So... here it is! I hope you enjoy my little story, stick with it through the first few loops of genetics, they aren't as important as the story goes on :)
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
I had been seeing him more frequently, recently. The violent man with the blond hair now invaded my vision more and more often and I couldn't help but feel a pull to him. I had no idea why, often my sixth sense showed him embroiled in brutal combat and I had the feeling that if I ever met him in real life I might fight the urge to run. I had never seen this man smile, or even look remotely content, but some of my recent visions gave me hope. If I was seeing him so regularly, I must be going to cross paths with him soon. My vision was beginning to show a flash, every once in a while, of him walking alone on a deserted street in the pouring rain, his countenance pensive, but not violent. I found something in his introspection that drew me, fascinated me. For my visions to be so consumed with him for months, he must destined to be important to me. At first, I'd been afraid. Important doesn't mean good, and I wasn't looking for any more trouble. But hard as I set my mind to, I couldn't convince myself that he meant me harm. He just looked so…lost. Somehow I knew that he belonged with me.
I remember when the visions had started. It was when I was young, barely past primary school. My father's old friend came from out of town and he'd fallen on hard times. My parents talked it over, they were very close those days, and decided he could stay with us until he got back on his feet. So my sister moved into my room and Charles moved in. For a while it was like a dream. My parents were always busy, my mother kept the house while my father toiled away at the shop and by the end of the day no one was really up for playing with my sister and I. But Charles was always around. He would take me on walks and we would pretend we were the king and princess of the town watching over our peasantry or stay inside playing house long into the afternoon. He didn't care much about my little sister, but that didn't bother me one bit. He tolerated her fine, and she usually got all of the attention anyway. So I was in heaven. I had a second dad to pay attention to me and play with me and take me to the festival when my dad was busy. Weeks turned into months, glorious months.
Then it happened for the first time. I was walking to my room for the night after a long day of dress up with my sister and Charles, my parents were clearing the dinner dishes and my sister was begging to stay up later. I had just stepped toward the threshold of my bedroom and my sight went black. I stumbled and fell to the floor, but I had no idea where I was or even that I had fallen. My senses easily drowned out my family's panic with my own personal fascination. I saw, in a fuzzy dream like manner, myself splashing around in the bath behind the kitchen. I knew that it was the middle of the day from the harsh sun outside, so my mom would be at the grocers, picking up supplies for dinner. She usually took my sister with her, so this would be prime play time. I must have asked Charles to help me carry the water buckets and now I sat alone in the room, blowing bubbles in my hands and gluing my dark hair up with soap. I could hear my own giggles like faint echoes and almost feel the slippery soap in my hands. It was captivating.
Then I heard a light knock on the door and I had the idea that this was somehow what I was meant to pay attention to. The dream me scrambled for a towel to throw over her shoulders, but stayed in the warm suds. She called a faint question and Charles peeked in. He came in slowly, uncertain. The few words exchanged were strained, just barely, but the dream me didn't really seem to notice. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck prickle, but I couldn't tell why. I heard offer of a new game, and he turned away for a second to allow my dream self to jump up and adorn the towel around her neck. Then he turned back around. He said my name, softly, like I might break if he raised his voice to a normal level. His hand rested on the dream self's shoulder, and suddenly I caught a glimpse of something strange in his eyes. A sort of hunger, something burning deep behind them. I was immediately thankful that I was only feeling a portion of this strange me's situation, because I wanted to run away. Something was not right, and the small, wispy figure in front of me was finally starting to see it. She made to excuse herself to get dressed, moving to walk around him, but his hand tightened, refusing to release the grip.
His other hand moved slowly to her face, his movements calculated. He caressed the side of her cheek and then his hand softly traced down her neck to the gentle swells just beginning to form at the top of the towel. She shied away even farther, she, her, someone else. The interest had turned to horror. This couldn't be me, even some other me, this had to be someone else. Some cruel imagination. I sunk down to the corner and covered my eyes, but I could still see as if my hands were at my side, I could still feel the whisper of touch as a slight heat slid across my own chest. As his hands roamed to her thigh and slowly slid upward I felt the heat go icy with fear. Her eyes were wild. I clawed at my chest, my thigh, wherever the cruel cold spread, but it did no good, she stood frozen in fear so I was thrown into some shard of her nightmare as well. I screamed at him to stop, to leave us alone, but my cries were silent even to my own ears. I raked my hands across my body where he touched her, but my nails left no trail and the feeling remained unchanged. The seconds dragged by, screaming, crying, trying desperately to hide my eyes, but even when I couldn't see, I could still feel. She finally gathered the presence of mind to scream, so a new pressure fell across my mouth and nose, suffocating me. I could still feel his other hand, roaming freely, slowly, cruelly slow. This tiny girl's strength was no match for him. I couldn't breathe. My throat burned, my lungs burned, my vision blurred. She was going to die. I was going to die. That would be better than this. Anything would be better than this.
