Part 1: The Words Unspoken, Part 2: Secrets, Part 3: Embers, Part 5: Scar, Part 6: Capture, Part 7: In Your Eyes, Part 8: Reflection, Part 9: Running, Part 10: The Cabin, Part 11: Macaroni and Cheese, Part 12: An Open Door and A Squeaky Floor, Part 13: Interruptions, Part 14: Origin
Warning: Contains Sexual Explicit and Violent Content – Not suitable for all audiences.
“You are useless, you know?” I heard my mother’s voice break through the static as she adjusted the television antenna to make the picture clearer.
“I know.” I whispered, hanging my head in shame. She’d asked me to fix it, but I was too short to reach it.
“If you want something done right,” She glared at me, “…you have to do it yourself.”
“Volunteers needed!” The television sputtered as the commercial came into focus, “We need volunteers of all ages!”
The voice on the television rattled off information as I bent over to clean bits of trash off of the floor in hopes that I could make it up to her somehow.
I flinched as I heard a bottle shatter on the wall behind me.
I stood up and looked back as the alcohol dripped onto the carpet.
“You,” She slurred her words as she spat at me, her breath reeking as she pulled me by my shirt towards her, “I never wanted you.”
She held my chin tightly, forcing me to look at her and see the hatred in her eyes. Tears threatened to break through, but I forced them down, knowing it would only encourage her.
She threw me backwards and glanced at the television as she said, “Get ready.”
“Yes ma’am.” I said obediently as I tried to maintain my balance.
My room door creaked as I used all my strength to pushed it open. Standing on my toes, I managed to grab a faded pink dress off the top of my makeshift dresser and quickly changed into it before running back into the living room.
“Where are we going?” I asked timidly as my mother opened the front door.
“You’ll see.” She said gruffly.
We sat in silence as the trees quickly rushed past the windows. I stared down at my hands, picking at the dirt under my nails.
“Get out.” She ordered abruptly.
As I looked out the window, I saw a large white building with no windows. That was weird, I thought to myself, why are there no windows?
The car door clicked open and I stepped out onto the dewy grass. Rain clouds filled the sky as I looked up and breathed in the scent of the storm.
Suddenly I heard the tires of the car peel out on the wet gravel as my mother began to drive away.
“No!” I cried as I ran after her.
My shoes fell off as I chased after the glowing red of the tail lights, exposing my feet to the cold, sharp gravel.
Dirty water splashed in all directions as I tumbled into a puddle, realizing she wouldn’t be coming back for me.
Tears stung my eyes as they began to fall and mix with the light drizzling rain that chilled my skin.
I looked back at the ominous compound, it’s sickening white walls felt even more chilling than the rain.
My feet began to bleed from the gravel slicing into them as I trudged towards the door, knowing it was all I had now. Before I could open it, someone on the other side pushed it forward, sending me in a panic to move before it hit me.
A tall man who looked to be in his thirties stood before me with his arms crossed. He pointed a spindly finger at me as he asked in a monotone voice, “Who are you?”
“Um…” I stuttered.
He rolled his eyes and bent over and squatted in front of me, “What is your name, little girl?”
“I,” I spoke quietly, “I don’t have one.”
He raised an eyebrow, intrigue colored his dark emerald eyes.
“I’ve never met a person with no name.” He responded with skeptical tone and raised eyebrow.
“My mom said they didn’t want to waste a name on someone as ugly and useless as me.” I recited the words as though I was reading a book rather than answering a question.
His face changed slightly as he ushered me in and out of the cold, though I couldn’t put my finger on how. He placed his hand on the small of my back. It felt weird, but I didn’t want to be rude to the person who’d just offered me shelter from the volatile elements.
He took me to the sink in the kitchen and ran warm water over some paper towels before motioning for me to sit so he could clean the blood from my feet.
“What is this place?” I asked him as he pulled out some bandages from the cabinet and wrapped them around my feet.
His temperament quickly changed to an energetic buzz as he motioned to people, rooms and objects as he told me about the compound.
“This the first of its kind.” He said gesturing around us, “What with the governmental collapse, this will be a place for everyone to seek shelter, food, and jobs.”
“Wow, that’s amazing!” I murmured in awe.
“Yeah,” He smiled, “We’ll all be safe here.”
I looked around, noticing there were various charts with foreign looking writing on the wall.
“What are those?” I asked curiously.
“Those? Data.” He curtly replied as he stepped in front of me, blocking my view.
“Data?” I was intrigued, “From what?”
Just then, a man walked up to us and whispered in my acquaintance’s ear.
I watched as my acquaintance nodded with a serious face and dismissed the man.
