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    Maria Catalina Higuera


My name is Asher Hexun.

This account you’re reading is my origin story.

You’ll be saying a whole lot of “what the hell!?” and “that’s impossible!” as you go through this account of my adventures as a young Dra - wait. I can’t tell you that yet.

Anyway, suffice it to say that the story I’m about to tell you will seem straight up out of a fantasy novel, no shit. I’ll tell it exactly as it happened, and allow you to draw your own conclusions as to the validity and authenticity of my account.

My story begins on a cold windy night in the middle of October.

Most kids are born in hospitals with the help of nurses and doctors. Some fathers hold a camera filming the moment of their birth; other fathers hold the mother’s hand, providing mental and moral support, encouraging her in performing the miracle of childbirth.

The baby is born, and the doctor holds up the little bundle for their awaiting parent to see. Their eyes filling with tears of joy and happiness as they finally meet their beloved child, the one they waited nine months to meet; and once the doctor hands the baby over to them, they cuddle it and tell him or her just how much they love and treasure them.

But as you probably guessed, none of this was the case for me. Like everything else that followed in my life, my entrance into this world wasn’t exactly normal.

The wind rattled against the small windows of a remote cottage in the middle of an unnamed forest as my mother pushed me out, her screams drowning out the noise outside as my father stood off to the side observing her helplessly, as she had refused any assistance from him.

With one final cry of agony, I came out onto the cold bed, her blood staining the white sheets a deep shade of crimson. “It’s done” she snarled at my father as she violently cut the umbilical cord and weakly got up, not even looking at her child as she dizzily stumbled to the bathroom.

Still keeping an eye on her, my father approached the bed and gently picked me up, cradling me in his arms and softly swaying me side to side as my cries pierced the air and ricocheted off the walls, their sound filling the entire room.

“Good job Matilda,” he said, turning towards my mother. “Your part of the deal is fulfilled - you may leave.” She scuffed, giving him one final poisonous glare as she closed the bathroom door.

Father gingerly cleaned and dressed me, checking me over to make sure I was healthy and comfortable. He remarked to himself that he would have to make me a bottle of formula milk later since it would be too much of a stretch to ask my mother to breastfeed me at least once.

When my mom came out of the bathroom half an hour later, my father was still waiting in the room to make sure she was okay. Her dark-brown eyes stared at the baby in his arms with undisguised disgust; then she turned around, grabbed her stuff, and opened the door as a gust of wind entered the room with a vengeance, prowling the room like a hungry animal, turning everything this way and that, pushing against her as she fought her way outside, and slammed the door behind her with a bang.

That was the last I ever saw of my mother. Not that I remember any of this at all, as I learned it from my father word for word as I have told it to you. It may seem rash to narrate it in such a way, but he is a man of few words and not prone to sugar coat things, however painful. It was definitely painful to my then seven-year-old self the first time he told me what had happened to my mother.

Unfortunately, life didn’t get rid of the weirdness that marked my birth. My earliest memories were of moving around from state to state and country to country, always on the move and yet never arriving at our destination. Sometimes strange people would come to visit our house and sit around the living room talking with my dad. On such occasions, I would be placed in the middle of the room and given various toys,which I would be encouraged to play with while my father and the other people observed me closely, taking notes.

After some time had passed, they would speak a while longer with my father, and then leave. These encounters were such a normal part of my life that I was actually confused when they stopped coming when I turned four, never to be mentioned again by my father. I never really got around to asking, and sometimes I still wonder if I had imagined the whole thing. It doesn’t help that no matter how hard I try I couldn't remember their faces.

It had been a long time since I even bothered to think about that deeply buried memory, its obscure presence only coming to mind as it was forcefully pulled from my subconsciousness on the morning of my fifteenth birthday as I found myself face to face with one of these mysterious individuals in a quiet dark room. That’s when everything changed… and not for the better.