Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language, violence, and mature content.
Chapter 1: Sorry, Playing Catch Up
I have no idea how even to start to explain the situation I've gotten myself into.
I sit in a cold, gray room. Everything was bland and place in a specific location. The walls are painted with the upper half being a lighter shade of gray than the bottom, and the floor is mere concrete. There’s not much here that gives the room a desirable personality. Above me is a hanging light that proves to be the only source of light in the room. It hung surrounded by a metal frame and dusty coat.
A light grin forced itself onto my face. A small burst of air left my lips as my attempt to send the gathered particles around the room took place. The slight tap of your fingers brought back my attention. I turned to face forward from my metal seat. The cuffs pressed tightly against my wrists gave off a light jingle when I move against the metal table.
My eyes stare past the empty chair in front of me to the two-way mirror. It’s a small boundary that separates the world I know and live in and the one you do. I’m not sure you will even believe me if I tell you what you want to know.
“I’ve been silent for two days but this seems like the right time to start the truth, that is if you’re willing to listen to me. For once, I want someone to listen to me and since right now I don’t have a choice but to talk, then you don’t have a choice but to listen,” I say, but of course I don’t expect a reply. “I’m going to start out by saying that I am actually Alexander Paulis, I figured that was logically your first question. Second; I am fifteen years old and a year and a half ago on March 13th, I was investigated as a potential suspect in the murder of Karen and Philip Paulis. And as of Tuesday, August 19th of that year, I had been found not guilty of that crime. But there are a few issues with that. One, everyone thought I did it. My face was plastered all over the place but as I said before I didn't do it and there wasn't enough evidence to say that I did do it. That doesn't mean that the public didn't give their own verdict. Two, as I’m sure you are aware, a few years before this a program called The Abel and Cain Institute of Higher Learning had been formed. It was some government project, they funded some big company, and soon the institute became a threat for children but I never really took it seriously, it was kind of like when a teacher claim that if you don't study you'll end up working in fast food for your entire life. I guess I should have.”
I took a small break in my speech. I’m not actually sure any of this is making sense to you, perhaps you just never heard of it? I guess I can try my best to give you some knowledge about the way my life fell apart, but if I’m going to be forced to talk about my life, I’m going to have fun with it.
“The Abel and Cain Institution of Higher Learning was designed to limit the number of killers in the world. If the world could predict who were the next generation of killers they could harden their skills and regulate how many killers were released into what regions of the world. The richer you were the least amount of killers get released in your area. It’s experimental, but the world seemed to jump at the idea. I personally used to think it was a good idea. The issue here is that I’m not a killer, at least I wasn’t then. I didn’t belong there. It’s not fair that I was being forced to go there. I didn’t want to be a murderer of any kind. But that school made me one. Who’s fault really? Let me start from the beginning then.”
[March 13th, Last Year]
Each breath burned against my throat. My shoulders roll slightly forward as my body naturally fell into a rocking motion. Lips are parted as if they cannot remain shut against the raspy breath that forced its’ way in and out of them.
My head was light, but my neck was weak. The rocking motion I had fallen into, turned more into a circular rotation as I attempted to keep my head high.
…The smell is enough to make anyone pass out.
A gasp escaped my lips as the thought passed through my mind. I pulled my knees closer to my chest I could feel myself falling apart. My breath became more rapid as my eyes widened with total terror.
I can’t…I-I can’t believe this is happening.
It’s had been silent for a while. No screaming, no pleading, no orders, no bangs, or dings. There haven’t been any cries, yells, or gasps. Just silent.
I don’t like the quiet, but it’s better than before.
Tick, tick, tick,dong
Slowly my breath matched the ticking of the grandfather clock. It slowed down, and with it, my head felt better, as long as I didn’t breath through my nose. I still rocked with the tempo provided for me in the silence of my own home.
To even begin to understand what had just happened…I can’t. I can’t begin because I’m not sure if there was a beginning to it. Is there ever a beginning to anything? Could that beginning have been stopped? I don’t know.
Tick, tick, tick,dong.
I’m afraid to open the door. I am afraid to know what is on the other side of this closet. I don’t want to know what is causing that smell. I don’t want to know why the sounds all stopped.
But I do.
But I don’t.
But I do.
Tick, tick, tick.
I hate that old clock. Mom should just part with the old thing. It’s not a good clock. It’s annoying. No matter where you are in the house you can hear the thing. It just ticks the day away. It reminds me when I’m supposed to go to school and when to be home for the night. It tells me when I should eat and when I need to get up. I hate it! I hate it!
