The Aberration #1
Genetics, radioactive spiders, mutation following tainted energy drinks. No one knows what triggered teens to suddenly get powers. Abilities emerge, first sought, then destroying lives with only one link between those effected. Their birthdays all end in double zeroes.
Riley Weston wished he could be an awkward kid in high school, but life had other plans. The aberration laws made all around him suspect until the wheel of fate turned to point her arrow at him.
At first, being labeled an aberration would get you locked away for the greater good. When it was discovered children born in the year two-thousand are the only ones getting powers, no one is immune. Even if your powers have yet to emerge. The government is set on owning all those in possession abilities.
For Riley, a camp, ran by aberrations, hides, trains, and keeps them safe. But the world wants their powers. To meld them into a force no army could defeat. Riley, and those like him, now walk the world scared, angry and afraid. Which is not the combo you want with unlimited powers.
Can Riley learn to control his gift before outside forces find him? Or before inside sources give away more than just him, but the whole camp.
BUY THE BOOK
“I don’t know where he is. He ran away almost two months ago.”
My mother’s voice carried through our home as it always did when it was firm. Growing up I never had to question if I was in trouble. She didn’t believe in yelling at me, no, the shift and tone was more than enough to let anyone know they had crossed a line. Hushed tones and secrets were not her style. Your place was known from the moment her mouth opened.
Currently she was talking through a small crack she allowed in the door. I was cowering in a safe room she had put together. Watching her on a small black and white security camera she had set up giving me both interior and exterior views with little more than a click of a remote. Though right now focusing on her and not the man on our porch seemed more important.
Having cops coming to the door and asking for your child had to be any mother’s nightmare. But reality didn’t allow for those to stay tucked away in the subconscious. Sadly the world had shifted in the last few years and what my mother may have once seen as horrible unlikelihood if she raised me right, now had become a reality.
“Ma’am, we know he’s here. We’ve had multiple sightings. I have a warrant to search the property.” The fingers of the cop’s hand curled around the edge of the door. With every inch his fingers crept I couldn’t help feeling as if they were reaching around my neck, choking off my oxygen and causing the small room to become more so as the walls tightened around me.
My mom took a step back and allowed him to enter, but one hand was raised to stop him while the other demanded to see the paperwork he too easily provided to her. The trained legal eyes reviewing the warrant allowed me a small burst of hope knowing any loophole would be ceased on without haste. I watched as her finger traced the finely typed document that was a carbon copy of every other warrant issued over the last three years. They didn’t even need to have a judge’s signature anymore. He probably pulled up school records, typed my name, age and address and printed it off in his squad car.
As an attorney, my mom, had fought the segregation laws. They were enacted out of fear, which meant they were quick, severe and in her mind too broad and sweeping. When the executions started, she built this room to keep me safe. To tuck me away from the world until she could somehow save me from the fate determined to me by the arbitrary nature of my birth. Simple, uncontrollable and yet damning in a way.
Right now we are so close to escape, we have tickets to leave the country, illegally, because movement around the world had slowed for fear of someone like me. The danger to society because of nothing more than a twist of fate. I was born in the wrong year; the year two-thousand. The year that everyone saw as a new beginning. We just never knew that beginning would take form in our bodies.
All the kids I went to school with had gotten it. First thought of as gifts, then feared by those who could never possess the powers. Visions, force fields, laser beam eyes. I had what was considered the most dangerous affliction. Mind control. They called me a pusher. If I ever were to be caught I’d be on the FBI, CIA and ten other letter organizations most wanted once they knew my power.
Not that I’d perfected it. If I had that cop would be at a donut shop right now thinking he had searched our house so thoroughly, he’d know the smell of our soap.
I curled deeper into the corner. My arms surrounding my legs, legs that had decided they’d grow at an accelerated rate. Teen years were supposed to be a mix of freeing and wonky all at the same time. I was awkward enough as it was, but now I had this stupid ability that made it so even my own kind didn’t trust me.
The Aberrations, the most feared creature on the planet.
Everyone said being a teenager would be awesome, but instead of worrying about getting cut from a varsity sport and taking drivers ED, I’m learning how to make illegal documents seem legit to get past border patrol.
The heavy footsteps of the officer tromping through the house sent a chill down my spine. Intellectually I knew this false room was constructed well, but I could still feel my body shaking. Who’s to say that the guy who built it, wasn’t the one who ‘sighted’ me.
Closing my eyes tight I tried to find a place of balance. Instead the screams came back to me from Turner when he was pulled from the classroom. We were sitting in eighth grade Algebra when a SWAT team burst through the doors.
It was strange, we’d all been jealous of him being the first in our class to shave. Then his parents called the state hotline fearing for their life because he’d short circuited the house one day. They’d changed the channel from 86th and Park when Ludone was about to give the day’s top five videos. Turner flipped out, which he’d probably done a thousand times before, but his powers emerged, and he’s been gone ever since. No one knew if he’d been killed or put into a camp. It was early into the shift, the discovery of a new form of human.
