Anomaly - n. (pl. anomalies)
Something that deviates from what is standard or what is normal.
Trial - n. (pl. trials)
A test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation
Zack stared at the stone gray wall across from him. His back hurt from resting against the wall for hours straight. His stomach had pangs of pain from lack of food. If anyone came in and saw him they'd think that he had been left there for dead for about a year. That's what Zack felt like at least.
There was a broken piece of mirror in the corner of the room that he looked into before, but after seeing his condition he stopped. The vision haunted him in his dreams anyway. Dirty, baggy, torn clothes wouldn't fit his muscular frame anymore. He was a few months away from being all skin and bones. His eyes were sunken, the blue was dull, and they didn't seem to hold any life in them anymore. He felt weak, weaker than he has ever felt before, but that's what happens when you're cut up from everything you've ever had. Friends, family, everything.
He still didn't know how he has survived for so long. He didn't even know if he was the last one of them left. He shook his head. He didn't want to think about it. He couldn't think about it. He flinched when the door open and bright light poured inside. He brought his thin arm up to shield his eyes from the light.
"Come with us," a gruff male voice barked before Zack felt two hands grasp his arms and pull him to his feet. Zack was dragged forward; they didn't care that he couldn't use his legs to keep up.
They brought Zack into a large room where many scientists were seated behind rows and rows of desks. The bright light mixed with the all white interior hurt Zack's eyes and made them water. The two assistants dragged Zack over to a dentist like chair and strapped him in by his wrists and ankles.
"I brought you all here to experience this wonderful scientific discovery with us," the doctor's voice boomed around the large room. "This boy is part of the Anomalies, the group of kids that we've finally managed to capture. Now, with you here to witness, we're going to find out what makes these kids Anomalies and how we can return them to a normal society."
Anomaly; Part 1: Trials
Chapter 1 – On Deck
"Where are we stopping today?" Bailey Pickett asked as she leaned in between Zack's and Cody's heads to look at the map they were staring down at. The three teens were in the ship's library, it was the only place they could get peace and quiet as they planned out their week on the islands.
The week of vacation was technically their Spring Break. The boat was going to stop at the Bahamas for the students of the S.S. Tipton that wanted to stay in one place. The others were going around the US before going back to the Bahamas to get the students once the week was up. They had one more stop before they reached the Bahamas and Zack, Cody, and Bailey were trying to decide whether or not they wanted to stay on the ship or get off.
"Paris," Cody replied. "We leave from Paris tonight and the ship takes us to the Islands. Last chance decision, do you guys want to go or stay?" He looked over at Zack before looking up at Bailey. Both were biting their lips as they thought it over in their heads. "Tick tock, tick tock."
"Ok, I say the Bahamas," Zack decided. "Beach, surf, babes…yep, that's where I want to go." Bailey and Cody suspected his answer as such but they rolled their eyes anyway. Same ol' Zack, even at sixteen he hasn't matured much. Sure, there was a difference, he has gained an ounce of responsibility with his smoothie job but he still chased anything in a skirt.
"I'm actually in the mood to stay in one spot," Bailey agreed.
"Ok, Bahamas it is," Cody announced as he drew a circle around the islands on the map. Cody would've been really happy about the vacation if it weren't for Woody's sudden departure earlier in that month. Someone in his family was sick and he wanted to be with them so he opted to leave Seven Seas High for normal public school. Cody was glad that he didn't have to deal with a filthy roommate anymore but he was sad to see one of his friends go. He, like Zack, now has a room to himself.
"I'm going to start packing. Once we dock in Moralix come and get me," Bailey called as she rushed out of the library; only to receive shushes from other people in the library. It fell on deaf ears as Bailey continued out.
"Are you excited for Paris?" Cody asked Zack, even though he all ready expected the answer.
"Of course, French chicks," Zack replied. "Hey, do you think we'll meet up with Jolie?"
Cody chuckled at the mention of Jolie's name as the two started to leave the library themselves. Was it only four years ago that they were fighting each other for her? They didn't even try and get to know her too; they only wanted to get with her because she's French. Cody was surprised at how silly he could be, especially when it came to fighting with Zack over something. They've fought over beds, seats, rooms, clothes, girls, and food. They eventually remember that they were brothers and they're with stuck with each other for the rest of their lives.
