Halo: The Unchained

Going to summer camp was just about the worst decision Ryan Winters had ever made. Spending three months around a bunch of idiots who thought "tru dat" was correct grammar was certainly not his idea of a good time. But, according to his adoptive mother, he wasn't good enough at pretending to not be a mutant. So, there he was, trying to spend more time with the human persons so he could learn how to be a human person. There was only one problem:

Jared Hall.

*Read full summary inside*

**This story is currently undergoing some editing, all unedited chapters have been unpublished :)**

***This is a Seven Realms Novel. For More Seven Realms fun, please read The Forest of Eyes and Shadows and The Marked Series***

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11. Family Reunions Are Bloody at Best

Family Reunions Are Bloody at Best

Trust me when I say I was trying excruciatingly hard not to punch her in the face. Who did she think she was, anyway?! Standing up there, smiling at us all while she gave some stupid sob story about how much she missed her "little boy." What a stupid liar! How dare she say something like that?! She didn't care! She just wanted all the publicity! She just wanted a whole bunch of people to pamper her because they felt sorry for her!

Her eyes met mine—at least, I think they did, ever so briefly, and I froze where I stood.

Breathe.

I couldn’t even listen to her speech. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to hear anything they were saying. It was all lies. They all talked about Jared like he was just some helpless little kid, but I had gotten along just fine without them. I didn't need them.

I didn’t need anyone.

A couple of the other students had gotten teary eyed as “Miss Natasha" spoke all about how she loved her son—one of those people being Gigi. How could she not tell that that woman was lying out of her ass? Gigi was practically a human lie detector. She always knew when someone was lying—hell, teachers would use her talents to catch cheaters. It was no joke. Sure, like any other lie detector, you could learn how to get around it—but it had taken me years to figure that out. And somehow, Birth-Giver had figured it out in seconds.

Must be easier to trick people when you are practically a demon.

I tuned back in to whatever bull shit it was getting everyone so emotional. She was talking about the time they—we—had gone camping together, and “Jared” had gotten lost and they looked all night for him, and how he had slept with her all night long when they found him. Jokes on them—those “precious memories” were all about my brother. Not me.

Never me.

I wasn’t good enough for that, not to her—

Breathe.

Think about something else. Anything else.

Speaking of my brother, he was noticeably absent. Actually, since he was four years older, he was probably in college. But my father was absent too. Not surprising. He was a pushover, and my mom never let him get involved with anything unless it would help boost appearances. He was probably hanging out in the car patiently until she had a use for him. That was what she did. Use people. Over and over and over until you feel like a dirty, old rag on the top, dusty shelf of the laundry room and—

Breathe.

"So if any of you know anything else about my baby boy, I want you to tell me during our interview. Nothing is too small!" She insisted, and her speech was over.

Ok, focus Ryan. There are more important things happening right now. There’s no window for you to escape through this time. You can do this. I couldn't help but cast a glance over to Josh, keeping eye contact for a few moments. I was trying to tell him 'Don't you dare tell or I'll chop your wings off while you sleep and make them into pillows' but I think some of it was lost in translation because all he did was raise an eyebrow at me.

Still, I think he got the idea. If he told, I would expose him without even blinking an eye, end of story. See how many people still liked him when everyone found out he was a winged freak just like little Jared Hall. They probably wouldn't let him play anymore. Kiss that sports scholarship goodbye. No mutants in the big leagues. He wasn't going to risk that. And I may or may not have been extorting that fear for my own personal gain.

The police guy “Steve” or whatever took control again. "If everyone could please make their way into the camp cafeteria, we will start calling you back individually for the preliminary questioning." Now, it may have just been me, but Mr. FBI agent didn’t sound all too pleased to be questioning a bunch of teenagers. I mean, I didn’t blame him, but I was also 95% sure the questioning was the Birth-Giver’s idea. There was hushed murmuring as everyone was forced into the cafeteria.

The door looked strikingly like a window, the way the glass panel reflected a better, safer place—away from her. Breathe. I couldn’t help but rush towards it, my feet picking up speed as I shoved through the crowd and attempted to hide how desperately I was pushing towards it. If only I could take out my wings. If only I could fly far away again—find my new family, move somewhere better. Somewhere she wouldn’t find me. I pushed the door open with a shaking hand and stepped onto the sweet, safe wood of the cafeteria.

Breathe.

Never thought I would be relieved to be surrounded by questionable, if not rotting, food.

That was when Gigi caught up to me again.

"I can't believe I actually found a necklace that belonged to Jared Hall! It's so exciting!" She said happily. It was really cute when she smiled, but I couldn't help but blame her a little bit for this whole fiasco. I mean, if she hadn't picked up the necklace and made a big deal of it, then no one would have called the police, right? I was trying not to think about it like that, but I couldn't help it.

I tried to smile back at her. If I was too pessimistic, it might give me away. And that would be even worse. "Yeah. You're helping out a serious case. That's gotta be a big deal, right?" She squealed a bit and giggled, nodding at me.

"I know! Oh, can you believe it, Ryan? Maybe they will find Jared Hall here! And I would be the one to play a big role in his discovery!" She grinned, turning in front of me as we walked so she could look me in the eyes. "Wouldn't that be great?!"

I tried to smile, but it was probably crooked. "Yeah. It would be great if they could finally solve the case." Man, sounding convincing when I said that was probably one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. "I just hope it goes well." Fuck, my voice faltered.

She frowned a little, giving me a little pout. "What's that supposed to mean? Why did you say it like that?" Why did she always have to see right through me?

"Well, I just don't want people to get their hopes up and have it be a big deal if they find a body or something. I just don't see a positive outcome, that's all." I tried to shrug it off like it was no big deal, but she wasn't buying that at all.

She put her hands on her hips and stopped walking. "Why are you such a sour puss about this? It's not like you. Aren't you supposed to be Mr. Funny Guy?" I tried to focus on the sound of her voice, despite the roaring teenagers surrounding us. Why was everyone getting so hyped up about this? It was pissing me off. And the noise was just setting me on edge.

Breathe, Ryan. You can’t kill anyone today. There’s an FBI agent outside.

I sighed. "I can't be Mr. Funny Guy all the time, you know. Reality had to kick in eventually!" As everyone took their seats, the policemen circled the cafeteria, posting two at each exit so no one could get out. It was starting to feel a lot like a lock down. A trap. Some place with bars and chains and nowhere to go but the corner. Not a fun place.

The FBI Guy joined us, looking at a list of what I assumed to be names of the campers, and whispered softly between them before looking at the group. "Alright, first we would like to talk to both Miss Gigi Sinclair and Mr. Ryan Winters."

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