Tuesday, July 30th
She's sitting on the edge of her seat.
She's not nervous. She's literally sitting on the edge. Her blond hair is pulled into a half-hearted ponytail, little wisps of feather light locks fall around her face. I haven't seen her in three weeks, and it seems unnatural for her to have lost so much weight, but she's even skinnier than I remember.
Liz is a fighter. She's never sat back and watched anyone else take the reins. I have to admit, over the years I've questioned where her heart is, but I can see now that she's a person. She's not just a Mind Breaker. She's scared and alone, and she needs to know it will all be okay.
As Cain and I are exiting the treatment room, Liz is sitting outside the door. I can only assume she's been waiting for her turn. I was informed that the other Mind Breakers are receiving the same radiation therapy that I am, but they aren't sharing the same easy recovery. Liz looks tired, but I'm not sure if it's because of the cure they've come up with or just general weariness from being held against her will. Or... it could be because of Tom.
I wonder if they've found him.
I want to speak to her, but I'm afraid to ask Cain if he'll stall for us. He did it once for Jack and me, but the one time I saw Amos Cain rushed us through the hall as if speaking would jeopardize something crucial. Just to test the water, I slow my pace and force him to turn around to make eye contact with me.
He follows my gaze as it travels to Liz, and he knows.
"Take a seat, Denni," he instructs me. "I need to speak with someone. Don't move. I'll be watching."
He tries to sound a lot more menacing than he actually is, but I know the true nature of Cain by now. At first, I was afraid of his giant frame and scarred features, but I've come to realize that the true nature of people is found on the inside. After all, every Mind Breaker I've met was a true person inside and out.
I just wish the rest of the world could see that as well.
Liz doesn't notice when I take a seat next to her. I'm sure she knows I'm here, but she refuses to look up from the floor. Her eyes are set on the tiles. I nudge her gently in the side, and she sighs to acknowledge me. There's one guard standing outside the office Cain just disappeared through. He's not paying much attention to us, so I take a chance and whisper as low as humanly possible.
"I've seen Jack and Amos," I tell her. "They were fine as of last week."
Liz takes another breath. This time in relief. I see her close her eyes and continue to breathe slow and deep.
"Have they... have you gone in yet?" I ask.
She nods once. Then mutters, "This is my last round."
"Mine, too. How do you feel?"
I understand completely. Before, when I still had MB1 in my system, I felt the effects of mind control throughout my entire body. I could sense emotions at the highest level, feeling everything others felt around me, as well as have a deeper sense of my own feelings. I've yet to try controlling anything, but I know that will be gone too. My ability to manipulate minds and move objects has seen its last days. But I don't really mind. I've known a life before being a Mind Breaker. It's the others I worry about. They've never known anything else. Liz and the rest of the Original Seven were volunteered at birth for a drug trial that was supposed to guarantee intelligence, but it changed their lives. The control they've always known is now something they're going to have to learn to live without. I can't imagine how their bodies are reacting from the radiation and the counter drug.
It's gotta be hell feeling absolutely nothing for the first time in your life.
"I need to tell you something," Liz speaks softly. "It's about Oliver."
I lean closer so she won't have to raise her voice. "Are they looking for him, too?"
"No. He's not who you think. He's—"
Cain appears again from the office and interrupts us before Liz can finish her confession. He pulls me from my seat a little forcefully, probably to show his authority in front of the other guard. I give him a pleading expression, but he holds a poker face. Liz watches us travel down the hall, her eyes falling back to the floor once we turn the corner.
"She was going to tell me something important," I rile at Cain.
He lets himself show a bit of sympathy. "I'm sorry. I couldn't give you much time. It's getting harder to let things slip around here. But I've heard some good news."
"You'll have a bit more freedom once their done administering the cure. They figure if you don't have your power, you're not much of a threat anymore."
I look to the metal bracelet around Cain's wrist. It's magnetic and meant to deter us from using our control. "I thought they had that covered," I let out in contempt.
He sees where my eyes have landed on the bracelet and gives me a curt nod. "They're still scared, Denni. They're covering all the bases."
"Are you scared?" I ask.
"Of course," he admits, "but not as much with you."
I like to think he's paying me a compliment, but it stings to hear him confess such fears. If he's afraid of the other Mind Breakers, he should be just as afraid of me. I'm no different. Not really.
"Is it because you trust me?"
He swallows. "I do. And I trust the others too. It's just..." We're at my room, so he stops to unlock the door. "I know what happened to Nathan wasn't his fault. He couldn't help it. Losing control isn't something any of you expect, but it happens."
I know what he's trying to say. Cain thinks I've got a better grip on my abilities than the others. He's afraid that one of them will eventually slip and aim their loss of control in his direction. After learning that our gift is also our flaw, the wait to go crazy has taken up camp at the front of all our minds. We know it's possible. The control that allows us to manipulate others is beginning to backfire. Nathan and Makenna were the first to show signs. Eventually, we'll all go crazy. But maybe this cure will actually work.
After today, our powers will be a distant memory.
After today, no one will have to be afraid anymore.
YOU ARE READING
Instead of This (Book 3 of The Mind Breaker Accounts)Science Fiction
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Before reading this, I encourage you to go back and read the first two books in the series. They are available in print and ebook formats via Amazon. Book 1 - Without Me. Book 2- Because of This. I will be uploading those on Wattpa...