“Come with me.” He offered his hand to me, “You might not have a name, but you’ll need a name tag around here.”
He pulled his lanyard as an example as he motioned me to follow him. It had “Silen” scrawled on it in thin, scribble handwriting.
Traveling behind him, I studied everything around me, memorizing every door, piece of paper and vent. The building was nearly as plain on the inside as it was on the outside.
“Here we are.” He stopped at a desk and leaned over to pull out a blank name tag from the drawer.
I watched as he dug around in his pockets for a pen and found nearly everything but. He pulled out hard butterscotch candies, lint, small white labels, and to my surprise, a syringe, before finally finding a pen.
“Alrighty,” He said as he pulled the cap off with his teeth, “What shall we call you?”
I opened my mouth to offer up something, but couldn’t think of any ideas.
“You know what?” He winked, “Let’s go for brutal honesty here.”
He quickly jotted down something on the piece of paper and pushed it into the lanyard. He knelt down and placed it around my neck with a proud smile as though he were giving me a diamond necklace.
I looked at it upside down and I tried to read the words he’d written.
“The Girl With No Name,” He explained with a wink, “I thought it was more interesting than Jane Doe.”
I laughed as I mumbled how I thought it was better than the majority of the things I’d been called by my mother.
He asked me if I ever thought my mother would come back for me.
“No.” I said solemnly.
“That’s okay.” He smiled at me, “You’ll fit in well here.”
He was right. Over the next few weeks, he introduced me to countless people. I worked tirelessly in the lab, medical bay, and kitchen. They were all impressed with my ability to learn quickly and work hard. I caught Silen bragging about me on a regular basis to the other people in the compound.
During our lunch breaks, we discussed the plans and blueprints for additional compounds. He explained that it was a very important project and he wanted my opinion on it.
“I think maybe this would be more practical.” I said as I erased a few details and redrew them, “This would save money on heating and leave more room for…” I was cut off as the door flung open and a man fell to the ground in front of it.
We jumped up and ran to him to find a puncture wound in his chest as blood pooled on the floor around him.
“Get him to the medical bay, now!” Screamed Silen to the large men standing behind us in security uniforms.
We followed them as they carried the injured man.
“I think you should sit this one out.” Silen said grimly as droplets of dark blood dripped down in front of us.
“I can help!” I said defiantly as the doors to the trauma unit swung open.
He shot a warning glare at me, “Stay here.”
I stood outside, too short to peek through the tiny round windows in the doors.
A flash of light came streaming through the crack of the door and screams rose to the ceiling. I clenched my fists as the screams were replaced with an abrupt, eery silence.
Suddenly Silen emerged from the doors, blood covering his gloves as he pulled them off and threw them into the hazards basket just inside the medical bay.
“We need to talk.” He glanced down as my eyes widened from seeing the carnage behind him, “There are some things I haven’t told you.”
The room began spinning as he revealed the secrets he’d been keeping from me. I started fainting and fell forward but he caught me and leaned me back into the chair. It all seemed too unreal.
“I didn’t want to worry you.” He said with a concerned voice, “Not if it wasn’t necessary. I wasn’t sure that your mother knew, or had told you if she did.”
“Titans?” I said in disbelief, “Are you sure these attacks aren’t from wild animals?”
“We are 100% sure.” He said grimacing, “We haven’t seen any survivors, but there were a few who lived long enough to give us some details.”
I began to sob in shock and disbelief.
“We are looking into options,” He mumbled, “…to help protect us against them.”
As I looked up at him through the tears, his demeanor softened.
“You should get some sleep.” He said, gently holding my arm, “Let me walk you to your room.”
He put his arm under mine and held me up as we walked. We arrived at my door and he pushed it open for me.
“I…”My voice wavered, “I’m scared.”
He held my arms and looked into my eyes with worry, knowing that I rarely allowed myself moments to act as young as I was.
“It’ll be okay.” He told me as he stroked my hair and pulled back the covers for me to climb into bed.
He stood over me as waves of tiredness pulled me in.
“Goodnight.” He whispered in my ear.
He was strange I thought, but even so, he was nice to me. I drifted to sleep as I wondered if this was what it was like to actually have someone care about you.
“Sleep well?” Silen smiled at me as I sat up and rubbed my eyes.
“Did you stay here all night?” I asked with surprise as I eyed the chair he sat it. He popped his neck and I caught a glance at the pillow propped up behind his neck.
“Yeah,” He leaned in with his hands folded near his face, “I was worried about you.”
Something in my stomach churned a little at the thought of him staying in my room all night, but I told myself he didn’t mean anything by it.
