I bit the bullet and pulled in my nerves and created an audio of the first chapter of Malevolence! I recorded it with my very own dulcet tones…. XD And, once you have finished listening, you can read the second chapter below the video!!

Chapter Two…. (see below)

Chapter 2

Kai Burton stared out the train window at the passing landscape, fully aware of the unease that radiated from the man in the seat opposite. The older man hid himself from Kai behind a broadsheet newspaper that he held out high and wide. It was clear that he felt uncomfortable—almost fearful—of Kai’s brooding silence and hulking size.
Kai was over six feet tall with wide shoulders and a muscular physique. His facial features adorned a façade that rarely smiled these days. More often it smirked in annoyance. His blue eyes were tired and heavily lidded, something that often gave the impression he was bored or uninterested. Yet Kai was more attentive than most. Sharp witted and intelligent, he hid his attributes behind a bored and hostile exterior to deliberately appear unapproachable. This was why the man with the paper felt so uneasy in his presence. It suited Kai, made his life easier.
Once a soldier, Kai had left the army some years ago. While he never lost his regimented body posture, he looked less like a soldier than he did, perhaps, a body builder. His bulk was often another reason for people avoiding him, and again, this suited him fine.
His hair usually sat like a messy mop atop his head, but today, it was neatly combed back and tidy. In fact, his entire presentation was more pleasing than usual. Dressed in a suit and tie, Kai felt like a gorilla that had squeezed into a monkey skin. He was aching to be free of the restrictive clothing and pull on some jeans and a t shirt.
As he tugged on his tie for the hundredth time, he stared at the window. His eyes focused on the reflection of the newspaper the man was pretending to read. Kai’s nostrils flared and jaw tightened as he read the words: Kali Institute of Research on the front page. The facility was his home, but never had he loathed such a place as he did the institute. The words disturbed memories that he purposely buried. Uninvited and unwanted, the memories sped through his mind and made him squirm uncomfortably in his seat. Almost four years since those memories were created, yet he remembered everything in vivid detail. It was when his life was split into two definitive timelines and he changed from being Kai Burton the average Joe, to Kai Burton, mind freak extraordinaire.
The tie suddenly felt like it was really choking him and so he loosened it and pulled it from his neck. Opened the first button of his shirt and sighed as he gave into the memories and thought about the past.
At the time his life changed, Kai had not long left the army. Out of work and not quite sure of what to do with himself, he answered an advert in his local paper. It had called on volunteers to join an in–house research project for the testing of a serum named Mentis–A3,or MA3 for short. He was a curious man, and with the research being hailed as a miracle serum with extraordinary regenerative properties, he decided to join. Having lived through many battles, he knew a regenerative serum could come in handy on the battlefront. The two thousand pound payment included was a bonus. He even talked his friend Logan into it and they joined forty nine others in the initial testing. They all learned the hard way that the serum was much more than advertised. In fact, even the man who ran the institute, Graham Summers, had not known the exact intent behind the research. MA3 changed the minds of the recipients who reacted positively. They had all been fooled by the creator of MA3: Louise Somerville.
Kai despised the woman. She was a genius by all accounts, a well known rising star that everyone clamoured to have on their payroll. But she had a superiority complex born of the vast intelligence she possessed. She used this to her advantage, often at the cost of others, Kai included. She had the skills of a scientist, the patience of a saint, but Kai soon found out that she was an odious soul with malignant ideals and intentions. Her malicious mind possessed far darker aspirations than her angelic face portrayed. She was the reason Kai sat so uncomfortably on a train bound for Glasgow.
He was hunting her.
Kai pulled himself from his thoughts, shook his head then closed his eyes. Pressed a hand to his forehead and tried to bury the memories and accompanying emotions. They would only be detrimental to his mission should he become bogged down with them. They could also be used against him. He took a deep breath and laid his head back on the head rest and managed to bury the memories for now. Kai tried to ignore the thoughts forced upon him by the man opposite. He sensed the thoughts as easy as hearing them spoken out loud.
I hope he gets off the train at the next stop. Wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark street at night, that’s for sure. Looks dodgy. He could be an ex–prisoner for all I know. Who is he kidding, all dressed up. You can dress yourself up all you like, mate, but I’ve got your number.
Kai smiled and the thoughts stalled. It unnerved the man, which was Kai’s exact intention.
He sat up straight as he sensed his travelling companion return from the food carriage. Long before she was even close, he sensed Connie’s mind as she walked awkwardly along the center aisle with disposable cups of fresh tea in each hand and a sandwich tucked under her arm.
Connie Martins was his colleague, ex–lover and friend. They first met during the MA3 trial and became close—as did they all following what happened. She was one of only three people in the world that Kai trusted implicitly with his condition, and his life. He turned to greet her as she sat down beside him. Took the cup of tea that she offered, and smiled.
“I see the weather is as good as usual,” Connie remarked as the first droplets of rain hit the window.
She smiled at the man with the newspaper as she blew on her tea to cool it. Her sharp eyes quickly read the headline on the front of the broadsheet. Kai sensed her thoughts before she even turned to look at him. She already knew what was running through his mind and not because she could read it, but because she knew him so well.
