Lily’s gift for healing was an amazing ability, but she wasn’t allowed to use it for fear of drawing unwanted attention. The Industry would like nothing better than to get their hands on us. EVO kids like Lily and me ended up captured, detained, and brought to the Western Desert, never to be seen again—an outcome Sam, our uncle, was determined to avoid. Lily made exceptions, of course. Her healing nature wouldn’t allow her to turn away someone in need, but she tried to keep her talents hidden. Otherwise, people from all over would track her down seeking help and she’d never have a moment’s peace. Then too, every time she did a major healing, like bringing someone back from the edge of death, the strain took a toll on her, leaving her weak for days sometimes. In some ways, her gift was probably harder to keep contained than mine.
“We’re two of a kind, aren’t we, sis?”
“Two sides of the same coin.” She smiled and sat beside me, ruffling my hair and then rubbing her knuckles across the top of my head. I winced at the biting pain. Not that I didn’t deserve it for dislocating her shoulder.
“Sorry about hurting you.”
Her face grew serious. “You have to learn to control yourself, Zeph. I understand you’re going through a lot of changes. It’ll take time and practice to figure out your limits.” A sympathetic smile passed across her face and then faded. “I want you to remember how bad it feels to hurt someone. That feeling of regret and sadness may be the only thing that stops you from acting on those urges.”
Taking in a slow, deep breath, I considered the heavy weight of guilt I carried for causing the people I cared about so much pain. “This power is not a gift, Lily; it’s a curse.” I turned away and my hair fell over my eyes.
“Only if you let it be. If you can find a way to use your ability for good—to make the world better—to help people—then you’ll see it as a gift.”
“You make it sound so easy.” I nudged her, trying to smile past the awful truth that made her words sound impossible.
She rested her head on my shoulder. “It’s not easy, Zeph. But I’m afraid it’s the only way you’ll survive.”
Medical Journal Entry-02232043
Dr. Hope Greyson, Geneticist for Industry Laboratories
I am certain that I’m dying. This pregnancy has gone from bad to worse and every day, my vital signs grow weaker and my health declines with no determinable etiology. I can only hope that Carl will be able to care for the children and protect them from the influence of the Industry. Dr. Bartholomew and his team of scientists who’ve taken control are determined to continue their experiments on the EVO carriers.
My first pregnancy seems to have been one of the few successes, but with Industry involvement, the trials have been increasingly unpredictable and dangerous for test subjects. Genetically altered fetuses are surviving the womb and are showing remarkable resistance to the pandemic virus that has spread to every continent and has reportedly taken the lives of over four billion people. The only good news is that we believe we’ve found the cure. However, distributing the vaccine will take time—precious time that we cannot afford.
Carl and I are thinking of moving into the hills with my brother Sam once the baby is born, though we avoid discussion of the likelihood that I won’t survive delivery. At least Carl will be with our beautiful little Celia, a perfect child if there ever was one. She has shown remarkable resilience during this trying time—never having been sick a day in her life. Notably, she heals miraculously fast from minor cuts or abrasions. As an active three year old, she’s prone to bumps, bruises, and scrapes, but within hours or minutes, they are completely gone without even a trace of a scar. Celia remains the brightest spot in our lives and keeps us hoping for a better future—