I smiled and said a quick, “Thank you” as I hung my feet off my bed before hopping down.
“I’m kinda hungry.” He said, “Wanna go grab some breakfast and talk?”
“Sure!” I replied as I walked to my dresser to grab some clothes from my drawer, “Let me get ready.”
I wasn’t exactly used to having people in my room when I got dressed, so I carefully tucked my panties in my shirt so he wouldn’t see them as I made my way to the bathroom to get ready.
“See you in a few!” He waved as I closed the door.
The floor was cold as I scampered across it to turn on the heat vent to provide some noise and warmth as I slipped on my clothes and pulled my hair up.
Peering out of the bathroom, I looked around for Silen to find he’d fallen asleep in the chair. I gently shook him and told him I was ready to go get breakfast.
We walked to the kitchen and made small talk. I could tell he hadn’t slept much, his eyes were bloodshot.
“About last night,” He said after drawing in a deep breath, “I want to talk to you about what we are doing to protect ourselves from these beasts.”
“Okay.” I responded as we made our way through the kitchen door.
“We’ve been experimenting, ” He spoke quietly as he glanced at some people sitting at a nearby table, “…with the blood of the Titan’s that remains on the clothing of those who make it back inside.”
My eyes widened as I whispered, “What do you mean?”
“Well, we have reason to believe we can create a defense against them by using their blood.” He explained.
“How does it work?” I asked.
“That’s the thing,” He hung his head, “We don’t know.”
I turned my head towards him with an inquisitive look as we chose some oatmeal and fruit to eat.
“There aren’t exactly a lot of people volunteering for the treatment.” He uttered under his breath, “We are unsure of the side-effects.”
We sat down and he grasped a coffee cup in his hands.
He stared solemnly into the pitch black liquid as he explained, “We’ve paid for advertising to get the word out about the volunteer program and its importance, but everyone seems to think the Titans are just legends.”
I sighed, not knowing just what to say.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked offered up.
He looked up for a moment, thoughtfully considering my offer.
“Let’s go to the lab after we finish breakfast and I will see what we can do.” He said as he took a bite of his oatmeal.
We ate the rest of our breakfast in silence. The food was fairly bland. Silen had told me that they had tried to genetically modify food to produce larger crops so that they wouldn’t be dependent on the outside world in case governmental affairs became worse, but in the process, the taste changed.
We rose from the table and headed towards the lab. He was strangely icy, his posture was stiff and he walked like a wind-up toy soldier. I thought little of it, attributing it to stress.
He opened the door and ushered me in as another man drug a little girl by her arm behind us. She was crying, and she looked around five years old, just a few years younger than me.
“Our latest volunteer.” The man said gruffly and he shoved her towards Silen.
He must have sensed my concern, because he looked at the man and said, “No need to treat her so harshly, she is here to help us, after all.”
The little girl sobbed as they sent her to the bathroom to change into a gown.
“What is going on?” I asked Silen, growing more and more upset for the little girl.
“She is about to go through therapy.” He said abruptly as he typed furiously onto a tablet, “Sometimes people get cold feet – she’ll be fine.”
She came out of the bathroom hugging her own arms. I walked over to her and extended my hand as I asked her name.
“Luna.” She said through shivers, “What is yours?”
I smiled as I tried to make small talk to calm her down, “I don’t have one, actually.”
“Really?” She asked, her interest clearly piqued.
“Really.” I pulled her into a side hug and tried to warm her up.
“It’s time.” Silen walked up to us and took her by the wrist.
She began to cry again, and in an effort to be useful, I put my hand on his arm.
The strange man that had brought her in interjected, “We have to have someone, we can’t keep putting this off.”
“Let me go in her place.” I spoke quietly as they all turned to me.
Silen looked at me and grinned, “That’s a brilliant idea.”
“Tell me about the procedure.” I said, wanting to know exactly what I was getting myself into.
“It’s pretty simple, really.” He mumbled.
“What about the side effects?” I gulped, trying to be brave.
“They are pretty rare.” He said confidently, “But you might feel sleepy or emotionally unstable or a little bit afterward.”
He walked to the cabinet and brought me a gown, motioning me to change.
“There is, of course, the possibility of death.” He said matter-of-factly, “But that is extremely rare.”
“And what exactly is the objective?’ I tried to clarify.
“Ultimately, you will be impervious to any of the attacks the creatures are capable of.” He replied as he tapped my information into the tablet.
I passed Luna on the way to the bathroom and assured her that I would be okay, she’d see after I went through the treatment.
Emerging from the bathroom in the sterile gown, I made my way to Silen, who told me that he’d be stepping out for the next part.
