November 17th, 1915
"What appears to be the end, may really be a new beginning.” -unknown
Stretching out on the beige couch, Daniel groaned of boredom. It had been nearly an hour since his girlfriend, Winnie, left for the store. He gave up on taking a nap and sat up looking for something to do. Standing up, he stretched his arms out above his head and reached for the sky. He let out a roaring yawn as his toes curled and his muscles constricted. He shook it off and headed towards the fireplace to poke the wood. Winter was coming and he didn’t like to be cold. Feeling satisfied with the growing flames, he decided he’d entertain himself the old fashioned way. Turning to pass the couch and coffee table, Daniel walked into the master bedroom and flipped the lights on. The massive room illuminated to expose the disaster of clothes. Winnie’s clothes were sprawled across the floor and sequined curtains hung around the perimeter of their king size bed. Walking towards the full-body mirror, Daniel tripped over a pair of black high heels. He balanced himself and cursed under his breath. Ever since the couple decided to cohabitate, Winnie had treated the bedroom floor as her own personal closet; it drove Daniel insane. Finally making it to the mirror, he locked eyes with himself and mentally concentrated on a figure. Suddenly, his pampered, brown hair transformed into short grey stubble, his deep, brown eyes started to fade, and his beautiful, olive face started to sag along with his posture. He raised his eyebrows and snickered.
“Too old,” he commented in a deep, raspy voice that wasn’t his originally. Daniel was what the Court called a successful experiment. About 400 years ago, his parents sold him to a group who called themselves the Nécron. They promised to bring a better future for the people of Russia and at a high reward, too. The Volikov family accepted 300 rubles in exchange for 17 year old Demyan. Demyan was Daniel’s birth name. It was given to him with pride by his father at his first birthday. Children weren’t often given names until their first birthday, once the high chance of death had passed. Daniel was removed from his family home in the middle of the night and taken to an underground lair that reeked of chemicals and dirt. He was chained to a slab of stone and injected with a glowing, green liquid. As soon as the chemical entered his body, he was sent into a convulsing shock. After an hour, the chemical was fully injected and his body was conformed to the new cells. He repeatedly dazed in and out of consciousness throughout the process. He could clearly see the men’s faces surrounding him. They stared at him as if he were a disgusting blemish on the face of their perfect planet. He didn’t feel differently, but his heart was racing and he was worried what he may look like. He screamed at the men, but they did nothing beyond ignore him. It took a few long weeks, full of whips, chains and torture, for the Nécron to be pleased with their results. They subjected Daniel to all sorts of torture to try and trigger his new abilities. Finally, they received a breakthrough after forcing Daniel to stare at himself in the mirror for nearly 24 hours. During those long hours, his brain had started to shift and he began thinking of his family. He felt betrayed by all of them except his younger brother, Nikolai. Nik had tried to come with Daniel when the Nécron came for him, but it was no use. The Nécron had thrown him to the side and only taken the one they paid for. That’s when it happened; Daniel’s features started to change for the first time. Sharp pain coursed through his every muscle and every bone. He cried out and begged them to make it stop, but the men merely stood around and watched in awe. Feeling the pain surpass, Daniel looked up to see his younger brother’s reflection. His heart tightened. “Nikolai?” he asked, scurrying closer to the boy. As he moved, so did the figure. Realization hit him when he touched the glass and felt nothing but cold metal against his palm. He let out a soft sob and his body collapsed against the hard dirt. The next morning, he awoke in the woods. He wasn’t sure of his location, but he decided from then on he was going to travel as far away from Russia as possible. He arrived to another tribe, far away, months later where he met an old couple that took him in and gave him his new name: Daniel Harling.
Coming back to present time, Daniel concentrated again, his hair started to grow long and brown. His body started to slim down and his facial features became more feminine. After many years of practice, Daniel could now configure his shape without pain. When he came out of his haze, he took in the figure before him.
“Mama..” he whispered. Memories flooded his head. His mother was always his favorite parent, despite the betrayal he felt. His father was an abusive drunk who didn’t deserve such an angelic soul as her’s. But it wasn’t long until his subconscious was pulled back into reality, as well as his own body, when he noticed his beautiful girlfriend, Winnie, walk into the room.
“Oh, hey babe!” he said with a loving smile that seemed so genuine. He could sense something was off about her by the unpleasant facial expression she possessed and her tense body language as she walked towards him. As if changing her mind, she moved the sequined curtains from around the bed and sat on the edge.
“Hey, hun,” she replied as she took off her alter with a snap of her fingers and the familiar explosion of blue sparks, exposing her exotic, turquoise skin that shimmered in the low lighting of the bedroom. She wore what looked to be a costly, sleeveless dress. It didn’t do much when it came to accentuating her figure, but she wasn’t worried about her appearance right now. She looked at Daniel and sighed. He could see by her eyes that she had an important question to ask him, but he couldn’t understand any more than that. Winnie had always confused him, from the moment he met her. He stopped believing in love when his family sold him. But rather, he took pride in his true beliefs: sex and procreation. It was part of his nature; it was in his newly formed DNA. The Nécron called him ‘Experiment A001’ and he had an uncontrollable urge to reproduce and protect their race. But with Winnie, he felt different. He thought that there was a chance he could love her; he’d had many internal conflicts about the subject over the many years they’d spent together. He had tried and tried to convince himself that it was not a big deal.
