Authors: Kayla Howarth
By Kayla Howarth
Resistance Copyright © 2015 by Kayla Howarth
Cover Illustration Copyright ©
Cover Design by Wicked Book Covers
All rights reserved.
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.
For information regarding permission, write to:
Kayla Howarth - permissions - [email protected]
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
“Today’s the big day,” Drew says excitedly, standing at the entrance to my bedroom and holding a cup of coffee.
“Yeah it is,” I mutter.
Living with my ex-boyfriend was weird in the beginning, but I’ve become accustomed to having him wake me each day in a similar manner. He brings me a cup of coffee and I don’t berate him. It seems to work. I’m still getting used to pretending to be married to him, though.
I sit up in bed, my hand reaching for the coffee.
“It’s your first arrest, you should be excited,” he says, walking towards me to pass me the cup.
I can’t help but roll my eyes. How he finds arresting people – for a defect that he also has – exciting is beyond me. I do it because I have to, not because I want to.
We’ve been investigating our target, a sixteen-year-old named Licia, for three months. We lost her and her parents when we started in Rockford, but it only took us a few weeks to track the Johns family to the next town over. They weren’t exactly the most resourceful when it came to fleeing.
I got a job as a waitress where Licia works after school and on weekends as a way of getting close to her. I fought with Drew about me being the one to take point on the investigation, but as he so eloquently put it: becoming friends with her would be much less hurtful than him hitting on her, ultimately breaking her heart when she is arrested. That’s a scenario I’m all too familiar with, it’s how he was able to arrest me almost six months ago.
It’s amazing that it has only been six months. I’ve been on the outside for the same amount of time as I was imprisoned by the Institute, but I feel like I’ve lived three lifetimes since being arrested. The naïve school girl I once was is long gone. No longer do I trust so easily, nor will I ever again. As it turns out, Drew isn’t the only one I shouldn’t have trusted.
“We’ve got time for a run, if you’re up for it?” Drew asks.
“Sounds good,” I say as I reach the bottom of my coffee cup, disappointed there’s nothing left.
Drew leaves as I drag myself out of bed. I like running with Drew, but I’ll never admit that to him. He’s so competitive, it always pushes me hard. I don’t even care that he always wins.
I get dressed, lace up my shoes, and grab my hooded jacket on the way out. It’s spring but the breeze still has bite to it. My face stings as it hits the fresh air outside. I love the feeling of just setting out on our own and not having to think about suspects, leads, or blowing our cover. We only have one thing to focus on, and that’s the sound of our feet beating against the pavement. We run five kilometres from our house down to the harbour and then turn back. By the time I reach the harbour, my mind is clear, and I feel refreshed and ready for the day. I can do this.
The sun warms my back while the chilling breeze cools my front. My lungs sting as I start to tire, and I feel as if I’m gasping for air. I lick my cracked lips, and my dry, scratchy throat craves water. But I push myself to keep going, breathing heavier and heavier with each footstep. I push through the pain, I want to defeat it.
I get an extra energy boost when we’re almost home, and I actually think I might beat Drew for once. He nudges me out of the way with his elbow when I try to cut him off. I stick my foot in front of his, tripping him. He grabs my ankle as he falls and we both crash to the grass on the lawn in front of our house. That isn’t going to stop me though. Scrambling to my hands and knees, I start crawling towards the front door. I’m going to win. He crawls after me and drags me backwards by my leg. Laughter escapes my throat as I try to grab onto the grass but it’s no use, I just keep grabbing fistfuls of it.
“I was beginning to worry about you two,” a stern voice says. Startled, we look up at our house to find out our fun has been interrupted by Lynch. “I thought I was going to have to track you. Hurry up and get inside, we have to get started.”
