Chapter One: Serena
"Whatever you do, don't scream."
The words never left her. Circe's father told her them and she was smart enough to listen. Even after she left him, she remembered the warning he had given her. For her it was a sign that despite what she had inadvertently caused, he still loved her, and would do anything to keep her out of Providence's hands. Or the hands of anything else for that matter.
She kept her mouth closed as much as she could, only speaking when necessary, and never screaming. If she screamed, she would give her location away, and bring something to her that she didn't want. She would endanger herself and those around her, just like she endangered her father when she first became an EVO.
She ran away because if she didn't things would only get worse for her hometown and her friends. She was a weirdness magnet; ever sense she became an EVO she became a target for unwanted attention. Things would come to her town and she would need to run and hide; cover her eyes and mouth so she wouldn't scream, so she would not deform her face and bring that creature to her.
She was better off away from everyone else, staying away from people so the EVOs that followed her wouldn't cause any harm. Sometimes she would go into a small town – always small, never a big city – rent out a cheap hotel room for a day or two, but after she leave grabbing what she could from a nearby store. People stared at her, stared at her torn jeans and oversized sweater which looked like it could have been warm and comfortable at one point in its life. A family had offered to take her in, bring her to their house to have something warm to eat and a nice bed to sleep in.
She thanked them but lied, told them she was on a pilgrimage with some church she stopped at at one point on her travels. Told them she needed to live off the land as part of a spiritual journey, but thanked them for her kindness before leaving. They probably knew she was lying, she was a horrible liar, but they let her go and Circe was glad.
The last thing she wanted was to endanger anymore people.
Serena never had to worry about unwanted attention. She was pretty both in appearance and personality. She was friendly, yet geeky, not that anyone complained as most of her friends were part of the videogame and anime subculture. She enjoyed there company, she liked to watch her guy friends kill zombies in poplar Japanese videogames or play platformers involving hedgehogs and giant egg people.
She liked playing rhythm games, it didn't matter which, but secretly she was always fond of the ones that allowed you to sing with a microphone. She was a terrible singer, but only in these games could you be a star without any talent and Serena enjoyed singing off key to Orange's Revolution after a stressful math test. Just being able to yell with no consequences – except her friend Mickey constantly commenting on her lack of singing talent – brought so much freedom.
"Geeze Serene, would it kill you to at least try to sing on key?" That was Mickey, complaining – like always – as they finished up there last round. As always Serena didn't answer him until the game calculated their scores. Hers was the highest, something that wasn't as always but happened enough.
"Don't need to try when you can get that." She said pointing out the score as her other two friends laughed.
"She's got a point." Joan said, "In a game like this, singing doesn't matter – heck some people that can sing fail when they play this. Just gotta match the pitch. And Serena might be completely tone deaf but she's better at matching than you are."
"Well at least I can sing." Mickey said and Serena and Joan exchanges looks before laughing. Mickey's constant attempts at singing eventually resulted in him breaking a window. He was still convinced he could though and Serena couldn't help but feel amused by his declarations.
"Alright, let's see you do better." She told him holding out the mic. The teenage boy took it. That left her on the fake drum set, not that she was complaining; as long as she wasn't forced to play with any of the guitars they could still get a good score. "Which song?"
"Same as the last." Mickey said and Serena laughed. She was not complaining in the least, she loved Orange with a passion and Revolution was her favorite song by them.
She was first, the drums always came in first and from there everything exploded. Serena loved the song, if she played drums in their game more often she could probably beat it with her eyes closed. It was actually tempting, but she kept them open because she wanted to see the look on Mickey's s face when he realized once again a tone deaf teenager could get a high score in a videogame than an 'eloquent singer.' She chuckled, 'eloquent singer' was what Mickey called himself and Serena was positive he was anything but eloquent.
She hit the rubber cymbal in front of her and then stopped freezing as it felt like something pierced her skull. She dropped the drumsticks bringer her hands up to her head letting out a loud groan.
