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I've been on the run most of my life. Ever since I was born, my parents went through great efforts to keep my existence a secret. I've never met my father, but my mom talks about him all the time, I feel as if I know everything about him.
When I was a bit younger, I would ask my mom why we were all not together. She would tell me vague things like “It's complicated.” or, more frequently, “I'm doing this to protect you.”
Protect me from what?
She wouldn't say. So I decided to look for some answers and that was when I found out about The Centre and my two older brothers. Mom was furious at me for doing that. I was only a child. I shouldn't be messing with those matters. It was too dangerous.
I didn't need for her to tell me that. After being born on a barn, never having a steady place to call home and my family scattered, I knew they were dangerous.
I might not be an adult, but I'm not dumb. I know it may take a while, but nothing will keep me from putting my family back together.
Mom is right on one thing, though: I'm not old enough to be out there on my own fighting The Centre, no matter how strong I think I am. What else can I do but dream and yearn for a better future?
He told me they were dead. He told me they had abandoned me.
He always lied. And I lied too. I told him I believed him. I cried for my mom and my dad just so that we would punish me fro crying.
I didn't need to cry. Crying would not bring them back.
They were dead after all. Or so I thought. I didn't know it then. All I knew was that playing weak from time to time would fool Mr. Raines into thinking he was better than me.
On some things, he was better than me. But they were only a few, and mostly because I hadn't had any experience with them. In others we was a complete amateur. Pain, for example.
The anticipation of pain is far greater than the pain itself, he would say.
Well, that depends. If I was the one inflicting pain on him, instead of the other way around, the anticipation would be a complete bliss compared to the actual pain. Being on the receiving end of the stick for so long did teach me a couple of tricks.
I've been living in this house for nearly eight years now. The people at The Centre determined that I had been too damaged by Mr. Raines to function correctly as a pretender, so they allowed me to go. On paper, that was what happened; unofficially, however, Mr. Raines had turned into his private guinea-pig. Not that I wasn't one before, only now whatever restraints he might had were gone.
He leaves me all alone in the house for days at a time. Only comes by to drop some food or leave whatever research I might need to perform the tasks he wants me to perform. He keeps the house all locked up and truly believes that that can keep me indoors.
I've gone out far more times than he can imagine. I've been looking for my parents. I know now that they're alive, I just don't know where they are.
But that's about to change. I believe I found someone who knows their whereabouts. Her name is Harriet. Tomorrow I will leave the Dragon House and go meet her and she will tell me what I need to know. I was trained to decide who lives or dies, but this time I'd rather yearn for finding my family.
The Centre – SIM-LAB
She came back last week. Or to be more accurate, I saw her last week. She has probably been back for weeks, possibly months now. I was hoping she'd come down here to see me, but she hasn't. Even when she came into the Sim-Lab, she addressed Sydney solely with business matters and ignored me as if I wasn't there.
I asked Sydney what was wrong with her and he told me to let it go and focus instead on my work. Easy for him to say! He hasn't lost as much as I have. She was my best friend, the only light in this darkness and now she doesn't even acknowledges me.
I don't know if I prefer to be completely ignored or having her staring at as if I was nothing.
She hasn't been the same since her mother died. I remember the not so-subtle changes. At least to me, they were obvious: the diminished patience, the occasional sharp retort, the emotional shutdown. I was never allowed to grief for my parents, but I understand how she felt. It was what I did anyway – putting myself in other people's shoes –, although I never told her that. Or anyone else, for that matter.
The signs of emotional apathy have not decreased with time. I know that without having her telling me that. The bullet that took her mother, also took my best friend – it just took a lot longer –, but I still yearn for the day when we'll be friends again.