‘I need a drink,’ Eric said as he fell into a chair in the kitchen. Morgana dropped into the one next to his.
‘Where have you been?’ Camille asked, frowning at them both as she rinsed a few bowls. ‘You both look as though you’ve been dragged across the city by Watchers.’
‘We were out,’ Eric replied, ignoring Morgana’s disapproving look. ‘Making the world a better place.’
‘Well.’ Camille placed her hands on her hips. ‘While you were out doing that,’ she motioned towards their dirty clothes and scratches, ‘I was actually here making plans.’
‘Ah, now that you mention it.’
’Shut up, Thorn, and listen to me or Nation knows I will stick this wet cloth up your damn ass,’ Camille snapped. ‘I’m getting an army ready and we’re going to storm into the Governments’ Headquarters and get Terra back.’
‘Jesus woman. You really think that’s the smartest of ideas?’
‘Do you have any better suggestions?’
‘In actual fact, I do.’ Eric turned towards Morgana, winking. ‘Go ahead. Tell her.’
‘I’m not your fucking secretary,’ Morgana said.
‘Someone’s in a bad mood,’ Eric muttered, wiggling his eyebrows at them both. ‘We’re going to get Scarlet’s brothers and sisters back.’
‘I don’t see how that is meant to help with my army.’
‘Okay, technically we’re not going to fetch them for your army.’
‘I see.’ Camille turned around to continue rinsing the dishes. ‘You’re basically going to get them so they can help with Scarlet.’
‘And you sound pissed.’
Camille spun back, her eyes bulging. ‘Of course I’m freaking pissed, Eric.’
‘I should probably go,’ Morgana said, standing.
‘You. Stay.’ Camille pointed her long slender finger at the X-Prototype. Even though Camille was just a cyborg and held no real power against someone like Morgana, at that precise moment she was the scariest person out of the three.
Morgana sat back down.
‘Kalem is going to get himself killed trying to rescue Terra.’ Camille sighed, her entire body suddenly drained of energy. Her piercing green eyes focused on Eric. ‘Scarlet can wait.’
Both cyborgs stared at each other for a few minutes. After a while, Eric pulled a cigarette out and Camille turned back towards the sink, huffing in frustration.
‘So where is this mighty awesome army you keep talking about?’ Eric asked, taking a long drag from his cigarette.
‘Most of them went back home,’ Camille replied, her back tense. ‘Some are sleeping upstairs.’
Eric glanced up at the ceiling, one eyebrow arched. Camille couldn’t help but notice the worry and suspicion written across the cyborg’s features. He clearly didn’t trust having strangers in the house. ‘If you wait until I get the other X-Prototypes, we can barge right into that damn building and-’
Camille sighed in irritation. ‘Eric, we both know it doesn’t work like that. Besides, what makes you think they’re going to help?’ Camille glanced at Morgana, who looked away.
After their failed attempt at defeating the government over a hundred years ago and their exile to No Man’s Land, the X-Prototypes returned to the capitals and vanished. Scarlet had kept in touch with the others, but would never really talk about them.
‘They’ll come,’ Eric said. ‘For Scarlet.’
Camille turned away from him, unable to look at him as she said, ‘We’re both fighting for people we love. But this time we’re gonna have to do it our separate ways.’
‘You make it sound like we’re breaking up.’
‘Do you really need to make everything a bloody joke?’ She threw the wet cloth at his head, which he dodged, chuckling.
Morgana cleared her throat. ‘We’ll get them back. All of them.’ Those blue eyes met Camille’s. ‘Your son, too.’
‘Jesus, her son isn’t missing.’ Eric rolled his eyes. ‘He’s just horny.’ He managed to climb out of the chair and run off before Camille could grab him, his laughter echoing down the hallway after him.
Camille leaned against the counter, unable to control the smile that Eric had caused. No matter what happened in their world, he never lost faith. He was probably the strongest of them all. And she admired him for it.
Camille prepared hot tea with some slices of lemon and sat down in front of Morgana. She didn’t offer anything to the X-Prototype. The girl with blonde hair and blue eyes didn’t eat, drink or sleep.
‘How is bringing the other Prototypes back going to help Scarlet?’ Camille asked, grabbing one of the jars, twisting it open and stealing two cookies. She placed them in her mouth as she closed the lid and put the jar back in its place.
