Selene loved wild nights like these, the howling wind and heavy rain and flashes of lightning that tore through the night sky. Several bolts would often collide against the dome that protected the metropolis of Belvidere, the panels sizzled as it absorbed the energy of the lightning. She ran through the shadowy streets of Low Town, heart pounding as excitement raced through her body. Sneaking out of The Facility broke several of her Uncle’s rules but the urge to see what was outside that bunker was far greater than the risk of being caught. Nothing felt better than a brief moment of freedom she thought. The rain even made her feel wild as it pelted against her olive skin, soaking through her black tank top and cargo pants. She laughed softly to herself, brushing a stray strand of black hair behind her ear as she ran up the steps of an old abandoned church.
The large wooden door groaned loudly as Selene pushed it open. Several birds took flight at the noise, fleeing through the broken windows. Slowly she entered, eyes wide as she took in the sight of the crumbling church, making her way towards the back. Carefully stepping over piles of rubble and rubbish, Selene tried to imagine the building restored to its original state like the churches in the books she had read. She could imagine the stain-glass windows depicting a story from the times of the Old Earth. A flash of lightning lit up the church allowing her to see the blackened remains of burnt carvings, an old god people used to worship before the world changed. During training, her Uncle had gone over the history of Earth and the Reckoning that tore civilisation apart and the arrival of the alien-race, the Circé. Buildings such as this church were relics of a time before then, memories of a better time she remembered her Uncle would say.
Swiftly, she climbed the stairs of the bell tower, her heavy boots pounding against the old wooden steps. Wind howled and echoed through the crumbling stone walls as the rain whipped in through the broken windows. Sometimes Selene would catch a glimpse of the Inner Sanctum, the tall glass tower that loomed above all else, illuminated by the bright lights from the Inner City. She took the final step with a satisfying smile and looked around the bell chamber, only several louvre’s remained hanging half-broken on the openings of the chamber, swaying in the wind. Selene moved closer and looked out over the city, in the darkness several districts glowed with light while others remained dark.
“Beautiful.” She whispered, puffing lightly.
Closing her eyes, she slowly calmed herself down and took control of her breathing. Another roar of thunder rolled across the sky, she could imagine in her mind the panels of the dome shuddering in response. Belvidere felt different to what her Uncle had told her, he spoke as though the city were ruled by corrupt politicians and those below them were enslaved to them. All she felt was safe and free. The weather had reaffirmed her choice of sneaking out, it allowed her to experience some of what she had learned. It was all new. She had read about the rain, how it was filtered through the panels so it was no longer acidic but she had never felt its chill against her skin or its drops trickling down her face. Low Town matched the description of being the run down, derelict district yet there was something that she found beautiful amongst those run-down apartment buildings.
“Sleep walking?” a familiar voice asked, breaking the illusion of her freedom.
“John?” Selene exclaimed, turning around in shock. “You followed me?”
“Of course. Not only have you put yourself at risk of being discovered, you have put me at risk of being found out.” He said sternly.
A pang of guilt hit Selene as she watched John walk towards her. He had always cared for her, keeping her hidden from the Director of the Facility and raising her as her own. Granted it wasn’t much fun being hidden and growing up in a secluded room, cut off from the world with only books and technology to sustain your development.
“When can I leave that room?” The question slipped from her mind.
John ran a hand through his greying black hair and sighed. Selene noticed the tired look on his aged face, he was no longer that youthful man she would spar with morning and night. As he looked at her, she noticed his grey eyes no longer seemed to shine as they used to.
“You’re almost ready.” John muttered, shaking his head as he sighed.
“Ready for what?” Selene asked, her eyebrows frowning as she became concerned.
John turned away and slowly began to pace around the bell chamber. Selene felt the sadness inside him drag on her heart, worries began to build up inside her as the connection to him grew stronger.
“Ready for what Uncle John?” She questioned him, anger trembling in her words. A tear slipped down her cheek as John looked at her, shocked.
“To be discovered.” He choked, his words so quiet she was unsure if she heard him correctly.
