The next time I opened my eyes, the rubble cleared. I blinked rapidly, trying to stop the flashing lights from getting to my head. Was someone poking my chip?
I felt like my head had been ripped open as the holographic signs displaying my entire life flashed. I heard doctors whispering about my vitals, and saying that I was missing something.
“Her vitals are strong. Insert 1193, one Jinny Celine Cassidy, admitted into Room 5546.”
I jolted awake, ignoring the ringing in my head and blurry vision.
“I’m missing something?!” I exclaimed as the doctors looked around worriedly.
“N-no,” one of them stammered. Then I noticed; we weren’t in a hospital at all. We were in a lab.
1 year later…
“Jinny! I swear I won’t tag you! Come out!” I heard Hana’s voice shout as I crouched in the cramped space. It was pitch black, yet somehow I could still see. The only light in there was the small holographic chip that carried all my memories.
“Jinny - wait, I see you!” Hana yelled again. “Oh no!”, I thought as her footsteps made their way towards the drawer I was hiding in.
“Are you naked? Oh my gosh, please don’t tell me you’re naked--”
“I’m not!” I yelled in frustration.
“Aha! That’s where you are!” Hana smirked triumphantly as she pulled the drawer I was hiding in. I sighed in defeat as she helped me up.
“I can’t believe I fell for your trick again,” I groaned as she smirked.
“Anyway, did you hear? Corianne’s sister is visiting. I heard that her boyfriend works at the Registry, so he might know something about your parents.”
I tried to ignore the jolt in my heart as I heard those words. She knew something about my parents? I’d die to know the truth.
“Corianne’s sister? When- where- what- how…”
“She’s supposed to be sharing a room with you.”
Just then, I heard Corianne’s herd of minions clomping down the hall. Perks of being at the Queen Bee of Falling Springs; a school for the rich and the elite.
“I can’t believe that my sister is rooming with Jinny the Orphan. Seriously, Clione should be rooming with me- or at least someone with parents!”
“But, Corianne, don’t you want to room with me?” A timid girl named Bea asked.
“No, idiot, not if it means rooming with Clione!”
“OMG, Cori, I can’t believe that the student board isn’t letting you switch with that flick, Jinny,” I heard Corianne’s sidekick Helene exclaim.
“I know right?” Corianne’s tag-along Willow exclaimed.
“Yeah.” she rolled her eyes as she strutted by.
“Oh my gawd, can you believe them? Dissing you just because you got to room with this ‘Clione’! Just because you rejected their popularity offer back when you joined the school!”
“Uh… yeah, Hana. I’m going back to the dorms.”
The halls were silent as I walked to the dorms, my footsteps echoing as I walked the seven flights of stairs to get to my room. The door creaked as I opened it. But instead of a uniform peach comforter, I saw a bright pink one.
I closed the door as I looked around the room.
The walls and windows were bordered in pink fairy lights, the empty desk to the left of mine now framed with a huge pink ‘C’ decoration, charm and a pink laptop. The division curtain was taken down, replaced by a pink lace one. There was a tall, pale girl sitting on my bed. She jumped in surprise as she realized I was there.
“Oh, hi. You’re my roomie, right? I did a bit of redecorating, the place was a bit boring.” she said as she brushed her glossy dark hair. It fell in soft waves as she brushed it, making me tug my dry black hair.
“Anyway, Cori said you were some kind of Regina George - you know, the meanest character from Mean Girls. She’s like, ‘Cli, she’s hell-bent on destroying my rep. Are you really like that?”
I looked at her, astonished and offended.
“Of course not!”
Clione looked at me disdainfully and sighed, “Well, if that’s what you say then…”
I fell silent. Seriously, if Clione wouldn’t believe me, then well… did I care?
“Yes,” my inner voice chanted viciously. “What?!”
Clione had been going through my stuff. I knew it. My entire dresser was a mess, and flecks of pink glitter lingered on the stuff.
The entire room had been invaded with pink last night. I remember the huge dorm party Clione had thrown and kicked me out of. My bed was now filled with junk from the party, and It was all messed up. Clione’s side, on the other hand, was all clean. And today was dorm inspection day.
I shuffled along the side to desperately clean the mess, folding the sheets and sweeping the floor so that the inspector wouldn’t get mad. Fortunately, the inspector was lenient as he’d been to the dorm party.
“Don’t be messy next time or I’ll have to ask the Bargainer to reset your memory chip,” he teased jokingly.
Clione, on the other hand, had disappeared and so as it was a Sunday, I invited Hana over to help me clean up.
“Oh my gosh, Jinny. Why do you always let people shove you around?” she asked patronizingly. “Hurry up and clean it. Bea left so Corianne barged into my room. If I pull some strings, then the evil sisters could share a dorm.”
I nodded and started cleaning as Hana ranted at me.
“You are so stupid, Jinny. What’s wrong with just yelling at someone? You don’t have to get into a catfight,” she continued.
“Easy for you to say! You made Corianne’s boyfriend bleed after you scratched him!” I countered furiously.
