Broken - Afflictions of the Evolved is the second installment of The Evolved Trilogy. While I tried to make this book stand on its own, I do suggest you read the first book Altered - Revelations of the Evolved. It is currently available on amazon.com
Here is the unedited first chapter of Broken - Afflictions of the Evolved. It has been unedited and is subject to change. Please ignore the formatting. I hope you enjoy it!!!
Chapter One – Las Vegas
We made sure to go the speed limit as we drove into the city limits of Las Vegas. It was night time and even with our built in radar, we didn’t have built in night vision, so a police car could be hiding anywhere.
If a cop did pull us over, it wouldn’t be easy to explain why two teenagers were travelling together in a black Mustang they didn’t own. The police officer might have too many questions; the answers would not be forthcoming.
I could never explain to a rational person how I, Lacey Bennett, was to stop three events from happening in order to save my boyfriend Taylor’s future from nuclear devastation.
It wasn’t until Taylor helped me develop my own psychic ability of telekinesis in order to break out of a rehabilitation center – kiddie jail in my mind – known as Clear Waters, that I learned of the evolved.
My jaw was in perma drop down position as Taylor relayed the story of how he came to my time, after we had taken refuge in a quaint cabin after the escape. He came from the year 2064 where he lived in underground titanium encased bunkers after nuclear war destroyed living conditions on the surface of the Earth around 2040.
Scientists had developed technology to transport a human’s “essence” or soul through fluctuations of earth’s time portals that contained a microchip that super speeded DNA rejuvenation construed Taylor.
“To put it in laymen’s terms, the microchip acts as an egg which accelerates into a human body for the essence to inhabit – almost like an instant clone,” Taylor had explained in his matter-of-fact attitude.
He continued on to illustrate that most people from the future known as the evolved have second nature varying degrees of basic skills such telepathy, shielding, telekinesis and mind reading. During one of his often long winded explanations he said, “Then we specialize in one particular field such as controlling, seeing the future or healing. The elite evolved develop super strength, speed or transforming capabilities. It is very rare when someone has more than one specialty – although it does happen.”
Apparently I was one of those rare and gifted souls from the present. I always knew that I was different but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I could move things with my mind, communicate without speaking or peak inside other people’s minds and read their thoughts. But I could. I was also able to teleport both Taylor and I to the scene of a train collision, which I prevented, thank you very much. Don’t ask me how I was able to do such an amazing thing, but somehow, my entire being kicked into overdrive and gave me the power I desperately needed to accomplish the first mission.
You would think that the entire Universe would want to save the future from ruination but sadly that was not the case. Taylor’s father who had gone rogue years earlier, was hell bent in preventing us. He was also armed with a group of dark spirits. The only difference between the evolved and the dark spirits was that the scientist who created the time machine for the bad guys, lacked the technology to perfect the acceleration process. Therefore, unlike Taylor and his friends whose core temperature runs hotter than ours (and thus increases their metabolism – so it seems they are always eating!), the dark spirits are completely bald and their lower core temperature makes their bodies disintegrate faster. Since they have amazing psychic abilities as well, this is one of the few things we have going for us in our fight against them. Once their bodies start to disintegrate, they must initiate their retrieval sequence via ESP to the microchip and go back to the future. By the time they travel back to the past again, the evolved have changed locations.
The last few months had been absolutely crazy: escape from Clear Waters; rescue mission for Sable (Taylor’s sister Tawny’s boyfriend); daring bank robbery; and almost dying at the hands of Taylor’s father Mr. Dalton. I deserved a break from the mission of “saving the future.” No, I needed a retreat from it all or I would literally go crazier than my mother. God rest her soul.
After dropping Taylor’s best friend Zed at the bus station, we decided last minute to go to Las Vegas to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This was my first time in sin city. The bright lights were truly magnificent as we drove out of the darkness of the highway and into the city. I was anxious to get out of the car as we had been driving for days. We stopped along the way only to sleep and eat. Plus, after recent events we didn’t think it was safe to stay in one spot for too long. Taylor assured me we would be safe in Vegas for a few days. Nobody would ever think to look for us here.
After learning that Mr. Dalton had manipulated Taylor’s visions of the train wreck, I had doubted his feelings for me. But our passionate make out session against the Mustang prior to getting on the road assured me that Taylor cared just as deeply for me as I did for him. He didn’t just show me he loved me; he said the words!
My cheeks flushed as I replayed the scene in my mind. His messy blond hair tickled my face as he kissed my neck. His brilliant green eyes peered into mine. My breath hitched and my knees became weak. The only thing that held me up were his muscular arms. I wanted him to have his way with me but we both contained ourselves. There would be plenty of time for that. Or at least I prayed there would be.
“Lacey, this is going to be awesome,” exclaimed Taylor as he pulled up to the front doors of a fancy hotel, snapping me out of my memory.
