Safe Without Driyns
- Genre: Romance
- Age: 18+
- Status: Completed
- Language: English
- Author: Zephyr
“And here we are at the scene of the latest driyn attack in Bay Fair. This is the fourth driyn attack in two days, and experts believe these paranormal creatures are growing bolder by the day. Without adequate measures to stop them, there are ingrained fears amongst the populace that they could overrun Bay Fair in a matter of months. This is Eileen Brown reporting for Bay Fair afternoon news…”
Mitchell Edwards snapped the television shut. She closed her eyes but couldn’t stop envisioning the latest attack she just saw on TV. The camera angles showed the signature brutality that had come to characterize them. Driyn attacks were becoming more rampant by the day, and they were starting to become the obsession of the government. Mitchell couldn’t blame them; after all, the first job of any true government was to safeguard the lives and properties of its citizenry. According to the social contract theory of John Locke, if it couldn’t do that, then the government was, in simple terms, forever messed up and ought to be ousted. Yet this government was fast becoming her enemy. Even with the endless injections, she could oftentimes feel the bloodlust clogging her throat. It was even worse now that she worked here in this office amongst humans all day. Luckily, it was almost time for the next injection.
Oh, how she hated them. It was ironic to hate something that was for your own protection. Something that shielded you from intense prejudice and discrimination. The job of the injections was to keep her genes well hidden, and all her life, they worked flawlessly to maintain that deceptive facade. To the average human, she was a tall, beautiful, dark-haired, and brown-eyed young lawyer. The injection hid the fact that she was, in reality, a skilled lethal killer who had the genetic input to annihilate the human race. And that was what the humans feared the most. Their annihilation, extermination, or obliteration. For every human, their elimination was imminent anyway. It amazed her that even with this cold knowledge, the lengths humans went to for the sake of partial preservation were astonishing.
There was a knock on her office door, and she was immediately jostled out of her thoughts back to the present. Her boss and supervising barrister, George Woodstock, poked his head indoors.
“May I come in?”
“Mr. Woodstock,” Mitchell said self-consciously. With him, her voice took on breathless husky femininity.
“Please come in,” she invited, feeling the instinctive urge to smooth something like her black hair or her pencil skirt.
“You seem relaxed. That’s great seeing how knotted up and stressed you have been in the last few weeks as regards the just concluded case.”
Mitchell chuckled. “Well, it was one hell of a case.”
“Yeah,” George agreed, seamlessly running his hands through his blonde hair. “But you handled yourself well. You made the prosecution believe that they were running the show. Then toward the end, when we had all lost hope, you played your trump card and executed a brilliant defense. It was stunning, to say the least. And flawlessly accomplished.”
“Thank you,” she replied modestly. “Couldn’t have achieved this without the team, in all honesty.”
“Nah, Mitchell, don’t be such a modest sweetheart. You did this all on your own. I hope you know that the second you graduate from law school, you will have an official position and a nice office space waiting for you at Blue County Law Firm. I think I speak for all the bosses when I say we value you tremendously. You have immense promise, and I can’t wait to see the heights you will reach in your law career.”
Until everyone discovers I’m a driyn.
“Thank you, Mr. Woodstock. Those are very kind and flattering words, really,” Mitchell said.
“Oh, I don’t say it to flatter you,” he grinned. “I say it because it is the truth, sweetheart.”
There it was. The endearment again. It made her feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. She inwardly wondered if he went around the firm calling all the girls sweethearts. Or maybe he had different endearments for each girl: “darling,” “baby,” “honey.”
“Thanks,” she smiled.
George stood there smiling bashfully, too, unsure of what to say. His brilliant blue eyes looked extra bright in the fading light of the afternoon sun.
“Hey there, Mitchell,” Sidney, the receptionist, greeted casually. Then she turned to George. “The board wants to have a meeting. Everyone is waiting for you in the conference room.”
“Oh! Damn! Must have skipped my mind,” George said, glancing quickly at the watch on his cuffed wrist.
“Mmm, wonder why,” Sidney laughed knowingly, darting a purposeful glance at Mitchell before dashing off to the rest of her duties for the day.
“Well, I’ve gotta go, Mitchie. Talk to you soon,” George said, waving and hurrying out.
“Bye,” she said to his retreating back, suppressing the stab of pain she felt at his departure.
Don’t act like an idiot schoolgirl. You’re a promising young woman about to kickstart a bright law career. You don’t have a chance with him.