I tried not to let the alarm I felt show on my face, but I was beginning to wonder if I’d regret this decision. The other man addressed me, stating that he would be taking some precautions. He took my arm and walked me towards a segregated portion of the lab. I’d never been in this part.
Gasping in horror, I saw the shackles that lined the walls.
“It’s okay.” He said calmly but roughly, “These are just so you don’t hurt yourself if you have a reaction to the treatment.”
I swallowed hard as he chained my wrists and ankles to the wall. Panic began to set in and I begged for him to send Silen back in. He vanished into the other room with a slight nod.
Silen walked in and greeted me, “Just breath, you’ll do great!” as he saw me struggle to keep composure.
My knees felt like jello as I watched him pull a syringe and vial from his pocket and begin drawing up the bright orange liquid into the needle.
I sucked in air as he injected the substance into the vein in my arm.
“I’m proud of you for doing this.” He quietly whispered in my ear, “This is more important than you know.”
I watched as he walked away, saying he’d be back in a few minutes to check on me.
The room spun as I begun to have trouble breathing. I pulled against the shackles and called out for him to come back, but he didn’t.
Whispers verberated from the other side of the wall as Silen and the other man talked.
“It’s not working.” I heard Silen say.
“What do you want me to do?” The man replied.
“Give her a few more minutes.” Silen answered, “Then we will use secondary measures.”
“Silen!” I cried out, becoming dizzier and dizzier as the moments passed by, “Help me!”
Moments of silence passed with no response and I began to wonder if they’d left me alone to die.
Suddenly, the strange man appeared, armed with a whip. He pulled off my paper dress, leaving me in my underwear.
“What are you doing?” I shouted, horrified as I watched him draw the whip back to strike me.
I let out a blood-curdling scream as he began lashing me with it, again and again. My sides bore bright red slashes as my mind began to solidify and the dizziness faded away.
“Where is Silen?” I hissed through gritted teeth, “He’d never allow you to treat me this way.”
I struggled against the shackles as I screamed for help.
After enduring a few minutes of this, he dropped the whip and walked away.
The room was surprisingly empty, I noticed, as I searched for a way to free myself.
“She is resilient,” I heard the whisper of the strange man, “Not like the other ones.”
Other ones, I thought, what other ones? Had the strange man done this to other people?
He returned, holding a trash bag in his hands. I watched as he began pulling out its content: a bucket and a box of matches.
“This,” he growled as he pulled ice from the bucket, “…is what happens when you resist the treatment.”
“What are you talking about?” I shouted as he held the ice up to the whip marks that he’d inflicted earlier.
Glaring at him as I pulled away from the ice, I began to shake uncontrollably.
He lit a match and held it to the other side of my body, carefully moving the flame up and down the slashes he’d created on my side. Meticulously rotating between ice and fire, he brought them together next to my neck as I became silent, refusing to give him the satisfaction of knowing he was hurting me. I pulled the pain into myself, sacrificing my mind to escape the physical pain.
“Silen!” He called out, “She’s all yours.”
I opened my eyes, returning feeling to my body as I saw him walk in.
“What is this?” I demanded, staring into his eyes.
A scream pierced the room, Luna’s scream.
I became hysterical, “What is he doing to her?”
“I was hoping it would come to this.” Silen said as he walked towards me, swaying ever so slightly.
His eyes were sharp and intense as he worked them over my exposed body.
“Come to what?” I cried, desperately straining against the bonds that held me to the wall.
He lifted my face to meet his gaze, pressing hard into my cheeks, just like my mother had not so long before.
“You being difficult.” He murmured.
His body lowered as he pulled a rolling stool behind him to sit. He sat at my level as he began kissing along my neck, his stubble scratching my skin as he went. The air was forced from my lungs in disgust as I pulled away. My heart sank as nausea began to set in from the scent of his butterscotch candies lingering on his breath.
Looking up, he gave me a smile as he declared, “It is working!” He traced his fingers along the path he’d kissed. A trail of thin, black line appeared as though someone had drawn with a pen on my skin. It felt like a deep, intense cut.
His hands rushed to my sides as he took the liberty of exploring my skin. His fingertips brushed over my legs, my abdomen, my undeveloped breasts, my face…
“I…” I shook as a spat the words at him, “I trusted you.”
Luna’s sobs rose to the ceiling and echoed into this side of the wall.
He tried to hug me, his eyes filled with morbid determination.
“Don’t touch me.” I growled at him as I felt myself ignite with rage.
“I think they’ll be pleased with you.” He smiled at me as he drew his words out as he began pulling down my panties, “Just. Like. Me.”