But I didn't die. I opened my eyes to harsh light and deafening sound. Activity swirled around me and the first face I registered was his. He held my neck, supporting my head, a terrified expression painted across his features. I didn't notice the same expression mirrored on the rest of my family, I didn't notice anything about the rest of my family. I screamed, and finally the sound registered in my own ears. I struggled until I managed to get upright and ran the last steps to my room faster than anyone could react, slamming the door and pushing everything in my room against it to keep everyone out. To keep him out. I threw myself on the bed, shaking and sobbing, my head fell beside the can against the wall and I wretched. I knew that it had all been some strange imagination, but I could still feel his hands on me.
For the next week I refused to leave my room. I didn't sleep, I barely ate, and most of all I refused to bathe. I wouldn't let Charles within my sight and even the sound of his voice in the house threw me into panic. As my parents began to wonder out loud to neighbors and friends about my condition, the stories began to surface. The baker had noticed a strange way he held my hand in public, our elderly neighbor had found it unnatural that a man of his age would spend so much time with a child not his own. My friend Susan's mother had seen him combing his hands through my hair and been uncomfortable with the expression on his face. They asked him to leave, then, and he did. I was able to partially come to terms with the idea that it had never actually happened, it was simply some strange happening, horrifying and unusual. As the days began to stabilize into weeks and then months, I realized what I had seen. Another vision came, of this raven haired man in my house. Nearly a year later, he came. I had seen the future, but somehow I had been able to change it.
I remembered when the silvery stranger with the fiery touch actually came to our house. I didn't hate my mom for what she'd done, and I certainly didn't blame my father, but I hated that man. My parents were meant to be together. They were meant to love each other and love my sister and me and we should all live together under the same roof, happy. But this man walked into our lives an d ruined them forever. He came to the house asking for my mother one day. My dad curiously showed him in, but my mother didn't seem so calm. She squirmed in her seat and begged with him in hushed tones. I knew she wanted him to leave, but he was insistent. He kept casting sideways glances at me and they made me uncomfortable. I remembered the attention of Charles in my dream world and I shivered.
My parents never meant for me to hear their argument that night, but I did. My sister had beautiful blonde hair like my father and rich blue eyes like my mother. I had jet black locks, like the stranger. And my eyes were a mixed brown hazel, much darker than either of my parents. I had never heard my father swear, but he did when he found out my mother had been unfaithful. I was not a Brandon after all. I belonged to the terrifying man with the deep eyes and the burning touch. And he would be back to collect me. My mother feared the man's inhuman strength and warned my father that he would not be scorned. My father caught a glimpse of me then, cowering in the corner of the next room, and made up his mind. He would take me and run. He knew I wasn't his biological child, but I was his daughter in every other way and he would do anything to keep me safe.
So we ran. Right up until the last day he had wanted so much to keep me with him. But the farther I got away from my familiar, childhood home, the worse the visions got. If he could have hid me I know that he would have, but we had no place to go. I would be walking to the bakery in the morning and collapse to my knees trembling, my eyes distant and my whole body shaking. The town would whisper of witchcraft and we would have to be out of the city by nightfall. Then we would go on, catching a ride with kind merchants or walking when the road was empty, on to the next town far enough away for the rumors not to have spread there yet. He couldn't stay home with me, not when he could find work for a short stint, it was expensive to pack up so often and we had few possessions to our names. So the cycle continued, my father would work when he was able, one time when I was out in public, as rarely as I left it would still happen eventually, I would have an episode, then we would move on. Some days we didn't eat, and some nights we slept under the stars beside the road to some new town, but I had my dad and he chose me even when I wasn't really his, so I was content.
