Well..

Guess what? I’m still alive, and so are my team members- Sadly, one of our team members has left to write a new serial, and the rest of us are too busy for the story to continue- i loved being a part of this while it was constantly updated, and I hope you guys liked reading it- if any of you wantto take the brace step in continuing this story, email me at FlurrySVRA@gmail.com for more information.

~Flurry

Interlude: The Grey Lion II – A Deadly Game Part 2

Lynx

We tore off into the alien forest, navigating through the oddly colored trees. They were all a variety of different colors, mostly pastel in tone. I had to stay close to the idiot to keep from getting tripped by the annoying tether.

“Come on, this way!” He yelled, teleporting to the side and into a faster sprint. I stumbled from the sudden jerk and snarled in annoyance. We kept running in a different direction this time, weaving carefully through the jungle trees. I had to use all of my agility and strength just to keep up with the insane crash course Ravus was setting.

About five minutes into running, a loud whistle pierced the steamy air. It rang on an extremely high pitch and hurt my ears immensely. I stopped running and shuddered at the sudden ringing and headache. I had forgotten about the tether, and RD did a faceplant when the cord went taught.

“What the hell man?” He shouted angrily up at me from the ground.

“Don’t you hear that whistle?” I snapped at him, shuddering slightly.

Ravus paused, panting slightly. He tilted his head to the side and squinted slightly. “I don’t hear any whistle,” he replied in confusion. “Are you sure you aren’t imagining it?”

“Don’t be a dumbass, of course I’m not imagining this,” I snapped at him. My fur began standing on end, and I fought off the urge to shudder. “There’s this piercing whistle echoing through the forest. God it’s annoying. It’s like the sound version of you,” I grinned savagely at him, but winced when the noise intensified.

“Well I can’t hear it. You probably can because of those ridiculous ears of yours,” Ravus said with a slight smile.

“First of all, my ears aren’t ridiculous, they’re useful and they match my other feline features. Second of all, whatever the noise is, it’s coming from right above us,” As I said this, we both looked up. There was nothing there, just a thick canopy of leaves.

“Whatever, lets keep running. Maybe the noise will stop if we just keep running,” Ravus replied with a shrug.

Ignoring the stupidity of his logic, I picked up him up and took off into the jungle again. As we ran, I could hear the noise begin to follow us.

“Its gotta be a tracker or a beacon for something, probably those giant mutant dogs we saw earlier,” I panted.

“But why didn’t you hear that when we first saw them?” Ravus asked as we maneuvered through the jungle.

“I did, right at the end,” I growled at him.

“Oh yeah, I heard that one too,” He said sheepishly, shaking his head.

Ravus Decem

I shook my head and kept running. I couldn’t hear the noise now, but it didn’t really matter. We continued through the jungle, Looking into the future to time my Movements perfectly. The forest began to thin, and I could see it stop up ahead.

We burst out into a large open space. The light grey wheat-like plants waved lazily under a dark grey cloudless sky (colorblind, remember?). It was a large plain, with gently rolling hills off in the distance and a gurgling stream to my left.

I bent over, breathing heavily. “Well, what now?” I asked.

Lynx didn’t seem that tired. He looked around with slitted eyes, then froze. “The noise stopped,” he said cautiously.

“Aw shit,” I sighed, bending down and picking up three fist sized rocks. “That doesn’t bode well at all,”.

A roar emanated from the forest, echoing through the trees. “Something’s getting closer,” Kitty warned.

“Let’s try to work together better this time. I don’t wanna be tripping over you and vice versa,” I responded. “In fact, I think I may ha-” I was cut off by more roaring and shouting from the forest.

Lynx and I turned to one another, then ran back into the forest. We both knew that to get back home, we had to defeat the other pairs and the dogs. Real life doesn’t always let the heroes save everyone. It doesn’t even always let the heroes save themselves.

I let Kitty take the lead; his hearing was a better guide than mine. The noises escalated, and I could make out some other ones. Large mechanical clicks and whines, as well as an odd rushing noise reached my ears. After about a minute of sprinting, we reached the battle.

As far as I could tell, there were three different groups fighting. The first group was the two mutant dogs, though one was bleeding heavily from it’s back leg. The second group was, cyborgs? They were two short grey skinned aliens, with metallic implants and lights studding their bodies. Oh, and they both had three arms. The third group was composed of two, average height humanoids. They had extremely dark grey carapace, and segmented eyes. Their bodies were smooth, with multiple jointed limbs. All the combatants paused when they saw us, and the sounds of combat died down. That’s when Kitty pounced.

Lynx

I decided to capitalize on their brief moment of surprise, and went after the short yellow cyborgs first. I yowled a vicious war cry and lunged towards the closest one. Luckily, Ravus knew what I was doing, and he teleported up to the other, striking out. The two cyborgs were very slow, their armor combined with their short stature weighed them down. I could hear the two dark brown aliens engage the mutant dogs off to the side.

I slashed the cyborg with my claws, rending gashes in the metal plates on it’s chest. It extended it’s arm and a projectile flashed out. A rock flew into it’s path and incinerated in midair.

“You’re welcome!” Shouted Ravus. I snarled, and threw my cyborg at his. I flipped a log on top of their chests, pinning them to the ground. I grabbed their tether and wrapped it around several branch-like protrusions on the log.

“Swing me!” He shouted again, and teleported off to one side. I grabbed the tether as he appeared ten feet off to the side. The rope contracted violently, and I pulled it, swinging him into the alien/dog melee.

