Obviously I have to make a quick author’s note here hehe
100 chapters guys! I hit it by the gods and I think I’ve just about reached halfway XD
I didn’t particularly plan the chapters to have something really awesome planned for the 100th chapter, so just felt like calling it now before it starts 😉
It’s been a fun ride guys! (even if *cough* certain people might have died in a really anti-climatic way *cough* realism snort) Lol so here’s to another hundred! (raises glass)
Actually I hope I finish this gen before 9.200 jfc ahahhaha
Here have the background music i had for this chapter
No one’s POV
“I’m sorr-” Gloria apologized again, but Cherry snapped her fingers to shut her up. The young girl squeezed her lips, swallowing back her tears. She concentrated on ignoring the prickling in her neck from where they’d just placed a microchip underneath her skin.
“I don’t have all day.” Cherry pressed as Rita prepared the device.
It was a device years in the making now. Ever since they’d uncovered Velor Gold’s corpse they’d been working on a way to harvest the golden eyes’ power. The Golds had always been wary and cautious with their dead, as well as with their golden eyed offspring. James Whitelight killing Velor Gold on a bridge and letting his body be taken by the police was the opportunity they had been looking for.
Trying to acquire the body of a corpse who’d had his eyes torn out was not an easy feat and the results were disappointing at best. The project crawled at a snail’s pace, until permission was given to acquire Zyla and Alec Gold; two weak vampires. The contribution two live subjects brought helped boost the project – but their weak ability made for weak results.
Catching James Whitelight unconscious in the hospital was a chance the Hans would’ve been fools to pass off. The mere strength of his power jumped the project ahead dozens of years – it also jumped the Hans’ time table.
It was incredibly unfortunate that James Whitelight had to die – and that the Dragons had taken his body with them. But the progress they had made – and the two live subjects they still had gave them enough to make working prototypes after a few months.
The strength and several kinks still needed figuring out, but they could now manufacture artifacts capable of controlling the mind. In her experiments, Rita had also uncovered an additional component to the ability. It could control memories.
Or more specifically, it could force someone to forget specific memories.
“Before we proceed, I need to confirm again that you are aware that this is still an experimental part of Goldmind.” Rita began. Familiar with the procedure, Cherry Blossom nodded. “For now we can only suppress the memories. There is a chance she’ll remember them if she comes in contact with déja vus.”
“I am aware and she won’t.”
“Wonderful, in that case let’s proceed.”
“Please, you don’t need to make me forget.” Gloria pleaded. “I won’t do it again.”
Cherry walked over and cupped her cheek. “Don’t worry, I won’t let you.”
This was the best choice for the child. Not that Cherry held particular care for her, but the alternative was a little too much for the fault.
Gloria had been caught. It was a simple thing to figure out who had given the subject his wands. Gloria had attempted to defend herself – saying she didn’t think they would care, but the higher ups weren’t lenient. They considered themselves still vulnerable – as long as the Goldmind project wasn’t completely operational and as long as the Stonebridge rebellion was still in strength – they hated the idea of weak links inside their walls.
They had considered disposing of her, but Gloria’s power was unique and useful. So they explored the idea of locking her up as another subject. Cherry had found herself defending her adopted child. She stressed and brought proof of Gloria’s successes with the missions. She reminded them of Gloria’s age and she reassured them that they she knew why it had happened and that she could prevent it from happening again.
It had taken some deliberation, but they had agreed to give Gloria another chance. The penalties would be deducted from Cherry herself this time.
And so, Cherry had decided to wipe Gloria’s memory of the two subjects she’d grown attached to. Cherry would make sure to give her missions that didn’t involve those two in any way – or any other teenager of her age.
Cherry understood Gloria was lonely and seeking companionship, but she felt if she could monitor and help her pass this lonely phase, the girl could become a young, capable and valuable member of the company. One didn’t need friends in this business.
Rita entered the commands, forcing Gloria to forget all the memories that involved or were connected to the subjects. Gloria stared blankly ahead for a few seconds.
“Rita was just taking a reading on your tattoo. All is in order. Come, I have new missions for you.” Cherry gestured.
“Ok, have a good day Rita.”
The scientist smiled. “You too honey.”
How did Salandra survive a whole year of this?
I’ve checked every crack and edge of this cell. I’ve tried everything I can think of to get the door to open.
The worst of it, is the pure boredom. They’ll drug me, and drag me out to be analyzed and tortured. Sometimes all they do is make me pass out, and when I wake up I’ve got a fresh puncture wound in my arm and a ringing in my ears. At first I was compelled to check my body constantly for anything missing – or hell anything new.
