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Promise (A Frost Files Story)

A Teagan Frost episode from the archives.

By Jackson FordPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 11 min read
2

The Frost Files is my scifi thriller series published worldwide on Orbit Books. The first book in the series, The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind, has been reprinted seven times and sold over 25,000 copies. The series was recently optioned for TV by CBS/Secret Hideout.

The Frost Files stars Teagan Frost - government agent, wannabe chef, psychokinetic. She and her black ops team, China Shop, constantly get into wild adventures—usually involving fried chicken, 90s rap, and dick jokes.

I've written a few short stories starring Teagan along the way. This is one of them. It's called 'Promise'. It takes place when Teagan was 16, locked up at a secret government facility so they could study her power...'scuse me, her ability (you'll see). At the time of this story, she was still known by her birth name, Emily Jameson.

This story originally went out exclusive to my newsletter subscribers. Sign up here! You'll get fresh dick jokes and 90s rap references in your inbox every week. I'm still working on the fried chicken.

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CLEARANCE: TOP SECRET / EYES ONLY

INTERVIEW SESSION AT FEDERAL LOGISTICS FACILITY, WACO, TEXAS, 16 OCTOBER 2014

INTERVIEWER: DR ALANA KELSO

SUBJECT: EMILY JAMESON

INTERVIEW COMMENCES 4:18PM CENTRAL TIME

(Observing Agent’s note: subject has already tried to escape the facility several times. While she is able to successfully manipulate machinery and locks some distance from her, she does not have enough control over her power to subdue staff in numbers. In addition, application of low voltage electricity renders her power insufficient for a short period of time. She has already spent several periods in observation after mild electric shock. At the time of this conversation, she had not attempted escape for several days.)

INTERVIEWER: Good morning Emily. I’m Dr Kelso. You can call me Alana, if you like. How are you feeling today?

SUBJECT: Your burgers suck.

INTERVIEWER: I'm sorry?

SUBJECT: Well, not your burgers, obviously. The ones they serve in this place. There was one on the little dinner tray last night, and it was honestly the worst burger I've ever eaten in my life. The. Worst.

INTERVIEWER: Emily—

SUBJECT: I mean, in some ways, the chef knew what he was doing? He didn't overload the burger with toppings. The cheese was okay, and there was a good pickle-lettuce ratio. But the patty? What was he thinking? It was like he was trying to do some kind of smash burger, but he let it cook too long first and so all the juices leaked out when he squashed it. It was like trying to chew sawdust.

INTERVIEWER: And how does that make you feel?

SUBJECT: (Inaudible)

INTERVIEWER: Emily, I know this is probably quite difficult for you…

SUBJECT: Oh, do you?

INTERVIEWER: This isn't where you saw yourself being. But I'm sure that if we reframe the situation, you'll feel a lot better about things.

SUBJECT: You want to reframe the government holding me against my will? Hey, you! Yes, you, whichever one of you is looking through the camera. I'm an American citizen. I am old enough to buy a firearm in Montana. I can sing all the words to the Star-Spangled fucking Banner. I have rights.

INTERVIEWER: Would singing help you feel better?

SUBJECT: What kind of dumbass joke of a question is that? (Low muttering, barely audible on the recording) Also I don't actually know the words to the Star Spangled Banner…

INTERVIEWER: I'd like to stay on the topic of reframing, if you don't mind. Emily, you're an extraordinary individual. I've been shown the videos, and…well, it's quite something. You could use your power for good, if you let us help you.

SUBJECT: Ability.

INTERVIEWER: What’s that?

SUBJECT: It's not a power. It's an ability. Some people can shoot three-pointers. Or they can write really well. I can move things without touching them. It’s an innate ability. I've had psychokinesis since I was born.

INTERVIEWER: Really? It says here…ah, here we are, yes, it says here that it was unknown as to when you acquired your telekinesis. It wasn’t clear from your parents’ research notes—

SUBJECT: Goddamnit.

INTERVIEWER: Emily…

SUBJECT: Slip of the tongue. Forget I mentioned it. Also, just by the way, it's psychokinesis, not telekinesis.

INTERVIEWER: Aren’t they the same thing?

SUBJECT: Whatever. My power. I get to name it.

INTERVIEWER: I thought you preferred the term ‘ability’—

(Observing Agent’s note: At this stage the subject tore the camera off the wall and proceeded to attack Dr Kelso with it. The interview resumed after the subject was threatened with further electric shocks.)

INTERVIEWER: I don't want to be your enemy. Truly, I don't. And I apologise for what I said earlier, that was thoughtless of me. You should of course be able to define your ability however you want.