“We knew this day would come, we have trained –“
“You are a Circé Selene.” He interrupted, visibly upset. “I should have told you long ago but –“John paused, searching for words.
The connection to her Uncle’s emotions was almost overpowering, Selene felt like she wanted to double over and vomit. Her hand reached out and tried to find something to hold onto to keep herself upright but she found nothing and felt herself falling. Her landing was soft, John had caught her and pulled her into her his chest.
“I’m sorry Selene. I could no longer protect you.” John whispered into her hair.
Selene heard the thud of his heart, the rhythm lulled her into a trance and dulled the emotional connection she felt with him.
“How?” Selene whispered.
“But she was your sister, you’re –“
“Human.” John finished her words as her rocked her slowly in his arms. “She wasn’t my sister by blood. I should have told you that.” He said regretfully.
“Something like that.”
John’s words seemed to hang in the air. Selene began to question everything she had known about her mother and father, why they abandoned her, about her identity and most importantly what a Circé is.
“I don’t understand, I…” Selene paused, searching for the words. How could she not see she was a Circé before, their emerald green eyes and small horns on their forehead are the most distinct feature, as well as the tribal markings on their entire body. Features she didn’t have.
“I cannot be a Circé” She whispered to herself.
I’ve never seen my reflection, my face. The realisation stunned her. Her Uncle never placed a mirror in her room and the silverware always gave off a distorted reflection.
“I cannot be a Circé.” Selene said louder, hoping the words would break this moment and she would wake only to find this all a dream.
“You are. You’re eyes give it away.” John said, holding her tightly as though he was afraid to let her go.
“But you said they have horns, they have markings. I have none of those!” Selene yelled, pushing herself out of her Uncles arms and onto her feet. John rose swiftly, hoping to calm her down before she got too angry. The weather would drown out some of her yelling but he couldn’t risk their conversation being heard.
“Selene.” John said, reaching out to her. “I’m sorry.”
“I cannot be a Circé, I’m a human.” Selene sobbed, looking towards her Uncle. “I’m like you.”
“I know but you need to see you are better than me. Your parents saw it, they saw you were destined for great things Selene. I can see it now too.”
“I don’t even know what I am anymore.” She whispered through her tears.
“You are Selene; child to Elissa and Aheryn of the family Archelaus and future Agent of Belvidere who is destined to do great things.” John said, walking towards Selene. “I cannot protect you anymore Selene.”
John wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly.
“What have you done?” Selene questioned, feeling the guilt from her uncles emotions.
“I can no longer protect you. I’m sorry.” He whispered into her ear. “You remember your training? What you were to do if you were discovered?”
“What? No –“
“They knew you existed as soon as you set foot on the surface. I’m sorry Selene. “John said, releasing her as he stepped away from her.
“I have to leave, if I’m not caught I can explain it to you all later. Remember your training Selene.”
“I can run, we can go into hiding together.”
John smiled at the thought. “No, my job isn’t finished yet.”
“What will happen to me?” Selene asked, wiping away her tears.
“I don’t know. I’m sorry.” John shrugged and turned towards the stairs.
Selene watched, speechless, as he left the bell chamber in a rush. Her mind felt overloaded and heavy as she tried to process what had just happened. Her body felt sluggish as she moved towards the window, one last look she thought.
The weather had eased into a steady rain, lightning no longer flashed across the sky. Selene tried to imagine what the Circé were like but her knowledge on them was so limited, her Uncle had only told her the little details during her training. In conversations about her parents, it was never mentioned that they were Circé, she just figured they were human like her Uncle.
Archelaus family she thought, finally she had a last name besides her Uncles family name of Hunter. A slight smile crossed her face, it was something real.
She watched the street below, several soldiers had approached the church and formed a perimeter around the building. She saw her Uncle talking to several important looking men, one of which stood out oddly from the others. He was taller than the others, olive skin with long black hair and white tribal-like markings that covered some of his face.
She was no longer upset or scared, those emotions had been spilt while her Uncle was with her. She knew what was going to happen, he had always made her aware of the possibility of being discovered he just never mentioned the Circé part which will no doubt change what will happen next but she was ready.
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