The Wires Within

I was eleven when I discovered I was invaded. It was an accident, the result of a fall from a tree and an unlucky branch. Staring at the deep cut caused my vision to narrow, the welling of blood and torn muscle filled my sight. My knees lost strength as the world spun around me.

All of that, all of those very normal reactions to a deep wound, froze as I watched the wires twist and turn in my arm. Different colors, various widths, they stiffly moved, catching at my torn muscle pulling the cut shut. Hair-thin wires slithered out of the sticky depths, weaving across ripped skin as they closed the wound.

The streams of blood covering my arm were drawn back inside. In less than a minute the only signs of the wound was a narrow, jagged scratch-mark surrounded by reddened skin. I could barely discern a lattice of fine wires just under the skin holding everything together.

I glanced at the broken branch jutting from the tree like a lance. The end was red, with globs from my arm stuck to it.

A tiny wire wiggled a moment then fell to the ground.

“Hey, ‘Kenzie! Hey!” My brother’s voice.

I looked up. Carl was perched on a branch above me. When I fell, he was halfway up the tree. He must have climbed down. His eyes were wide. He was staring at my arm.

“You okay?”

I pulled in a breath. Ragged at first but growing stronger, smoother, in moments.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Scraped my arm.”

“Scraped? It looked,” he stuttered a little. “I mean. There was blood.”

I looked at my arm again. Then saw the ground. The wires weren’t able to get the blood which had fallen.

“Must have been a trick of the light,” I said. I tried to sound reasonable. Calming.

“I saw blood,” he insisted. “We need to go back and tell Mom.”

No. Mom couldn’t know. No one could know. I’d heard her talking on the phone with Defense during the last year. The secret meetings with her colleagues in places like this. Heard the fear and the anger in their decisions and recommendations. I knew what the wires meant.

“Okay. Hop down. I’ll catch you.”

“But your arm!”

“It’s okay!” I waved the arm. Bent it and wiggled fingers. There was some pain, but not much. “See?”

“Um. You’re sure?”

“Just get down here, you brat.” I laughed. I must have sounded like myself because he grinned and jumped.

As he fell I guided his legs to the side. The branch speared through his head.

I stumbled backwards, kicked deeply at the loose loam, and fell. Twisted my arm a few times to make sure dirt covered any sign of the wound.

Carl’s legs kicked a few times then he was still. Blood poured from the holes in his head, spatters of it hitting the ground which had soaked up my own blood from minutes before.

No wires came out of Carl’s wounds to save him. He was lucky. He was still human.

“Sorry, Carl.” I whispered. “No one can know.”

I screamed until Mom’s Secret Service detail arrived.