“Where were you last night?” Winnie finally asked the question that had been eating at her inside. The words slipped off of her tongue like ice slicing through the air. Her eyes flickered from the mess of clothes on the ground to his deep, brown eyes. She couldn’t stop herself from looking at the man she had come to love for nearly a hundred years. She often told herself that she shouldn’t love him, that he constantly broke her heart, but she couldn’t help herself. Daniel was her addiction; she would always have to return for a fix of his poison. Winnie predicted this upcoming fight would be just like all the others. She would get upset, they would fight, she would look at his hurt expression and that would be the end of it. They would then have sex and the fight would be over. She would find herself falling in love with him all over again; while learning to hate herself even more than the last time he walked all over her and her dignity. She always told herself it was her own fault, but this time she stayed strong. This time, it had to stop, it had to be the end of the messed up cycle of love and hate that they called a relationship. She refused to be the victim in his madness once again.
“What do you mean? I was with Robert, you know that,” Daniel replied, his eyes filled with questions and concern. He walked towards her, careful not to trip over anything, and sat on the edge of the bed beside her.
“You weren’t with Robert; I just saw his wife at the market. She said he was home with her all night. I’m not stupid, Demyan,” she replied and bit her lip. Sitting up straighter, she fought the urge to curl up next to her love and forgive him for all of his wrongdoings. He looked at her even more confused; he knew that he was caught red-handed. The use of his birth name sent a shiver down his spine. He hadn’t been called it in years. Winnie was the only person he ever told about his past and his true name. But in return, she had to tell him about hers. About her birth name and her past. He tried to look more innocent than he was. He kept the confused facade up a while longer.
“I don’t think you’re stupid, Winnie. What is this about anyway?” He shifted on the bed and grabbed her soft, blue hand. She quickly pulled her hand away and took a final moment to think her decision through. Should she ignore the issue once more and go back to pretending that she didn’t know he was cheating? She could still be happy, right? No, she thought, I need to do this now. Otherwise, nothing will ever change. She took a deep breath and continued to push the issue.
“Who were you really with last night, Daniel? I deserve to know the truth.” Daniel’s heart dropped with defeat. He looked everywhere but her eyes. Her eyes. He couldn’t stop but think of how beautifully blue they were, even in the midst of a fight.
“What are you implying?” He started to stutter, which was unlike him; he was a charismatic man who did not have to struggle to find the right words to say. “I was,” he paused, “with Robert. I told you that.” Winnie shook her head stubbornly. She knew better than that. He knew as well as she did that he was not with his colleague, Robert, the previous night. He was only playing games at this point and it was pissing her off. She was going to get through to him and show him that he couldn’t use her like he used everyone else. She was not his toy. Not anymore.
“Fine. If you were with Robert last night, look me in the eyes and tell me so,” she said angrily. She was fed up with all of his games. She stood up and waited for a reply, her hands placed on her hips in an annoyed manner. Daniel ignored her request and continued to look across the room and not at her. “Look me in the eyes and tell me you weren’t with another woman, Daniel!” Winnie requested again, even more frustrated. Daniel closed his eyes.
“Fine.” he said softly. He stood up and looked his devastated girlfriend in the eyes. “I won’t lie to you anymore. I was with another woman.” Winnie’s heart shattered as she looked at the ground. She promised herself that she would not cry in front of him. So instead, she lifted her head and sent an icy, blue glare at him.
“Why? I mean, if you don’t want me anymore, just tell me! I could leave right now and neither of us would really care! Just admit it!” She knew she was lying. She would care and it would hurt like hell. She didn’t know what she would do without Daniel. He had been her life for nearly one hundred years of her pathetic life. Her chest felt like it was going to explode from her heart pounding so hard. She started breathing heavier to regain composure. Finding that her legs would no longer support her, Winnie sat back down on the bed and put her head in her hands and sighed. Daniel wanted nothing more than to wrap his arms around her and kiss her worries away.
“Of course I want you. I have always wanted you. I love you. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.” He looked up at her with a small tear rolling down his cheek. He could feel the hurt he had caused her and knew this fight was different than all the others. “I know you will never forgive me. I would bet money on that, but you know what I am and how I live. I have to reproduce to keep my kind alive. I don’t have feelings for that girl, or any other girl but you. I haven’t been able control my urges since the experiment- you know that. Winnie, I am so, so sorry.” And he really was sorry, in a sense. He cared for Winnie more than he ever cared for anyone else he’d met in his life. They certainly had had a connection at one point that he had never experienced before. Was that love? He didn’t know.
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