Ravus smashed into the four of them, and pulled the tether, snapping me towards the jumble. I lashed out with all four paws, striking each one with extreme force. The dogs roared and the aliens made a shushing sound as fluid sprayed from each. RD appeared with a goopy rock in his hand and one of the carapaced aliens a couple feet away. It’s battered body slid towards the other alien, as their rope retracted.

The two dogs dropped the chewed up bug-like alien and backed away. Ravus and I exchanged glances, and charged. He ducked under one of the dog’s paw, and came up and body slammed the dog. Simultaneously, I vaulted up into the air above the other dog, using the tether to help Ravus body slam. I landed on top of the other dog, and cracked him on the skull with my two fists together. As my dog was stunned, I darted over to his to slash at it’s injured leg. He teleported to the other side of my dog, and snapped back towards me, hitting the dog in the head again. Both mutts collapsed to the ground, as the world twisted oddly.

We appeared in the throne room, where the alien king bounced happily on his throne. “Congratulations! You win my competition!” King Da’K’Chk said, in a booming voice. I shook the blood and ichor off my claws and paws.

“Gee, thanks. We’re more than honored,” I said sarcastically. “Can you send us back to Earth now? I’d really like to go home,”

“Are you sure? As my current champions, you would be treated like luxurious princes,” Da’K’Chk whined. Ravus looked at me longingly, blinking the mud and blood out of his eyes.

“No, just send us home. Now,” I told him with a glare. The Lord of Unendurable Violence bent his fluffy pink head, and the world twisted away one more time.

Zero Hour – Flurry I

Hello to all of you, my name is Flurry-or at least my Alias is. As you can probably guess from the fact that I’m writing about myself, I’m a superfreak as well. I’m not sure about HOW exactly I got my powers, but I do know that I have hydrokinesis and cryokinesis. I can manipulate water, not only in shape but also in temperature. I guess I should tell you my backstory, from my childhood to figuring out I had powers to today… Here goes nothing…

—-

       “Hello! This is your co-captain speaking. We will begin our landing into McCarran International Airport in about fifteen minutes. As we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are safely parked at the gate. Flight attendants will move around the cabin to make final landing preparations. Thank you.”

       I was squirming around in my seat. We had been on the airplane for about five hours, and I couldn’t sleep in the seats. I turned to look at my mom. “Why are we moving? I miss my friends! I want to go home.” Throughout the entire flight I kept clutching the little stuffed bear my friends signed and gave me as a going away present.

       “Relax, you’ll make new friends in Beaver Creek, and I’ve already told you why we’re moving. Your dad’s boss offered him a better job here.”

       “That sounds idiotic.”

       “Don’t say that word! You’ll understand when you’re older.”

       I’d heard that way too many times in the past few days.

       “Mom, I don’t feel good.”

       She rummaged through her bag and took out a bottle labeled Advil. From it, she removed what looked like a mini M&M.

       “Here, put this on the back of your tongue, and then swallow it whole with water. You’ll feel better.”

__

       Fifteen minutes later, we landed, got our luggage and were on our way to the new house. I still felt ill. “How long until we get to the house? Is there a lake nearby? Even a pond?”

       “We’re almost there, go back to sleep.”

       I pretended to fall asleep, but more and more thoughts filled my mind about the town. After a while I did manage to sleep, but it felt like I only had time to blink before someone poked me.

       “What?”

       “We’re here, come see the new house!”

—-

       

       It was about a month after I took my first steps into the new house. Since then, I had been to the Spring Valley Medical Center five times. They had poked me with needles about twelve times. Every time my mom was on the phone with them, she said the same thing. ‘What’s wrong with her? What do you mean you still don’t know? It’s been a month! You’ve never seen it before? What should I do? Water? She gets plenty. She can’t be dehydrated.’

Then she hung up, sighed, and, still fretting, went to take a nap.

That day, the call was late, but I could still hear it from where I was “sleeping.” The day before, my mom had made me start keeping a water bottle with me at all times. It sat next to me on the nightstand.

 I couldn’t fall asleep.

 I kept thinking about everything.

 The calls.

 Stupid Nevada.

 The first day of school- wait, what? I had completely forgotten. I looked on the calendar on my wall. Clearly marked, the first day of Sixth grade was circled. August 28th. The date was August 27th. I could make friends the next day. This was my chance to forget about the hospital visits, the calls, everything. I sprinted downstairs.

       “MOM! SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW!”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s on my calendar!”

My dad stumbled down the stairs. I had woken him up. Woops.

“What’s going on?”

“Dad!! I start middle tomorrow! I can’t miss the first day. It’s SUPER important!”

He broke into a grin. “We better go to sleep now so we can wake up early then; can’t be late on the first day! Why don’t you head upstairs?”

I made my way back upstairs, eager for morning to come. While I fell asleep, I repeated the same phrase to myself a bunch of times “Tomorrow, I will make friends.”

In the blink of an eye, my alarm went off, and the smell of pancakes cooking filled my room.

I got ready as fast as I could and managed to eat a pancake before I rushed out the door.

About thirty minutes later I found myself outside the front door of Beaver Creek Middle School. I saw a bunch of nice-looking girls, but my dad quickly dragged me inside and to the main office. My dad had knocked on a door labeled “Principal.”

“Come in.”

My dad opened the door, and I saw a woman in her late 30s sitting at a desk.

