Camilla Draymarch has written one published novel - Last Man Standing: The Formation of Ceol and the upcoming Children's Story The Ancient Temple, the first in a series of children's books about the adventures of a young boy living with his Great Aunt Lucy and her husband. She continues to create spanning worlds in her spare time and to pursue her education. Camilla Draymarch's books can be found online at Lulu.com
Your Sister by Camilla Draymarch
There came a time in a man’s life when he had to do something. To strike out, boldly, against the flow of everyday life. To make of himself a monument in the current of monotony.
So said Idris Tyr, and so Jupiter believed. Idris was his leader, his idol, his world, as he was the world of all who followed him, all those who called themselves the New Society: A league that placed the evolution of man first and foremost and pursued the perfect society with those Evolved on the top and all others beneath them, serving, as was their place.
Of course, there were always the small-minded resistors. These would have to be removed. Today, Jupiter had been sent to kill one of them by Idris himself: Harriet MacArthur. The most vocal opposition to Idris’s revolutionary ideas.
In preparation, Jupiter was settled in front of the television in his home, listening to her speak and loathing every word, luxuriating in how soft and despicable she was. Of course, what could an Evolved Man expect from a mere Norm Woman? It was nice for the weak to talk about equality with those stronger than they were as if it was something to be grasped. As if raising these clearly inferior humans to the level of an Evolved was sensible and plainly desirable.
As Idris put it: “Weakness speaks of equality when faced with a clearly superior being.” Those words defined Jupiter’s opinion of Harriet MacArthur and her cabal of activists.
Unfortunately, there simply weren’t enough Evolved to take the country by force, as was their right, so for the time being, they were forced to linger and lurk, guiding enlightened politicians to power and striking at those who were clearly antagonistic to the new order. Through internet-broadcasted speeches, the growing number of Evolved, and the occasional, judicial strike against those who would prevent the ascension of the Evolved.
Jupiter had known he was an Evolved since he was ten and had accidentally fallen down a mountainside. His mother had called it a miracle when he returned to her without a scratch, but he had known even then that he was destined for greatness, in spite of his failing grades and the abuses of his Father. Abuses that left less and less of an impact as the years went by until Jupiter had finally snapped and turned his rage on him, full force. The resulting “manslaughter” sent him to Juvie for the rest of his high school years, where he got a GED and was dumped back out onto the street. His Lush of a mother had offed herself in a bathtub after he rid them of the bastard who dared call himself his father.
Jupiter huffed, bending his elbows into his two hundredth push-up. For this mission, his part in their grand crusade, he needed to be in the peak of physical condition. With election day fast approaching, his window of opportunity was running quickly out and Harriet had escaped two other assassins destined to fell her soft head.
Jupiter pushed himself up and shut the TV off. Time to hit the bar before going to bed. If he was lucky, he would find Mikey in a good mood and willing to let him in on a little of the things he saw in the bottom of his glasses.
Mikey was settled against the bar of the New Hope Pub, a place that was proudly Pro-Evolved. The bartender recognized him and pulled down a bottle of the good stuff, setting it on the counter. “The grapevine tells me that our own Idris has you on an assignment.” She batted her eyelashes at him. Each one was decorated with a tiny sequin that made them sparkle like diamonds. “Why don’t you let a girl in on the secret?”
“I wish I could, Maven.” Jupiter slid over to where Mikey was sitting. “But loose lips… They sink ships."
“Old saying.” Maven made a sassy turn and strutted down the bar to where another customer – one of the New Society’s foot-soldiers – was waiting for his own drink. Maven had Evolved with perfect beauty and a sharp mind. Idris set her behind the bar to keep an eye on the drunks and the gossip, to make sure there were no traitors in the organization. It wasn’t Jupiter’s own super-strength and near invincibility, but it was something to be proud of.
Mikey, on the other hand, he was Evolved, but it didn’t show. He was always here, deep in his cups, considering eternity. Mikey’s Evolution was a bit strange. Ever since he had been a child, he had had dreams that predicted the future. Sometimes, they were strange, other times, they were hopeful, but he was always right, no matter what crazy thing he said.
