The two had run with Steven, but neither was in any condition to ask questions—Steven’s speed made him go faster than they would normally go. He didn’t even know where they were going, yet was going faster. So when they eventually did reach Sarah’s house, he had passed it and took a couple of seconds to come back.
“So you live in this apartment?”
“Yes. It has been my home for most of the years I have had my memory.”
“I see. Lead the way to your room and I’ll answer any questions you have until they find your exact location.”
Once they reach the room, Sarah opens it with her key and allows them both in.
“Alright, then, shoot. These quarters will do nicely for about ten minutes.”
“Well, the first question I have,” Richard starts, “would be why do you think they will follow us?”
“I don’t think, Richey, I know. They have increased senses of smell, so will track us. Not only that, but they seem to have a sixth sense to be able to detect people like me. As do I them. That’s how I knew they were coming. But for some reason, I’m also getting the same sense out of Sarah. Yet she definitely isn’t one of them, and probably not one of my kind.”
“The next would be…what exactly ARE you, anyway?”
“And I’d like to know why you said you once were human,” Sarah adds.
“The two are related. You can blame science for it all. More specifically, Genetics. Two scientists thought they had discovered a way to possibly improve the human body, or something like that. I wasn’t around back then to know. You’d have to ask some of my friends for that. They were given government funding. They experimented with DNA from ancient dinosaurs on test subjects and were able to create hybrids—those with the powers of their original species along with those of the dinosaurs. Eventually, human test-subjects were authorized. They were given that power. However, most couldn’t bear the changes and died. Those that lived were incredibly powerful—increased power, strength, and the like. But only a fraction maintained their memory from before.
“The government was almost ready to shut the project down. But the scientists devised a possible solution—use a combination of human, dinosaur, reptile, and bird DNA to grow one of these people for humane purposes. From it, they were able to create a few successful ‘type two’ hybrids. Eventually, it was decided that to get the greatest power possible, the reptile gene should be dropped, leaving only bird and dinosaur with human DNA. ‘Type Three’ was born. This is where things went wrong. All those grown this way were unstable—violent, bloodthirsty, instinctive killers. And they were just as smart as a human. So they were able to escape. They killed almost everyone at the facility. Only a few of the earlier type one and twos were able to survive by learning how to kill and escaping with their lives. These were the earliest of my comrades.
“The government shut the program down. They deemed it too costly and inhumane. The two scientists had also managed to survive. One went insane. He took as much as he could and ran away. There, he furthered his research into the bird/dinosaur DNA to make even more effective soldiers, which he labeled ‘Type Four’. These were humans—mostly criminal volunteers and a few unwilling subjects—injected with the bird/dinosaur DNA. He and his type threes and fours became the Varacet. He recorded everything he would need to know in case he lost his memory and injected himself with an overdose of this, becoming the leader of his monsters. He deemed himself the ‘Perfect Type Five’.
“The other scientist, however, predicted this. He stole whatever was left and he left to create his own organization. He knew it was against the law, but also knew that, without his help, there would be no way to stop the Varacet. He theorized that the reptilian DNA stabilized the subjects while the bird DNA drove them insane. So he tried pure reptile/dinosaur DNA. The result was David. He was cold-hearted and almost a killer himself. But if you got to know him, he had a heart and was good natured.
“He was labeled ‘Type Alpha’, our strongest of the strong. He was a human, like most of us. He, however, had lost his memory. Again, like most of us. The scientist continued his research, injecting small amounts of Bird DNA. Eventually, he gained the perfect result, Types ‘Beta’ and ‘Epsilon’. Type Beta is humans who willingly chose to undergo the procedure. Like me. Type Epsilon is those who are grown from birth. Injected into things like baby rats and evolve into what they become. Both are about equal in power.
“The thing is, we stay at about the same power levels. It’s not a problem we can fix. The only way to keep moralities and humanity is to set our power levels. We start out MUCH stronger than any Varacet. But they slowly become stronger over time. Their ferocity, their instincts, makes them pure monsters. Every day they live, they become slightly more powerful. But even so, their power is far lower than ours, in most cases. The growth is also fairly slow; it would take years for any of them to match us.
