Refuge Forbidden
115 pages
English

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Refuge Forbidden

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115 pages
English

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Description

Love is nothing more than a fragment, a memory of the past.

Ten years later, the Anti-Establishment fights to destroy the new way of life. Corruption has infiltrated the government and the people are at war.

No one is safe.

Women are dragged out of their homes, forced into reeducation camps.

Mindonsiphan has been outlawed.

Marriage is illegal.

Conceiving children through natural methods is illegal.



The world is in terror.


Ripped from her home, Adelaide is forced to face the world without her abilities and learn whom she can trust.

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Publié par
Date de parution 27 juin 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781612587905
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0012€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

Refuge Forbidden
Aberrant Book Four


Ruth Silver

Blushing Books
Contents



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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24


Ruth Silver

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Ruth Silver
Refuge Forbidden

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Chapter 1

Adelaide
T here were rumors that it’s coming, the end of the world. We had ten years of peace, or that is what we fooled ourselves into believing. I was one of those tricked into thinking that we were safe, that our lives would be forever easier, and I no longer had to look over my shoulder waiting for imminent death.
Boy, was I wrong.
Sitting outside on the porch my body lurched for the ground at the sound of gunshots ringing through the air. The sound was deafening, the smell of smoke burned my nostrils and my eyes watered. A knot formed in my stomach and my throat, making it impossible to voice the words that I wanted. Braxton, run .
I didn’t know why my concern was more for him than myself. Maybe because I had years of practice with self-defense and training that my grandmother, Ainsley told me never to speak about.
I was special, treated with a drug that had given me abilities, and with that came responsibility to keep the world a safer place. A tamer place.
Lying across from me with his mop of dark hair and matching dark eyes, he looked afraid. There was a pool of blood against the cement and crimson stained his shirt. “Oh my—” the words didn’t follow as I gasped, out of breath. My stomach ached with nausea and the world around me spun violently out of control.
The men with vehicles, the ones firing bullets turned the corner, their wheels squealed and the smell of burned rubber mixed into the air with smoke. Within seconds they drove away after splattering a mess against our home, our village, killing our people. I didn’t have to ask who they were. There had been posters of the Anti-Establishment or the A.E. a closed fist their symbol on the bright orange and yellow papers hung in alleys and on street posts. The same orange fist was visibly marked on the side of their doors, their vehicles military grade. They grew stronger every day.
I swallowed the bile and tried not to worry about my own safety or myself. Braxton bled all over the concrete and the men that did this were gone. They were nothing more than cowards, shooting and running, leaving our people to die.
There was no one for me to call or shout out to for help. Our nearest neighbor wasn’t exactly friendly. They were an A.E. sympathizer. I didn’t dare look to see if bullets grazed their windows or door. I didn’t have time to survey the damage outside of what was right in front of me: Braxton.
“We need to get you inside,” I reached for Braxton’s arms, hoping that I could assist him and bring him into the cottage to treat his injuries. He bled from his chest or maybe his stomach, I couldn’t tell without raising his shirt where the bullet had entered his body. Blood seeped everywhere. The hospital was too far and likely the A.E. waited outside, prepared to shoot anyone looking for assistance.
The world had changed and not for the better.
He grunted, the pain etched in the corner of his eyes as he squinted and grimaced, attempting to stand on his feet. Sweat beaded his brow and dripped down his forehead as his skin turned ghastly.
A loud hum roared from down the block. They were coming back, probably with reinforcements.
“Inside, now!” My heart pumped as I bolted upwards, guiding Braxton off the cement and toward the front door. The doorknob wasn’t locked but it did get hit with a bullet, making it inoperable. I inwardly cursed, using my shoulder as I pushed with my weight, attempting to break the handle free and force the door open.
It didn’t budge.
The engine of the approaching vehicle grew louder and with it shouts and screams. This time not from bullets but something vile. A woman’s cry for help from down the block. I glanced over my shoulder and could see the men dragging her by her hair. Her face was covered in a smear of blood. Had they shot her or was it when they approached and beaten her into submission? She kicked and screamed, refusing to do as told. Two other men grabbed her by the legs, their hands rough as they lifted her with ease and carried her away from her house. My hands trembled. I was running out of time.
Braxton was without words, his breathing heavy, slightly erratic as he stood and swayed, leaning against the door, his eyes shut.
Hang in there. I didn’t have the strength to voice what I was thinking. It took every ounce of energy to open the damned door.
