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The Point Mutants
“Scan complete. Please continue on to the next checkpoint.”
He pulled down his sleeve, covering the set of numbers he had received as a child. He missed those days.
“Watch it kid!”
He shot a glare at the man in front of him. What was it with people these days? The disrespect had arisen within these past few weeks. It was ridiculous.
The man held out a finger, making sure that he had seen it, then moved on. The disrespect! He let out a growl, trying to hold back the rage that filled him. But he couldn’t get into a fight. Not right here. They were watching. All of them.
He stumbled forward, recovering from a shove from behind. He glanced back, searching for his attacker.
It was as he thought, one of them. They were ushering him to the next checkpoint. Something told him that it wasn’t going to work out so well. He knew that he would be taken like the rest of them.
That stone. The stone had done something to him, warmed his blood, awakened his blood. It didn’t feel right.
He knew that the injection was going to discover something in him. He would be apprehended.
He wished that his parents hadn’t let him undergo the procedure. Of course, they didn’t really have much of a choice in the matter. He had only been six. He had only been a child, all of the kids had been. And now, the majority of those kids were gone, off to some shadow base. There was only him and a few others.
“It seems to me that you’re hiding something, Justice. What could that be?” the man irked him.
He allowed himself to be dragged towards the checkpoint; if he ignored the request to go to the checkpoint, they would arrest him.
“I’m not hiding anything, Keenan. I was just thinking. We’re allowed to do that,” he replied instead.
The shorter man shook his head and held his hand over his baton. As if Justice would be that stupid as to attack an officer. He knew better than to at least not do that.
Keenan’s smug face grew into a smirk, trying to hide the anger bursting inside. He knew that from numerous scars that Justice could take him. When they were kids, they had gotten in plenty of fights.
Keenan was three years older than Justice, out of school now. However, Justice was just in his third year of high school.
“I’m in charge now, Justice. You won’t get out of this one.” He growled.
Justice took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. If only he hadn’t gotten the implant. That thought had haunted him all throughout his childhood. Seeing the other kids disappear had put a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
He surely could have left the school when they were shoving all the kids forward. He had tried being strong, not afraid and now it was all his fault. He should have pretended to be sick. He should have made himself thrown up. But that wouldn’t have helped, would it have? They would have hunted him down the next day. And the next.
Justice scanned the area. The other officers watched them with interest, stretching their necks over the others so they could see. The crowds filed into lines, the injections telling whether they were clean or not.
Keenan shoved through the line, cutting ahead, still pulling him along with him.
Justice knew that everyone was going to be watching. The infected were becoming rare. It was only once every few months. Justice remembered when it had been fifteen every day. They had taken them all. And Justice was next.
“Stand aside, this is ROI business!” Keenan snapped, shoving people out of the way.
Justice looked back. At least a dozen people watched in shock. He knew most of them. He had grown up there. He had helped a lot of them through rough times.
“Now, Justice, we’ll see if you really are clean. We’ll see if you really are who you say you are.” Keenan cackled.
Why was he so suspicious? The ROI had been monitoring him for quite some time, trying to leave traps for him for years now. So why did one of their officers suspect something so terrible?
Keenan forced his arm on the table, motioning for the doctor to push the needle down into the implant. Justice took a deep breath and loosened the tendons in his arm. The more he fought the injection, the more it would hurt.
He felt the coolness of the liquid jumping into the implant, running through his veins. He watched it slowly, hoping the light to be white or yellow.
“Blue? What does that mean?” Keenan exclaimed.
Justice released a breath, not sure of what that meant. He wasn’t sure what to think, but he was sure nothing good would come out of it.
Mom and Dad would kill him for being late, again. Hopefully they understood since most of it was because of this.
Justice pulled his arm away from Keenan’s grip and stood tall. He couldn’t treat him like a criminal now.
The other officers now made their way down to see it for themselves. Also probably to figure out what to do with him.
Justice rested his hands on his hips. The stone he had found in the woods must’ve done this to him. It must’ve changed something inside of him.
Keenan shoved him up against the wall, his eyes burning with rage.
Justice didn’t understand it all. He had never seen a blue light. A red light, yes, but not blue.