“Hello, what can I help you with? Please take a seat.”

“Hi. This is my daughter, she’s entering 6th grade. I just wanted to make sure that my wife enrolled her in classes, because we moved here just over a month ago.”

“Oh, of course! You must be Mr. Azul. Yes, your daughter has been enrolled in classes. I will print out a copy of her schedule for her, and then I’ll bring her down to the auditorium for orientation.”

“Great! I’ll be on my way then- but first, could you point me to the nurse? I need to leave some forms with her.”

She pointed down the hall, and then led me off in the other direction to the auditorium. I went off and sat in the middle next to a group of girls who look my age. One of them turned around to face me.

“Hi! I’m Jessica Blanc, but everyone calls me Jessi. You must be the new girl. What classes do you have?”

I handed her my copy of the schedule, and I noticed that her smile grew with each class she read.

“Other than Art, we have the same classes! I’ll show you around.”

I had a feeling we were going to be good friends.

As soon as the orientation assembly was over, the room became chaotic. People pushed and shoved through the crowds to get to their classes. Jessi and I got to our first class, and took seats next to each other. We did that in every class that we had together. Lunch block ended up being my art class, so I said bye to Jessi.

“I’ll come get you for lunch, have fun!”

The bell rang for lunch, but I wasn’t hungry, so I told Jessi to go while I kept working on my project.

“Don’t be stupid! I’m not gonna let you sit here and be alone. I’ll eat here and you can work. I’ll get to see if you’re any good!” she said, sticking her tongue out at me.

“Okay, but I will warn you, I kinda zone out when I’m art-ing”

“Did you just make art a verb?”

“Maybe.. Now come inside.”

 

A few days later, I invited Jessi to the house. My parents were happy that I’d been making friends. At the end of the day, Jessi and I walked to the house. I still couldn’t call it “my” house. My mom got us some snacks and we went up to my room to talk and play. From habit, I brought my water bottle with me. At that point, it was nearly destroyed.

“Why do you always carry that water bottle around with you?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. My mom told me to carry it around because I was getting sick when we moved here. All I know is that it makes me feel a lot better.”

“That’s so weird, but cool at the same time. I wish a bottle of water was all I needed to feel better.”

 

Weeks passed, then months, and by late November I had perfected my daily routine. I studied hard during the week, and Jessi and I alternated between which of our houses we went to on fridays. Our group of friends had grown, and now there were 6 of us. The only class that we all had together was Social Studies, but I saw at least one of them in every class. Naturally, we got in trouble for talking, but we just lowered our voices and went back to making plans. There was one day, however, when Mrs. Brown’s announcements actually stopped our conversation.

“Class, may I please have your attention.”

All of us kept talking, but that day Mrs. Brown had a way to get us to listen.

    “Class! Thi- this week we will be learning about metahumans.”

    The entire class froze at the mention of the recent discovery, metahumans. We all started talking at once.

    “Why are we learning about-

    “Who cares, it’ll be fun!”

    “Imagine if I was a-“

    “Shut up, that’s ridiculous.”

    Mrs. Brown handed us slips that our parents could sign in agreement, and then the bell rang for the next class. All the students could talk about was the metahuman lessons, but I chose to keep my gushing to myself. What if I’m a metahuman? The thought filled my mind for hours. It kept me thinking until I finally got so exhausted that I fell asleep.

The next morning, the entire class was quiet and ready to learn even before the bell rang to announce the start of the lesson.

“A metahuman, as they are sometimes referred to, is any individual who demonstrates superhuman abilities.  Typically, their powers are internal.  They generate  energy, their will determines its movement.  Rather, regardless of the source or their amount of control, their abilities are their own.  There are also those who have the ability to use magic.  Magic is omnipresent energy, that people have varying amount of ability to control.  Magic potential is very widespread.  In fact, in your senior year of high school, you will take the MET to determine your potential.  Magic users can be divided into a variety of categories, based on which natural elements they manipulate.  However, that’s a lesson for another day.  Today, we’ll be talking about standard powers…  by talking about an exception.”  A laugh ran through the class, and Mrs. Brown smiled.  “Can anyone tell me what a power switcher is?”

One guy in the back of the class raised his hand, and said, “Someone that switches powers?”

The teacher smiled indulgently and said, “Yes, basically.  Good job, Grey.  Now, what makes power switchers unique is their variety of different ways to use their energy.  While most metahumans only need to know one or two ways to use their power, power switchers need to instinctively know how to use many.  There’s no way that one brain could contain all that information.  So, there are things called companions, which store information and help the power switcher control their changes.  Companions are…”

 

That day, nobody started packing their things until the bell rang. We were all engaged in the lesson, and as soon as Mrs. Brown dismissed us the room became a blur of friends coming together and chatting about Metahumans.

“I wonder if-”

“Shut up, don’t be ridiculous.”

“But-”

“No.”

I heard those phrases from about 10 different people in the 5 minutes that it took me to find my friends and start walking home. As soon as we got off school grounds, our conversation began, with everyone speaking simultaneously. it reminded me of the chain of surprised yelps when someone pops a balloon.

“Guys, I want to be a metahuman!”

“You’re not alone, I’m pretty sure everyone wants to be a metahuman.”

“I wonder if any of us are metahumans!”

“We need to promise to tell each other if we are!”

“Deal.”

“Deal!”

“Deal.”

“It’s a deal.”

I got home and immediately sprinted up to my room.

“Where are you going?” That was my mom.

