Almost a century ago a brilliant, unknown scientist had tested his revolutionary machine on five young men and women. Within days they had suddenly gained the ability to traverse the divide between the realms of the seen and unseen, and the power to siphon energy from the beings on the 'other side'. Four were brutally destroyed. Only I remain.
I've long forgotten it all.
That was the answer flashing in my mind's eye as the balding man behind the booth asked for my name and age.
"Bridget Smith, nineteen and a half."
He nodded curtly and slid the papers through the slot and onto the counter, gesturing for the next person in line to move up. I grabbed the temporary license and crumpled it unceremoniously into a pocket in my low hanging sweatpants before shoving through the lines of people to get to the door, chewing a lump of flavorless gum with my glossy lips half-open.
Both my multiple earrings and the charms on the phone I was pounding texts into clinked in unison as I walked, reddish-brown hair falling half over my eyes in all of its obviously styled glory.
I was the very picture of this particular decade's restless youth, embodying a lifestyle that was as careless as it was about instant gratification. The layered tank tops, totally tattooed back were all very much significant to me, though.
This was my cover.
Even now the bastards were looking for me. Whatever it was they called themselves, CIA or Interpol or MI6.
Generations of dedicated people hunting me down to burn me at the stake and distribute my ashes into various cement blocks all over the world.
That was what they did with the rare breed known as 'skin splitters', so named for the fact that the skin along our spine split whenever we made the journey from Here to There.
Here being the dimension visible to the naked human eye, There being the realm that just overlaps it, better known as the world of the unseen.
When I was Here I maintained my physical manifestation; being There I was a spirit-like form, bound weakly to Here by my body that was left behind.
I could sense what happened around my body Here while I was There, but only dully, like a daydream that wafted briefly into my vision. If my body was completely destroyed, so much so that I couldn't even restore it, I was trapped There for eternity.
That was exactly what the united governments of the world wanted to do. But not before finding a way to duplicate the ability for their own militia, obviously.
Skin splitters had power beyond the imagination. When There one could almost 'wrangle' the creatures existing in that world and siphon their energy back through the pores of the veil between Here and There and into their human selves.
Energy meant superhuman strength, speed, senses and reflexes, the knowledge of ancient entities, rapid healing and near-invulnerability as well as a link to the mystic arts.
But this was only after making the often strenuous and extremely dangerous journey There and managing to possess such a worthy opponent.
Latching onto a creature from There also meant draining the life-force of the host and eventually killing it, with the immediate effects lasting anywhere from a few days to months.
A shadow of the power remained and these shadows had built over time for me to considerable potency, but this only meant peak human sensory systems, acrobatics and athleticism, not to mention eons worth of combat technique and a body that never aged.
Multiple occasions had also proved that poison had no real impact on me save a runny nose and a pounding headache, which was good considering the alternative.
All of these 'powers' weren't nearly as much fun as they seemed when I had no choice but to constantly keep them hidden. Aside from the occasional time that my pursuers actually caught a whiff of me, I was always underground.
Changing papers, identities, appearances, names.
My life was one of constant change, the only thing remaining constant the fact that it was always changing.
I wanted to save the others. Find each cement block they'd been divvied up in and crack them open, expose the ashes to the air and use them to establish a link to wherever they were in There and call them back.
We could form a stream of energy between the two worlds, so that they could borrow from my life-force to recompose their bodies Here.
But there was no time.
Even as I left the office, I knew very well the likelihood of saving the other 'splitters.
It was just as likely as me finding them.