Dr. Griffith, a microbiologist and genetics professor, injects a substance he recently discovered into some cupcakes before being murdered by a terrorist organization known for their deadly biological weapons. That substance is capable of altering human genes --DNA. A group of people acquires strange, supernatural abilities and have become the main targets of the terrorists. They created Trackers to hunt down the "heroes".
The French cafe in the corner of a London city offered a lively environment for locals and tourists as well. The snow was dwindling toward the afternoon but the chilly winds prevailed.
I wiped off a coffee stain on a table that had recently been vacated. I placed a new napkin holder and ran past the counter, into the kitchen to drop the dirty plates. I ran out and welcomed our new customers. My parents were the owners of the cafe and ever since I had turn sixteen my urge for money, other than my allowance, had increased and thus I was compelled to work at my parent's cafe.
The days close to Christmas time have been very busy, which was both good and bad: it was more income and double work and exhaustion.
"Emma," my mother called from the counter, "I need you to go on an errand."
I walked toward my mother, exhausted. "What is it, mum?"
"Dr. Griffith needs a Cherry Blossom Tea," she said handling me a large-size cup, "could you please take it to him, and these cakes too?"
"Why doesn't he come for it?" Dr. Griffith had been our neighbor before we moved out of the apartment which we used to live. All I knew from him was that he was a very secluded man, locked in his apartment doing his strange experiments. Aside from the mornings which he spent doing research for NYU, he seldom left his apartment.
"Honey, you know how busy he is," my mother said, "besides, he will appreciate it." She gave me a warm smile that set me off toward his dwelling.
I stepped out of the cafe into the noisy and windy streets of the busy city. The wind was a comfort and ailment for the stress and exhaustion. I wrapped my jacket tighter around me and trudge on the snow toward the apartment building just two blocks away from our cafe.
After ten minutes of walk I reached an old, decaying building. The former burgundy colour bricks were now of a dark, emberish colour. I pushed opened the door and took the stairs, there was no lift. I reached the fourth floor and walked down the hall toward his apartment. There was only one window at the end of the dimly lighted hall, giving the whole place a grim appearance.
I knocked on the door lightly, waiting for it to open and reveal the ever so messy Dr. Griffith. I waited before knocking again, this time harder. The door flung open, a man in his late forties dressed in a lab coat was eying me. His hair was disheveled as if he just woke up, his dark brown eyes were heavy with dark rims.
"Good morning Dr. Griffith," I greeted. "My mother sends you your cherry blossom tea and some cakes."
He sticks his head out of the door, looking sideways. I stepped back, startled by his strange behaviour. "There is no one with you, right Emma?" He whispered.
"Uhm..no one sir," I whispered back, feeling obliged to imitate his queer actions.
"Good, come in," he nodded and opened the door just large enough to allow me inside.
I slipped inside and place the bag on a free space in the kitchen counter. I watch around the room, there were many flasks, beakers, and testing tubes. Microscopes, petri dishes, Bunsen burners lined up the shelves. There were jars with different objects in them filled with liquid. My eyes scanned the room, it was messier than I thought, papers and books were lying everywhere.
"You are such a good girl, Emma," he said, approaching a cabinet. He opened it and took out a red cardboard box and handed it to me. "I want you to take this home."
I pushed the box to him, "Thank you Dr. Griffith but it was nothing, you don't need to give us anything."
Dr. Griffith's was insistent. "Take them, I made these cupcakes myself. Please do take them, you can sell them or give them at the cafe."
Exactly, we don't want to poison somebody, I thought. I also suspected his desperation in getting rid of this pastry. Finally after much insistence from his part I gave in and hold the box in my hands.
"Take them to your mother," he finally said. "Now get out, I am busy."
"Okay," I said as he ushered me out of his apartment, "I hope you have a merry Christmas..."
He slammed the door the moment I was outside. I scowled at his lack of respect and walked toward the stairs. I opened the box to peek on it, the box was filled with chocolate cupcakes. I inhaled the rich aroma and reached for one. One won't hurt, I thought gleefully feeling the frosting melt in my mouth.
When I reached the first floor I bumped into a man wearing a black suit. "Sorry!" I mumbled through a mouthful of cupcake. The man just gave me an annoyed look and walked away toward the stairs, followed by three others.
I rolled my eyes, so much for Christmas spirit. I walked out again to the cold wintry outside and made my way back to the cafe. After walking a block I heard a shot and the breaking of glass. I turned my head in the direction from where I came from, the apartment building. Nothing, everything seem normal, I continued my course.
"Did Dr. Griffith liked his tea?" my mum asked the moment I entered the cafe.
"I don't know, didn't hang around enough to hear his critiques," I said placing the box in the counter. "Cupcakes, courtesy of the always-so-kind Dr. Griffith," I said sarcastically. I was feeling light-headed as I dropped my body on a chair, my fingers rubbed my temples, my eyes were unfocused.
"The wind made your head hurt?" my mum asked concerned, "I will brew you some tea." She went inside the kitchen.
I saw the cupcakes beautifully placed on the cupcake holder, she came out and handed me my tea. I sipped it, the dizziness was still there.
"What are you going to do with those cupcakes?" I asked, rubbing my suddenly tired eyes.
"Give them away, of course." my mother replied.
I wanted to advice her against that but my consciousness was slipping away.