Excerpt from working novel , “Radio”
If we didn’t continue to train, we might lose what little advantage we have over the normies that were once our overlords. However, “loitering” around each new town or city and going to the local public school also proved to be a great way to gain information about our surroundings and the outside world, when the internet became not the best resource. We’ve discovered, with each small town we moved to, the normie townies preferred, for the most part, to gossip through word of mouth instead of directly posting it on all or any of the social media sites. Shocking, I know. In this day and age, most people post every little thing going on, whether it was a piece of gossip or not. This was just another reason as to why it was so important to integrate with the locals and more specifically those in our own age group. And we obviously didn’t want to come across as socially awkward, sheltered, or just plain idiotic freaks, regardless of the fact that we were abominations and considered second rate citizens.
Geez Louise, if I had to put a number on it, we must have changed schools at least four times within this past year alone, so you can guess how well those two efforts of blending in and integrating with the locals had worked out for us.
However, since we used ASL, also known as American Sign Language, when we were all out in public together, we still stood out regardless. During the first month, after our escape, we noticed how much we attracted weird looks and murmurs when my friends would hold full on conversations with me without signing, so we decided to buckle down and learned and practiced ASL as quickly as we could with the help of Dialect— of course. We could have easily faked because most of the locals had either never or rarely seen anybody using sign language, let alone an unknown group of six teenagers. However, we didn’t want to risk being called out on the off chance we came across somebody who was actually deaf or knew how to sign fluently. If learning and using ASL wasn’t difficult enough, while we were out in public, it was just as difficult to convince strangers that I was not deaf, using the excuse of just being mute.
But those rumors! They never changed. Never! Rumors that I was faking it would spread, and ploys to prove I wasn’t mute would always eventually follow. While I obviously was, it wasn’t as if I could exactly explain why I didn’t talk without risking the exposure of myself and my unit in the process. Though we had learned to ignore the weird looks and rumors, I still couldn’t help feeling less than human with each blow from hearing directly or indirectly. These hurtful names and rumors didn’t just come from my “peers,” but from teachers as well. If you don’t mind, I rather not go into detail of both the rumors and actions.
Yet, there were times either or both would make me so frustrated that I almost wanted to send a sonic blast at them from just a whisper causing them to become temporarily or permanently deaf without care of the consequences. I never did, but there were a few times I came close. Luckily, I always had Feather, in most of my classes, to prevent me from ever doing so.
Then there was the importance of changing our names with each move, which was almost as equally frustrating because it could be difficult to remember, at first. One time I had heard the name I had used in a previous school and turned to the person saying the name and it would take me a few seconds to remember I no longer was going by that name. It was an honest mistake, but had the name been used by an undercover Grey-M operative, it would also prove to be fatal to myself and my unit.
You may be asking yourself, regardless of the importance of integration with the local normies and the false names as a way to protect ourself from being detected by anyone linked to Grey- M Industries, how did we manage to pay for everything? Especially with none of us having a job or an adult with us to pay for things. Well— we paid for everything in cash. From the new phones with ghost chips (to prevent anyone being able to track our whereabouts, in case Surge wasn’t around to put up an electric shield around all of us) and new phone numbers to the new identities we were given by drug dealers, who dealt in many other shady dealings. Not always the most safest people to trust, but it gotten us this far without being recaptured. And cash for a new contact that would help us when we would have to inevitably move again. Initially we had used the cash that Vapor had managed to steal from Grey-M Industries’ vault during our escape, but now we used cash we had stolen from various small-town banks along the way. Always going in the middle of the night to use our abilities to turn off the cameras and the alarms, silently slip in and out of the locked vault, and, on the rare occasion, erasing the memories of anyone in or around the bank. No guns. No hostages. No trace. What we did wasn’t morally right, but the consistent need to move every four to six months didn’t leave us much of a choice.
Then my mind unexpectedly drifted to the drilled in history, during my first five years at Grey-M industries. It was the last thing I wanted to pass through my thoughts and yet there it was, like a fly that you can neither swat away or kill. It was a history I had briefly mentioned to you earlier and oh how I wished again it would have stayed in the past instead of rehashing it. Grey-M Industries had convinced to the public in the early 1950s that anyone suspected or seen with any form of “unnatural” abilities were a danger to society, giving us the name “abominations,” a mistake in the natural order. A mistake not created by God, but by Satan himself. And if we were allowed to “populate,” regardless of the law passed in 1958, it was thought that it might lead to the end of the world as the normies knew it. During the first couple of decades, until the Grey-M scientists discovered each abomination received their abilities genetically, it was well believed by normies that any close contact of us would result in “normies” to be infected with whatever made us inhuman and cause carnage and destruction.
