The Prodigy Project: Consequence

It’s been two years. Two long years and Nadia’s yet to move on. The world slowly changed from the very day she walked away from the fight, slowly but surely. Governments were overthrown, people were killed, people made homeless.

The soldiers who terrorised towns one by one weren’t just looking to inset fear; they were looking for the few who escaped T.P.P.

Suddenly in the world of mutants and terrorization, a painful escape has found its way into the bodies of mutants and is killing them all one by one. The longer you’ve had your powers and the more you use them, the more likely you are to die.
Somehow, sometime they’d find Nadia. But of course, she won’t go down without a fight.

“They’ve ruined our lives. Now it’s time to ruin their!”

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2. Chapter 2

A foreign world went passed as we drove by the harmless streets of London. Layton had confirmed that I was the last person on his list to search for. That meant I was one of the only people who’d survived. One of the only who were smart enough to remove their tracker before it was too late.

                Fleeing my flat, I’d packed a small bag and left an envelope filled with money for the flat owners who’ll of course wonder where I got too.

                My hands fiddled with stray threads on my jumper as I nervously looked anywhere but Layton. We’d kept talking to a minimal; he knew me good that way. He’d paid for the flights and despite my lack of a passport we’d boarded within minutes. I could only presume he’d made connections since I last saw him.

                “Yeah, stop here, please.” Layton opened the taxi door while the car was still moving, and exited just as the car stopped all together. Handing over money, he signalled for me to follow. “Nadia,” was all he said.

                The surroundings looked old and outdated, nothing like my home. Layton ahead twisted into a darker looking alleyway before he turned back again waiting for me to catch up. Layton was still very much the same, but the muscles he’d seemed to develop were now extremely prominent and he didn’t have that soft looking baby-face anymore. He’d grown up, but looking at him I could tell it wasn’t his choice.

                What had he been doing all these years?

                “You look pale. You sure you’re alright?” We both knew I wasn’t alright. It was more a case of trying to persuade ourselves I might have the off-chance of feeling normal. I nodded in reply for the sake of both of us. Lies.

                He didn’t question it and continued on, tailing behind him at a slow pace. The damp moss covered walls were narrow and left next to no space for us to move. “Ray moved back to the UK and pissed off somewhere for a few months. He came back with some girl called Jocelyn and Aisha finally decided it was safest for us all to live in one place together. Two years later we’ve finally got the last survivor.” He tried to make it sound like nothing, but I could tell it had stressed him, if the light crease between his brows and the downturn of his lips had anything to say of the issue. I appreciated everything he’d done and now he offered me a home. The pace that everything was going just now seemed to mimic the pace and feeling I’d had when arriving at the academy. Memories flooded my brain.

                Layton’s broad shoulders, defined with muscle blocked my view as he paused by a dead end and fiddled with a door lock. “We each do jobs now and then to get money to pay for the flat. It’s all off the radar.” The door swung open before Layton had even got the key in the lock and a beautiful girl stood in the doors place. The fire-truck red hair reminded me of the first time I saw her when four of the groups met up in the dorms. She’d turned the light on while using her night vision. Her glowing green eyes appeared in the back of my head. She’d obviously had her hair re-done, there were no brown roots which had ruined her hair back at T.P.P. Aisha was just like I remembered her. Or maybe not. Looking closer, she had black bags around her eyes as if she hadn’t slept and her skin didn’t have that Aisha-like glow about it. 

                I was stupid to think things would be the same.

                “Is that you, Nadia?” Her voice was lower and had lost that snarky perk to it. I couldn’t imagine Aisha without that attitude she tried to clone from Stacey.

                Don’t even go there, Nadia. I had to forget.

                I put on a smile for the sake of both of us. “Aisha.” But I made no attempt to near her and she as well.

                I stared at her, taking in every little change and extracting my old memories of her replacing them with the new. She seemed to be doing the same.

                Layton pushed past Aisha and entered through the door frame. “I’m going to find Ray and Jocelyn.” Jocelyn. Where had I heard that before?

