Children of the Earth

Alexine and Brogan are what people call abnormals. They have the power to manipulate fire, water, earth, and air. Alexine is A 16-year-old girl who goes to TYTC. Brogan is a 35-year-old man who lives in Chicago. When the leader of the abnormals asks Brogan to be a double agent the two of them meet up and they discover that not all is as it seems

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16. 12 Brogan

Brogan sat on his new bed in his room. A lot of things have changed since he had been here last. The trainers used to have to share rooms. Brogan wondered if that was because there were less abnormals than there had been back in his day. How long had it been? About seventeen years? He wasn’t particularly thrilled about being back, but it was where he grew up. The plain walls calmed him, which was good. He needed a little calmness right now.

These were the walls that razed him after his parents died. Brogan was brought here when he was about five years old. His parents died when he was two. The two old ladies, Gretchen and Dorothy took care of him before TYTC scooped him up. He didn’t remember much about his parents. He knew there faces. The first thing he did when he got out of TYTC was try to find them. All he found was there graves. He researched his butt off about their murder and got there picture. Then he knew he had to move on. His parents were killed in a bar fight. They were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Adikara Daman had given them a job. That job was to observe and report back to him. The other three agents hiding inside Than’s walls were the only ones that had known how to contact Daman without being caught. Now they were gone. Than had killed them. Now him and Nerissa were alone.

Brogan wasn’t sure what Nerissa was up to. He had barely seen her since they had gotten to Than’s territory. Last time he seen her she had seemed to have pissed off Mara Wells. One of the last people on the planet that you would ever want to piss off. And Nerissa had done it. Brogan wasn’t surprised. Nerissa love to aggravate people. Especially dangerous people. It was kind of her thing.

Brogan trusted her, but Nerissa was not one to take the low road or the high road. She like to drive through the woods, across the backyard, and into the river. But she always seemed to get where she was going. So Brogan tried his best to trust her, but just sit back and let Nerissa do her thing was easier said than done. Especially for Brogan. Brogan liked to keep his head down and do what he was told. Nerissa did the complete opposite.

Just then there was a knock at his door. Brogan looked at the door and the knock came again. Louder and faster this time. He got up and opened the door. There stud Nerissa and Alexine, the stone faced ginger that he had helped a few hours before. Her face was made of stone no more. Her pale face was full of confusion and a little fear. Alexine stud behind Nerissa.

Brogan changed his gaze to Nerissa. He was about to ask what she had done, but she cut him off. “Hey, you busy?” she asked. Her words sounded like they normally did, smooth and well thought out, but he knew that something was wrong.

“What’s going on?” Brogan demanded, opening the door to let them in. They walked in and Brogan peaked into the halls. No one was there. He shut the door and turned to the two girls. “What did you do?” he asked harshly, talking directly to Nerissa.

She threw her hands in the air. “Why does your brain always jump to the conclusion that every problem that arises in the world was created by me?” Nerissa exclaimed.

Brogan shook his head. Now was not the time for this conversation. “What happened?” he asked again.

“Well.” Nerissa started. “There is a few things.”

“Start with the one that involves me.” Alexine spoke.

Nerissa nodded. “Well. Mara is a lot worse than we thought.”

Brogan flinched at the name. “Because you made her mad.” Brogan pointed out.

“No.” Nerissa sounded offended. “Well. Yes. But that is not the point. She will find out about Alexine.”

Brogan’s heart dropped. “What?”

“She hasn’t yet. But she will know unless we do something fast.” Nerissa told him.

“What can we do?” Brogan said raising his voice.

“That’s one of the things I can to you for.”

“Me? You are the one who is supposed to figure these things out!” Brogan took a deep breath. All his problems started to suffice. They had no connection with Daman. They were alone here. Than was making his move. Brogan then remembered the night they had spent at Alexander Wells’s house. The news broadcast. Than had taken out three of the normal’s leaders. Now he was taking over TYTC and Brogan could do nothing about it that didn’t end will him and Nerissa dead.

Brogan snapped back into the game. He shut his eyes. “What were the other things?” he asked.

Nerissa just looked at him. “Well.” she said looking at the ground.

