Prologue

September, 2046

The chief sighed once again as he glanced at the motionless girl sitting in the chair. He frowned as he scrutinized her appearance for the hundredth time that night. She was completely drenched, and had refused the towel he had offered her when he just found her walking along the dark road that cut neatly through the foreboding forest of the town. The chief also couldn't make out her age. She could be a girl, or a young woman. He wasn't sure. But judging from the smoothness of her skin, and the slender shape of her face, he decided she couldn't be over the age of twenty five.

The chief then took in her bizarre haircut. Her head was shaved completely with a thin layer of tiny spikes of protruding hair, which parted around a strange, ghostly white mark just on the back of her skull, one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body. She kept her eyes down and her skin was pale, her lips slightly blue from the cold. The chief walked around to the back of her chair and tapped his foot impatiently. He didn't have all day. Besides, he was sure the girl had run away from home and was just too afraid to admit it to him in fear that, after all, he was the police chief of the town, he would take her back to where she came from.

The girl continued to sit stock still as the chief paced around his desk. He threw his hands up in exasperation.

"Do you mind telling me where you came from?" he asked, hoping with all his heart that she would answer.

The girl stared at her lap intently.

"Or maybe a name? I could help you, you know, if you just gave me something to work with," the chief said.

Silence greeted the chief.

"I don't have all day you know, I have other things to—"

"Ellie," the girl suddenly said in a barely audible manner.

The chief stopped mid sentence and turned around to look at the girl. "Sorry, what did you say?"

"Ellie," the girl repeated in a slightly louder voice. She lifted her head just a little and sent the chief a look that neither could understand.

The chief was taken aback by the bright green of her eyes. They alone shone in her depressing image and the chief raised his eyebrows a little.

"Ellie, is it?" he asked, just to keep the conversation going. "Well, then, Ellie. Mind if I asked you some questions?"

The girl stared without blinking at the chief, her mouth set in a thin line that almost looked like a condescending smile. She remained this way for a few long moments without showing any sign of hearing the chief's question.

The chief, a little weirded out by the girl, cleared his throat awkwardly and started pacing again, the way he did when he was nervous.

"I'll take that as a yes," the chief said, experiencing an overwhelming feeling of talking to himself. He walked around to the back of the girl and his eyes once again focused on the strange mark on the back of her head.

Curiosity getting the better of him, he cocked his head to one side, asking, "What's this? A scar?"

The girl nodded ever so slightly. Unknown to the chief, her hands curled into small fists, her body suddenly tense and on edge.

"Did someone do this to you? Did they hurt you?"

The girl did not reply. Instead, she shifted lightly on her seat, her eyes snapping to the white coffee cup on the chief's desk, staring at it as though she were trying to remember every detail of it.

"May I touch it?" the chief asked.

"No," the girl breathed, but the chief did not hear.

He reached out slowly. The tip of his forefinger neared and the girl's skin tingled. She bristled and visibly tensed, glaring at the coffee cup that sat on the chief's desk, the coffee long gone cold.

The cop's finger brushed the surface of the girl's skin and as though someone had threw it, the coffee cup flew across the room and smashed into the wall, its broken pieces falling to the ground, leaving a brown stain on the wall. The cop didn't move, but his eyes moved slowly over to the spot where the coffee cup had seemingly smashed itself. He drew his hand back cautiously, taking a step towards the stain and turning his head back to observe the girl.

She was wearing the most peculiar expression the chief had ever seen. Her eyebrows were drawn together as though she were concentrating very hard, or perhaps frowning in disapproval at something. Her nose was scrunched up, creating many thin wrinkles on the bridge of her nose. Her mouth ajar with the upper lip slightly drawn back and her deathly white teeth showing, she looked as though she were baring her teeth at an unknown enemy.

The chief shuddered, and for the first time that night, he wasn't so sure if he was in control. He glanced at the coffee stain on the wall, dark against the pale color of the cement wall. He had the strangest feeling that it had been a warning sign. The chief wanted to laugh. A warning sign? He read too much fantasy books these days. He was just getting tired. After all, it was one in the morning and he hadn't slept since midnight the day before.