SUBJECT: Whatever.

INTERVIEWER: Perhaps you could tell me a little about your family.

SUBJECT: They're dead. There. We’ve covered it.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, I believe so. And my condolences for your loss. I understand that this may be a little upsetting for you, but the folks who brought you here have some questions about their research. Do you think you're strong enough to answer them?

SUBJECT: What is your accent?

INTERVIEWER: It’s not important right now.

SUBJECT: Yeah, but you’ve got almost like a southern tang going. You ever spend time in Georgia? Florida?

INTERVIEWER: Changing the subject isn't going to make this any easier, Emily. How old were you when your parents began testing you?

SUBJECT: If you have their research, and I'm assuming you do, then you know the answer that question already.

INTERVIEWER: I'm looking for your perspective.

SUBJECT: My perspective on time? Whatever. Fine. I would've been four, maybe five.

INTERVIEWER: I imagine your…ability would be hard to control when you're that young. Were there any incidents, before you began testing? Situations where your power got out of control?

SUBJECT: Probably. But it's not like I could do much damage. It's like asking a toddler to lift a hundred pound weight. I might have pushed a glass or two off a table…

INTERVIEWER: What about your brother and sister?

SUBJECT: (No response)

INTERVIEWER: Just tell me about their abilities. That's all I'm asking.

SUBJECT: But you know this. You have to. My sister could see in the infrared spectrum, and Adam never needed to sleep, which was why he…

INTERVIEWER: Take your time.

SUBJECT: I don’t want to talk about it.

INTERVIEWER: Perhaps we’ll have a more fruitful discussion if we talk about some other topics first. You didn't have what anyone would call a normal childhood. I guess what we’re trying to figure out is, did you ever associate with other children? You weren’t registered at any schools in the area…

SUBJECT: Homeschooling. It's the American way.

INTERVIEWER: But surely you must have wanted friends? There must've been other children in your life. Maybe ones who knew about your ability?

SUBJECT: Nope. Just me and Chloe and Adam.

INTERVIEWER: That seems…unlikely.

SUBJECT: Well, what do you want me to say? Mom and Dad told us when you are really young why we couldn't go to school, or hang out with other kids. Yeah, maybe it would be nice to have people over, but there was so much stuff for us to do on the property. We just never got bored. And mom was always a bookworm, so there was always stuff to read, and dad, he had us do chores, but like, fun chores. I was able to drive a small ATV when I was like five, so—

(The subject stops talking abruptly here)

INTERVIEWER: I see. And what about people in surrounding area? We know for example that your family occasionally visited the…let me see if it’s in the file here, the...Wyoming Star General Store?

SUBJECT: Oh my God! Mr Ebenheimer!

INTERVIEWER: Who is he? The proprietor? Ah yes, here he is. George Ebenheimer.

SUBJECT: Last time I saw him, he told me his grandkid had applied to a bunch of colleges, but she really wanted to get into Yale. I was going to ask him when I saw him on Saturday. He showed me a picture and everything.

INTERVIEWER: I can find out, if you like?

SUBJECT: (No response)

INTERVIEWER: Emily? Would you like that?

SUBJECT: I see what you did there. What's that thing they always say about prison? Never say yes when someone gives you something for free? You just end up owing them.

INTERVIEWER: This isn't a prison, Emily.

SUBJECT: Mr Ebenheimer’s a nice man, OK? He never found out what I could do. Don’t you fucking touch him.

INTERVIEWER: No-one is going to hurt him, although we may have some questions.

SUBJECT: But—

INTERVIEWER: Emily. There are things I can’t promise, and things I can. And I can promise you that nobody is looking to disrupt ordinary citizens’ lives here. This isn’t the movies. George Ebenheimer might have to answer a few questions—I think he probably has already—but that’s all. He’ll be free to go afterwards.

SUBJECT: Come on, where’s the accent from? Don't tell me it's from Louisiana or somewhere? I feel like that’s an accent I should know.

INTERVIEWER: As I was saying, it would be helpful if you did not think of this facility as prison.

SUBJECT: Am I or am I not being held here against my will?

INTERVIEWER: I'm not disputing that. But please believe me when I say that there are good reasons for this being done. As a government, and as a society, we don't know the extent or nature of your power. Excuse me, ability. We don't know you, Emily, although I’d very much like to. You're something we haven't encountered before, and we have to be sure you aren’t a danger to anyone. Including yourself.

SUBJECT: So…hold on, I just want to make sure I have this right. I'm in this place because you don't know if I'm a good guy or a bad guy. If I can assure you that I'm good guy, then you'll let me go.