I heard as his belt fell to the floor. He held my tiny hips in his hands as he forced himself into me.
“No!” I shrieked as I felt my flesh rip.
I closed my eyes. All I felt was burning. Everything burned.
He laughed as he violated me, digging his fingers deeper into my skin with every sign of struggle I showed.
“Stop.” I said weakly as I hung my head in shame.
I opened my eyes to face him as I wished for death. Instead, I laid eyes on my own skin, watching in horror as it burned and turned black.
“What did you do to me?” I screamed at him as I fought against him and the restraints.
I lunged at him, trying to cause him pain, desperately trying to get him to get off of me. Instead of being stopped by the shackles, I was flung forward. The momentum sent me reeling as I landed next to him on the floor.
I looked down at my arm to find that the last bit of metal was being melted away by the fire that burned where my skin used to be.
The ground began to shake as I turned to him in shock as if I expected him to offer me some kind of explanation for this.
“Congratulations,” He said through maniacal laughter, “Your transformation is complete.”
“Not only that,” He added, “…you just destroyed titanium shackles, that’s impressive.”
I caught a glimpse of myself in a puddle of melted ice on the floor and wavered as I took a step back. I was hideous.
“Maybe I should name you Titania, the only one of my creations to have accomplished such a feat as destroying those shackles.” He joked as he began to zip his pants up.
In an instant, I found myself where he had stood moments before, holding him in the air with my hands around his neck.
“There were never any monsters, the Titans really were just a myth.” I spoke through gritted teeth, “You made the creatures everyone is scared of, just like me.”
“I just helped you bring out the monster in yourself,” He said nonchalantly, “…pain tends to do that.”
“Why?” I asked him, loosening my hands just enough for him to get a few words out.
“The government’s military is weak,” He squeaked, “They asked us to make weapons that could prevent an invasion during this time of unrest.”
I started to crush his throat as I hissed, “You made me a weapon?”
His face began to turn purple as he gave me a sinister wink.
“Then all of that” I growled as I glanced at the shackles, “…was to make me look like this?”
He nodded as I acknowledge my black, ever burning skin and wings.
“Just remember,” His voice rasped as he looked in my eyes, “This power comes with side-effects.”
A crashing sound came from the other side of the wall and I heard Luna begin to gasp for air.
I threw Silen into the wall with all my strength, confident that he wouldn’t be following me after that.
Luna was laid out in the middle of the floor and weeping as I ran to her. I knelt down and my hands began to shake as I saw the knife that stuck out of her chest.
She glanced at the strange man, who appeared to be mortally wounded and unconscious. Then her eyes trailed to me.
I gasped as I saw that her light blue irises had been replaced by the likeness of the full moon. Her skin bore glowing white tattoos running around her arms and legs.
“Thank you,” She said in a weak voice, “For trying to take my place.”
A blue beam of light shot from her body into the ceiling and broke a hole through it.
She went limp as I held her in my arms. I openly wept in shock as her body became lifeless. A faint glow filled the room as her body took the form of water and disappeared in a glistening trail towards the sky.
I wondered to myself, is this what happens when one of us dies?
As her body disappeared, I noticed my hands had returned to normal. I returned to the bathroom after a few minutes, numbly brushing my skin as I dressed to find that the burns from the whip and fire were gone.
The compound started shaking and I heard loud screams. I watched as screaming people flooded the halls and ran out of the doors, trampling each other as they went.
The walls began to give way as the rumbling worsen. I joined the crowd of people, mostly children, and tried to escape the chaos.
I reached the doors and watched people crash into each other as everyone tried to get through the exit at the same time.
I was pushed back into the building by those stronger than me. The building starting collapsing, with me in it.
Suddenly a hand grabbed mine, pulling me forward into the moonlight outside. I tumbled to the ground as I caught a glimpse of the person who’d pulled me out.
“Are you okay? I’m sorry for being so rough,” He asked me as he helped me up, “…just didn’t want you to get hurt.”
“I’m fine.” I replied quickly, “Thank you.”
“My name is James. What’s your name?” He asked politely as we ran further from the building just in time for it to give out completely.
“It’s…” My voice trailed, “It’s Titania.”
“Whoa, that’s different! ” He exclaimed with excitement, “It almost sounds like the name of a princess.”
I scoffed, “Hardly.”
“Well, I like it.” He grinned, “Can I call you Princess?”
“No.” I said with an overly serious tone in my voice, not wanting to admit that I liked being called such a silly name.
“Princess.” He began repeating himself, making me wonder if he was okay.
“Princess?” I heard James shout above me as I woke up from the nightmare, or rather, the memory.
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