“Goodnight, Eury. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Dr. Argyris said into a camera. She spoke to Eury from a large screen display mounted on a wall in the girl’s secure room. “I love you.”
“‘Night, mom. Love you too,” Eury said. She stared at the screen through watery eyes. She only saw her mother’s face for a few seconds every night through the TV, just enough to say goodnight. Even though the use of technology helped minimize Eury’s ability, that tiny amount of time added up over the years. Eury knew her mother was only 35 years old, but she appeared to be much, much older. She carried the wrinkles of a 90 year old woman on her face, and what remained of her hair looked like a stringy nest of silver and white. The TV shut off, then Eury lay down in her large bed, hugged her pillow tight, and cried.
Every day her mother looked older, but not once did she complain or lash out at the young girl. Eury knew her mom already arranged plans to insure Eury would be looked after once she died. Probably within the next couple of months. The rest of the staff in the lab were nice enough, but everyone was too afraid to say goodnight. Eury was prohibited from watching movies because even pre-recorded images somehow triggered her ability. She tried to binge watch a show once, but only made it to the second episode before her mother made her stop. The entire cast of the show was hospitalized that day. Eury knew that once her mother died, the staff would stick to pre-recorded audio only, and leave her as a very well cared for prisoner.
“Hello, Eury,” a female voice said. Eury rolled over from facing the wall to look at the center of the room. The owner of the voice was a woman wearing a long black dress with slits cut on both sides that carried up to her hips. She wore white stockings, and black high heels. Eury scooted herself back into a corner on her bed where two walls met, while keeping her eyes on the shiny heels. “It’s okay, you can look up.” The voice said again. Eury shook her head anxiously, then pulled her knees up to her chest while staring at the ground. “Trust me.” The voice said again. Eury looked up, and gasped.
A golden mask, like a stylized sun, covered most of the woman’s face, leaving only her mouth visible. Pointed sun rays surrounded the rest of the mask. Behind them Eury also noticed a pair of bone-white, curling ram horns on the woman’s head. Eury kept quiet, but stared at the golden mask.
“See? I know all about you Eury, and I want to help you,” the woman said. Now that she had Eury’s attention she took a step toward the young girl’s bed.
“Stop!” Eury blurted out. “What do you want?” Eury’s hand moved to the bed and slipped under her pillow to find the emergency phone her mother left her. It was not a smart phone, just a simple one button kid’s phone that allowed her to call one person. It looked a lot like the one the masked woman waggled in her hand.
“You won’t need this, I’m not here to hurt you. Like I said, I want to help you.” The woman tossed the device to the side. Instead of landing on the floor it fell into small, impossibly dark hole. After it went through the hole disappeared.
“How?” Eury asked.
“By teaching you how to control your power. Don’t you want to watch movies, or go out and meet people? Watch people play and have fun. Don’t you want to go to school?” The woman said, her visible mouth turned up into a soft smile. School. That was what Eury wanted more than anything. Her mother let her go through old yearbooks she picked up at garage sales, after making sure everyone in the book was already dead. The kids looked so happy, and there were so many people! Eury moved an inch on the bed, toward the woman.
“How?” Eury asked again. An entirely different question this time. The woman’s smile grew broader.
“How what, dear?” The woman stepped closer.
“How…” Eury thought for a second, then changed her phrasing. “I want to go to school,” Eury said. The top points of the woman’s golden mask came forward a tiny bit as the woman nodded.
“My name is Ballisea.” Ballisea made a gesture with her hand and a larger black hole appeared in the air next to her. It was as big as the tall woman, from shiny black heel to bone-white horn. “Come with me and I promise you’ll be in school in a few months.” Eury bolted off the bed, but stopped when she saw the TV monitor behind Ballisea.
“Is dying,” Ballisea said, keeping her tone flat. “You have a lot to learn about your powers, but I’ll tell you this much. The only reason she’s at death’s door is because she sees you every night. You’re very powerful, and right now your power is always on. Your mother is constantly being affected by it. Now that she won’t be seeing you every night, she can get better.” Eury didn’t need anymore reasons. She’d get to go to school and save her mother’s life. She jumped into the black portal without another word.