind swept us and pushed his gun far out of his reach and closer to me. I had one of the people behind me to thank for that. “Why are you following us?”

Resigning himself in his struggling, he remained still, while stuttering like a fool. His face looked red in the small amount of light, and his brow was reflecting in the fire light, most probably from sweating. He was scared. I hope he was more than scared.

Gathering his courage, he replied with a gruff tone. “You kids are on my land.” His French accent was prominent. I was thankful he could speak English, because I definitely can’t speak French. “So I advise you to get off of it.”

“Or what?”

“I’ll call the police. Whatever magic you have, it’s not welcome here.”

Magic? What magic? The orange glow radiating from my palms made me realise. Normal people wouldn’t understand people like me. They wouldn’t accept us.

“Look sir, -.”

“No!” He rose to his feet as fast as he could. “I don’t want your friends on my land or whatever magic you possess. Get of my land.” There was no persuading. The fire in my palms, despite not centring my anger, was still burning. There was no putting us this rage.

“Look mister; tell us where we are at least!” I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable with that information.

The man snorted in disgust as he backed away. “Leave, you are not welcome on my land. Be gone by morning.” With that he’d backed away into the darkness out of sight.

With the mystery French man out of sight, the fire dimmed until it was out completely. Shaking my hands out to loosen them up, my head fell to face the ground. This was all messed up.

The soft hiss of pain escaping from Stacey’s lips behind me made me realise there was no time for sobbing. Quickly shaking myself into action, I made my way across the slightly charred grass back to the group.

Kneeling down quickly, I lifted Stacey’s hand from the wound and examined.

“I’ll get help.” Aisha informed me as she fled inside the barn to get whoever was willing to help.

Placing Stacey’s bloody hand over her arm again, I realised the bullet had hit her straight on into her arm, not scuffed it. The reason why her body wasn’t healing was because there was a bullet in the way.

Would we have to extract the bullet? Of course we would! I was squeamish just looking at the blood. It wasn’t going to be me who extracts the bullet, anyway

“Come on,” I said softly, “we have to move you. You can’t stay here.” The blood covering her shirt was soaking it so bad that it was starting to transfer onto me. Thank goodness for the change of clothing.

Lifting her gently to her feet, I felt a huge wave of sympathy and the need to care for her. She was in need of someone. She was hurt physically and probably emotionally.

The door was already open from everyone else making their way inside, so I had no problem getting Stacey inside. Looking around there was a second floor of sorts that had hay stacked up inside, it looked damp but people from the group were still laying there, most probably in a deep sleep? Wouldn’t blame them.

Those who were awake were the few elementals who were still quietly practising. The few awake were staring at us with confusion, and those asleep were clueless. The more clueless the better, this of it as a gift.

“We need to take out the bullet. That’s why she isn’t healing.” There was old hay in the corner, that’d be a good place to rest her.

Placing her down softly, I tried to make some sense. I tried to think of something to do, but make sure it was realistic. Taking the bullet out may not be enough.

“What do you suggest we do?” I was no surgeon. I was no nurse. I hated paper cuts, never mind this stuff.

Aisha stepped forward, her eyes set on the gushing wound. “I’ll take it out.”

I didn’t say a word as she knelt down and removed Stacey’s limp bloodied hand from her gushing arm. Stacey had most probably already passed out from blood loss, which really wasn’t a good sign. Aisha hesitated as her hand hovered centimetres from the red mess.

I couldn’t look as Aisha finally got to work. Stacey was unconscious so she wouldn’t feel a thing, but the rest of us felt the pain for her. I could only imagine.

“Got it,” Aisha mumbled. I finally turned around to see Aisha holding up in between her thumb and index finger, what seemed to be a bullet. “I think there’s something else in there though... It’s pretty small, should I get it?” she didn’t need a reply. Aisha was already backing down beside Stacey and trying to remove whatever else she’d seen, the bullet now discarded in the hay.

Ray slowly made his way towards the two girls and knelt down to pick up the bullet, his finger tips staining red in the process. Turning it around in his fingers, I examined him closer. His clothing was torn and dirty, as if he’d been in a fight, and the slight bruise on his cheek enhanced that theory. I wanted to ask, but I kept my mouth shut. To keep the peace for the time being.

Throwing it back to the ground, he kicked it away, creating a trail of blood in the hay. Looking in both directions before walking away, he caught my eye. I nodded with a smile, as if to say ‘thank you’ and he seemed to get the gist and nod back.

“The other piece in her arm... It doesn’t look like part of the bullet.” She caught my attention. Should I help her out? I’m sure I’ll see injuries worse in my life time... I should suck it up and go over there.

Stumbling over to her, I tried to keep myself from staring at the slowly healing over wound. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the skin move closer together and fuse until it stuck and all that was left was the blood on her clothing. It was like opposite polls of a magnet attracting each other...