“We’ve been fighting them for some time, now. About seven years, give or take. I’ve been around for about five of those years. The good scientist has managed to make is so that 70% of the volunteers retain their memories from before the procedure. But, just in case, they are given the chance to record whatever pieces of their previous lives they want to remember, just in case. For if they are told something, nine of out ten will remember it.”
“What happened to you?”
“I was amongst the other thirty. From what I’m told, I volunteered because I wanted to lose memories of my past, apparently tragic. I recorded only what I wished to know and remembered just that. Which ended up being just about a year or two before I underwent the procedure. I guess I really had been through some pretty bad times. I, however, have no wish to remember them. If I forgot them, there was a reason I did.
“Anyway, back to the matter at hand: There is something very disturbing about your encounter at the bar: Like I said, David was our strongest fighter. I am considered one of our strongest and still was out of his league. None of their members should have been able to touch him, not even if he was defending you, Sarah. So there are three very disturbing questions that need to be answered fast, but that I know you cannot give the answers to:
“One: Why did David let himself die? I seriously doubt he would just be killed by members that weak. He must have either been severely weakened by something, or let himself be stricken down. So the question remains: Why?
“Two: Why are the Varacet after you? What significance could you possibly hold to them? I admit I get a strange feeling about you, but this is far beyond normal circumstances. According to the scientist, there are some rogues who lost their memories after their tests and roamed the land. We find them every once and a while. These are the usual Varacet targets as well. But you are different. You feel different and you were given things those others never had. Also, your age of memory loss is too early. It is vital we find out why they are after you, for your safety.
“But the third is the most vital question of all: Why, in the name of the dinosaurs, did they let you go? They are ruthless and never give up. They will hunt their target down until they capture or kill that target. They have never stopped. This is more of a concern than any others. They were there. The only one to stop them had been killed. They knew that you were their target. So why did they just give up and leave? Until we have this answer, all of our lives are in danger.”
“By the way, whatever happened to your accent,” Sarah asks, lightening the mood a little.
“Oh, that? When I feel like being casual, I am really causal—casual clothin’ like what I’ve got on,” he pauses, showing them his gray long-sleeved hooded jacket and his black sweatpants, “an’ how I talk, amongst other things. There’s really no accent at all. I just feel like speakin’ casually, so, well, I do. When I get serious, I speak more formal. When formality is needed, I also do allow myself to be more formal. ‘Course, not having a good income, I still wear the same clothing.”
The two sigh at this explanation, but Steven again interrupts the mood. “‘Fraid to tell ya this, but d’ya know how I told ya that we have basically a sixth sense? That we can detect each other’s presence? Well, even without me, they could probably find you, Sarah, so I’m sorry to report wherever you were plannin’ to hide will not be safe. Oh, and speakin’ of that matter, they’re gettin’ closer. I recommend we run. I know of a place where their senses cannot penetrate; we will not be found there. Pack what ya need; you’ve got ‘bout three minutes ‘til they come here. Which means that if ya wait ‘til the last second, we’ll have to take the emergency stairs. So the quicker, the better.”
Sarah packs a few things before following Steven out the door, along with Richard. “Sorry t’ drag ya into this, Richey, but you really wanna come with us; ‘doubt you would enjoy gettin’ your heart ripped out.”
“Don’t worry. I told my boss that I’d protect Sarah until she’s definitely safe. She isn’t safe right now, or, at least, not to my satisfaction.”
“‘Guess that I should be offended by that, but don’t worry; I understand. Ya can’t trust me yet; for all you know, I’m lying and am actually a homicidal maniac out to kill ya.”
When the three leave the building, they head for a car, at which point, Steven asks, “We need t’ get outta ‘ere fast. We have no car, ‘les you have one parked nearby.” He pauses and watches as they shake their heads. “I could outrun them by myself, but not with you to worry about. They only way we’re gonna have a chance is if we use a car.”
“So, basically, you are asking if we should break into a car and hotwire it?” Richard asks, met with a nod from Steven.
“No other way t’ do it. You’re the law officer; d’ya think we can borrow it?”
Richard is faced with a dilemma, but eventually agrees that it would be best.
