When We Were Saviors

By @ZoeAmber
When We Were Saviors

We are SPCTER Agents. Human, but just barely. Born with gifts and trained for combat against the villans that torment this city and the world. The things I have seen are terrible. The things I have done are worse. But worst of all, I'm starting to forget who the true villains are. A new teaser is available in Chapter 9.

Chapter 10

Origin Story #3: Part 2

I look around the entire cell thinking my eyes deceive me, my heart racing. I tap my fingerprint to the scanner by the entry gate and instantly shut it the second I’m inside her cell.

“Inmate, show yourself.” I demand, my voice beating off of the walls. No sign of her as I whirl my head around the cell. “That’s an order!”

In the amount of time it had taken to enter her cell, she had become visible again, sitting silently on her bed without me noticing. But now her energy has changed. She sits with her hands in fists on her lap, shoulders tight, her eyes shut and squinted like she’s afraid I may strike her.

“Well, that was freaky.” I laugh cautiously. Wishing I could erase the last few moments.

“You know, when your whole body disappeared.” The inmate’s body language relaxes and presses her back up against the wall again.

“It’s a reflex.” She replies, her voice emotionless. “Just forget it even happened.”

“Ok, yes. Right. I can do that.” I say breathlessly. “Forget that you can… turn invisible… any time you want.”

She turns to me and throws me another glare. “Should I ask for another guard? You seem pretty unqualified.”

“No! Model employee, remember?” I ask as I walk back out and lock her cell, clasping my hands together. “You can’t do that! I need this assignment to go well so I can get out of this hell hole.”

“And do what? Graduate from being a sh***y CO so you can go be a sh***ier cop?” She says, perching a hand under her chin, some extra mustard spread thickly on the word “cop”.

“What? How did you know?” I ask, bewildered. “Are you a psychic too?”

“NO.” She yells in irritation. “You’re just incredibly dumb and easy to read.”

“Oof, really? ‘Cause you had me convinced.” I say, shaking my head in disbelief.

“At least tell me you want to become a cop because of your own personal beliefs and not just because your dad was a cop or something.” She asks, an expression of pity on her face.

“Ok.” I throw my arms up in denial and shake my head again. “You’re starting to freak me out again.”

She smacks a hand onto her forehead. “Boy, we gotta get you some real personality traits.”

“What’s wrong with cops?” I probe, expecting some harsh words coming from a criminal.

“Everything? They’re cruel and power hungry and the don’t care about what’s right and wrong and…”The inmate says, turning away from me. She takes a deep breath and lets the silence churn around between us before finishing. 

“And you wouldn’t understand. Cops don’t take kindly to people like me.”

It’s true. Ever since the population of gifted citizens has spiked, hostility between the two groups has as well. 

“Because you robbed a bank?” I add, sneaking closer to her turned back.

“Will you-” She turns back to me, her face inches from mine and stops, only the acrylic separating us. There’s a bizarre moment between us as I search her eyes for anything she might be hiding from me but find nothing except the same golden brown flecks in her hazel irises under her long brown eyelashes.

“No, not because they think I’m guilty,” She says, her eyes shifting from wide to narrowed and pulling at her white shirt. “but purely because of who and what I am.”

“Oh come on, surely they can’t all be like that.” I ask, desperately trying to lighten the mood. “There must still be some good cops out there.”

Her eyes relax and she looks me up and down a few times with a certain indecisive look. “Jury’s still out.”

• • • •

The next few days passed uncomfortably leading up to her trial. Her meals and clean sets of clothes would come and go, she would be taken to meet with her lawyer in a different wing of the penitentiary and she was separately transported every second day to bathe. I was doing my job well enough, and she was an easy inmate to keep. But something about her situation was off. Not only about the grounds of her arrest, but her time spent at Battery Hill as well. I’d take a shift for 12 hours and some other CO would take the next 12. When I’d return in the morning, she’d be standoffish, guarded and sleep most of the day. I could slap the same label over her case just as easy any one else has. Poor, in trouble and desperate. No contest. For most, this equation was easier to follow along with, than to challenge. So no one ever did. Instead, the public chooses to file them away in a place like this. Out of sight, out of mind.

I enter the ISO unit and take the same amount of steps down the hall as I always do. When I reach the halfway point, the sound of my steps mix in with the other CO’s, Anderson. He rounds the corner with the signature toothpick pinched in between his teeth and a fake grin slapped across his face.

“Awful clumsy that one, better keep a good eye on it.” He says, his voice drenched in a slimy, slow southern drawl.

I stop, frozen. I hadn’t known Anderson had been put on this case, whether by chance or deliberately, due to his backward distaste for gifted citizens. He always had a hot temper, something no inmate had ever had a chance to avoid. He’d abused even the toughest and scariest inmates like they were middle school bullies. But gifted people, no matter the level of offence, they were his bread and butter.

He shoots me a look but I keep quiet, my feet firmly planted on the smooth concrete floor. My eyes trail his slow movements until he gets far enough out of earshot.

