1 Awakening

The moment she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror, it was like becoming aware for the first time. She realized at that moment that she wasn't her. The woman in the mirror was not her at all. She froze in the middle of putting on her clothes--a strictly business type gray-black pantsuit--and just stared. She had never seen the woman in the reflection, those inky black eyes, the matching shoulder-length black hair, the slim and small yet curvy figure. However, the two sets of memories she held told her everything she needed to know.

While she remembered being a student and bookworm, the woman she was now, was a fictional character from one of those books. Where she had been kind, giving, forgiving, and probably a pushover, the woman looking back at her was cruel, driven, ruthless, and vicious.

Letting out a shuddering breath, she had to prop herself up with her arms as her knees went weak.

Lyla Reyes was one of the main villains of her favorite book series. A real mastermind, pulling all the strings while staying perfectly hidden.

Trying to escape--even if only for a moment--she focused on herself. But she couldn't remember much. All the details seemed to slip her grasp--her school, age, friends, family. She couldn't even remember her name. Only two things remained clear, the contents of the books, and the feeling of having had a loving family. On that thought, her eyes started tearing, and fine streaks of saltwater ran down her face. The loss became overwhelming. Until she finally--heartbroken--curled up into a fetus position on the floor.

~~~

Her tears had long run dry--leaving salty crusts on her cheeks--when she came back out of her catatonic state. She did not know how long she had been in that state, but now that she was barely back in a more conscious frame of mind, a piece of information came to her awareness.

Lyla had to go to work--a meeting even--she at least had to call it off, or people might get suspicious.

Calming herself, as best as she could--her hands still shaking--she pulled out Lyla's--now her--phone. After taking a few deep breaths, she felt centered enough to call her secretary. It took only a moment until a clear and crisp female voice sounded out of the device at her ear.

"Yes?" Lyla tried not to think about it and just answered. "Reschedule the meeting for tomorrow, as well as my other appointments."

"Yes, Miss Reyes. I will do so immediately. Do you have any other requirements?"

"No, that's all for now." Heaving a big sigh after hanging up--relieved her voice hadn't given her away during the call--Lyla's body flopped back down, as the stress left her body.

Now she had gained a day to sort out her situation. She knew, however, that this was not much time at all, as she had a lot to do.

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In the novel series, Lyla died at the hands of a ruthless ML--because she took his sweetheart--and the way she died was not anything pretty.

That sweetheart was already in her grasp--given to her by the ML's cruel uncle--but as luck had it, the damage might be manageable. She only had the young girl for a week, but the original Lyla had already started torturing her.

But that wasn't the only problem her organization was full of snakes that wouldn't mind backstabbing her for their gain. Only their fear of her wrath held them back.

She sighed. So much for a day to think. She finished dressing, washed her face, and donned an armor of makeup. Then she called a different number. "I'm coming, stop what you're doing and prepare her for my visit."

After she ended the call, put her hand on the door handle, and took a deep breath, her whole body giving off an invisible chill--she could not waste time, she had to save a girl and herself.

~~~

The moment she entered the small cell the girl was in, she wanted to throw up--though she did not let it show on her face.--The girl was staring into space. Both arms hanging down by her sides, her wrists shackled to the folding chair she sat on. She looked broken--a girl just fourteen years old--having lived through hell in a short period.

"Free her," Lyla said coldly to the man that had entered right after her. "Then leave us."

The man was not surprised, as this was not the first time Lyla had given that exact command and did as told.

After he had exited, Lyla slowly closed in on the girl, her hands shaking because she was going to take a gamble that could cost her life.

She bent down, removed her gloves, and touched the girl's arm. The connection was immediate. It was a strange sensation, having her thoughts open to the girl.

But the next moment, the connection broke, leaving both of them confused.

While Lyla was unsure why it broke--as it was supposed to stay in place as long as they touched--she was happy to retain her personality. The girl could take control of another's mind--mind reading was only a side effect.

"What is wrong with you?" The girl's raspy voice broke into her thoughts. "Why is your mind broken?"

"Broken?" Lyla blinked, confused, "why do you think so?"

The girl furrowed her brows. "It's like you're two people, but one is dead, and the other is alien except for the emotions." The girl bit her lips and looked at her arm, where Lyla's hand still rested. "I think you broke my ability."

Lyla was stumped. She had planned to let the girl look through her mind, in the hope she would take pity on her. After all, the book had always portrayed her as exceedingly gentle. Yet here it turned out the girl's dangerous ability didn't even work on her.

Lyla took a deep breath and stood up. "Wait here for a moment. I'll be right back."

She walked to the door and stopped there for a short moment, collecting her resolve. She would have to clean house anyway, and for the girl's sake, starting now was the best time. Her bile rose, a strange weight settling in her stomach. She took a breath, trying to find calm. Then she opened the door and went through.

The man from before was already waiting on the other side, the moment she stepped out. "Miss Reyes, have you finished your session?"

"No," Lyla answered coldly. Suddenly her eyes started to glow dark red her teeth grew fangs, and strange cracks started appearing around her, streaking towards the man. He was horrified, but before he could make any movements, the cracks had reached him, and his body split into bloody pieces along its lines.

It was already over before he could even make a sound. Lyla exhaled shakily. If she didn't have to, she would not ever take any life, but the people working here were the worst of the worst. Cruel, ambitious, and callous. The original Lyla had done a great job finding and using people of all types wherever she needed them.

However, to her, the inhuman operations the original had run in this complex were unacceptable.

~~~

A few minutes later, she was back at the door. Her feets unsteady, her breathing ragged, and her stomach squeamish.

"Did you kill them all?" The raspy voice startled Lyla. She quickly turned and saw the girl beside her.

You didn't wait inside?" She asked confusedly.

The girl shook her head. "Would you have? If you had been in my situation?"

Only then did Lyla realize her foolishness. The girl had just left imprisonment. Now that freedom was in her grasp, why wouldn't she take it. "Then why are you still here?"

"Because it isn't that easy, isn't it? That's why you didn't free me immediately, and why you had to kill everyone in this building." Her insight was a piercing shine in her eyes. "I read her mind, remember."

Lyla sighed, "will you allow me to help you?"

"You hold no malice towards me--so yes, I will let you help me... however no more cages." Her gaze held a challenge.

A smile slowly spread on Lyla's face, "alright, no more cages." She held out her hand, "let's leave Kylie." And Kylie took her outstretched hand.

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