13 teenagers with startling abilities are suddenly kidnapped and taken to a secret facility in the middle of the Arizona desert. They are helped by a man named Max, but they soon find out that he holds dark secrets of his own.
13 babies are born at the exact same moment to 13 different mothers in 13 different rooms with the aid of 13 different doctors in the same hospital.
The children are placed in an incubation center with a single window in the south wall facing a small lake. There are only 13 babies in the room.
The staff of the small town’s hospital wonder at the coincidence of babies born at the same time. But none stay with the babies. Not to feed them, or rock them, or just to marvel at the wonder of life.
13 miles away, at the town’s nuclear plant, a new worker fumbles with a laser pointer above the 13-ton vat containing nuclear-charged light. But the laser was real. As the pointer drops it hits the catwalk, turning on and flipping to face the north wall. It burns quickly through the 39-inch steel wall, and then the battery dies.
It was a series of quite unlikely, and quite strange, series of events happening within a 5-minute difference that brought upon the existence of the 13 miraculous “Canterbury Children.”
A single beam of concentrated nuclear light shoots across the small lake before the plant’s second sheet of prepared metal slides over the hole and stops the light from flowing through. Burning into the incubation center, surrounding the children and filling the sealed room with radioactive energy. The children’s skin absorb this energy and fills them with a warmth they have never before felt.
By the time the nurses came in to the nursery, the radioactive light has been equally distributed between the 13 babies. The nurse is confused.
The babies are all laughing at thin air.
13 Years Later
Carrie shuffled into her foyer after the longest day of cheer practice, starting to slam the door behind her.
Crash. From the kitchen. The teen changed her mind and eased the door closed, creeping silently down the hall.
She was about to pop her head around the corner when someone coughed right next to the doorway. Carrie threw herself back against the wall in panic.
She really didn’t know why she was doing this. She could've just walked back out the door and called the police. Carrie froze. Mom. Dad. Michael. They had been home when she had left. She sucked in half the air in the house and peered into the kitchen.
Several men in black moved around in a circle. On the back of their jackets was the words “Retrieval Team.”
Whatever that meant.
There was a break in the tight ring and Carrie saw what the strange men were circling around.
Her family. Bound and gagged and tied to the kitchen chairs. Pure terror was splashed across their faces and Carrie felt rage welling up inside her chest. And something more.
The room around her grew much, much colder, and the wall she was leaning on felt like ice. Carrie exhaled slowly, trying to dispel the rage, and she could see her breath.
And her hands turning blue
Josh Peterson was new to the Retrieval Team. So when the kitchen turned ice-cold he was at a loss for words and actions. But the rest of his team crouched down and scanned the room. The captured family’s eyes grew wide and flashed toward the doorway.
The target stood glaring at the closest team member. Her lips were tinged with blue and her fingertips shook but Peterson doubted it was because she was cold. Suddenly fire leapt to his friend’s hands. He struck out at the girl, though she was to far away to touch.
The fire fanned out but the girl shoved her blue arms out in front of her and the fire flew harmlessly wide. She snarled and spun, throwing shards of crystal ice at the group.
Peterson watched as a shard arced toward one of his team member’s chest, but he quickly brought forth a force-field and the shard ricocheted into Peterson’s forehead. He crumpled to the floor, quite dead.
Carrie grinned bitterly as 4 of the 6 dropped to the floor. The other 2 survived by fire and a force-field.
The Retrieval Team gaped in disbelief as Carrie’s long blonde hair floated around her head and when she opened her eyes they shone a lavender stronger than her regular hue.
She willed a storm of lethal hail toward her enemies but before the wind ruffled their hair one fumbled to pull a tube from his pocket and put it to his trembling lips. He seriously feared for his life but managed to fire the poisoned dart.
The quarrel struck Carrie in her forearm. Her mouth flew open as the poison coursed through her and she fell to her knees. The glow ebbed from her eyes and the wind died away.
She crumpled to the floor.
Bolton bounded into the locker
room with the rest of his team hollering and laughing loudly. Bolton, the team’s quarterback, cheered the loudest by far and his face shone with a boyish smile that turned heads with many of the cheerleaders, like Carrie and Vanessa.
He grinned and slapped a few more high-fives with his wining team before striding to his locker in the back of the dimly lit room.
As soon as he neared his locker he sensed trouble. Bolton stopped and peered into the gloom that hung in the corners, sensing that he was being watched. Suddenly a dart flew toward him from his left. But Bolton wasn’t there.