“I need to find out if I’m a metahuman!”

“Don’t hurt yourself!”

I spent the next four hours testing everything that I could possibly think of. I tried moving objects with my mind, lighting lightbulbs by holding them, lighting coal in a bowl, and even jumped off my bed to see if I could fly. Nothing worked. Defeated, I continued with my afternoon and got ready for school the next day.

“Guys, I spent all night trying to find out if I had any powers, but nothing worked.”

“Me too! I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after I gave up.”

“Can you guys stop for a minute? I think you’re forgetting something very important.”

“What could possible be more important with finding our superpowers?”

“How about the fact that winter break starts tomorrow and we haven’t even planned what we’re going to do!”

The rest of the way to school, metahumans were nearly forgotten, and we pitched ideas for sleepovers, trips, and other get-togethers. In fact, the entire day passed as a sort of blur, and I went to bed that night in record time.

The next morning I woke up to the sound of the original “Let It Snow” by Sammy Cahn. I knew it would be a good day. My friends and I gathered at the oak tree that acted as out daily meeting point. We were filled with pre-vacation excitement, and the holiday spirit kept us smiling and laughing all the way to school.

“Good morning class! We have shortened classes today, so we’re going to spend this class making Holiday cards.”

The entire class erupted in cheer. Could this day get any better? The rest of the school day we spent fooling around, the entire student body giddy with the feeling of 2 weeks without school. Finally, the clock struck 12:30. We were free. I met my friends by the door of the classroom, and we started heading home. We had all decided to go eat lunch and hang out at Lilly’s house, so we headed towards her street. As we were walking, I noticed that my water bottle was getting extremely cold. This gave me an idea.

I grabbed my water bottle and focused all of my energy.

I waited.

I waited some more.

And then it happened. The water in the bottle was heating up. I could feel it.

“Guy!! Guys!!! Did you see that!! I have a power!”

“Stop being an idiot. That was probably just your hands warming it up.”

“I swear! It’s a power!!”

Suddenly Jessi spoke up. I had almost forgotten that she was there, she’d been so quiet. “Guys, I think I should take her home. If you want to keep walking to Lilly’s, I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Jessi grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me off in the direction of my house.

When we arrived, she ended up staying and we just hung out and played as if  nothing weird had just happened. Inside, I was itching to talk about my newfound power, but Jessi seemed uninterested.

Later on, when Jessi’s mom came to pick her up, Jessi whispered something into her moms ear. Mrs. Blanc let her face contort into a happy grin. She asked my mother to speak with her privately. I was worried.

 

 

When they finally left, my mother and father- after my mom had a long talk with my dad- sat me down on the couch.

My mom explained that Jessi had told her mom that I discovered my powers. Also, Jessi had realized I was telling the truth because she was a Metahuman too.

“Jessi is like a human lie detector,” they explained, “She can tell when a statement is true or not.”

The next day Jessi and her mom came over again. Her mom asked my mom for bowls of water, and she placed them in front of me on a table in the garage.

“Focus on the bowls,” she said, “Show me what you can do. Don’t worry if you splash, that’s why we’re in here.”

I concentrated on the bowls, but nothing was happening. Frustrated, I reached for the bowl to knock it over, but when I looked at the bowl, the water was not in it. I had formed a pool of water floating in midair. Just when I realized what happened, the water fell back into the bowl.

“Did you see that? I can move water!”

“Good job, let’s move onto the next bowl. Let’s see to what extent you can freeze or heat the water,” Mrs. B told me.

I focused all of my energy into my hands and placed them over the bowl, as I had seen people do in movies. The water started shaking, and after a while little bubbles started forming. Jessi touched the water and recoiled quickly.

“OWW! That water is boiling!”

I continued working until I had done something to each of the bowls, and then Mrs. Blanc told Jessi it was time to go home.

The next day, my parents told me that we were moving back to Connecticut. I was excited, but I knew I would miss Jessi and her mom. I packed my bags anyways, and we invited Jessi’s family over for Christmas dinner, which was our last meal in Nevada. After dinner, Jessi and her mom came over to me, and Jessi handed me a small box. In it was a necklace with a small vial filled with water.

“Your mom told us that you got sick when you first moved away from the coast, so we got you a vial filled with water. It will make you feel stronger, and replace that water bottle you’re always carrying around.”

I started tearing up as I handed Jessi her gift. “It’s not as helpful as what you gave me, but you’re my best friend, so I got you a necklace too. It has a balance on it, for honesty.” She started crying as well, and we sat hugging each other for a good five minutes before my mom said I had to start getting ready to leave.

We flew to Connecticut that night, and soon after my parents set to work on finding me help to strengthen my skills

Ignition

“Jesus Christ Joey, the apartment’s trashed!” Carl Peters was shouting into his phone.

“Oh fuck. Listen little brother, you need to pay attention here, is anything burned?”

Carl looked at the room, focusing. Their apartment was fairly small and shabby. Everything had been wrecked, smashed, slit, or burned.

“Yeah, there’s giant fucking scorch marks on the ceiling and floor. What the hell is going on?”

Joey sighed. “Listen, don’t get mad here, but I may have gotten in with the Suns. I just-“

“The Suns?! What the fucking hell where you thinking?” Carl interjected.

“Let me finish, Carl. I just left the Suns, I decided the thug life wasn’t for me. I guess they don’t appreciate their members bailing on short notice.” Joey responded with a tremor in his voice.

