by Sarah Corson

The smell of burning steel and blood made its way to my nostrils, but I had no time to just sit and wait for someone to rescue me. Long ago I learned that in this world if you need to be rescued the only one you can rely on is yourself. No knight in shining armor for me.  I began struggling to get my seat belt off of my waist, but it was doing too good a job of strangling me to the upside down seat.

If there was one thing that I was born to do, it was be prepared. I quickly grabbed my Swiss Army knife from my pocket and began cutting at the tough fabric that was once my seat belt. I could feel every fiber as it began loosening its grip. I had seen this all before but this was not how it had happened in my dream. I don’t know if I changed it, or if someone else’s destiny was mixed into the matter. Whatever it was, I was not happy, that’s for sure.

Glass was everywhere and it pierced my skin at every twist and turn I made, causing more blood to stain the once beautiful interior of the midnight black Chrysler 300. I wish it was my car, but it wasn’t; I stole it. I had to, how else was I supposed to escape that hell hole, walk out the front gate?  Yeah right, maybe in a perfect world where everyone genuinely was treated equal. Me, I am treated like property.

I could feel the heat coming off of the car as I tried to kick the remaining pieces of glass from my window, so I could crawl to whatever safety waited for me outside. I was reluctant to leave the car, it was the only form of escape I had and now that it is gone. I have to think on my feet if I am ever going to get far enough away.
When I was out of the car the impact finally caught up with me. My hands began shaking as I frantically searched the ground for the cell phone I stole. I had a dream of the number I was suppose to call if I ever made it out alive.

Whoever the people I was to call were, they were apparently good at hiding people like me and getting us to safety. So I’ve been told at least, but at this point I don’t think anyone can really help, the idea just seems too good to be true.

My leg was numb with pain and when I looked down I nearly passed out at the sight of my own blood. I never really could handle that aspect, not even when I saw it occur in my dreams, which is kind of pathetic if you’re a dreamer. Most people think that dreams are suppose to be sweet and kind and full of love. That’s not the case at all; in fact it’s the opposite. I guess to put it simply it’s a constant nightmare, and not just because of what I see, but because of the people who are trying to use the information I can give them.

“Miss, are you okay?” asked a strange man running toward me. “I saw the whole thing. I already called 911 for you.”

“Shit,” I shouted as I felt my knees give way and before I knew it, I was on the ground.

Not only was I angry that this idiot called 911, I was pissed at my own stupidity at not realizing that someone could have followed me. However, I was somewhat thankful that this despicable random stranger had decided to do his one good deed for the year by making sure I was at least alive. At that moment the realization that I had almost died hit me hard and the first thing that caught my vacant stare was the stars.

As I stared up at the dark night with nothing to provide light to the dark but the small speckles of stars scattered about in every which way. Their beauty held my rapture and I couldn’t stand to look away. For once it felt like I could believe that there was some form of beauty in this insane world.

“Was there anyone else in the car?” I heard him ask. That strange man was still here and he ruined the warm embrace I had with the stars.

“No, it was just me,” I spoke bitterly. I was grateful that he had called 911 for me, kind of, but now he was just an annoyance. If he stuck around much longer he would ruin everything.

“I was behind you, I saw the whole thing.” He sounded like he was pleased to have witness this occurrence, like he was benefiting me in some way.

“That’s nice,” I said as I attempted to stand and seem threatening all at the same time. “You better hurry up and leave if you don’t want to be stuck in traffic when the ambulance gets here.” I tried to sound calm but I could hear my own annoyance so I knew he could too.  The look on his face gave that away, so I knew my assumption was right. He tilted his head to the left and gave me one of those look as too say “are you serious” it was something I expected from a child or a puppy, not a grown man.

I could tell I baffled him, which was nothing new for me, that is why I am always the one to come to my own rescue. Besides no one could really understand the pain that is a dreamer. Don’t get me wrong I know everyone has pain but to know what will happen in the future and not be able to stop it, well, that just sucks on so many levels.

I had another worry on my hands, I knew that soon they would realize that I was gone, and would be on their way after me. I had to leave and stay low. The only chance I had to make my dream, my real dream, come true was to get out of here and try and stay safe. I had to try and get away, possibly to another country, maybe France. In this moment however, I am only concerned with getting out of here and this scene.

“Look,” I shouted. “Thanks for all your help but I got it from here, okay.” I turned to face him and before I knew it he was in my face or rather above my face. He had a good foot of height on me and at this second I took in every detail of his appearance.