"Giving up Serena? Serena!" She heard Mickey yell as she collapsed on the ground. She curled up gripping her head tighter as the pain went through her down her head and to her throat. She could hear them calling her and could feel someone shaking her. She shook rolling and tried to take a deep breath and get herself back onto her feet.
Another jolt went through her neck and lunges and she screamed, letting out a howl that she was sure wasn't hers, before she finally collapsed onto the ground.
The room was well lit, but the floor felt too soft to actually be the floor. Serena opened her eyes and noticed that she was lying on the couch of her house, not the floor of one of the spare classrooms. Her friends, Joan and Mickey were sitting on the coffee table, something her father normally didn't allow. So when she saw her father sitting in his chair next to them with a concerned look on his face, she knew something was wrong.
"Serena…" Her father started speaking slowly and with a look on his face that confused her. He looked like he was going to cry, something she hadn't seen sense her mother passed away. "I'm going to show you something, but you have to promise me you won't freak out."
She didn't understand and when she tried to ask what was wrong the only noise that came out was a muffled fog horn like noise. She jumped bringing her hands up to her mouth only to find that not only were her lips cold and slimy, but they were several inches out in front of her. She looked down almost cross-eyed to see something red and wet in front of her face. She looked back up to her father who was handing her a mirror face down. She hesitated, but took it and closed her eyes as she flipped it over.
When she opened them she wanted to cry. The rest of her body was alright, but her face… it was almost as if her throat had crawled up and out of her mouth and was just resting there protruding from her face. She looked up asking what happened only for it to be replaced with that same muffled fog horn like noise.
"You kinda collapsed and then screamed and well…turned into an EVO." Joan said hesitating on that last part. Serena could feel her hands shaking and she covered them with her eyes, as she began crying. It didn't sound like crying, she sounded like a walrus and she could feel Joan and Mickey putting their hands on her to comfort her. They soon stopped and Serena looked up to see her father had taken a seat next to her.
"Hey, everything's going to be alright, just calm down." He said and Serena nodded rubbing her eyes. "There there, take some deep breaths, in and out of your nose."
Again another nod, she couldn't speak, none of her words formed anyway. She took a deep breath just as her father said, through her nose and out it again. She did this again and she coughed. She coughed again, and again, and she felt her father's hands on her shoulders and she let out another loud cough. She felt something go down her neck almost choking her.
Then she relaxed gasping for a second. "Serena, you alright?" Her father asked, she could feel his hands on her shoulders.
"Y-yeah…" She said. Her eyes widened as she covered her mouth letting go when she realized that her hands were reaching her face. She could speak; she couldn't see that throat thing coming out of her mouth. She looked down at the mirror sitting to see her face was normal again.
This had to be a dream, she was just dreaming and about to wake up. She shut her eyes tight again. "Serena?" She heard her father say. When she opened them again she was sad to see she was still on the couch and not in her bed or even in the classroom being woken up by one of her teachers.
It wasn't a dream, but for everything Serena wished that it was one.
The only good thing that came of Serena becoming an EVO was that school was cancelled to repair the giant hole she had blown through the school wall. That didn't exactly make her feel better. Nothing felt right anymore, it was like her skin was too small for her body her throat felt…it was hard to describe. It was almost like when you had a sore throat that only ice cream would make feel better. Only ice cream wouldn't help this one. If she let out a scream maybe it would feel better, but Serena knew better, screaming would just make the situation worse, not better. She took a deep breath in her nose and then out again, trying to keep calm, keep herself from shaking. It wasn't working.
"Serena?" A knock on her door and her father opened it not even waiting for her to tell him if he could come in or not. "You're friends are here. You want me to send them up?"
She nodded not even looking up, but she knew her father was giving her a concerned look before closing the door behind him. Of course he would give her that look; Serena had all but locked herself in her room after seeing that sight. That was why her friends were coming over; she had refused to out with them, so they were coming over to see if they could drag her out into town.
