Chapter 9 .:Searching:.A Chapter by Wyatt Rose Hack
Identity: Beta X2
Date: March 30th, 2022
"Beta." He is sitting there, high and mighty as always, gazing on above me. You could at least look at me, you pretentious exhibitionist. As soon as I thought it, I knew I shouldn't have. But if he noticed, he didn't say anything; the only clue to suggest that he might have was a slight twitch on his face as he momentarily lowered his eyes down to me disapprovingly. He tilts his head back up and continues. "Have you located them yet?"
He turns that condescending look back down on me. It's astounding how eyes that pale can look so hellishly burning. "Have you or have you not located their position, Beta?"
Sighing, I acquiesce. "Yes. But, Alpha--"
"Is there a problem, X2?"
I meet his gaze, trying to match it. Even with this deep concentration, I hesitate. "You don't know what they can do."
He looks at me and disregards the statement immediately, entirely--for obviously I have misspoke, how could they be a threat, how could I possibly have spoken the truth? I hate his ostentatiousness. It's so goddamn subtle, too. I don't think he even realizes it. So, of course, instead of regarding my statement, he asks that ever-repeating question--correction: one of many. Though this one is abundantly popular these days: "Is Epsilon still with them?"
I answer after a moment of silence, mentally sighing. "Yes, certainly. She's just a little kid, Alpha."
A scoffing, mocking laugh comes from behind Alpha's seat. I had known there was someone else but now I can see who it is. Gamma is leaning against the concrete wall, arms crossed. Her dark hair obscures most of her face, but peering through it are her luminescent deep pink eyes, shimmering in the darkness. Now they turn to look at me as she raises her head. She has a thin-lipped smirk spread over her face. She doesn't speak but her thoughts swirl into my head: Really, Beta? Is that all? Is that what we've been fighting for, for six years?
I dive toward her, battle-ready, but Alpha holds a hand up. I freeze, and Gamma's smirk disappears. He stays there, not even looking at us, his divine palm spread wide open. "Beta. Gamma." He starts, blinking slowly. He turns and looks at both of us, one at a time, fixing us each with a deep stare before looking away. He breathes in deeply. "You may leave now, X2, X3. And none of this querulousness," He adds as we step towards the door. "You know this is no time for it."
It's never time, for me.
One our way out, we meet Delta standing in the doorway. He's leaning against it, his head cocked to the side. He gazes at us with his narrow, bored eyes and clicks his tongue.
"X4." Comes Alpha's voice from within the chamber. At this, Delta turns his head, a subtle flick of his hair and a blink. "Summon the pentagrammos for me, if you will."
"Right." Delta says, and looks back at Gamma and me with his perpetual gazing skepticism, as if he is always studying you for flaws, judging them one by one. After a moment, Gamma moves to stand beside him and places a hand on her cocked-up hip. They both stand there condescendingly gazing at me before they walk off together.
You b******s, I think at them, darkening my gaze, standing put. How dare you. You think you're important around here, just because you--
Beta. Alpha interrupts me.
Alpha. I try to calm my tone. Is there as much as a difference in thoughts as there would be in speech? This method lacks facial expression, I suppose. I try to decide if this is a negative thing or a positive one.
You need to get her back, Beta. Comes another one of the echoed phrases.
Yes, Alpha, I understand. I'm working on it.
Speed up the process, X2. I require my Fifth. My pentagrammos are incomplete.
I understand, I answer, trying to keep from sighing--mentally or aloud--in exasperation.
Just get her, Beta. Bring my Epsilon back to me.
I think to myself, you act as if you actually care about us. You're not the father, you're the overbearing brother who has to take his place. It doesn't make you perpetually competent. Even you, Alpha, have your negative qualities. All I think back to him is, I'll get her.
The pentagrammos walk past me as they enter Alpha's room--albeit without their number 1, our X5, the missing Epsilon. They walk in order of rank, of course, in a perfect, memorized line: Kappa in front, because of Epsilon's absence; he walks in his proud adolescent way, his shoulders squared and his strides long, his roundish juvenile face splattered with freckles and framed by shaggy red hair. Next is Omicron, steady and broad-shouldered, walking along in his forever-stoic, ignorant way, his limp brown hair cropped short, and somehow even his bright pink eyes look dull and insipid. And last, of course, is Upsilon, timidly following as she tries to find the perfect distance behind Omicron, one hand nervously drawn up to her chest as she blinks around like a mouse with her quick pink eyes at her surroundings. Even being a pentagrammos, Upsilon is well-aware of her inferior position. She is the only one who looks at me as she passes, a soft glance, a nod, before she continues on into Alpha's room and the door is closed.
I stare after them for a moment and then turn to leave. As I'm walking away, I hear Alpha in my head again.
There are supposed to be five of us in this room, Beta.
I know. I understand.
She is the first one, Beta. The most important. Our Fifth.
I know. Don't you think I know how important she is? I'm searching.
And even that you can't get right.
© 2012 Wyatt Rose Hack
Wyatt Rose Hack
AboutI'm a Portlander who goes to a democratic school and loves words and anything science related. Among my favorite authors are Barbara Kingsolver, Ron Currie Jr., Jonathan Safran Foer, Nancy Huston, Jef.. more..