He was scruffy but in an attractive way, I very rarely was attracted to guys with facial hair but this one intrigued me. I could smell the sweat on his skin and crinkled my nose at the stench. Realizing the closeness of our bodies I quickly stepped back only to be caught by his gaze. There was something familiar in those earthy brown eyes. Something too familiar; I couldn’t drop my eyes and as I continued to gaze at him I could feel myself being swept up by his soul. The connection that I felt was so strong from just a glance that I began getting goose bumps all over my arms.

“I don’t normally do this kind of thing,” he said as he stroked his hair to the side, out of his eyes. “But I saw you were in trouble. Normally I don’t give a rat’s ass about this kind of stuff, but this time… it was different. I know I just met you but I feel like you need help and not just with the accident.” He froze and I followed his gaze to my left arm. The sleeve of my shirt had been ripped, exposing the mark that was on my arm.

The mark was given to those who had no identity, ones whose lives had been stripped from them; I was one of those few. The mark wasn’t much, just a few black circles with some numbers in them to indicated our situations and “who we were” so to say. My numbers were 24∞. The 2 represented that I was an orphan, the 4 was a signification of when I was marked, which age four was. Then the infinity, that represented that I was theirs forever and always. None of this was by choice of course.

“It’s not what you think.” Panic in my voice now. If he recognized the mark that meant he was involved in some aspect of their operation. Most people have no idea what it is, it’s a private sector that uses and abuses, trust me. Most people would just see a weird tattoo on my arm. He didn’t.  I watched as he silently closed the gap between us and reached his hand up toward my arm. I could feel the heat from his fingers as he traced the tattoo.

There was a shocking sensation as his flesh burned my own. The weirdest thing was, I felt the connection he was referring too. Instantly I knew that he was like me, that he was running from the same people. I felt myself relax, but only a little, as I came to this realization.

I looked up at him but before any words could escape my mouth, I saw him reach across himself and go for his shirt. At that moment my mind was really trying to figure out what was taking place. I felt my heart begin to pound, but I was unsure of the reason. It was not like I have never seen a man with his shirt off before.

He pulled off his shirt to reveal a toned stomach, but that’s not what held my attention much to my dismay. The scars that ran all along his abdomen, all the way up his chest are what took me by surprise. Then I saw it, the mark.  His had no numbers, just the circles that connected to one another in such an odd pattern. I placed my finger over his mark and traced it just as he had done mine. There was something different about his, it was freezing cold, where as mine was warm. As if hearing my thoughts he answered.

“They used liquid nitrogen on me.”  I was speechless but as if needing no prompting he continued his thought. “I ran away about two years ago, I didn’t know they had anything like what I went through here in Seattle.”

“Where are you from?” I asked as I continued taking in every scar and etching on his body.

“I am from Chicago but I was taken to Montana after I was found,” his eyes drifted away from mine as if he was having a flashback. “What were you taken for?”

“I am a dreamer; I guess they thought that I would come in handy.” Dreamers can catch glimpses of the future, it’s never for certain if it will happen but some people will go out of their way to try and control the future and they pay a lot of money just to make sure they can. What they never do expect is people to lie; I happen to be a very good liar if I need to be. My mother, when she was still alive, always told me, I would need to be. She said it was a dreamer’s greatest defense.

“I’m a healer.” Healers can not only heal themselves rapidly but can also cure any disease or any broken bone. They are coveted and wanted by every scientist. Everyone wants to capture the healing power so they can be the first to cure cancer. These types of people are very rare because they are almost always killed because people are in pursuit of their own glory and self sanctification. The interesting thing about them is they keep scars on their bodies as a way of telling a story. Some say that it is what gives them an identity.

I finally could hear the sirens in the background and it jerked me out of my current state of mind. That was no ambulance; that was the camp. They were coming for me. I turned to the man I once called stranger and as if he read my mind he ran for his car. The only problem with that was that my leg was still hurting. All I did was stare at him and slowly placed my hands on my hips. There was no way I could walk with my leg in its condition.

“Oh right,” he said as he ran back to my side. Just like that my leg was fine; all it took was just a touch and it was gone almost instantly. I expected there to be some pain but there was nothing, not even a tingling sensation to prove that there had once been a wound. I gave him a nod of gratitude as I feel in stride with him.

We ran to the car and climb in. I could see now that there was another destiny involved after all.  If we were ever going to escape and survive we now knew we needed each other because once you’re marked, you’re marked for life. There was no telling where we would go or what we would do, but it was nice to finally have someone understand. As we pulled away from the wreckage I came to one realization, one I thought I would never come to, maybe just maybe there was hope. He was no knight in shining armor; he was way more reliable.

The End