“Yeah, that’s normal. But your level of nice? That’s psycho.”
“Liar. Shut up.”
“Shhhhh! You swore!”
“See? Shut up isn’t even a swear unless you’re a firstie.”
I sighed. Hana was always saying that I was too stuck up and a prude. Who cares? I wasn’t a prude, maybe everyone else was just rude.
“Shut up. Just clean.”
“Aaaaaaaah!” I heard Hana yell. “Electronic shutdown!”Lightning crackled as I groped around the nightstand to find the night vision-inducing glasses. “Hana?”
“Y-yes? I’m sca-red…” Hana whispered with a tremble in her voice. I remembered. Hana was afraid of the dark.
“Hana? Try to look around for the glasses. I-” I stopped as lightning flashed, illuminating Hana’s face in an eerie blue light.I caught a glimpse of the glasses and put them on, feeling the familiar skinshift metals mold around my eyes.
The world came into color in a blast of light.
“Hana? Can you illuminate your chip?”
“I-i can’t. The chip isn’t working. Can you turn on yours?”
I did, activating the tiny device with a tap.
“Oh, that’s so much better. Thank you,” she said. But there was a shadow behind Hana.
“Can I not be here?” asked Clione’s irritated voice.
“No, not when you rummaged through my stuff and put me on bad terms with the dorm room!”
“I had reasons. Do you remember anything at all from the past year?” she retorted, spitting the words out. I thought about it but found none.
“It does, Jinny.”
“Why?”Clione stayed silent.
“I know you know something about my parents.”
“I do,” She said cooly. “But why should I tell you?”
“I can tell on all the things that you did-”
“Fine. But, you see, there’s a twist.”
“What twist?” I said as the lights slowly flickered back to life.
“The twist is… that you have no parents.”
I stood shock-still. Taking it in.“What do you mean?”
“I mean that you’re a hybrid. You were meant to be “the perfect being” but you failed.”
The words hit me hard. All along I was a cyborg? What- how- the government had decreed it an ‘impossible task’ to make a perfect human. But here I was. Focusing on the wrong thing, ugly as hell, and I still didn’t get why I didn’t figure that out sooner. I was too perfect, but also imperfect.
It was finally the day for Clione to go.
“Clione baby!” I heard a masculine voice call in the distance.
“Yes, honey?” Clione called back sweetly.
“Hurry up!” He called teasingly and Clione blushed delicately.
I watched as Clione packed gracefully.
“See? You will never be as perfect as me.” she sneered as she sashayed out.
I slid the razor against my porcelain white wrist, wincing as the red bloomed out. The blood was pretty, and made me forget that I was abnormal, imperfect, a hybrid. It’s better this way.
“Jinny!” I heard Hana call, throwing open the door just as droplets of red fell onto the crisp white duvet. She rushed in, swooping down and clutched my hand holding the razor blade.
“No, Jinny! Why are you doing this? I told you not to do this! Why didn’t you listen?” She cried.
“I have to,” I replied monotonously.
She sighed. “How will this fix anything?”
“Jinny…” she sighed, running her hands into her blonde hair. “You’ve changed. I think… I think that we need to take a break from our friendship.”
I watched as she walked out slowly, waiting for me to take it back. But I was done. I was a failed experiment. And now, who cared if I died?
I sat there. I saw purple blood at one moment, and I just sat there, wishing for the pain to go away, wishing that the skin would leave scars like it did no normal people.
I carved words onto myself:
You are undesirable.
After a long while, I stepped onto the tiny balcony. “Let the pain go away,” I whispered to myself as the sun began to set. The wind whipped, pulling beautiful raven hair away from my face. Jump.
“NO!” I heard a voice shout. It wasn’t Hana, though. It was Corianne.
“What are you thinking? Do you think you can ruin my family’s life work in a jump? No! Don’t be stupid. What’s wrong with you? ” she cried in panic, gripping my ivory skin with her tanned hand.
I looked at her with an emotionless stare.
Your family’s life work? Just on an imperfect cyborg like me?” I replied cooly, a hint of bitterness seeping through.
“You worked! Why else would we put out one of your kind? Check your hologram chip, it’s true, it’s true!” she cried. Corianne was disheveled, blonde hair dry and messy, makeup is gone. She looked... normal.
“If I was perfect I would have at least have some flaws! Isn’t that how real people work?”
“But you are imperfect! Would a perfect person cut themselves if they’re really perfect?”
“Never mind. But I came here for a different reason.”
“What is it?”
“Because you ARE the first perfect person…” She turned and ripped out the DNA chip.
2000 years later…
The world has gone through a rampage. The only parts of the world left are four cities: Ilea, Coln, Rime, and Arol.
Each year, the race to create the next line of perfect humans evolved. Every thousand years, one child of each gender would battle the elements to get to the finish line; where the dormant Goddess Jinny lived.
But that race could be their last-- and if it was, the whole city would perish and Cottassmar would die. But when the Goddess Jinny rises, who will be there to protect Cottassmar from certain death?