A few seconds later she heard more footsteps, not just one set but several and the door opened showing Mickey and Joan. "Hey Serena." Mickey greeted smiling. She didn't smile back which caused him to drop his and put his hands in his sweater pockets. "So…how you doing?"
"Fine I guess." She said moving over so Joan could sit down next to her. Mickey took her desk chair.
"So, what's going on?" Joan asked.
"Well, dad's already told me he's not going to contact Providence." Serena said closing her eyes resting her head on the pillow. "Guess I should be grateful."
"Yeah no kidding," Mickey said, "It's law to contact Providence in the event of an EVO sighting. They find out about this and trace it to you, you're father will be –"
"Uh Mick." Joan spoke up making a cutting motion with her finger and he stopped seeing that he wasn't making Serena feel any better.
"It's alright." Serena told him, "Dad knows the risks he's taking with this…but to be honest I'd rather be taken in."
"You don't mean that." Joan said in disbelief.
"I do." Serena said looking at her friend, "I might still look it, but I don't feel human anymore. I don't feel like myself, I feel like a monster."
"Well, you're not a monster." Mickey told her, but Serena shook her head. "And nothing's going to change." He added forcefully. Again Serena shook her head. He was wrong, she was sure of it. Just one little thing changes everything. Her mother's death changed the relationship between her and her father and now that she was an EVO things were going to change again. She already see Joan and Mickey forcing themselves to converse about something different, the conversations and gestures seeming so unnatural compared to before all of this happened.
A week past and finally the school opened up again. It took some effort on her father and friends part, but Serena finally left her room and took a shower. She put on a pair of nice jeans and a longsleeve shirt and combed out her black and red hair. As she did she looked herself over in the mirror, she still looked human; her face was normal, and she didn't look any different. It didn't look like she was going to transform any further other than what happened to her throat.
Maybe her friends were right, as long as she was careful about her breathing, that thing would just stay down there and never come back. Everything would be fine; she could pretend that she wasn't a monster and move on with her life. No Providence after her, and the only thing she would need to worry about was getting decent grades for the next few years to get into that College she wanted to go to.
"Serena, you're friends are waiting!" She heard her father say and she finished brushing her hair. She touched her throat again feeling it crawl around like an oversized bug just to make sure it wasn't going to try crawling up and out of her mouth. It wasn't, and she was grateful. She left the bathroom and grabbed her backpack from her room before leaving.
The walk to school had been unusually quiet, normally Mickey was quiet because he was half asleep and Joan was talking to keep him from falling asleep while standing. However for once Mickey looked wide awake and Joan was unusually quiet.
On the way she stopped in the middle of the road her body going cold and she looked up. She heard something, some kind of howl from something in the distance. She wasn't sure what or how for that matter, but something was telling her that something was coming. She gave a subconscious shiver before rushing to catch up with her friends who were calling for her.
Classes had gone on without any problems until third period where they heard an alarm go off. At first they thought it was a fire drill until they heard an announcement on the loudspeaker.
"Please form an orderly line and leave the school with your teachers. An EVO has entered city limits. Providence agents have already been contacted so we ask that all students leave the premise immediately. Repeat all students must leave the premise immediately."
Serena felt her body run cold hearing the news of an EVO appearing in town. She brought a hand up to her head as she felt the room spin. "Serena come on!" She heard Joan say and she followed after. She could see Joan shaking; she was always uneasy during the drills and even more anxious when the evacuations happened for real.
They made their way through the halls, down the stairs, and then outside. Serena took a glance at the buildings above them seeing something that was grey and purple wandering around in the distance. It was hard to see because of the buildings, but Serena could not shake the feeling that it was looking for something.
Joan's mother drove her back to her father's place and Serena curled herself up on the couch once she hung her jacket up. No homework meant nothing to do except sit around and watch TV and the only good thing on was the news. Her father was home, offices had been evacuated due to the EVO prescience and that was what was on the news, Providence attempting to get the EVO out of the city.
