This is the next part of the story Alternates. To understand what is going on, please read Part One. Please feel free to leave comments, but please be constructive in criticism.
Before Mam and the other Saviors were taken from us, I had only fought an Alt once. We mainly stayed underground, we were content there. But like most 13 year old girls, I had wanted to disobey and explore the world above. It turned out to be an almost fatal mistake right away. I was untrained. I didn’t know what I was seeing. The only times I was above ground, I was escorted by Mam, and it was just for errands. Humans and Alts both lived above ground, so Mam had a home where she had built us our underground home. I had the blue diamond contacts in, I thought I would be safe.
Can I tell you something? At 13, no matter what species you are, you’re wrong. Listen to your elders, because they are right, you’re wrong. I was not safe. By my wandering, I had not only put myself in danger, but I put Mam in danger of being found out for hording Mutts, which is punishable by death. I put the other Mutts in danger. Because I was 13, and I didn’t want to be locked up anymore.
I decided to go on the rooftops. I put 3 knives on me, one in my boot, and one in each back pocket. Because we never cut our hair, I had it pulled up into a ponytail. I thought it was silly to even bring the knives, but who knew what adventures I would find out there? Just before sunrise, Mam was asleep. I crept to the opening we used to go on our errands I opened the latch and pulled myself out of the underground. Even just entering the house without Mam was exhilarating. Checking the windows, I looked to see if anyone was around. Seeing that the coast was clear, I dashed out the front door, across the street to the alleyway between the grocery store and an abandoned building. I saw a ladder on the side of the abandoned building, so I quickly scrambled up to the roof, ducking down, waiting for Mam to come out guns blazing.
I waited what felt like hours before moving. I hopped from rooftop to rooftop, amazed at the things I could see. Everything looked so small! Everyone was so tiny! Then I ran into him.
There was an Alt on guard at the roof of a store. I didn’t understand why he was there, but since I had the contact in, I smiled politely. Gruffly, he asked “What are you doing up here?” “Just wandering around!” I replied, with my best smile and big eyes. At that moment, I knew something was wrong. Not only was he looking at me…he was looking through me. Alarmed, I started to back away, but before I could move quickly enough he jumped, landing on top of me.
“Mutt!” He screamed, “Your fake eyes do nothing for me! Do you think we are stupid? Do you think we are powerless to you? Do you think you are better than me?”
“No! No! No!” I sobbed, trying to reach for my blade. He felt me struggling, because he pulled out his gun, holding it to my head. Before I knew it, his head exploded and I was being pulled to my feet. Mam’s white hair hit me in the face. She looked me in the eyes.
“Rissa! Rissa can you hear me? Rissa! I need you to run! Run, Rissa!” She shoved me in the opposite direction, but I couldn’t leave her behind. 2 more Alts came and the sound of the gunfire. Before I knew it, my knives were flying, landing directly in their chests. I ran and grabbed them, realizing their blood is not red like ours. Their blood runs black. I stood there for a second, staring at the chaos that I created, when Mam grabbed my arm. We ran, faster than we ever ran before, back to the grocery store, where we stayed until way past dark. Mam didn’t speak to me the entire time we were there. I spent my time counting calorie labels on cans. She didn’t say anything when it was time to leave, she just grabbed my arm and dragged me back to the underground. The first thing she did was slap me square across the face. That hurt more than the Alt that tackled me.
“Do you know why you’re escorted everywhere? Do you? I know where it is safe for you. Alts can see past your contacts, your fake skin. Think, Rissa. Think really hard. Do you ever see Alt’s whose name I don’t know? Do you ever go to someplace where it is not full of humans? I’m trying to protect you! There are Alts everywhere. Alts can see under you. They can read your mind Rissa! Alts can control us. We got lucky today. This is why the Alts have taken over the Humans. They can read and manipulate who they are. I’ve been lucky. Your mother, was lucky. You are lucky to have this place Rissa, and you almost threw it all away. What if someone had seen us? You would have given not only our pack away, but the Opa and Pinky’s pack too!” She was so angry she didn’t look at me the entire time she spoke. I sobbed quietly to myself, giving her a minute before speaking.
“No, Rissa, you didn’t. You didn’t think. You thought you knew it all, thought you could be safe with your little knives. You’re lucky Dylan saw you leave. I’m lucky Dylan saw you leave.” She slammed her hand against the wall. “Do you know how much I wish I could just let you go up there? How I wish the Mutts could be one of them? I want you to know who your mother is. I want you to live with a family. I want you to be able to have a family. But Rissa, you can’t right now. You can’t leave. I need you to help me take care of our ever growing family here. Can you do that?” Tears streamed down my eyes as she put her hand on my cheek.
“Of course I can Mam. I promise I will always take care of this family.”
I kept that promise. The seven years I remained in the underground with the Pack I trained and studied harder than anyone else. Dylan, one of the other Mutts who was rescued around the same time I was, tried to keep up. He was good, but he was always a step behind. He was an Alt Mutt like me, although his skin was a deep forest green and hair that was bright yellow. His eyes were two different colors, one a deep chocolate brown, the other a light blue. I told him one time that he could hypnotize the Alts with his strange eyes. He laughed, his deep, rumbling laugh that shook the cavern. For someone who was a few months younger than me, he always seemed older. He never took well to sparring or shooting, but excelled in education. He was great with Pinky, always able to keep her talking about religion.
If we weren’t fearing for our lives, we probably could have fallen in love.
When the Saviors were taken, Dylan had to pull me away from the door to the common area. I wanted so badly to save them. I resented him for taking me away, even if it was logical to care for the other Mutts. We couldn’t teach them, like Mam, Pinky and Opa, but we could keep them safe. The Human Mutts were easy to pass off to other families, who were willing and able. That still had left us with about 40 Mutts that the three Saviors had left us to take care of. With no income, no food, no water and no place to stay. We feared staying in our underground cavern. The few nights we had no choice to stay down there, we set up a watch system so that at least one person was awake at each hour. During the darkest hours I would venture outside, creeping from building to building, trying to find a safe camp. I found one abandoned building, which I stayed in overnight to see if Alts or Humans came by. It seemed safe, so we moved there.
It took about 3 days, but we were raided. It turns out our house was being watched, which meant someone saw me find the old building. Smoke bombs and gunfire poured in from all directions. Dylan moved the younger Mutts out as I stayed behind to fight. When we moved, I packed in a way that kept me heavily armed at all times. I used the two guns I had strapped to my back first. I fired into the smoke, just hoping that something will show. Their eyes are reflective, I was just waiting for a clue. Unfortunately, I was given far more than a clue. 10 Alts appeared, all armed. I should have turned and ran, but wanting to protect my family I charged them, firing wildly. They took me down easily, easily manipulating the guns out of my hands, bringing me to my knees. All the sparring in the world couldn’t have trained me for what happened next…
Part 3 will be up in a few days, I’ve already started work on it. Please feel free to leave constructive crit!