Authors: Kayla Howarth
Tags: #paranormal, #science fiction, #dystopian, #abilities, #teen 13 and up, #young adullt, #teen and young adult romance
By Kayla Howarth
The Institute Copyright
© 2014 by Kayla Howarth
Cover Design by Wicked
This book or any
portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner
whatsoever without the express written permission of the
regarding permission, write to:
Kayla Howarth -
permissions - [email protected]
This is a work of
fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and
incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or
used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
I can smell
summer; freshly cut grass and rain in the air. It’s technically
still spring, but in a few short weeks, I will be free.
I will be free
from school, free from assignments, and free of having to be
cautious and alert for six hours a day, five days a week. I won’t
have to worry about drawing attention to myself or my brother. I
won’t have to worry about blending in. I can just be me.
Dad has only
one rule for us while attending school: Don’t draw attention to
yourselves and don’t excel in anything. Keep your head down, your
grades average and don’t get too close to people. Okay, so that’s
more like five rules, but they are basically the same thing – be
aren’t really for me, they are for my brother Shilah. I bend the
rules where I can and in return Dad gives me a little leeway. I’m
not the Defective one after all. I’ve always hated that term,
– it implies that Shilah is broken. He’s not. He
just happens to have visions of the future. It’s a little strange,
yes, but he’s not dangerous like everyone assumes. He’s not
dangerous like the others.
lives, they drill it into us that Defective people are too reckless
and too unpredictable to live in society with ‘normal’ people. So
we have to hide Shilah in plain sight. We try to fit in, keep to
ourselves as much as possible and keep suspicious behaviour down to
I fear that one
will wake up Defective. I fear that I will become a
burden on my family. Guilt consumes me at these thoughts though,
because I don’t want Shilah to think he is a burden to me, he
While I don’t
blame Shilah for the way we live, I’ve always assumed that when I
graduate school, get married and move out, I might have a sort of
sense of freedom, like maybe I could start relaxing. I could live a
normal life and not be overly cautious of what I said or did all of
the time. I don’t know why I would think that though, surely when I
move out I will still have contact with Shilah.
Maybe deep down
I know we can’t keep up this charade forever and he will end up at
the Institute; where they say he belongs.
I hate myself
when I think like this. I love my brother and I will do anything to
protect him. I just can’t shake the feeling that we are going to
lose him no matter what we do.
I walk to the
train station after another gruellingly long and boring day at
school. Maybe if I was allowed to apply myself in my classes I
would enjoy it more, but purposefully being average at school is
actually harder than one would think. I realise how backwards my
dad would sound to an outsider – what parent doesn’t want their
children to excel? A father of a Defective child, that’s who.
rain that passed through earlier has moved on, but I’m still wet.
My long brown hair is knotty and stringy from the humidity and it
sticks to my shoulders and back. I just want to get home and take a
I’m so focussed
on getting to the station on time that I don’t concentrate so hard
on my footing. The pavement changes from concrete to that slick,
painted tile type flooring that leads to the train platform. Add
that to the residual water on my shoes and I know I’m going down
before I even fall. I just don’t have the time or the reflexes to
stop it. I slip, one leg going out in front of me, one curling up
underneath as I fall to a heap on the ground, my hands springing
out to my side to catch my fall. My school bag goes flying and I
start to wish I had actually zipped it up before leaving. Will I
I crawl around,
putting my belongings back in my bag and then try to get up
quickly, embarrassed by my fall. But as I put my foot underneath me
to push myself back up, I slip again.
freaking kidding me?
I scold myself.
Next thing I
feel is an arm under my elbow, helping me up. I stand to my feet
and go to thank my rescuer when I look up at him and am met with an
intense feeling of wanting to fall again – right into his arms.
Piercing green eyes stare at me, so glassy I can almost make out my
own brown eyes reflected in his. His brown hair sits shaggy around
his forehead and neck. He’s still holding onto my arm when I
realise he’s saying something.
“Are you okay?”
he asks. At least, I think that’s what he asked.
Allira, real articulate.
“I asked if you
were okay?” he raises an eyebrow when I don’t respond again. “Did
you hit your head or something? Or are you always this slow?”
“I’m fine!” I
say, a little on the defensive side as I’m brought out of my
stupor. I yank my arm out of his grip and start to walk off. I
don’t think I could be any more embarrassed.
welcome!” he shouts after me. “It’s a good thing your bitch chip
didn’t get affected by your fall,” he yells loud enough to make
everyone look at me. Smirks and entertained grins cross my
I was wrong, I
could be more embarrassed.
