Age: 20 years old, born in 2025, Kanab, Utah, USA.
Channeling: 9/19; New.
Elias was born into the respectable Donovan family as the second son of five children. The Donovans raised their children as devout Latter Day Saints amongst the other congregations of Kanab. Elias’s childhood was spent in pleasant obscurity and consisted mainly of church and a nurturing community.
Like all of the Donovan children, Eli was instilled with a great sense of family loyalty and charitable nature. However, while he loved his family his teenage years brought not only the trouble of puberty, but also of doubt and discord. Unlike his other siblings, he started to question the beliefs of his family and friends. He was met with caring concern and stern warning not to stray from the path of righteousness.
Elias’s natural obstinacy was greater than his fear of reprimand and he soon chafed under what he considered an increasingly questionable faith. He felt the weight of the reserved and isolated community of Kenab and in his high school years found himself shunned by his peers. Those who did not shun him merely irritated him with their condescending pity over his personal crises and considered him confused and confounded by the disillusions of the wider world.
Irritation soon turned to contempt and by sixteen he had almost completely removed himself from the wider Kenab society, no longer attending church or observing the precepts of his childhood faith. Much to the concern of his parents, his mood became sullen and introverted. He dressed in the dark colors of Gothic theme, let his hair grow long, and stretched lanky and pale as he aged. He considered himself chained to the barren wasteland of Kenab and resentment grew steadily to a point where his parents despaired of ever reclaiming their child’s soul. To further complicate matters, he began to experience strange bouts of ill-health which was viewed with suspicion and even fear among the older residents.
At the height of Elias’s rebellion, the family decided to take a vacation to the famed Salt Lake to give Eli (and themselves) some time away from the disapproving gaze of Kenab and inspire love for creation in their apathetic son. It was on this trip Elias first used his unique abilities.
When they arrived at the camp site, Elias sought peace through isolation and set out on his own to find a quiet cove where he could sit undisturbed by subtle prodding and gentle concern, and there he returned several days in a row. Finally, to coax some measure of excitement out of Eli, the family rented a boat and he happily agreed to the invitation of a ride, if only for a change of scenery.
The wind heaved their sailboat all afternoon, and for once, he enjoyed the sensation of the wind in his hair. Until an unexpected chop swung a loosened berth. It clipped his temple and he fell. Kenab had not afforded him any chance to learn how to swim and he floundered hopelessly in the water, struggling for consciousness and soon found himself on the edge of death. As his lungs strained for air, the surface of the salty water seemed forever out of reach. In that moment, the power opened itself to him. He grasped it with frantic eagerness and found himself propelled to the surface and floating toward shore.
From that day on Elias resolved to make his way out of Kenab with a new determination and a few months later was given his chance. His paternal uncle phoned Kenab with exciting news. A marine biologist, he was selected as a team member of an elite scientific body to investigate some unusual findings south of New Zealand.
Elias jumped at the chance and begged his uncle to take him. His parents were surprised at the fervor of his pleas and desire, approving of what seemed like a sincere wish to follow in the path of his uncle’s footsteps. The truth was somewhat different – Elias would have taken anything to escape the dismal prospects that he envisioned in Kenab, including biology.
So Elias traveled to Wellington, New Zealand and enrolled in Victoria University on the recommendation and mentorship of his uncle. He welcomed the change with renewed vigor, but he still remained somewhat of a recluse.
New Zealand did him well. Within the year, it seemed the vigor and life of the island scratched at the walls he'd built around his heart. All went well until his uncle and the collaborative team mysteriously disappeared. When Elias made inquiries into the disappearance, he was met with a suspicious wall of silence and guessed there was more to the story than a vessel lost at sea. Driven by the desire to find the uncle that had delivered him from his personal hell called Kenab, Elias’s search led him to the heart of the CCD: Moscow.
Age 16. Kenab Meetinghouse
Elias leaned back in the cheap plastic heaps they called chairs and muted the droning buzz of one of Elder Calvin’s sonorous lectures on the particulars of prayer. Ezekiel (Zeke) and Isaiah (Izzy) sat either side of him with such rapt expressions one would think they though meant to become the famous prophets themselves!
Sarah glanced at him with a disappointed frown which cut. Shifting, he adjusted the black studded collar of his jacket and turned away. He hated the pity in her eyes more than the contemptuous dismissal of the others. He did not need her damn pity any more than he needed Elder Calvin’s advice.
Why couldn’t they just leave him be? He did not ridicule their absurd ideas. Why did they pester him? If he was content at taking his chances with eternal oblivion, it was his own business.
“Mr. Donovan, can you tell me which passage shows our eternal Saviour outlining the proper format for a prayer?” Elder Calvin said as Elias knew he would. He always asked Elias, although what the point was, Elias could not say.
