The Center: Chimera Ch.3

Chapter 3
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Thank you very much to Wren Phoenix for help editing and as always a special thank you to Lillith for creating The Center. Without which this story would have never come about. *Hugs* for you both.
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"Did you see that?!" Ray asked, shocked.

They pull behind the wreck, a few car lengths away. Both Ray and the driver exit with pistols drawn; just in case anyone is still breathing in the other SUV. Cautiously, they bear down on the vehicle, each taking a side to ensure there are no surprises. When they get there, the inside of the vehicle is a mess. The two men pretending to be detectives are still buckled into their seats, but it's clear that they are dead. Beyond the cuts and bruises from broken glass and other items that must have hit the bodies, a single gunshot wound through each of their heads makes it fairly obvious. In the backseat they find a younger boy, or what's left of him. By elimination, he must have been the emerged. It’s not clear what happened. It looks like his body was ripped apart by something. His clothes are all torn to shreds with skin missing from most of the body exposing muscle and bone. Both Ray and the driver back up, looking slightly greener. Ray hears the girls coming up, and he motions them back.

"You don't want to see this." He takes hold of Kris and leads her away. Lily wisely follows.

"What happened, Ray?" Kris asks.

"I'm not sure. The two drivers are dead. Single gunshot to the head for them both. The kid in the back, though, I just don't know. Could Matt have done this?"

Shaking her head. Kris doesn't answer. Truthfully she doesn't have a clue what's going on. Could Matt have done this? Their report said he was an empath, but Dani is an empath as well, and nothing like that has ever happened with her before.

"Let's go see if he's still alive. We'll sort this out as soon as we can."

The driver heads back to the SUV to call in the accident, while Kris, Ray and Lily head towards Matt.

---

Is he alright Red? asks Vickie.

He feels alright physically. Well nothing worse than before. Did you see what I just did!? Red responds.

Was that you? How did you do it?

I'm not sure. I just needed to protect him and poof, he was. By the way, how'd you know what those guys wanted?

You know I didn't think about it. I was just looking at him and all of a sudden I heard it loud and clear. Their plan was to knock Matt out and take him.

Those kids said that Matt was going to have some ability. Do you think we might have one as well?

It looks that way. Shhh… here they come. Let's go find Matt, before he suffers anymore. Vickie whispers this last bit.

---

"Hold up Kris." Lily says laying a hand on both her and Ray's shoulders. "Can you feel that?"

"Feel what Lily?"

"I don't know. It feels... dark… that's the best I can say. It seems to be coming from Matt. I don't like it, and I don't think we should go near him."

"Well, we can't stay here all day. What are we going to do? Can you try reading his mind again from here?"

"I can try." With that, Lily closes her eyes and concentrates, picturing Matt's body laying nearby. With a deep breath she drops into Matt's head.

---

All at once she hears voices. Unlike before, where she could barely hear what was said; these voices come in loud and clear. And one sounds like she is distressed. Focusing on the sounds of their voice, she peers deeper into Matt's mind until she finds herself at the front door to a nice looking house. Adobe brick walls with a Spanish style roof.

Matt! Please stop. You don't have to do this. Put the knife down! Vickie pleads.

"What's the point Vickie? I'm just so tired of all this. And now I find out that I really WAS the cause of my mother dying."

Christ, Matt! You know it's not your fault. You couldn't have stopped her from dying. And you sure as hell didn't kill her. Red argues back

"Just leave me alone. It's better for everyone if I just end it here and now. Those guys who shot me won't get me. I won't have to deal with the pain any longer. It's better this way."

Red grab the knife! Keep him from hurting himself.

Red holds Matt's wrist tight keeping the knife away from both their bodies. Matt struggles against Red's grip, but it's no use Red is just too strong. Finally giving up he lets the knife drop to the ground, slumping down   and crying. Vickie comes over quickly wrapping Matt up in a hug. Cooing to him. Rubbing his back as he cries.

"Hello? Is everyone alright? "

Red turns quickly to Matt's door and yells. Who's there!?! How did you get here?!?

"My name is Lily. We met a little while ago. Do you remember me?"

Slowly she opens the door to find the house is a wreck. The hallway she enters has cracks and holes in the wall. The paint is peeling and the door at the end is smashed. Red's voice rebounds off the walls but seems to be coming from the right. Walking into the next room she sees what could be a nice living room. A baby grand piano is placed in one corner with a fireplace across the room. There are two white sofas in the room but like the rest of the house they are ruined. Dirt and suspicious red stains cover most of them.

It's the witch that girl Keys told us about, the one who can read minds. Vickie, stay with Matt. Let me deal with this.