INTERVIEWER: I'm afraid I don't have the authority to make that promise. But I can tell you that your time in here does not have to be uncomfortable.

SUBJECT: Fine. If you can't make that promise, then put me in a room with someone who can.

INTERVIEWER: Do you really want to know where my accent is from?

SUBJECT: Now who’s changing the subject?

INTERVIEWER: It's Texan. I’m from Dallas.

SUBJECT: Oh, shit! Yeah, I hear it now! Goddamnit. Is that where we are now, right? Texas?

INTERVIEWER: Correct. I…don’t suppose there’s any harm in you knowing the general area. We’re near Waco.

SUBJECT: Right, right, right. It was hella hot when we came in, so that tracks.

INTERVIEWER: You know what else they have in Texas, right? You ever had Texan barbecue? How about you and I sit down over some brisket, and hash things out? There’s a place I love—Helberg Barbecue. It’s a little way aways from here, but I’ll be sure to swing by and bring you some for our next session. That's a promise.

(Here, the subject spent at least thirty seconds in silence)

SUBJECT: No.

INTERVIEWER: Emily, please.

SUBJECT: Stop. Just…stop, OK? You can’t bribe me. You can’t do it by offering me things or getting me to eat fucking barbecue. I don't want to be here. If that's a problem for you, then you can go tell whoever’s behind that camera that they may as well just take me out back behind the stables and shoot me.

INTERVIEWER: Do you want to know why I'm offering you these things, Emily? Why I'm trying to get you to open up to me? Because you aren't getting out of here. You’ve tried to escape, what, thirteen times? And each time, you ended up vomiting in the corner after getting hit with tasers and cattle prods. You are extraordinary, Emily, and as a result, you will never have anything approaching a normal life.

SUBJECT: Shut up.

INTERVIEWER: I didn't put you in here. Truth be told, if it were up to me, you wouldn't be. I’d put you in the normal situation, where you could be a normal teenager, and where you could have some sort of control of your life. A situation where you would want to help us. I've recommended as such, and unfortunately, those recommendations have been turned down. Not my call. So you can continue stonewalling. You can continue getting shocked every few days when you cook up another wild escape plan. Or—or, you can understand that your situation doesn't have to be uncomfortable. If you work with us, instead of against us, things can be a lot easier.

SUBJECT: Just shut up. How do you sleep at night? No, for real, I want to know. How can you be OK with telling a…a kid that they have to just give up?

INTERVIEWER: I never said you had to give up. Emily, you've been through hell. You lost your entire family, in one go. Everything you've ever known, gone. And yet here you sit, complaining about burgers and making sarcastic remarks. Some of my colleagues might think it's a defence mechanism, but I think it's healthy. It shows that you live in the present. And just because your life took a miserable turn…that doesn't mean your life has to be miserable. I think you know that, deep down. And to answer your question: I sleep at night because I see a chance to genuinely help you—to help you make the best of your situation. I’ll make mistakes along the way, like talking about powers instead of abilities, but I hope you can see past that and see what I’m trying to do here.

SUBJECT: (No response)

INTERVIEWER: How about it Emily? What do you say?

SUBJECT: If you tell me my real superpower is staying positive, I'm going to hit you with the camera again.

INTERVIEWER: That's fair enough. I won’t.

SUBJECT: Can you get me some smoked chicken? When you get the barbecue?

INTERVIEWER: I will. And I think we've talked long enough for today. Sometimes shorter conversations are better than long ones, aren’t they?

SUBJECT: I guess.

INTERVIEWER: You did well, Emily. Keep thinking about what I said, and about reframing. I'll see you again tomorrow. With some smoked chicken in tow.

SUBJECT: I’ll be here. Obviously.

INTERVIEW ENDS 4:32PM CENTRAL TIME

(Observing Agent’s note: While Dr Kelso has clearly formed a rapport with the subject, it is the observing agent’s professional opinion that this will not have lasting effects. The sheer number of tests currently on the schedule suggest that it will take months, if not years, to see anything that results in a replicable process for creating more individuals with extranormal powers such as those held by the subject. As such, it is the recommendation of the observing agent that Dr Kelso be removed from this rotation immediately, security be tightened on the subject, and that increased surveillance and preventative measures are put in place to prevent aberrant behaviour.)

CLEARANCE: TOP SECRET / EYES ONLY

Short Story
2

About the Creator

Jackson Ford

Author (he/him). I write The Frost Files. Sometimes Rob Boffard. Always unfuckwittable. Major potty mouth. A SH*TLOAD OF CRAZY POWERS out now!

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