Idris called him down to headquarters regularly, to check in and to keep him appraised of what the stars had in mind for his organization and his plans. Of course, Mikey didn’t like that. Sharing his visions was difficult for the Oracle. Almost as difficult as having them in the first place. Idris kept Mikey in alcohol and Maven kept an eye on him, made sure he didn’t scare any doomed recruits into running off and blowing their missions.
No one ever promised bringing about the New Society would be safe.
Mikey looked up through bleary eyes at Jupiter. “Hey, Jupe… Hook me up with a Julep, will you?” He held up his pewter cup, conspicuously empty.
“Maven!” Jupiter held up one hand and pointed at the cup. Maven made a dismissive gesture and finished up the cocktail she had been mixing. “She’ll be right over. Here, this will tide you over.” Jupiter dropped a shot of his vodka into the still-cold cup.
“Mazeltov.” Mikey toasted him and knocked it back. “What do you want, Jupe? Nevermind, I already know. Big day tomorrow. Five other people have tried and failed to kill Harriet MacArthur. What makes you think you’ll succeed?”
“Idris thinks I’ll succeed.” Jupiter poured out his own portion and knocked it back.
“Does he?” Mikey snorted.
“He’s sending me, isn’t he?” Jupiter replied, tapping his rock-hard chest and flexing one arm.
“Sure. He’s sending you.” Mikey laid his head down on the bar. “You realize how much of a risk this is? You’re Evolved, and you’re strong, Jupe, but you ain’t the sharpest knife in the block and even the sharpest knife would have trouble with MacArthur Needle.
MacArthur Needle, of course, was Harriet MacArthur’s home and the basis for her billion dollar empire. The MacArthur name was stamped on every kind of manufactured good from glasses to automobile parts. In fact, Jupe lifted his own glass slightly to check and yes, the glass had in fact been stamped with the MacArthur label. No wonder Harriet MacArthur controlled so much political power.
This presidential election would be a landmark. According to Idris, their candidate – the Senator from California, a man named Achto – had a good chance at the office if only they could keep Senator Berlioz – Harriet’s pick – from gaining too much last-minute support. If Idris decreed it, of course, it had to be true, so Jupiter was prepared to make this his biggest strike yet. If he could find a way, he would undermine the MacArthur Needle itself and bring it crashing to the ground. The three-mile high spire would fall from the skyline like Olympus from the mountaintop.
But, unfortunately, the security surrounding the MacArthur Needle was far too advanced to allow for anything so crude as an explosive. Only the weapons that nature granted him would make it past the front door.
Mikey looked up at Jupiter suddenly. “…Jupe… Do you ever wonder if we’re wrong?”
Jupiter looked down at Mikey with his ratty hair and too-thick glasses. “What do you mean, Mikey?”
“Do you ever wonder if the New Society isn’t what we’re cracking it up to be? If everyone else is right and we’re just blind?” Mikey tapped his fingers against his glass, lost in thought.
“Don’t talk like that, Mikey. Since when is Idris wrong?” Jupiter pointed out to his friend.
“Since when is Idris right?” Mikey stared bitterly at his cup, then tipped it over on the counter. “I’m going home. I’ve spent too long in this hellhole. If you want to know what’s going to happen next, you’re just going to have to find out for yourself.” And, staggering slightly, the oracle stumbled and fumbled his way free of the house.
Jupiter stared down at his dark-colored hands. Idris wrong was like the sky being pink. It didn’t make sense, what with Mikey being an Oracle and all, that he couldn’t see that. Maybe he had had another one of his dreams and the world had been topsy-turvy in it. Had to be that. He would be back here, at the bar, ready to tell others what they should do by the morning.
Jupiter poured himself another drink and mulled over it. The MacArthur stamp taunted him from the bottom.
The MacArthur Needle dominated a skyline filled with oddly-shaped and impossibly-tall buildings. Extending almost three miles into the air, it was said that the very tip pierced the atmosphere and was exposed to space. Nonsense, of course, airplanes flew higher than the needle regularly without breaking atmosphere.
