The Girl with the Silver Scales - Part 1

Part 1
A Storm is Coming

Early January 2007 – Outside the gates to Whateley Academy

Sighing I stared out of the tinted windows at the landscape around me. A wall of white flakes surrounded the car. Above us the iron grey clouds that had been threatening to dump their contents for the last few hours made good on its threat. The snow continued to swirl around the vehicle as it drove along the quiet back roads of New Hampshire. From the window a 15 year old girl with long dark hair and expressive green eyes stared back at me. I'd seen the same face everyday since I'd woken up in that room a year ago. It was still strange to me however. Even now I didn't ever think I'd get used to it.

“Are you alright Alex?” my driver John asked as he negotiated a tough bend. I just smiled. John was a former SEAL and all around tough guy. He liked to play the cold unfeeling bodyguard but I knew it was just a front. He'd been my shadow for almost a year and in that time we'd become friends.

“I know your freaked out about having to leave ARC”. John spoke as though he was reading my mind. “But it was time. You don't want to live in that cell the rest of your life do you?”

“But what if it happens again?” I whispered.

John looked at me calmly.

“Alex, You will be fine.”

“But” I began.

“No Alex.” John responded firmly. “Your control is a hell of a lot better than it was before and you and your spirit aren't fighting each other anymore. It won't happen again.”

I just nodded. My spirit and I were much closer these days but it was still a fragile relationship. As John was speaking I could feel her anger rising at the mention of ARC but before I could respond to John's words I was pulled into another place.

Somewhere Else

I was standing in the courtyard of a large house. A fountain bubbled in the middle of a large green space. Hedges rose up around me and patches of brightly coloured flowers were spread throughout the space. Sighing I started to walk towards the main door. I was pretty well versed in the routine by this point and I didn't waste any time. Entering the house I turned left into a large living area and there she was, like always. A tall striking woman with short dark hair and piercing green eyes stared at me. Like me her face was covered in patches of silver scales. A sense of power and danger radiated from her. She stood and stared at me for a moment, anger flickering in her eyes before she spoke.

“Child. Why must you persist in such foolishness? We are so close to our freedom after so long. Why do you fight against it?”

I remained quiet not wanting to make her more angry at me. She only called me child when she was really annoyed or disappointed in me. After a moment the woman sighed and the anger drained from her face, For a moment concern flashed across her face before it was replaced by a cold hard expression. Taking a deep breath I walked further into the room before stopping in front of the being who shared my body.

“I'm sorry Tia” I whispered, trying not looking into her eyes “But I'm not sure I can do this. I just don't want to hurt anyone else.”

She sighed and again fixed me with that cold stare I had become very familiar with since we first met.

“Alex” she began. “ It was not your fault the first time. You are not responsible for the deaths I caused. As the warrior said. We are ready. This is a chance for us to live our lives again.”

I just nodded. I knew she was right but it didn't matter. We had been locked up for a long time and this was only the fifth time we had left the ARC facility in the past year. We had hurt a lot of people before we'd been locked up and I wasn't sure it wouldn't happen again. I knew it was possible. Whether it was Tia's training or the abilities I'd been given, I knew I could very very easily kill again.

We sat for a while in silence thinking about the past. After a while I felt a slight tugging sensation. Nodding at the older woman I stood and returned to the garden. Closing my eyes I focused on the feeling in my stomach.

Back in the real world

Opening my eyes I found myself back in the real world. The car had begun to slow down as we began to approach a gate set into a solid stone wall. As we did so a man bundled up against the cold left a guards hut and approached the vehicle.

“Can I help you sir?” the guard asked. His voice was muffled from behind a thick scarf and a woolen cap covered his head

I couldn't see his face but from the tone of his voice, he didn't sound happy to be out in the snow. From the back of my mind Tia voiced her agreement with the guard's feelings. I just smiled. I'd always enjoyed the snow. It reminded me of all the fun times I'd had with Christine. But that was before...

I clamped down hard on that memory. This was not the time to lose it. Especially not in front of a man I didn't even know. Glancing over I was just in time to see the John roll up the window and turn to me, “Time to go kid.”

John smiled and reached for his door, stepping out into the snow. I grabbed for my new hat, scarf and gloves on the seat beside me. The doctors at ARC had told me that thanks to my mutation my body temperature actually ran several degrees hotter than normal so I wouldn't feel cold temperatures as much as other people but it was nice to have some kind of protection anyway.

Exiting the SUV I hurried to help John with the bags containing my few possessions. After a few moments a small cart driven by what I assumed was another guard appeared from the other side of the gate. Bracing ourselves against the weather, we walked to it with my bags in hand. John and the driver quickly loaded up my few bags into the back of the small vehicle.

Once we had finished I turned back to John. We stood there for a few seconds before he pulled me into an awkward hug.

“Take care Alex” he said once he had released me from his hold. “Remember if you need anything to call Chris or Doctor Otto OK?”.

I just smiled and nodded but inside my stomach was churning with nerves. This would be only the fifth time I had been out of ARC in the last year and all of those had been carefully observed and controlled.

Tia seemed to sense my nerves and sent a pulse of calm my way which seemed to help. Reaching out I hugged John again.

“Thanks for everything John” I mumbled into his shirt.

Letting me go he just laughed and said “It's alright Alex. Stay in touch OK. The girls would never forgive me if you didn't”.

He gave me a sly smile but instead of saying his goodbye like I thought, he reached into the car. I saw the guards tense up for a moment before he withdrew a large tin of what I knew to be cookies which he handed to me.

“Here. This is from Jess and Ali. I may have eaten a few.” he admitted sheepishly.

Laughing I placed the tin in the top of my new backpack before zipping it again. Jesse and Alison were his 13 year old twin daughters. We had become good friends despite and our age difference and they had helped a lot with my changes and during my first trips into the outside world.

The driver of the cart was looking towards us. It was clear he even less happy about coming out in the cold and snow than the other guard was. John gave me one more of his sly smiles before he started to head back to the warmth of his SUV. Sitting in the passenger seat of the golf cart I watched as the dark SUV pulled away from the gate leaving me to my new life.

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This story is 1438 words long.