Hello everyone! I'm a new writer, please leave constructive feedback!
I breeze through the rest of the day easily. I spent half of it pondering about what Daniel has to give me after school. Would it be something from the Raix? Or will it be something else?
When school ends, all the kids start gathering together and walk out of school calmly. Everyone here seems....calm. Unlike the other schools, where everyone literally rushes out the second school is over. That's a good thing.
I slowly head over to my locker, careful not to bump into anybody. I stand in front of my locker, trying to get my locker combination open, but before I could, a voice startled me from behind.
I quickly spin around and the blond-haired girl I saw this morning looking at me jumps a little. Damnit. I probably scared her. Not a good way to start a conversation or a friendship. I gulped. She's cute. Before I say anything, she holds out her hand. Everyone in this school likes handshakes.
'I'm Samantha. Samantha Snow.'
'Rivin.' I shake her hand. Her hand is warm, and feels delicate to the touch.
'Just Rivin?' She prompted a question. She wears a little smile on her lips.
To be honest, I usually don't tell anyone my last name. I'm not even sure what my name is. Not even Rivin. It's just what Daniel calls me all the time, so I adopted it as my name. He never answers why he calls me Rivin though. Something to do with the Raix, I suppose? As for my last name, I randomly chose Raix because I had nothing in my mind to choose from. I laugh inside for my horrible sudden-improvisation skills.
'Rivin Raix. Let me guess: You were going to say "That's a new one"?'
Samantha laughs. 'Holy crap, you actually got that right. Raix......' She ponders, momentarily staring into the blank space behind me, then immediately rectifies her focus onto me again.
'Interesting name.' She waves the question away. 'So, where're you from?'
'Minnesota. And you? I'm thinking....Long Island?'
'No. I've lived here my entire life, never left the state, either. You travelled a lot, I'm guessing?'
What. Fine, I'll chalk that up to lucky guess.
'No, no. Only here and Minnesota.'
She looked disappointed, but not that much for me to be convinced. Nobody ever asks me that, much less get the guessing correct.
'What's up with the hand tattoo though?' She lifts my left hand up and looks at it. Now, what the hell. I never take off my gloves unless I'm sleeping at night. Did I accidently made a little slip and she noticed? Damn, I have to be more careful now.
I sigh reluctantly, then slowly take off my black gloves. I just now fully realised that a lot of my stuff are black. I wonder if I did that on purpose or if I did it subconsciously for hiding?
On the back of my left hand, is a hand tattoo. I received it when I was split into 6, or as I was told by Daniel. It was a mark so we could recognize each other. It felt kind of useless, since we all look the same, but it must be there for a reason. The Raino were wise, and everything they did had a meaning.
It's shaped like an hourglass, but instead of the ends being parallel to each other, it is slightly slanted so it looks a bit weird. It is marked on with some really nice ink, from what I can tell. Even when I once got a cut on my hand, it never went away. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't marked with ink, instead with something else. Something more powerful.
For its use, I have no idea. Daniel said it isn't in his memories, and I haven't seen it do anything yet. Then again, it may really be just something the Raino gave us to distinguish each other. Though I never fully believed that.
'What does that mean?' Her eyes lit up at the sight of my tattoo. For a second, she looked like she recognized it from somewhere, then waited for my answer.
I used my horrible improvisation skills and made something up again. 'It stands for hope.' I randomly sprouted out gibberish. 'You know, after the accident, I wanted to give my dad hope.'
'Aw, that's sweet.' She smiles again.
'Yeah, it's nothing, really.' We stand there awkwardly, looking at each other for 10 seconds, before I kept the normal conversation going. One where there's nothing about the Raix or aliens.
'Do we have any classes together or?' I already knew the answer myself. We have mathematics and humanities together.
'Yeah! We have math and.....humanities! Speaking of school, there's a friendly race competition on Thursday, after school at the field. You can come if you want, there's going to be betting!' She tells me excitingly. So that's what's up with the banner I saw this morning. Maybe I should come. I can fit in more, bond better, and have a normal life. Well, as normal my life can be.
I think about it for just a second before reply. Whatever comes up on Thursday afterschool, I'll push it away. It'll be fine.
'Yeah, sure. I'll be there.'
Samantha beams. 'I gotta go. I'll see you tomorrow, Rivin.' She turns around and gives me a little wave as she exits through the double panelled door and leaves the school. Never have anyone approached me that casually and get me to talk about my tattoos. Maybe she just has that effect on people. I like her.
My thoughts were interrupted by Owen, who tapped me on the shoulder. I back away in surprised, then stepped forward once I saw who he was.
'Hey man. Nice first day?'
'Definitely. You were looking for me?'
'Yeah. I was in the journalism room, and I saw this package on the teacher's desk.'
That's when I realised he was holding a little black box, a small one that can fit just inside his palm. It's perfectly seamless and doesn't have any visible way of opening it. The glistening black metal reflects the setting sun outside through the window, and I recognize it.
It's exactly the same design as the one I saw Daniel messing around this morning. I shudder, but not that much so as to keep Owen from noticing. Whoever sent these knows us. Could it be a Losac trap? I've heard where the Losac have special bombs which can only be activated when both items are together? But the Losac don't know there is a Raix survivor, do they? They think they wiped us all out, don't they?