"What we're trying to do is get it out of the city limits. We want to make sure there's as little property damage as possible." One of the agents said, however Serena was only half listening, her eyes focused on the EVO. The fact it wasn't doing anything but look for something made her uneasy.
"You shouldn't be watching this." Her father said and she looked up at him. "But I suppose there's nothing else on huh." Serena looked back at the screen. "Well nothing we can do about that. You can put on a movie if you want." He suggested and Serena shrugged focusing back on the news of the EVO.
"Dad," she started getting his attention, "What's Providence going to do if they find out I'm one of them?"
She felt the couch's wait shift as her father sat down. "Sweetie, nothing is going to happen to you. Providence is never going to find out." He told her. Serena didn't answer instead rolling over so she was facing into the couch and not toward the TV screen. Even though she could no longer see the screen she could still tell things were happening, even if she couldn't see she could still here.
"Serena, Serena, wake up!" While it was her father that stirred her, it was a loud crash not far from her house that woke her right up. "Come on!"
"What's going on?" She asked looking outside. She saw a large foot crash down right by her house shaking the grown beneath her. She screamed, just what that thing inside her wanted, her mouth contorted and that inhuman howl escaped her throat breaking a hole in the ceiling as she crashed on the floor.
'Breathe.' She told herself taking a deep breath in her nose and out. She felt that thing contract into her and she touched her lips making sure it was back inside her. It was, but another loud footstep shaking the ground brought her attention back to the roof, or what was left of it.
She saw the grey skin and purple scales of the EVO looking through the hole, looking directly at her. She heard it grunt and then a saw a claw reach in and tear at the roof expanding the hole. "Serena come on!" She heard her father yell and grab her arm pulling her away to the door of their house.
The EVO didn't seem to take to kindly to that, it lowered its hand into the house and swept it across the room. Serena saw her father turn around and the next thing she knew she was on the ground against the couch. She looked up to see her father had been knocked into the kitchen counter and fall on the floor. "Dad!"
Another roar and then the sound of several guns being fired brought Serena's attention back to the EVO just long enough for her to realize that Providence had arrived to take care of the EVO. She got up and ran to her father. "Dad we have to go." She grabbed his arm, but stopped when he let out a pained cry. "Dad…"
"Serena, listen…" He gasped out and she stayed quiet. "You have to get out of here. Providence… can't get to you. They won't get you." He coughed before motioning to one of the drawers, "Take it and go. Stay safe…"
"And whatever you do, don't scream." He told her and Serena nodded again taking a deep choked breath.
"I won't." She said voice strained and she got up. "I love you dad." With nothing else to say she went to one of the drawers and grabbed her father's check book. She went for the stars but stopped when she heard more gun fire outside and banging on the door of the house. Providence had to be trying to come in to check for survivors. She couldn't let them get her. She rushed across the kitchen and out the back door crossing her back yard and going behind her neighbor's house. She continued to run behind the houses eventually stopping to catch her breath.
She moved around the house and caught a glance at the Providence soldiers and the EVO finally going down crushing the house. They would be searching for the residents soon, or they would assume everyone inside was dead. She stuffed her father's checkbook into her shirt and continued to run, leaving the town behind her.
Author's Note: Orange is the name of the band that performs the theme song for Generator Rex. Thought it'd be an amusing nod. I haven't listened to any of their music, but I have been interested in them for some time now (just no money to buy a CD).
I have to admit, Circe is my least favorite character in Generator Rex, don't get me wrong there's just something about her I can't stand. However after rewatching Beyond the Sea and doing a little bit of research I felt like doing something for her, and thought writing a character I don't like in a sympathetic light would be a good challenge. As for why I picked the name 'Serena' for Circe's original name, I did question if that really was her name or if it was one she gave herself after becoming an EVO. I went with the latter idea and Serena just rolled off the tongue well enough that I used it.
Other chapters will be up sometime during the week. Any comments and constructive critique is welcome. Thanks and hope you enjoyed.