She can reach into others' minds. She can access their secrets, their innermost thoughts.
Until something goes very wrong.
She gets stuck.
And now the agency she once called home wants her dead.
Falon Lyght will now have to rely on her enemies in order to survive. But will she survive? Or will she fall victim to the place she used to call home?
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view . . . until you climb inside it and walk around in it." – Atticus Finch
Falon Lyght smiled as she stood in front of the suspect, her teeth gleaming in the darkened room.
The suspect squirmed in his bounds, cursing under his breath as his attempts proved in vain. Falon resisted the urge to snicker as she flipped her hair over her shoulder before cracking her knuckles. She felt the same sense of anticipation crawling its way through her veins, easing its way up toward her heart. This was how it always went during a job, and Falon loved every moment of it. It was like a momentary high, a feeling of ecstasy that felt like nothing Falon had ever experienced before.
“You could,” she drawled, sauntering forward, her high-heels clacking threateningly on the floor, “just give up whatever information you have and this could all be over.”
She could feel rather than see the suspect’s glower as he tugged harder at the chain keeping his arms bound to the chair. Falon didn’t understand why he kept doing that. It was only a waste of energy. He had no supernatural power, nothing that made him strong enough to break the chains with his bare hands. Only a few agents from Lytoral had the ability to do that themselves—Falon not included. He, a regular boy, was nothing against the forces of Lytoral. Their forces were much too great, much too powerful.
Falon was suddenly tempted to slap the boy’s cheek. He was so stupid—they were all so stupid. Every single one of the suspects Falon managed to capture was all the same. So full of themselves, so confident that they had what it took to take Lytoral down once and for all. But that would never happen. Not when people like Falon, like Pochi, like Lea—her two friends in the force—were there to stop them. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of supernaturally altered beings ready to attack when need be.
“How can you stand this?”
Falon’s thoughts were suddenly disrupted as the suspect finally spoke. His voice was smooth, like a sweet melody played for her when she was a young child. The smoothness, however, was distorted by the revulsion he chucked her way, the utter hatred for her and what she stood for. “How can I stand what?” she replied, keeping her voice emotionless, steady. “How can I stand dealing with assholes like you who try and tear a great agency apart by its seams? Or how can I stand walking around all day in these high-heels? It’s not very easy, but I manage.”
The suspect growled under his breath, a low, vicious sound. A newbie to the force would have been frightened by the noise, maybe even terrified. But Falon wasn’t fazed by it. So many suspects thought they could intimidate the forces from Lytoral by sounding like a rabid dog. Falon didn’t really understand why they thought this, but she didn’t really care. All that mattered was that she got the information she needed. That was all.
From the corner of Falon’s eye she could see Pochi unhinging himself from the wall, wiping his hands on his pants. He was in uniform—leather pants with thick, black, army-like boots. Clad in a black V-neck tee to match his outfit and his favorite biker jacket, Pochi pulled the uniform off well—at least in Falon’s opinion. Something about the darkness of the outfit made his charcoal eyes seem even deeper, more threatening than they really were. The chocolate mop on top of his head, however, could use some fixing. “You know what I hate, Fal?” he drew out dramatically, sauntering beside her, crossing his arms over his chest. He narrowed his eyes at the suspect.
“What, Poch?” Falon asked lightly, knowing that the suspect would hate them talking in such a nonchalant manner. That, Falon thought with a distant amusement, was why she and Pochi always had these discussions. They just adored watching the suspects squirm. It was all part of the fun.
“I hate it when suspects think they’re cool.” He spat the word, like it was the vilest of all the creations in the English language. Falon found herself resisting the urge to snicker again. “Because, despite all their growling like worthless animals, and despite the gel they always seem to put in their hair, they’re nothing.”
“I know right?” Falon sneered at the suspect as he glared off at a distant wall. “They always lose.”
“Enough you two.”
Falon and Pochi turned, watching as Lea stepped forth from the shadows, rolling her eyes. Lea had always reminded Falon of a stallion like those in fairytales. She wasn’t quite sure why. Maybe it was the way Lea held herself together, the way she kept her back straight and walked with confidence. Or maybe it was her blond hair cascading down her back, always looking neat and perfect no matter what situation they were in. On the other hand, it could have been her facial features. Sharp angles, sharp everything. Her face was thin, and her eyes were big. They, like Pochi’s, were a charcoal color. Which made sense seeing how Pochi and Lea were siblings.
