I glower at him, staying motionless as he opens a drawer and pulls out a folder, placing it in front of him.
“What do you mean permanent?!” I cut him off, crossing my arms over my chest. “There is no way I’m staying here until I die. I have a family. My grandmother will worry about me.”
Samson leans backwards in his seat, looking at me curiously. He cocks his face sideways.
“You don’t remember?”
“I think you should take a seat Meridelle,” he advises, motioning the chair in front of his desk once again. I don’t move. “Meridelle, I very strongly suggest that you take a seat,” he repeats, his tone leaving no place for arguments. “You do not wish to make an enemy out of me. I only want to help you,” he continues, his green eyes daring me.
“I don’t need help,” I grumble, finally settling on sitting on the damn chair.
“I’ll be the judge of that.”
As Samson draws out a pen of his shirt pocket, my eyes rapidly scan his nearly empty office.
Filled with only five pieces of furniture, the room isn’t what I’d call welcoming. A desk, two chairs, a bookshelf and painting is enough to make my skin crawl. I can’t help making a face at the portrait of him hung right behind him, the representation imposing. My gaze shifts from the dull walls to the big, bolted metal door at the far end of his office. I can clearly see burnt marks as well as the multiple dents on it.
“You don’t have to worry your pretty little head about this room just yet alright?” Samson states, his voice tearing my eyes away from the door. “Anyways, back on your family. Your grandparents more precisely. We―”
“What did you do to them?” I ask dryly.
“I didn’t do anything to them. You did. You...how could I put this without destabilizing you?” he pauses, looking at me. “You froze them,” he drops. Okay. That’s it.
“You are completely insane,” I scoff, fists clenching as I stand up. “All of this, it’s insane. No one has the ability to read minds or control others, let even freeze them. You’re on drugs or something,” I deny firmly, shaking my head.
“You don’t believe me?”
“Why the fuck would I believe a man who practically kidnapped me?!” I counter.
“How did I manage to answer your questions earlier then?”
“I’m easy to read,” I snap.
“Think of a color and I’ll prove you I can read your mind,” he huffs, annoyed.
“No. If you kidnapped me, no doubt you noticed I absolutely love teal and that’s the color I would’ve picked.”
“Then why did you feel obliged to listen to Derek?”
“Because I’m easily convinced and he is a cute boy,” I reason.
“I know about your sister.”
“Everybody knows about my sister!” I shout angrily, hitting the desk. I’m breathing hard, glaring at him.
“You ruined my desk,” he points out.
“I don’t―” My eyes grow big as remove my hand, a circle of shattered ice expanding around the place where I’d hit the wood with my fist. “The hell?” I gasp.
“Believe me now when I say you killed your grandparents?” Samson says calmly, his eyebrow cocking upwards.
“No. You said freeze. Not kill,” I stammer, realisation hitting me.
“Well dear I regret to inform you that when one is turned into a block of ice, the organs stop working after barely a few seconds. You killed both your grandparents when you iced the whole house.”
“The whole...the whole house?” I whisper, shaken. My bedroom was filled with snow last night. As if a winter storm had raked the room. I couldn’t have possible done that.
“Yes the whole house. That’s how we managed to find you because lets be honest: it’s quite hard not to hear about a house in Seattle that’s completely frozen from the inside in the middle of October,” he chuckles. “No worries though, nobody can remember the event. You practically disappeared from everybody’s lives.”
“One of my men can manipulate one’s memory,” he admits.
This is crazy. I’m dreaming. I didn’t kill Grandma and Grandpa. Terror starts invading me but I rapidly stifle the pain of their passing away, using the same technique I used when my sister died: denial. No this can’t be. It’s not possible.
“It is very possible. Due to rare genetic alterations, you have what we call cryokinesis. It’s the ability to reduce the kinetic energy of particles in matter to modify its temperature to the point of freezing an object or a target entirely,” the green-eyed man elaborates. I stare at him uncomprehendingly. “You can freeze stuff,” he sighs. “Though your talent seems to be fueled by strong emotions. You’ll learn to control it soon enough. This is what the R.I.S.G was made for. To help teenagers like you control their abilities to they can be released without being threats to the society.”
“Are there many others like me?” I question, stunned.
“None exactly like you but we’ve found about thirty who have the genetic variation but only a dozen are at the institution, the rest being mature adults. Boys are clearly more disposed of possessing this mutation though as you’re the only girl we’ve found so far.”
“Yes well your case is going to be studied.”