Taylor popped the trunk of the Mustang and we both exited. A young valet wearing a short sleeved dress shirt and a bow tie immediately rushed to the partially opened driver’s side of the door and handed Taylor a small white ticket. He gingerly placed it in his pocket.
Taylor grabbed our two suitcases filled with clothing and toiletries we purchased en route to Vegas and placed them on a trolley located a couple of feet away by the front entrance of the hotel. I slammed the trunk shut and the valet drove away to park the car. I couldn’t shake the strange feeling that I wouldn’t be seeing that car again.
I sucked in a deep breath to gain my composure. I wasn’t going to let my paranoia ruin this for me. I walked behind Taylor as he pushed the trolley through the automatic sliding doors towards the receptionist counter located to the left of the lobby.
A pretty blond with her hair pulled into a pony tail and sporting a buttoned navy blue blazer with a white collared blouse underneath greeted us happily. I glanced at her golden name tag that read Jessica.
She immediately focused her gaze on Taylor and smiled widely; exposing her perfect white teeth. After realizing that she may be staring a tad too long into Taylor’s deep green eyes she turned her head slightly to glance in my direction. I could have sworn her smile turned into a smirk once she caught my eyes. I didn’t like her already.
“Maybe it’s his cousin or something…..she hardly looks his type,” Jessica thought to herself, not realizing that both Taylor and I have the ability to read minds. I looked at Taylor with an arched brow. He smiled slyly and shrugged his shoulders, Jessica none the wiser that we were privy to her thoughts.
Taylor handed Jessica a credit card. “Book us for three nights, please,” he said politely.
She entered some information into the computer, pushed a piece of paper on the counter for Taylor to sign and handed him two swipe keys. “You will be staying in Room 521. Let me know if you need anything and I will see personally that it’s delivered.”
Jessica kept her gaze on Taylor as she said the last statement and I could feel my cheeks starting to burn with jealousy – again. This time I took the high road and kept my comments to myself even though I wanted to let her know that I was definitely not Taylor’s cousin and totally his type.
After placing the swipe cards into his jeans pocket, Taylor pushed the trolley towards the elevator located along the right side of the lobby. I pressed the white button with the up arrow. Once the doors finally opened, an elderly couple followed us into the elevator.
Taylor pressed the number five button as well as the number seven even before the old man had time to reach out his arm or say it out loud. The man scratched his thin white hair wondering how Taylor knew what floor they were going to. His wife stared back and forth between Taylor and me.
“Hmmm…..must be some spoiled rich kids spending their parents’ money,” she thought.
If only this lady knew the truth about the experience we had just lived through; if things went according to plan, I would save her lineage from living underground. Not to mention that I could never see my father, step mother or step brother again as that would be the first place the bald headed misfits would look for us. It didn’t bother me not to see Judy again, but I did miss my dad and Josh. I let out a breath and bit my lower lip, my way of sulking for a moment.
My self pity was interrupted when the elevator came to a stop at the fifth floor and the doors opened.
“After you,” Taylor said as he grabbed the trolley with his left hand.
We walked along the blue carpeted hallway until arriving at room 521. Taylor placed the swipe key inside the slot and turned the handle to open the door.
I flicked on the light switch located beside the door. Cream colored curtains were tied back at each side with a matching cord of a large picture window located in the center of the far wall. A flat screened television hung on the left wall over an oak dresser. A small fridge sat beside a queen sized bed with a burgundy comforter along the right side.
“Well, what do you think?” asked Taylor carrying our suitcases. He placed them on the floor at the end of the bed.
“It’s great,” I replied as I walked towards the window to peer at the city lights and tall buildings. The view was fantastic.
Taylor walked to my side and pulled my body into his chest. He gently kissed my neck working his way to my lips. Butterflies danced around in my stomach. No guy has ever had this effect on me. Just his touch alone made the hairs on my body stand up. As I was getting really into it, he stopped. I did my best to hide my irritation.
“Why don’t you have a nice hot bath while I return the cart?” he said with both hands on my shoulder.
Though I was disappointed that he didn’t push me onto the bed and rip my clothes off to have his way with me, I smiled and nodded in agreement. I could use a bath to freshen up. Besides, we had plenty of time to become intimate.
The bathroom had light brown walls just like the main room but white squared tiles instead of beige carpet. A Jacuzzi tub sat invitingly in the far corner. I could smell the aroma of vanilla scented candles that were strategically placed around the ledge of the tub. I turned on the water to a desirable temperature and pushed down on the drain plug. I dumped a few capfuls of bubble bath and chuckled as small bubbles rose up and hit my cheeks before bursting.
While the water filled the tub I went to my suitcase and pulled out some jeans and a black t-shirt. I tried to wipe out some of the wrinkles but it was futile. Furrowing my brows at my limited supply of clothes, I placed them neatly on the bed and went back into the washroom. I would just have to go clothes shopping tomorrow while we toured the city.