Us? Infect others with abilities we had no control over? What were we? Zombies, werewolves, or vampires? Hardly. And were we really a threat? If only the general public or “normies” knew that we simply wanted to be treated with respect and human decency. The true threat occurred behind closed doors in Grey-M Industries’s remote base of operations would prove the threat did not come from us but from the employees of the tyrannical company. They were the true monsters as they treated and trained us as if we were wild and savage dogs, each of us implanted with a tracking device in our necks. And when they felt we were sufficiently trained, we were forced to carry out missions that most governments didn’t want their soldiers to be associated with. Associations such as capturing or execute terrorists, politicians, or whoever else the government thought to be a threat, which occasionally included celebrities. If the general normie population were aware of these things, then maybe they wouldn’t see us as something less than human. While there were a few abominations, throughout the near seventy years since Marcus Grey had made his televised speech announcing our existence, who were incredibly angry with how we were treated by normies and vengeful because of it, that was hardly the point. There were plenty of normies in history who were more of a threat than any of us abominations. One in particular shared my birthday of April 20th and was the main reason for the start of World War II.
Regardless, most of us “abominations” developed our ability around the age of five or six and on the rare occasion at three years of age. And when we reached the age of thirty, if any of us survived to live to that age, were released and declared “retired” with the understanding that we would be carefully monitored through the tracking device implanted in our necks to insure we wouldn’t release any information of what Grey-M Industries really did and that any off-spring produced would become property of the company, when and if the child showed signs of developing “unnatural” abilities.
This unwarranted history reminder, only made my desire to be a normie or the hope that all of us “abominations,” not just my unit alone, would one day be free from Grey-M Industries and free to settle into a semi-normal life. That would only become a probability, if we had a concrete game plan in bringing down Grey-M Industries. A plan we didn’t have and therefore, again, was the reason we kept on moving. Though part of the plan, were we to have or a hint of one, would most likely require us to stop running and fight back. I know this may sound like very conflicting thought processes, but I guess one could call me a “wandering dreamer of contradictions.” Yet, if I really thought about it and as much as I did want to take down Grey-M Industries, how did we expect to do so when we didn’t have their resources? We were merely six teenagers with extraordinary superhuman abilities and despite our training and the atrocious things we had done with great success according to Grey-M Industries, they still had thousands of abominations, who knows how many operatives, and military grade weaponry on their side. If only we could convince those thousands of abominations to fight back with us without fear of the tracking devices in their neck or whatever else Grey-M Industries would do to them. If only… what an impossible task that would be. Almost as impossible as having my mom come back to life.
It’s not impossible, my sweet girl, I thought I heard my mom’s voice say in my mind.
I tightly closed my eyes as I tried to tell the voice to just go away and that I was totally losing it to think it was really her.
Radio, are you okay? Dialect thought to me from the seat behind me.
Damn it! I had thought I had fully closed the doors to my unit members, while I was trying to distract myself, but I guess I hadn’t. Normally I always kept everyone’s doors open, during my waking hours. It gave me a small sense of normalcy in an odd sort of way, if only with the people I cared about the most. I suppose I figured that if normies aren’t alone when they’re speaking aloud within earshot, then I could do the same with my telepathy.
I’m fine, Dialect, I thought to her without turning my head to look at her. I wasn’t fine, but she didn’t need to worry about it.
No, you’re not. But if you need a distraction, I suppose we could ask Blank and Vapor? Maybe they’ll finally tell us, Dialect thought, the last sentence being directed at the twins in a teasing and prying tone.
“Does it really matter?” Vapor said, not liking to be talked about instead of asking directly.
“We won’t be there for another five hours.”
“Please!!!” Dialect pleaded in her most innocent and child-like voice.
Just humor us, I said in a non-mocking tone.
“Eleverson, Pennsylvania,” Vapor said with a deep exhale of annoyance. “There’s a small two bedroom house there and partially surrounded by woods. Is that enough.”
Yes, thank you, I answered for both Dialect and myself.