“Are you okay?” She asked quietly.
Kai nodded and offered her a tired smile. Connie was not like him and the others. She had been a volunteer in the MA3 trial but had failed to manifest any of the abilities Kai and the others had. She was frustrated by the fact and jealous of those who reacted positively, but Kai considered her the lucky one.
Ever since his mind was changed by the Mentis–A3 serum, Kai rarely found peace of mind. He struggled every day with the magnitude of banality and mundane dullness bought by the in–pouring of psychic information from others. It was exhausting, frustrating, and draining. Kai often wondered if it would drive him insane one day. He heard other people’s thoughts, endured their emotions and lived their nightmares. A living receiver, Kai was open to all and everyone that came within his mental range. Day and night.
He did not pretend to understand what happened to himself and the others, but knew that MA3 had basically rewired their brains. Those who reacted positively were broken into two groups: Adepts and Psychers. The main difference in the two groups was purely based on abilities. Psychers could receive emotional information, but not transmit it. Adepts were much more powerful as they could not only receive the same emotional information, but also transmit it. Not only that, they had the ability to read minds and manipulate them. Could easily communicate with their minds alone and delve into the thoughts of others.
Kai Burton was an Adept.
For instance, right at that second, the man opposite was wondering if they were a couple, while Connie was wishing she had put on a coat instead of the light jacket she currently wore.
“Are you linking again?” Connie asked as she turned towards him. “Please stop.” She said it with a smile that conveyed more than just amusement. Her annoyance was more at herself for never having developed his abilities. She crossed her legs at the knees and sat back in her seat.
The man with the newspaper relaxed with her presence and Kai heard quite clearly the thought that passed through the guy’s mind. Kai coughed to cover up the fact he was laughing then looked to Connie and linked with her mind.
He thinks you are…beautiful.
He watched Connie squirm in her seat as she flushed with embarrassment. Her lips tightened and Connie cleared her throat then glared at Kai. She arched an eyebrow as she gently kicked him with her foot. Kai chuckled and looked back towards the window. He watched the rain form long rivulets that streamed diagonally across the glass as the train sped forward. The sky outside was darkening with heavy clouds that promised a heavier deluge to come.
“What time are we due to arrive?” He asked and sipped his less than satisfactory tea.
Just after five. “Just after five,” Connie sighed with irritation. She knew Kai already knew the answer as soon as her reply manifested in her mind.
Don’t worry, I won’t do it any more, he assured her as his lips twitched with a smile.
There was no witty comeback, no annoyance or begging for a promise. Connie took him completely at his word. She knew that the only reason he was receiving her thoughts was not through some willing, perverse, invasion of privacy. It was because his mind was open as it searched for information pertaining to their mission. Reading her mind was simply a consequence of his psychic surveillance.
True to his word, Kai did not read her mind again. In fact, he realized he was wasting time and energy using his powers at all. It was tedious hearing all the thoughts of the people surrounding them. Each thought was as mundane as the next. Thoughts of work, schedules, statistics, shopping, dog food, hunger, the need to eliminate and the wishes to rest. Such were the thoughts of normal people sitting on a train on its way to Glasgow on a cold, rainy, Wednesday afternoon.
Kai was thankful he took the time to learn to block out thoughts. It took months of practice to master it and he found it vital to save his sanity. He shut out the psychic noise to a much more tolerable level until it fell into silence. Rare and difficult to obtain, Kai believed that silence was golden.
The train slowed and pulled into a station. The man opposite folded his newspaper and tucked it under his arm then moved to the exit. Kai lifted his backpack from between his feet and sat it on the small table. Opened the catch and pulled out a manilla folder with a photograph stapled to the upper right corner. It was of a young man with dark hair and dark, expressive eyes. Kai flicked through the information contained within before passing the folder to Connie. She stared at the photo for a long time before she opened the file.
“Do you really think she’s tested again?” she asked as she cast a cursory glance over the contents.
“I’m sure of it.” Kai replied as he closed the folder over and pointed to the photograph. “It’s all in the eyes.”
“Yes,” Connie agreed as she stroked the edge of the folder with her index finger. “I think you’re right.”
Benn Campbell stared out of the colour photograph. He looked as tired and haunted as Kai did on his best days. At thirty–four, he was a lifeguard at his local leisure centre. His past was unremarkable, a civilian with no criminal record or special attributes.
But less than two days ago, Benn Campbell had searched for information on Louise Somerville via an internet search engine. Considering there had been no trace of Louise for over two years, Benn’s internet query sparked a fresh search for the missing researcher. To Kai, Benn was clearly affected by MA3. He was a Psycher at least, might even be an Adept. All of this troubled Kai.
It meant there was one man out with the original research that had been tested with MA3. There could be others for all Kai knew. He had long suspected that the main goal of the Mentis–A3 trial had been purely to test it before Louise tried it on herself. It stood to reason that Louise Somerville had already taken the serum. She might even be an Adept.
If this was true, why was she still testing? And, why was one of her lab rats searching for her?



About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: Frankie:

Posted on March 18, 2016, in Frankeh Updates, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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