Jupiter stared up at the needle, wrapped up in a grey silk suit that Idris had sent for the express purpose of helping him blend in as he ascended the Needle. If he could get into the main elevator, he would have his target in his sights. As a certifiable health nut, Harriet MacArthur was famous for insisting that there be a staircase from her penthouse garden all the way down to the ground floor. Of course, no one except for Harriet herself and her guards used the staircase.
The staircase was going to be his point of entry. He would take the elevator up to its maximum height and then slip up the last two flights through the staircase, entering the garden hopefully undetected. There were cameras, of course, but Jupiter was fast enough over short distances to fool them. Two stories of stairs was a short enough distance that by the time someone realized he had penetrated the penthouse, he would be long gone.
The whole operation went smoothly. Too smoothly. He passed the front desk unchallenged, strolling as if he belonged here, and entered the rightmost elevator, pressing the last button on its keypad. The elevator ride took almost twenty minutes and he could feel a buzzing in his ears as he rose in altitude. When he stepped off of the elevator, he was in a lush and conspicuously empty hallway.
Perhaps Mikey had seen this and it had scared him. Perhaps he had seen something go horribly wrong right at the last second.
Jupiter slipped into the staircase and sprinted up to the last door. Throwing it open, he found himself in a rose garden. A paradise. And there, right in front of him, like bait, was Harriet MacArthur, neatened and dressed for a speech, standing and dead-heading a rose bush covered in white blooms the size of dinner plates.
Rushing to complete his mission – to escape this wrongness that he felt – Jupiter threw himself forward.
Harriet turned and took the full force of his skull-crushing right fist in her petite nose. There was silence as she toppled back, felled by the blow, and the rose bush parted beneath her. In an explosion of white petals, she slipped out of sight.
Jupiter heaved shallow breaths as he leaned forward slightly to check and make sure that she was dead. He had to be sure before he bolted away down the stairs and out. Had to be sure his mission was completed. Was she dead? It was so hard to see her there in the flowers. The branches were in his way.
Then, her legs tensed and the woman – alive, somehow, impossibly – shifted upright and to her own two feet.
Harriet rose out of the thick, white blooms with a billow of their petals covering her hair and falling in cascades all around her. Their thorns hadn’t even nicked her skin and the only trace of his blow was a faint dribble of blood from her left nostril. Jupiter stared as this bloodied Valkyrie rose up from what was meant to be her death and wiped the scarlet flow from her face. Twisting into a ruby snarl, a hiss escaped from her pursed mouth. “People like you make me sick!”
A flash of realization – perhaps one that was far too late – went through Jupiter’s mind like a thunderbolt of Jove. “…You’re an Evolved!”
“Yes.” The woman threw herself into a flying kick that connected with Jupiter’s nose and made his head spin. “What did you think you were doing, coming here? Did you think you were doing God’s will? Or is this the product of some over developed sense of self-esteem?” With lightning speed, she put up two fists and unleashed a punishing blur of blows too fast for Jupiter’s senses to track. “And now what? When you were sent up here, it was to kill a human woman: One of many. But here I am: More than what you thought.”
Jupiter was knocked to the ground by a dervish, a shadow. Only when Harriet stopped moving did she coalesce back into rigid shape: Standing over him like a judge. Unforgiving. Her hair had been pulled from its neat bun and was hanging in front of her face in a sheet. There were still a few petals entangled in the bronze strands.
“You make me ill.” She spat at him. “You Neo-Nazis: Holding up a new Aryan to champion. But being stronger doesn’t make you better. Get up!” She stomped mightily, cracking the flagstone path beneath her feet. “Fight to defend your principles. If you champion any!”
Jupiter recovered himself, his paralysis fading, and he pulled up his own fists, locking his eyes on Harriet. He hadn’t expected a fight. Especially not from his target, but he had been a fighter all his life and this was no different.
But he never landed a punch.
Harried was on him the moment he stood and soon he was stumbling back from her, nearer and nearer to the open balcony. She was simply too fast to stop or even to see and she was intent on driving him back, further and further, towards the place where the tower and the sky kissed each other.
