Fractured A Slated Novel - By Teri Terry

Rain has many uses.

Holly and beech trees like those around me need it to live and grow.

It washes away tracks, obscures footprints. Makes trails harder to follow, and that is a good thing today.

But most of all, it washes blood from my skin, my clothes. I stand, shivering, as the heavens open. Hold out my hands and arms, rub them again and again in the freezing rain, traces of scarlet long gone from my skin but I can’t stop. Red still stains my mind. That will take longer to cleanse, but I remember how, now. Memories can be parcelled up, wrapped in fear and denial, and locked behind a wall. Brick walls, like Wayne built.

Is he dead? Is he dying? I shake, and not just from the cold. Did I leave him suffering? Should I go back, see if I can help him. No matter what he is, or what he has done, does he deserve to lie there alone and in pain?

But if anyone finds out what I’ve done, I’m finished. I’m not supposed to be able to hurt anyone. Even though Wayne attacked me, and all I did was defend myself. Slateds are unable to commit acts of violence, yet I did; Slateds are unable to remember any of their past, yet I do. The Lorders would take me. Probably they’d want to dissect my brain to find out what went wrong, why my Levo failed to control my actions. Maybe they’d do it while I still lived.

No one must ever know. I should have made sure he was dead, but it is too late now. I can’t risk going back. You couldn’t do it then, what makes you think you can now? A voice that mocks, inside.

Numbness spreads through skin, into muscle, bones. So cold. I lean against a tree, knees bending, sinking to the ground. Wanting to stop. Just stop, not move. Not think or feel or hurt, ever again.

Until the Lorders come.


I get up. And my feet stumble into a walk, then a jog, and finally they fly through the trees to the path, along the fields. To the road, where a white van marks the place Wayne disappeared: Best Builders painted down the side. And I panic that someone will see me coming out of the woods here, by his van, the place they will eventually look when his absence is noted. But the road is empty under an angry sky, raindrops pounding so hard against the tarmac they bounce back up again as I run.

Rain. It has some other use, some other meaning, but it trickles and runs through my mind like rivulets down my body. It is gone.

The door opens before I get to it: a worried Mum pulls me inside.

She mustn’t know. Just hours ago I wouldn’t have been able to hide my feelings; I didn’t know how. I school my face, take the panic out of my eyes. Blank like a Slated should be.

‘Kyla, you’re soaked.’ A warm hand on my cheek. Concerned eyes. ‘Are your levels all right?’ she says, grabs my wrist to see my Levo, and I look at it with interest. I should be low, even dangerously so. But things have changed.

6.3. It thinks I’m happy. Huh!

In the bath I get sent to have, I try again. To think. The water is steaming hot and I ease in, still numb. Still shaking. As the heat begins to soothe my body, my mind is a jumbled mess.

What happened?

Everything before Wayne seems hazy, like looking through smudged glass. As if watching a different person, one who looks the same outside: Kyla, five foot nothing, green eyes, blond hair. Slated. A little different to most, maybe, a bit more aware and with some control issues, but I was Slated: Lorders wiped my mind as punishment for crimes I can no longer remember. My memories and past should be gone forever. So what happened?

This afternoon, I went for a walk. That’s it. I wanted to think about Ben. Waves of fresh pain roll through with his name, worse than before, so much so that I almost cry out.

Focus. Then what happened?

That lowlife, Wayne: he followed me into the woods. I force myself to think of what he did, what he tried to do, his hands grabbing at me, and the fear and rage rise up again. Somehow he made me angry, so full of insane fury I lashed out without thought. And something inside changed. Shifted, fell, realigned. His bloody body