I had but one chance, one quick moment. With Braxton soon to lose consciousness and the A.E. on our tails, there was little time left. I stared at the broken door handle, my blue eyes focused on the nuts and bolts, the screw that was jammed making the handle not turn and the door remained locked. Turn . It was a simple task but with the adrenaline coursing through me, my hands trembled and my stomach in knots, I had difficulty concentrating.
Olivia taught me so much about the abilities that I had from the injection of Mindonsiphan. She also made it quite clear that I was never to use those powers again. Not after the A.E. began their hunt for adroits, humans that were gifted from the effects of Mindonsiphan. The Anti-Establishment had named us and turned us into scapegoats, blaming us for the actions of our country.
The door handle took longer than it should to budge. My skills were quite rusty and had Olivia not made me fearful of using my talents, I would have been stronger.
“Adelaide,” Braxton’s voice was like honey, his muffled murmur of how he said my name. He sounded sleepy which made me even more frantic as I refused to meet his stare. My focus was solely on the lock. I heard the click and though I’m not sure it was loud enough for the average person to hear, I knew that it was open. With a slight shove the door gave and I guided Braxton inside. Had I unlocked it with my mind?
“Quick, we don’t have much time.” The roar of the engine outside hummed to life as the men drove down the block toward our house. I shut the door but not before they parked out front. We were screwed. There was no time to run and I couldn’t leave Braxton.
“Hide,” Braxton said. His voice rough and dry, his lips parched as blood dripped onto the wood floor.
“I’m not leaving you.” I didn’t care what he said or thought, if anyone had a chance of protecting themselves from the A.E., I was that person. The only problem was, Braxton had no idea of my abilities, and I wasn’t sure I had the strength or the knowledge to remember how to save both of us.
We didn’t make it but a few feet into the house when the front door came tumbling forward, a rush of four men dressed in black, with helmets and shields covering their faces, armor against their chests protecting them from assault forced their way into my home. Black machine guns were nestled in their gloved hands, pointed at the two of us. They towered above us, making us feel small and inadequate. We had no weapons, only ourselves to use and I wasn’t sure that I could fight off four men alone.
I swallowed the lump in my throat and inhaled a shaky breath. Run . I wished for the briefest of moments that Braxton could hear my thoughts. It was a rare chance that he had been given Mindonsiphan. Not once had he displayed any abilities or told me of his powers. Then again, I hadn’t exactly opened up to him about what I used to be capable of either. Didn’t everyone keep some secrets? Wasn’t it better that way?
“Get out of here!” Braxton said, shouting at the men as he leaned against the kitchen table. He was unsteady at best, probably attempting to hide his injury that was blatant for all to see. Were they after both of us? I had only seen them drag the woman from the down street, but that hadn’t meant they wouldn’t have abducted anyone else in the home as well. Had she been alone?
My eyes darted past the front door. There was no chance I could escape through the conventional method. The windows were locked and our backdoor was too far, yet my only choice. I turned and ran, my legs pumping as I tore through the air, trying to move faster than humanly possible. My calves instantly ached with a fierce burn. My hope was that with the Mindonsiphan I could bend time, move before the men could catch up to me.
A shot of pain seared against my neck, pinching my skin, traveling down to my toes and through my fingers, tingling and forcing me to slowly collapse onto the ground. Paralyzed. I wasn’t lucky enough to make the Mindonsiphan work inside of my body. I had failed Braxton and I’d ruined my one chance at survival. The A.E. were men not to be messed with, they were fierce, dangerous, and without regard for human life.
“No!” Braxton shouted and though I could hear him wrestling the men, trying to protect me, it was no use. His injuries would make it impossible for him to save me. It would take more than a miracle to escape and as I lay on the ground, the image playing out in slow motion, all I could do was watch the unthinkable.
My lips moved, my voice not yet gone but the rest of me was like lead, unable to lift my arms or legs. “I love you.” I didn’t care who heard my declaration of affection for Braxton. I needed him to know that my feelings for him weren’t solely friendship. We had never crossed that line, but I had loved him. Had he loved me in return?
My eyes were heavy and it felt as though they had been weighted, making it impossible to keep them open. Unable to fight the men, no matter how hard I tried, they lifted me with ease and carried me to their truck outside.
“It’s worse than we thought with this one,” a gruff male voice said.
I couldn’t speak, even if I wanted to.
“Love.” A second voice followed suit and snorted, sounding rather disgusted. “This is why we have to act quickly. Women are susceptible to the adroit influence. There is no place for love in our world. It destroys society.”
The squeak of a door interrupted their discussion. I assumed they were opening the back of their truck. Were there others that had been subdued as well? My eyes would not open, but I continued to hear every word spoken. Did they know I could hear what they said?
“She’s pretty and young, probably fertile. I’d bet my rent she gets sent to the camps.”
“At least she’s not adroit,” the other man said, his voice gruff and raspy. “That’d be a death sentence.”
Chapter 2

