Leaving the Darkness
Part VIII: Haunting Memories
My eyes burned from sun white light. Lit panels surrounded me on the walls, floor and ceiling. A voice was whispering in my ear but all I could sense through my echo was the approaching forms. I glanced down at my right hand and gripped the handgun. They were getting closer and would be on top of me at any moment. I turned and ran the other way, my reflection meeting my eyes for a moment, a younger visage. The voice kept whispering, telling me I needed to stop running, turn and face my foe. The gun felt huge in my sweaty hand. I could feel more sweat dripping down my brow. I didn’t want to but I had no choice. I spun on my heel, raising the gun. My finger pushed on the trigger.
I winced as pain woke me and looked up to see I’d fallen out of the bed, Sanjay looking down at me. Apparently the crashing sound had woken him up.
“Are you okay?” he asked. I pulled myself upright, pushing my shirt back – it had fallen around my shoulders in the fall.
“Fine,” I lied as I stood up. “I need a shower.” I grabbed a change of clothes and toiletries and left the room quickly. So much for no more nightmares. What’s more I’d managed to disturb Sanjay too, good job Jaeger. The cold water helped shake the worst of the nightmare from my mind. It was the same most nights. You’d think I’d be used to it, that it wouldn’t phase me anymore. I’d done far worse than that rat maze. I pulled on simple black jeans and a grey t-shirt. It was too warm to wear a hoodie so I grabbed a red shirt to wear unbuttoned over my arms instead. I didn’t have the patience to deal with any stares or questions over the scars.
Some of the others were up when I walked into the kitchen. Caroline asked me if I wanted anything.
“Coffee,” I said, rubbing my eyes. It was the only hope I had of functioning when I’d had next to no sleep, as usual. I glanced at the food on offer but didn’t feel particularly hungry. I grabbed a slice of toast as I could sense Caroline would try to mother me otherwise. I sat on the sofa next to Sanjay.
“You okay?” he asked again.
“Fine,” I replied also again. I had a feeling he wanted to push the subject but had worked out by this point I was too stubborn for that.
“Well, let me know if you want to talk,” he offered.
“Not gonna happen,” I muttered in German, loading up my tablet to check the schedule.
“Well, since we have a free period I’m going to go see the mechanic for my leg,” Caroline said to Charlie. I tuned out the rest of their conversation, wondering what to do with the knowledge of free time.
Allen walked into the room and I remembered last night, glaring at him. He stuttered in his walking, then curled his hand and sat down. Right next to me. This guy had one hell of a suicidal wish. Sanjay glanced between us, sensing things could go south fast.
“Want to join me for a run?” he offered, making me blink.
“Uh, I would but I need to go see the doc in this place,” I replied. Among my messages was one from them wanting to see me for a general medical check.
“Me too,” Allen said.
“Good for you,” I muttered, rolling my eyes.
“I’ve been there before. It’ll save you time getting lost if we go together,” Allen offered. I realised no one yet knew my abilities.
“I don’t get lost easily,” I replied. “I could just search out the place with medical equipment with echolocation if I had an issue following signs.”
“Woah, that’s cool,” he replied, eyes widening slightly. What was this guy doing? If he thought I was going to forget what happened last night he had another thing coming. Sage walked into the room, looking ready to go sleep for another couple hours. They slumped against the counter and helped themselves to pancakes, pouring enough syrup to cause diabetes on top.
“Well, I better go run. Hope all goes well with the doctor,” Sanjay standing up, he hovered a second, looking at Allen before deciding not to get involved. I stood and Allen joined me, following me out the door. Great. I waited until we had walked a few steps away from the dorm before turning to face him.
“Allen, in case it’s not obvious I do not want you anywhere near me. You’re an offensive shit to be frank,” I said, too tired to throw much energy into my words. He bowed his head, wincing.
“I know, I’m sorry. I’m working on it,” he replied, his eyes wide and pleading. I scoffed at him, turning and walking. I had already given him one second chance, I didn’t feel in a charitable enough mood for a third.