But how could he explain how the coffee cup flew into the wall as though it had suddenly come to life and decided to commit suicide?

It must have been the wind, he decided. That was the only explanation for it. It was the wind. He told himself this repeatedly as he scooped up the broken white shards that remained of the coffee cup. Dumping the pieces into the trash bin next to his desk, the chief directed his attention once again to the girl sitting in front of him.

Her expression had cleared, and she wore a blank face. The girl's head was dipped again, and the chief could not see anything of her face but her porcelain forehead and her dark eyebrows.


"No, no, no!" the man yelled into the phone. "Do not send them in! I repeat, do not send them in! You have no idea what she could do to them. They don't stand a chance!"

"Dr. Hutchinson, I recommend you to stay out of this," came the calm and cold reply from the other end of the line. "We will deal with this."

The man shook his head furiously, forgetting that the person on the other end couldn't see him. "No, you don't understand. The girl-"

"Thank you for your concern, Dr. Hutchinson, but we have this under control. Good bye."

The line went dead. Dr. Hutchinson let his arm drop, still holding the phone, and he glared at it in anger. For a moment, he stared at the opposite wall, his expression blank. Then, he raised the phone again, and dialed a different number.

"Arnold?" he asked into the phone. "I'm sorry, I know it's pretty late, but it's an emergency. Meet me in the parking lot in ten minutes."


"I found you on the side of the road in the middle of the forest at one o'clock in the morning," the chief started again, addressing the girl.

"Would you mind explaining how you ended up in there?"

The girl gave a small chuckle that made the chief frown and shiver at the same time.

"It's complicated," she said, her voice still soft and feather-like.

The chief rolled his eyes to heaven. Of course it was complicated. How else would you explain a drenched girl in the middle of the forest during the scarce hours of the night? All of the lost people the chief brought in had ended up in their position due to some sort of running away from home because of whatever silly reason. They all told him it was complicated, and he wouldn't understand. He once found a young woman, similar to the girl sitting in front of him, walking along the streets in the winter at night, wearing only a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. Not to mention freezing to her untimely death. She had run away from home simply because her parents wanted her to go to a girl's academy that she didn't like. Seriously, the chief thought, was that the only way?

"Doesn't matter. I'll listen," the chief said.

The girl shook her head, her head still kept down. "You won't understand."

The chief snorted in derision. How many times had he heard that response? "I assure you, I will," he said impatiently.

The girl laughed again, this time a high-pitched jingle that hinted at a trace of contempt. "I assure you, you won't," she replied, and there was definitely a certain type of loftiness in her melodic voice that made the chief's hackles rise. He was the one in charge here, he was the police chief. To suggest that he was perhaps stupid or inept was unacceptable.

The chief narrowed his eyes at the girl's tone. "Now see here—"

There was a sudden crash from outside the chief's office. He stopped abruptly and straightened up, wondering what could be happening at this time of the day. The girl stiffened noticeably and she raised her eyes to glare at the left wall, where the sound had come from. The chief assumed that her actions were due to the sudden noise. The crash probably just surprised her, he thought.

"You stay here," he told the girl. "I'm just going to check what's going on."

Receiving no response from the girl, the chief opened the door, closed it behind him, and stepped outside into the lobby of the police station only to receive a huge shock.

The previously locked glass doors of the station had been blasted open, and surrounding the chief were police wearing dark SWAT uniforms, the letters printed large and bold on them, all glaring at the chief.

"Put your hands up!" commanded a rough voice.

The chief looked around him again, feeling dazed, and then raised his hands slowly. He wondered what he was doing. He was police chief for heaven's sake! And yet here he was, being told by other police wearing fancy uniforms (he told himself that's just what they were) to put his hands in the air.

"What's going on?" the chief demanded furiously.

