“The Visualizer” by Brooke McLeod

 

Part 1: The Academy

Chapter 1: Missing Time

Ruby shivered as she walked down the street, twisting her neck to see if anyone was following her.

Nobody.

Nobody was there, but Ruby couldn’t shake off that feeling of somebody – something – watching her, tracking her every move.

Ruby shut her eyes. Could it be one of the Corrupt? Or possibly be a Demon? Or even somebody from the New Allegiance?

Ruby hoped it wasn’t somebody from the New Allegiance. They were afraid of her kind, but would do anything to exterminate them from the face of the Earth.

Three centuries ago, the Plague hit and almost wiped out every human off the planet, except 30% of the original population. The remaining humans created The Allegiance.

The Allegiance had seven leaders of each of the continents; there were no countries or states, only tyrannies. About one hundred and fifty years ago, a new breed of humans known as Alternations (dubbed “Alters” by the Allegiance) began roaming the Earth as well. Allegiance scientists said that the Alters were an after-effect of the Plague, and were—evil. Then Earth’s inhabitants were split, and they formed two groups, the Regiment and the New Allegiance.

The Regiment group wanted Alters to stay alive; the New Allegiance wanted them dead.

Then, seventy-five years ago, Demons started to show up on the Earth. Humans were terrified of them, but Demons only showed interest in the Alters. The Demons would devour the Alter’s souls, and then fifteen years after, the New Allegiance took some Alters prisoner and inserted a chemical into their blood, making them corrupted with power, so they would only follow what the New Allegiance told them to do.

Ruby didn’t know the rest of that story, but eventually, some of the Alters and the people of the Regiment conspired and created the Crossed, an Alter/Human hybrid with a five percent chance of obtaining Alternation powers. Of course, the five percent of the Crossed were stronger than their Alter-parent and every other Alter out there with the similar ability, and Ruby was one of them.

On her tests, Ruby was shown to be a “late bloomer,” so her powers wouldn’t show up until later. They were wrong, apparently, Ruby got her powers when she turned thirteen.

Ruby sighed. If any threat came her way, she would not be able to win, due to her grandmother refusing to teach her anything until she turned seventeen.

“Two months away,” Ruby muttered. She gritted her teeth and remembered her grandmother teaching her a little bit about her power and because of that small teaching-Ruby could protect herself better.

Ruby took a deep breath, relaxing a bit. It was probably a homeless person, or maybe a rodent. Nothing to worry about, Ruby told herself.

With that happier thought in mind, Ruby walked home, slightly at ease.

“Good evening, Ruby,” Her grandmother greeted her.

Ruby responded, “Good evening, Gwyneth.”

Ever since Ruby was a child, her grandmother told her to call her by her first name and nothing else. Gwyneth told her, “It’s time I told you about your power.”

Ruby blinked. Just like that? she thought. “Why?”

Gwyneth narrowed her eyes, “Because, sooner or later, the Corrupted and Demons will come after your soul.”

“Why now? I – I mean I was just –” Ruby stammered.

“Why don’t you think I haven’t taught you anything?” Gwyneth lifted an eyebrow.

“Uh…I don’t know.”

“Because of the power your father has, you were supposed to be protected,” Gwyneth was speaking fast with urgency.

Gwyneth added, “Ruby, you are the last of our family that has a great power-you are a Visualizer.”

Ruby tilted her head to the side, “A Visualizer?”

“Someone that can picture anything in their heads and it will happen. In order to protect you, I’m sending you to Belladonna, one of the top three Alternation and the Crossed schools in the world.”

“How did I even get in?” Ruby asked.

“You could say that the current Headmistress wants to protect any Visualizer left in the Boudreaux Clan,” Gwyneth grinned.

Ruby blinked at the news, Gwyneth pushed her thin frames up her nose. Ruby studied her grandmother; she had probably been beautiful in her younger age as well, and that beauty still didn’t fade away. Gwyneth was a tall woman with a heart-shaped face, tanzanite-colored eyes and long strawberry-blonde hair, which used to be scarlet.

Ruby’s mother had inherited her grandmother’s beauty, except she had an illness that turned her hair white and currently, she was stuck in bed—dying.

Ruby, herself, paled in comparison to her mother and grandmother, she had milky white skin, with auburn hair and the Boudreaux family eyes. Upon thinking of her eyes, Ruby put a hand over her left one.

Gwyneth noted this and raised an eyebrow, “Are you thinking about Lucia?” Lucia was Ruby’s mother.

“Yes.” In a way, Ruby thought.

Gwyneth said, “Go pack your bags. Tomorrow, we go to Belladonna.”

“But it’s the middle of September!” Ruby exclaimed – usually school began at the end of August.

Gwyneth waved her comment off. “It’s a different type of school.”

Ruby opened her mouth, and then shut it. She walked upstairs to her room and was packed in under an hour. She didn’t know how much to pack, so she stuffed everything she owned into five suitcases and a knapsack. Ruby wiped the sweat from her brow and started to carry her bags downstairs, and Gwyneth’s eyes widened as Ruby entered the room. “You only have that much?”

“No. I’m carrying some of my stuff, the rest wouldn’t fit in these suitcases,” Ruby answered, setting her bags down near the door.

Gwyneth waved Ruby off. “You should get more sleep. I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be a long day.”

Ruby looked at the clock. 10:53 read the big, bold Roman numerals.

Time passed that quickly? The last time Ruby had looked at the clock, it had said 9:45.

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