AEGIS Agent Amelia Van den Broeke appears on scene to witness the wreckage caused by fight between individuals with extraordinary abilities. There she finds Everett Howard, an ordinary old man, unconscious, the only living witness to this attack. What follows will change both of their lives in ways neither could have ever foreseen and forever intertwine their fates.
February 15, 2016
Corner of 200 N Massachusetts Ave
New Hebron, California
A woman stepped out into the cold night, frost blowing out from her mouth as she surveyed the scene. A flickering street light gave off enough light to illuminate the street. Bricks, from a collapsed building had been scattered all over the place, and the wrecks from at least half a dozen cars. Those buildings that remained intact were ramshackle affairs, with boarded-up windows and doors which were no doubt havens to squatters and the like.
It wasn’t the best part of town, but then again in New Hebron there weren’t many good areas. The recession had hit the city hard and even after many parts of the nation had seen a turnaround New Hebron had never recovered. When the economy takes a hit, there are always higher crime rates, and the same was true of exemplar related criminal activity. That’s why AEGIS had such a strong presence in the area.
With a long sigh, she massaged the crest of her nose and stepped away from the car. It was rare enough to get a Friday night off, but when she did, it was, as usual, interrupted. This time proved no exception. Alex, her partner, had been furious, but in her line of work saying ‘no’ wasn’t an option.
She looked around and shook her head. It was better to keep her mind on the task at hand than to let it get clouded with personal issues when danger may be lurking in the shadows. When she considered all the wreckage, her first impression was that there had been a natural disaster or a particularly bad automobile accident, but Amelia knew better. They wouldn’t have called her in if either had been the case.
Red and blue lights flashed, casting the surrounding area in an unnatural glow, and she moved toward their source with furtive steps. They must have only just beat her as none of the officers on scene had put up crime tape. “Ma’am, you’ve entered a crime scene. You need to leave the area immediately.”
She cast a reassuring smile as she stopped dead in her tracks. “I’m Amelia van den Broeke with AEGIS. I’m here to investigate reports of an exemplar attack.”
The officer nodded and glanced back over his shoulder, toward a cluster of his fellow. “Sorry, but I’ll have to see some ID.”
Amelia slipped a hand inside her jacket and produced a badge which she flipped open with a flick of her wrist. Satisfied that the officer had gotten a good enough glimpse she slid the badge back into her coat and dropped her hands.
“Sorry, Agent you can never be too careful. Last week I stopped a spook who claimed to be looking for UFOs. He said he was with the FBI, but turns out he was just some crazy asshole.”
“Officer Harris, is it?” Amelia said leaning in to glance at the name badge on his shirt. “Why don’t we get down to business?”
Amelia jumped when she caught movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned to investigate, it proved to be nothing more than a pair of officers putting up caution tape. She gritted her teeth and stepped forward, her cheeks burning as she met Harris’ gaze. His featured remained blank, and he didn’t say a word as he stepped into sync with her, but somehow she got the impression it amused him.
“There’s, uh, something over this way, that you’ll probably want to see,” he threw his thumb over his shoulder to a portion of the street drowned in shadows. “One of your AEGIS friends is already on scene.”
“Thank you, officer. I can find my way.” She stepped forward, moving into the shadows with quick and furtive steps. She didn’t glance back or give Harris any more thought. The police knew to keep out of AEGIS’ way and to keep onlookers out of a crime scene.
“Van den Broeke,” a steady voice called out from the darkness and she stepped toward it her eyes adjusting as it enveloped her. She stepped through a cloud of dark mist that floated through the air like ink through water, but after a few steps it cleared giving way to a portion of street dimly lit by moonlight.
Another person, might have found the experience disconcerting, but Amelia knew what to expect. The darkness was not natural. It was a projection created by Matthews abilities.
“Sir,” she said kneeling down next to him.
He didn’t speak, instead allowing his subordinate to survey the scene. She did just that her breath catching in her throat as she took it all in. A figure, or perhaps a sculpture, composed of ice lay on the ground, one hand gripping that of an old man. Breathtaking, exquisite in every detail. So lifelike was her countenance that Amelia had trouble believing any human hand had sculpted her, but she neither could she accept she was anything beyond a simple lump of frozen water.
She looked into the sculpture’s eyes, taking in every minute detail, from her long and delicate eyelashes to texture of her iris. Amelia reached out with her mind, sensing a faint connection to the past. The woman was beautiful in a terrible, unearthly way, but there was just something so innocent and appealing about her wide-set eyes that Amelia wasn’t able to turn away. Even once she’d come to the startling revelation, supplied by her abilities, her eyes remained glued on her frosty visage.
The woman had once been a living thinking being. She was looking at a corpse. Whether that had to do with her current icy condition, Amelia couldn’t say, but regardless she was dead.
Swallowing hard, looked away and turned her attention to the old man. Ordinary in every sense of the word, he would have blended into a crowd in just about any part of the country without drawing attention. She had no idea what part he might have played in the confrontation, but something told her he might still be of some importance.
“Any impressions?” Matthews whispered on the wind.
She nodded, bit her lips and opened herself up. The world disappeared with a suddenness that might have been startling if she hadn’t experienced so many times before. The same could not be said for what followed.