Brogan’s heart dropped again. “What is it?” he asked quietly.

Nerissa started to breath heavily, like she had just realized that it was a problem. “She knows.” she said. “I don’t know how. She just knew.”

Brogan knew what she was talking about right away. “Mara found out?”

Brogan had nothing to say. He was not angry with Nerissa. He was scared for her. He did not fear for himself at all. It was all his fault. She would still be back in Chicago if it hadn’t been for him. She would be safe if it wasn’t for him. She was still just a kid. She was not ready for this.

He met Nerissa’s eyes and she read right thru him. He watched anger flush over her face. “Stop doing that.” She said in a surprisingly calm voice. Her voice did not match her face. She looked like she wanted to scream. The next thing she spoke was not as calm as the last. “I am not the main priority here. I should be the least of your concerns. I chose to do this, not you. I made this decision for myself and you could not have changed my decision. You also could not have made that decision for me.” she pointed her finger at him. “You don’t have any power over me. You are not my father!”

Brogan was baffled. He opened his mouth to apologize, but an apology did not come out. “You’re not ready for this.” he spoke quietly. “You’re just a child.”

Nerissa stared at him for a few seconds. Then she started to laugh, it was an angry laugh. She looked around the room. Her ocean blue eyes stopped on Alexine. Alexine remained silent, her poker face was almost impossible to read.

Then Nerissa turned back t0 Brogan. She leaned closer. “I was never a child.” she spat. She then walked to the door, Alexine followed. “I don’t even know why I bothered with you.” she muttered, walking through the door.

Brogan wanted to tell her he would help, he wanted to tell her to wait. He did not. He watched the door shut and he looked at the ground. For the past year every time they had spoke they fought. About the same thing.

Deep down he knew she was not a child. She had never really been a child. She had never had the desire to play with dolls or other kids. She never really liked other kids at all. And she was ready for this. Or at least more ready than Brogan. Nerissa was a smart resourceful girl. Brogan was just obedient. Nerissa was made for stuff like this.

Brogan seemed to think that Nerissa was his responsibility. No one else ever took care of her. The two old ladies that took her in were practically dinosaurs that probably forgot she existed. Brogan knew for a fact that Nerissa only went there a few nights a week from about midnight to sunrise. She had a room at Brogan’s but she didn’t sleep there often. She came to Brogan’s for free food and cable. The rest of the time Nerissa was off doing whatever it was she did. Most likely pick-pocketing and making friends with people you should normally stay away from. Nerissa liked to have friends on the inside. Brogan knew that.

Nerissa liked to take care of herself, and she was pretty good at it. She never went to real school. From what Brogan knew, the two old ladies, Dorothy and Gretchen taught her how to read and write and some math. Other than that. Nerissa taught herself and got herself tutors. She probably had a higher IQ than Brogan himself.

Brogan thought when he first found her that he was going to have to turn into a father figure, but he later found out that she was like one of those automatic parking cars or whatever. She did everything herself. Maybe that’s what was happening, he was still trying to be a father. He was trying to be a father when what Nerissa really needed was a big brother. That’s what they acted like most of the time.

Back in Chicago Brogan and Nerissa used to watch NCIS, Criminal Minds, and other crime shows together. It was a real pain for Brogan because Nerissa was one to think out loud. And she had it figured out well before the characters on the TV even had a clue, and that left Brogan with no chance.

They would never watch those shows ever again. If they were not killed, their lives would never be the same. Brogan did not plan on going back to his house. In a few months the bank would probably take it. He didn’t care. None of that mattered anymore. Brogan would probably be put on the missing persons list, but they would never find him. Nerissa was already on the missing persons list. She had been for years. No one was looking for her. Not anymore.

That was one of the big reasons why Brogan had worried about Nerissa a lot back in Chicago. She had no identity. Or maybe she did. Maybe she got a fake one, but she had never mentioned it. If she did not have a fake identity and she had gotten in some trouble with they would ask for a name, and she would not have one for them. Nerissa’s old last name was Johnson, but if she told the cops that her name was Nerissa Johnson there would be more problems. She was sixteen so they might ask for a driver’s license, but she had no driver’s license because she had no last name.

