Five days. I've been walking aimlessly for five days through the cool Michigan forests, with no future ahead of me and a past that I desperately wanted to reject. Silence, the occasional chirping of the nightingales, and my own foggy breath were my sole companion as I trudged through the pine covered grounds. The pine trees were grand, their tops were starting to whiten as the snow that hadn't melted in the atmosphere fell on them. Winter was fast approaching and with it, its touch of iciness, an iciness that made you feel alive. But I felt dead in the inside, it was like my deadly touch had penetrated to my soul, draining all my life force and leaving a vessel devoid of a soul behind.
Over the past few days I had been able to sneak out some granola bars from the local marts and drank water from the nearby springs to keep my stomach from claiming my sanity. I had slept on the benches of the park, often times fighting off other homeless guys for the scraps of newspapers to fend off the frigid winds. I had slept on the thickest branches of oak trees just to awake to a splitting headache from my fall to the ground minutes before dawn. My only blanket was the mantle of black and stars above my head and that had to be comfort enough. It was a hard life and sometimes I just wanted to end it all and give myself in to the authorities that promised to take care of me and rid me of the disease.
Once, when I was a footstep into the clinic that could take care of me, I bolted the other direction because I was afraid. Because my mother whispered in my ear, before I ran away, that I should never give myself in, that I should keep running until I was safe from those monsters. My mum knew, she had worked for the pharmaceutical company as a publicist and had come across some deadly secrets throughout the years. Secrets she alone knew and repeated to no one else. It was just that one night, and desperation that pushed her into telling me what they did to kids with my touch.
They tortured them, treated them like lab rats and not human beings. They cut them, bled them, and ran tests on them without feeding or treating them well. Most of them would die after the first week of the strenuous conditions of the laboratory and the next batch of participants would feel the rage of the doctors because they were dying faster than their results were coming out. But these kids couldn't help it, they suffered and death was welcomed. My mother never go to know what happened after the experimenting, it was classified information. Several conspiracy theories abounded, but those who spread them never lived to see another day, or so one theory went. Now, nobody dare talk negatively about the pharmaceutical company, just that it would help the kids with the 'touch'.
The forest had become eerily silent. I lifted my head and pushed back my shaggy hair from my face. I felt like a cornered prey, there was something or something watching me. The hair of my skin prickled with adrenaline. If it was an animal, like a wolf, I couldn't probably outrun it. I didn't have an idea what my touch would do to an animal, I never dared experiment. If it was a human, I had a fair chance of success. Lately, the pharmaceutical company had offered rewards to those who handed people like us.
I resumed my walk, now more aware of my surroundings. I could feel not one pair of eyes, but several on me. Before I knew it, I was sprinting as fast as I could to the opposite direction, toward the town. At least, I could blend in with the inhabitants until I knew what was behind me, if anything. And sure enough, I heard rustling in the trees and light footsteps following me.
My heart was restless in my rib cage and my lungs were imploding, inhaling too fast the cold air. The next moment I was roughly thrown to the ground, with both my arms behind my back. I thrashed like a violent animal, fighting for my life.
"Get off me!" I shouted as I noticed more shadows surrounding me.
"Careful Rhea! Do not touch his hands, we don't know what he does yet!" An aged male voice said.
These people knew who I was, or rather, what I was. Were they going to turn me in and claim the reward.
"I know Viktor." The voice came from whomever was straddling me, twisting my arms a bit too hard. "He won't stay still."
"Who are you people?" I shouted.
"Get him to be quiet." A third voice said, male.
"I would if he'd stop thrashing wildly around." The girl who had me on the ground shifted her weight and I could feel her knees digging deep into my back, cutting my air flow.
"Rhea, enough, you'll kill him!" Viktor said.
"Wasn't that the plan? He seemed eager to leave the forest."
"Just because I thought you were animals that wanted to eat me!" I managed to say. "I'm going to ask you again, who the hell are you and how do you know about my touch?"
I received a blow to my head.
"Shut up, what do you know about the touch?" Rhea asked, but even she sounded confused.
"That's what the old guy advised you not to do..because of my touch."
"The kid knows," said Viktor. "Get off him Rhea. Now."
Weight was lifted off me immediately. I pushed my body up, rubbing my chest and I got a good look at them. They were three, all dressed in black, not revealing their skin. One was an old man, another one a rogueish guy, and a girl with shaved head.
"Who are you?" I asked again.
"We're the resistance boy, and we'd like for you to join us. We've been watching you, watching you waste your time escaping from all human touch when you can be with us fighting off the company who captures our kin and wants us dead..." The old man, Viktor said.
He extended his hand.