Noah
“Y our orders are as follows, you’re to keep a low profile, gather intel, and report back to us if you determine anything of importance,” Commander Weston said. His eyes were gray like the sky on a dull winter’s day. He repositioned his hat atop his head, the uniform a perfect replica of the Anti-Establishment’s.
We were dressed as the enemy, pretending to be them, infiltrating their camps and the cities that they’d taken over. Much of what was once the Republic of Cabal was now under the control of the A.E., our enemy. To dress as them made it easier should we be discovered and with many of the men acting as spies, it helped keep our cover.
“Noah Lark, you will join the 73rd Guard at the reeducation center at South State.”
The commander handed me a folder, the weight of it felt heavy though I knew its contests were solely papers and photographs for my mission. He continued dishing out orders to the other spies, each of us handed an assignment solely for us. We were not to work together and though I could identify the other members of the group, we were forbidden from sharing such knowledge. It wasn’t as though their names held much weight. Many were probably not even their given names. I hadn’t been born Noah Lark, but it had been the name that I had taken, stolen from a dead man, a story that I didn’t want to remember or share with anyone.
I took the folder inside the dark cabin, the single source of light from the windows offered redemption as I slid the pages of papers across the long wooden table. The room smelled of fresh wood, the cabin clean and albeit empty it was still tidy. There was no dust on the floors or table. Any evidence that another spy had been here recently was gone. How many of there were us? Did the resistance expand beyond this single base that was kept in secret?
Each spy was given a small cabin, enough space to memorize their work detail without sharing information amongst each other. Our involvement together was kept to a minimum; our assignments were spread out among the countryside. We would likely never see each other again.
My eyes scoured the pages, the photographs, and the comments and ages. Each image told a story, but it was not mine to have. My fingers caressed the note in script, the single piece of information that I could use to make her trust me. Would it work? Was it true? Who was this Braxton that it was mentioned on the slip of paper?
The faded picture with the young girl’s nervous smile made my stomach ache. She was quite beautiful, albeit younger than her current age. It was rare for photographs to exist; paintings were far more common. Perhaps that had been why the picture hadn’t been more recent.
I had barely remembered a time when photographs and cameras were illegal. I had been young when the world had changed and the government had fallen, and a new one had risen in its place.
My parents, though not my birth parents, as no one in my town had met or known their biological assets, had been fearful of what the new laws and justice system meant for them. They had been fortunate enough to receive a child and had feared that I would be stolen from them and returned to my assets. I hadn’t understood their fear until I had grown older and been able to recognize why they had done what they had.
We fled from our home, the only world I had ever known and hid among the savages in the Gravelands, finding a small remote cabin where I was to be kept hidden from visitors. Those days were cruel and frightening to look back upon, in ways that I wish my nightmares were only that, flights of fancy.
I pushed all thoughts of my childhood aside, they would do me no good right now. Our world was turned upside down. It didn’t take a saint to know that help was needed and those that were able, should join the cause.
My fingers paused over the dark hair and cocoa eyes of a girl in her teens. According to the date, she would be a few years older now, and two years younger than me. The photograph was clean of dust and grime, preserved far better than most of the other images that had been shoved into the folder.
Adelaide Wells
13 Yrs.
Adroit – potential ally.
Whereabouts: Unknown.
Connections: Olivia Warren.
Other Characteristics: Given Mindonsiphan at a young age and high dose. Unknown abilities.
I wasn’t quite sure what Mindonsiphan was, nor did I care. I surmised it likely had to do with the drug that had been given to women to allow them to be once again capable of conceiving.
Adelaide was adroit which meant that the Anti-Establishment would be sure to pick her up, they probably already had. That was why the commander had given me her file and all the information regarding her history.
How and why was she important to the mission? Was it because she was connected to Olivia Warren, formally Olivia Parker? My eyes widened, suddenly aware of the reason she looked and sounded familiar. There had been stories I’d heard of an Adelaide, a young girl that had been trained by Olivia to fight the oppressive government. I hadn’t thought such a tale was true, but maybe it wasn’t such a lie.
I memorized everything that I could. Bringing the pages with me was a risk that I couldn’t take. It was dangerous enough pretending to be a guard for the South State camp. If anyone discovered the young woman’s connection, she would be dead.
I pushed the papers back together into their folder before heading outside. The sun high in the sky, the air growing much warmer as the sun baked my skin. There was hardly a breeze and the barren dry land only contributed to the heat.
The resistance base had been situated within the Gravelands, within a day’s drive of most of the camps. There were no barbed wires or fences to protect our base. The buildings were all older, though kept up and tended to for quite some time. Had this been a place where the resistance had fought the government over a decade ago? Was it established as a base for the government of Cabal?