"Maybe I can arrange it. I eventually got her number from Mr. Moseby, after I wore him down of course. We can have dinner together, and bring Bailey too, of course," Cody replied as they stepped into the hall.
"Right, you wouldn't want Bailey to think you have a girlfriend," Zack said with a chuckle and an eye roll. "Not like she'd think that in the first place."
"You're very helpful," Cody muttered sarcastically.
"Why are you chasing after her, Codes? You know it'll get…complicated later on."
"I know," Cody admitted. "It's just…she's so pretty and smart and funny and nice and sweet and–"
"I get it," Zack interrupted him.
"I can't control who I end up liking," Cody said with a sigh.
"But you can control what you say." Zack looked around them and pulled Cody over to the railing of what they called the Study Deck, because every room was used for people with different studying types. The cool sea breeze pushed their bangs off of their foreheads. Zack looked around again and lowered his voice. "You have to be careful what you say around her. One little slip and we're splashed all over the news all over the world, got it?"
"I understand perfectly," Cody sighed as he rested his arms on the railing and stared down into the churning blue sea. He wouldn't dare spill their secret, not unless he wanted to end up a test subject with his friends' hating him for the rest of his life, if they survived the experimentation at least. That's the price they had to pay for being Elementals, they have to watch who they get close to and they have to make sure that they can trust them enough if they decide to tell their secret. "If I do end up telling her, I'm sure she wouldn't mind."
"You say that now. People go crazy when they get a chance to be famous. She could go and tell news reporters and then that'll be the end of us."
"Let me handle that, ok?"
"Have some faith in me, Zack. If I wanted to tell someone, I would have told London by now," Cody said as he gently nudged his brother before the two made their way back to their deck so they could go back to their rooms. Zack stopped by the Sky Deck to get a smoothie and talk to some people while Cody went straight to his room.
He threw his books into the corner of his room and dropped onto his bed, opening his cell phone as he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. Checking to make sure it wasn't late he dialed Jolie's number and pressed send, waiting for her to answer. She picked up after three rings.
"Oui, oo eez this?"
"Jolie, its Cody."
"Ah, Monsieur Cody! 'Ow are you?"
Cody chuckled. Jolie's English was still broken but he admired her for trying. She picked up on English terms very well but there were times when she'd mix one thing for another. "I'm doing great. Remember how I told you that we go to school on a ship?"
"Oh, the, um, S.S. Tipton?"
"Right. We're going to stop at Moralix and then we're taking a train to Paris so we can spend the day there. Zack and I would love it if we could meet up with you. If you're not busy, that is." Cody started to laugh again when she started firing off French into his ear. He could pick out random words and could tell by how much she was talking that she was excited for them to visit her. "Jolie," he called over her talking. "Jolie, we need to know when and where to meet you."
"Ah, yes. We can meet at le metro, um, ze subway," she replied. "Afterwards I can give you a tour and we can, um, grab someting to eat."
"That sounds like a good plan. I'll run it by Zack. Uh, I guess I'll see you soon. Salut, Jolie."
Cody hung up his phone and let out a relaxed sigh. He liked going to school on a ship to see the sights, but he also missed staying in one spot and going to his old favorite hang outs. He wasn't able to see Max or Tapeworm anymore. The only way they could keep in touch was by e0mail or by phone, especially since they were never in one place for more than three days at a time while they were on the S.S. Tipton. Not to mention that he missed his old life. He didn't want to admit it to Zack, but he found himself missing his old life many times.
He missed how he didn't have to constantly look over his shoulder to make sure he wasn't being followed. He missed being able to walk down the street without being paranoid that he'd be attacked. He missed not having to worry about how to control his powers, he missed the simple life. Cody knew that his life would be far less interesting without coming to terms with his powers, but he also knew it wouldn't be as hard either.
There were times when his secret life crossed over with his normal life, which was part of the reason he jumped at the chance to attend Seven Seas High. He suspected that traveling around the world would make it harder for him to be tracked and attacked and he could keep both lives separate. So far it was working, but things always took a 180 in his case. It was only a matter of time until that happened.