“Oh, come on, Lee!” Pochi complained, his hands going to his belt of weapon’s sitting loosely around his waist. “Can’t we have a bit of fun?”
Falon barely noticed Pochi’s accent as he whined to his sister about how unfair she was being. He and Lea had been recruited from their home in Australia after their parents were killed when they were seven. Falon was born into the forces, so she’d never known anything but Lytoral. Pochi and Lea, however, had once known what a “regular” life was. What is was like to wake up to eggs and bacon burning on the stove; what it was like to be tucked in by parents at night. Sometimes Falon was jealous of them. But not usually.
“Just get the information out of him so we can go home,” Lea said firmly, gesturing dismissively to the suspect, still bound to the chair. For a moment Falon had almost forgotten his presence. Which was unusual seeing how he was the entire point of them being there. “I have a training lesson at four.”
Pochi sighed deeply as though her words caused him pain. “Fine,” he said through his teeth. He glanced back at Falon, nodding at her. “Come on, Fal. Chop, chop.”
Falon, with a roll of the eyes, sauntered back to her place in front of the perpetrator. She bent down, her hands coming to rest on the boy’s arms as she smiled wickedly at him. The suspect stared right back at her, his gaze never wavering. She was taken aback for a moment. Not by the suspect’s lack of fear, but by the depth in the boy’s eyes. They were like black tidal waves, swishing back and forth with fury. If she concentrated on them for too long, Falon knew that she would be lost. “You can either tell me your transgression,” she hissed, “or I can dig into your mind and find the answers for myself.”
The suspect smiled. It was a cool, icy smile. “Ever wonder what it would be like not to be a mutant, Receiver?”
Falon’s freshly manicured nails dug into the suspect’s arm. He hissed out a curse of pain as blood dribbled down his arm. Falon laughed meanly. “No, not really.” She brought her lips down to her ear. “Not when I can do this.”
The suspect tensed and Falon smiled. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes. And then she willed herself into the suspect’s mind, into his shoes. She thought of tearing off the suspect’s layers and wrapping them around herself, over and over again until she became the suspect. Suddenly a blinding light appeared before her eyelids, a light filled with moving objects.
In the distance, Falon could feel herself smiling. She reached for the light, consuming it whole. And then, suddenly, she wasn’t in the darkened room with Pochi, Lea, and the boy they’d cornered in the alley anymore. She was gone, long gone, in the realm of the suspect’s memories.
He walked through the desolated street, a hood covering his head. It was raining, the drops soaking his clothes, his skin. But that didn’t matter to him. No, not at all. The only thing that mattered was getting the package to her, to the place where it would be safe.
He glanced behind him, his eyes searching. The downpour made it difficult to see, which would not help if he were to be attacked. He tried to tell himself that that was a riduclous thought, that no one would attack him. But he couldn’t convince himself. What if Lytoral had found him? What if they came and tortured him like some common criminal?
He wasn’t a criminal of course. He’d done nothing wrong. All he was doing was serving justice, taking down the agency that did nothing but cause pain. Lytoral and its brainwashed servants doing its bidding needed to go. He’d burn it down to the ground, watching as the ashes blew away in the wind if he could.
But he couldn’t.
Taking down Lytoral would not be easy. For centuries rebels had tried to take the secret organization down, but they all died trying. Lytoral had “taken care of them.” They’d murdered them without even blinking.
But he wouldn’t let that happen to him.
Trace spun around, almost dropping the package onto the ground. In front of him stood a girl, as soaked as he felt as she stood before him in the rain. Her beautiful brunette hair was matted to her skin, curling at the tips. Trace paused for a moment, taking the girl in. Her blue orbs, flecked with black, were wide, staring at him with growing concern. She was wearing all black as to blend in with her surroundings. But that did nothing. Trace could still see her for all she was—the most beautiful thing he’d ever laid eyes on.
“I’ve got it.” Trace lifted up the package. “Just like you asked.”