                Aisha inched closer as if I would run of if she approached me any other way. “It’s good to see you again. I hope you choose to stay.” Aisha nodded to me and grabbed my hand once in range to pull me inside. “Can't stay outside for too long. You don’t know who’s outside spying these days.” Way to calm me.

                She slammed the door behind me and continued to close another door shutting us off from the rest of the house completely. “Between you and me, I hope you stay. It’ll be nice to have another girl in the house other than Jocelyn. You’ll know what I mean when you see her.” And suddenly I remembered. In our basement training rooms, Ray told me there was a girl back home who was one of his best friends, probably more than a friend, but now I remembered.

                “What’s she like?”                                                                                                                                                   

                Aisha raised an eyebrow. The pointed shape to her eyes brows were lost it seemed, she didn’t have a stylish edge to her anymore. “Thank me later that I didn’t tell you. She’s worse than Candy and Cindy.” I didn’t even want to know where those two had ended up. Six feet under or living it up in hell, either way they were welcome to stay there.

                I had a feeling I wouldn’t like this girl. Not one bit.

                “Off topics of fake bitches, what’s been going on with you, then?”It was obvious the new Aisha was friendlier than before. Or to me anyway.

                Should I tell her? Sitting in her kitchen I felt like I was intruding. Not only in their home, but in their lives. I should have gone, went when I had the chance. “Not much.”

                She pulled a chair away from the table while holding some sort of biscuit in her other hand. Slamming herself down into the chair I could also see she’d put on some weight. “We both know that’s a lie.”

                “We both know you won’t be getting the truth anytime soon.” I’d either grown a bigger backbone or she’d lost hers. She glared in return.

                Layton entered the kitchen with two other people. Already staring at the ground I didn’t want to look up. I could already tell who it was; I could already tell I wasn’t going to like it.

                “Well she’s lively.” The scratchy voice hurt my ears more than chalk on chalkboard. So this was Jocelyn? The accent was similar to how I remember Rays. If the voice matched the body, I could already tell she was no friend of mine.

                I heard a shuffle and a slight wince. “What’s that for, Ray? Only stating the truth!” She moaned. Out of the corner of my eyes Aisha’s hand reached up and pushed my head forward. She knew what I was doing and didn’t like it. I was wrong, Aisha hadn’t changed.

                Now confronted with three people, one of which was probably a future nemesis, the other someone who I could go a lifetime without seeing and another who I was indifferent about.

                “What’s wrong with your hair?” My head turned ever so slowly to stare at Jocelyn. My eyes narrowed. She had eyeliner on so thick it almost looked as if she wanted to impersonate a panda. Bright red lipstick was smeared on her thin stick-like lips. Her nose had a dent on its bridge implying she’d broken it. Her clothing was another matter. Her blouse was a horrid colour of teal green with half its button missing. She wore a pink short shirt which matched nothing with her outfit. What did Ray see in this girl?

                I bit back a reply and raised an eyebrow. My head automatically shook itself and moved onto the next person in the room.

                Ray hadn’t changed much at all. Given that his hair was longer but everything else was pretty much the same. His face was still the same with the exception of some stubble which had worked its way around his jaw. His hair was still that dusty blonde colour with the brown streaks. He didn’t say a word and I wouldn’t be the first either.

                “Ok then. Aisha, go show Nadia where she’ll be sleeping for the night.” Aisha stood from her chair silently and walked past the three of them and opened the door which just so happened to accidentally hit Jocelyn. Ignoring her obnoxious screams down the hall as Aisha left; I followed behind, keeping eye contact with Ray. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously and I done the same before the door frame came in my way and I was out of sight.

                “Ray, can I speak with you for a second, alone?” It wasn’t just Aisha and I that didn’t like Jocelyn. I laughed.

                Aisha stood on the bottom on the stairs waiting on me to catch up. Seeing me within her view, she continued up the steps. The carpet beneath my feet was so old you could see the threads. The carpet was stained and tainted different colours as if each part had aged differently. As I passed the bottom step the wood beneath me creaked. The house was probably falling apart. The plaster on the walls was already beginning to crumble, I thought, as I ran a hand into an indent in the wall.