Carl clenched his hands. “Joey, listen to me. I have been covering your ass for as long as I can remember. I got you a job at the school, I’ve paid your fucking bail a dozen times, and this is how you repay me? You crossed a line this time, I’m done.”

“Wait wait wait, don’t hang up Carl. Listen, I’m really sorry for everything, you know I am. I figured out a way to fix it, though. I stole some money from the Suns, enough to get us started somewhere new, you see? And all we have-“

“You did what?!?” Roared Carl. “I can’t fucking believe you, not only did you leave the Suns of Sin, but you stole from them? Oh Joey, this is so bad. We need to go to the SVRA, or the cops or somebody!”

“No no, I’ve got a plan, don’t worry. Listen, I’m at the rental place on 14th right now, we can just-” Joey’s voice was cut off again with a strangled noise. A strangers voice resumed the conversation.

“Hello there, I’m assuming you’re Carl. Joey’s told us so much about you. He even said you like to be prepared; you hide cash around the city, just in case. He’s bleeding pretty heavily right now. I’ll patch him up, and keep him alive for now, you just bring our money to the address I’ll text you, and you can get him back. Thanks!”

With that, the stranger hung up. Carl dropped his phone and slumped on the couch, feeling a headache building. This whole thing felt unreal, the kind of situation plucky heroes found themselves in, in movies at least. Carl looked around at his ruined apartment once more with a sigh. He was sick and tired of it all, the constant attempts at reforming his brother, the constant messes he was in, the constant flow of problems in the rest of the world.

His phone buzzed and Carl swiftly picked it up. It read “bring 50,000 $ to the corner of 8th avenue and Washington, we will meet you there. Come alone ;P”

Carl shut his phone and got up. The reality of the situation hit him in waves as he left the building. Joey was kidnapped by the Suns of Sin, a pretty horrible gang deeply rooted in the city. Joey, ever the blabber mouth, had told them about Carl. Carl kept stashes of money in the city, just enough to cover the 50 grand needed. He never liked surprises, always wanted to have backup plans and contingencies.

 

Carl entered the train station and opened his locker. In it was his bug out kit; a pistol, about 55 thousand dollars, and some emergency gear. Carl slid his pistol into the pocket on his cargo pants. He left the gear in the locker, taking only the money in a duffel bag. He shut his locker and left.

Carl walked the ten minutes needed, and arrived at the corner. A taxi next to him opened, and two large men got out. They each grabbed his arms and escorted him into the taxi. It drove away, and the men put a bag on his head.

Sitting in the darkness, Carl felt overwhelmed. What had he gotten into? Carl felt rage build up. His brother, always useless and getting him into trouble. The anger faded away quickly, being replaced with guilt. Joey could be dying, he needed help.

The car stopped surprisingly soon, and the goons got out. Carl was pulled along with them, and walked into a building, stumbling occasionally. The men patted him down, and removed the gun from his pocket.

“Sinistar wants to talk to you, in person. He told us to give you the tour before, so let’s get moving.” With that, the goons tore the sack off, and Carl blinked in the light.

They started walking down a fairly dirty hallway, walking through a set of guarded doors. They strolled out onto a catwalk above a large, spacious room, nearly the size of a football field. Carl nearly threw up at the sights and smells.

The room was divided into several sections. The nearest one was full of small, partitioned rooms. Men were lining up to enter and…enjoy themselves with a woman. As Carl and the men walked along the catwalk, they passed over another section. In this one, men and women lay sprawled around the room, unmoving in a haze if used needles and pill bottles. The next section had a plastic, apparently soundproof ceiling. In it, people in lab coats were experimenting on others. From the looks of it, no anaesthetic was used.

Carl couldn’t look away, his eyes were locked on each grisly scene. He threw up after passing the final section, and the smell of rotting flesh that wafted from it. How Joey had gotten mixed up in this, he would never know. But Carl understood exactly why Joey had left. This level of hell was violating every principle he had. Anger built up in his chest; righteous fury and the desire to cleanse the place.

The two burly guards pushed Carl forward, through a final set of doors. He entered another chamber, smaller than the previous. It was ornate and spacious, with high ceilings and a throne-like chair at the end.

“Hello there!” A jovial voice called from the throne. A man sat there, in a black bodysuit with a yellow circle on it.

“The money is all here, sir,” a goon replied.

“Fantastic! Well Carl, how do you like the place? Pretty swanky, no?” The man said with a grin.

Carl kept his mouth shut, not trusting himself to speak without shouting in anger at the deranged villain. That would be a mistake, he decided.

“You’re no fun,” the man pouted. “This is boring now. Kill him,”.

“Yes Sinistar.” Both goons grabbed Carl by his arms and dragged him out a side door, into a bloodstained tile room.  

Carl was in shock. Stunned and unmoving. A goon pulled his gun out and –

Carl was calm. Everything was at peace within him, he was going to die, he was going to live no more. Carl knew this, there was no will to live left in him. He thought about his day so far, all the turmoil, all the evil. At that last thought, a great inferno began building inside of him. Carl was angry, far beyond the point of rationality. He had to do something to stop the horrors he had seen. His death couldn’t be for nothing.

Carl suddenly wasn’t in shock. The man had barely moved during his revelation, almost no time had passed. Everything clarified for Carl. Light flashed inside his head, illuminating a map of the building. Every useful bit of information seemed to leap into his head unbidden, a rush of tactical data, filling his head. The weaknesses of the building and it’s inhabitants built themselves in his head in an instant, how to scourge this den of filth permanently. All he had to do was follow the plan. So, Carl acted.