At TYTC they gave you your last name when you graduated. It was not your real last name though. The name that they gave him was Brogan Smith, but his birth name was Brogan King. Brogan’s parent's names were Martha and Martin King. In pictures, Brogan had realized the resemblance he had to his father. Brogan had his father’s gray eyes and face. His mother’s eyes were another kind of blue and warm brown hair. They look like they had been happy people. Not super rich and not the most glamorous, but in every picture they looked truly happy.

TYTC was a place that took in young abnormals that were orphans. Brogan didn’t know how, but they were very good at finding the kids. Brogan wondered how they do it. And why they had failed to find Nerissa, although, Brogan was glad they had not found her. It was not the best place for a growing child.

He wondered what else Nerissa was going to tell him before she stormed out. He wondered what she had planned to save Alexine. Brogan didn’t know Mara Wells very well, but from what he had heard from his old friend in Nebraska and Alexander Wells he knew she was nothing good. It was not a good thing that Mara was going to find out about Alexine’s power.

Brogan had never met anyone with Alexine’s powers before. He had heard of them and he could name one or maybe two. The one he had heard of the most was Dr. Ronald Borlend. He was supposedly an old man who lived in the woods. When he was younger he was a scientist and an explorer. He kept his work quiet for the most part. Although, every abnormal that has heard of him knows what he studies. He studied Abnormals and their history. He got his doctorate degree in the science behind genetics and all that stuff Brogan didn’t know about. He knew everything you could know about abnormals. He knew more than Daman and any of the other leaders.

Dr. Ronald Borlend and Alexine were shields. A shield was an abnormal that could not manipulate fire, water, earth, and air. They could stop other abnormals from using them. Shields were rare and they were targeted by Than’s people and the government. They were very powerful and useful for people that seeked power. That is why Alexine had to keep her power a secret. It would be a risk to tell TYTC and even worse with Than’s people running around. Especially because Alexine could control the elements. She couldn’t very well, but she could. And that was not normal. That is another reason that her power should not be shared. She was extra special.

Now Mara was going to find out about Alexine and there was nothing Brogan could do about it. Mara knew about Nerissa and Brogan and there was nothing he could do to fix it. All the people in TYTC were in danger and there was nothing Brogan could do to save them.

“So you're just going to sit there?” Brogan’s conscious asked him. “While Nerissa is out there risking her life to save Alexine’s?”

Coward. Brogan thought to himself. Then it hit Brogan. He was a coward. He always had been. He was not his own person. He had never been his own person. Brogan suddenly stood up. He then walked out of the room. He walked down the hallway. He had no idea where he was planning to go. Then a voice came over the loudspeaker.

“All trainers report to the training rooms. All students to your bunk rooms immediately.” A voice said. The voice was troubled, the tone made his heart sink into his stomach. Brogan started to walk to the training room. When he got to the stairs he found a crowd of kids at the top. He pushed through them. Most of them stepped aside when they seen him coming. Some asked what was happening. Brogan did not answer them. At the front of the group was a younger trainer holding everyone back. Brogan walked passed the younger trainer and down the stairs.

“Please get back to your bunk rooms.” the young trainer said strictly. “Now!”

Brogan pushed open the doors to the training room and slipped through. There were about half a dozen trainers standing around in small groups with pale faces and most looked nauseous. Brogan knew from the voice over the speaker that something bad had happened. Now he knew something terrible had happened.

The door to the fire station was open and there were more people inside. Brogan walked over slowly. Some of the trainers outside the room watched him walk towards the fire room. Brogan realized some of them were crying. The others looked shocked. Deep down Brogan knew what had happened, but he did not want to believe it. He looked into the room. There was no denying it. Brogan felt like his heart had stopped. He could not breath, because he had forgotten how. He tried to look away, but he could not.

It was a child. It didn’t look like one anymore, but it certainly was one once. The ceiling tile of the drop ceiling was pushed up revealing the pipes above. Connected to the pipes was a vine. The other side of the vine was wrapped around the neck that once belonged to a young man. It was wrapped around his neck like a snake.

The body of the boy was burned badly. There were only scraps of clothes still connected to him. The rest was burned off and revealed his charred skin. There was blood on the ground and the walls. A lot of it. It was the most gory thing Brogan had seen in his life.