                It didn’t matter to me, though, what state the two story flat was like. As long as I had a bed to sleep in and food to eat, I wouldn’t mind.

                As I set foot on the first floor landing Aisha had already opened a door facing right straight onto where the stairs connected. “I’m afraid you’ll be staying in the same room as me and Layton. I don’t suppose you’d want to stay in the same room as Ray and Jocelyn?” She knew the answer and the smirk she threw behind her shoulder told me as much.

                I touched the brass door knob pushing the door open wider. The cold metal beneath my finger tips felt contrasting to the heat that raged inside of me from the slight anger that seemed to evolve with every step taken.

                Aisha stepped out of a small built in closet with a cardboard box and blankets. “We don’t have enough money for a bed at the moment so it’s either the floor or a blow up mattress?”

                I replied blankly. “Floor, please.”

                Aisha shrugged and dumped the cardboard box away again and began laying out the blankets in a neat rectangle. “So tell me, Nadia. Last time I saw both you and Ray together you were close. What happened? And don’t bother spurting lies, I could feel the tension.” Aisha had also gotten smarter, it seemed. It was an improvement from the girl before who I’d class as virtually an airhead.

                I closed the door to avoid being over heard and sunk down against it. Even I – who’d witnessed it all, what had happened between us – didn’t know exactly what had happened. I’d told him all that needed to be said and he didn’t like it. I’d run off abandoning him. I could imagine his pain and anger.

                But like before, she wasn’t getting to know. My eyelids shut and my hand automatically reached for the pendant as if a natural reflex that would relieve me of the stress. It did, in a way. It reminded me of Emily, who through everything she could always see light even in her own time of darkness. 

                Aisha sighed loudly and slid down the wall beside me. “Whatever it is between you two, you have to sort it out. I mean, Jocelyn won’t like you two spending time together but going by your first introductions I could tell something was up. I’ll send Ray up and get you two to sort out your differences, yeah?” I looked through my straggly greasy hair into her eyes; they were glowing, her cheeks were pink and chubby. She’d been living a good life it seemed. She didn’t understand and would never, even if she thought she was playing the good guy.

                I shook my head and tried to hide my face further. I bet she could see right through me now, she could see what had happened since T.P.P just by looking at my face; my sunken cheeks and glazed over eyes. No wonder Jocelyn commented on my hair, it was horrid.

                “I’m not taking no for an answer.” When I didn’t reply she didn’t take the hint. “You can’t live together like this. Face it, we won’t be giving you the money to go back to America and Layton hangs around with all sorts of dodgy people now, they’ll bring you back in a flash. Get used to living here; it’s your home now.” It’s your home, I snorted at even the thought. No place I could call home, they’d find me before I got used to it, they’d find us before I got settled down. It always worked like that.

                Aisha stood and grasped hold of the doorknob using her magnified strength to open the door with me still at the base of it. Shutting the door behind her my fear finally shined through.

                Being here was putting everyone in danger. I was putting Aisha in danger! Layton, Ray, Aisha, Jocelyn, they were all at risk. They may have came two years but now that I was here meant more than just another room mate. I was another danger to add to their lives which already had a pretty high bounty on top.

                Crawling from the ground, I lazily scooped my hair up and tied an elastic band around it from my wrist. A mirror position in the corner of the room stared back at me, reflecting a girl – no, woman – I didn’t recognise. My eyes seemed glassy as if a thin film of tears was glazed over but I would not cry. I would not show weakness.

                My sensitive hearing which I now fortunately had more control over had picked up the sound of footsteps, heavy footsteps on the creaky stairs. Considering how noisy they were, I’d probably hear then without it. The steps approached and the white painted door was slowly pushed open.

                Aisha had kept her word, it seemed, as I all but happily stared at the reflection in the mirror at the last person who I wanted to see.

                “Aisha sent me.” His voice was lower than I remembered. He was older in all ways possible, but of course that was to be expected.