“I ain’t forgiving you anytime soon,” I said, not looking to face him. “But I won’t stop you following me to the doctor, it’s a free world after all. Just don’t try to talk to me.” His steps continued to follow mine. I concentrated on our surroundings instead. The island had almost picturesque nature around it. The gardeners for the academy must have a huge workload. We reached the building quickly and I was stuck sitting a chair away from him in a simplistic waiting room. Allen didn’t bother talking, I had just slowed and let him lead the way. Now however, he had apparently decided to give it another shot.
“I really am sorry,” he said.
“Sorry would’ve worked the first time, but I had already told you not to use the G slur before the party,” I muttered half-heartedly. I didn’t have the energy to debate with his pathetic attempts to redeem himself.
“I know,” he replied. “I’m not going to try to make any excuses. All I can do is say sorry and that I won’t do it again.”
“And what about Ahti?” I retorted, surprising him. “Do you plan on giving them trouble because they’re an alien?” I asked. Allen hesitated, searching for words and I scoffed.
The doctor emerged and Allen’s eyes widened and I realised there was genuine fear of the unknown. How sheltered was this guy? If I was going based on his religious upbringing probably a lot. Whatever, it wasn’t my problem. Let him figure shit out for himself. I got too much satisfaction as I heard the doctor call Allen’s name first. His skin was white from gripping the chair so tight. He gulped before standing up and following the doctor; who to her credit did her best to look friendly.
“Don’t suppose you want to keep me company?” he asked.
“I’m not your mother,” I replied. He let out a sigh and entered the room, the door closing quietly. I leaned back, relieved to be alone for a while.
I slipped into my echo and explored the building. There wasn’t much here. Offices with filing cabinets, computers and bored staff. In the basement level I could sense cleaning and catering equipment. All the stuff you would expect in a place of education. There was more equipment in a room away from the doctor’s office that was a mix of medical and mechanical. The familiar silhouettes of Charlie and Caroline were there. I frowned as something disturbed my echo. Someone was walking towards me and throwing off my reach. I pulled out and looked up, seeing Raven.
“Gosh, a famous hero talking to me two days a row. I feel so special,” I feigned. Raven cocked an eyebrow at my attitude and took the seat Allen previously had.
“I believe Mr Martin spoke with you about not going off academy ground unaccompanied,” Raven said. Ah, so much for thinking I’d gotten in and out unnoticed.
“I came back,” I shrugged. Not that I really wanted to swim the ocean that late at night.
“You did, which is why I’m only giving you a warning,” he replied, his eyes studying me. “Rough night?” he asked.
“Not all of us have had picture perfect lives hero,” I muttered. Why I said it I don’t know, I wasn’t about to start opening up and talking. Pushing aside the fact I’d basically be admitting to murder and guarantee my fate in a prison forever.
“And you assume all heros have?” he countered, an amused smile on his face. I bit down on a response, realising I truthfully knew nothing about this man’s life. All I knew about any of the Legion had been through the news when they’d saved the day.
“If this is some ‘I overcame so you can’ type of speech, It’s too early in the morning,” I grumbled, sinking further into my chair and looking elsewhere. I heard him chuckle softly and it was my turn to raise an eyebrow.
“I actually wanted to ask if you knew anything about your parents,” he said. I sat up straighter, eyes widening momentarily.
“What, didn’t read some file on me?” I asked, truthfully I had no clue if such a thing existed, but i imagine the police had to have kept some kind of record when they found me.
“We have plenty on your father, not so much on you,” Raven replied, and I knew that was as much as I was going to get.
“The last time anyone spoke to me about my parents it was a guy named Jacob Newall. He died a few years ago,” I shrugged. “All he told me was that I reminded him of my mother, and he didn’t decide to inform me just who she was.” Raven frowned, nodding thoughtfully. I waited for him to respond but he remained silent. The door ahead opened and Allen left, staring at Raven.
“I better go. I’ll need to look into some things. Bye Jaeger, bye Allen.” I blinked after him, contemplating yelling at him to talk more now but stopped myself. The chances he could actually find out who my parents were was slim. The Syndicate would’ve expunged any records long ago. Allen meanwhile looked confused by the man who knew his name.
“Raven, big hero in the legion,” I supplied, standing up. My turn to meet the doctor I thought as I walked past him and into the room. Venusians I had spoken to before. Mostly I could remember that the old mechanic liked to eat a lot. I was always finding stuff scattered in his garage.