He swiveled and swiped, hitting the gunmans wrist right on a minor fracture. The gunman dropped his weapon, and Carl smoothly caught it, and shot both men in the head. Less than ten seconds had passed since entering the tile room. Carl calmly walked out, analyzing his environment and adapting his plan.

Sinstar looked up in surprise, before the bullet caught him between the eyes. Carl proceeded to sweep through the building. He killed every single person; men, women, and children. When everyone else was dead, Carl attacked two support beams, and collapsed the warehouse. He walked out, limping from a cut to his calf. Getting hurt wasn’t part of the plan, but it was valuable to know he wasn’t infallible.

Carl looked back at the wreckage, and felt the inferno inside of him blaze just as strongly as ever. He decided to move on, to clean up the problems the country faced. America was almost as bad as the place he had left. His mind blazed into crimson light as he decided to clean house.

The Man at Midnight

The man lurked by the alley. He was average in almost every way; medium height, build, and features. The only distinguishing characteristic was hidden under long hair and a hat. The sun had set hours ago, and he became more and more excited with each passing minute.

The man stuck his hand into his pocket and fingered the handle of the knife he kept there. Tonight’s the night, he thought. Weeks of planning, of following, of observing; they all culminated with this night.

The man knew her schedule by heart. On Wednesdays, she walked the eight blocks to her friends house. She stayed there for a few hours, and got home between eleven and twelve at night. Always slightly intoxicated.

The man shuddered in an anticipation, and looked at his watch. Ten minutes until midnight, she would walk by soon. The man had watched her leave the house that day, he knew what she was wearing and how she looked. She looked beautiful, like always. She was the most beautiful woman on earth, in his opinion.

The man stepped away from the entrance of the alley and stretched. As he did, the man turned in a slow circle, checking the street in both directions. Just a few passing cars, and a loud group of guys a block up, the area seemed deserted. He sat on the cold ground next to the entrance, and slouched over.

The man was not particularly well dressed. He was not in rags either, but he could imitate homelessness with the right attitude. The man tried to position himself perfectly, to appear harmless and inconsequential at the same time. The woman was a good person. The man knew this more than anyone else. He had watched her give more than most to those she passed on the sidewalks.

The man checked his watch once more. Four minutes until midnight. Doubts began creeping into his head. Why hasn’t she passed yet? What if she changed her plans? What if something happened to her? The man gripped his knife in anger. If someone hurt her, I swear to God they’ll pay.

The man sat still for a few minutes, imagining the vengeance he would wreak on her assailants. She would surely embrace him then. They would live together for the rest of their days, grow old with each other. He snapped out of the mild trance and returned to his vigil. The man monitored the street, hoping and praying she would come soon. To his thrill, she did.

The man’s heart started to pound. He fingered the knife in his pocket with excitement. The woman approached. 20 feet. 10 feet. 5 feet. The man let out a long low moan. She stopped in front of him. The man kept his head bowed, as she unzipped her purse. She held out a folded bill, and he acted.

The man siezed her outstretched wrist and pulled himself up. She started to speak but he cut her off, unfolding his knife. She dropped her purse.

The man spoke calmly and quietly. He told her to not scream. He didn’t want to hurt the woman, but screaming limited his options. The woman started trembling; shaking like a leaf. The man professed his love to the woman, right there on the street. Naturally, the woman was confused and rejected his feelings.

The man fell to the ground as the woman kicked him in the crotch. She ran away, screaming as loud as she could for help. The woman made a beeline for her apartment, just a scant few blocks away.

The man intercepted the woman before she arrived. He grew angry at her, and hit her. She began to cry, and became even more furious. The man cut the woman with his knife, and then-

The woman grabbed the man’s head. They were still and silent for several minutes. They then broke apart with a gasp. The man looked at the woman, and the woman looked at the man.

The man was gone though. Only the woman remained.

Interlude: The Gray Lion I – A Chance Encounter

Lynx

Looking around the apartment, it was cramped, but had large windows, and room enough for one person. As a first place, I could do worse, I thought. The curtains were a nice yellow, though the floor was covered in a hideous green carpet. It had utilities, and a small kitchen. It would do for me, until I could afford something better.

I walked out of the apartment, shaking hands with the real estate agent. He held the signed contract behind his back, as if afraid I would try and take it and rip it up. I smiled warmly at him, happy to have arranged where I was going to live after moving out of my mom’s house. I was going to move to Broadripple, the city near the suburb where I lived, and I was dreading it as much as it excited me. Here, I could fight more crime, help more people. I could live, independent, finally an adult.

I walked out of the apartment building, into the noisy, bustling city, and began the walk back to the train station. Suddenly, to my front and right, I heard a gunshot. Looking around, I saw an alleyway, and stepped into it, removing my shoes and putting them in my backpack as I shifted. In half form, I leapt up the alleyway walls, digging in with my claws until I was on the roof, running directly towards the origin of the sound. Leaping over the gaps between rooftops, I saw it, a jewellery store with a body outside, being dragged in by a masked man.
I dropped down silently, landing on the man’s shoulders, driving him to the floor and knocking him unconscious, twisting as I fell to face the door. Inside were a few rich looking people huddled on the floor, and two armed men. One saw me, and as he shouted to his friend, I leapt on him, trapping his gun between us and roaring in his face. He trembled as I threw him to the floor, only to stagger backwards as the tiny explosion of noise signalled my wound. The remaining robber had managed to shoot me, and I snarled, tackling him to the ground. I slammed his head against the floor, hard, and picked him up, dumping him on the conscious robber, who seemed paralyzed by fear. Stepping out, I grabbed the third robber, dragging him into the store as I heard the alarm get set off. I dropped him on the pile, before turning to face the store owner.

