Chapter 3: The Players
OK, let me introduce you to my few partners in crime. Since they will be gone by the time anyone reads this, I guess it’s not going to hurt to “out” them, right? Of all the survivors, I’d say 95% of them became lazy, annoying, whiny and boring as all fuck. There were a few of us, though, that decided it wasn’t fair – that we were going to make our voices heard, or die trying. OK, to be honest, we had no idea if we could die, but we had a sneaking suspicion it would be pretty difficult to kill one of us. The group tended to be most of those that had exhibited the strongest talents, and interestingly enough, the highest IQ’s. We were some scary, smart mother-fuckers – not bragging, just true. That’s what made us so dangerous. This group knew a little more of what I was capable of, but nowhere near all of it.
My name is Iola Bellman. Everyone calls me LaLa. Yeah, my parents were weird, I admit it. The other major players – and I won’t give you all 40 or so, just the main trouble makers. Maxwell Felice – 20. He was the metallurgist who was working at the facility, and handsome as sin. He was our resident electronics guy. He could build it with his own two hands, or he could fuck it up with his mind. It was an interesting and effective combo. Eric Wills – 19, son of the director of the Facility – wicked smart and funny, and a hacker extraordinaire well before the event, and damn near unstoppable after, but with a nasty power-mad streak. Ellie Samson, a “child prodigy” at 19, and a physicist at the facility. Jessie Baker, ditto on that prodigy thing. She was the botanist I mentioned earlier – she had hybridized a few plants that are in existence today only because of her, Shane Davis, 20, a line-cook at the local diner, but deceptively brilliant. His dad had been a chemist at the Facility, and Shane had mad skills with a few interesting compounds…and damn did he look good naked. And last, but certainly not least, the Iverson twins, Josh and Jeremy, 18. They were just students, like me, and physically identical in virtually every way. Josh always painted his pinky fingernails black so people would know the difference. Their mom was my dad’s research assistant. She was a sweet, smart lady who passed those qualities down to her slightly geeky twins.
For the first couple of years we all spent a lot of time together as a group, all 1,000 of us. But over time subgroups formed. I guess it was more like high school or a really cliquey office. There were the stoners (our Island grew the best!), the goths, who were really just whiners in black; the geeks (that was us!), the car guys – and girls; a few divas and the gay contingent. There were others as well, many coupled up, or just became loners. As is common with humanity, we got comfortable with people who were like us. So this is more about the group I found myself with, since honestly, they are the ones I know about.
After a couple decades of hanging out on the island we were really bored. Air hockey, Wii and the DVD player got less and less interesting when you were a captive audience. And you know what they say about idle hands? Well we definitely fit that category. Probably the only past time that we didn’t get tired of was sex, and since I’m being transparent (OK, inside joke for us…never fails to crack me up), that was how all our troubles started. There was a lot of sex happening on that island. Hell, you put a bunch of brilliant (for the most part), horny kids in an isolated place with no parental supervision, no real authority of any kind, what the fuck did you expect to happen? That was actually one of the things the scientists were trying to figure out – how could there be so much sex, and no babies – not a one. Apparently, whatever happened to us was a natural birth control…so we could fuck like bunnies with no consequences. And damned if we didn’t.
And by that I mean the colloquial “we”. I didn’t participate much. Not that I was a prude or anything, but my first experience with sex hadn’t been exactly spectacular, so the interest level wasn’t really there. I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. I was more interested in what everybody else was doing. I admit I developed some pretty voyeuristic tendencies that would come back to haunt me later. And since I had the ability to virtually disappear and blend into my surroundings, it was pretty easy to do without being detected.
It was pretty close to one giant island orgy. Girl/boy, Girl/Girl, Boy/Boy, Boy/Girl/Boy, Girl/Boy/Girl…well, you get the picture. You name it, we tried it, but it didn’t last long. Eventually a few more permanent couples formed, and we had a couple of trio’s as well. I guess most just needed the companionship. As an aside, it’s funny, I didn’t feel close to a majority of the Island’s inhabitants, but I still say “we” all the time. I guess close or not, when you’ve lived the way we have for so long, it’s sort of natural to feel like you all belong together. And while I’m on my soap box, what the fuck is with all these hang-ups about sex? Why is there all this hullabaloo about who’s zooming who? Love who you love, fuck who you fuck, what business is it of anybody elses? Really?