I kneel over
his seemingly lifeless body, one of his hands clasped in both of
mine. His breathing is shallow and gurgled. The blood coming from
his ears, nose and mouth tells me that he is in big trouble. If
someone doesn’t come and help him soon, he’s not going to make it.
But no one will come. No one is stupid enough to get involved,
apart from me. With any luck, someone nearby heard the crash and
has cared enough to call an ambulance. That would be lucky for Jax
anyway, not so much for me.
I shouldn’t be
here, I never should have got involved, but what was I meant to do?
Was I meant to keep walking, pretend like I didn’t see the smoke,
leave Drew and Jax to die? I couldn’t just run away, but now I’m
wondering if it was a wasted effort; Jax is dying right in front of
me and I can’t do anything to stop it. Drew is unresponsive. He is
conscious but I think he is in shock. He sits on the other side of
his friend, staring blankly at the wreckage that was his car.
As I look
around at the scene before me – a burnt out car, two bloodied
teenage boys and then me covered in dirt and smelling of smoke, I
have the urge to run. That’s what I should have done in the first
place. I’m not Defective but when you live in the world I do, that
doesn’t matter. Any kind of inexplicable stunt is considered
suspicious. A smallish seventeen year old like me, pulling two boys
– one of whom is on the rugby team at school – away from a burning
car? Yeah, that would be considered suspicious.
If I leave now,
maybe no one will even know I was here, other than Jax and Drew. I
try to slip my hand out from Jax’s but he grasps it tighter. He
coughs as he tries to talk. It startles me, I didn’t even realise
he was conscious.
he says between gasping breaths. I have to stay now, I can’t just
leave him here to die alone.
I should have
just caught the train instead of walking home from Ebb’s house. Why
didn’t I just catch the train? It would have been easy, it’s the
easiest way to get around this town. Actually, it is the easiest
way to get around the entire country. Now that the west coast is
uninhabitable, our city is pretty central to everything. Even
though the local trains around Eminent Falls are substantially
slower than the bullet train out of the city, it’s still less than
ten minutes from Ebb’s house to mine. But no, I had to walk today
because of how hot it’s been – I didn’t feel like sitting in a
train car, next to a sweaty, smelly stranger.
again and it makes me feel useless, I should be doing something.
The distant sound of sirens fills my ears and I sigh in relief,
finally Jax will get the help he needs. Maybe they can still save
their way, you just have to hold on a little bit longer,” I plead
respond though. I can’t tell any more if he’s breathing and I can’t
help but think the worst has happened; he’s already gone.
something like this would happen now, when I finally feel like we
have found a town we can settle down in. We’ve been here for three
years and I think that’s the longest we have stayed anywhere, other
than when we lived in the city with my aunt. Things seem to be a
lot calmer here. It’s one of the last farming towns left in the
entire country; since the proliferation of laboratory grown foods,
the organic, fresh food industry has become somewhat of a luxury.
People seem to be more laid back and relaxed here than people in
the city. Eminent Falls feels somewhat secluded from the rest of
the country and that’s what I like about it. While it is a small
town which are notoriously gossipy, I find it easier to fit in
here. Logically, one would think it would be easier to blend in in
a busy city crowd but when I lived there, I just felt like there
were more eyes that could stare at us and try to figure out our
secret. My younger brother Shilah fits in well here and it’s easy
for him to stay out of trouble. Dad likes it here too. We have our
own farm and he only has to deal with people on weekends when the
council closes off the main street of town for the local produce
market. Dad is not exactly what you would call a people person so
the arrangement works in his favour. I think Eminent Falls is the
first place in a long time that feels like home and not just a
place to get by for a while. Now we’re probably going to have to
The feeling of
relief I had when I heard the sirens immediately dissipates when I
see that following the ambulance, is a police car and following the
police car is a sedan with the Institute logo on the side. Why are
people from the Institute here, have they already come to take me
away? I didn’t even do anything! I am not Defective.
I get up and
move out of the paramedics’ way so they can tend to Jax. I don’t
know where to stand so I start walking towards the crowd of people
that have suddenly gathered around now that the authorities are
here. I hope I can blend in and then sneak away.
startles me, “Excuse me, Miss?”
No luck at sneaking away then I guess. I turn to find the police
officers approaching. Everything inside of me is screaming at me to
run but I know better than to do that; they’ll come looking for me
and will probably discover Shilah instead.
“So what did
you see here today Miss … uh what is your name?” the taller
policeman asks me as the shorter, pudgy one stands with a pen and
notebook, ready to take down my answers.
Make up an
I think. Oh who am I kidding, I’m not quick enough
to think on my feet.
“And your last
name?” the short officer asks in an annoyed tone, like it should
have been a given that they want my full name.