Just like that, my feelings of calm and readiness turn to panic and worry. No – this is what I’ve been training for. This is what I have to do to protect my brother, Shilah. I can do it. This has been my mantra for at least three months, whenever doubt starts to cloud my thoughts. When that hasn’t worked, I’ve focused on knowing that once Licia is arrested, I get to go back to the Institute and see my brother again. I
After a quick shower, I get dressed into my waitress uniform – tight black pants and a black collared shirt. I don’t know how I’m meant to make an arrest in this, it’s not the most flexible of materials and constricts my movements. Drew is at the dining table eating breakfast when I walk into the kitchen to get another cup of coffee.
“Where’s Lynch?” I ask.
“She went to meet up with the others in the arrest team. I told her we’d be right behind her so you better drink up, fast.”
“I’m surprised to see her here. I didn’t realise she was an agent. I didn’t even think she was Defective.”
Drew looks up at me from his plate. “She’s not Defective. She’s one of the few normal agents. You didn’t think every agent was Defective, did you?”
“Well, yeah, I kind of did.”
“Brookfield wouldn’t allow a Defective person in such a high position. All of our supervisors, commanding officers like Lynch, they’re all ‘normals’, but none of them work in the field. Lynch is in charge of arrests – it’s really the only action she sees.”
“So she was there for my arrest?”
Drew ignores my question. “You know what you have to do today, yeah?”
I sigh. “Yes, I know what to do. Get Licia out of the restaurant where you and the rest of the team will be waiting.”
“Here, take this,” he says, passing me a knife. “You don’t have anything to protect you other than your hand-to-hand combat training. I’ve taken that class, I know how thorough they are. Or aren’t, I should say.”
It’s true, the self-defence classes they run at the Institute are pretty poor. I spent most of my time trying to avoid getting beaten by a fifteen-year-old girl – my assigned sparring partner. I was just lucky to have met Chad, a fellow agent-in-training. He showed me how to
Come to think of it, none of the classes I took at the Institute helped me prepare for living as an agent in the real world. I guess they run the classes to boost everyone’s confidence, make them feel important. But I know now. We’re not important, we’re expendable.
I take the knife and place it in the back pocket of my pants. I hope I remember it’s there, I can just see myself sitting down and accidentally stabbing myself in the butt. I realise that’s probably physically impossible, but if anyone could manage it, it would be me.
We walk to our rendezvous point, a van parked a few streets away from the restaurant where Licia and I work. I’m surprised to see who the others are. Besides Lynch, there’s Eugene and a guy with glasses. Eugene is the guy Chad and I referred to as Jack during our time at the Institute because of how much of a jackass he is. I don’t know the guy with the glasses, but I recognise him from my first interrogation and my field test. There are also two others I haven’t met before, a small-built woman with long black hair that’s braided down her back and a towering, lanky man with slightly greying hair. The five of them are wearing black uniforms with protective vests.
“Okay, let’s get started,” Lynch says. “Drew and Allira, you already know Eugene and Leo,” she says, pointing to Jack and the guy with the glasses. “And this is Bek and Costello.” We nod hello to each other but no words are spoken. “So, are we ready?” The peppiness in her voice is meant to motivate us, I’m guessing. No one actually answers her but she continues to talk anyway. “Allira, it’s your job to get our target out the back. That’s where we’ll take her out. Eugene, Drew and Leo, you’ll approach from the front, Bek and I will each take a side. Costello will remain with the van, ready for us when we get her.”
I’m fitted with a microphone which transmits audio to the team’s earpieces, so they’ll be able to hear when I’ve managed to get Licia outside. Drew starts gearing up, putting on a protective vest and arming himself with a gun, matching the others. I don’t get a gun or a vest as I’m going to lure Licia out. I suddenly wish Chad was here with me, so I could borrow his protective force-field ability if this arrest goes awry.
Thanks to months of training with Chad in between the classes the Institute ran, I’ve gotten a good hold on my abilities – both of them. When I touch Drew, I am able to amplify his ability, almost to the point of him becoming a Telepath instead of an Empath. He can’t hear word for word, but he can pick up on key words and work from that. I’m able to borrow that power too, so I can hear what Drew hears and what he thinks. The good thing about that is: Drew doesn’t know that I’m able to borrow his ability and, thanks to Chad, I’m able to block Drew from listening in on me.