Rushing into the area by her cell, she is absent from sight. I press my finger against it’s entry gate and the cell door opens with a loud buzz. She is nowhere to be seen, but I notice something. The faint, yet lingering scent of damp hair, coming from somewhere in here, somewhere I just don’t see yet.

“It’s alright now,” I whisper, my voice shaking as I look around the empty cell. “He’s gone.”

She hesitates for a moment, but her body reappears on the floor. She lies on her back, trying to pull air into her tired lungs, her breath catching and her long hair still wet from her recent shower, now sprawled across the hard acrylic floor. Large bruises forming on her body, old and new, appearing one by one, arms, legs, chest, throat. Worst of all, her right eye. Now starting to close from the swelling.

My stomach tightens as I lean over her broken body. Her once sparkling hazel eyes, now dark and dismal from the pain. The furniture in the cell is overturned and some parts badly broken, making me wonder if she had tried to fight back. She seems like a fighter.

“I’m gonna try to pick you up, okay?” I ask, my voice still brittle and shaken. She nods her head and grimaces, trying to blink away the tears forming in her eyes. Slowly, I slip one of my hands under her back, the other under her legs and she curls a bruised arm around my neck. Gently lifting her, she groans, gripping my uniform dress shirt. 

Eventually, I take the steps toward her bed and lower her back down onto it, laying her head gently against her pillow and slowly letting her legs straighten out. 

“Why didn’t you fight back?” I ask, now kneeling aside her, remembering Anderson walking away without a single scratch on him. The better question being how had I not noticed? She opens her mouth but only a wheeze comes out as she wraps a hand around her neck, the slightly bruised outline of Anderson’s fingerprints beginning to form on the skin.

“He wants to tell the prosecution that I’m a hostile gifted citizen so they will add it to the case.” She starts again, her voice rough. “But he can’t do it without proper cause.”

I can’t help but huff out a laugh in amazement as I smooth a strand of her hair off of her face. “You’ve spent the last few days taking hits from an overgrown man child with the emotional age of an 11-year-old and you haven’t thrown a single punch?” She shakes her head slightly with a puzzled look. “Jeeze, screw being a cop, I wanna be you when I grow up.”

She joins me in a soft laugh, not anything too arduous for her, before we share another quiet moment. Gazing into each other’s eyes, a thought comes to mind.

“You didn’t rob that bank did you?” I ask, the question spewing out of me before I’d even knew it.

She takes a sharp, deep breath in like she can finally breathe again and her eyes flick between mine.

“No.” She answers, her brows creased in relief. “I didn’t.”

“Tell me what happened.” I plead.

She nods, trying to clear her throat. “I was with two others like me in the back of our getaway van. Mimic, a girl, could shift into any person she got a good look at, and the new kid we called Mercury, a boy, that was with us had the ability to manipulate metal. I was close to getting out of their group and almost out of trouble for good. This was supposed to be my last play. They told me that the site was a money laundering situation, that we were technically doing the right thing. A take from the rich, give to the poor sort of thing. There weren’t supposed to be any civilians involved. No one was going to get hurt. We get in, we get out.”

She stops for a moment, closing her eyes and opening them again.

“But when I stepped out of the back of the van, someone shoves a contraband gun in my hand and that’s when I see the bank. It was broad daylight in the middle of the city, swarming with civilians. I freaked out, made a run for it, thought I’d try to lay low for a while. But then the cops bust my apartment, find $500,000 worth of stashed cash with serial numbers matching the stolen bills. They get a warrant out and take me in. The interrogator shows me a surveillance video from inside the bank that shows me robbing it even though I never set foot inside. Mimic and I worked together for a long time, she could shift into me without lifting a finger. After I bailed she likely didn’t want to leave it up to chance.”

After she finishes, I try to re-absorb the information and process it. I think about what Dad might have thought, what sticks out? What doesn’t quite fit? I think about it and finally a thought hits me.

“Your gift. What about your gift?!” I say, my voice growing in volume as I rise to sit at the foot of her bed.

“What?” She asks with a puzzled look on her face.

“If you had actually been there, and used your gift at the robbery, you’d be completely hidden from the civilians and on cameras, right?” I ask. “Then why would you deliberately choose not to use your gift if ‘you’ were there?”

“If I was there, I would have, but even though she used my face, she can’t use my gift…” She says, her excitement building as she tries to sit up. “…because she needed my face to be on the surveillance tape to frame me for the robbery!”

“Yes!” I answer triumphantly.

The two of us instinctively stretch in to hug but stop short in an awkward stance. She withdraws her arms, but her expression softens.

“You cracked it.” She asks with an honest smile. “How?”

“You told me over and over that you were innocent. I guess, I just finally decided to listen.” I answer, reciprocating with a smile.

“Well, we’re not out of the woods yet.” She says, the sparkle in her hazel eyes returning. “I still need to get the judge to listen too.”

“Hey,” I say. “Just now, you said what everyone else’s codename was. What do they call you?”

“It’s not even clever.” She answers, avoiding eye contact.

“Oh come on. I figured it out, I think you at least owe me this.”

“Glass.” She rolls her eyes. “They used to call me Glass.”

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