Red storms out of Matt's room and takes a quick left turn into the living room Lily is standing in. Lily is surprised to see a good looking boy in front of her. So unlike Matt. He stands close to six feet tall, with sandy blonde hair and well developed muscles on his body. What startles her most are his bright crystal red eyes. "I guess that answers where he got his nick name from." She muses.

What do you want?! Haven't you done enough! Leave now, before I toss you out on that pretty little butt of yours.

"I'm here to help. I swear. Do you know what happened? Who else is here?"

Red sneers, Of course we know what happened. We were there weren't we! And you've done wonders to help already. Look what you did to Matt!

From behind him Vickie calls out, Please stay calm Red. You know what happens when you get angry.

"Who was that? Where is Matt? Is he okay?"

That's nobody. Now leave!

Red advances on Lily fully intending to toss her out of the house with whatever force that's needed. As he reaches for Lily, he is surprised to find his hands passing right through her. He stubbles forward and passes straight through her. For a brief instance he and Lily share the same space.

What the hell!

Red scrambles back from Lily shooting daggers at her.

How did you do that?!

Taking a step towards Red,   "I'm sorry, but I'm not really here. You can't force me out. Now please who else is here?"

Red? What happened? Are you alright?

Yea I'm fine. She says she's not really here. And I just fell right through her!

Finally getting tired of the bullying from this boy she strides towards him, towards the sound of the other voices. Red jumps in front of her at every step. Throwing punches, kicks, even his whole body to stop her from getting any closer to Matt's room. Nothing works and finally Lily reaches Matt's room. Inside she seems a young girl, holding a boy. It's hard to tell how tall she is but she has long blonde hair that reaches to the ground from where the two of them are sitting. When the girl looks up Lily sees her eyes. As Red's eyes are pure red, her's are a startling crystal blue.

Lily I take it. My name is Victoria. Call me Vickie. You've seen who else is here. Now leave. We have to take care of Matt. Vickie responds once she sees Lily enter the room.

Walking slowly into the room she sits down in front of the two. "What's wrong with Matt? Can I do anything to help?"

No. And this is none of your concern. Red come here and keep Matt safe.

Red rushes over and stands protectively behind Matt. Wrapping his arms around him, his eyes never leaving Lily. Vickie stands up and strolls towards Lily.

I don't know you. I don't trust you.

Reaching for Lily, her hands touch solid flesh. Quickly realizing it Vickie pushes with all her might forcing Lily back a few steps smiling. Lily stumbles back with a shocked expression on her face.

"How'd you do that? You shouldn't be able to do that!"

Seems I have some power too. Now that you know that. Are you going to leave?

"Wait. Please don't do that. Look, Matt's body is projecting something. We don't know what it is. Do you know what is happening?"

Vickie looks back at Red. Wondering what to do next. Do they trust this 'girl'? Red just shrugs. Vickie sighs and turns back to Lily.

We don't know any better than you what is going on outside Matt's body right now. You said he had a power. Something called empathy. Could this power project positive emotions? What about negative ones?

Lily thinks about it for a second. "We have two other empaths at The Center. Dani can project her feelings onto others. Though it works much better if she touches them. Negative emotions? Maybe, neither Dani nor Chris seems to, but I guess it's possible."

Vickie nods. It's beginning to make more sense. Looking back at Red again they share a silent conversation.

Red, if that's true, then it could be very bad for Matt. We need to help more if we can.

Well yeah, Vickie, but you know we can't protect him all the time. We both need to rest just like he does.

Vickie turns back to Lily.

Okay. Here's the deal. We'll trust you…for now. But if you ever come here again, you won't like what happens. You're a telepath, right? I'm guessing that similar powers work the same way. That means I have a power too. And if you come back, I'll use every bit of my power to make you wish you had stayed away.

"Okay ,Vickie. I promise you that I won't ever try to come back here again. What can I do to help?"

We'll handle Matt. I want to try something, but I'm not sure it will work. Go. If it works, Matt should wake up, and hopefully he won't be projecting anything.

Lily stands up and brushes the dirt from her clothes. "I'll be waiting. Please don't take too long. We don't know if more people will come for Matt. We need to leave as soon as possible."

With her final words Lily walks back the way she came, with Vickie close on her heels. Passing through the front door she hears Vickie close it gently behind her. Within moments Lily disappears and awakens back in her own body. Once Vickie's sure that Lily is gone, she runs back to Matt.

Okay, Red, I have an idea. One of us needs to stay here to take care of Matt. I need you to do whatever it is you do when he's asleep.   

Are you sure? You know I can't do it for very long.

We don't have any choice. We have to trust them, as much as I don't want to. At least they talked to us and took Matt to a hospital, instead of shooting him with a tranquilizer dart. If this works, I need you to show me how you do it. You never know if we might need to do this again.