“A trainer found him like that.” Rock said standing next to Brogan. Rock was one of the lead trainers. When Brogan was about seventeen in TYTC Rock was just starting.

“Who did this?” Brogan asked knowing the answer.

“We don’t have a clue.” Rock said. His voice was filled with shock and even sorrow. Rock shook his head. “It’s the messiest thing I have ever seen and it is still organized. There is no evidence anywhere that points us to who did this.”

Brogan looked at the blood on the walls. “No fingerprints?”

“None.” Rock said raising his eyebrows.

“Nobody seen anything?” Brogan asked. “A student? The cameras?”

“The cameras had been shut off in this section.” Rock answered.

“What?” Brogan asked surprised.

“The monster that did this is good.” Rock nodded. “I’ll give them that.”

Brogan looked around at the gruesome scene once more. “They turned off the cameras?” he asked.

“Yup.” Rock sighed. “I have no idea how.”

Emily, another lead trainer with short red hair and freckles came up to the two of them. “We need to start questioning everyone. This will not stand.” Emily was not scared. She was angry. “I want this monster found now. I will not keep my students in danger.” Her face matched the color of her hair.

Brogan walked closer to the child slowly. “Who is it.” his voice cracked.

“We can’t tell.” Emily answered.

“What about the cause of death?” Brogan asked.

“I was hoping you would know.” Emily said to Brogan.

“Me?” Brogan asked.

“We are not the FBI. We are the military. We don’t know anything about crime investigation.” Emily said to Brogan.

“But I do?” Brogan asked.

Emily shrugged. “You were positioned in Chicago as an abnormal officer. You're the closest thing we have to the FBI.”

Brogan brought himself to look at the terrible scene again. The setup was horribly familiar. Brogan’s old friend from Nebraska had described many scenes like this to Brogan. Bodies ripped apart, like they had been attacked by a wild dog. Bodies then burned badly, then displayed for the poor sole that would find them. It was exactly Mara Wells’s M.O.

“What do you think?” Emily asked eagerly.

Brogan said nothing.

“Brogan?” Emily said concerned.

This was not right. Daman had told them not to engage until he gave further instructions. Since there was no way for him to give them any instructions. Brogan might as well do what he thought was right. He tried to convince himself to tell them that it was Mara. It didn’t work. It was to dangerous.

What if he didn’t tell them it was Mara, but pointed them in that direction? He took a deep breath. Brogan’s brain was on overload, he could not make these decisions. Nerissa could. No. He told himself. She could not know about this. But she had to know. She may only be sixteen, but she was his partner. She was almost seventeen after all.

“Brogan?” Emily said again.

“I don’t know anything about this stuff.” Brogan told her. Emily fround and looked at the ground. Brogan tried to hold his tongue but he couldn’t. “But I know someone that could tell you everything you want to know about this stuff.”

Hope filled Emily’s eyes. “Really, who? They are here?”

“Yeah. They are here.” Brogan told her. “But it’s a sixteen year old girl.” Brogan told them.

Emily and Rock looked at him and then looked at each other.

“You know a sixteen year old girl that knows everything about crime investigation?”

“No.” Brogan shook his head. “I know a sixteen year old girl that knows everything about everything.”

Emily looked to Rock for answers. “Rock?” she asked.

“I don’t think it’s wize to let a child see this.” Rock said.

“Trust me. She will be fine.” Brogan told them.

“She will keep it a secret?” Emily asked.

“Yes.” Brogan nodded.

Emily looked at Rock again. Brogan could see his brain thinking. “Who?” Rock asked Brogan.

“Nerissa. She is in bunk room 19G.” Brogan told them.

Rock turned to Emily. “What do you think?”

“I’ll go get her.” then Emily left the room and Brogan immediately regretted it all.

*****

Nerissa sat on her bunk with her legs crossed and listened to all the rest of the girls talk. Nerissa had never slept in a bunk bed before. It was silly, but Nerissa had always thought about what it would be like to sleep on beds stacked on top of eachother. In her imagination she had always seen herself sharing the bunk bed with a friend, not a bloodthirsty Psychopath like Mara. What was Nerissa expecting? Why would she ever get to have a normal life?

