The Young Chimera

Evelyn Janine Kingston,

On behalf of the esteemed Billington University, it gives me great pleasure to offer you a place for admission in September 2087.

Sincerely,

Finnegan Furst

Acting Dean of Admissions and President of Billington University

"Look legitimate enough for you?"

Stuart ran his fingers through the hologram, expanding the flickering image. "Wow, your phone is really old."

"All of my things are really old."

He ignored her retort, his eyes wide as he reread the letter. "It's impossible... Smarts aside, the tuition must be astronomical. You could never afford it."

"I got a scholarship. It covers my freshman year."

"Then what? How will you pay for the rest of college?"

"I'll find a way. I always do."

"I can't get over it." He finally tore his gaze from the letter and looked at Eve. "The Billington?"

"The one and only, down in SoCal."

"I know where it is, I'm just--"

"An ass." She offered him a patronizing sneer and shoved her phone back into her pocket. "Pleasure doing business with you, as always."

She headed for the door, but just as she reached it, she stopped; she could hear the radio far behind her, the volume raised once again, now to its highest level.

"Now, to those out there who say, 'Heck, give these people a break,' I must correct you; chimeras aren't people. Just because they look like us doesn't mean they have the right to be regarded as people. They are aberrations. They are creatures."

The back of Eve's neck became hot, tingling with a fire that surged down her spine and illuminated her entire body. Her vision faded to darkness, a thick black that pulsed with each beat of her heart. She didn't bother to stifle it this time, despite the nagging voice that begged her to stop, that insisted she walk out the door and never look back. As she took one last breath, she allowed the power to flow through her, making its presence known with the slightest flick of her wrist.

The patrons gasped in horror as the radio dial spun furiously as if suddenly possessed. It flipped from one channel to the next, finally stopping at a booming rock anthem, the heavy bass and thumping drums echoing throughout the tiny shop.

Eve turned to look at Stuart and the others. Their faces were drained of color, their eyes gaping with fear.

"Looks like your radio is broken," she mumbled. "You should probably get it fixed."

To be fair, the correct term was humanovus: the new human. They were the first of their kind, an advanced breed with all of the same traits and DNA as the standard human, except that, for some reason modern science couldn't yet dictate, their genes were simply better. No amount of research could pinpoint a specific cause. The genetic makeups of humans and humanovi appeared identical, and scientists of every field remained frustrated by the mystery of the humanovus, for despite their physical similarities, the two beings were clearly so very different. The new humans were physically stronger with unparalleled muscle memory and stamina. They were faster, their energy boundless, their bodies rarely in need of replenishing. Their immune system and healing properties were unimaginably resilient, causing doctors to speculate that the average life expectancy of a humanovus could easily surpass one hundred and fifty years, though no one yet knew for certain.

But above all else, the most extraordinary feature of the humanovi was the power they held in their minds. There was no proof that they were inherently more intelligent than normal humans, but each humanovus possessed one particular brain function that no other human had ever been able to attain: the power to manipulate and move objects with the force of their thoughts. Telekinesis--it was a term linked to countless pieces of fiction, and yet it was now real, a mere fantasy come to fruition. Yes, the humanovi were, in fact, telekinetic, though the title itself seemed so frivolous and romantic, and thus people began referring to it as "the gift."

As is common with any sudden change in modern society, the appearance of humanovi was met with fear and apprehension. Some theorized that humanovi were simply the next step in the human evolutionary chain. Others found them to be miracles, a gift to rid the human race of disease and weaknesses. Still, others believed that the new human was brought forth by evil; they were powerful, too powerful to be good or pure. Thus the debate began--as did the riots, the protests, the persecution and prejudice. Panic ran rampant across the globe as human beings began to feel increasingly threatened by the presence of humanovi.

A freak.

Eve was especially freakish in the eyes of her peers. The typical chimera was hard to diagnose initially; a child with great muscle memory could simply be labeled a superb athlete, and a teenager who never caught a cold was just seen as the winner of the perfect attendance award. The only obvious distinction between humans and chimeras was the gift, and ironically, a public display of the gift was considered as crude and taboo as strolling the streets in the nude. Most chimeras kept their gift to themselves, locked away indoors where no one else could see or judge--if they could even control it at all, which many could not.

In fact, a majority of the public was ignorant to the details of emergence--the deliverance of the gift. Once chimeras reached their early adulthood, their gift would develop suddenly, in what felt like a random instance of mental anarchy. Shooting pain, loss of vision, a sense of displacement, and, of course, the erratic misfiring of the gift--they were all associated with emergence. Scientists maintained that age and maturity brought the deliverance of the gift, although there was an exception to the rule: the emotional intensity and exaggerated brain function triggered by extreme trauma could also precipitate emergence, at any age. That, unfortunately, is exactly what had happened to Eve, approximately twelve years too early, at the age of eight, after witnessing the gruesome death of her parents.

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a sci-fi novel by Jenna Moreci