Been a while since I posted! This story is 12,727 words long, so, yeah. Not fitting into one post. As you can see, the story is broken up into the days that the story takes place on (Epsilon is the year, and also the name of a greek letter), so for the word count's sake, I'll post one day at a time. Thanks for reading!
July 2nd, Epsilon
I twirl a bright pink lock of hair between my fingers while I shuffle down the sidewalk, humming a song I barely know over the incessant honking and beeping of the traffic beside me. Pulling my excessively long coat tighter across my body, I clench my jaw to keep my teeth from chattering. The fuzzy, white hat with two pom-poms that rests atop my head barely covers my ears, but as I reach up to tug it down, I feel something grip my arm and jerk me backward. Stumbling, a hood of some sort is forced over my head and all I can see are the vague directions of the flashing city lights as I’m heaved away.
The familiar sounds of Taxitas streets fade out, and besides the occasional skittle of a pebble across stone or the footsteps of my kidnapper, the silence is thick enough to cut with a knife.
When you’ve lived your whole life in a neighborhood where crime thrives and missing persons flyers line every corner streetlight pole, you catch on quickly that fighting does no good — so though my breath dances shakily across my lips and I shudder at every movement, I muster the faintest bit of courage.
“What do you want from me?” I whisper, shrinking back at the sound of my own words echoing off walls and coming back to mock me.
Whoever has been dragging me lets go of my arm, and the air is knocked out of me as I thud to the ground.
“Just a little help, darling.” By the sound of her voice, I can tell it’s a woman — and a Hue for that matter. She’s your kind, Lilium, I think to myself, one thought among the many racing through my mind. It’s just a woman. A human, at that. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding and relax just a bit, but something about her still seems dizzyingly familiar.
The hood is shrugged off my head, and while I rub at the red, blotchy lines that it dug into my face, I take in my surroundings. I’m in an alley that seems to go on forever, with walls that tower far above me. The cobblestone that paves the ground glistens with a coat of dew, and in the glint of the water, I can see the distorted reflection of the woman who stands over my thin, crumpled body.
“Lilium Umbra,” she says, a singsong tone to her voice that makes me feel nauseous. “Stand.” She reaches a hand out to me, and I tilt my head up slowly to meet her eyes. They’re a rich, dark brown, not all that different than the lush, russet curls of her hair that bounce just slightly above her shoulders.
My eyes slightly narrowed, I take her outstretched hand and even out my weight as she pulls me to my feet. “I’m not interested in helping you.”
Smiling sickly, she shakes her head and her hair follows the motion. “Maybe this will change your mind.” By her feet rests a medium-sized duffel bag with a faded Adidas logo printed on the side that I somehow didn’t see before.
“I don’t want it.”
“Oh, but you do, Lilium.” She unzips the bag, every inch revealing wad after wad of cash. “You need it now more than ever.”
I can hear my heart pounding in my chest, begging me to say something. To turn her down. Blinking faster than a Hue should be able to, I hold tears back. “What do you want for it?”
Nodding, she re-zips the bag and slings an arm around my shoulders, leading me out of the alley. “I want control over Lucia Callisto. Full control.”
“How do you expect me to get you that?” I can’t believe what I’m saying. Betray Luci?
“Influence her decisions in my favor. Do what I tell you. Nothing too difficult, dear.”
I pause. Do I want to do this? Can I do this? “Okay.”
She hands me a hologon, looking straight into my eyes. “Give this to her. Tell her that there’s a Cure for the most influential person on Taxitas.”
“But—” I think for a moment. “Dasha—”
“Don’t question me, child. She’ll be taken care of.”
I take a step back. “The money isn’t enough for this. Do you know how long I’ve known Lucia?”
“Lilium,” she says through gritted teeth, “I know this may be hard for you—”
“No, you don’t. You have no idea,” I snarl, my breath suddenly ragged as I speak.
“How would you feel if I gave you another offer?”
Stopping in my tracks, I once again consider the prospect of deceiving Lucia, mortified at what I’m about to do. “What kind?” I say slowly.
I scoff. “And?”
All the thoughts in my head come to a standstill. “A Cure?” I’m breathless as I ask.
“You can live past nineteen, Lilium.” She takes a cautious step closer to me. “You can live forever. But you have to trust me.”
“I—” A memory of Lucia and I laughing as she pushes me on a swing and I throw dandelions in the air on a hot summer day flashes across my vision.
“Trust me, Lilium. You won’t come out regretting this. I promise.”
Pressing my lips together, I take a deep breath and stare at the ground.
“So, we have a deal?” She gives her hair a light toss over her shoulder, cocking her head slightly.
Shame looms over me like a stormy rain cloud as I wrap my fingers tightly around the handle of the bag. “Deal.”
“Good.” She gives me a single nod before heading out into the street, waving down a taxi, and driving off into the chilly night.
2nd Part Available!