PANTHEON (YA paranormal)


Michael Quaid is not your average teenager—all his life he has lived in captivity under the scrutiny of the PANTHEON Foundation. Now he has escaped into a world he doesn’t understand. To survive he must depend on the help of a stranger and use his abilities to fend off those trying to capture him.


The violent flashes and loud rumbles of the storm did little to divert the tension in the operating room. The stakes were much too high for that. The highly guarded secret facility would be the birthplace of a miracle--one, not born of superstition, but that of pure science.
Dr. Edward Quaid, confident of the success of the medical procedure enlisted his wife, Amber, six months ago, to be an active participant of the program. Although Amber was reluctant to endanger their unborn child, a geneticist herself, she assisted her husband in much of the work and knew his genetic theories were sound. More than that, she trusted Edward completely and agreed to take part in his research.
At three in the morning, Amber cried out to her husband for help. When he could not, she cursed him for jeopardizing their child’s life and causing her so much pain. Edward stood next to his wife as the medical team held her trembling body down on the bed. Amber struggled desperately to break free of her restrainers.
Edward kept telling her that she was going to be all right. He was lying. She and her husband were soul mates and Amber always knew when he wasn’t telling the truth. More than that, a doctor herself, Amber knew she was beyond the threshold of pain a human body could endure.
Turning away, Edward quietly sobbed, “Why did I do this to you? Why?”
They both knew why. Dr. Edward Quaid wanted to take humankind to the next evolutionary stage by tapping into the unexplored portion of the brain. His intentions were to increase human intelligence. And until tonight his resolve was unbreakable regarding the importance of his research.
Every examination performed on Amber indicated that she was in perfect health and things were on target; until the bleeding began in the ninth month of her pregnancy. Edward had monitored the development of their unborn child as soon as Amber began to show during the second trimester. And as their son matured within her womb, his brain’s electrochemistry grew far beyond the ten watts normally produced by humans. Edward had speculated that their child’s mental energies somehow put a strain on her organs causing internal hemorrhaging.
On one given day she’d have a nosebleed, on another blood would seep from her ears. At first, Amber kept this information from her husband, in fear that he might suggest inducing an early birth endangering their child life. As time passed, it was clear she could no longer hide the truth from him as visible signs of her suffering became evident.
Edward joined in his wife’s profanities, cursing himself. His arrogance would cost him Amber and the life of their child. “Was this the price for playing God?” he cried out raising his fists in anguish.
A nurse shouted, “I can see his head!”
Amber’s wet, red eyes widened, hope had drove away some of her pain. She never believed in a God, never prayed before, but tonight, she needed Him. She needed a miracle that defied science. For the first time in her life, she prayed, not for her own sake, but for her baby boy.
For so long, she struggled to do this last thing before her body would give out. Edward, who had regained his self-control in the wake of the nurse’s excitement, encouraged Amber the entire time.
Push, honey, push. Our boy is almost here. Keep pushing.” His voice was heavy with both joy and pain.
When Amber could push no longer, her body went limp, and her head tumbled onto the sweat soaked pillow. Their child was born, yet he made no sound. Her eyes burned with rage staring up at her husband.
He did this! He’d killed their son? she cried out in her thoughts.
A moment later, her baby’s cry filled the operating room. Amber’s expression lightened as she searched for her son. She spotted him in the arms of a nurse. Joy flooded her heart—her boy was alive. The nurse turned the child so that Amber could see him.
He’s more beautiful than I’ve ever imagined, Amber thought, desperately wanting to hold him.
The room grew darker. Her sight was fading she realized. She no longer struggled against those who held her. The medical team released her. Amber’s frail arms blindly reached for Edward. He gently grasped her hands and laid them to his cheek.
“I forgive you,” she whispered and with those final words of absolution.
Amber was gone.

Edward felt the strength fade from her hand. Her finger fell lifelessly away from his face. He screamed in sorrow. His body shook as he tried to calm himself. It was the memory of his wife’s desperate prayer that finally brought him some peace. She’d struggle to give life to their child. Edward hoped he was wrong about God—hoped that Amber would be in a better place with no pain and worries.
He laid Amber’s hands across her breasts, staring into her lovely face. “I must be punished.” Edward spoke no one. He looked up at the ceiling and shouted the words again, “I must be punished!”
Startled by his father’s outburst his son’s cries stopped.
Alarmed, Edward turned to the newborn and reached for him. The nurse gently handed him the bundled infant. Edward cradled his son to his chest. When the boy opened his wondering eyes, Edward realized the color had already formed in them. They were brown like copper pennies, like Amber’s. Edward turned the baby upright and faced him toward his mother.
“That’s your mama… She’s gone because of me,” he told his son. Edward again pulled the baby to his chest, fell to his knees and cried.
Nurse Caroline Price made her way to the once powerful man. She knelt beside him, placing her arm over his shoulders. She drew him in close.
He didn’t resist.
Another nurse approached, reached out and asked for the baby. He brushed her hands aside. Nurse Price whispered something into his ear and his grip loosened. He peered protectively up at the waiting nurse. Reluctantly, he relented, handing the boy over.
Nurse Price slowly stroked her hand across his wet face, wiping away Edward’s tears. She then stood and held out a hand for him. “Eddy, please come with me.”
He was surprised to hear his name. She’d never called him by his first name before, always being the constant professional. He took her hand and rose to his full height, then allowed her to lead him across the room. Before exiting, the distraught Dr. Edward Quaid stopped, taking a final glance at Amber’s lifeless body.
“Carol,” he said to the nurse, no longer caring about keeping a professional distance. “What about the other mothers?”
Nurse Caroline Price lowered her head saying nothing.
Her silence spoke volumes. Because of his overconfident arrogance, the fate of the others would be the same as Amber’s. Their blood was on his hands too.

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