They answered by moving forward to clasp handcuffs onto his raised hands, but the chief refused to be treated like a fugitive. Swiftly putting his hands back down to his sides, he demanded that they explain what the hell was going on.

"You brought a girl in, didn't you?" the same rough voice asked, sounding as though he were accusing the chief. But what exactly could he be accused for? The chief couldn't possibly think of a reason. He had brought in a girl, who was drenched to her bones, and walking along in the middle of a forest at one in the morning. He thought that was reason enough as to why he brought her in.

"Yes, I did," he declared in a ringing voice, refusing to be treated as though he were below them. In his mind, they were essentially all just police, and he was a chief.

"Where is she?" The chief found himself looking down the barrel of an assault rifle.

"She's in there," the chief answered, gesturing weakly to his office, not so brave now.

The SWAT unit moved forward, their weapons out and ready. They got into positions with their rifles aimed at the closed office door. "Open it," came the commanding voice, jabbing brutally at the door.

The chief decided now wasn't the time to be impudent. The SWAT members had real weapons, and none of the hesitation of the ordinary police. The chief stepped forward and carefully twisted the handle, pushing it open. The door swayed forward slowly, as though mocking the chief. There was a gentle tap as the door bumped lightly against the other wall.

The chief gaped at the chair where the girl sat. Or at least, where she had been sitting.

The room was empty. The dark stain glared from the wall. There was a steady breeze of wind from the open window and the chief stood there dumbly, opening and closing his mouth, unable to make a sound.

The leader of the SWAT team pushed past the chief harshly and entered the room. "Where is she?" he asked, his voice deadly with barely contained anger.

"I don't know!" the chief cried. "She was there when I left the room, I swear!"

"You're under arrest," the man stated, practically spitting out the words.

Two other SWAT members moved forward, and this time when they placed handcuffs on the chief, he did not protest. He was still dumbstruck.

"I don't know where she is," the chief repeated. He stared down at his chained hands. He was the police chief of the town. And yet he was under arrest.

"We know you don't know," the SWAT leader snarled. His black eyes glinted maliciously as he studied the chief.

"Useless," he muttered. The chief felt insulted. Useless? How could he dare call him useless?

"Brave of you to say that," the chief replied. "When you can't even find a helpless little girl."

The man pointed his rifle at the chief. "Helpless little girl, ha!" he snorted in derision. "Do you have any idea of what she can do?"

The chief opened his mouth despite the gun staring into his face. However, before he could say anything, one of the SWAT members to his right cut in.

"Our priority here is to find the girl," he said. It was directed mainly at his team leader.

The SWAT leader glared at the chief before lowering his gun and nodding to the other man. "You're right," he said, before proceeding to give out orders. "You there, check the windows. You six, surround the perimeter. Even if she got out through that window, which is impossible, it's a ceiling window, she wouldn't have gotten far. "

The man to the chief's left dragged him off to one side of the building as the rest of them moved forward to secure the area.

"You stay here, and don't try anything," the chief's captor said gruffly. The chief bobbed his head in understanding. The man looked at him, and there was something in his eyes. It almost seemed like pity. But then his eyes moved away and the chief was left staring at the open doorway of his office.

The SWAT policeman walked towards the chief's office, presumably to make sure that it was empty before searching for the girl outside. The chief wondered what could the girl have possibly done to have an entire SWAT unit searching for her. Perhaps she had participated in some sort of riot? He didn't know.

It was when the man walked into the room and looked to his left that it happened. His head suddenly jerked back and up. Then, just as suddenly and quickly, his head snapped back down. The chief just stared.

The SWAT policeman looked down at his weapons, feeling the rifle in his hands, a strange enough motion to make the chief understand. Something was definitely not right. Something had happened to the man.

The chief started inching towards the nearest desk, his instincts telling him to find cover, fast. The SWAT member turned on his heels slowly, looking like he was spinning around as though programmed on wheels. Through his dark uniform his eyes looked up and regarded the chief.