With a last, mighty kick, Harriet sent Jupiter out onto the flimsy platform. “Who do you think you are?” Her face was twisted into a mask of fury. “Do you think you’re God? That Idris is? Men like you have extended all the way back to Cain and they will extend after you.” She threw herself forward, pushing him towards the edge and tipping him over backwards.
Jupiter stumbled backwards, feet sliding on the line of tiles that marked the safe edge around the balcony. Ignored, it did nothing to stop Jupiter’s tumble out over the stories-long fall and the reeling edge. Over into the cold embrace of empty space, Jupiter fell, catching the edge in a desperate grip with one hand, feet wheeling uselessly in the air. Even an Evolved – even an advanced one – would never survive the drop. Jupiter was trying to clamber back up, pulling himself towards safety when Harriet’s booted foot landed on his hand, threatening to crush his fingers as she would an offending insect. “…You thought you were strong. Right up until the edge, you thought you were strong.”
Jupiter stared up at her, brown eyes blown wide and leaking at their corners. “Please…”
Harriet’s mouth was unyielding. “Why? I know why Idris chose you for this. You’ve killed before. men and women alike. Why should you receive mercy if they didn’t?”
Jupiter had no answer as the pressure on his knuckles slowly increased. Then, the boot rose into the air, tensing in place.
Light. Sometimes, it was so hard to walk in the light. So hard to see the flagstone path in the greenery. Harriet’s head ached. Her particular evolution had led her to have super strength and speed, but in trade, whenever she used her powers, she began to get these splitting headaches. Migraines really. Her vision was swimming slightly in the bright light from the elevator’s roof and the sudden change in elevation was not helping. The elevator was pressurized, helping the humans adjust, but when she was having a migraine, the pressurization might as well not be there.
Harriet stared off into space as her entourage fluttered. Her security guard captain was standing by, two fingers on his earpiece as he muttered orders into it. Finally, he turned to her. “We’ve taken the garbage out. What do you want us to do with it?”
“Just hand it over to the proper authorities.” Harriet replied, tired already and there was still a speech to give. The final speech she would give before election day.
“Roger.” The Captain gave his orders and the elevator came to the bottom of the tower.
Harriet stepped out in front of the needle-shaped tower into a blaze of flashing lights. On her way down from the penthouse, her entourage had swarmed her with make-up sponges and combs, restoring her to presentable condition. However, she left her clothes mussed and a section of her hair down, hanging lower over her forehead than the other side. The appointed guards flanked her as she walked out, becoming a phalanx behind her.
Marching to the podium, Harriet MacArthur prepared to give the most important words of her career. With characteristic sass, she tapped the microphone. “Is this on?” As her voice rang over the courtyard, the crowd fell quiet. “I apologize for my lateness and the state of my clothing. I have just survived an attack on my life by the New Society.” There was a gasp as she reached up, brushing her free lock back behind her ear. “I am uninjured and unshaken.” She continued. “But this attack only underlines the need for good men and women to continue to speak out.
“Idris dares call himself a revolutionary. But he is merely the newest entry into a league of men extending through human history. A coward, hiding in the shadows and sending his thugs to silence those who dare speak against his insanity. All it will take to give him the ultimate victory is for us to stand silent.
“But I will not be silent, and I call all those like-minded to speak. Do not huddle in fear, but stand united! Together, we will tip the scale against Idris and his puppet: Achto. We are a vast majority against the few maniacs who threaten our very foundations!”
There was a howl of agreement from the spectators and Harriet raised her hands for quiet. “I stand with you: Your sister. A sister of humanity and all it encompasses! We will not be torn apart! We will not be divided! When we go to vote this next Tuesday, we will stand together in support of good men: Brave men who will lead the way, with all Humans standing as one race. We are one race! We are one family! We are Human!” A triumphant fist pounded the air and the roar of the onlookers could be heard for miles.
Idris’s shadowed eyes narrowed as he gauged his sister’s speech. She had the humans on their toes and unafraid. Jupiter had failed him. no matter. The Evolved would continue to strike from the shadows. Let the small-minded men of his generation call for unity. There would come a reckoning: A reckoning unlike any other this country had seen. Soon.
He stared at the footage of his sister’s back as she stepped back into silver tower.