Yeah, she didn’t. George Woodstock, with his outrageously handsome looks, fat bank account, familial political affiliation, socialite status, and, to top it all off, her boss was way out of her league.
She switched on the television and saw Sara Woodstock standing tall and formidable on a podium in a downtown rally. Sara Woodstock was one of the most influential and popular senators in the Bay Fair area. And she was square. Square jaw, arms, legs, and face with a disguised prettiness. To Mitchell, with her cropped hair and overwhelming masculine energy, she would have been better off being born a man. Maybe it was why she had attained such prominence in a male-dominated field like politics. There was a domineering quality about her that was fascinating to observe. Mitchell could see it in the way she thrust out a fist, lustily yelling her convictions on the ‘Safe Without Driyns’ campaign to her followers. Those words written in a hulking poster hunkered in the background of her speech stage.
“The harder we fight, the harder they will push back! This is a frantic fight for our survival, and only the strongest will survive! Are you going to sit back and let these vermin called driyns overtake our lives? Our businesses, schools, and careers?”
“No!” the crowd chanted back lustily.
“Then what do we do?” Sara bellowed.
“We fight back!”
“Because we are safe without driyns!!!”
The crowd cheered and hooted in excitement. A group of young, agile men ran forward with a coffin on their shoulders. On it was a long piece of cloth, and written boldly in red was the word DRIYNS. The crowd paved the way for them, revealing a large dug-out hole. The men danced with the coffin before emptying it into the ground and pouring sand on it. The cheers increased in intensity.
A small chill ran down Mitchell’s spine because the symbolism was unmistakable.
Sara Woodstock stared determinedly at the camera and spoke. “One by one, we will get each and every one of them and bury them alive!”
Mitchell snapped the television shut for the second time that afternoon.
On her way out of the office by 5 p.m., it was nothing but driyn talk. Mitchell tried to tune out snatches of the dialogues, but it was impossible.
“I heard they are undergoing unspeakable torture from the government…”
“Did you see when…”
“Have you heard of…”
“Oh, I just heard about that attack…”
“Where were you when the driyns did…”
“Lord save us all…”
She was relieved to finally leave and catch a cab home.
The home was a lovely duplex in one of the nicest suburbs in the town, built by her father, Anthony Edwards. A dedicated and brilliant scientist now living in retirement. The house was also home to her geeky twin brother Steve, her tech-savvy younger sister Stephanie, and her soccer-loving youngest brother Michael. They were just one of the thousand driyn families residing in Bay Fair, who seemed to be waiting for death and catastrophe. As Mitchell paid the taxi and walked down the street to her house, she saw a figure move away from her father’s study upstairs. She had barely knocked when Anthony opened the door. One look at him, and Mitchell knew he was worried sick.
“You have been watching the news all day, haven’t you, Dad?”
Anthony Edwards tilted his head sideways, and the living room lights reflected on his shock of white hair.
“What is a retired old man to do? I was worried sick about you. You weren’t discovered today, right?”
“Excellent. Come upstairs. Your injection is ready. It’s been three months since the last one already.”
“I’m not due until next month, Dad.”
“Our dire circumstances cannot afford you the luxury of choice, Mitchell. Things are getting more desperate by the hour.”
Mitchell followed him upstairs to the study and watched him open the safe to reveal neatly packaged injections and silver syringes.
“We’re running low on supplies as it is,” he observed. After getting out a single injection and syringe, he closed the safe and went to the windows. Inspecting the silence of the street, he closed the shutters first and then the curtains.
Mitchell sat down and opened up the sleeves of her corporate blouse. Her father adjusted his glasses and critically inspected her veins. Instead of the human greenish or purplish color, her veins had started to subtly bear a resemblance to tree roots that simply wanted to leap out of her skin. Her nails had started to develop the undertone of claws.
“The last one is obviously receding,” her father said unnecessarily. He unwrapped the injection, and Mitchell watched as the syringe sucked the golden liquid before her father carefully seeped it into her skin and pressed down on the plunger. She had become so accustomed to the temporary pain that it didn’t hurt anymore. They both watched as her nails became feminine and beautiful once again, and her angry veins retreated back into supple, fresh skin. The deception was back in place. It would be a long night of hallucinations, dreams, and vomiting as the chemicals in the golden fluid worked their way into her system. The discomfort usually lasted for hours.
But by morning, she would be fine again.