Nerissa didn’t even have any friends. Not her own age. She had Brogan, who was more like family. She had ‘friends’ that she met on the street, the kind that did favors for one another. They were dangerous people. Nerissa knew that, but those friends were the reason she knew so much about the underworld of Chicago. A few days ago she wanted to know about Terrence Ellis and all she had to do was ask and she got an address and a lot of more background intell that wasn’t very useful.

Nerissa wondered how she would help Alexine. She also wondered how she would help Brogan and herself. The only easy option was to do what Mara wanted. Deep down Nerissa knew she would never let herself do that. Brogan would. Brogan would do what Mara said in a blink of an eye.

“Alrighty, Nerissa. Let’s analyze the situation.” she muttered to herself.

What does Mara really know? She knew about Brogan and Nerissa. She knows about Alexine. Nope. Scratch that. She does not know about Alexine. She said she would find out about Alexine. How could Nerissa be sure if she knew or not? She could ask.

“She wouldn’t tell you, stupid.” Nerissa’s brain told her.

“Ah, are you sure?” Nerissa thought to herself.

There was no snarky reply so Nerissa proceed. Did Mara even know what a shield was? Mara was very smart no doubt, but she did not know everything. From what Nerissa knew of her backstory Mara didn’t even know about abnormals till about a year ago. Her not even knowing what a shield was a possibility. Even if she did find out about Alexine, what would she really do?

“She could tell Than.” Nerissa’s brain pointed out.

Nerissa nodded. “Yes but how? He’s not here.” she thought.

“He’s not here.” her brain echoed.

“He’s not even here.” Nerissa whispered to herself.

No doubt Than knew what Mara was capable of. Than would believe Mara if she told him about Alexine, Brogan, and Nerissa. Who would here? Not Adriana. Mara had done that herself. Mara made Adriana think that Mara was stupid. Adriana wouldn’t believe anything Mara said. Nerissa didn’t really listen to a word Adriana said, but Nerissa specifically remembered Adriana bragging about how she was the only one who knew how to contact Than from in here. Something about how she was the only one he trusted and how they were all imbeciles and other words that Nerissa didn’t listen to.

“All true, but there are other ways.” Nerissa’s brain told her.

It was true there were other ways, but this gave a little hope. Nerissa could beat Mara. She could. Nerissa needed to find Mara’s weakness.

“You're not going to find her weakness just sitting there.” Nerissa’s brain said.

Nerissa stud up. The room was filled with bunks and a couple more of a dozen girls around Nerissa’s age. Most of them were either sitting in bed or walking around and talking to each other.

Nerissa turned to Mara, who was sitting on the bunk on top of Nerissa’s. Mara glared down at her. Nerissa crossed her arms on Mara’s bed and placed her chin on her arms.

“What?” Mara asked already very annoyed.

“Hey. Sorry to bother you girlfriend, but I was just wondering if you found out yet.” Nerissa asked provocatively.

Mara said nothing, she just looked straight forward as her face flushed red from anger.

Nerissa sighed. “Alright then, just give me a heads up when you figure it out.”

Mara’s nose twitched into a snarl. Like a wild animal. Nerissa smiled and walked away. Nerissa walked to Alexine. Alexine looked as if she was in deep conversation with her brunette friend. Nerissa could not recall the friend’s name. Rose was it? Yes, that was it. As Nerissa approached Alexine stopped talking and watched her walk. Rose turned her head to look at Nerissa too.

“Hey.” Alexine said to her. Alexine looked like she had about a million questions, but held her tongue. Nerissa realized that Alexine was keeping the situation from Rose. This was not bad. Nerissa and Brogan had told her not to tell her friends, but Nerissa was still surprised. Nerissa didn’t know much about friendship, but she thought they told eachother everything no matter what.

“Hi.” Nerissa said back. Alexine looked at Nerissa and then glanced at Rose. Nerissa noted that Alexine wanted Rose to leave. Rose picked up on this too, but she did not leave.

Rose stared at Nerissa. It was not a glare, but it was not far from it. Nerissa searched for something to say. “What’s happening?” Nerissa asked. Referring to everyone having to go to their bunk rooms.

