Second Class Supers – Page 54

Read Second Class Supers – Page 53

Callidus and Nitor walked ahead of the two Shadow Striders carrying Facillis’ lifeless body. Unlike Amelia’s funeral, there was no smell of death, only the evergreens that surrounded them.
Audentia shuffled along, devoid of any expression, at the back of the group. She was supported by Marge and Kya, her legs almost giving way beneath her as she stepped along the sloping hill.
The group walked in silence the entirety of the way back to the walls surrounding New Eden.
As they arrived at the spotlights, they began to shut down once again, but no rope came falling from overhead. Nitor waved his arms in the air at Scott, who was still standing watch on the wall, and a section of the wall in front of them vanished.

Kya was surprised, but followed the group as they passed through the hole. The stones all reappeared once they were through, as though nothing had ever been disturbed. She felt a strong urge to ask what it took to pull off such a feat, but the faces of those around her were almost warning her to stay silent.
Callidus took Kya gently by the hand and led her into a nearby house. The door opened to a kitchen with a large heavy wood table which looked like it had been made by hand. Callidus took Kya to the sink in the corner. The room was a mixture of rugged, rustic, pioneer elements and worn down looking modern conveniences. It was almost like the house hadn’t received anything new in years.
“You can clean yourself up while I fetch you some new clothes.” Callidus’ voice sounded heavy, his whole body lacked its usual animation. He walked up the stairway and Kya began scrubbing her hands, noticing only then that her sleeves, the front of her shirt, as well as her pants were stained.
When he returned, his expression was unchanged. He handed Kya clothing that consisted of a hand knit green sweater and a pair of worn black pants.
“They belong to Audentia. She won’t mind. Especially considering what you tried to do for her brother.”
“The boy, Facillis, is – was,” Kya corrected herself, and her voice caught in her throat, “her brother?”
Callidus nodded and pointed towards a nearby room. “You can change in there.”
Kya shut the door behind her and as she changed she heard him presumably cleaning himself up. When she returned she carried her own clothes in a bunch. The metallic stench of blood, still damp wafted from her clothing, and caused Kya to have a strong compulsion to wash her hands again.
“I can see about cleaning them.”
Kya pushed her lips up, attempting to form a small grin. “I think they’re past that point.”
He nodded again, but it was strained. His head seeming to have difficulty raising before quickly dropping. Callidus found a wicker basket for Kya to put her clothing in and then pulled out a chair and gestured for Kya to sit. He walked around the table to sit opposite her. He had removed the wrappings from his arms, nearly to his shoulders, and his visible skin was clean. There was almost a tangible weight on his shoulders, pressing down on him, draining him of his youth.
Kya felt like she could see lines forming on his face, aging him, stealing away the Callidus that talked so passionately less than an hour before.
Placing his arms on the table, Callidus dropped his head into his hands. “That is the other side of New Eden, and the life of the First Gens.” His sigh was so loud, it echoed off the near bare walls. “Inside of this compound, we are relatively safe, but for those of us who choose to leave, there are risks. We all know them.” He sighed again. Each sentence seemed a strain, veins popped from his neck and forehead as he continued to speak calm and even. “It’s bitter-sweet. Inside these walls, we can be seen, we can be touched. We are cared about. When we die here, people weep.”
Kya squirmed slightly in her chair. Her thoughts drifted, considering the weight of the situation she was now in. Despite all of the recent events in her life, today, more than any day, felt unreal.
Callidus continued, seemingly unaware of Kya’s discomfort. “But within these walls we are prisoners. We make a choice to leave. Out there we are free to go where we may, but we can’t be seen, we can’t be touched, and the government and corporations celebrate when we die.” He raised his still clasped hands to his mouth and blew into them. He lifted his index fingers and wiped beneath his eyes.
Kya was unsure of what to say. She stared at Callidus, sitting across from her, speaking so solemnly.
“Facillis only joined our ranks a month ago. I don’t know why they took him to the alley on Seventh.” He spoke more to himself than to Kya, his eyes drifting around the room. After a silence, his sparkling green eyes fell on her, and there was something missing. His eyes looked slightly dimmer somehow, and there was an energy of shame, frustration and sadness pouring from inside of him.
Kya could empathize. She lacked insight into their relationship, but she could see that Callidus was taking the whole thing hard. Sometimes, Kya thought he looked at her as though she was the one who had died.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered. “I’m so sorry this was your introduction to our world.”
“I – I just wish I could have helped.”
“You did.” He nodded. “You did.”
Kya knew a change of topic was in order. She dug around in her brain, still swarming with unanswered questions, and one floated to the surface. “What do you Shadow Striders hope to accomplish?”
“We want people like you, and so many others to know what the cost of the Supers Market was, and is. We want people to know how these Supers came to be, and that we are still here. We don’t want to be swept under a rug and forgotten about.”
“What do you expect me to do?”
“I hope that you will share our story.”
“How?” Kya was surprised by her boldness. “Everything I have read about you online has been cryptic, and people go missing as soon as they say anything about First Gens. Look what happened here tonight. How do I know I’ll be safe?”
“Look, we stand out.” Callidus gestured at his black and gray outfit. “By the sheer fact that we try not to be seen, when they find us, they know who we are. You look like everyone else. There is no consequence for someone who bumps into you on the street. You’re safe.”
“What if I’m found?”
“The government has bigger problems these days. Their limitations are falling apart on their limitless Supers; the Supers are too strong and it’s too easy to get more than a person can handle. Look at that Myles Redwood guy. He’s been causing mayhem and he’s murdered, but they still haven’t caught him. I think you’re safe for now.”
A pit of worry had formed in Kya’s stomach and now it seemed to grow so large, she thought she would throw up. Kya wanted to leave, but didn’t know what to say. She was relieved when there was a knock at the door and Marge entered.
“I think I should take Kya back.” Her eyes were bloodshot and her voice rasped like she had been crying.
“I’ll escort you guys as far as I can.” Callidus said.

Read Second Class Supers – Page 53

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