“Hey. I’m going to wait until the police get here, make sure they get into custody alright.” I said, as I chucked their weapons behind the counter. “Did they hurt any of the customers, do anything else?”

“No… No, they didn’t. They just came in here, shouting. One of my customers… The… The woman outside. She ran… The tall one… He just, shot her, no warning. Is she ok?” The portly gentleman asked, worry staining his face with perspiration.

“I’m sorry, no. The gunshot was what I heard, what led me here. Do you need any help getting the merchandise back on the shelves?” I said, gesturing to smashed cases.

The man smiled. “Thank you, you’re too kind.” He said, as he sat down on the counter, running his hands through his thinning hair. I stepped away, picking up scattered jewels and piling them on the counter next to the man. As I moved around the store, I check on the customers for any wounds, but don’t see anything. I picked up this gold ring, and took it over to the growing pile, when I felt a breeze against my fur, and heard a soft breath behind me. Next thing I knew, I was taking a strong right hook to the jaw.

“Metahuman!” I snarl, sweeping my right foot round low as I ducked and turned towards my attacker, intent on taking down the robbers rear guard.

Ravus Decem

Thinker Prime’s final words seemed to echo in my head as I left the museum.

Why don’t you take a break from Boston, go down to a different city for a change?

He was right, of course. Boston, and it’s surrounding towns, held too many bad memories. Still, visiting museums in Broadripple, Connecticut, wasn’t exactly what I called ‘fun’. Even so, it was a nice day. A bit chilly for June, but my lightweight jacket kept me comfortable.

I strolled down the street, enjoying the sights and sounds. It had been almost a month and a half since my powers came out, but I still wasn’t used to being colorblind. To distract myself, I stopped at a food truck and bought a taco.

I’d almost forgotten what real food tastes like. That garbage in the SVRA training facility doesn’t hold a candle to this.

After wolfing it down, I threw away the paper wrapper and turned the corner to walk to the park. I heard a loud boom from behind me. I whirled around, recognizing a gunshot from the training. I sprinted down the block, concentrating on where the shot came from. That’s when I heard a loud roar coming from a couple blocks over.

Holy shit, that wasn’t a gunshot.

Hearing another gunshot, I ran into an alley, and crouched behind a dumpster. I pulled out the plain grey mask I always have to carry, just for these situations.  

Too bad I don’t have the rest of my gear.

I left the alley at a sprint, entering a street with screaming people running away from a store. As I neared, I noticed it was a jewelry store. In the front entrance lay a still body, with a blood stain next to it. Inside the store were several frightened looking civilians, and a pile of three more bodies. What caught my attention though, was the beast.

Standing there with jewelry in his hand was a tall, lean, leonine man covered in tawny fur, with grey stripes. He had a mane stretching down to his vaguely dorky backpack. Immediately, I Moved.

Appearing to the side and slightly behind the villain, I lashed out with my fist, connecting solidly. Quicker than I’d anticipated, the freak spun around, lashing out with his foot.

Should’ve Looked first, I thought as I fell to the ground.

Hitting, I Rushed. Standing up in the still world, I got a close look at the monster. Frozen in mid lunge, his face a snarling mass of furs and whiskers.

No time to waste, the ten seconds is almost up. Noise climaxed in my ears and the world started, just before I hit him in the face again. When my fist connected, I Looked-10 seconds. The beast rolls with the punch, spinning around and palming me in the neck. He follows with two quick strikes to the chest, propelling me back with a crunch- and ducked under his outstretched arm. Grabbing his wrist with my hand, I pulled him off balance. Surprised, he fell right into my swiftly rising knee, winded.

“Get out of here!” I yelled to the stunned civilians.

Not wanting to waste the moment, I Moved behind him and Pushed him off balance with telekinesis. I reached down and picked a gun up off the glass covered floor.

“Freeze, asshole. You’re under arrest!” I shouted. He slowly turned around and saw me pointing the gun at him.

“Arrest? Say’s the guy helping these thugs kill people and rob this store?”

“What the hell are you talking about? You’re the robber.”

“Excuse me? I just STOPPED these guys, you idiot.”

“No you didn’t, I stopped you from robbing the store.”

“Seriously? Listen to me, I just came in here, took down three second rate burglars, and disarmed them. Where do you think I got this GUNSHOT WOUND!” he yelled, gesturing at his bloody stomach.

I sagged, and lowered the gun a fraction as the reality of the situation sunk in. “Oh fuck me. Wait, there’s only two guys here!”

“Seriously. You idiot, come in here, guns figuratively blazing, and let the fucking killers that I caught loose on the streets.” he snarled violently, his fists bunching as he stepped towards me.

“Oh fuck!” I yelled, and spun around around, running out the door.

Lynx

“You idiot, you come in here, guns figuratively blazing, and let the fucking killers that I caught loose on the streets.” I snarled violently, my fists bunching as I stepped towards him.

“Oh fuck!” he yelled, and spun around, running out of the door.