Reluctantly, Red releases Matt, but not before giving him a quick hug. Lily resumes her position, holding Matt close and telling him it's going to be alright. She nods to Red as he leaves the door.

Hold on as long as you can. Once Matt gets over this one, he should have enough control to not hurt himself.

---

Lily's eyes open the moment she breaks her concentration.

"Wow! That was weird."

Kris looks expectantly at her, "Okay spill. What is going on here? Was Matt responsible?"

"Yes it looks like his power emerged during the drive. We were right, he is an empath, and he seems to have strong projecting power. You remember the scars on his arm. He's depressed, and definitely suicidal."

"That's going to be a problem. How do we get him back if we can't get near him?"

"This is where you're not going to believe me. Remember when I said I thought I heard a voice when we were taking him to the hospital. I was right. I can't explain it. There are two kids in Matt's mind. A girl named Vickie, and a boy who calls himself Red. I don't know what they are, but they are there. I could be wrong but I think at least the girl might also have a power. She was starting to push me out, but that could only happen with another telepath. Anyway, Vickie said that they have an idea that might help us. We should see something soon, if it works."

"What about that scar in the road? Did he/she/Matt do it, too?"

"I'm not sure. We didn't get a chance to talk about it. If they all have a power, then it might be Red who did it, but that's just a guess."

Glancing towards Matt's body they are surprised to see him standing, even with his broken leg. He stares at them. Immediately Lily feels the 'dark' disappear. Kris, Ray and Lily rush over to help him.

Kris slows when they get a few feet away, "Matt? Are you okay?"

"Let's just get something straight girlie. I don't trust you. This is not my choice and if you do something suspicious, we are out of here."  

Kris blinked, startled at the force with which he spoke. "This doesn't sound like the same boy we met earlier. Lily?"

Looking at Matt, Lily responds. "Red?"

Red nods, then closes his eyes and reaches for his temples.

"If we are going, we better go now."

Ray walks up and offers Red his shoulder. Between the two of them, Red limps back to their SUV. Walking by the flipped vehicle Red turns and spits at it.

"Bastards. You're lucky."

Getting back into their SUV, they take off towards the airport. Red sitting in the back with his eyes closed, concentrating.

---

They receive a quick clearance, and fly towards The Center. Red is sitting in the back with his leg up. Clearly he is in pain but ever since the plane took off he has said little. Suddenly, his body goes limp and he passes out. Within moments, his eyes flutter open again, and he looks around for a second.

"Are we flying?"

"Red? Are you alright?" Kris asks.

"Why are you calling me Red? How do you know that name?"

"Matt?"

"Of course! Who else would I be?! How did I get here?! Answer my question!" Matt shouts.

Kris makes a decision to keep quiet for now regarding what she learned from Lily about the other two kids. Now isn't the time, especially with Matt's physical change coming.

"Do you remember the men who took you from the hospital?"

"Yeah. Wait, where are they? What happened to them?"

"Short answer, they took you, we chased them. There was an accident, and we were able to save you. Now we are on a plane back home to The Center."

Matt looks at her suspiciously. *She's not telling me everything,* he thinks to himself. *Why did she call me Red? How does she even know about him? He's only a dream. Okay sure, I've been hearing him all day, but that's just because I'm hallucinating.*

"Is my father alright? Can I call him?"

Kris realizes she can't wait any longer to tell him about the second part of his change.

"Matt, you have to listen to me, there is one other part to being like us. This is going to come as a shock, but in a very short time you won't look anything like you do right now. You're own family wouldn't recognize you. Okay, enough beating around the bush. You're going to become a girl."

Matt's mouth drops open. "You're kidding right? You have to be. This just isn't possible. Shit, why is this happening to me?"

"It happens to all of us. I used to be a boy, so did Lily. Ray used to be a girl."

Looking at them all Matt gets a nod from each in return.

"It’ll be alright. Like I said, it’s happened to everyone. You can't change that, it will happen. As for your family, we can let you see them in time. You won't be able to talk to them, but you can at least see them. I'm sorry it can't be more. Trust me, I want nothing more than to see my father again."

Don't worry, Matt. You still have us. They can't take you away from us. Vickie whispers to Matt.

Damn right. I'll kick their asses if they even try.

Matt reaches for his head, feeling a headache coming. Seeing this Lily unbuckles her seatbelt and walks back to Matt.

"It's going to be all right, Matt. Try and rest, we have a few hours yet before we touch down."

Seeing as he doesn't have the strength to resist, he closes his eyes and passes out.

"Ray, call ahead. Have Liz meet us at the bunker. I'd like to get him healed before he transitions. Also, tell Dani I'd like her to be there when he wakes up. I think having another empath nearby might help."



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