They Walk Among Us copyright c. 2012 T.A. Chase
“I’m not sure what my answer should be.” Zach held me, but I could hear the hesitation in his voice.
::Don’t say anything right now. When the time comes for the choice to be made, then you can say something. We don’t even know if my mission will be successful.::
“Do you even know what the jewel looks like? Or where it might be kept in the facility?”
I shook my head. ::No. I’m not worried about not knowing what it looks like. I’ll know it when I’m near it or see it for that matter. I’m hardwired to recognize it, since I’m the only one who can use it.::
Zach turned me around, and he studied me. “Why do I get the feeling you’re more than just some random Opalite who got chosen for this particular mission?”
I didn’t want to tell him, or reveal the connection we have beyond being lovers and friends. He’d freak out, and I didn’t want him to feel guilty for what wasn’t his fault in the first place. Yet I knew I couldn’t keep it hidden for much longer. Might as well get it out, so Zach could deal with it before we left for the government facility.
I took his hands and led him over to the bed where I sat and tugged him down next to me. I played with his fingers for a minute while I tried to decide the best way to spill it.
“Just tell me, Raven. Something’s telling me I might not like what you have to say,” Zach ordered.
I took a deep breath and straightened my shoulders. ::Your father is a hero to the humans because he sacrificed himself to kill the leaders of the Opalites.::
“Yes.” Zach eyed me suspiciously.
::He assassinated them. He became their friend, and then he snuck into their room one night and killed them.::
“I know that. Everyone claimed he was a hero, but I never really thought that. Seemed like cheating to me.” Zach shrugged. “I don’t see what that has to do with you.”
::The Opalite leaders he killed were my parents. They knew what was going to happen, so they sent my sister and me away, hoping that would keep us safe.::
Zach jumped to his feet and paced, hands clenched at his side. I watched and waited. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought. Maybe he’d understand that I didn’t blame him for anything his father did.
“I’m sorry he did that to your parents, but how were the humans to know the Opalites came with good intentions?” Zach glanced at me over his shoulder. “He thought he was defending himself and his family.”
I nodded. ::I know, and believe me, it took me several years to finally accept the truth. I don’t know what my parents’ entire mission to Earth was. I only know what they told me before they sent me away. I’ve come to realize there’s not such thing as pure intentions.”
He frowned at me. “What are you talking about?”
::When I was younger, I wanted to get revenge on the humans who killed my parents and all of my people. It didn’t seem right they got away with it, while the children had to hide out in a truly alien world. We had to learn how to be like you and fit in.::
I stood, and moved away from him, staring at the opposite wall. I wrapped my arms around my waist, trying to keep warm.
::It seemed so wrong when all my parents had wanted to do was simply open communications with humans, and yet you killed them without listening. But then as I got older, I began to wonder if there was to our journey than simply coming here to strike up an alliance or whatever.::
“Did you ever find out?” Zach strolled closer to me.
::No. There aren’t any Opalites old enough to remember what our true purpose for being here was. Yet I’m open-minded enough to entertain the idea the older Opalites might have had alternative reasons for coming here. Maybe they were like the Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution or maybe someone had invaded their home, and they were running from them.::
“If that’s true, why are you in such a hurry to find this jewel and go back to whatever planet you came from? Wouldn’t you rather stay here?” Zach touched my arm.
I snorted silently. ::Stay here and risk getting captured by the government. To risk being taken to some secret lab where they’ll spend the rest of my long life doing experiments on me.::
Zach chuckled weakly. “You’re right. It might not be the best idea, but how do you know the agents would be able to find you? You all have done a marvelous job hiding out so far.”
::Not for much longer. We older Opalites are reaching maturity, and when that happens, we’ll no longer be able to hide our wings and that’s just the beginning. Our powers will begin manifesting as well. I don’t want to be here when that happens, because they’d never let me go, and the tortures they could come up with would drive me crazy.::
“What powers? And are you the oldest of the refugees? If not, you all must be close to the same age, because I haven’t heard any rumors about Opalites showing up, or even stranger, winged people appearing places.” Zach ran his hand over my back, lingering on the bumps where my wings hid under my skin.
I sighed, the warmth of his touch easing the constant ache of my body from fighting the need to spread my wings. I couldn’t do it anywhere other humans might see me.
::I am the oldest, and so far I’ve been able to control my need to stretch my wings. The only time I’ve used my powers were when I took care of Gideon.:: I shuddered. ::I don’t really want to see that side of me again.::
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