After twelve years, I was born into a world that wasn’t ready for me.
My first breaths were laced with the blood of the people who had sacrificed their lives for mine, my naked body stained with the burning scent of my home as it was destroyed around me.
I had barely been alive for an hour and already I wanted to be taken out of existence.
I didn’t want to hear their screams in my mind anymore or feel the bloody hands gripping my shoulders as I was shaken back to reality.
The jumbled emotions within me were tumbling out in sobbing screams as the soulless eyes of the Second tried to snap me from their grip. The blood of those he had slaughtered dripped over my body and from his mouth that was urging me to focus on my surroundings; the torn insides of a beaten car we were trying to flee our deaths in.
Was this the way it was going to be?
Was I born for nothing more than to become a monster just like him?
I was having my eyes opened to the cruelty of the world for the first time and experiencing the pain of it crashing down on me all at once.
The dreams I had been fed could never have prepared me for this. Eventually I would have had to wake to the truth before me.
I was nothing more than a Blood Oath; created to benefit the lives of others instead of my own.
My father had begged for his death, so he would never have to face the consequences of the lives he had torn apart.
He had never wanted a son, only a sacrifice.
I looked up at the pleading eyes of the Second before me then to the rainbow ones of my brother who watched me from the rear-view mirror between them.
How come they had risked their lives for mine when my family had given up on me? Why were they driving me away from danger when they could be protecting what mattered to them most?
Tears blinded my sight and stung my cheeks as they rolled down them, dropping onto the torn seats below me.
“T-tha-nk y-ou” I choked out, feeling my mouth struggle to form the words I had only seen in memories.
I saw Talow smile back at me and relax his stiffened posture. The Second glanced at him before climbing into the back seat beside me so that he could caress my face in his hands and wipe the tears away with his thumbs.
“It’s tough” he spoke, sending a wave of sadness shaking through my body “but you need to be strong. Emotions make a person weak.”
Emotions… made a person weak?
I nodded and wiped my eyes of the tears and blood quickly. My hands found my smeared cheek to wipe that too before I froze up.
Hands. I already had both of them on my eyes. Where had these ones come from?
I peered through my fingers to glance downwards at the hand that responded when I shook mine. I held them out and counted each blood-smeared limb flexing its fingers.
One, two, three, four…
“N-no” I whimpered, checking the Second’s limbs.
Apart from a few missing fingers, he only had two. My brother was the same.
Two. Two. Four.
“Relax” the Second soothed and held the two extra hands in his own to keep me anchored on the spot “you’re special.”
I saw him tilt his head to my legs and I followed his gesture to find that they both had a gaping hole in both that ran from under each kneecap to my ankles. It was as if they tried to split during development but gave up.
This wasn’t right. None of the others in my dreams had such odd appearances, let alone my real parents.
I could wrap my hands around each bowed bone in my legs. I could fit my hands through the hole as well. Neither my brother or the Second had the gap in their legs.
“Stop jumping about” the Second grunted as he took his hands from mine to shield his eyes “you are still naked, you know.”
I pulled my focus to my arms and legs and ran my hands over the smooth skin, feeling each goose-bump of my cold skin ripple under my fingertips. My face was completely smooth as well, my ears ending in tiny points at the sides of my head that was covered in coarse hair.
No, this definitely wasn’t right. I looked nothing like my parents or even my brother before me. How was this even possible? What did I have that was the same as them?
I stared at my brother’s eyes glancing at me from the mirror and felt my heart skip.
Maybe I had his rainbow ones?
He saw what I was trying to achieve and tried to direct it away from me before I pulled it back towards myself while grasping his hand with my other to prevent further interference.
What I saw staring back at me made my blood run cold.
The rainbow eyes I had been hoping for were there but the pupil that ran through the middle had been split and bent down the middle to bow outwards.
How on earth could I see with eyes so disgusting?
It looked like they were trying to split into others but failed as well.
I was a living nightmare; a failure.
“I’m a m-mon-ster” I mumbled and retreated to the seats, covering myself with my arms while drawing my legs up in an attempt to hide them from sight.
There was silence as I listened to the car engine roaring outside and the whistling of the wind trying to squeeze through a crack in the window.
Anything to take my mind off the ugly truth that was me.
“All the best people are” I heard Talow speak.
I peered over my arms to find him smiling at me through the mirror.
“The Base isn’t ruled by beauty. It’s filled with monsters and nightmares that the world doesn’t want to face. It has creatures that make you wish you were dead, and people who can make it come true. It is where you can hide from the hate or stand up and embrace it.”
I looked over to the Second to find him smiling at Talow as he licked the blood from his fingers. Talow shook his head at him as he gently slowed the car to a stop and then turned to face me for the first time.
“All the best people are monsters” he spoke as he removed his shirt to hand it to me, his hand opening the door for me “you just need to see that not all monsters are bad.”