I stared at myself in the mirror and admired my heart necklace that hung around my neck. The gold certainly made my blue eyes pop. I wondered if Taylor thought of that when he picked it out. I certainly wasn’t expecting such a beautiful Christmas gift.
I unclasped it from the back and laid it gently on the sink counter. I wasn’t as gentle with my clothes. I just let them drop to the floor in a messy pile. I crawled into the tub and immersed my entire body under water. The hot water felt great on my tense muscles. I hummed a little tune and closed my eyes. I must have dozed off because the water became lukewarm.
With one towel wrapped around my body and a smaller one wrapped around my head, I walked to the bed to grab my clothes.
My pants and t-shirt had been replaced by a beautiful red cocktail dress that bunched in the middle and had a see through design made of lace material for the arms, a pair of black suede heeled shoes and a matching black purse with a long thin strap. A folded note was tucked inside one shoe.
It read “You are cordially invited to spend a wonderful pre New Year’s Eve with your partner in crime. He’ll be the handsome one in the black tux awaiting your arrival in the Ciel Rouge Restaurant J.” I giggled out loud. That boy was not only full of himself but also full of surprises. I hadn’t even heard him come into the room.
After getting all dolled up in my new dress and heels, checking my hair and make-up for the tenth time and rubbing my necklace with my fingers for luck, I grabbed my purse and got into the elevator to go to the main floor. I walked through the lobby and glanced towards the reception area. I thought Jessica’s jaw was going to drop off her face as I strutted towards the Ciel Rouge. I acted as if she wasn’t there. I didn’t even have to peak inside her mind to know what she was thinking. Her stunned reaction was all I needed for a little boost in my confidence.
It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust from the bright lights in the lobby to the dimly lit restaurant. Then I spotted Taylor in his black tux standing beside a chair at a small table in the corner. He was right, he did look very handsome. Maybe I could convince him to forget our late supper and come back to our room.
My cheeks blushed uncontrollably as I walked towards him even though I was careful to block my thoughts with a red X, not just from Taylor but from anybody else who might have mind reading abilities. I was far from conceded to believe I was the only one with these gifts.
Taylor flipped over his left hand and gestured me into the chair beside him. He pushed the chair behind me as I sat down. He briskly walked to the other side of the table and sat down across from me, a huge smile on his face.
“Wow, you look smokin,” he complimented. His eyes discretely lowered from my face to my chest. His smile widened.
“You don’t look so bad yourself,” I replied. I stared at his luscious lips and envisioned them kissing my breasts. I chomped down on my lip to snap myself out of it.
Taylor sipped his glass of water from a wine glass. “I took the liberty of ordering for us.” Of course he did. He had an infatuation with food.
As soon as he uttered the last word a waiter appeared with a tray of food; nachos, potato skins, mozzarella sticks and chicken alfredo. It was a good thing Taylor always had a huge appetite because I could never eat all of that.
“Eat up, we’ll burn it off later,” said Taylor already digging into the food.
I arched my eyebrows at him intrigued. He didn’t have to read my thoughts to know how much I wanted him. My body was betraying me by secreting pheromones into the atmosphere.
“Get your mind out of the gutter. I meant we would burn it off dancing and checking out the casinos.”
My cheeks flushed again though I knew I shouldn’t be embarrassed by the implication that I was only interested in sex. I loved him and I wanted to be with him – with all of him. I behaved myself for the duration of our meal.
When we finished, Taylor left a wad of money on the table and we left the restaurant. It was a bit chilly outside and the lace material didn’t retain any body heat. Like a gentleman, Taylor removed his jacket and wrapped it around my shoulders. We continued through the crowds on the sidewalk and into our first casino.
Taylor bought a stack of casino chips and split them with me. We played a few games of black jack, roulette and poker. After visiting a few other casinos and winning small increments at each in order to avoid suspicion, we were done gambling for the evening. It was probably just as well since I had over five thousand dollars in cash on me.
“That’s insane,” I said as I placed some more money into my purse. I placed the strap over my right shoulder and across my chest so the purse clung to my left side hoping to deter a thief from passing by and yanking it from me.
“What can I say?” bragged Taylor, “I’m very talented.”
“You mean a cheater, don’t you?” I teased as we continued down the sidewalk. I held onto his arm.
“Okay, so maybe we have a certain edge over the casinos.” He smiled and winked at me.
Loud music echoed as we rounded a corner. A long line up extended past the block. Taylor grabbed my hand and dragged me to the front of the line where a huge bouncer wearing a tight black shirt stood with his arms crossed. “The line up is that way,” the bouncer stated as he point towards the end of the line.
“This is my girl’s first time in Vegas and I want to show her a good time,” pleaded Taylor.