“It is blue! Well, what do ya know. Jerrod, what is blue?” an officer hollered from behind Keenan.
Justice studied his face, searching for any kind of emotion. He was an older man, graying black hair covering his face, old scars littering his face and wrinkles starting to form.
He wasn’t a rookie. Justice knew whom this man was. The commander of the ROI here in the city. He was nice when you were clean, but once infected, you were on his death list. Justice didn’t wish to see that side of him.
He studied the Commander’s suit. He had only ever seen it from a distance, always too afraid to talk to him. He wore a black uniform like the rest of them, strong armored and shiny. The only difference between the regular uniforms and his was that he wore a badge, a lot like the sheriff’s before the ROI had taken over, except his was in a diamond, a circle covering the outer edges.
“Justice Warren, one of the last children to stay clean. Your father and I were pretty close as kids. Did you know that?” the Commander said, trying to make conversation.
Justice wiggled loose from Keenan’s grip on him and stood up to the man.
“No sir, I did not know that. Dad never talks much these days. Mom says it is due to the horrors he saw, but I’m not so sure.” I replied.
The Commander nodded in agreement and rested his hand under Justice’s chin, checking him out.
“Your father never recovered from the hunts nor did he from the nightmares. You’re a lot like him, you know. A lot like him.” he continued.
Justice held back the reflex to push him off him. The longer he studied him, the longer he felt creeped out.
“How old are you, Justice?” he asked.
Justice closed his eyes, releasing a deep breath. He was trying to calm himself, trying to fight the panic attacks that plagued him frequently. This world had done this to him. The ROI did this to him when they forced the kids to take the implants. And the teachers went along with it. They hadn’t even had jurisdiction at the schools at that time. They weren’t allowed to force the kids into something so alien.
“I’ve found it!” an officer shouted. The Commander smiled and backed away, allowing Keenan to restrain him.
“Hmm…” the Commander said under his breath.
Justice held his breath in, the urge to freak out rising. Hmm couldn’t be too good.
“Release him, Reese. I’ll take it from here,” the Commander, well, commanded.
Justice opened his eyes, surprised at the statement. What did blue mean?
“All of you, get back to your posts. He comes with me.” the Commander continued.
Justice sighed, his shoulders relaxing. The officers did like they were told, no one stepping in their ways. The Commander grinned, standing over him.
“What does blue mean, sir? What’s wrong with me?” Justice questioned.
The Commander held out his hand to shush him and motioning for him to follow.
“We’ll discuss that later. For now, let’s take you home. I’m sure your parents are worried. Surely they’ve noticed you’re late.” He said.
Justice raised a brow, trying to figure out his endgame. Why did he really want to take him home?
“Uh, you don’t have to sir. I’ll just take the hit.” He insisted.
The Commander shook his head, ripping away his attempt to stay away from the man. He didn’t want to see the man again. He didn’t want him to enter his house.
“No, I insist. I’ll take you home so we can excuse this. You shouldn’t get into trouble for that.” He said, the kind tone leaving his voice.
Justice gave up on the matter, allowing the Commander to lead him towards the black jeep behind the checkpoint. Something told him that the Commander wasn’t just taking him home to get him out of trouble.
“So, you never answered me. How old are you?” he sighed, starting the jeep.
Justice licked his lips, gazing up at the Commander. His eyes seemed to be burning into him. Why was he so interested in his age?
“Sixteen, just turned it last week.” He said.
The Commander nodded, turning the corner.
“I recall that. It was a pretty big party, wasn’t it? Something that doesn’t happen anymore.” He replied.
Justice watched the people scramble to get out of the way of the Commander’s jeep. He was a reckless driver, not caring whether he hit someone.
“Yes, I did have a party. I thought it was time for people to start living.” Justice answered.
“Very noble of you and I’m sure your mother. She was always into celebrations.” He continued.
Justice was beginning to become uneasy around this man. He was asking too many questions and ones that were personal.
“So, Sir, what does blue mean?” Justice skipped the subject.
The Commander shook his head as if that explained anything.
“Not yet.” he said.
What did he mean ‘not yet’? He was supposed to confess already.
