Snuggled on the couch with the most amazing boy ever, I thought to myself, maybe this birthday won't be like the others. After all, I'm sixteen. After sixteen years, you would think they would have given up. I'm impatient, I would've quit after maybe two or three years. But these people…they aren't impatient. They aren't normal, either. Well, they aren't like me, but no one is. But they aren't...they aren't exactly regular human beings either.
The Pastores, which means 'shepherds' in several languages, are a group of people that found out about what people like me can do. At first, I'm sure, they meant no harm, only to assist us in any way possible to try to figure out the extent of our powers. However, the Pastores have changed. They are no longer all about helping us. Instead most of them are trying to destroying us, and doing too good of a job at it. There are several different divisions of the Pastores, including the military branch, scientific branch, and the elimination squad. If we were to get captured, one of three head Pastores would decide which branch we would get sent to.
The military branch is a group mostly full of highly-trained individuals that no longer fit into their roles in society: mainly ex-marines, a handful of retired doctors, sometimes a few cops that have gone bad…I've seen them all. These guys are the ones usually sent out to 'herd us sheep.' They use force, and lots of it. But while they may hurt us, I have not known the military branch to be directly responsible for the death of any of us 'specials'. In fact, they pretty much recruit us.
The scientific branch is my least favorite. If these biologists, doctors, and people from other science-related fields sunk their claws into me, I would do everything possible to break free, or even kill myself. This branch is the research part of the Pastores. They try to understand what makes us tic, why we are the way we are, how they could somehow create more of us. They poke and prod and ask questions, and even torture if it will help their cause. While I've heard of a few escape the military branch and the Pastores completely, I've never known of one of us that's made it out of this branch to tell the tale.
The execution squad, however, is the most deadly. If they just decide your powers aren't worthy to be studied or used, these guys get you. Most of the time, it's a quick and painful shot between the eyes, but lately they have been trying different ways. Some of these ways are slow, excruciating, and don't always work right away. They have you on your knees begging for the bullet to take the pain away, but instead they try another method, most likely one more desctructive and agonizing than the last. I know this for a fact: nobody has escaped from the clutches of the execution squad. But I'd rather be committed to death than to help the Pastores.
I feel Aaron shift beneath me and I jolt from my thoughts, shivering from imagining a horrible death. "Sorry," he apologizes quickly, taking his eyes from the television to make sure I'm alright. "I didn't mean to wake you up."
"Don't worry about it, I was awake. But thanks." I shiver again, the ghost pain still lingering. I snuggle deeper into his arms, burying my face in his sweatshirt and wrapping my hands around his arm, cradling his hand to my heart as a thought crosses my mind. I can't do this to him, I'm solely responsible. His future, quite literally, is in my all-too-uncapable hands. "Aaron?" I whisper, so quiet that it's not audible over the sound of the movie on TV.
Aaron mutes the TV, still watching me closely. "Aaron?" I whisper again, just as soft.
"Oh, baby," he says soothingly and hugs me closer to him. "What do you need?"
"Promise me something." I raise my head from his chest, my nose touching his as I look into his gorgeous green eyes, searching for a reason why he hasn't already left me. But I need to save him, to protect him, even if it means shattering myself into a billion little pieces. I was burned once, I will be again, but he doesn't need to go down with me.
"Anything for you," he says without missing a beat, staring right back into my eyes. But what is he searching for? Maybe, while I'm panicking, and trying to think of why I shouldn't do what I'm about to do, he's trying to think of why he should. I'm being selfish. For all the wrong reasons, I want this boy with me, even while I should be telling him to leave. I have to…
"Leave me," I breathe softly. "Leave."
"Reyna? What did you just say? Of course I won't leave you," he answers, apparently not hearing exactly what I said. His arms tighten around me, making it hard for me to breathe, but not because of his strength. Because I can't do this. I can't tell him to leave. I can't handle him doing this…My emotions are acting up, and it's starting to get bad. I pull my head away from his a little, grabbing the sleeve of his sweatshirt. Sadness is starting to overwhelm me, and I feel a coolness settling into my skin, puddling into the palms of my hands.
"No…You need to. Leave me…please." I say, turning my face away from his.
"I…" I feel the shock run through him and can no longer hold back the tears or the power of the water running through my veins.
"No, Aaron…You need to leave me. Get out of here as fast as you can. Promise me you won't ever look back," I say through my tears, and I feel his sleeve begin to dampen, water leaking out of my palm just as the salty tears leak from my brown eyes.
"Reyna! Why are you doing this to me? And why are my sleeves getting wet? What's going on? Rey, I want to help you. Please answer me," he begs, and I can hear tears of his own catching in his throat. His sweatshirt is now thoroughly soaked, and he leaps to his feet, ripping it off and depositing me on the couch as he does so. Upon hearing me hit the cushion, he whips around and falls to his knees, staring at me. "Please…just explain. I don't care how strange it may sound, just tell me. I swear I'll believe you."
"I just don't want you getting hurt! Just leave me!" I sob, unable to stop crying, but somehow the flow of water from my hands drips to a stop.
There's a moment of quiet, the only noise being me crying. "Is that what you want?" he asks after a pause.
"I just want you to be safe," I whisper.
"I am. And I'll keep you safe, too! Reyna, just explain…"
"Aaron!" Why is he making this so hard for me? "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" I burst before I can get angry. I will not burn him. I won't. I can't. "NOW!" I scream, launching to my feet and pointing at the door.
Hurt flashes on his face. "Why?" he whispers, slowly standing up and looking down at me. "What can you do?" he asks. I see fear now, written on his face, and I can tell it's me he's scared of. Instead of answering, I continue to point at the door. As he turns to the door, a sudden thought strikes me. 'You don't want to do this. You're only hurting yourself. He can help.' What? Where did that come from? No. Before I can change my mind, I shove him out the door and lock it behind him.
My thoughts are no longer mine. I have been Pushed.