I sat down hard. Hard enough I felt the metal of the chair against hip bones. Granted, I don’t have much to protect those bones any more. I thought I couldn’t be surprised any more. I thought I had passed through all the crucibles they could put me through. I didn’t think I could still feel hope.
My eyes fixed to the screen which outlined the form standing beside my bed. I noticed the translucence of my face on the camera, the bones almost visible through my skin. When the figure on the video reached out and touched my arm I instinctively reached and touched the same spot. It still hurt.
“You see we were right.”
I frowned, hating that voice with a depth I hadn’t known I could feel. I refused to look away from the screen in front of me. I leaned in to try to focus on the figure on the screen as if being closer would clean up the terrible resolution.
The human shape disgusted me. Even as I looked at it, I knew that was not the right shape. It wasn’t my shape on the camera. It couldn’t be mine. I held up my hand to the image to touch it, wondering how I could hate a form so similar to my own. I didn’t hate my body, even now I didn’t – usually – hate my body.
The mental torment over the past weeks did not justify what they had supposedly learned. So I had some inhuman blood. It’s not like I was going to start hurling fireballs. Trust me, if I had that power I would have already used it.
“Are you prepared to cooperate?”
“What would that mean?”
“You would need training to whatever level your ability merits.”
My gut twisted. I had spent the last ten years being told how evil the inhuman were; how those with inhuman blood couldn’t be trusted to live in society with the human. They – we – were dangerous.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I mean sure, those terrorists who attacked police and stole and did stuff like that needed to be punished like any other criminal and that was hard to do when someone could manifest demons to throw fireballs.
Then there were the religious nuts who said the inhuman were from humans who slept with demons – or angels. Either way there was a level of religious fanaticism that was frightening. I wanted to stay away from that.
“I want to know something before I agree.”
Silence dragged on. But if I have mastered anything in the past few weeks, it’s a tolerance for silence.
“Ask your question.”
“How did you determine I was inhuman before I was brought here?”
A grinding sound in the wall made me jump slightly in the chair and then a gurgling of old pipes. The wall in front of me appeared solid, the sound had come from that wall.
“We have a seeker. One like you who helps us identify others.”
I didn’t look to my shoulder, but I heard the snarl. My demon. My angel. Now that it had been manifested, I couldn’t make it go back. It was invisible to the human eye, though apparently these people had tools to view them through a lens of some kind. Some spectrum of light showed it.
What made me the most angry? I hadn’t had this…. thing until they stopped feeding me. I hadn’t heard it until my stomach ceased even complaining. I still couldn’t actually see it, but I could hear it and feel it near me.
I looked up at the wall where the pipes had gurgled. I stood with deliberate care for my brittle state.
“No. You will set me free. I am a citizen of full rights and I will not be forced into slavery.”
The growl beside me was the best warning I could ask for. I let myself collapse to the floor as my manifestation loomed over me, radiating heat waves, but cool and scaly to the touch. The room imploded. A few tiny pebbles made it past my manifestation, cutting my arms and legs where I was unprotected.
There was the sound of bees in the room, but my manifestation made short work with a wave of hot air, air so hot I heard the pops as the attacking things were incinerated.
I rose to my feet, one hand on my manifestation, where my hand touched it I could see it didn’t just feel scaly. It has scales. Beautiful teal scales with purple edges. I slid my hand along the length and saw a small rainbow of blues, purples, and tinges of teal or green.
The noise was itself a form of attack after so much silence. My mind no longer knew which sounds were important, which were real, or which preceded danger. With my hand on that beautiful body, we began to leave the rubble of the room, bullets popping in the intense heat.
The heat continued to build, light beginning to block out everything around us as we moved.
The form under my hand was growing more visible, lithe and long with an undulating motion. A beautiful white mane with bright red tips. A face of a lion, the horns of a reindeer, feet of an eagle, body of a snake, tail of a leopard. A predator. A protector. A monster. A god.
I couldn’t even see the attacking forces anymore through the blinding light. The noise was fading. My manifestation looked me straight in the eye with the wisdom of eons.
I am the West Wind. Let’s go.