As his fingers curled around the object he was blasted with a memory, one strong enough to obliterate the walls of his prison. You can read the previous instalments by clicking on the appropriate link: Part 1 – Part 2.
An instant later the world dropped away and he was lying in a hospital bed, body broken and twisted; a shadow of its former self.
“Dad?” he croaked, staring into the familiar face.
“Welcome back, son. It’s good to see you.”
He swallowed, his throat so dry it burned. “What happened?”
“There’s time for all that. I’m glad you made it back to us.” His dad’s voice was clouded with unexpected emotion.
Theo would have pressed for details if they weren’t already circling his brain, like a movie on fast forward. The moment he closed his eyes the accident flashed into view, like it had been waiting to surprise him behind darkened lids.
He saw himself at the Academy, among a group of his peers. They were all gifted, unlike him, and yet he felt a familiar sense of peace.
A large globe sat in the centre of the room, and Johnson, one of the founders, was demonstrating his ability to the group. He had a handful of clay figures in his hand, and he used them as part of the show, flaunting his gift. Theo had never liked him. He remembered that well enough.
Hannah bounced up from her seat, challenging Johnson before he could. She was the new girl. He didn’t know her very well, but she had the gift of sight and…
Theo’s eyes snapped open; the scenes from his vision intruding on the small hospital room. “Oh, god,” he muttered, reeling from his discovery.
“What is it?” his father asked, voice rising in panic.
“I know what the drones represent.”
“What?” His father’s face creased in confusion, before settling back to concern. “You were in an accident, buddy. You were heading home from the Academy and your car hit a bus. Thank God you’re alive.” He pressed a button on the wall above Theo. “You’ve been in a coma for over a week.”
Theo’s mouth dropped open when the doctor walked in. It was him, the old man from the dream. The one who’d called himself his grandfather.
“Great. You made it,” he said, the words echoing back to the room at the top of an endless staircase. “Let’s check you over.”
“I’ll wait outside,” his father said, throwing the doctor an odd look.
“How’re you feeling, Theo?” he asked when they were alone.
“I know what the drones represent,” Theo answered, impatient now.
“I was fighting against the machines, wasn’t I? I can control electricity.”
To demonstrate his new discovery he sent the heart monitor into overdrive, stealing a laugh from the old man.
“Finally,” he said, moving forward to turn off the monitor. “But do you remember who I am?”
Theo squinted his eyes, trying to pluck the memory from his brain. “You can’t be my grandfather,” he said, and then remembered the conversation from his dream. They’d been speaking of his biological father. He could see that now.
“For a long time you didn’t remember your real father. After the incident at the factory, your brain shut down so tightly, not even your gift could break free,” he explained. “But with a little help from Johnson, we were able to gain access to your dreams.”
“But something went wrong?” Theo guessed.
“It was too much, too soon, and you got stuck in the dream. You associated your emerging gift with a threat, hence the drones. Your body was actually fighting the very thing that was trying to help you.”
Theo turned when he heard voices in the hall and knew they didn’t have much time.
“You’re gift will serve us all when the time comes. Until then, you must go on as normal and continue to attend the Academy. Johnson will teach you.”
“Not him. Please, anyone but him,” Theo begged.
“I don’t make the rules. I enforce them.” The old man, his grandfather, he was beginning to realise, jabbed the switch on the monitor. “When it’s safe I’ll tell you all about our work, and the truth about your father.”
“Wait,” Theo croaked, as he began to walk out of the room. “Are you really a doctor?”
The responding grin made him look positively youthful. “I have talents of my own,” he said, and slipped from the room.
Theo’s mind was reeling, but he didn’t have time to digest the information before the door opened again.
“I have a friend of yours,” his father said. “She’s been here every day.”
Hannah stepped around him with an armful of books. “Just call me his guardian angel,” she said, and winked.
On a weary sigh Theo relaxed back against the pillows. “It’s better than stalker anyway,” he said and she laughed.
I hope you enjoyed it. Rachel and I had great fun working together.
Thanks for reading.