Over the next couple of decades we began to expand our demesnes. We acquired a couple of jet skis and used them, on occasion, to make trips to the mainland. We noticed that there were often big beach parties or bonfires we could infiltrate without suspicion. Eventually we started bringing in some of our agricultural products to share. I won’t lie, what we had to offer was far and above what anyone had ever seen, and we suddenly had a major market for our commodities. We may not have needed money on the island, but we decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have access to it should we ever need it, so our product line became our cash infusion.
For years we blended in, just avoiding questions like “so, where are you from?” and “Where do you guys get this stuff?”, sidestepping any attempts to get to know us and enjoying the party. As time passed, the participants would change, as individuals ‘grew up’ got jobs, quit surfing and smoking and drinking, new ones would take their place, but unfortunately, we never did. We never aged, either, and that, folks, is what finally came back to bite us in the ass.
One particularly loud party brought out the parents. As it turned out, one of the boys who was now a party attendee was the son of one of the guys who had partied with us 20 years before. It was a little difficult to explain why we didn’t look more than a couple years older, hadn’t moved on to real jobs, etc. It finally dawned on one of them that we had always arrived on the jet –ski’s from the direction of the Island. How it took them that long to figure it out was a bit of a mystery, and while we could have pushed the thoughts and memories away, we made the decision to let them know who we were. We were happy to note that no one seemed to give much of a shit, as long as we kept the party supplies coming.
Well, anyway…That was really how my core group came together – the troublemakers, of course. It had become a little passé to do each other, so a few were branching out – seeking out the “normals” for the occasional tryst. They were curious about us, and we were again, kinda bored. Security was lax as hell, so they never even noticed we were gone, or if they did, they didn’t care. Even though I wasn’t really into the sex part, I enjoyed the trips, and getting to know the normals was nice. I even managed to make a few friends. But there were only a very select few we let know who we were. It could be dangerous on the mainland. Not so much physically, but the last thing we wanted was to create more negative publicity and have people dropping shit out of planes onto our island again. Having acid dumped on your house could really piss a girl off, you know? Especially when you can hear the plants screaming. That part sucked! A lot! Luckily, they caught the asshat in a cropduster that thought he was doing the world a favor. Don’t know what happened to him, probably a congressional medal or something, but at least no one else has tried it since.
OK…, beach parties…right. Back to that. I guess the issues all started the night of one of the big bonfires. We could see it all the way from the island and we were curious. We doubled up on the Ski’s and headed in. We were planning to meet up with the few friends we had among the normals. We always brought a couple cases of the beer we brewed, some spirits we distilled, and some of the special stuff we made and/or grew on the island depending on which was in more plentiful supply at the time (Our products were always in high demand – probably our only exports, and if we got caught, our asses in a sling) in the saddlebags of the skis. It was good to have some new blood to talk to. Andie McLean was my favorite of the bunch. She was what we would have called a “free spirit” back then, but I guess what we really meant was that she was up for just about anything like me. She was the first girl I ever kissed. It was OK, but I guess that was when I knew I was definitely straight…open minded but definitely into boys. She was also the first person I discovered my most unusual talent with. Well, we sort of shared that one with her boyfriend Adam. I’ll tell you about that later...
Is any of this making sense? I feel like my head is all over the place. It’s amazing that once you start focusing on the memories how fast and hard they flood back. The good ones and the bad ones, and not always in the most organized fashion. Oh well, I’ll just keep going and hope you all can sort this shit out when it finally comes to light. Anyway, back to the bonfire…
The sheer size of this thing was amazing even from a significant distance. Someone had brought phosphorous and thrown it in the fire, and if you’ve ever seen that shit burn, it’s white and hot. Almost a harbinger of things to come. I remember thinking it was going to be something big, but I had no real fucking clue what was about to happen. If I’d had a clue…yeah, I’d have still done it, but I’d have been a hell of a lot more careful.