Whatever the hell this is, I can't bring it back home. Not until we separate both boxes, put them far away from each other, and wait for Daniel to inspect the boxes.
'Thanks, man.' I grab the box out of his hands, although I have no intention of bringing it back home. Owen gives me a thumbs up, then turns around and gets back to his classroom.
I have to hide this. Somewhere far from the other box, but one where I can find it again. I hurried out the school. I head through the woods again. I remember the log which I jumped off of, and found it easily. I kneel down and check the piece of hollow log. It's clean hollow, and fits perfectly for the box. I slip the box in, and check if anyone is watching me. When I am certain no one is watching me, I cover the opening of the log with a little rock. I stack a few more just in case, and when I stand up again, the box is completely hidden. Unless somebody comes here deliberately and move these rocks, it's safe.
I sling my backpack on me to balance it on my shoulders, then I begin to sprint home. It helps me develop my speed. I run the same path as I did this morning, and I see the silhouette of the house soon enough. I circle back to the front of the house, and open the front door. There, in blazing yellow lights, kneels a Daniel surrounded by a circle of working tools, with the tool box open on the couch.
'What are you doing?' I take off my backpack and set it on the floor. I shut the door and walk in front of Daniel. He doesn't reply me, eyes focused on the tools. He reaches out to his left, and grabs a screwdriver. He stands up, momentarily looks at me, and I see his pupils growing bigger and smaller. He's assessing me.
He walks to the kitchen quietly. It's actually quite creepy how Daniel can walk without a little sound. I follow him into the kitchen to see what he is doing.
As soon as I step through the high doorway, I can see Daniel screwing something in to the wall. I craned my head to see he is attaching a bolt to an open panel in the wall. After a good 5 seconds or so, he shuts the panel shut. He turns and look at me. He looks surprised to see me. He smiles and addresses me.
'Did you know there's something else down there?' He grows serious again. His palm opens up, showing the robotics inside. It's composed of little straight wires, and I see a little microchip down there. Then ring slides out from under it.
The ring is a shining silver. It's a simple one, with nothing on it except for a little hourglass symbol on one side. He picks it up with his other hand, then the panel on his palm closes up. He hands the ring to me, and I receive it with both my hands cupped together.
'Is this what you said you wanted to give me this morning?'
'No, not this. That will be later. Try pressing the Rivin symbol.'
'Wait. You're telling me this symbol.' I point to the hourglass, 'is called a Rivin. You named me after the ring?' That was literally the first question I asked. Not what the ring is for, or about the mysterious, possibly dangerous box I received at school.
'No. The ring was named after you. We can talk more about it later. Now, press the Rivin.'
I pushed aside my questions and pressed it with my right index finger.
As soon as I do that, I hear hissing behind me. I quickly spin around and see a patch of wooden floor go down.
'Holy crap. Another bunker?' I chattered excitingly. I really understood why the guy went bankrupt now. This must've cost a fortune.
'Yes. Now, do you want to go down first, or should I?'
I showed it to him by walking to the hatch. I peer down, as see a floor not so distant down there. About a meter and half. I didn't press the ring for the elevator to come up, and instead, I dropped down. The impact didn't shake me at all. I had to balance myself at the end of the drop, and when I did, I look up and see nothing. Utter darkness. Where are the light controls in here?
As soon as I finished that thought, bright white lights starts flooding in from the ceiling. I shield my eyes to protect them, then slowly lowered them as my eyes started to adjust. Was that a coincidence, or did the room magically read my thoughts?
The room is wide, and fairly long too. I'd say about 10 meters, but that could have been watered down. What did the previous think to use this for?
I hear a thud behind me, and quick as a viper, Daniel is next to me.
'Before you ask, this is apparently, a really well designed shooting range. Well, I could still cash out money and improve it. I'll also stock up on some weapons here. We can do your firearms training here.'
'Where do you hide the weapons though? It's not like there's a table or.....' My question is cut short when a wall opens up, and an armoury popped out from the ground. The armoury comes with 3 bookcase tall shelves, and a table in the middle.
'And yes, this room and house can make a neural link with your brain every time you wear the ring. Don't ask how I did it.' He tells me. I know the Raix loved making technology infused with neural links. Making a robot or a high tech house isn't fun unless you can control it without a switch or buttons. Just think and your house and robot will follow your commands. Which is pretty cool to be honest.
'Ok, so if I tell you to get me a pizza by thinking, you'll do it, right?' I tried ordering Daniel to actually do it. After 10 seconds of me thinking intensely, Daniel laughs and the lights close. He walks to a random piece of wall and knocks on it 3 times, each echoing in the room. The wall slides down and reveals the normal bunker with the tables we saw yesterday.
'So you're linked too? Cool.'
'Let's go back up. I still have to give you something.'
We walk back into the table bunker and Daniel raps the floor with his foot twice. The wall behind us leading into the shooting range closes up. So cool. We take the normal elevator up back onto the 2nd floor, and we go back down to the dining room to take a seat. We sit opposite of each other. We look at each other blankly, before Daniel puts his palm out, and the little panel opens up again. Something slides up out of it. Something I've seen before.
A memory spike.