“You’ll be fine,” Drew says, putting his arm around my shoulders. I pull away from him, annoyed. Even though I have learnt to keep most of my feelings from him, he can still pick up on some things, like right now – he can sense I’m freaking out about this arrest.
I’m worried about how it will go, I’m worried about it failing, but I think I’m more worried about it being successful. Forcing Licia to endure the kind of torture I experienced when I was arrested is not something I want for her. She’s a nice girl, I would actually consider her a friend. At least we know what Licia can do, so maybe it won’t be as bad for her as it was for me when I was first arrested.
Discovering her ability was kind of a fluke. I was tailing her home one day after spending weeks profiling her actions, and she disappeared into thin air. At first I thought she could teleport or something, but according to my Institute training, her personality didn’t match that kind of profile. I spent the next few days doing the same thing, just following her and watching from afar. I got pretty good at getting close to her without her being aware of me.
Then came the day Drew almost blew his cover. I was at work with Licia, and he was supposed to be at her house gathering evidence. He burst through the restaurant entrance looking like he’d just run a marathon.
“Hi sweetheart,” he said in between gasping breaths.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, getting him a glass of water.
“Problem. At the house,” he replied vaguely.
“At your house?” Licia asked.
He nodded subtly, but gave me a look that said that’s not what he meant.
I turned to Licia. “Cover for me?”
Drew dragged me outside, and suddenly we were running. Running away from the direction of our house and towards Licia’s. Drew didn’t slow down until we got to her street.
“Stay low,” he instructed.
We scurried our way to her living room window, and there, asleep on the couch, was Licia.
“What the f—”
“She can project a secondary physical form of herself,” Drew whispered. “The girl at the restaurant isn’t the real her. I’m just lucky I got out of there before she woke up.”
“You were inside? You didn’t check the place out first before breaking in?” I hissed.
“It’s not the first time I’ve screwed up on an investigation,” he said, raising an eyebrow at me, probably referring to my arrest. “But that doesn’t matter. I got out, she didn’t wake up. It’s okay.”
The exertion from running and the adrenaline from finding out Drew was nearly discovered slowly subsided, and I could finally let the revelation about her ability sink in.
I couldn’t think of anything else to say other than, “Holy crap.”
Every day from then on, while I was at work with her, Drew would scope out her house. He discovered she was only projecting to and from work on specific days. She could clearly do it well; she could spend hours, whole shifts, in her projected state. She has her limits though, and after logging her activity for almost three weeks, we concluded that she was unable to do it on the days she was rostered for a full eight-hour shift. That’s how we were able to orchestrate this arrest date, knowing she would be here herself and not her projection.
The arrest team have checked their equipment and the plan twice already, but Lynch still hasn’t given us the green light. It’s getting close to lunch time and I can’t stand this waiting around anymore. I’ve stretched out my legs and back so much, I’m surprised I’m not taller by now.
“Okay, let’s get this over with,” I say, trying to hurry things along, ignoring Lynch’s command chain. Before hearing her response, I start walking in the direction of the restaurant. Fear and nerves start to course through me.
You will get to see Shilah, you will get to see Shilah,
I keep telling myself.
I reach the entrance to the restaurant and I pause for a moment, taking a deep breath before opening the door. The nerves inside me are building, making their way from my stomach and into my throat, trying to find an escape. My heart tries to fight Leo, who is just outside the restaurant, forcing it to maintain a slow rate. All it wants to do is thunder in my chest but he’s forcing me to calm down. That’s his ability – controlling people’s heart rates. He did it to me while they were interrogating me. I also borrowed his ability to help me pass the field test before I became an agent.
I walk into the restaurant filled with anticipation and nerves. I make my way into the kitchen, ready to lure Licia out the back of the restaurant.