Andie and Adam were there, and waved us all in to their little section of the beach. It was always great to see them and it had been a few weeks. Andie was a hugger. Nothing to be done about it, just part of who she was. Me, not so much, but I dealt with it. And I gave her a hard time whenever I could by fading – she hated it when I did that, but I personally found it hilarious to have her run over, then kind run through…Yup, twisted is a good word. It was a combination of that and curiosity that led me to discover the previously mentioned talent. I decided to throw off the hug, but cut the fade about the time she reached me. I didn’t know what would happen, and frankly I hadn’t really thought it through, other than it was something new and I was bored and wanted to annoy Andie. The feeling is pretty challenging to describe. It was if I’d suddenly been weighed down. Andie stopped in her tracks and I could feel her gasp for breath. I realized almost instantly what had happened, but it took her a minute to register it and compensate. I could feel her fear in my mind. Not the terror kind of fear, but the unknown kind of fear – like the trepidation that happened when you walked around a blind corner. I realized she wasn’t breathing. I could hear panic in her mind that her lungs wouldn’t work. I focused and concentrated on taking a breath, and it worked. As I breathed for both of us and I could feel the fear change to awe. Somehow I was sharing Andie’s body, her thoughts, and it was intense. In a really good way. It was a kind of closeness that neither of us had ever felt – a connectedness.
It took about 2 minutes for everyone to realize I was gone and I thought it might be a bad idea to make everyone aware of this little informational tidbit, so I took us on a quick walk to the bathrooms. I guess that should have been my first clue as to how much control I could assert, but I was so panicked I didn’t even realize I was doing it at the time. Disgusting as they were, there was some modicum of privacy in the old brick buildings that house the beach facilities. I focused on the fade and stepped back, hoping it would have the desired effect or we might be stuck this way. Sure enough, we could both feel the separation, and while it wasn’t painful in the physical sense, it was unpleasant, like losing a part of yourself. I have often wondered if maybe I didn’t lose just a little of myself every time I pulled that trick.
“LaLa! What the fuck? How long have you been able to do that?” The amazement in Andie’s voice was obvious in the first words either of us spoke out loud.
“Never done it before – just experimenting. Sorry.” I wasn’t sure how she’d take the knowledge that I was trying out shit I had no idea how to control on her one and only actual body, but knowing Andie like I thought I did, I wasn’t terribly worried.
“Awesome! That was fabulous! That felt amazingly good – I feel like I’ve just woken up – like I’m lighter somehow. There’s a lot of stuff in your head isn’t there? I could feel it – I could see it but I couldn’t fully wrap my mind around it. You know stuff you shouldn’t know, don’t you? Can we do that again? ” I admit I was surprised at her grasp of my mind, and it worried me a little.
“I don’t know, Andie, I’m not entirely sure how I did it the first time, but we can try later if you want. It’s probably best if we don’t share this with Adam or the Island crew, OK?” I needed to make sure this didn’t make the rounds or it would be get back to the WSGF and I couldn’t have that!
“Deal. On one condition – you don’t do that with anyone else. I have a feeling there are people who would take advantage of what I saw, and I don’t want you getting hurt.” Her face was stern and I have to admit to being a bit shocked. I knew we were friends, but it was that moment that I knew the extent of our relationship, and I counted myself lucky to be someone she cared about. And I admit to the fact that my opinion of her intellect rose exponentially – she may give the appearance of a brainless beach bunny but my Andie was anything but. That should have been my first clue.
Back at the beach the bonfire had softened and the crowds were dissipating a bit. We broke out some of Shane’s famous concoction and proceeded to relax. I found myself in an Andie sandwich. Adam on one side me on the other, holding hands and looking up at the stars. Thanks to whatever was in that famous purple elixir, we managed to come up with some entirely new constellations, and if I didn’t know better, I’d have sworn we visited a couple. Damn Shane was good.
Dawn rolled around before any of us realized the time. I kind of hated saying goodbye after what happened. I really wanted to learn more about the whole thing, but I would need to sneak back on my own without the gang to sort it all out. As we headed for the jet skis I let Andie hug me this time.
Her whispered words confirmed she wanted to know more too. “Meet me back here tonight. We need to figure this thing out, and I have a plan.” I just nodded quietly. Looking back, I guess I should have been suspicious, but this was Andie…