Goldfleck

When his girlfriend leads him astray from his paranoid mother household, Pazel stumbles on something far more than cuts and bruises.

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4. Infiltration

She said I have minutes, give or take a few generous seconds. 

"How could they get here so quick?" I stammered back, but she shrugged her head and murmured something about waiting for the grand reveal.

"Maybe they'd know I was a goldfleck, if he was too." 

"They can never be sure, the gene's very faint. And they wouldn't take well, a normal person." I winced at how I no longer applied as the norm, and more with the unknown outside it. An internal clock ticks inside my head, following the golden pulse as second by second was long and painful.

"Can I do anything? Run? Fight?" I wouldn't know how to fight, but my mother shaked her head at all of the hopes. "He tried all of those, but they took him anyway." I was livid with the idea of a planned capture, and how she could let me go with little more than a five minute warning. I muted my urge to scream so keep myself hidden, and in its place I cursed so quietly she couldn't decipher the foul words correctly. In a wallowing rage the bottom step is slammed with a fist to metal, as is the clock that beat too slow and too loudly, and the package I'd received from amazon, with an embossed logo in the solid, mellow glint.

I heard a car outside, alien to the eerily-still unlit houses of this street that never saw guests after ten, welcome or otherwise. It roared and terrorised the silence, until at last the sound I was scared of what comes next. The outcry of halting brakes, just feet from the house. I had hidden from cover, just in view to see my mom doing the same behind a hand-woven laundry basket, but in the brief glance I knew it was not a deranged uncle looking for a catchup, or any face I could recognize kindly.

They're coming. I tell myself. So what?

So run.

I didn't know whose thought that came from, but I had no time to process the source. Instead I took the advice and my mother cried as I sprinted through the narrow hall, past the living room decked with an overly-floral scheme and a bathroom I had to bow my head to use. As I had to shut the open door to pass, I caught an unwanted glimpse of myself in the square mirror. My skin had tanned, as though I'd been abroad for days, and my eyes were tawny liquid, staring back in surprise to a face they don't know like they should.

Quickly, I let go of myself and run. As I turned back, I could see they've infiltrated my home; a dozen men and women, tall and well-built dressed in blacks or whatever colour suited their skin tones, that vary from a pneumonia-induced blue to a rich coffee black. The mildly-blue skinned jerked for the stairs and I couldn't see or hear the rest of them because I was entirely taken over by the sight of my mother's body, falling down the stairs without any fluid moments to stop herself. Her body was rigid and solid, but not gold this time. In the touch of the blue-skinned, crystals protruded from her spine and she was no brighter than duck-egg blue on her face, lowering to night-sea where her ankle showed from her flared trousers. Her hand reached out for me, as though it was trying to drag me to them. For the second time today, I had to deny her orders. Even if it was the last she would ever make.

"It's him!" Someone pointed in my direction, and I couldn't guess where the almost green scales across his face originated from. The flakes were coming for me, skin by skin, and I burst out of the house and into the woods behind, running for the sake of running even though there was a large chance they would catch up, and a larger chance I would go with them without a fight. 

The only two bodies I ever cared about were hallowing from the inside and out in organic armours by a hidden power I had all along. Why not go with them? Why not abandon what couldn't be considered a home anymore, into the family of flecks that were running for me. I couldn't’t find the energy to stop though, as if it was less exhausting to sprint. I made it halfway onto the little bridge that overrode the creek at the bottom of our garden, before six words and not letters this time weighed me down and forced me to stand and face the killers.

Son, wait for us. The voice sounded out of breath and pleading, but it was a howl that welled up inside me, as though trying to burst a container of memories it once was part of. Now I had seen death and destruction, wealth and worth in a single day and if this hidden power owed me anything, it was the father it had previously stolen from me. 

You're a goldfleck. I knew you would be. It whispered and made me uneasy. I counted in my head the ways I could run in this moment where they couldn't find me. You had the power all along.

Whether it was vanity or disbelief, I didn't know, but it was enough to cut my plans and face the crowd. In the dark, it was only the brightness of fingernails or glaring teeth that I could make out, but I knew they were all staring, waiting for my next move. And for now, I chose power. I chose the flecks, and I chose the voice in my head infiltrating from the group, like a sole chant to join them.

Power. I took a step forward into the nothing and felt the cool on my back.

Flecks. I could see the licking of their lips and fists closing in success.

Voice. I've never had one in this house before, so I hoped two won't overwhelm me. I thought of Power again, and how I was lost without it too, and head to the future, doomed or destined, greedy or selfless, with nothing I could no longer lose and the wealth of the world in my shaken hands.

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