I moved through the rack of clothes, rubbing the fabric of each between my fingers. I stopped at a discounted pink dress, bow tied around the waist. I pulled it off the rack and held it up, "this is cute."
Alysia wrinkled her nose, "yeah, sure. If you're five."
I rolled my eyes and put it back. We moved on to the next rack, and she quickly disregarded all of them. Discount dresses were not her style.
"Saskia?" A voice called out.
I wrinkled my nose, turning back to my sister, "Have you at least decided what colour dress you want?"
"Not pink." She mumbled.
"Saskia!" The voice called out louder.
I sighed, as the world around me faded. I opened my eyes to honey coloured ones staring back at me, mere inches from my face.
"You weren't concentrating."
I avoided his eyes, staring instead at the freckles splattered across his nose. "Sorry." Deadpan.
He sighed and sat back on his heels. He rubbed his heads against his face, "The Highlander comes back in a week, Saskia. A week!"
I huffed, attempting to blow a loose strand of blue dyed hair out of my face. I was unsuccessful.
Emil stood and held out a hand. I took it, pulling myself to my feet. I rolled my eyes, "I am aware, Emil. Not like I could forget, you update me almost every hour." I strode past him, heading to the hallway door.
Emil half jogged to catch up with me. "Every other applicant has already worked out their ability, and, has been honing it."
"The Highlander will throw you out of the facility! You'll die a slow and painful death."
Not likely. Mr. Highlander paid way too much for me to just throw me away. I stopped, spinning on my heels, and facing him. "And you'll be coming with me. As my handler, its your job to ensure I succeed. I fail, you fail. You just don't want your sorry butt to be thrown outside."
"Well of course I don't!" Emil huffed.
I stopped at the end of the hallway, pressing my hand into the wall scanner. The mechanical doors hissed open, revealing the dining hall.
Silence fell across the dining hall, and eyes from every table stared up at us. I kept my face stone still, revealing nothing to the onlookers as I marched up to the serving table. Emil scurried after me.
Hushed whispers erupted across the dining room patrons, no doubt gossiping about me. I grabbed my tray of food, delicious purple slop again. Yay. I dropped my tray on a nearby table and panicked looks blossomed across its occupants. They leapt to their feet, one of them mumbling, "Talentless Messian."
I ignored the jab. If I started something, I would be punished, and so would Emil. Handlers oversaw their Applicants, anything an Applicant did wrong, handlers were punished for as well.
I scanned the room, a few new faces were scattered across the table, wide eyed and nervous. All were young females, new Applicants. Only females were ever Applicants. For some reason males never survived the process, so they stopped using them. Many males became Handlers instead. The Applicant Process only started last week, to slowly replace graduating applicants. New Handlers wouldn't be hired until next week, so the new Applicants sat next to handlers that already had Applicants. Handlers were our trainers, or glorified babysitters I'd like to think of them.
The Applicant Process affected each of us differently. Many of us would die, those that survived had their very biological make-up altered, infused with power. It was the Handler's job to help the Applicant work out what power that was. So far, I had zilch. Nada. Nothing.
For a Messian, it was unheard of. Those from the Messian galaxy had the highest death rate in The Application Process, but the survivors were arguably more powerful than the other Applicants.
Except, that was the issue. I wasn't from the Messian galaxy. I was a human, from a galaxy unheard of. Imagine my surprise, when I woke up on an alien spaceship one day, then sold as merchandise in a different galaxy, further away from home than I could wrap my head around. Back home, we didn't even know aliens existed, we had no proof. Turns out, a lot of them look just like us. And I looked exactly like a Messian.
My spoon hit the tray, and I looked down. All the food was gone, but stomach grumbled. I wanted pizza, or a hamburger. Something to fill me up other than this tasteless goop they gave us.
I stared at the empty tray and sighed.
"Here." A gruff voice sounded. I looked up to see Dušan holding out half a sandwich. A fresh sandwich.
I gave him grin, and snatched it from his hand, downing it in seconds.
The corner of his lip turned up slightly, before being replaced by a frown again, "You better not fail the examination Saskia."
I gave him a dazzling smile, "Of course not Dušan. It's all sorted."
Dušan turned and left without another word. His Applicant, Raven, gave me a quick death glare before following after him. I gave her my sweetest smile and a wave.
"What was that?!" Emil stared at me, his eyes as wide as saucers.
I gave him a smirk, "Dušan has a soft spot for me."
"What? Since when? Dušan doesn't have soft spots!"
"Since I made out with him." My smirk grew bigger. Emil's eyes grew wider.
"What?" He sputtered.
I shook my head, "You should really keep a better eye on your Applicant Emil. She seems to get up to a lot of trouble." I mustered in my most innocent voice.
Emil sighed, "Why am I even surprised anymore? No wonder Raven hates you so much." He grumbled some more, with his head in his hands, but I never heard him. I got up to return my tray, leaving Emil to rant to the air.
Welcome to my newest story "The Applicants"! I'll be honest, I am very much making this up as I go. I have a few more short chapters prepared, and if people like it I'll try to update it further. Thanks for reading! Leave a review down below, or you can private message me a review instead if you like!
- Violet Firestorm