I hate this. I perch on the musty old lumpy mattress, bitterly scrunching the threadbare blanket in my fists and glaring at my unwelcome roommate. The snow and wind of utside continue thrashing on the single cracked windowpane , ensuring that I’ll be stuck here in the storm shelter for a while. If ur as alone, I wouldn’t mind so much.
I know nothing about the stranger sitting on the floor across from me. He was already here when I arrived. He hasn’t spoken a word, he’s just been sitting there mutely, staring at me with wide eyes. He makes me uneasy.
He really doesn’t look normal. His golden blonde hair is almost shoulder length, and falling across half his face in tangles. His pale skin is smudged with dirt and his fingernails are long and chipped. The eye not completely hidden behind his messy hair is piercing blue, and locked on me intensely.
He’s crouching on the floor wearing what looks like a piece of tarp cut into a knee length tunic.He’s rocking back and forth biting at his nails. He has no shoes and his feet look frostbitten and blue from walking through the snow. I met some weird people, and he would be no different exempt for one disturbing detail.
He has a metal shackle around his neck, and the end of the short length of chain it’s trailing is brutally twisted like it was ripped.
I wish I could run, but I cant even go outside because the weather system here is unstable and causing extreme blizzards for some reason.
I can’t take my eyes off him, I’m worried he will attack me. I mean, I’ve dealt with all kinds of scary people before, in the time we live in you can’t trust anyone, but this is something else.
I slide my hand slowly to my thigh were I keep a sharp dagger sheathed in a leather holster. I see the stranger stiffen, watching my every move. I should attack him now, before he turns on me. I don’t care how dangerous the weather is outside or how crazy and poorly dressed he is, I will force him out of the shelter into the storm if I feel like it.
But I don’t. I can hear his ragged breathing across the room and his hands are shaking. His face is a mask of pure terror, like a hunted wild animal.
So I wait. There’s no way to tell time, and the storm keeps raging endlessly. We both just sit there locked in a death stare, for what seems like eternity.
I start feeling tired eventually, and my eyelids feel heavy.
Just as my eyes fall closed the stranger stands up. Immediately alert, I leap to my feet and draw my dagger. I flick my wrist, sending the knife flashing through the air towards the stranger. He ducks with superhuman reflexes, and the knife buries itself up to the hilt in the wooden wall behind him, quivering.
I have never seen someone dodge my seasoned blade throw. I’ve been perfecting it as long as I can remember, and my skill is feared by many. I desperately grab for my backup weapon, a wrought iron staff, and hold it up for protection. But the boy is still crouched over, trembling hands protecting his head, and I can almost hear his heart pounding. I lower my staff suspiciously. He slides to the floor, face pale, eyes wide, looking at me in shock.
“P-please, d-don’t hurt me.” He begs in a quavering and quiet voice like he hasn’t spoken in a long time. I back away in surprise, I didn’t expect him to even be capable of talking.
“I thought you were going to attack me.” I counter cautiously.
The strangers fingers twitch and he squints his eyes.
“N-no.” He shakes his head, “I wasn’t.”
I don’t trust him for a second. Filthy insane animal.
“Then what were you going to do, hm? You weren’t going to go out in this weather.” I say sharply, trying to keep him intimidated by me.
“I was...” He says simply, still cowering against the wall.
“Why?” I demand.
He looks uncomfortable and I wonder for just a second if I’m being to hard on him.
He seems to have trouble finding an answer. He finally replies nervously, ”Th-There’s a.....a thing I have to...do.”
I look down my nose at him suspiciously. I am not convinced. A thing, hm? He has to ‘do?’ Well it’s not really my business. I don’t feel threatened by him anymore, he seems pretty harmless.
“Hey,” I say awkwardly, “I’m sorry for throwing a knife at you. I guess I just expected the worst. You know how things are lately. Do whatever you want, I don’t care. Just be careful outside, it’s dangerous out there.”
He just looks at me curiously and walks to the door. He tugs it open, filling the room with a blast of ice and wind. Then he steps out into the storm, closing the door tight behind him. I know I shouldn't, but after retrieving my blade from the wall, I spy on him from the window.