“This is your house, right?” he asked. He had asked the question, but it wasn’t a question. It was more of a statement. Justice tried to recall if he had told him the location. He couldn’t come up with when he would’ve told him. The ROI was in charge of everything, yes, but they didn’t have the jurisdiction to look into their addresses.
Justice stepped out of the jeep, following the Commander up the cement steps that he knew so well. The bright blue door was shut in front of them with the tall white walls around it.
The scanner pad stood off to the left, awaiting his hand to be let in. His parents were going to kill him.
He placed his hand on the scanner, awaiting the unlocking of the door. The Commander stood off to his left, waiting patiently.
The click. Justice waited for his mother’s shouting to begin as soon as he opened the door. He knew she’d be furious.
“Justice Wade Warren, do you know how late it is? Do you know how worried I was?” his mother shouted. He took a deep breath.
“Allow me to lead, Justice. I’ll take care of this. They’ll understand in a minute.” The Commander said.
Justice shrugged his shoulders and walked in after the Commander. He wondered what his father and mother were going to think once they saw him.
“Harold? What are you doing here? Where is Justice?” his mother raised her voice.
Justice stepped in front of the Commander, relieving his mother. His father spun his chair around, eyes glaring. The mention of the Commander had thrown him off into a rage.
“Get out, Harold! Get out of my house! You don’t have jurisdiction here!” he snapped. He flew out of his chair, his face already turning bright red.
The Commander smiled, clutching onto Justice’s arm. Justice gasped, unsure of what was happening.
“He’s blue, Wade. You lied to me!” the Commander shouted, shoving him to the floor.
Justice face planted, jarring his head on the wooden floor. He skidded a few inches away and rolled to the side.
What did blue have to do with his father?
“He’s a carrier, Wade! He can cure the infected! He can turn into one of them!” he shouted.
His father stared at him, concern spreading over his face. What did that mean? Could he actually cure the infected?
“We created those markers to bring out the disease so we could destroy it! Not enhance their abilities!” the Commander shouted.
Justice sat up. His head was pounding from the blow to his head. His mother stood a few feet away. She kept motioning at him to do something with her eyes, but he couldn’t figure out what. It was all too quick.
“We went too far, Harold! We were annihilating them! We were committing mass genocide!” his father argued.
The Commander glared over at Justice, giving him the eye.
“So how did you do it? How did you make Justice one of them?” he questioned.
His mother frowned. He could actually sense her disappointment. How could he do that?
“It was a mutation, Harold. I didn’t do anything. It was just bad luck.” He replied, lowering his head.
“Wade, I know you too well. I know that it couldn’t have just been a mutation.” He replied.
Justice’s head was spinning. All the talk of the infected was too much. He didn’t even know that his father had made the implants. No wonder they allowed him to get it. It was his father’s desire.
A sudden spark of hatred for his father burst. How could his father have done this to people? How could he have forced all of these kids to be like this? To be chained like dogs!
“I didn’t, Harold.” His father muttered. The Commander took off after Justice, pulling him up onto his feet. He pulled on his hair, nearly dragging him.
“Fine, it doesn’t matter. He’s a carrier and they’ll want him. I’ll be back and he will be gone.” The Commander promised.
Tears fell down his father’s face, rolling down his chin. It was clear that he thought it was all his fault. The question was, was it all his father’s fault? Had his father done this to him?
“Get out. Get out of my house, Harold. Leave my son alone.” His mother hissed.
The Commander turned to her, smiling a toothy smile. It was as if he had noticed her for the first time.
“As you wish, Lillian. But I’ll be back, and maybe you’ll understand the mistake you have made.” He said.
With that, the Commander let go of Justice, dropping him to the ground and left, disappearing into the fog that had formed just a little bit ago.
Justice laid on the floor for a few seconds, recovering from all that had occurred. He was a carrier. Whatever that meant.
“You two owe me explanations. What the hell was all that about?” Justice said after a while.
“What were you doing in the woods, Justice?” his father questioned.