He quoted three different passages from the scriptures with barely a thought. However much Elias dismissed their religion, he knew the Bibles inside and out, probably more so than the old man did. He saw the words for what they truly were, not some imaginary pure dream. Words, that’s all they were, plain and simple. And those words made almost no sense. How would Jesus have reached America of all places? Unless he was a particularly good swimmer - not even the Romans could have traversed the open ocean – there weren’t many other options.
And changing the skin color of the Native Americans? That was just plain racism. Besides, why didn’t they remember this supposed chastisement?
Elias’s face must have betrayed his thoughts as the Elder frowned at him. “Anything you want to share with the rest of us, Mr. Donovan?”
“No, Sir.” Elias replied through gritted teeth. Who would listen to him anyway?
Age 19. Salt Lake.
The sun scorched Salt Lake with its fierce and unrelenting gaze. Beads of perspiration evaporated from Elias’s head almost as soon as they rose to the surface of his skin. Flicking up the collar of his black jacket to shield his neck from sunburn, he stared out over the vast lake.
His younger siblings all gaped and shouted in excited astonishment and even his parents held the great mass of water with some awe. Elias shook his head. Of course, it was his first time actually seeing so large a lake, but he hadn’t buried his head in the sand either.
Still...They were as good a family as could be. Despite their disapproval, they truly wanted the best for him. It was why he was here; to escape the constant gaze of Kanab.
Elias frowned. The doctor had said his infirmities were simply stress. Sure, the incessant pressure irked him to no end, but he had grown almost immune to it. The erratic fevers were like a dust storm blown through his mind, stress did not do that to people. At least, not him. His entire life had been nothing but stress, why would it affect him now?
“Are you coming, dear?” his mother said in her voice as mild as an autumn night under the stars.
“Yes,” he replied, straightening his jacket with one last vigorous tug and set off to where his father and brothers had begun setting a camp.
Age 20: Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington was surprisingly conceited for a city perched on the edge of the known world. A year after his arrival in New Zealand, Elias continued to draw strange glares everywhere he went. The long coat billowing around his ankles served him well in the sting of winter's weather, though. Kenab was one endless season in comparison, but the night air of the Utah desert prepared him for the southerly wind blowing off Antarctica. He wore boots to his knees. Even as the wedges of the heels dug into the sand, not a single grain wedged its way inside. Lounged in a chair, feet crossed at the ankle, he was a black smudge in the middle of a sandy shore, but he was comfortable. Sea water lapped in front of him. The sun shone cool and distant overhead. He held a book in one hand, and moved only to turn a page or swipe away long sheets of hair from blowing across his eyes.
Yelling and grunting from up shore broke his concentration. He was paying for those C’s in high school calculus, but he was catching up swiftly. Unfortunately, the ruckus was growing close enough to no longer ignore.
From behind the rim of his book, he spared a glimpse. It was a trio of wisecracking Expat jocks. He recognized the ring-leader, Joey, from Intro to Economics. He was a barreling buffalo of a man with blonde hair that fell across perfect eyes, the wide stripes of his branded-Canterbury shirt barely contained bulging traps, and as usual, he was carrying a beer bottle in one hand and a rugby ball in the other.
One of his minions, a jet-haired, half-Korean, half-Canadian math major named Will Cho, sprinted down the beach. He turned in perfect formation and caught the ball chucked by Joey like the guys were working on American football passes. If it was a rugby thing, Elias could not say. He went back to catching up on geometric derivatives and tuned them out.
Elias quickly realized they were playing some sort of game. Will Cho was quickly barreled down by the second of Joseph’s minions, an Irish kid named Willem. Will and Willem. If it weren’t for the black or red hair, Elias would never be able to remember which was which.
Will grunted as Willem pounded him downward, laughing. He wrenched the rugby ball from the smaller man, and pounded his face into the sand. Will coughed and sputtered, sand pouring from his mouth between bouts of laughter. The sneer on Elias’s face turned cold.
He could take it no longer. “I say, guys, do you mind taking it down shore a bit?” But nobody heard him. He tried again, “I say, GUYS?”
Joseph heard his request, and came jogging over and squat alongside Eli's chair.
“Donovan, right?” He asked with an idiotic grin smeared on his face.
Eli gave a curt nod. Joseph conveniently ignored Eli’s request. Instead, he plucked the book from his hand, and laughed when he saw the contents. He snorted a laugh and chucked the book back in Eli’s lap. “Calc on a day like this?” He gestured at the view of the cold, clear sea, and waved the boys over. “Come on Donovan, up for a game? Two-on-two!”
Elias brushed the man’s grubby fingerprints off his book, marked his place and gently placed it aside. The Will’s continued to batter one another in the background. They’d nearly rolled into the lap of ocean water by then. The water must be freezing. Served them right if they did.