There was no way to know without asking. My mission didn’t require the information either and so the history of this place hardly mattered, only that it was now being used to take down the Anti-Establishment.
I imagined that flying overhead via drone, the buildings had a small enough footprint that we would likely go unnoticed. There were a dozen wooden cabins, a typical structure in the Gravelands. There were a few vehicles parked out front but they would change regularly with new spies coming into the resistance base.
“Any further questions about your assignment?” the commander asked as I approached him, the file in my hands.
I handed him the folder. Holding onto it would pose further danger for everyone. I did have quite a few questions. “Braxton. Who is he?”
“I can’t give you all the answers but I do believe you should watch this video. It will explain everything that you need,” he said, typing into a keyboard, displaying the footage.
I sighed, hating that my commander wasn’t entirely forthcoming with information. Was it that he couldn’t answer or he didn’t know the answer? “Do we know how long this girl has been held captive by the Anti-Establishment?” The information obtained was only on her own past, not on her actual abduction. I was confident she hadn’t gone willingly with the men that had taken her. No one ever did. There hadn’t been news channels in months, the papers that had gone out had been torched, every agency destroyed by the Anti-Establishment as they silenced the journalists.
There were dark channels with waves of information that spread like a web amongst the resistance. It was how I’d learned of the base’s location and how I could join the movement. As news changed hands and spread, I came to learn of the reeducation camps, the Anti-Establishment’s motives, and our own bleak future. The wealthy were in control, women were enslaved, and those that were men but not of the elite were recruited to work as guards or be punished as a dissident. I opted with going underground, finding the resistance and serving my country.
The older gentleman cleared his throat. “We got word in this morning of the capture. She’s nineteen and with a pretty face and young body, she’s not going to last long in that place. I would guess she’ll be up for auction by the end of the week.”
“Even less time if they realize she’s adroit,” I said. It was improper for me to speak out of turn, but I couldn’t control myself. I hadn’t met an adroit before. Women were the only ones capable of being adroit, cured from infertility, many had been given a drug that enhanced their brains, and made them special. She was capable of such rare and beautiful gifts that I’d never witnessed, only read about. In a way, her abilities reminded of the worn paper books that I’d read in my home with stories of superheroes and villains. She was no doubt a heroine with a power that I couldn’t even dream up. Could she bend water or create fire? If she did have adroit talents than maybe she could save herself from the men at the camp.
Maybe that had been why the elite men were jealous and wanted all the adroits dead. Had they feared their power? It wasn’t as though they’d taken over the world and created any trouble at all. What was to fear of their power? It seemed to be mostly non-existent. Occasionally a story would break amongst the dark channels of a girl that could draw power from electricity or shoot ice crystals with her hands, but I’d never witnessed either stories and hadn’t known anyone that had either. Not that I knew too many people. Personally, I had no desire to discover the young woman lying face down in a ditch. So what if they were special? As long as they weren’t causing harm, what did it matter?
As for the assignment that I was tasked with, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d never been to a reeducation camp before, but from the sound of what I’d heard and read, they weren’t much different than those back in the days of the world wars, long before our country was founded, when men were far less civilized.
History had a way of repeating itself and the Anti-Establishment seemed to be far more barbaric and without morals.
The commander continued to speak, drawing my attention back to him. “A change of orders isn’t uncommon by noon. I suggest you travel fast to get yourself to South State before suspicions grow. We can’t waste another day on this young woman. She’s important, Noah. You do realize that?”
I nodded, fully understanding her connection to Olivia. Olivia Parker’s name was a symbol of our democracy and freedom. It may have been stolen from us in recent days by men that were greedy and fearful, but it offered hope to end tyranny.
“I will give my life to protect her if need be,” I said. It was the oath I took to join the resistance, to protect those less fortunate, unable to defend themselves. Even adroits needed help. Up against men with guns and the ability to subdue their gifts, the women held no chance.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” the commander said. He shut the file and handed me a set of vehicle keys.
“I don’t have any other men going to South State. You’re it for today. Be careful, Noah. If she dies, her blood is on your hands.”
I exhaled a nervous breath. So much for no pressure. I knew what was at stake, that’s why I had joined forces with the resistance. I may have loved my parents and hated how they raised me, living in the Gravelands, but this new way of life, surely if they were still alive they would have admonished such actions of the Anti-Establishment.
Chapter 3