The chief gasped, loud enough for the SWAT leader to turn and glare at him. But the chief didn't notice. He was staring at the SWAT policeman's eyes. He knew those eyes. He had seen them just a few minutes ago in his office.

They were the bright green eyes of the girl. The chief was certain. There were no other pair of eyes quite like the girl's. The SWAT member motioned carefully with his rifle, moving it down in a clear instruction to get down. The chief didn't understand. He looked around just to make sure no one else was around him. The SWAT member, or whatever he had become, was definitely telling him to get down behind the desk. The chief didn't need further instructions. He crouched down behind the desk he now stood by.

"Hey! You there, Chief Dawes! Get up or we'll start shooting!" came the voice of the SWAT leader.

And just as the SWAT leader threatened, bullets flew through the air accompanied by the steady clattering of the shots. The chief closed his eyes, expecting one to find and penetrate his heart. The firing continued, along with shouting, but none touched the chief. He opened his eyes again and peered around the corner of the desk.

The SWAT member with the strange green eyes of the girl was shooting steadily at his teammates. Glass shattered as the bullets went threw the double doors of the police station. The chief could hear SWAT members yelling outside. They were no doubt very confused as to what had happened, and didn't fire back at their comrade when he shot them down. His rifle ran out of ammo and the gun clacked like a woodpecker. The man threw it down onto the floor and picked up his fallen teammate's gun, proceeding to keep shooting.

"What that hell are you doing?" screamed a voice. It belonged to someone very young. A boy. A shrill scream pierced the air as more rattling of the rifle followed. There was a thump and a body fell heavily next to where the chief crouched hidden. He fell back onto his bottom in his haste to get away from it.

Echoing footsteps were all that were left of the SWAT unit. They grew louder and louder and suddenly, the chief was staring into those bright green eyes.

"Please," he whimpered, shrinking away from the large shadow of the man. "Please."

The man just watched him, silently. Then, he walked around the chief and kicked him onto his stomach. The chief whimpered again and he realized he was trembling. He could feel his handcuffs being raised into the air, his hands being pulled up painfully with it. There was a resounding crack as a shot was fired.

The chief expected himself to be dead. Instead, he found that he could move his hands again. The man had only blasted his handcuffs off. Twisting around quickly, he watched in horror as the man brought the tip of the gun up to his chin and aimed at his own throat. Without hesitation, he pulled the trigger.

The chief gave a terrified cry as he scrambled backwards to avoid the body tumbling onto him. He shuddered all over and for a while, his legs were unable to support him. He sat on the cold, hard ground, rocking back and forth like a child.

It was his electronic watch that woke him from his shock. It beeped and said in a monotonous voice, "Two a.m."

The chief started, looked around, and pulled himself to his feet. The station was a complete mess. The glass doors were completely destroyed, glass shards strewn all over the floor. Desks were overturned and chairs demolished. And the bodies of the SWAT team littered the inside and outside of the station, their labels glaring out of their dark uniforms.

The chief stumbled over to the SWAT member that had betrayed all his teammates. More like, had been forced to betray all his teammates. He flipped the man over so that he was lying on his back (almost falling over again at the sight of the dried blood and deformed throat) and with shaking hands, opened his eyelids.

The color of his eyes were a dark hazel. They showed no sign of ever being an almost otherworldly green. The chief's breath started to come in ragged pants. There was something that logic couldn't explain going on. He knew that much. He also knew that he had to get out of the police station.

Immediately.

As the chief staggered towards the open air, a car suddenly pulled up in front of the station. It was silver, but looked dark grey in the black night. A man wearing a suit stepped out of the car, and another armed man followed him. The chief assumed it was the man's personal guard.

The man in the suit took in the scene before him. He also took in the chief and his terrified posture. The man turned to the armed man beside him. "Arnold, please escort Chief Dawes to the car."

"Sure, Dr. Hutchinson."

The chief didn't argue as he was brought to the silver car. The man in the suit sighed, observing the results of the night's confusing and horrible events. "Oh, Ellie," he said quietly. "What have you done?"