(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Hope was written by Enigmaticma.)
Hope kept her eyes shut, refusing to answer their questions as they refused to let contact the others. A raising headache broke into her brain as she looked at the reflecting mirror in front of her. Her look was a mess, as she ran for few hours all around the city. The gray walls seemed closer with time and she sighed out her suffocation. It was almost unbearable until someone opened the door.
Kelly stepped into the room and took in her surroundings. An interrogation room. How fitting. She then smiled at Hope. “I’ve got to say, this is the first time I’ve ever interviewed someone in an interrogation…though some people may beg to differ that my interviews are interrogations.” She shrugged as she slid into the seat across the table from Hope. “I understand you’re under investigation right now, and they’re questioning everyone on your team, but…I’m not them. I’m not here to interrogate you, so you can relax. But…I am here to ask you questions if you don’t mind. I know you’re an investigator, but I really have no clue what you’re investigating or who you’re working with.” She locked eyes with Hope. “Who are you working for then? The police? And what kind of investigation do you do?”
“I work with a team to solve missing cases and prefect crimes if you can call it so.” Hope spoke in a tense manner, she hated the room.
Kelly nodded. “The perfect crimes, eh? I didn’t think there was such a thing.” She relaxed back in her chair. “How did you get involved in that?”
“I investigated about three missing cases in different part of Tangier, Morocco. Perfect crimes are the crimes that are still unsolved, or which make us unable to point a finger on one precise person. It’s a term we call to the cold cases too.” Hope spoke in a calculated manner, trying to ease the tension. Her hands were cold as she tried to fix her messy hair.
“But that doesn’t tell me how you ended up here…working to solve cold cases,” Kelly pointed out. “Why did you decide to become an investigator?” She tilted her head to a side. She could tell Hope was incredibly tense and likely expecting an attack from any angle, but Kelly wasn’t here to probe her about the most recent case or disappearance, and she was determined to remained relaxed in hopes that Hope would realize she wasn’t a threat.
Hope looked at the woman in front of her, realising she was so absentminded to truly answer that. “My foster mother was one of the missing cases I tried to solve. ” A knot in her throat made her words weight tons. “I thought I’ll find her if I was in the police forces so I went for it. It wasn’t a choice for me.” Her lips went into a thin line. “I had to do it.” She sighed deeply, massaging her eyebrow where a flashing pain went through. “As you mentioned, I’m under investigation for the disappearance of a team mate of mine, so I’m pretty worried right now.”
“And why exactly are you worried?” Kelly furrowed her brows.
Hope tensed suddenly. “I’m worried that maybe Evan, the missing man, was a warning to an attack I can not prevent as long as I’m here.” Hope looked up to the window. “I sensed a danger as I left the crime scene, where we were investigating, and I’m sure it is not Evan they were looking for.”
“Okay, wait a second…” Kelly leaned forward, resting her forearms on the table to face Hope once more. “What does this have to do with you? I mean, why would it matter if you’re investigating at all? Also, I heard have you have…powers of some kind. Do those have to do with any of this?”
Hope’s eyes glittered, as if she was about to cry, swallowing a numbness in her throat. “Honestly, I don’t know why it turned out like this. I wanted to be a normal investigator but someone or a group of unknown people targeted me since I started working with this team. I don’t know if it have something to do with me being an investigator or just because I’m me, but I know it kills people around me.” She looked back to the woman. “They are enjoying torturing me like this.”
Kelly’s face softened. She understood better now, so she nodded. “Have you ever seen them? And are you sure it has something to do with you joining the team? If someone is targeting you specifically, why would they only target you once you’re in this specific team? Why not before then?”
Hope sighed. “Because we are investigating about them. it’s their crimes that gathered us in the elite headquarter. Why don’t they just end it with me? I think it is because they think I’m not human.” Hope looked at the window before leaning to whisper. “One of them actually come to me from time to time and we talk. He was here today, as I inspected the corpse of Madame Grifden—you know the woman found dead today?” Hope frowned suddenly. “He said he was assigned to keep an eye on me permanently.”
One actually approached her. Well, that’s an interesting development. However, Kelly’s mind returned to something Hope had said. “Why wouldn’t they think you’re human though?” Kelly frowned as she sat back. “Because you have powers of some kind?”
Hope tensed so terribly. “Do you want a honest answer? My powers and my humanity is a mystery for me. Was I human or not? I can’t answer you that, but I’m more into “unhuman” theory.” She sighed. “My mother used to say that I’m not human too.” She looked away, and sighed again. “This is why I am trying to find her. If I wasn’t human, she would know that.”