Justice gazed at him in surprise. His father’s face was a mix of frustration and pity. His dark brown eyes seemed to be getting darker with depression. The many scars he had acquired sunk in further than usual, along with the bags of exhaustion. His father hadn’t gotten much sleep over the past years, not since he’d known him. His light olive colored skin seemed to be getting paler over the years. Justice didn’t think he had much time left before he passed away. He was slowly decaying, dying in his body, he was wasting away.
“After school around four. I just wanted to get away. I just wanted to be free for once, to not have the ROI officers breathing down my neck.” He sighed.
“And what did you find? Did you pick up something? Something strange?” he asked.
Justice scratched the back of his head, trying to think of an excuse. There was definitely going to be consequences for sneaking out into the forbidden woods after his parents told him not to.
“A stone about the size of my hand, it was strange, yes. At first, it was a clear stone, I was able to see through it, and then it was an iridescent blue that warmed my body. It shot through like electrical volts, then it was gone. It disappeared from sight.” He explained as though he was still there.
His father sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. It was his coping mechanism. Justice had noticed that some time ago. He rubbed the back of his neck always when he was angry or stressed.
“The Revelation Stone. They finally managed to lure him in. I knew it was futile! We should’ve just left, Wade!” his mother snapped.
Her eyes were filled with tears, ready to explode and descend her cheeks. Justice felt guilty. He knew he’d messed up and now his parents were going to pay for his mistake.
“This wouldn’t have happened if he had listened to us! Don’t blame all this on us!” his father snapped.
That was reassuring. His father thought all this was his fault. At least he knew his true feelings.
“What is this Revelation Stone and why is all this happening to me?” Justice spoke up. He was starting to get agitated. They weren’t telling him anything and it was bothering him!
His father scowled, leaving for his mother to explain.
“You know that the ROI has been trying to prove that you’re infected for years now. The officers only use the Revelation Stone after no success at trying to prove an infected is there. It draws out the power of the mutation and forces them to reveal it. It looks like you were caught with it.” She explained.
“What did you guys do to me then? The Commander was quite sure that you had something to do with it all.” He questioned.
His father frowned. Justice was sure that he was just going to tell him to forget about it, to just go to his room, but that wasn’t what happened.
“You’re not our kid, Justice. Your father was one of the subjects we tested on. His sperm was taken along with other things and mixed with another woman’s eggs. You’re a test tube baby, Justice.” He sighed.
Justice stood there, unbelieving. It was as if the information couldn’t be processed. That couldn’t be it. He couldn’t be a test tube baby. He was him. He looked like his father. The Commander had even said so.
“I…I can’t be. I look like both of you; I look like Gramps and Gram!” he protested.
His father frowned, glancing down, his shoulders hanging low. He was ashamed.
“I know, that’s why it worked. He looked similar to your mother and I. We wanted to test babies, see what would happen if they grew up in a normal environment. They wouldn’t allow it. That’s why we took you, Justice. That is why no one knew about it.” He confessed.
Justice shook his head. That couldn’t be true. He couldn’t be one of them. A bitter taste stung his tongue, spreading over it like wildfire.
“Who was this man, then? Who am I really?” he questioned.
His father gazed into the distance. He wasn’t going to make eye contact. Justice knew that.
“Your father named you Justice for the thing he wanted most. But Justice, we love you, I love you. You’re still our child.” He responded.
Justice rubbed his eyes. He was tired and didn’t feel like dealing with this anymore.
He had gone into the woods to relieve stress and he had come back with more stress than ever. They had finally found him out, even though he didn’t know they had. He was forever going to be caged. He was going to be stuck with the criminals. The other criminals. He had to remember that he was now a criminal himself. He was an illegal. He was forbidden.
“I’m going to bed. Goodnight, but oh, wait! That won’t happen because I’m a criminal!” he snapped.
He turned away from his parents, ignoring the burst of tears of his mother’s face and the shame on his father’s. They had done this to him. They could’ve at least told him he wasn’t normal. That he wasn’t their child. If they had, he wouldn’t have been in this mess.
He punched open the door of his room and slammed it behind him. Whatever he could do to shed his painful exterior and to let loose, to lock out the outside world, he would.
He closed his eyes, counting the breaths he took to ease his mind. It didn’t last long.