He walks in with his hands in his pockets. He’s wearing a hoodie and ripped jeans. His head is shaved and he looks tired. His knuckles are torn up from a fight and his eyes are almost glowing. He doesn’t look at anyone as he walks towards me and sits down. He orders a black coffee from the waitress and reaches across the table to shake my hand.
Nice to see you Shawn. Let’s just jump right into it, okay? Last I heard, you were given a chemical that made you less than human. Tell me about that.
“It does just that. It makes me less than human. I become a weapon and that’s it. I can’t remember much of anything when I’m under.”
Does it still effect you?
“Yes. It’s like a switch flips in my head and I can’t control it.”
I’m sorry to hear that.
He shrugs. “It is what it is.”
Just recently, you discovered a strange ability. What is it?
“I can control blood, but that’s old news. I’d rather not talk too much about it right now. Maybe next time.”
Well, okay. How about some more personal questions. When you were adopted, and in the adoption center, those around you tried to convince you that you didn’t have a brother. Did you ever believe them?
“No. I knew Matt existed. Nothing they could say would make me forget him. His existence made the world easier. It gave me something to look forward to and to hold onto. The world was so much bigger because I knew who he was and what he was.”
Was Matt surprised when you were brought in?
“When he found out, I think he was more upset than surprised. It told him that despite knowing the condition he was in, our parents still opted to do this to their second child. It’s messed up.”
When did you realize that you also had special abilities?
“I should have gotten an idea when I was mysteriously waking up with a bed that felt like it was thrown into a pool, absolutely soaked. I didn’t really think about it until I was stayed at the bottom of the pool for a half hour at school after being bullied. Lab Coats came for me soon after.”
Didn’t your adopted parents think you were possessed? Didn’t they just give you to the Lab because they ran out of options on how to ‘treat’ you?
“They were scared. I don’t hold anything against them. The Lab would have gotten me either way.”
You said you were bullied. Why were you bullied?
“I’m not sure,” he laughs. “I read a lot, I excelled in all my classes, I picked up new skills easily, and I was very athletic. So, I’m not sure. I guess I was just the unlucky weird new kid.”
Do you remember your first day at the Lab? Were you scared?
“Yes, I do. I remember it clearly and I was terrified. They locked me in an isolation cell because I refused to say the demanded line.” He straightens up, his eyes go blank. “I am Weapon number 32784. My Element is Water. What are my orders, Sir?” He relaxes again and smiles. “I just screamed and filled my cell with water instead.”
But, eventually you caved, didn’t you?
“Yes. I was tired and hungry. They promised me I could see Matt and get some food if I just complied. So, I did. And I got to see Matt. He was in a bad state though. He won’t talk about it, but it was bad. He was all doped up, could barely keep his eyes open. His collarbone was broken, bruised eye. Absolute mess. I didn’t get any food though.”
What was the worst thing that has happened to you in the Lab?
“The newest chemical that makes me a blind killer. I am not myself when I am under the control of that thing. I killed good people and I don’t remember doing it. I tried to kill my best friend. I could endure everything else, because I had some sort of control and I could remember it. This is different. It’s terrifying.”
When did you meet Mark?
“The second day after I got out of the isolation cell. We were meant to fight one another. You know, to see which one of us was stronger or to see what I knew already. It was absolutely unfair. He had been training since he was three. I had never fought anyone. So, of course he kicked my ass. When we were taken back to our rooms, we found out we were in opposite cells and ended up talking a lot. He taught me everything he knew about the Lab, the Lab Coats, the schedules, everything. He told me I should probably train more and I told him I had been relocated from somewhere else to learn more.”
Who would win in a fight today?
Out of all of the Subjects, who do you think is the strongest? Both mentally and physically?
“Karen. Hands down. She’s gone through more than I could imagine and she picked everything up so quickly.”
As if it was scripted, as her name was mentioned, the infamous Karen Turner, walks into the diner. She sits beside Shawn and gently nods at me before grabbing his arm and pulling him up. I see her whisper something to him, but I can’t pick up the words. He only shakes his head and stands up with her. He puts a ten-dollar bill on the table and encourages me to try the eggs benedict before he leaves with her.