[Emergency. 1450, 6th street. 10-10, attempted homicide. Do you copy?]
As a little girl, she had wanted to be a paramedic, just like her daddy. It didn't pay much, he warned her, the hours were terrible, but she didn't care about either of those things. Her daddy saved lives every day, he was a true hero. He had warned her every day that if, God forbid, she did follow in her daddy's footsteps, she would see things that most people are lucky never to see in their life.
Little did he know that she would see worse than he ever had.
[I repeat: 1450, 6th street. Attempted homicide and 10-10. Unsure of any DOAs. Do you copy?]
The day her dad died was a day that never left her memory. She was twelve at the time, at her dad's house for the weekend. They were in the living room, doing what they normally did on the Saturday nights he got off: play Scrabble and watch The Simpson's. Before dinner, her daddy used to go take his medicine, a needle injected into his vein. He was always happier after his medicine, she noted, and she had no idea what it was for, but as long as her daddy was happy, that was really all that mattered, right?
[I repeat: 1450, 6th street. Attempted homicide, 10-10. Does anyone copy?]
He let her have a low-alcohol beer, only one for the weekend, when she came over to visit. She was smart enough never to tell her mom or the D.A.R.E officers at her school. It wasn't cool, it wasn't uncool. It was just what she and her father did on his Saturday's off.
And then that man came.
[1450, 6th street. Attempted homicide and 1010. Seriously, does anyone copy?!]
Ironically, she just spelled out the word 'death' using a longer word her father had made that she wasn't able to pronounce. Just as her father wrote down her score (they both knew that he gave her two extra points here and there, so it wasn't exactly a fair game), the door was kicked down, a gun drawn by a man with a bandanna covering his face and a black hat on his head.
"You owe us money, Jimmy," he said. His voice was horrible and scratchy and driven by anger. Her father got up from the couch slowly, standing tall.
Cassie didn't speak. She was too afraid, too confused. Her dad owed people money? People who were willing to kill him for it?
"Why don't you go upstairs?" her dad finished, because she hadn't replied. She stayed rooted to the spot, scared and unsure and confused. "Go upstairs!" her father suddenly shouted.
She bolted up the stairs.
[I copy. On my way to the scene.]
Cassie hid in the hallway closet. Her room would be too obvious, she was smart enough to know that. She could hear her father begging downstairs, but she wasn't sure what he was begging for. Either way, it was horrible, degrading, and scary.
No child should ever hear their father beg another man.
She screamed when her father's begs and pleas were silenced by a gun shot, the only sound after it the echo of her scream, the footsteps on the stairs, and her father gasping for breath downstairs. For a minute, her scream had seemed normal. But then she noticed the glass raining down on her from the shelf above.
She shattered a vase that had, once upon a time, belonged to her great-grandmother, or at least her father said so. Her scream echoed in her ears. Her eyes widened.
Surely no normal human could scream that loud.
[I just heard a scream and gunshot. I'll probably need back up.]
Heavy footsteps pounded up the stairs, the man's breathing harsh. Cassie clasped her hands together.
"I'm invisible. You can't hear me. You can't see me," she said. "I'm invisible. You can't hear me. You can't see me." She chanted the last attempt at life like a mantra. Her breathing became louder, and louder, and louder-
and then it stopped.
"What?" she said and thought, opening her eyes. There was no sound that admitted from her, not even her erratic breathing. Everything was completely quiet except for the man outside. Everything in the closet was deadly silent.
Her eyes widened and she looked around wildly, screaming even though it made no sound. And then she saw her hands.
Or rather, her lack of hands... and arms... and a body.
Her screaming continued as she looked at herself, only seeing the floor and walls around her, even when she put her hand against the door. She saw straight through what should have been her hand. She fumbled through the drawers in the closet, finally finding a mirror. She looked into it and saw only the wall behind her. She gaped.
What had she done to herself?
The door was yanked open, and the man stood in front of her, not two feet away, gun poised. Cassie covered her face and chest on reflex, even though she knew he could just shoot her in the leg and let her bleed out to a slow death. She saw him right through her arms, even her clothes were see-through, and it only scared her more. She shook, her breathing undetectable. The man with the gun looked into the closet, beady black eyes glaring, and then he stormed away towards the other rooms. Cassie stayed there for a minute, still unbelieving. It wasn't until she felt light headed that she realized that she had stopped breathing. She shook her head quickly and bolted down the stairs, the lack of sound around her wracked her nerves.
She jumped the last two stairs, flew down the hallway. She ran towards her father faster than she'd ever run before, feet flying soundlessly across the carpet. She collapsed next to her father's lifeless body, listened and felt for a heartbeat like he'd taught her to if she ever saw someone unmoving on the floor.
There was nothing.
[I arrived at the scene.]
Cassie bolted out of the house, running past the mailbox clearly labeled 1231. She didn't know where she was going, or if anyone could see or hear her. She just ran and ran down the lonely streets of suburban Philadelphia. She was a good hours drive away from her mother's house, but that didn't matter. After all, would her mother accept a monster like her, after what happened, after what she realized just what she could do, after she found out that she was a mutant? Tears streamed down her face, and glass cut her leg, leaving a bloody trail behind her. The pain didn't stop her. She just kept running, head spinning, body numb.
[1450, 6th Street. DOA. Female, mid-thirties, white. By the looks of it, lives with her daughter, who is nowhere to be found. I'll need some CSI's.]
[Copy that. CSI dispatched.]