Adelaide
I awoke to the harsh smell of chemicals and solvent. My eyes watered and nostrils burned as I began to realize that I laid on the cold tile floor, of where I wasn’t quite sure. I moaned slightly from the pain and discomfort, wishing that I was back at home with Braxton. Where was he? How was he? Had the men taken him away too? There had only been one vehicle that I recalled pulling up out front of the house, but that didn’t mean more men hadn’t followed.
“Get up!” A harsh male voice shouted at me.
I grunted and moaned as I pushed myself off the floor, realizing I lay soaking wet and naked on the floor. Shivering and curled in a ball, I tried to hide my most intimate areas from the offending eyes of the strange male barking orders in the room.
I wasn’t alone. A dozen other women seemed to be coming to, waking up as I had just done as they began to sit up, perplexed same as me. There were soft whispers of confusion and they were quickly silenced as ice cold water was turned on through the overhead shower faucets.
I screamed from the cold, gasping for air, standing quickly on my feet to move and get away from the brutal water that pelted my skin and gave me goosebumps. No longer did I care about my modesty and lack of dress. All I wanted was comfort and for the briefest of moments that meant not being assaulted with freezing water.
“Towels are in the corner. Dry off. Then, line up.” The male’s voice was without emotion, cold and stoic. Did he care that he had kidnapped all of us? I assume every other woman in that room had been taken against her will, same as me. Many looked battered and bruised. They had not come without a fight.
I shuffled quickly to grab a white towel that was thin and in need of replacement. Wrapping it around my body, I found comfort in its warmth and dryness as I attempted to warm up.
There were eleven women plus me in the icy showers that had been forced here against their will. What did we have in common? Were we all adroit? I had kept my secret, the abilities I had from the Mindonsiphan. I remembered Olivia teaching me about how other children might one day have similar abilities to me. I had looked forward to that moment, but it had never been shown to me. Within a few short years, it was suggested I keep what I could do a secret. Olivia had been concerned that she and her family had been watched far too closely and since I had been close with her, I too may have been under as much scrutiny.
The smell that had once burned my nostrils no longer seemed to bother me. Perhaps it was because the cold water had washed away whatever cleaning solution had been used in the showers. Had it been poured on us as well? My skin felt dry and rough.
I did not dare ask where we were being held. Instead I waited with patience for answers. Men that abducted women were not a forthcoming bunch. I had read a great number of books and though my favorites were not suspense-filled tales, I had a thorough knowledge of everything from history to fantasy.
The squeak of the heavy metal doors hurt my ears and forced my face to scrunch as a chill ran through my body. I hugged the white towel tighter against my chest. It was all I had.
A rush of cool air swept inside the showers as the doors were opened. Were we expected to walk outside in just our towels?
“This way.” Another male dressed all in white snapped his fingers above his head, getting everyone’s attention. He led us outside where the smell of manure made me crinkle my nose. I was never fond of gardening or planting anything. Were we expected to tend to the land? It stunk terribly.
As far as I could see the yard stretched on with barbed fencing keeping us contained. “Why are we here?” I didn’t expect an answer, but I asked the question anyhow.
“To keep you safe.” The man answered my question as he walked, his pace brisk. Further down the dirt path was several sets of barracks. Is that where we would be staying? I didn’t have to ask. We were captive, their prisoners. Of course, we’d be staying there, the question was for how long. “You will each be given a number. That is how we will identify each of you. Come forward when you are called.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. Already this reminded me of history texts that I’d read from a great many hundreds of years ago. Was history on course for repeating itself? We were a different world, a more advanced one with technology that made us special and prevented our own natural extinction.
“Adelaide Wells.”
I blinked twice. What was I supposed to do? My name had been called and I hadn’t paid much attention. There had only been one girl called before me. She had stepped forward. Right. That’s what I was supposed to do.
“Yes,” I said and moved between a path made by the other women waiting for their numbers.
“From this moment forward you are now identified as 13279.”
I held my breath for the shortest moment possible. I recognized that number. It had been the same number on the sheet of information regarding my birth. I was one of the children born through In Vitro Fertilization, when the world was incapable of having a natural birth. We were special children, born with no illnesses and perfect health. Taken from our biological parents and given by lottery to another family far away in a different community. The record that Olivia had stolen proved as much, along with the names of my biological parents. It was how I had come to know that Ainsley was my grandmother.