Kelly tilted her head to a side, curious. “But you seem perfectly human to me. What makes you so different?”
Hope turned her hand to the woman, and suddenly her skin turned into purplish deep blue while her nails grew a little and got the same skin color. “Does this answer your question?” Her hand turned normal by the time she rested it in her arm, as she crossed them. “It is the only thing I can do, to be honest. I’ve never transformed fully. It is a painful process so I don’t try to do it.”
Kelly watched the slight transformation with fascination. “Wow, that’s kinda cool!” She smiled at Hope. “When was the first time you discovered you could do that?”
Hope shifted in her seat. “When mother disappeared, that exact day, I had a fight with her, I was so mad, so anger, a sudden change went through my both hands, which made me crawl in pain.” Hope’s eyes glittered again. “Mom banded them for me, because I couldn’t turn them back to normal, and she nursed me when suddenly she disappeared from the kitchen. Just like that.”
“Was she surprised at all when she saw the transformation though? It doesn’t sound like she was at all.” Kelly mused over this as she set her chin in the palm of her hand, thinking.
Hope paused, realization falling upon her features. “I don’t think so. She was usually calm but to be honest, she just told me it will be alright.” Hope frowned again, “I guess it wasn’t the first time. I may not remember it.”
“And what of your father? You haven’t mentioned much of him.”
“I never met him. He died when I was a little, leaving me and Mom behind.” Hope answered in a beat. “Mom didn’t talk about him much either.” frowning still, she tilted her head. “It seems odd for me too.”
“What if he is whatever you are?” Kelly motioned to her. “And what if that’s why your mother wasn’t surprised?” Then she shrugged. “Of course, I could be wrong. Mysterious, nonetheless. So,you’ve been searching for your mother ever since, and now you’re a part of this team, and a team mate has gone missing. You think you’re responsible for that. And you said one of them approached you. Did you get the chance to ask him any questions?”
Hope nodded. “I asked them why they were after me, but they refused to answer. They said it was fun.” Hope looked absent for a moment. “The more I think of it, the more I think they were trying to distract me from things. Or why would one of them waste time follow me around.” Hope looked at her with a smile. “Unless he find me pretty.”
Kelly chuckled. “Could be, or maybe they’re the same as you, but you’ve managed to live in the real world unlike them, and they’re curious about you. I know I’m curious about them. They could be trying to distract you, as you said, though, but…” She thought about it for a while then shook her head. “I don’t know. It all sounds like it’s ties together. Not sure how it works though.” Then she paused and shifted topics. “So, tell me about you and Ian. I hear you two have a…connection…”
Hope’s cheeks went deep red. “Ian and I are bonded, somehow. Since the first meeting there was some strings pulling us together.” Hope seemed uncomfortable. “He is weaker when it comes to handle it, but I’m fine.”
Kelly chuckled when she saw Hope’s blush. “But what exactly does it mean for you to be bonded? I mean…people could say they’re bonded to one another, but it doesn’t really mean much. I sense it’s different for you though. If it’s too uncomfortable to discuss though, we can skip this question. I’m just trying to understand.”
Hope coughed in embarrassment. “I meant that once I’m close to him, we are … lusting over each other.” Hope looked at the mirror behind Kelly and noticed her red cheeks. “I don’t know if we desire each other or if it is this bond that makes us look for each other all the time. we tried to avoid each other but it was painful.”
“Interesting. Do you think it has something to do with…your inhumanity? Or whatever you call it?” Kelly furrowed her brows.
Hope’s face fell. “It was my theory too, but I don’t know for real. If the bond have anything to do with my inhumanity, it means that Ian is not a human being too. But, I know he had a normal human life, well I’m 90% sure of that.”
“But what if he’s unaware that he’s not completely human either? What if it needs to be triggered but hasn’t been yet?” Kelly knew she was throwing out theories, but sometimes the questions had a way of finding answers.
“if it is the case, I don’t want to be the trigger.” Hope smiled sadly. “I love him too much for that.” She blushed madly. “Ian will hate me if he ever discover that from me. I tried to hint it to him and it is all I can do.”
“He’s hate you because you actually love him? Why would he hate you?” Kelly furrowed her brows as she sat back in her chair, having settled into this conversation quite well.
Hope smiled. “Won’t you hate someone when he will expose the monster hidden inside you, even if you love him? I am afraid that Ian is that kind of people who are proud of their humanity. I don’t want to be the one breaking the news to him. I am scared he will blame me for turning him into monster.”