“No cutting in line,” the bouncer replied in a deep and serious voice.
Taylor flashed a hundred dollar bill in his right hand at the bouncer. “Sometimes you can make an exception to the rule right?”
The bouncer furrowed his brows at Taylor and made a grunting noise in anger. This was not going according to Taylor’s plan. I stared at the bouncer. I concentrated on my thoughts, willing my thoughts to be his. “You want to take the money. You want to let these two teenagers through.”
The man’s demeanor changed and he discretely grabbed the money and unclipped the red velvet rope barrier to let us in, ignoring the sighs and moans from the crowd still waiting to get in.
Once inside, Taylor looked at me curiously.
I lifted my hands in the air. “Don’t ask me how I did that because I don’t even know?” I recalled Tawny telling me that among many things, I was also a controller. It felt wrong to me to manipulate people into doing my bidding so I never tested it out before. But what I just did seemed harmless enough to me. We just wanted to have a good time. I wasn’t even sure if it was my thoughts that made him change his mind. Maybe he just felt sorry for us.
Taylor just laughed as he removed his coat from my shoulder, placed it on the back of a chair and dragged me onto the dance floor. The dance music blared as we moved our bodies. I had never been a very talented dancer but I let loose and allowed my body to shift and sway, getting lost in the rhythm, my purse bouncing around with my body.
It was early in the morning when the crowd started to clear out. Exhausted from the long evening we decided to call it a night and head back to our hotel for some well deserved sleep. After grabbing his jacket from the chair, Taylor once again placed it around my shoulders. He was always so thoughtful and so patient. Well, maybe not always, but mostly. I could be very stubborn at times.
In no time, we were back at the hotel. After swiping the key into the slot of the door and pushing it opened, I took one step and paused. My spidey senses tingled.
“What is it?” asked Taylor.
I turned my head towards him. “I’m positive I left the lights on and the curtains opened.”
I didn’t have time to react. A strong arm grabbed me and yanked me into the dark room almost pulling my arm out of its socket. I was pulled with such force my body bounced off the bed and onto the floor. The wind was knocked out of me and I was disoriented in the dark.
“Lacey,” screamed Taylor.
The lights suddenly turned on and from the floor I saw Taylor run towards a bald man in a trench coat. As Taylor got closer, the dark entity pointed his extended arms into the air forcing Taylor to spring backwards and land against the television. Pieces crashed to the floor along with Taylor. The dark entity continued towards him.
I gathered myself from the floor and jumped onto the man’s back, placing him in a choke hold. He grabbed at my arms and struggled backwards. I tightened my grip but was forced to loosen it when I felt my hair being pulled from behind. My body twisted and I dropped to the floor on my knees.
The second man dragged me across the carpet as I screamed in pain. The screaming stopped when an invisible force squeezed my throat tightly. On the brink of unconsciousness I heard the smash of broken glass. With my face resting on the carpet, I saw a black blur run out of the room through the doorway out of the corner of my eye.
Immediately I jumped up ignoring the carpet burn that gnawed at my knees. I ran towards the window where Taylor was standing, blood dripping from his forehead. I handed him a Kleenex from the box on the dresser. We both looked down and saw a body motionless on the pavement below. A crowd had gathered and onlookers pointed up at us. Sirens rang out in the distance.
I grabbed my suitcase but was stopped by Taylor who shoved the Kleenex into his pocket. “There’s no time for that,” he yelled. “The cops are already on their way.”
We ran out of the room and into the stairwell thinking the security guards and police would take the elevator. I took off my high heeled shoes so I could move faster. By the time we reached the bottom I thought I was going to throw up. I regained my composure, placed my shoes back on my sore feet and held Taylor’s hand as we opened the door to the lobby. Jessica spotted us and picked up the phone. Spiteful bitch.
Once outside Taylor and I quickened our pace and walked around the corner to where our Mustang was parked. We stopped abruptly when we saw a uniformed police officer peering through the windows of the car with a flashlight. A second officer was talking with the valet who handed him a set of keys.
“Just calm down,” whispered Taylor.
“How the hell do you expect me to do that?” I asked with a frenzied voice.
Taylor pushed my shoulders against the building and stared into my eyes, “Lacey, everything will be okay. We’re going to get another ride and I am going to take you somewhere safe,” he said in a calm and soothing voice.
I felt my heart return to its normal rhythm and nodded my head in agreement. If saving the future didn’t work out for him, he could always become a hypnotist.
The streets filled with the sound of sirens. Taylor and I walked away from the chaos through alleys and side streets until a red jeep caught Taylor’s attention.
“This is exactly what we need,” exclaimed Taylor.
He forced the locks with his mind and we both jumped inside. I concentrated hard on the engine and within seconds the jeep started.
“Where are we going?” I asked as we drove towards the highway.
“A place where we will not be found,” replied Taylor. “A place called Serenity.”