It was astounding how quickly things changed. One moment Rin was a promising intern, the next a wanted fugitive. Every radio station, every TV channel was issuing alerts in her name, saying that she had violated government policy and stolen federal property. She hadn’t had much of a choice, considering how the odd thing had attached itself to her, and there it had stayed.

“That’ll be 54.60, please.”

Rin looked up from beneath the baseball cap, just long enough to shove a bill on the counter and grab the plastic bags at the checkout, leaving the store. Her long, silky black hair was tucked under the hat, sunglasses hiding her brown, almond-shaped eyes. She’d had to grab a few essentials; cans of food, water bottles, a first-aid kit. Returning to her apartment would have meant an instant arrest. She had tried, though, and found security blocking the front doors. Despite being a good hundred yards away, she could hear a command coming in on their communication devices.

“Alpha squadron, you have permission to shoot the target. Repeat, fire upon sight.”

The guards had all mumbled ‘roger that’ in unison, oblivious to the sight of a petite brunette slinking off across the road. It was a pity for them, really.

Rin noticed a few black cars at the end of the road and, seeing the tiny, unlit sirens inside them, made off in the opposite direction. Undercover cops. No doubt on the lookout for a certain Japanese twenty-one year old. Chuckling at how unimportant her previous life was now, Rin turned sharply into an alley, looking up only to see cops at the other end. She turned, looking to retreat, but found her exit blocked by more officers.

One of them drew a gun and held it point blank towards her, pulling the trigger. Rin jerked aside impulsively, hearing a cry and turning to see a cop fall, clutching at a bullet in her chest. They all stared, stunned, but drew their own weapons. Instincts kicking in, Rin jumped up, palms against either side of the narrow alley, and felt herself scrabble up the wall as if it was a second nature to her. Leaping onto a rooftop, she ran, jumping from building to building with the blood pounding in her ears.

She was spurred on by pure adrenaline, the sound of bullets flying at her and, on top of that, shock. What she could do, so suddenly, it was anything but natural. It felt that way, though, felt like it was a part of her, and always had been.  Sighing and feeling the cool metal on her neck as she ran, Rin felt a sense of exhilaration rush through her, making her smile ever so slightly. The wind was in her hair, caressing her cheek, a world of sound and sight and smell opening to her. It was magical...extraordinary. Or better yet, extraterrestrial.

After running for ten or so miles, having shaken off the walking officers long ago and still not tired, Rin had picked up the pace, eager to lose her new pursuer. A helicopter, loud and noisy, had appeared halfway through her run and closed in, making her baseball cap fly off and her straight hair whip about her. The helicopter picked up the pace, too, and suddenly veered in front of her, cutting off her path.

Instinct taking over again, Rin leapt up and grabbed the landing skids, flinging the chopper aside as if it was a piece of paper, smashing it into the road below. She continued running, watching as the mangled remains of the copter burst into flames, cold fear hitting her system like an overdose on caffeine. Not just fear of the government, or the device plugged into her neck, but herself. What she was capable of doing, and what her reshaping world would drive her to do.

That pilot, despite who she or he had worked for, probably had a family, people who cared about them. She’d ripped that from them, suddenly, just because they were trying to make a living. Rin had never made enemies before but, realizing what her powers meant, knew she would. And soon.

The End

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