Dancing fingers

Kahasai

United States

I'm 17
I like to dream

Homeschooled
Maybe a fool

Trampolinist
and classical guitarist

Archer
Let us barter

Mountain girl
I like burl

River otter
Viking daughter

Wolfdog owner
Forest roamer

I'm no fighter
But I am a writer

Message to Readers

Finale! I still welcome feedback. I'm always learning, and no story is perfect.

Midnight Child

June 18, 2018

    There was nothing out there except hard-packed desert, a dead woman, and a humanoid creature who silently crouched beneath a scrubby bush. The creature gazed at the woman with unnaturally large eyes, long hair falling around her face. With her midnight-colored skin and the leaves rustling on her spine and shoulders, she was nearly invisible in the night.
    A thought twirled through her head. I'm a monster. She shuddered and pressed herself into the bush, unable to tear her gaze away from the lifeless body.
    "Nixie!" Devon's voice echoed across the time-worn desert. The sudden noise lodged itself into the cracks of the dried earth and whipped into her head, startling her.
    Devon ... Why's he here? She struggled to remember. He needed to go to town. I wanted to wander the desert while I waited for him to return.
    The creature unfolded herself and stood. Quickly, but silently, she crossed the desert toward the road where a pickup truck waited. Devon leaned against the door, gazing upward as if he had nothing better to do than just stare at the stars.
    She hesitated just beyond his sight, gravel digging into her bare feet. He won't like me anymore if he learns I'm a monster. She curled her toes for a moment, then crawled into the back of the pickup truck. "I'm here," she whispered, resisting the urge to glance into the space where the woman lay.
    Devon turned towards her, not seeming surprised at her sudden appearance. "Ready to go?" he asked. Nixie nodded. His penetrating gray eyes continued to watch her.
    Her breath hitched. He knows.
    
Then he turned and pulled himself into the driver's seat. The truck rumbled to life and soon they were on the road.
    Nixie sagged with relief, then lifted her face to the wind, her hair snapping behind her. For a single, glass-ensnared moment, she had freedom.
    Then she remembered the woman. Monster. Murderer. She shuddered and fingered the wooden scar on her chest. What was the woman's name? She couldn't remember. She had a hard time remembering much of anything. It was a side effect from all those drugs. Drugs. She retreated from the wind and curled into herself, remembering the bright room with the table. A cold, metal table meant for holding people. Devon convinced them to let me go, even after seeing what they did to me.
    The truck slowed, then turned onto a smaller, bumpier road, rattling Nixie out of her thoughts. Dust billowed into the air and caught in her throat. She coughed and clapped a hand over her nose and mouth.
    The truck slowed to a stop in front of a squat house with a wraparound porch. Nixie remained in the truck. Devon gave her an odd look, but went to unlock the house. 
    The metal of the truck had turned cold. Like the table in the bright room. There were a lot of people there. People in long white coats, as if they were trying to appear clean.
    Remnant smells of dinner wafted through the air. She sighed. She could remember the day they gave her photosynthesis. They had been so happy. They wanted to reduce food consumption.
    She didn't like photosynthesis. She enjoyed eating, she didn't like drinking copious amounts of water, and she preferred to not have leaves grow from her blueish skin. I feel like a plant.
    They had also wanted to save her. Her eyes widened as she remembered. By altering your cells, you can now compartmentalize injuries and grow calluses around them. She fingered the wood on her chest again. The woman had told her that.
    Guilt flooded through her. She shook her head, trying to rid herself of the tears that had begun to form, but the memory of the woman's shocked face loomed like a mirage. She squeezed her eyes shut.
    "Nixie?"
    She jolted, her head snapping up. Devon leaned over the side of the truck, brow more wrinkled than usual. "What's wrong?"
    Her lips quivered. "I killed her," she whispered. "It--it was an accident, I swear!" I hadn't remembered that she saved me--only that she experimented on me.
    Devon's brows shot up. "Who? When?"
    "Dr. Jane." She remembered her now: Dr. Jane was the head scientist, the one who'd put the idea of a biologically-engineered human into action. "I was just exploring when she appeared! She scared me, I grabbed a rock and--I didn't mean to hit her so hard!" She probably didn't even know I was there.
    "Show me," Devon commanded. Nixie stood, legs shaking. They hopped into the front of the truck and returned to the desert. It took her barely a minute to find Dr. Jane's body. Nixie stood back from the body, still trembling.
    The corpse groaned. Nixie jumped back with a yelp.
    Devon sighed. "She isn't dead." He bent and lifted Dr. Jane up. "Help me," he grunted. "We need to get her to a hospital."

    Four hours later, Nixie and Devon sat in the truck heading home. Dr. Jane was safe at the closest hospital--nearly three hours away--and had still been unconscious when they left her.
    "Nixie," Devon said slowly, "Why didn't you tell me you 'killed' her?"
    Nixie looked down at her inky hands. "I thought you'd kick me out of home," she whispered. "I'm a monster."
    He sighed, eyes fixed to the road ahead. "Nixie, if I hadn't wanted to take care of you, I wouldn't have taken you in in the first place."
    "But I attacked Dr. Jane."
    "You saved her by telling me, just as she saved you. You aren't a monster, you're Nixie. My midnight child."
    That quieted any further protest.
    "Now," he added, "next time you kill someone, please tell me as soon as possible, okay?"
    She smiled wanly. A memory rose out of the foggy banks of her brain: Dr Jane smiling. You won't always be the only biologically altered human; you're just the first.
    You aren't a monster.



 
This image inspired the "midnight-colored skin": Child of Shadows

Please, tell me what you think!

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2 Comments
  • Kahasai

    Thank you! And glad to hear from you, ARS7.


    over 1 year ago
  • AbigailSauble

    Very well done! This totally deserves to win! :)


    over 1 year ago