He was out on the field.
He would have been safe, but one of the Retrieval Team was ready and teleported out to meet him. The teen gaped at the man that had just appeared out of thin air.
Bolton had thought he was the only one with gifts and so startled was he that he didn’t bend back far enough, fast enough, and got clipped across the cheek by another dart.
He felt suddenly sleepy as the drop of the strong poison began to affect him.
Bolton tried to run, but wasn’t so fast this time.
He streaked across the field but the teleporting team member beat him to the bleachers and grabbed the boy.
Bolton’s legs still blurred but they were to far off the ground to carry him to safety.
The Retrieval Team surrounded him and one rushed forward and jabbed a needle into his neck.
Blackness closed in.
Garrick walked slowly down the hall with his hands in his pockets. He snapped his gum loudly and walked up behind his best friend. He was about to tap his shoulder when he froze in fear.
There he is. That voice. So cold and heartless. Well, are we just gonna stand here or are we gonna shoot the freak?
The word echoed around in Garrick’s head. He had feared being called that for his whole life. Now his fears had been confirmed.
Suddenly a shriek resounded in his mind. The fingernails-on-chalkboard scream stung his brain and Garrick fell to the ground clutching his head.
No one really noticed until he screamed.
His best friend whirled around and saw Garrick groaning and rolling on the floor. He looked up fearfully.
“Help!” He yelled at the stunned students. “Someone get help!”
In the ambulance the shriek in his brain disappeared and Garrick gasped for breath. The worried nurse leaned down to pat his arm but froze, her hand inches from his skin. Garrick stared curiously until he realized the other nurses was frozen too. He sighed as he heard the voice again and realized that he would offer no resistance.
Sophia grabbed nervously at her backpack straps and wished she had taken Royce up on his offer to walk her home from school. She felt as if something bad was about to happen. Their was a tense, dangerous feeling in the air.
Suddenly the bushes in front her quivered. She froze, her eyes as wide as a deer in headlights.
Because, at the moment, Sophia was a deer. The frightened doe leapt 3 feet over the bush touched down lightly on the other side. After seeing that nothing was there, the doe still gazed around, searching for the unfamiliar presence.
She shifted back into Sophia again and started to run. The only part of her that didn’t change was her wide brown doe-eyes, framed in thick lashes.
She gasped and felt the dart pierce her back and she stumbled and fell hard to the cement.
Her doe-eyes closed in sleep.
Vanessa sat dejectedly in front of her cherry vanity mirror. She had just broken up with her longtime boyfriend Royce and as soon as she had walked away with her head held high she saw him talking sweetly with Sophia.
He made her sick.
Suddenly she noticed something in the mirror. Her closet door was open. There wasn’t really any strangeness in that observation but she always closed her closet door before school.
She waved her hand and the door slammed closed. She heard the sharp gasp of surprise and leaped up and spun to face the intruders in her closet. Vanessa stepped forward bravely.
“Royce if that’s you, You know I don’t want you ba-” She was silenced by a dart sticking out of her neck.
Vanessa was dragged by the feet past her open closet door.
Royce yawned, smiled, and flopped down on his bed. He had finally gotten rid of his clingy girlfriend, Vanessa, and had started moving in on Sophia. He ran his fingers through his short dark hair and his grin widened. He felt someone standing over him.
Acting purely on instinct his hand shot up and closed around a man’s wrist. When Royce saw the dart clenched in the man’s fingers, his grip tightened and he felt the stranger’s bone snap. The man screamed and Royce leaped up, shoving the man to the ground.
He grabbed the bottom of his 300-pound bed and flipped it onto the man. The noise masked the boy’s grunt as a dart was jabbed into his arm. He turned to look quizzically at the man behind him and then fell heavily to the floor.
The man sighed at the muscled teenager, and then at his fallen companion. He sighed again and slipped a small phone from his pocket.
“We’re going to need backup.”
Tanner weaved in-between the
trees, praying not to run into any of the forest bums that seemed to show up in the worst places. He spotted a dark form through the trees and stopped short. The shape did the same.
Tanner sucked in his breath
and hid behind a tree. When he mustered the nerve, he peeked around and saw a man in a black suit three feet away.
Knowing he had already been seen and that there was no use hiding, he steeped out and faced the man. Three more men stepped out from behind him.
They were exact duplicates of the stranger.
Tanner braced himself and felt heat rise up inside his chest. It burned and Tanner almost fainted from the pain, but he kept his footing.