Tick, tick, tick,dong.
“Stop!” I screamed through the closet door at the noise. “Shut up. Shut up. Shut up! I hate you, stop your God damn ticking! I’ll kill you!”
“Ah, maybe that way too far. I mean, you know all of that from my record right? The closet? The gun? My fingerprints? What about the part about how they assumed I was guilty despite that my fingerprints were not the only ones on the gun and that surprisingly I was locked in a closet when the police arrived? Or was that just ignore because I apparently had a motive? I’ll let you decide then. I’ll tell you everything from the moment I arrived at dearol’ AC Institute.”
[August 23rd, Last Year]
The beat of the tires continued to manage to hit every pothole and minor uplift of concrete thus causing the back of my prison to be a cheapcarni-ride with the safety protocol of a drunken teenager on the roof with a poolwaited two stories down.
The tight metal against my wrists continued to remind me of the reality of this situation. I'm sure if it weren't for the cold metal that pressed into my skin, I wouldn't have believed this was even real. It all seemed like a dream that was happening in slow motion. But this is too long to be a dream.
Still, that doesn't stop me from wishing to wake up.
I need to calm down.
Deep breaths, deep breaths.
I took a moment to breathe. I tried to calm down enough to think logically about the situation. I took a few more deep breaths and began to calm down. I’m not helping anything if I’m panicking.
My eyes looked down at the handcuffs that covered my pale wrists once more. I never tanned well; normally I would just burn. I wish I could hold some type of color. Right now I just look sick, I mean that could just be the situation. Then again Julie last year in science told me I looked like Casper grew up and wore a cheap wig. I really didn’t like her. But she liked my brother…
I really don’t want to think about that.
I let out a sigh and pushed back my long black hair. I was going to get it cut, but for the last few months, it’s just grown. It’s longer in the back now, but the front is getting dangerously close to covering my emerald eyes. It’s never been this long. I wonder if I can get it cut here.
Who am I kidding? This is a prison. Well, I mean it basically is one.
Between the game of whack-a-mole, the transport truck’s tires were playing on the road and the overwhelming anxiety of every terrible sensation that comes with unwarranted guilt, my stomach twisted into a knot a sailor would be proud of. Though I don't dare vomit. The police officer was rather scary. I don't want to get on her bad side, or I guess worse side. Most of the people I've met think I murdered my parents.
I know I didn't, but no one seemed to believe me. There was some evidence that I did it. My fingerprints were on the weapon, and an eye witness saw me go into the house around the time they were killed. But I can explain that. No one cared though. But it was enough to prove doubt. That's what my lawyer said. Apparently, that's why I'm here. I proved doubt, not innocence. According to the representative fromThe Abel and Cain Institute, I was already on their radar. I don't know why I couldn't tell you what I did. But I was on their list. At least for the trial, I was.
At lot has happened in the last few months and even now I can't say what's going to happen. I'm scared, and I've cried more than I was to admit but I can't change a single thing that's happened. Everything has been out of my control, and even now I have no idea what I'm going to do next.
Just stay with me, okay? I need at least one person on my side.
Chapter 2: This Wasn’t What I was Expecting
I felt the car stop I turned my head towards the door. I looked across my gray prison. I couldn’t see out anywhere in the van. There were windows on the two large, metal, back doors, however, they were tinted in a way that I couldn’t see out of them. It almost looks like an ambulance in here but I know it’s not. The fundamental difference had to be the lack of medical equipment or anything for that matter with the exception of two benches that were welded to the walls.
I heard the doors being unlocked and felt my heart jump into my chest. I pushed myself more up, onto the metal bench where I sat, I watched the metal carefully.
As the doors parted and natural light filled the box. I watched as a woman came into view. She was heavily armored in an American SWAT uniform. She was still young with a blank expression. As she finished opening the right door, I noticed the gun strapped to her back.
I gulped, dryly as I noticed it. I saw her motion for me to come out; I didn’t move. My body was clearly shaking. I don’t know what’s out there and I don’t particularly want to know either.
“Come on I don’t have all day, kid. Move!” she commanded and made me jump.
I lowered my gaze I followed her instructions. I don’t particularly like being yelled at; I honestly can’t imagine anyone who does.
I got out of the vehicle I was rather surprised to see what I did.
The grass was a perfect shade of green with a spring air to the scene even though it was August. I gazed around the area I noticed the large prison fence with barbed wire lining the area. I looked down the fence line I could see another tall fence surrounding the currently one with watchtowers placed at the corners.