“I am telling you right away: I am not going to be a lab rat,” I state between clenched teeth.
“No. Of course not. Not yet anyways,” he chuckles nervously. “We’ll be giving you the time to adjust to your new home first and then maybe you’ll want to start cooperating if it means your release,” Samson smiles. I want to punch him. This will never be home. “Anyways enough talking or I’ll be late for my meeting,” he declares, standing up. He walks around the desk and grabs my upper arm tightly between his fingers. “Come one, I’ll lead you to your room,” Strife adds, dragging me out of his office.
I grimace as he takes me down a series of corridors and doors. We arrive in front of a heavy iron one. He presses in a code and it opens without a sound. Samson tugs me through before pushing me through a windowed door with a sign written SUBJECT 013. I stagger inside the sterile room. It holds a simple white bed with a large window.
“The suit on your bed is your uniform. You have to wear it all times,” he instructs, arranging his jacket.
“What about a shower? And going to the bathroom? Where do I go for all that?” I protest.
“Ask the others in the common room. I’m sure they’ll be glad to help you.”
“The common room?!”
“Down the corridor. It’s hard to miss.” He turns to leave but stops in his track, rotating on his heel. “Oh and the doors of your room locks at 10 o’clock each night and they unlock at 8 o’clock every morning, just like the doors of every other subject. You have to be in your room between those times or there will be consequences got it? Other than that you are free to roam around where you’re allowed. And obviously, you aren’t allowed to harm another subject. Any other questions before I go?”
Apart from can you get me out of this hell?
“Do you have some books I could read?”
He ponders the thought.
“If it can make your stay more enjoyable, then yes I can get someone to bring you some tomorrow,” he acknowledges. “I really must be going though. See you soon Meridelle,” he waves before exiting.
I sit on the bed, staring blankly at the wall. This is an asylum. I wince as a voice speaks through the ceiling.
“Subject 013 is asked to be in uniform in the shortest of delays,” the robotic voice demands.
“No thank you,” I snap, glaring at the speaker. I start mulling over the recent events of my life, my shoulders sagging. Three people. I killed three people. I killed three people and I can’t even grieve properly. I’m a freak. The students at school were right.
“No they weren’t!” I shout angrily. But they were.
As I do so, the fabric of the bed under my fingers suddenly frosts. “Fuckin’ great,” I mutter, standing up and looking as my frosted bed.
“Starting immediate heating of the room,” the automatic voice warns, a series of vents appearing in the ceiling.
I flinch as a heat wave swarms into the room through vents. Seconds later it stops.
“Warming complete. Initial room temperature restored.”
The bed isn’t frosted anymore.
“What in the world?!”
“Yeah our rooms are temperature sensitive,” a heavily accented voice drawls.
I jump in surprise, flipping around quickly. A boy that looks to be around my age is leaning on the door frame, a small smile on his face with his palm open. A small fire dances in the middle of his hand.
I watch him in wonder.
“You know because I’m pyrokinetic and you are, from what I’ve heard, cryokinetic,” he adds, dropping his hand and extinguishing the fire. “I’m sorry if I startled you,” he trails on, advancing towards me. “I’m Liam Payne,” he continues, his brown eyes shining as he holds his hand out for me to shake.
I stare at it, then back to his face.
“I won’t burn you if that’s what you think,” he frowns. Cautiously, I place my hand into his and shake it. A powerful force suddenly pulls at me and thin filet of steam starts emanating from our joined members. I rapidly remove my hand, holding it to my chest in worry. “That was unusual,” Liam puckers his brow, looking at his own hand. He snaps his fingers and a flame materializes over his digits. “But no harm done,” he shrugs. “So, want me to show you around this hellhole?”
“I want to be alone,” I reply, voice shaking. I feel my control starting to shatter, just like it did yesterday. I feel the guilt and sadness swallowing me whole again. “Please. I need time to myself,” I beg.
He gazes at me briefly.
“Fine. I’m in the common room if you change your mind,” he declares, shooting me one last glance before leaving my room.
As soon as the door shuts, I lose it. I start crying, digging up everything I had kept buried under Samson’s view. I weep my sister’s death, the killing of my loving grandmother and my imprisonment in this institution. It has been my way of coping during the last year or so. I just keep my feelings deeply buried until something breaks inside me and I grieve all over again for everything I can think of for a brief moment of time, before I calm myself and conceal it once more, only to repeat the process again and again. I can only hope that all this pain that is building up, that is suffocating me, will only end up being numb in the end.