I feel like I’m being categorized like livestock.
God the boredom.
There’s plain nothing in this area. There are only people here for a few hours at a time – and that usually coincides with when I get drugged.
It’s ridiculous; I’ve been reduced to smearing the grease from my palms onto the window as entertainment. I’m actually starting to get insulted each time they clean my masterpieces.
I leave this place often via astral. I go check on my sister, on the Dragons and I help Ashe. You’d be surprised how boring their lives are. Oh and it’s mighty depressing too, listening to them move on without me – and watching them keep mindlessly get beaten by the Hans. I tried the spy card. Went up and listened to the Hans plot and plan, but it was mostly just barking orders over various projects. They’re very scientifically focused. At best I got mentions of how Stonebridge is troublesome, but that’s about it.
I did spend an entire day in astral once. I did consider just…giving up. Just staying in astral the entire time. I have a whole world to spend my time in.
Pathetic right? It’s not even been a week.
Or has it?
No, no it hasn’t.
I couldn’t quite resign myself to spending the rest of my life in astral. Yes, it’s useful and it’s a great power, but that other worldly feeling isn’t comforting. That out of body experience is weird and it’s too obvious that it’s fake. I didn’t like it when Catarina dragged me into her dragon-dreaming for the same reason.
I sighed to myself. It’s been a long and heavy year – a depressing one. The kind that chips away at you slowly as you watch everything collapse and fail. The kind that makes you care less and less because what’s the point?
I looked at the wall again.
The big imposing wall, a direct fucking link to the past.
A year? A whole year and still, you too huh?
It’s been a year, and I’d forgotten about it. Well no, I hadn’t. But I thought I’d moved past it. I had. Those few weeks, with the experiment, the trial, the funeral, the explosion, were just a big pile of numb events in the past.
Yet I saw her, and it’s like I got propelled right back in. As angry as if the explosion had happened yesterday. As…betrayed as if she’d ditched me yesterday.
We were friends. Good friends. There were times I wanted to consider her my best friend.
Ashlynn was right.
I need an answer.
I climbed onto the box, facing that heavy wall again, and I knocked my question.
23 8 25
I waited, anxious almost.
I got no answer.
Man I probably startled her. She probably didn’t hear it, or have time to count.
Nervously I almost decided to just forget I’d knocked, but instead I knocked the numbers again.
Once again I was met with silence.
“Oh nice going she’s probably not even there.” I muttered. She probably has her own routine of drugs and torture.
I leaned against the wall, but I couldn’t resign myself to just guessing.
Salandra stared at the wall as if she was waiting for someone to crawl through and give her a jump scare.
And then she frowned.
She pointed at the wall as if she was about to say something and then swallowed her words with a sour expression. She looked away annoyed before she came back to it again.
“Why?” She said. “Really, why? Am I expected to just knock my reply back? That’s a heavy question with a heavy answer.”
Not like we have an unlimited amount of time or anything. Worst she’ll get are bruised knuckles.
She refused to knock back an answer, crossing her arms and looking away.
I haven’t really taken the time to look at her. She’s changed. I mean, obviously, it’s been a year, but there’s something about her – she’s definitely not the same as the girl who told me to call her Firefly.
“How do I even answer a question like that?” She grumbled. “Why what? Why did I blow up? That seems like the obvious one. I blew up because…” She seemed to strain, before letting out a sigh. “Goddamn it, I rehearsed this a thousand times. The stuff I was going to tell you, the excuses I was going to pull so you wouldn’t hate me too much, but that was months ago. I moved on to other things. I’d gotten used to the idea that I would be stuck in this depressing hell hole forever.”
“And now Gloria reminds me you exist and now you’re on the other side of that wall wanting an answer to a question I didn’t even have the answer to a year ago. I blew up because my emotions told me to and because the Hans gave me the power to.” She blurted out in exasperation.
As if some underground force was dragging her down, she slid to the floor.
I had to lean in closer as she picked up again, in a quieter voice.