“I don’t think so Joseph. Thanks though.” He was hardly an athlete. Joseph looked disappointed.
“Suit yourself.” He replied, and for a moment, Elias thought he might finally be left in peace, but something in the distance caught Joey's attention. He hopped to his feet and waved.
Elias twisted around in his chair to witness a pair of girls waving back. One of them was Marie Strong. Eli’s breath caught in his throat, and the familiar sort of panic he'd not known since Sarah crept up his spine. Marie was in two of his classes. Rumor had it she and Joseph had been on a few dates. Eli's glare was razor sharp.
Joseph met them half way, and Elias prayed he wasn’t about to – his heart sank. He was bringing Marie and her friend, Elias had never cared to attempt memorizing her name, over. Suddenly his chair was turning into some sort of gathering spot. Like a flagpole planted in the beach to mark their territory. His eyes were drawn further down the shoreline. He knew he should have walked another half-mile.
Marie dropped a picnic basket nearby. The other girl unfurled a blanket and crawled on top. Marie peeked her perfect heart-shaped face around the front of Elias’ chair.
“Elias, right?” She asked. Eli nodded, and she smiled warmly. “It’s good to see you. I didn’t know you were coming today.” Eli shrugged.
“That makes two of us,” he replied.
Joseph was already digging through the newly arrived cooler. He plucked another beer. The Will boys descended upon them, drawn by the clatter of glass bottles like moth to the flame. Fantastic.
Marie picked a spot on the blanket. She was wearing a yellow, long-sleeved top that made her cornflower eyes sparkle blue as the sea before them, long pants and sandals. Weren't her toes cold? Elias shifted in his seat. He wore black boots tied nearly to his knees.
Willem chucked the rugby ball at Elias. It slammed into his chest. He tried to cover the pained grunt with a chuckle, but snickering erupted around him none the less. Marie did look a little concerned, and the sting of her pity stoked old, bitter embers in his chest. At least she glared at Willem when he plopped down alongside her.
Thank God his phone rang.
He tucked the rugby ball under one arm like Joseph had done, grabbed the Wallet and jumped from his seat. If they didn't know how to be polite with their toys, they weren't going to get it back for a while.
“Hello?” He asked, then paused to plug his other ear with a black painted finger. “This is him.”
He fell deadly silent during the ensuing conversation. Any remaining blood in his cheeks quickly drained.
Panic crept around the edges of his heart, but despite the finger jammed in one ear, he couldn’t quite make out the words over the idiots carrying on around him.
He flashed a volatile glare at the gang that mutinied his peaceful study spot. “SHUT UP A SECOND!” His temper broke with a raging yell, and upon the surprised look on Marie’s face, immediately regretted it. But he couldn’t think about her now.
“I’ll be right there,” he said, and clapped the Wallet closed. He threw the device in one of his voluminous pockets and threw his books in his shoulder bag.
The gang called out after him, but they were mere white noise against the raging thoughts flooding his head.
Half way up the hill he remembered the rugby ball, turned, and looked at the group huddled on their blanket staring after him like they thought he was deaf. He squeezed it between his palms as rage, pain and disbelief flowed through him. With a whirl of his coat, flash of long hair, and a grimace that glued his jaw together, he chucked the thing as hard as he could. He smiled one of his last smiles as he watched it soar in a high arc toward the sea below, borne by unnatural wings
He turned and sprinted away, never having had the chance to see how far it flew but for what the winds of his mind bore it.
Two days later, in the midst of grief and pain over losing his uncle at sea, he grew desperately ill.
Two months later:
Frowning, Elias reread the details on the visitor's badge dangling prominently from his neck. Today's date was clearly printed. There was a snapshot of his face in the corner opposite the Coastal Ecology Lab logo in the other. The photo shown him pale and bitter. His hair fell around his eyes. His teeth were snapped shut, and his eyes were dry as a dead creek. The time stamp of his arrival - four hours ago - deepened his frustration all the more cynical.
With a grimace, he let the badge fall back to his chest and slouched further down in the seat. The movement caught the eye of the executive assistant seated nearby. He was a thirty-something year old man with short cropped hair, an ill-fitting suit and tie, and fidgety hands unfathomably busy with something that Elias could only guess. Certainly, the man did a terrible job at keeping the Dean's schedule organized because every time Eli showed up for their appointment, the Dean was distracted by important business elsewhere.
What could be more important than a missing team of your own scientists?
Melancholy clouds veiled the seascape beyond the windows. The Ecology Lab was literally nestled into the side of a hill across the street from Island Bay which at the moment was a monochromatic blur of mist, fog and rain.