“What do you think it is?” I asked. If it wasn’t a bullet, then what else could it be.

“It’s definitely something... it’s hard to explain... I-I-I don’t know what to call it.” snatching it out of her hand, the thing in my hand was tiny, so small I could only barely make out what it was.

Looking it over, I now understood what Aisha meant. It was smaller than a pill, it was clear. It definitely wasn’t something that had managed to find its way into her arm after the bullet had hit her, so it must have been something else.

I felt a presence behind me, but I didn’t flinch or turn around to see who exactly. The thing I held in my hand held most of my attention.

“It's a microchip.” Said the person behind me. It was Layton.

“Why is she micro chipped?”

Layton walked around me so I could now see him. He shrugged. “Beats me.”

This was the sort of thing I bet Russell would be able to solve. The next best person for that was Emily. Was she even still up?

The small group of people who were practising in the corner were now lying down or sitting Indian style and one of those people was Emily. She must have been spectating.

“Hey Emily. Come over here,” I tried to catch her attention. She looked half asleep. I bet she hadn’t slept at all in ages.

At hearing her name, she wakened more and sat up, rubbing her eyes. “What?” She mumbled groggily.

“We found something. I think you’ll know what it is.”

Rolling her eyes, she stood to her feet and walked around the dying fire someone had made. Emily fell a little and regained her balance. I’d be sure to make this quick, Emily was really tired.

Grabbing my hand sleepily, she moved it close to her face to see the tiny object I held. “Why the hell do you have a tracker microchip, Nadia?”

Stacey had a tracker inside her? Who put it there?

“A tracker?” I asked dumbly.

“Yup. Studied them a bit in one of my technology classes. Where’d you find it?” I pointed blankly to where Stacey lay in blood sodden hay.

Emily drew in a sharp breath. “What happened? I’ve been half asleep for a good while. Don’t tell me they came looking for us!”

I reassured Emily it was nothing bad with a small smile. “No, no, nothing like that. I was waiting outside for Ray to come back and I heard shouting and a gun go off. Someone was chasing them, the guy claimed to own the land we were on – he was probably the farmer who the athletics came across... Basically he fired a shot and it hit Stacey. We had to take out the bullet to make her heal and we found this inside her as well.” I hope that explained it well enough. By now Emily looked wide awake as she taken the tracker from me and examined it.

“You think she had it before T.P.P?” Emily asked aloud.

“Not likely,” Aisha answered, staring at the barn wall while sitting with Stacey. “Stacey’s told me a lot about her life, and I know for her fact, her parents weren’t protective enough to microchip her.”

“If it was T.P.P then its likely there’s one in us all. They haven’t come after us because they already know where we are. They won’t come after us because they can track us. They’ll know when we enter somewhere that we can cause trouble in.” Emily was right. I had to agree. But how did they put the microchips into us? Subconsciously I lifted my hand to my arm and felt it. There was no abnormal lump, nothing to indicate a microchip.

“That can’t be right. They wouldn’t be able to get one in us all!” Aisha disagreed.

“You think?” Emily challenged. “Remember back to the day you first came to T.P.P, you had blood taken and then you were given an injection. They must have given us the chip and whatever gives us the powers in one single shot. They chipped us the day we came. It all makes sense. Why else would it hurt like it did?”

Aisha was unconvinced. “You can’t prove that!” But we could, and Stacey and all the evidence against Aisha’s point proved it just so.

“I’m tired, guys, there’s no time for arguing. Get some sleep so we can be away by morning. And we’ll think of something to fix the tracking issue then.” Emily almost fell to the ground in a sudden wave of sleep and in a matter of seconds it looked as if she genuinely was asleep.

I decided to follow Emily’s example. Best not to cause too much trouble right now. Not when Stacey was out of it and in need of help. “Are you going to sleep there tonight?” I asked Aisha.

“I’ll need to keep an eye on Stacey. Yeah.”

I nodded in approval and saw just about everyone finding a spot to rest in.

“Come on Nadia. Go lie down somewhere and I’ll be there in a minute. Let me put out the fire first though...” Ray offered, walking past me towards the dull fire. He raised his hands and from random direction, water formed into a ball centimetres from his palms. Dropping it onto the small fire, small amounts of smoke rippled from it. It was good to see someone was developing well in what they could do with their powers, compared to me anyway.

In the far corner close to the door I chose to rest there. Leaning back against the wooden barn, I closed my eyes.

Someone sat down beside me and leaned closer. I felt lips press to my forehead and breathe out quietly, “Goodnight, Nadia.”

I was too far asleep to respond.

Good night, Ray.

 

***

 

Morning came fast. Too fast. I found myself dreading to get up. I opened my eyes to see few people moving about and a bird flying about the rafters in the barn.