She flashed a bright smile, stepping forward and taking the package from his outstretched hand. She glanced around for a moment before shoving the package inside her jacket, out of sight. Trace’s eyes flicked to her hands as they hid the package underneath her clothing and then back to her face. Trace had no idea what was inside the package, and he wasn’t going to ask. The less he knew the better—that’s what they always said. If he knew what was inside the package and he got caught, it could bring down all they’d worked for.
So, for now, he’d have to stay oblivious.
“Thank you so much, Trace.” Her smile broadened as she reached forward, grabbing his neck and pulling him toward her. Their lips collided for a short, blissful moment before she pulled away, her hand going to his cheek. “I love you so much. You know that, don’t you?”
Trace nodded, a smile of his own creeping across his lips. “I love you, too.”
She pulled away completely, taking a step back. “I’ll be back for supper. Let the other’s know!”
And then she was gone, disappearing down the road.
Falon gasped, her hands flying off the suspect’s arms. Her eyes still closed, she breathed deeply, clinging to the small remnants of the memory. It was like scraping the bowl of a near-empty ice cream bowl. Managing to get some, but not much.
That was, until a name fluttered before her closed lids.
Cade Evans, it said. The words were florescent purple and cursive, as it always was when there was another suspect that Lytoral would have to take care of. Falon smiled, letting her eyes open now, taking another deep breath. There was no more information that she needed now, no more useful memories that could be dished from the suspect’s—Trace’s—head.
Falon glanced around the room for a moment, struggling to adjust to the sudden change in light. Dots appeared before her eyes, and for a short second Falon feared she would topple over. It was always this way after Falon put herself in the suspects’ minds. Struggling to regain reality—sometimes so much that she actually did fall over. But, this time, she was able to compose herself rather quickly. “Your girlfriend is pretty, Trace,” Falon mocked, smiling meanly in Trace’s direction.
Trace’s eyes snapped to hers in a sudden horror. Falon’s smile grew when she realized that she’d hit a soft spot. A spot that she could use against him. “What—?”
“This girl,” Falon mused, stepping toward him menacingly. She trailed one of her fingers up his arm as she circled him, knowing full well that this made him uncomfortable. She felt her stomach flutter with the anticipation of what was coming next. She loved this part. Taking down the suspect’s confidence, letting them know just what she learned inside their head. Showing them that they should have known better than to attack Lytoral and thinking that they wouldn’t be caught. “She’s very clever, isn’t she? Hiding that package in her coat like that? Oh, if only I knew what was inside that package. Oh, wait. Of course I don’t. I mean, you were at least smart enough not to know what was inside it. Very clever, right?”
Falon’s smile grew. “Oh, it was definitely clever. How could I possibly report to Lytoral the threat you pose when you don’t even really know what that threat is?” Falon stopped in front of Trace, her eyes gleaming. “I mean, how could we when we don’t know your pretty little girlfriend’s name?” She paused, glanced at Pochi and Lea, and then gasped. “Oh my! Wait a moment. I’ve seem to have remembered something.”
She grinned, and Trace tensed. He stared up at her, his black whirlpools attempting to suck her in. Falon twisted around and gestured for Pochi and Lea to join her in front of the suspect. Pochi and Lea immediately complied, coming to stand in their spots on either side of her. “Tell Lytoral that the new suspect they want to look for is Cade Evans,” Falon said lightly. “And, let’s get Trace here to his very own prison cell.”
Pochi grinned while Lea simply nodded. The two unbound Trace from the chair and pulled his hands behind his back. Trace struggled in their grip, kicking at them. His attempts were in vain, however. Pochi and Lea strong—so strong that Falon sometimes wondered if they were actually tested on like everyone else. “Don’t bother, hot shot,” Pochi chortled, his grip tightening on Trace’s wrists. Falon watched with a dull amusement as Trace winced. “We’re stronger than you could ever hope to be. You’ll only manage to break a leg—or your wrist—in the process.”
Trace went limp in Pochi and Lea’s arms. His gaze swung lazily over to Falon, as though it took too much effort, too much energy to look at anything but the ground. “If you hurt her,” he whispered, his voice deep with loathing, “I will end you.” His gaze flicked to the two holding him. “All of you.”
Falon smiled sweetly. “Ah, darling,” she cooed. “We have Lytoral for that.”