It was a ten minute ride from Victoria University centred in Wellington, a commute Elias was all too familiar with by now. His appointments with the Dean oscillated frequently between the two facilities. Under any other circumstance, Eli would have been thrilled to walk the halls teeming with studies spanning every known aspect of marine biology. There were laboratories on every floor. The roof sported two satellite antennae. Five ocean-faring research vessels were stationed here – four now – he reminded himself. With the thought, a furious glare washed away any remaining semblance of patience. The fifth vessel, the one carrying his uncle and the rest of the missing team, was lost somewhere between the South Island and Antarctica.
His fists clenched. "That's it," he said to himself. The arctic seawater outside was a hot spring in comparison to the ice in Elias' voice. He rose in one graceful gesture and aimed the fires of his frustration upon the door. The door, locked, was thrown back from the jam before Elias even reached it. He silenced the assistant's objection with a single look and let himself in.
Sure enough, the Dean was inside. He was horrified by the trespassing, but the door slammed behind Elias before the man could so much as voice a single protest. He took the surprise well enough.
Confirmation of the man's presence – and weeks of constant dismissal – churned a deep rage that he barely kept from erupting. The Dean's scowl was one of defeat. He was going to meet Elias whether he was ready or not.
"Mister Donovan, I presume?"
Elias took a chair, but only to grip the armrests tight in his fists. Otherwise he was on the verge of hurling it through the window. Perhaps that would get the Dean's attention. For a few more minutes, he was going to be civil.
"That's right, Professor Roy." Months of pallor, panic and worry etched itself into Eli's demands. He felt powerless and hollow again such as he hadn't felt since leaving Kenab, and here, the whole time, this man locked answers behind a keyless portal; Elias had played the gentleman, just as he was raised, but his patience extended only so far. He was ready to burn the house down if he didn't get the answers he needed.
"What can I do for you, then?" The Dean folded his hands, but his voice was tightened by the young storm billowing before him. As well he should be. Elias was at his breaking point, and this man was the first target in the path.
"I think you know. My uncle was in international waters on a research expedition, so the police will not get involved. Victoria University lacks the money and manpower to conduct a proper search and defers to the New Zealand government which continually stonewalls all of my efforts while your office refuses to even acknowledge what happened."
His heart throbbed fury in his chest. His eyes tightened, refusing to accept the possibility that an entire research vessel of highly trained scientists and sailors simply vanished into thin air. "Where – are – they?"
The Dean drew a long breath, but his eyes were numb. They saw the same thing everyone saw when they looked upon Elias. They saw an outsider, a stranger, a foreigner that did not belong in their pristine, green world. Elias was more suited to the desolate sands of obscurity to be hidden away than walking among the lush streets of Wellington. They saw a boy in eyeliner, not a man to make them shudder with fear, but times were changing.
"The search was called off four weeks ago, Mister Donovan. My sympathies go with you, son, but there is nothing else we can do. Geothermal ventilation sites are extremely unstable and neither ours’ nor the CCD's satellites orbit that far south." The Dean pulled some paperwork and pushed it toward him. "Furthermore, without your uncle's work permit for a host, your school visa will expire, and you will have to return to the United States."
Elias' world went white hot. He saw nothing. He felt nothing. Was he even breathing?
“– Mister Donovan?"
The trance fractured with rest of Eli's composure.
He stood. The sound of his boots crossing the slate floor pounded in their ears. The gray light of the misty day beyond grew bright as midsummer sun. Tendrils crackled and burst from his mind. They layered themselves across the Dean, tying him to his chair as Eli leaned in close. He seethed demands. He was not powerless, after all.
"Why would the CCD get involved?" There was a thunder in his voice, distant, but for now was fixated upon the Dean. The man had one last chance to be of even minuscule use.
Dean Roy struggled against invisible bonds, unable to escape. Beneath Elias’ interrogation, he wisely sputtered a string of hurried answers. "Your uncle was collaborating with a MSU team. Moscow State University. Moscow. The CCD."
Eli stood upright. His hands trembled, shaking the Dean’s desk in his fury.
He severed the tentacles that'd flung from his mind and turned on his heel. The room shuddered under his heavy footsteps and he hesitated, confounded by the spray of cracks suddenly erupting underfoot. Beneath him, his footprints left behind crags and splits in the slate floor. Cracks snaked across the floor, up the drywall, and arborized tiny veins across the ceiling. As he looked upon the window, it glistened with as fine of fractures as the delicate ropes of a spider web. It held for one soundless moment before a loud pop shattered it from the center.
Snaps loud as lightning splitting wood rent the enormous pane of glass into a thousand crackling pieces and Eli barely managed to stumble out of its path. When it was over, and with the groaning howl of wind that followed, he regained his feet, and standing in the centre of the shattered peace, his coat and hair lifted on the gusts swirling around the office. Pulverized glass sparkled underfoot, mixed with sand blowing on sinusoidal vents of air that stung his eyes.
A deathly silence spread through the room. The Dean crawled out from under his desk in time to witness Elias' departure.