Finally, we came to a town with a giant, foreboding building on the outskirts. When the day finally came that would have caused us to leave, the town didn't whisper of witchcraft or spells, even before my father could get to me I was taken to the dark building. The doctors there were trying to help people like me. They weren't afraid of me or what happened to me. My dad was so shocked that he asked me if I would stay, to see if they could help me. I was willing to try anything my dad wanted, so I stayed. My father had never really been the religious type, but he found himself a rosary in those days and would sit outside the gates, holding my hand, praying through the airy scripted prayers. Mary Alice, full of grace, he took to calling me. I think it was his prayer that I be saved.
The people in the facility had good hearts. The treatments were excruciating and dreadful, but they were only doing what they knew to help me. And some days the visions were less. The kind director of the facility took careful notes on me. He reminded me of a softer version of my biological father, but his touch was chilled and his eyes were a light honey. He had a long doctor title, but I always thought of him by simply Mark, his first name. He was probably slightly older than my father on the other side of the gate, my real father, and his attention was gentle and sympathetic. For some reason, I trusted this man. I even told him of the charcoal haired man who claimed to be my father and had tried to take me away. So when that man showed up at the gate instead of my father one day in my vision, I knew that my real father may soon be gone. Mark heard my scream and made it to my side in an impossibly short time, when I told him what I had seen he took me into his office to talk to me.
I didn't really understand much of what he told me. I found out that he knew, indirectly, of my father and that I was in danger. He burned because he was half monster, strong and deadly, and I carried a small part o f that monster too. He had created me and dozens of brothers and sisters like me as a way of making himself stronger. He let each of them grow with their mothers, then he took them and…consumed them. I didn't have any concept of what he meant at the time, but with realization of my new world I came to understand he meant that he drank them, killed his children. Mark knew that he wasn't strong enough to fight this legendary monster, but he hoped that he could save me from his plans for me. He said it would hurt more than any shock therapy, but I would become like my father, and he would no longer want me. I hated the idea of being like him, but Mark assured me that he was this monster too, and I didn't have to chose to be dreadful like the man who called himself my father. So I agreed. On the condition that he protect my real father. I'm sure he tried. When the burning stopped my senses were sharpened. Mark taught me to use my new senses to my benefit, I was able to leave occasionally and visit my father, when he was home, and within weeks I had physically matured from a teenager to a young adult.
But with all that Mark had taught me, I was still helpless when he came. Mark made me promise to run. So I did. And I was rewarded with a vision, Mark, the man who conceived me, and my father were all gone. I was alone. I didn't know how to get back and find my mother and sister, and I had no one else. I went back and buried my father. I couldn't find Mark, and the smoke from a nearby fire was choking me, so I left before I could find him. I found the imposter who had caused me all of this misery. I left him where he lay. Maybe the rats would eat him. I hoped so. I took the rosary with me, it had represented me to my father, and now would keep me closer to him. Mary Alice, full of grace. I would never allow another person to call me by that name, it was only his. It hadn't worked for me, but I hoped that wherever he was he wasn't alone anymore. So I wandered. For years. Catherine, Elizabeth, Jocelyn, I renamed myself in every new home. I didn't care what they called me, I would be gone before they could get used to my presence. I was always searching for my family, but I didn't know if my mother lived, and I didn't know if I would know my sister anymore, no longer a small child.
So I settled down in place to place, teaching school for a year, cleaning houses another. Some days I would just walk, for hours and hours. Then I started to see him. The beautiful, violent, tormented man with wild hair like my father's and deep scars on his skin and soul. Sometimes I would just sit and look for him, gazing into the future trying to find when we would meet. I had known so few people since my childhood, moving so often with my father, and then knowing only the asylum workers. I longed for real company, someone who could share my secret. And I knew from watching him that he was like Mark. I could trust him with my own strange identity that I seemed fixed in for eternity. I was careful in how long I stayed places, knowing that a new young woman arriving alone would draw attention, but not more than the same young woman staying young for years and decades. I also had to be careful not to let people get too close to me, my skin burned and at times I forgot my own strength. A girl my size shouldn't be able to uproot a tree in frustration, and if I thought that having visions started rumors of witchcraft, tree removal accomplished it much quicker. The most recent round of matchmaking had started in my former home, so I had moved on a couple months ago. It was nice to be able to relocate in darkness, I could run and not be noticed, one of the few times I could flex my speed without fear of being caught.
