I love driving. I always have, even though I’ve never done it that much. I love looking out the window, and watching the world rush past. It’s also a great opportunity to practice my telekinesis. People on the street screamed as mannequins waved at them, and when a busker on the sidewalk saw his cello playing itself, he flat out fainted. Luckily, the windows of our bus were tinted, so no one saw us. Even in the city, winged men tend to get noticed. (I had put in a vote for a uniform, but apparently it wasn’t practical. Very disappointing.) I looked away from a statue of a man on a horse that was pulling rude hand gestures at pigeons, and looked around the bus. Charlotte Wagner was looking nervous. Ishmael saw me looking at her, and drew up his knees to let me through. I sat next to her and smiled.
‘Do you think your baby will have an ability?’
She turned to me in surprise. Pursing her mouth, she shrugged. ‘I think she might. On the x-ray her hair had grown at an unusual rate.’
‘What does your husband think? If you don’t mind me asking, that is.’
Charlotte smiled. ‘Not at all, Ma’am. I think that he doesn’t mind either way, which is why I love him. Not many men are like that.’
I nodded. ‘That’s why we’re doing this, right? So people won’t judge us for who we are.’
Before she could reply, a slimy, scratchy voice assaulted our ears. ‘But they still will, even if this law gets passed. Humans will never accept us.’
Charlotte and I both grimaced. Red haired Jonathan had leaned over the back of our seats and eavesdropped on our little conversation. I turned to him angrily.
‘If that’s what your attitude is, then maybe you shouldn’t be here! And remember your place. I am your commander, and you are to use respect when talking to me. If I hear something like that again, I’ll have to waste my time and energy thinking of a suitable punishment. So keep your trap shut!’
Jonathan sat back, grumbling to himself. I turned to Charlotte and was surprised to see her giggling. I eyed her suspiciously.
She tried unsuccessfully to smother her giggles. ‘No disrespect meant, Ma’am, but he used to be a wrestler, and you being so small, and all...I can see why they made you General.’
Despite myself, I began to smile. At least I had won someone’s respect.
The bus juddered to a halt. I stood up and moved to the front, giving Jonathan a nosebleed when he stuck his foot out to try and trip me.
‘Remember, if you accidentally murder someone, you are to apologise to them most profoundly. This is a peaceful mission, and I’d like to avoid a war if I can help it. Move!’
We stood in a group, gazing up at the MC (Mutant Control) Head Quarters. It was a skyscraper, so large that I heard Ishmael yelp in pain as his neck cricked looking up at it. Agent Brackley led us to the door and we stepped inside. A secretary glanced at us. We must have looked an odd group: a pregnant woman with multi-coloured hair; an athletic blond man with massive white wings that flapped nervously; a red haired, pointy-faced man with glowing red hands; a yellowed-eyed girl; an elderly gentleman that was wrinkling his nose at the state of the floor; and a black-suited Agent that was flashing an ID card.
I expected someone to meet us, but Agent Brackley led us on without saying anything. I decided to follow him. After all, he did spend a lot of time working here. We traipsed through gleaming, seemingly endless corridors that reminded me unpleasantly of my time at the Institute. I felt someone squeeze my hand quickly, and turned to see Ishmael. Even though I was the brainy one, he was much more empathetic. I smiled at him, and atomised a section of wall, just to reassure myself that I could get out if I wanted to.
Finally, we arrived at our destination. Agent Brackley held a door open for us, and we traipsed through in single file. I only had time to think it’s very dark in here, before a blinding pain shot through my head, and my world went black.