Steven breaks the window open, entering the car and urging Richard and Sarah into the back seat. But instead of hotwiring the car, Steven rips into his skin and removes a small pick-like bone.
“Sorry that I forgot t’ warn ya ‘bout that. But hotwiring takes too long. This is much quicker,” he tells them, inserting the pick into the keyhole. Richard laughs at how he believes that will not work, but to his amazement, the car starts. “We have some pretty abnormal powers, remember? Bone picks can fit into practically any keyhole an’ pick the lock.”
Flooring it, Steven dodges traffic and heads for the outskirts of Boston, heading for a large forest outside. “We’re gonna violate a dozen laws by the end of the day, but ‘tis better than facing five of their brutes. Even I can’t handle that kind o’ force.”
Richard lets out a shrug; he is a police officer and, if he was doing his job, should have arrested Steven for questioning. But the circumstances, he knows, are far from ordinary, so he just lets it be.
“We’re gonna be there in a few minutes, but we’ll have t’ walk for a while. I had forgotten how normal humans are slower, so we’ll have t’ make do with your speed.”
“How long will we stay in that safe zone?”
“‘Couple hours, at the least. ‘Could be up t’ two days before they give up. But we should be safe by next mornin’. I’d say night, but that’s when those vultures are at their prime. ‘Tis when they attacked yesterday, no?”
“Agreed. As long as there are proper supplies.”
“Don’t worry. There are enough supplies there t’ last a small army for a week. We’re only three in number an’ it’s gonna be a lot less than a week.”
“Where do we go after that?”
“‘Could go to my HQ. You’d be safe there. If they attack full-force t’ try an’ get you back, we eliminate them then and there. Likewise, they probably aren’t that stupid and won’t even try. But we need to rest for a while; we’ve gotta go to the dessert first.”
The car pulls over at a small forest park, where Steven urges them to get out. “Don’t worry,” he comments, “This area also has ways t’ dissipate our scent. They won’t find us. Never have, never will.”
With his urging, the two leave the car and follow Steven into the forest. “We’ll rest ‘til tomorrow and then head out. The forest greets them nicely; the mid-afternoon weather produces a nice, warm environment inside the evergreen forest. The damp air keeps them fairly comfortable; every one of them feels at ease. Tensions that had been in Sarah and Richard’s hearts have faded; their pulses have returned to normal as their minds relax. They quell their thirst with the water spring inside of the little forest, relieved and refreshed. Steven shows them the food storage as well.
“While most of our people are pure carnivores now, we do still possess the ability to eat vegetables. Some of us enjoy it. Not me, but others do. Likewise, there’s plenty of vegetables for ya if you don’t like meat.”
The two choose their meals and eat them within a few minutes, then talk a little more with Steven. They really have nothing else to do; with light still shining through it is impossible to get to sleep until later.
“So, Steven, how exactly did you know all of that information that I only told the people at the police station?”
“I have increased hearing. Combined with a little child’s toy that amplifies hearing through walls and the proper height, I could hear ya. Sorry t’ spy on ya, but ‘twas just following orders.”
“I see. About how many of you are there?”
‘Oh, I dunno. Probably ‘couple thousand. But most of us are across the world. There are no more than five-hundred in this area of the United States, less than two hundred at the base. Our numbers are slowly increasin’, but the Varacet have double our number in this area of the United States. ‘Course their numbers aren’t double what ours are, but they focus most of their force ‘round the US.”
“What are their numbers exactly, then?”
“Again, I dunno. Probably ‘bout the same as ours. But they are growin’ faster than us. They have the advantage of both getting criminal volunteers as well as abductin’ people. Eventually, they probably will have double our numbers. We hope t’ take ‘em down before then. The government is a slight help; we do have a few friends there still. But even so, we’re slowly losin’ the fight. We need help; we need a miracle. For all we know, you could be that hope. Or maybe you’re just another case.”
“We’ll just have to wait and see, right?” Sarah speaks up, guessing how he’d finish.
The three exchange some more information about each other and the events happening, eventually waiting for sundown. When the sun’s brilliant orange colors vanished into the blue night sky, the three fell asleep, hoping to be ready for the next day…