The tremors started that day. I still remember the looks from everyone when I started to cry from the loud noises. The worst was the thought I could be next, I hadn’t tapped into any powers, but the fear remained I would be taken away. At that point no one knew what caused the emergence. Was it just in children? Was there a food that had been infected? Water? Once an Aberration was discovered in a town or school swarms of new people arrived. Some wanting to consume or touch whatever had brought about the change. Other to test. Until it spread to the point they could no longer lock down an area.
Movement on the monitor caught my attention as another cop stood in the doorway. His hands resting on his belt, the snap holding his gun in its holster undone. I could see it bent against the outside of his right hand. His left hand came to the radio on his right shoulder.
“621 here.” His voice echoed through the vents rattling me more than the threats to my mother.
A garbled voice crackled over the radio. “621 we need you to check out the abandoned Kid’s Club on 40th.”
“Kowalski, you find anything?” he yelled up the stairway.
A single tap worked its way down the hallway. With each echoing thump my heart pounded, and I could feel the blood rushing to my head. I tried to focus, but my hands were shaking too much, causing me to release them from their grip. Clutching my calves again I closed my eyes and tried the biofeedback breathing my dad made me learn when I was seven.
It was supposed to calm my nerves and lower my heart rate. Instead my eyes flashed even though they were closed tight to block out the world. The tapping was getting closer. We had placed a dresser on the door so it wouldn’t sound hollow, but it didn’t matter how many times I’d tested it I was still scared that an empty part would get hit.
“Vic. Ya hear me.”
The tapping stopped. “Seems clear.”
My eyes fixed on my mom, the black and white image on the screen before me still reading the warrant.
“I told you.” I’d hate to play poker with my mother. She never showed an ounce of fear.
The heavy footsteps went back down the stairs and the officer stepped past my mother then turned back to her. “Ms. Weston, we will be back. That’s an open-ended warrant.”
“These aren’t going to hold up in the higher courts,” she countered.
“Well, lucky for me, I can execute them until the higher court actually rules.” The smugness oozed from him as if he had no limits to his power.
“Do you have children Officer Kowalski?”
“Four, but mine are human,” he sneered.
The door closed and I saw mom rearming the security system. She walked into the living room and sat down. Flipping the channel to make sure I saw what she did next because I knew why she acted as if the man invading our home was little more than an annoyance to her daily routine. Truthfully we never knew how long they’d watch the house after they left. It could be thirty minutes, or we could get a full detail for thirty days. Who’s to say if they hadn’t planted a bug somewhere. I should have been following the man with our cameras instead of being balled up like a two-year-old.
With him gone I uncurled from the corner and stretched. The twin size bed I was stuck with meant I would need to put my feet on the floor if I wanted a real stretch. At least we got one of the long ones, but I still barely fit. I was gangly. One of the joys of being a pencil neck geek I suppose. I sat with my back against the wall, watching my mom on the screen. She was folding the clothes that had been in the basket by the sofa.
Her fingers moved under a pillowcase and I leaned in to make sure I caught every gesture. My aunt Cindy was deaf, so I’d grown up learning sign language. Curled fingers and angles meant so much to me. Mom was telling me that she loved me and would be bringing me spaghetti in an hour.
Snagging my pillow I put it behind my head and rested. The tight space made it easy for me to snag the tickets hidden in my room because they were evidence we were trying to escape. If they found me there would be no reason for them anyway. The plan was, fly to Canada, then on to India, not the fastest way, but the way with the least checkpoints from all the dark web research we’d done. The printed tickets an oddity, but not completely unheard of in the world of smartphones. My dad had a friend from college that promised to protect us. Three layovers, and all could spell disaster. The fake passports had the name Gerard, Cooper and Sadie Lennox. I was to be Gerard. We had bought them from a family that had a normal son, one born in nineteen-ninety-eight. Families that had what were now termed contiguous kids were raking in money hand over fist. That was unless they got caught.
Many families had turned over their sons or daughters born in the five-year block, now reduced to one. If anything the contiguous kids were tortured, tested and determined right along with those from the two thousands and determined not be aberrations and therefore suspect, but not dangerous. The empathy shown by those who survived helped a bit in fighting the laws.
But those who chose to hide and protect their children needed valid ID to do so. With the internet and tracking of IDs you couldn’t just ‘fake it’ anymore. You needed to become someone who already existed. That’s where the contiguous kids came in. Those born two years prior to two-thousand or two years after depending on how your child appeared.
Being tall, I would be aged two years. Even before my condition was an issue, no one ever believed that I was the age I said. Being four foot at age five will do that to you. Everyone always thought I was two or three years older than I was.
Now I was no longer Riley Weston son of Judith and Lester Weston. I was Gerard. Gerard Lennox. At least that was the plan at this moment in time. It only took five seconds on the TV to end our hopes and send me on a different path.