“Caleb said you were dead.”
All Jadia received for her trouble was a slap on the face and to be not invited into the little house.
“You of all people should know that time never dies…”
Again Jadia felt his palm brush quickly across her cheek.
“You’re stupid, child. You can’t put two and two together and you can’t even see what’s going on back at that house. Get in.”
As his rough hand grabbed the collar of her cardigan, Jadia frowned and tried to open her mind but could feel nothing but whiteness, like the background noise from space on a radio. Her father inspected her. His face was expressionless but his voice was tinted with interest.
“You’ve got something, I can feel that, but it won’t make much difference against the barrier.”
Jadia looked around the room he had placed her in. What barrier? It was a simple living room, complete with an old, worn sofa the colour of mould and a dirty TV that looked like it had never been used. Her father’s eyes followed her gaze around the room and he raised his eyebrows.
“Jadia!” That caught her attention. “Where do you think those powers come from? Why do you think that selection of teens have been locked up? Sensing a pattern?” The last clause was very mocking.
“Just tell me…” Jadia sighed; she was sick of these games.
“In the blood.” He grabbed a rusty metal razor from a counter nearby, and sliced it across his wrist. The red blood spilled out as Jadia gasped, but not for long. In the blink of an eye, the cut seemed to be resealing itself, as though time was going backwards and the destruction of skin had never happened.
Then, she understood: it was genetic-the powers of Caleb and herself also ran through their father.
“Then why were we all- Caleb, me, Kevin, the others- locked up, daddy? Answer me that?”
He shook his head, disappointed.
“You don’t know about their pasts, do you? Nevertheless, you’ll learn about it soon enough if you return to The House. They all have had deaths due to the mutation, and also have had family members who didn’t want them. Who didn’t need the stress of a ‘Wild Card’.”
Jadia frowned. “Caleb and I haven’t had a deat-”
“Shut up about that stupid boy! I died! I may be able to control the flow of time, but it doesn’t stop the fact that, at one point, I died! And it was all due to him.”
“You were going to let them take him away…”
“And so did all the parents and carers of those other misfits in that building. That’s what we are: Misfits! Wild Cards! Different!” his voice became quiet, “Face it Jadia, you’re different.”
I have to get out of here…He’s crazy.
Jadia turned towards the door, but a strong hand grabbed her forearm and pulled her back.
“Don’t you take that tone with me, young lady. You’re not going anywhere!”
“No. Don’t! It is Viper’s and my duty to stop our infection spreading and making the World a jumble of people too powerful for their own good.”
“But they’ll fight back. I have faith in my friends, in Sapphire and Linsey…”
Jadia’s father laughed coldly. It was a laugh that had once been rich with joy at seeing his little ginger girl toddle over, but now, over time and pain, had turned as hard as stone, and it cut into Jadia’s heart as if it really was stone.
“That’s if they don’t destroy themselves all first. I stop time to watch all their silly actions and I wonder whether you will stop them…and yet you don’t…”
“What? When? Where…?”
“I created a copy of your mother little hometown village. It took a while but I found people who could manipulate life into the cold stone picture, and Viper helped too…She’s such a fine girl…” For a second, he seemed lost to a daydream, but snapped back to the present like a camera lens focuses on its object of view.
“Now, I’m sorry, Marguerite, but you need to be held like the others.” He shoved a wad of smelly green fabric into her mouth and pushed her onto a chair placed in the corner. Jadia struggled, but she was no use and too weak against his powers. Keeping her emotions in check, she blinked back tears and looked straight into his grey eyes. They showed no sign of mercy…
“Goodbye, my dear…” he said once he had tied her hands and feet to the chair, “I love you.” Then he turned and walked out, disturbing the ‘barrier’ around the house.
Jadia concentrated hard on opening her mind so she could see her friends, see the emotion that her father felt still, not for her, but for her mother. Her destination of thought was close, she could reach out and touch the silky line in her mind…
Finally Jadia managed to break through the boundary of body and mind and let her soul reach out to its fullest potential.
She was free of all physical things.