Why were these men using the same identification as the old government? Who were they? What were they after? I didn’t feel safe asking any further questions. It was no secret that we could conceive, but so could the rest of our country, the infertility problems had been cured.
“13279 you are in barracks 2,” the man said.
I exhaled a soft sigh and headed for the barracks marked with the number two outside. Stepping inside the air was damp and the smell of mold permeated through the wooden cabin. The beds were bunks of three, crammed together against the walls. The room slept fifteen in the small space.
For the moment, I was alone and while I waited for others to come in, I picked at my fingernails, a nervous habit I had acquired at an early age. It was a habit I hadn’t found the desire to break and even now, though the tips of my nails were raw, it was impossible for me to stop.
I contemplated sitting down, finding a bunk and attempting to make myself at home, but this was not my home. This camp would never be my home. I could find no solace in being here, held against my will.
I felt as though I had no one left in this world, and though I knew that wasn’t true, the thought of losing Braxton was agonizing. My heart ached in a way I hadn’t thought possible Was he dead? Had these men that picked me up taken him too?
From what I could see, the camp was filled with women only, except for the male guards. There was no sign of Braxton. Would I ever see him again?
My thoughts raced on until the long squeak of the wooden door forced me to look up. It had felt like hours. Another woman about my age, her hair short and blonde with striking green eyes stepped cautiously into the barracks. Five minutes must have passed but I was no judge of time with a towel clung against my body and goosebumps pimpling my arms.
“What’s your name?” I asked, curious if she would confide in me. I needed a friend, someone that I could count on while stuck inside this dungeon.
She stalled, the room quiet and I glanced past her out the window. Were we supposed to remain quiet until everyone had been put into their assigned barracks and given their new identity? The guards hadn’t said but maybe it was common knowledge to keep quiet after being held captive.
“Are you an adroit?” I whispered, careful to keep my voice down. “Is that why we are here?” It was no secret that adroits lived among the population. Once deemed aberrant, adroit was the name given to us by those that feared us. Most were children, younger than me. It had been a result of the tests conducted by Isaura and the medical procedures done to ensure women could once again naturally conceive. I was one of the older adroits but there were some still older than me, the ones that had once been part of Isaura’s experiments.
It hadn’t been a secret that there had been unrest because of their abilities but I never thought the world would turn on itself and grown men would fear us.
“Quiet,” the woman hissed and shook her head. “We mustn’t speak of such a vulgar term.”
My brow furrowed, confused. I wanted to know what we all had in common, other than being women. Had it been the abilities that some of us were capable of that had us contained and stripped of our identity? I was no longer skilled enough to fight back. Did my abilities still exist while in the reeducation camp or had they been subdued from the drugs given to me when I was brought in?
Ignoring the woman, I shuffled toward one of the bunks. The bottom one had a gray scratchy blanket on it. I climbed onto the bed and laid down, stretching out so that I wouldn’t hit my head. It had been years before today that I had last exercised my mind in such a way to protect myself. Was I still capable or had a switched been turned off? I suspected that was what Olivia had hoped for me. That I would be normal, a girl like everyone else my age, not special.
Except I knew Olivia was special. She had changed the world. Why couldn’t I be like her? She was aberrant, an anomaly that had naturally been able to conceive children or at least presumed capable since her mother had conceived her without medical intervention. That had all changed with the Red Plague. She had been thrust through time with Isaura and found herself inoculated, same as the rest of the population of Cabal. She was no longer special in the same way that she had been her entire life. Now that everyone could conceive, what made her aberrant was gone.
Except she had been given Mindonsiphan, same as the woman that were test subjects of Isaura. I also had received the injection; it was what made us adroit. We were beyond special, gifted with powers that made men fear us.
There were far less of us in number, but many women were rounded up and thrown into the camp. Had the men feared that the abilities can spread like disease?

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