My eyes went forward as I spotted the school. It was huge. It nearly looked like a castle. Well, more like a Victorian estate with some modern touch ups. The roof was a dark blue and appeared to be freshly done. The walls were a tan like coloring with several white pillars lining the area. The building was three stories at least with half rectangular shape with windows filling the walls with a fancy display.
I noticed several people sitting on the large lawn. Some were on stone benches while others were sitting on the lush grass. They were all between the ages of thirteen and nineteen and wore the same thing.
The boys were in khaki pants, dark blue tie with a white, long sleeve, dress shirt. Some wore a yellow sweater vest with a V-neckline or a navy jacket.
The girls were wearing either khaki pants or a knee-length, high-waisted khaki skirt with knee high navy socks. They wore the same tops as the boys without the tie and instead wore a navy bow tie.
As I was looking around, I felt a push from behind. I gazed back at the woman guard I narrowed my eyes were not appreciating her gesture. Without missing a beat, the woman pointed her gun towards me. My eyes widen. I rose my hands to show I meant no harm and started walking.
I noticed a few people looking towards me. They were mixed races and sizes. In truth, they looked like regular high school kids.
I followed the concrete pathway till we reached the center of the courtyard. The concrete branched out into different directions giving me the indication that there were more buildings behind the one where were currently standing.
A girl and a boy wearing the uniforms came up to us. The girl was most likely sixteen with a heart-shaped face and a broad smile. Her eyes were a bright blue with a gaze that looked as if it could stare right through me. Her collared dress shirt was buttoned all the way up but the sleeves were rolled to her forearms tucked into her circle khaki skirt that reached right above her knee starting right under her rib cage. Lastly, her navy socks began right below her knee cap leading down to white gym like shoes.
Her hair was a dark red pulled back into a tight ponytail with a few loose strands falling across her pale and freckled skin.
The boy was seventeen or sixteen with a dark complexion with an egg shaped head. He wore a slight smirk but it didn’t seem threatening and rather calming in a way. His eyes were a copper brown with a sweet expression. His hair was short and just as dark as my own. It was shaven on the sides of his head in a very clean fashion.
He wore khaki pants with a white dress shirt and a light yellow sweater vest. I noticed he also wore white gym shoes that held a few grass stains.
“Ok Janet, we got it from here,” the girl spoke in a cheery voice.
I don’t see what’s there to be so cheery about.
The woman, who I presume is Janet, smiled and put her gun to her side before taking out the keys to my cuffs. I watched the woman carefully as I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped and looked up at the taller male. He was at least five-eight putting him five inches taller than me.
Once the cuffs were off, I felt his grip tighten on my shoulder, but it wasn’t painful yet. When Janet left, his grip loosen. As he took his hand back, the male smiled.
“It’s better just to hold your tongue around her. My name is Mike, nice to meet you,” the male said. I’ll admit I didn’t expect his voice to be so low. Maybe it’s just that mine is still high.
“Alex,” I said, rather quietly.
Mike took my hand shaking it forcefully. I took back my hand and held it close to my chest. I rubbed the skin with my other hand; there were small marks left by the tight cuffs.
“Awe, you scared him you doofus,” the girl called in a motherly tone. “Here.” She took my hand and looking at my wrists. The girl hummed for a minute turning over my hand. “You’ll be okay. You didn’t cut through the skin. I’m guessing you didn’t try slipping out of them.”
I took my hand back.
“I didn’t try to,” I replied, softly.
“Well, that’s a shame. You could have slipped right out of them with small hands like yours,” she giggled. “I’m Sarah, by the way.”
I didn’t reply. I didn’t understand why she laughed at that. Or why I would try to escape. I mean that would just get me into more trouble, right?
“Ok. Alex, welcome to Abel and Cain Institute of Higher Learning. Although, that is a rather large mouth full. Most of us, upperclassmen just call it AC High. This is going to be your home for the next four to five years,” Sarah explained in a giddy tone.
“How old are you Alex?” Mike asked.
“Fourteen,” I answered, rather hesitant.
I’m still trying to process that this was happening.
“Then you’re a freshman. You’ll be staying in the Holdmen Wing. You got his file right?” Mike said. He turned to Sarah.
The girl pulled out a tablet from her bag. She typed on it for a moment she smiled and nodded. “Yup got it,” she ensured. She turned her attention back to me and smiled. “Let’s get you changed into a uniform and then we’ll show you around.”
This wasn’t exactly the welcome I was expecting. This isn’t anything like I was expecting.
I followed the two with obvious caution, but that didn’t seem to bother either of them. It was almost as if they were used to it.
It’s very strange, to say the least.