“Why don’t you ask your friend? She seems to know everything else.” Rose said coldly. Nerissa didn’t know who she was talking about at first, but then realized she meant Adriana. It was strange. When Rose was talking at dinner she was very kind. Now she sounded like Alexine.

“Adriana is not my friend.” Nerissa told Rose. “I would rather not talk to her.”

Rose said nothing. All three of them looked over to Adriana. She talked to a group of girls on the other side of the room.

“She’s rallying.” Nerissa said plainly.

“What do you mean?” Rose asked.

“She reminds me of Regina George.” Alexine said quickly, covering up Rose’s question.

Nerissa nodded in agreement. Then paused. “You guys have seem Mean Girls?” she asked.

“Yeah. They don’t keep us completely in the dark.” Alexine signed.

“Do you guys watch the News?” Nerissa asked.

“No. Only movies and some TV shows.” Alexine answered.

“Why? What’s happening on the News?” Rose asked Nerissa.

Rose was a smart girl, Nerissa noticed. Smarter than she thought. Obviously Naive, but smart. Nerissa let out a deep breath. “Oh, not much. The world’s just slowly going to crap.” Nerissa told them. “But what were we expecting, right?”

“Right.” Rose said, not believing that that was it. Nerissa wasn’t lying, but she wasn’t about to tell them that while they were stuck in this place three of the world’s leaders collapsed dead at the same time and many more would die soon, and Nerissa was one of the people that were trying to stop it.

Just then a girl, a couple years younger approached them. She was tall and skinny with brownish hair. “Hi.” she said plopping down on the bed Rose and Alexine sat on. Nerissa stud next to the bunk.

“Hi, Jadyn.” Rose said kindly.

Alexine looked slightly annoyed with they girl, Jadyn’s, presence.

Jadyn looked up at Nerissa. “Hi.” she said to Nerissa she looked at her the same way everyone else in TYTC did. Like Nerissa was a new toy or a famous person. Alexine had mentioned they don't get many new people older than five. Nerissa smiled in return.

“Your super pretty.” Jadyn complimented.

“Thanks.” Nerissa said. She often got that compliment. When adults told her that normally after followed, “Did you know that?” Nerissa hated it because she didn’t know how to answer. She was some what aware that she had the rare and powerful gift of beauty. The truth was, none of that really mattered to her. There were much more important things. The truth was, Nerissa never really looked in the mirror much at all.

The door to the bunk room opened. Everyone in the room fell silent and all eyes went to the door. A woman entered. Her hair was red like Alexine’s, but this girl’s hair was much shorter. Her face was covered in freckles, unlike Alexine’s.

“Sorry ladies.” she spoke. Something was wrong, Nerissa noticed. The woman’s face was covered in emotions.

Nerissa leaned down by Alexine, Rose, and Jadyn. “Something's gone wrong.” she whispered to them.

“What do you mean?” Rose whispered back.

“Something very bad happened.” Nerissa further explained.

“Nothing bad ever happens her.” Jadyn whispered, her voice cracked.

“Well.” Nerissa paused. “Somethings are about to change.”

“How do you know these things?” Rose asked, giving Nerissa a suspicious look.

“You can’t feel it?” Nerissa asked.

Rose said nothing.

“See? You can feel it.” Nerissa told her.

“Nothing bad happens here.” Jadyn told Nerissa, Jadyn did not even believe herself.

Nerissa kept her eyes on Rose.

“Is Nerissa in this bunk room?” the woman asked. Nerissa did not flinch, she kept her eyes on Rose. There were eyes on Nerissa, she could feel them. Alexine’s, Jadyn’s, Adriana’s, Harley’s, Mara’s, and Rose’s.

“Your silence speaks the truth.” Nerissa told Rose.

Rose opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out.

Nerissa turned. “That’s me.” she told the lady.

“Great, could you please follow me?”

Nerissa followed. She glanced back at Mara. The two held eye contact for a few seconds. Then Nerissa walked out of the bunk room.

“What happened?” Nerissa asked the woman when they got into the hall.

The woman sighed. “You will see for yourself.”

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