‘We don’t know if it’ll do anything,’ Morgana explained. ‘But it’s worth the try. Perhaps between the four of us we can somehow bring her back.’
‘Do you truly believe that?’
Morgana licked her lips, those blue eyes focused on the crumbs left behind by Camille’s munching. ‘I don’t know what to believe anymore, truth be told.’
Wrapping her fingers around the warm cup of tea, Camille couldn’t help but stare at the X-Prototype. She had freckles under her blue eyes and on her nose, which Camille had never noticed before. Her blonde locks bounced around her shoulders each time she moved, and one brown eyebrow was always arched in an irritated expression of exasperation.
‘When will you be leaving?’ Camille asked, wiping the crumbs away, watching as they fell on the floor.
Morgana shrugged, leaning back in her chair as if she had no care in the world. Such a lie. Those shoulders carried far more than what Morgana could hide.
‘Perhaps tomorrow. As soon as possible.’
‘You’ll get her back.’
Morgana snorted. ‘You really believe that?’
Morgana looked away, pensive. ‘I hope you’re right. For Eric’s sake, and mine. I can’t have it end like this.’
‘It’ll end with Petra’s head stuck to a spear,’ Camille said. ‘I’ll make sure of that.’
‘How are you planning any of this?’
‘Kalem’s been keeping watch on the Governments’ Headquarters. He’ll find an access point we can infiltrate. Then, we go in and get Terra out of there.’
‘You think she’s alive?’
‘Why would Petra kill her? What would be the point?’
‘What’s the point in anything that damn girl does?’ Morgana snarled in distaste.
Camille turned to start preparing breakfast. Soon everyone would start getting up and their stomachs would complain. She didn’t want to put up with hungry cyborgs. Least of all cyborgs that would be joining her army. She needed them well rested and fed.
Morgana stood to leave. Camille couldn’t help but watch the Prototype as she left. She really hoped they could get Scarlet back and that her idea of infiltrating the government would be a success. If not, Nation knew what would happen.
There were exactly two things Malcolm Broddory enjoyed from life; wine and girls. His charm was impeccable, his laugh enchanting and his eyes mesmerising. They were the bluest eyes anyone had ever seen, and alongside his lovely dark brown and cute baby face, he was irresistible. No matter how much he aged, he did so well.
‘I knew you’d be up here.’ Malcolm had made it to the attic where a small window could be opened, giving access to the roof of their old home. Kalem sat there, staring off at the city in the distance. He resembled a lone wolf, still and quiet. Those grey eyes perfectly constructed to pry on their prey. To hunt. To kill. But wolves marched in packs and Kalem had never been good with company. ‘What are you doing up here?’
‘The kitchen is crowded,’ Kalem replied, his eyes still fixed on the city as Malcolm sat down beside him. ‘I hate crowds.’
‘Yes, one of your many virtues.’ Malcolm chuckled, bumping his shoulder against Kalem’s. ‘Your mum will want you downstairs soon.’
Kalem nodded, but didn’t speak. He kept perfectly still, watching everything around him. It had always fascinated Malcolm the way Kalem acted. So silent and harsh and stiff.
Until Terra had come like a storm breaking down their door.
Malcolm had noticed the change in Kalem the moment Terra came crushing into their lives. The way those silver eyes shone, the way he seemed more relaxed. The way he sometimes smiled.
It killed Malcolm to see Kalem go back to his old ways now that Terra was no longer there. His son had returned to hiding in the shell he had always kept himself in.
‘You’re just like your mother,’ Malcolm said, smiling. ‘Camille is one stubborn woman but the way she loves… I envy you both. That ability to love the way you both do…’
Those silver almond eyes drifted away slowly from the city to fall on Malcolm. They were magnetic and captivating. It was impossible to not feel Kalem’s stare. It was piercing and penetrating, drilling through the skull. It felt as though he could reach inside and see everything.
‘You love Camille and you love me too.’
‘But your my family.’
Kalem’s stare moved away, finding something else to watch. ‘I think family can sometimes be the hardest to love,’ he whispered.
They watched together in silence the city yawn as it woke up from its sleep. Another day. Another fight. Malcolm had lived through countless of them, and wondered how many more he would get to see.
‘Come on, let’s go,’ Malcolm said, standing. ‘Before your mother has a heart attack.’
No matter what, Malcolm would keep his family safe. As he had always done. As he would always do.