“I was in a rut that I was digging willingly for myself. Spiraling, spiraling and relishing in my mom’s death. Ha, I mean that’s what it was right? I did miss her, but she was my excuse to stop giving a damn and I needed, oh god I needed that excuse so much. So I had two shovels, dig dig digging. And then….then Chase told me my dad was coming over. It made sense, with my mother dead, my father was my next care taker. But Chase was my uncle, well is unless the man croaked already. And the ass knows better than anyone what kind of man my father is. It didn’t even occur to him to fight for me, or to ask for custody. I was so mad, so livid at being abandoned again like this. I could not deal with the idea of going to live with my father again.” She hissed the words. “That man was a drain, a leech, he sucked the life out of me as a child, I couldn’t bear that thought of – so I thought ‘hey suicide, sounds fucking charming right about now.’”
Ah, and this is where you decided, let’s drag Niko into that hole? Nice.
I thought, trying to give her a glare, but it was a half-hearted one. Bleh, at this point I’m just trying to be angry because that’s easier.
I know I wasn’t the only one to go through stuff last year, and at least I didn’t hit suicide thinking then. No that was reserved for later.
There was a moment of silence as Salandra stared straight ahead. Probably continuing her thought process in her head which – well I wish she’d keep saying it out loud.
Her blue eyes look as tired as I feel.
“I just wanted to say goodbye.” She spoke up again after a few moments. “I went to the funeral so I could say goodbye. And then I saw your family, and how they treated you. I saw you. I saw you becoming numb, I saw you lying down and taking the beatings. And I just, it felt like you might be close to where I was – and where I was, I needed relief. So I made a decision I couldn’t reverse. I just wanted to say goodbye, because you were the only one that…” She trailed off before she turned her head in my general direction.
“You’ve always been there for me. Thick or thin, dramatic and horrible, if I needed you, you seemed to appear out of nowhere. A perfect shoulder to hold onto. A pause to pick up some broken pieces. A reason not to dig. Why…Why couldn’t I do the same for you? As your family abused of you, as your father died, I couldn’t do the same for you, because I got selfish. You’re right, I got so selfish I ignored what you needed and all I could concentrate on was what I needed. And I needed you, I needed the one person who ever seemed to care even when he didn’t. And I’m…I’m sorry.” She said, her voice quivering a bit. “I’m sorry I couldn’t reciprocate. I’m sorry I blindly let you reach the point I saw at the funeral. I’m sorry I couldn’t repay your kindness.”
I stared agape.
“What? God no, you’re putting me up way too high. I was selfish too in it all. I stopped checking up on you. I started to get scared I – I shouldn’t have stopped. I…I cared more for you than all that drama back then anyway. I would’ve rather helped you than deal with family.” I let out a ridiculous laugh. “God. Calling me kind. You’ve really glorified things haven’t you? I think we all know I was a jerk to you. That was like grand news central. You were the one always there for me.”
“Your power sure is unfair.”
Oh right, I chuckled.
Wow, you not only remembered I could, but you guessed right and assumed I did.
I grinned before retreating back to my body. True, I guess one sided conversations aren’t that fair.
So, I knocked the phrases for her. It was long and complicated, but it needed to be said.
I forgive you.
You were the one always there for me. I let you down.
Can you forgive me?
No one’s POV
Darwin Dudley waltzed into the CEO’s office of the day, who motioned for him to sit down.
“Thank you for meeting me,” He said, getting rid of the pleasantries as quickly as he could. “I’d like to incorporate the subject Nikolas Whitelight into my pre-existing project.”
“So he does have an unknown natural power?” She asked.
“Yes he does, but that’s not why. However I would also be interested in identifying what it is. I discussed with Cherry Blossom, and it seems he has a direct connection with Aleccas Keeper.” Darwin explained. “I think he could help reveal where Keeper hides in Ridgevalley as well as a way to catch him. I want to use the Mindscape, however Mrs.Blossom tells me she doesn’t have the authority to allow it.”
“It is an expensive and experimental method. It takes time and resources.”
“All of which I think would be very useful if they help us locate Aleccas. It would be time and resources well spent.”
“The success rate is extremely low if there’s only one subject.”
“Yes about that, we could have a supporting subject along with him. We have one locked up.”
The CEO reclined back into her chair, considering Darwin. “Alright, you’re authorized to use the Mindscape. I’ll also open up an additional project for you. Nikolas Whitelight’s father was known for having an additional sixth sense. I’m curious whether his son inherited that.”
Darwin thanked her and left the room.
The CEO was also extremely curious on Xavier Whitelight’s state. The trial had been supposed to find him guilty – and his sentence would’ve been their facilities. There were few individuals left with power the Hans could not yet completely overcome. James had been one of these. Aleccas and Xavier were two others.
If the Whitelight boy knew things however, the Keeper Witch wouldn’t be a problem for very long.