The years had been lonely, but the occasional view of my future friend helped me keep hope that I would someday have someone to share eternity with. So here I am, sitting in a diner. The first day I'd seen this tiny corner shop I had been drawn to it. That night I'd seen him, here, at the diner. I had no idea when he would come, but I had a small amount of money saved from my years of odd jobs so I rented a room in a house as close as I could find to the place. I came every day, I didn't want to miss him. So here I was, today, like every day, waiting. I think the owner of the place felt sorry for me, once in a while he would bring me warm tea and cast a sympathetic glance my way. He was a man of few words, but I had heard from the family who owned my house that his wife had died of the fever. I know he knew what it was like to be lonely, and he hoped that whoever I was waiting for would come. Today is like any other day, the waitress is walking by as if I'm not sitting in the same corner. She doesn't understand why her boss lets me stay when I rarely order anything. I am running out of my small savings, and so I've taken to living mainly off of animals outside the town, although I always felt bad about it. Some days I didn't eat, it was sort of a gift to some forest deer or a few foxes. It was also one of the few ways I could feel in control .
I may not be able to bring back my father or Mark, and sometimes I couldn't close my eyes without Charles' finger prints burning into my skin, but this is one thing I could always control. Once in a while my host family will have odd jobs for me to do in the evening, after the diner was closed, to help me pay off the rent. So days like today I treat myself to a pastry from the shop, like I used to love as a child. I close my eyes and pretend to share it with my sister. I twirl my finger around the apple filling, smiling as I picture my sister's disapproving frown. She had always hated getting her hands dirty, even as a small child. I draw my finger back from my mouth, humming quietly the beautiful music I had heard from the window of the cathedral earlier in the week. I never had much of a talent for music, but I thoroughly appreciated those who did. The elderly woman who played the organ was incredibly talented. I sat on the sidewalk during mass every Sunday. I wasn't sure what I was, but I was pretty sure that whatever I was, God didn't want much to do with me, so I enjoyed his music from outside. This song had been slow and beautiful, the melody drifting above the rafters like it would make it all the way to heaven, and the low harmony-
My musings are suddenly cut short by the familiar rush of darkness, covering my vision and sending a violent shiver through my body. I have gotten used to being less conspicuous, and it is slightly easier to control now in my stronger body, especially with several decades of practice. I pull myself more fully upright again, my eyes still blank but my face composed as if I still I see my real surroundings. I can him, the blond man as familiar as my own reflection. He is running, the fierce woman who often accompanies him nowhere in sight. And as the scenery flashed by, I began to recognize things. The giant oak on the edge of the forest I like to sit in at night, the broken old bridge over the dried up creek, the small fence that denotes the town limits. He was coming. Finally, I would meet him. My vision clears as I hear the first raindrops on the thin roof. He is coming. Uncertainty tugs at the back of my mind. I have spent a long time puzzling on this man, but a new question is now lingering. A nagging, almost childish fear. What if he doesn't like me? I have spent days deciding how I would will to him, someday, today. But I have never guessed what his reaction to me might be. I hold a hope that we can be important to each other, but what if he doesn't need me? I am alone, and I have been for years. I wake up every morning with the hope that today will be the day I meet him. But he has a life, violent and tremulous though it may be, he might not want me. The other woman, the sharp and vicious one I see so often, maybe she is his. I see them together and they often huddle close, conversing on some secret unknown to the onlookers. Maybe that is all I am destined to be, another onlooker, maybe fate has allowed me only a brief encounter and a lifetime of unbidden voyeurism.
The rain is thundering on the roof now, and it drowns out most of the conversation of the patrons. The door opens and closes and I hear heavy footsteps, boots if I had to guess. Familiar, oddly familiar. Its him. Right there. After years of watching through my mind's eye, he is standing not ten feet from me, his back toward me as he casts sideways glances back at the staring towns people. I start to move to stand, but just then he turns and I see his eyes. I freeze. So different from hazy visions, his eyes are deep, terrifying crimson. Like the man who had taken the only people I had from this earth. Like the day he showed up at the gate instead of my father. I am frozen in place. I know that if I don't move soon he might leave. I will lose what might be the only chance I will ever have at knowing this man. But all of the sudden I am overcome with doubt. For all I know he is just like Charles. Or the man whose eyes bore into my memory. But I know that an eternity wondering and watching is worse than anything this man can do to me. I have to know. So I push my shaking legs out of the booth that is my only security and I close the distance in a few steps, each intentional and forced. I have to know. He is facing me before I am even aware he has moved, his arms pulled slightly back and his fists pulled in tight, his body ready for attack. I falter, but only for a heartbeat. I am offering my hand before I reason can take over.
"You kept me waiting a long time."