                I kept a sharp eye on his face as a bundle of emotions were set free within my head. Just looking at him made me feel on edge, he saw me in my weakest and my strongest, he knew what could make and break me. I couldn’t trust him, or could I?

                We were friends, we were closer than friends. He told me he loved me. Does that count for anything at all now?

                I didn’t want to see him; I didn’t want to be in his presence. I closed my eyes – the most I could do at this moment in time.

                I could feel him behind me. He wasn’t touching me, but I could tell he was no more than an inch away. His rhythmic breathing seemed foreign. His company – anyone’s company – seemed foreign to a person like me. Broken.

                “Where did you go?” The breaking of the silence caught me off guard.

                I didn’t want to have to explain. I didn’t want to tell him about my pathetic life and what I’d managed to do with it.

                His hand reached out and touched my shoulder. “Why did you leave?” A different question completely that we both knew the answers to. I’d told him – rushed I admit – but I’d told him before I fled. Would I have to explain myself?

                “We both know why, Ray.” My stubbornness was something that hadn’t changed over the years; something that I could say had been mine from the start. “My reasoning remains unchanged.”

                Our proximity was too close for my liking, but it felt as if I’d been glued to the spot. A single large hand was placed on my shoulder. “You would never hurt us. At least not intentionally.”

                A tear rolled down my face. There was no denying that Ray could bring down my facade with mere words. Weakness. “Never intentionally. Never. But it’s a guarantee that you all will suffer because of me. Its best I stay away.” Ray’s other hand touched my waist and pulled me closer to him. “I’ll cause you all nothing but pain.”

                I felt his head shaking behind me, denying what I’d told him. “As long as you wouldn’t harm us on purpose. That’s all I want to hear.” His chin touched my shoulder and he held me as if he hadn’t held me before. Being with him was making me remember. Everything I wanted to forget and everything that made me who I am.

                His hand on my shoulder slowly made its way to my waist as well as he whispered into my ear, “you don’t know how much I’ve missed you.” But I did know as much, because deep down inside no matter how much I wanted to hide the fact, I missed him as well. Through lack of trust and worry of harming him, I still missed him.

                I yanked my body out of his grasp although he wasn’t holding on tightly at all. I turned to face him; I wanted to see his face now. When I ran from him that day in France I convinced myself all I could of the danger and evil I possessed. Perhaps shock from Emily’s death? I wouldn’t know. Although I was still that danger, somehow faced with Ray in a better situation and time I felt safe. In his arms I felt encaged in a way that made me feel as if no one could harm me.

                I could still kill them all by a single slip-up, but – in these last few minutes alone – I’ve somehow been... convinced, but of what exactly? I couldn’t name it. My mind was blank.

                Lunging towards Ray I closed my arms in a deadly grip around his neck and Ray latched onto my waist. “Glad to have you back,” Ray mumbled into my shoulder. I wasn’t that girl he used to know. I was scarred and tainted, but he didn’t seem to care. He had changed for the worst as well.

                His leaned down to my height and pressed his forehead to mine. “Don’t ever leave us again.” His forehead was slightly damp with sweat but it bothered me not at all – my forehead was most probably the same. Ray’s deep forest green orbs of eyes searched through mine and over my face. Ray’s face held scars I didn’t know to be there before. Under the light stubble were deeper ones – probably the reason for it. I didn’t want to imagine where they were from. The past counted for nothing for all I cared.

                His voice sounded like a whisper. “You’ve changed.”

                “As have you.”

                His low laughter echoed around my head as he moved his arms tighter around my waist as if there was still distance between us. His eyes had closed as had mine.

                I shouldn’t stay here, I still told myself. Shouldn’t this give me even more reason to go? The closer they got, the more I could hurt them.

                But I didn’t want this to end. After two years of torturing myself alone, I didn’t want to go back to that. I’m sure living here would go down well with maybe the exception of Jocelyn. I’d rebuild my life and change it. Try to be normal.

                But I should have learned by now. I should have known better; I would never be able to live normal.

 

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