Wiping a trickle of blood from her split lip, Jadia glared up at the man, dazed.
“So, missy, are you gonna tell me who you are and what you’re doing here?”
“Only if you tell me who you are and why you have powers,” Jadia snarled. She was in the disadvantages position, yet she still pushed her questions onwards.
“So you’re interested in those of us with powers too? Why?”
“Why do you think?”
“There are many unsavory characters who’d love to rid the world of those with the genetic mutation. Who are you working for?”
“I’m working for myself!” Jadia spat.
“Liar!” The man reached out and slapped Jadia, leaving a large red handprint across her right cheek. He was strong. “Who are you working for?”
“No-one, you…!” She yelled, “And, I’ve got proof!”
Jadia shot him a series of images through to his mind. The mental wall was still as firm as before, but she placed the images at his ‘door’; she wouldn’t need to overcome anything so strong.
After a moment, Jadia felt the man’s mental wall crumble.
“Leo Hanson,” he said, giving her a hand up, “Sorry about that, but we’ve had all kinds of spies coming here to steal the information we keep. You aren’t the first person to break in. You won’t be the last. Luckily, our security systems have improved, as you probably could tell.” He smiled.
“Jadia Stone. (That’s spelt with a ‘J’, by the way),” Jadia replied, “It’s quite alright; I’ve been ‘on-the-run’ from evil for a while, I’m used to a bit of a chase. Why have you got pictures of my friends on the computer systems here?”
“Follow me, Miss Stone. I’ll show you what we do here.”
Leo set off at a quick pace, and Jadia jogged behind him, whilst he kept chattering.
“We’re keeping tabs on those people whom we suspect have powers like you and me. In fact, recently, we’ve had to work overtime, as we’ve lost some of them.”
“What do you mean ‘lost’?”
“They’re just gone. My ‘eyes’ have not seen them in their usual daily routines. It was just a couple of teens at first, Sapphire and James, from the same district, but now we’re hearing of others who’ve vanished from all across the country.”
“He’s a new one that my ‘eyes’ have spotted. Calming, apparently. That’s an odd one,” Leo pointed out. “Recently, there seems to have been a rise in the number of people whose powers are becoming obvious.”
“Hmm,” Jadia pursed her lips, “I’ve learnt not trust anyone now- not even my own family.”
Leo slowed down his pace, and looked closely at her as she walked beside him.
“But you trust me, don’t you, Miss Stone?”
“You’ve haven’t actually tried to kill me yet,” she laughed, tossing her amber hair like a mane. Underneath, some memories stirred Jadia’s heart, and it took some effort not to be overcome by curious worry.
Those people who used to be my friends… Are they in trouble again?
They returned to the lab, or a similar-looking one in any case, filled with the same type of equipment, but this time, it had a couple of other scientists within. Both wore plain clothes, instead of the stereotypical white lab-coats.
Finally, in the bright lamplight, Jadia had a clear view of Leo. He had a dark mixed-race skin, with short deep black hair, and eyes of liquid jet.
And, all in all, he looked rather handsome!
“Welcome to our laboratories (there are more through that door),” Leo indicated, gesturing. The other scientists looked up, surprised. Suddenly, Jadia felt sorely overdressed.
“As far as I know,” Jadia heard a whisper in her ear, “We are the only two here who have the mutation. These people just think that we are a lesser branch of the secret services, particularly, a missing-persons and identification unit linked with genetics. It’s better that way, you know; the less people who have an idea of what we are, the less who will try to manipulate or mimic us.”
“I understand,” Jadia muttered back, “I never liked to show off.”
Leo led Jadia forward.
“Guys, this is Miss Stone. She’s one of the more…intense operatives, origin in the…England branch?”
“Yeah,” Jadia stepped forward and shook hands with the male and female scientists, “I’m very interested in what might be going on…”
Then she rushed over to the lady’s console and squinted down at the little headshots of Sapphire, Kevin, Caleb, and the image of a lanky boy with coal hair and bright blue eyes, who Jadia guessed was James.
“So you’ve been updated on all that’s happened then?” The lady asked.
“Well, not really…” Jadia replied, “I’ve been busy and out-of-touch lately. Do enlighten me.”
The female scientist tucked a strange of her black hair behind an ear and point to the buzzing monitor.
“It seems that, for the moment, all the disappearances we’ve noticed are occurring in a single country, where we’ve received information that these people have just gone missing, presumed in suspicious circumstances. It has been found out that they also disappeared some time back, but that the government had (almost completely) covered up all the media stories.”
“Typical government,” Jadia nodded, “So where is this place?”
“Well, that’s why I thought you’d know… See, they all lived in central England.”
“England?” A chill went through Jadia mind at the cold thoughts of her old home, but she pushed the aside quickly, and continued, “Well, that’s certainly where we need to head then.”