His silhouette plows through the snow drifts, hardly visible in the blizzard. When he's a good distance from the storm shelter he grabs the metal collar around his neck, and in a show of extreme strength snaps it clean off like its nothing, and throws it into the snow.
Then his silhouette suddenly changes, growing into a huge dinosaur like beast, at least five times his size. I drop to the floor, clutching my dagger. What did I just see? Am I hallucinating? Hands shaking I slowly rise back up and look out the window. The beast is easily pouncing through the snow, huge wings folded like sails at its side. I stare, transfixed. I don’t know if I’ve finally lost my mind or if the blizzard is playing tricks on me. I watch in fascination as the the beats shrinks back to a person. He’s heading back towards the shelter.
I move quickly, standing flat behind the door, knife and staff at the ready. As soon as the door opens I leap out and pin the boy against the wall with my staff, knife held to his throat. He gives a terrified yelp in surprise and puts his hands up over his head, eyes tightly shut.
“What the h*** was that!?” I demand. I can feel him literally shaking with fear, and he cowers submissively.
“W-what was what?” He stutters in a weak and shaky voice. I push my knife closer against his throat, and speak through my teeth.
“Listen creep. I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but you better explain yourself. You are no match against me. You’re not even armed. Wanna fight me?” I prick his skin with the blade of my knife.
His demeanor changes instantly. His eyes flash and he growls like a dog.
Then in one swift motion he knocks my knife out of my hand, grabs my staff and uses it to flip me over on the ground. He kneels over me, sharp teeth in my face, his knee pinning me down.
It’s like he changed into whole different person in one second.
I have no words. I have no idea what’s happening here. I lay still on the ground like an idiot as he draws away from me, brushing a shaky hand through his hair. Then he goes back to the blanket in the corner and sits down, watching me with great concern. Whatever came over him is gone now.
“I-I’m so sorry,” He whispers with horror, “I can't believe I just did that. I have this reaction to being injured....” He explains apologetically, face as white as a paper.
I slowly sit up, watching him warily. I cautiously back away to the opposite wall and sit on the bed without taking my eyes off him.
“Please don’t kill me.” He whispers.
The sky outside is darkening as the sun sets behind thick clouds and smog. I consider my options. I could wait until the storm passes, then make a break for it. I could try and talk to him. Or I could injure him now so he’s not a threat. Somehow I’m not sure I want to attack him. Maybe I should try talking to him.
“I won’t kill you if you talk to
me.” I say. He looks at me worriedly with his bright blue eye.
“Tell me what you are.” I demand, though I expect he won’t tell me. He seems to debate the question for a moment, and then answers with a reluctant sigh.
“Genetically modified. A botched science experiment. A man made monster.” He answers bitterly, rocking back and forth and looking down at his twitching fingers.
I’m not sure how to reply. I have heard of the recent technological advances in GMO but I had no idea they could allow an organism to change its cell structure and DNA at will. You know I guess I feel bad for him. He’s probably an outcast, a scientific freak of nature.
“Do you have a name?” I ask, trying to be kind, though I’m still wary of him. He shakes his head.
“Only been called Alpha 1.” He says miserably. I remember that Alpha1 was inscribed on the large shackle that used to be around his neck. I can see he has marks on his ankles and wrists from metal as well. You know that’s kind of horrible actually. I don’t care if he’s part beast, he’s still a person.
“So who put that on you?” I ask, and hear my voice is way softer than usual. He makes a disgusted face.
“The BioMod Corporation. By law, they own me,” He says like the words are poison, “the neck shackle was to stop me from transforming, if I tried it would strangle me. BioMod didn’t think I would be able to remove it.”
BioMod. I’ve heard of that company. They are known for failed experiments, bad protocol, working for the black market, and very questionable treatment of lab animals.
“So I’m guessing you escaped...?” I ask, thinking of the torn broken of the shackles chain. He nods resignedly.
“I just escaped BioMod today. They’ll be after me.” He rocks restlessly, as if in pain.
I can’t believe this. He’s just a young man around my age. I’m betting he never consented to this experiment. It’s so wrong. I mean, the world is a pretty messed up place, but this is too much.
I notice he’s staring at my knife with a strange expression, fingers twitching, and I reach out to take it and put it away. He jumps to his feet with a snarl. I drop th