Kelly pondered this for a moment but then nodded. “I suppose you have a good point. However…if he’s not completely human, I have a feeling he’s always sensed that but isn’t entirely sure. If he’s proud of his humanity, it means he’s afraid of being inhuman, and fear is unbecoming of anyone.” She shook her head.
However, Kelly decided to move on from the subject of Ian, so she locked eyes with Hope. “So, other than the investigations and cold cases and Ian and such, what do you want from life? If you could have anything, what would you want?”
Hope didn’t hesitate. “I want to have a normal life, like any human being. like any woman.”
“If you could, would you want to spend the rest of your life with Ian? Or do you imagine loving someone else, having a happy life with someone, and maybe even starting a family?”
“Ian is fine, but you can say I’m fanning over someone else in the team, but keep it as a secret.” Hope suddenly chuckled as he tried to cool her cheeks. “Our colonel have the deepest voice I ever heard, and his eyes are so amazingly beautiful. I’d love my kids to have them.”
Kelly chuckled. “Edmond Jacob Sherry—I heard you had a crush on him.” She smirked at Hope then leaned in. “Tell me about him!”
“Oh god.” She blushed even more. “He is a beauty to be honest, and he trusts me a lot. In fact, he tasted some of my power, and he knows I am different but he accepts me so openly.” Hope rested in the chair and looked at Kelly with a smile. “It’s so…heartwarming.”
Kelly reflected her smile. “He sounds pretty amazing. Tell me of the time you two met for the first time.”
Hope stiffen a laugh. “I met him after handing over my paper to be in the team.” She laughed a little. “Nobody could breathe around him”
“And what was your impression of him then?”
“Astonishing. I thought he was beautifully astonishing. He had this androgynous features, with sharp eyes, and he truly looked like a Royalty” Hope stiffened suddenly. “Oh I think he heard that.”
Kelly laughed, “Oh, don’t worry, no one’s in the observation room, and the cameras and microphones aren’t even on.” She tapped on the microphone. “I told you I’m not here to interrogate you. And actually…having said that…” Kelly twisted to look at the clock on the wall. “Yeah, our time’s about up.” She looked back at Hope. “But before I leave, your mother…what is the one thing you remember most about her?”
Hope was about to point out that someone moved the mirror, but the question made her freeze. “I remember her determination to make me believe I’m not human. this is the most marking thing about her. Everyday she would tell me I’m not a human being but something beyond it.”
“That’s interesting because it could almost seem like you could blame her for putting that thought into your mind, yet she said you were something beyond it.” Kelly paused, tilting her head in thought. “Do you blame her though? For what happened? For reminding you every day that you were not human?”
Hope nodded. “I do. Everyday.” She sighed. “It makes me insecure about everything I do, all the time. I keep wondering if a human would do this or that, and I end up not doing it”
“Well, let me just tell you that you seem pretty human to me, so you don’t need to doubt yourself too much.” Kelly reassured her with a slight smile but then returned to the topic at hand. “Are you angry with her though? With her insisting you weren’t human?…and the more I think about it, I do wonder if your father wasn’t human because that would make your mother’s insistence of you being inhuman make sense…”
“That would make sense.” Hope smiled. “But I don’t hate her for it and I’m not angry. Right now, it doesn’t matter much.”
“You’re right. You have a missing team mate to track down. Tell me, have you or are you going to tell your team about the fact that you’re being watched by them?” Kelly raised her brows.
“Honestly, I couldn’t tell them.” Hope chuckled. “Edmond will flip tables, I am sure of it.”
“So you’re to go about this all alone, knowing you’re being tailed, being watched when your team is trying to find them?” Kelly folded her arms as she sat back in her chair. “That’s kinda counterproductive if you ask me.”
“Well… yes, it is.” Hope frowned. “But I fear for them, since they may exclude me from the investigation.”
Kelly narrowed her eyes. She had many more questions but not enough time, so she sighed. “Listen, Hope. I don’t understand why people around you go missing or are killed, but you need to find the answers or it will never stop. I don’t think you could live with yourself if that happens. You need to embrace who you really are. You may even need to go with them to learn that. I think you have an advantage that they don’t–you know what it’s like to be human, you know how we think, how we act, and if these people are inhuman, they may have grown up in a society completely different than what you know, so you have the advantage. I don’t know how you’ll use it, but you need to find answers. Don’t let them call the shots.” With that, she rose to her feet. “Now though, I need to go. Thanks for the chat.” She smiled then left the room. Before she reached the door, a portal opened in the wall, and she passed through, closing it behind her.
Hope smiled at it, and looked down. “Easier said than done.”
Enigmaticma’s novel, The Courageous Fangs, is set to be released in December 2016.