Standing groggily to my feet I noticed that Aisha and Stacey were among the few who were up already.

“Oh, Nadia, you’re up.” They noticed me stumble tiredly over.

Stacey and Aisha had both changed clothing, rid of their blood drenched dark clothes and in with similar track suit trousers and plain t-shirt.

“Do you have the time?” I rubbed my eyes to rid of my tired vision.

Aisha looked down on her wrist and read the time from her watch. “Just a little past seven AM.”

I nodded. I didn’t know what to expect from today, but we needed to up and leave soon if we didn’t want that farmer on our backs. I didn’t want to see any more blood for a good while.

The thought of blood drew my attention to the faint scar left on Stacey’s pale skin. A circular red scar was formed exactly where the bullet entered. Stacey’s eyes followed mines and rested on her own arm also. “Thanks Nadia. For knowing what to do.”

I look at Aisha, who had a blank face as she looked between us. “You should thank Aisha. She was the one who removed the bullet.” Stacey looked taken aback, as if she wouldn’t have thought that someone she treated so badly would help her out.

It takes a while for her to say it, and even though they were more of friends that Stacey and me were, it taken Stacey longer to say thank you. “Thanks... I owe you one.”

Aisha nodded and went into her back-pack that was besides her racking through it for whatever reason. That’s when I remembered the necklace I taken for Emily.

“You seen Emily?” I asked the two girls.

“Outside.”

I nodded thanks and jogged outside. The sun was rising and as the bright light hit me, my eyes watered. “Emily?”

“Over here!” I followed the voice and found myself standing behind the barn facing a direction going in the opposite direction of the way we came.

Approaching her, I reaching into my pocket and found the necklace she’d worn often back at T.P.P. “I got this for you, before we left.” I handed it to her when I was close enough. It taken a moment for recognition to show on her face, her small pink lips twisting into a sad smile.

“Thanks Nadia...” she said as she opened the delicate golden clasp and reattached it on her neck. “When we left... I was in a weird mood. I suppose I still am. I didn’t want any reminders with me. I regretted it though and I’m glad you took it.”

“Good,” I sighed. I don’t know what I would of done if she was angry with me for touching her things. “Why are you out here alone?”

Scuffing her feet in the dry mood under her shoes, she tried to come up with a reason. “Thinking of what we can do next. We will encounter them at some point, obviously. I say we go inland. If the coast is in the opposite direction, we head that way,” She pointed opposite the way we came, “We’ll be safest.”

I agreed completely with that. What she was suggesting is what would most probably happen, so there was no point disagreeing – not that I would.

“What would happen if... If some of us die, Nadia?” Emily asked after a good few minutes of silence. The question knocked me off my peaceful cloud.

“Die, how?”

“Like, we end up in a fight... against the others at T.P.P. The governments decide we are too much of a threat and sends out people to kill us. It’s bound to happen. Maybe not all of us will die, but some of us will...” she explained herself carefully.

I thought about it. If they come after us it’ll be to their advantage and they’ll have the higher ground. If we so happen to get to them first, we’d have the advantage. “It’ll happen, Emily, I know. But when it does, wouldn’t it make sense, for us to draw them too us when we are at our best? When we have the advantage. Not when we aren’t expecting it?”

We find a place that we will have best advantage on, and somehow draw them too us to get it over with.

“You mean, serve ourselves up on a platter? The more we can keep them off our backs, the better!” Emily seemed shocked at what I was suggesting. She didn’t understand my perspective.

“No, Emily. If they draw us into a trap, it’ll be to their advantage. If we draw them it’ll be to ours. We move everyone to a location to our advantage, like a wide open area with lots of people; a city centre perhaps. Then we somehow get them to come to us.” It was all coming together. The idea blossomed inside my head. They could track us, so attracting them might not even be necessary. If they deemed us to dangerous to have about, they’d come to us and we’d lay in wait. If they still leave us, we cause trouble and that way they’ll have to take us out... It sounded perfect.

Emily’s silence worried me. If I couldn’t convince Emily, how was I supposed to suggest the idea to everyone else? “... Are you sure about this?”

I nodded vigorously. “One hundred percent.”

“Then you have my approval. I suppose it does make much more sense than waiting for something bad to happen.” I smiled in surprise. Pulling Emily into a close hug, I held her tight against me. Emily was strange, I had to admit, but no matter what, I’d love her. I just hope she’ll stay like this and not be set off in a bad mood.

Pulling backwards, Emily awkwardly stumbled back. I laughed, she wasn’t completely back yet, but I was working on that. “We got to try and sell the idea to everyone else now,” Emily sighed as if it was a chore.

I laughed at her, but didn’t say a word. Walking back towards the barn entrance I waited on Emily to catch up. We were making progress. Slowly, but surely. 

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