He charged the man and his clones.
And the explosion rocked the trees. The man’s duplicates disappeared and the stranger flew backward, crashing into a tree with a strange cracking sound.
Tanner stepped from the smoke unscathed. He smiled until a dart flew into his chest.
Mona cocked her head and set her small potted lily on the roof. Standing up awkwardly on the slanted tiles, she looked into the giant oak standing beside her balcony.
She peered into the cover of its branches, searching for the source of the rustle. Reaching out, she aimed for where the sound had come from and clenched her fist.
A scream resounded from the tree as a thick branch had wrapped around the Retrieval Team member’s waist and arms. Another tumbled down, held up 20 feet in the air by a thin vine. Mona flicked her wrist and the vine snapped, sending the man tumbling and screaming to the ground below.
Then the dart stuck her in the arm.
Beck’s day had been going perfectly well until he slammed his fingers in his door.
He heard the bone snap and almost swooned in pain. Beck staggered up to his room and collapsed on his bed. He watched as the tip of his finger shifted slowly back to it’s normal position.
To add another bad-day factor, he felt something sharp jab him in the shoulder. He reached around and tugged out a dart. He winced as he felt the poison flowing out of the pin-hole in his skin, and then again as the hole closed up.
But the Retrieval Team doesn’t give up that easy.
So the team leader walked out of Beck’s closet and stood in front of the startled teen.
And shot Beck in the forehead.
Zane stood at his window and stared silently at the distant ocean horizon (well, he couldn’t really have done it loudly seeing as he had scales covering his mouth).
He felt the vibrations of the men walking up the abandoned cabins stairs and sighed (he managed this by breathing loudly out his nose) and walked into the corner.
The door burst open, shoved with such force as to knock it off its hinges.
The room was empty. One lifted a radio to his lips.
“We’ve lost him.” They started to depart but one turned and closed his eyes. To him alone the room lit up in hues of the infrared spectrum. A distinctly human shape was leaning against the far wall.
The form waved. And promptly was shot by poisoned dart.
#11-Victoria ‘Tory’ Sanders
Tory woke up in a cold sweat. She had had a nightmare that she had been kidnapped by strange men and killed. She shook her head. It was only a nightmare . . . Right?
Than why couldn’t she shake the feeling that someone was watching her?
She concentrated on her closed wooden door, and saw three men crouching in the hallway.
Tory fainted dead away. But the men shot her again, just to make sure she wouldn’t wake up.
Not for a while at least.
Chance groaned as his stomach tightened again. He breathed deeply, hoping to lessen the sudden pain, and his girlfriend looked to him with concern.
“You okay?” He nodded, but his next grunt contrasted with his words. This had never happened before, and Chance was genuinely in pain. His girlfriend slipped his fingers into his and smiled.
And then she screamed.
She yanked her hand away and clutched it to her chest sobbing. Chance quickly grabbed the sleeve of her jacket and inspected the hand.
And almost screamed himself.
Part of the girl’s hand was gone, seeming melted away where she had touched his skin. Chance gasped for breath as she pulled her hand back.
He always knew he was different, but never like this. He slid as far away from the still howling girl as he could, his back against the wall. Tucking his knees into his chest, he stared vacantly at the floor, the screams of the girl still echoing in his ears.
He offered no resistance as the men came and led him away.
With bulky yellow gloves.
Grace leapt from one building to the next, practically flying over the rooftops.
She chanced a look behind her and saw the men running after her and catching up. She winced as the only option came apparent.
Never fly, Grace. Do you
Her parent’s instructions came
back to her. The words she had heard every single day for 13 years.
She stripped off her jacket
while she ran for her life (don’t try it) and pitched it behind her, hopefully tripping up one of her pursuers. The wind blew through the long tears in her pink shirt.
“No!” She heard one of the strangers shout behind her. She grinned. If they didn’t want her to fly then she would have to, wouldn't she? She had always been a rebel.
Grace veered toward the edge of the roof, and threw herself off the edge.
She rolled her shoulders and
unfurled her pearl-white wings, catching a warm thermal and soaring toward the clouds.
The wind tugged her hair out
from under her ears and threw it in her face. She laughed in pure joy and corkscrewed upside-down.
She felt the rope loop around her left wing and screamed as it pulled tight. She struggled in mid-air and plummeted toward the ground.
Grace felt the dart pierce her wing, and then another thudded into her back.
She swung on the end of the rope and slammed into a building, tumbling to the ground.
The world slipped into blackness.