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What Hasn't Been - Chapter 1
The beginning of the end...
This is the first chapter of book 3 in the DEPARTMENT FOR MUTATED PERSON series. It has been shared previously, but this is it in its final form that will be published at a later date. Stay tuned for further updates on this novel, as well as MORE chapters. 👀
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The first thing Shawna remembered was the way it felt, her shirt tearing around her neck, as she was dragged out of her apartment. Pulled out into the hallway, then stumbling - legs kicking - and hobbling through the front door of her apartment and out onto the city street. Her knees banging into the doorframe, throbbing and pulsing as they tumbled.
A small crowd gathered. She wasn’t sure if they came because of the commotion or if it was planned. The movements felt theatrical, the hand grasping at her shirt and tugging in aggressive, rhythmic, violent pulls.
She recognized her captor, a young man from her biology seminar named Randy Meyers.He dropped her onto the sidewalk, letting her body roll out on the pavement. Shawna’s legs burned, her knees scraped to hell. She could feel her elbows ache from the impacts.
Randy adjusted his freshly-pressed Department Intelligence uniform, pulling the jacket down to cover his pants’ pockets and rise back up to rest.
“Where’s Will?” Shawna asked, thinking of her boyfriend and overnight guest. “He was in the apartment with me last night.”
“Oh, I’m sure he was,” Randy scoffed. “He clearly got out while he could. Wouldn’t want his reputation tarnished by being with a freak.”
Shawna shook her head and tried to stand, but Randy put a hand on her shoulder and shoved her back to the pavement. That will bruise. She looked up at the sky - it was the middle of the night and the clouds shrouded the night stars. Will must’ve seen the crowd and run off. What a coward.
“Look, Randy, I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I’m sorry if I wasn’t nice enough -”
“Nice enough?” Randy scoffed. “Who would want to be with you?”
Randy snickered halfheartedly and looked around at the crowd gathering, then let the snicker amplify into a full-on laugh, a performance worthy of his posse who had come to help.
Shawna rubbed an eye, her face covered in dust and dirt from the sidewalk. “I didn’t realize you would take rejection so harshly.”
Randy’s nostrils flared. He shoved Shawna back to the ground, her elbow knocking into the pavement. She could feel it throbbing, blood streaking dark red over the beige concrete.
“Don’t you dare talk to me like that. You see this?” Randy pointed at his brand new badge, a shiny bronze shield over his navy jacket. “It means I’m deputized to handle you freaks how I see fit, okay? Now, get up.”
Randy knew she was with Will last night, knew she would be sleeping, and knew he was within his rights to…
Shawna grumbled and picked herself up. She looked at the crowd, noticing that not everyone was in uniform. Some were just curious neighbors looking for a show, an audience to her joke-of-a-trial.
“Look, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” Shawna whispered, her eyes on the pavement.
Randy’s jaw tightened - nothing quite like a bureaucrat scorned. Randy pulled the pistol - a squeaky clean new, never-been-fired pistol - and clicked the hammer back. Shawna felt her arms come up involuntarily.
“Under section 127-A, I don’t have to talk about anything,” Randy said coldly, his jaw locked in place, his eyes glazing a teary sheen. “You all should have learned your place, like the General said.”
Shawna skidded back a step, falling backwards over a toppled trash can. The crowd collapsed on them. The posse was broken up by a few bystanders. A woman helped Shawna up, while another man stepped in front of Randy, shielding Shawna.
Randy rattled the pistol. “What are you doing?” Randy asked. “We’re here to enforce the law!”
“She didn’t do anything,” the man replied.
“She doesn’t have to,” Randy replied through gritted teeth. “She’s in violation of the mandated quarantine. She’s a danger to all of us!”
“That’s bullshit and you know it,” the woman said, Shawna limping with her arm draped over the stranger’s shoulder. “They just blast that on the news, and you guys just eat it up, huh?”
Randy sighed heavily and looked around angrily at his posse. “So, it’s obstruction, then?”
“Looks like,” the man between them replied.
“That’s a punishable offense,” Randy shot back, his voice low and ominous.
“Usually is,” the man shot back in return.
Randy raised his pistol at the man’s face.
“Step aside,” Randy ordered.
“No, you move,” the man replied, his arms crossed defiantly. The crowd was deathly silent.
The hammer clapped in an explosion of gunpowder. The man opened his flinching eyes. The bullet - frozen in mid-air - obfuscating his vision. The woman stood behind him - her hand outstretched, eyes squinting, straining to concentrate. The bullet tumbled out of the barrel. The man grabbed the gun from Randy, and aimed it back at him. The posse brandished their weapons.
“W-why are you doing this? You’re not one of them!” Randy protested.
“You don’t get to tell me who I am or who I’m with,” the man replied.
“You’ll feel differently when the Department rolls in here like they did with Delta City. They’ll tag and bag all your little freak friends, and you.”
“Let them come,” the man said. The woman holding Shawna nodded along.
Randy looked at his posse, and nodded his head at the man. “Shoot him.”
Street lights shuddered, flickering as if struggling to stay alive. Then they shutdown. The crowd gasped and shrieked as power failed across Echo City, cloaking them in complete darkness.
Adam had been unplugged from the Department’s power generation facility only minutes before and the backups already failed to hold. Cars turned on their high-beams, and one nearly collided into the crowd as it swerved around in the street to miss them. The next one did. An indiscernible body rolled over the top of a sedan, one long horn honk bouncing back and forth off the buildings in a pronounced echo. Shrieks erupted among the throngs of onlookers.
Randy’s terrified posse opened fire into a chaotic mess of the screaming masses. Some fought back in the crowd, shoving indiscriminately in hopes of escaping the violence. Bodies churned, pressing away from each other and into one another all at once.
Shawna lost her new friends, her body squeezing out of the crowd and rolling away from the immediate commotion. She felt her legs pressing her to get up and run, bouncing off of shadows, bodies. Chaos rolled like a violent wave over the city, block-by-block. People screamed as new waves passed over and more gunshots erupted, echoing off the buildings and setting off car alarms.
Shawna stumbled into an alley, her body heaving for air.
“Come back here!” she could hear Randy shouting in a rage. Shawna looked up just in time to see a pair of headlights strike Randy. She opened a portal - any portal - to get herself out of Echo City, ground zero for a coming revolution.
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