I leapt forward, clasping my hand on his shoulder as tried to get out. I let my claws dig in out of frustration, not some twisted sense of malicious glee at getting my hands on the man who sucker punched me.

“Listen, idiot. You teleport, right? How is that useful if you don’t know where he’s running too. Get back, and keep an eye on the unconscious ones. You have some authority, I assume? Trying to arrest me and all that. Good, sort things out with the police while I track our runner. Shouldn’t be too hard, he reeks of fear.” I grinned, letting myself flow into a more bestial state, a large cat, loose on the streets.

He mumbled something suspiciously like “Fucking asshole,” before turning around to inspect the bodies.

I stepped out, padding softly forwards and sniffing the sidewalk, ignorant and uncaring of the looks of fear and concern from passers by. Catching the scent of the robber, I sprinted forward, twisting lithely through the crowds that he barreled through.

The crowd soon began making way for me as I rushed after the fugitive. I caught sight of him, walking away and looking over his shoulder. He saw me too, and began sprinting. I spread my teeth in a leonine smile, snarling as I jumped onto the wall for half a second to get round a particularly obstinate group. And nearly into an annoying, interfering jackass, with a stupid little mask!

“Rrrrrrrowl!” I screeched, trying to talk before remembering myself. I shifted upwards, grabbing his jacket to balance myself as I entered half cat form. I shook him roughly “I told you to stay behind, you insufferable moron!” I yelled, momentarily forgetting the running criminal. And my complete nakedness.

“Down Kitty! Wait, naked Kitty?” He smirked an annoying smile, “What’s up with the, um, backpack but no pants?”

“Well, SOMEONE let my prisoner loose!” I yelled. “The other form is faster. I had to catch up somehow.” I growled, shifting back to all fours as I left the stupid conversation. I resumed the chase with the prisoner, closing the distance fast. All the while I was aware of the breezes caused by the stupid teleporter with his stupid teleporting. I internally seethed over his sucker punch.

Roaring, I let my frustrations loose on the robber, my claws tearing into his back as I drove him into the pavement. I turned as I felt a hand on my shoulder, snarling into the face of the masked boy. Relenting, I moved off the fugitive, letting the other boy support him as we began to walk towards the jewelry store.

 

The next day, I came downstairs early for breakfast, grabbing the paper from the front doormat on my way to the kitchen. On the front page, I saw a snippet of an article about a jewellery store robbery, continued on page 4.

Witnesses report a large, cat-like metahuman defending the store owner and his stock, taking the three robbers down in seconds. Another metahuman got involved, apparently under the impression that the bestial saviour was the criminal. While the two metahumans engaged in a brief scuffle, one of the robbers tried to escape, only to be chased down the street by both metahumans working in concert with one another. Together, they quickly took down the criminal, and returned him to the store, to await the Police for arrest. At this point, the SVRA claimed responsibility for one of the metahumans, naming a new Agent, Ravus Decem. The other, a currently nameless vigilante hero, has been dubbed ‘Lynx’, and has been seen several times outside of Broadripple.

I smiled and closed the paper. Lynx. I like it.

 

Zero Hour – Lynx I

“’You know, violence is never the answer,’ I whispered in the Thug’s ear, making him jump a foot in the air. Unfortunately, he held onto the knife he was threatening a young lady that, let’s say, he’d rendered into a state of indecent exposure. I didn’t particularly approve of his idea of a good night out, and decided to be a Good Samaritan and stop him from ruining someone else’s.

Turning round, the thug decided to threaten me instead, his scarred knuckles clenching the knife tightly.

‘Get out of here before I cut you, prick!’ He growled at me. I responded with a winning smile, which seemed to only exasperate the man further. He took a swing at me with the knife, so I caught his wrist, and, applying pressure, forced him to drop the weapon. The unfortunate young lady took this opportunity to run past me and into the street, hopefully to somewhere safe.

The unruly gentleman, who, now that I think about it, did have a slight stink of cheap whisky about him, took a swing at me with his other fist. Thinking quickly, I responded by slipping to one side, pushing on his shoulder and making him stumble into the wall of the dank alley. Quite unfortunately, he slipped, landing heavily on the floor, hitting his head with a resounding crack. I took the time that he was unconscious to call the police, you arrived, and here we are.”

The Police Officer looked at me from across the table. It was not a happy look. It was the look of a man who disliked having to do paperwork at 11 o’clock at night.

“Mr. Chambers, while the victim does agree to your statement of coming to her rescue, the man whom you assaulted tells the story quite differently. Apparently you grabbed him, and slammed his head into the wall repeatedly, until he blacked out. Now, considering the state of him when we arrived to the scene, your statement, and the woman you were defending’s statement, I believe we can let you go. We may need you to return at a later date, for more interviews, or to appear for a witness statement.”

Smiling, I thanked the officer and headed out of the interview room, the police station, and onto the street. Crossing the road, I headed into an alleyway. Once assured that there were no homeless people waiting amongst scattered rubbish, and that the darkness afforded me reasonable protection from the prying eyes of the street, I flowed from one form to another. I became slimmer, fat being absorbed into taut muscle. Tawny fur with smoky gray stripes slipping out of my pores. My face narrowed, and my jaw shifted forward, bringing my mouth and nose together as my ears climbed steadily upwards, finishing as pointed triangles on top of my head. My hands shifted almost imperceptibly, my fingers widening as retractable claws slid out. This took place over the time of an agonising minute, an almost pleasurable slow shudder of pain. I nearly forgot to slip off my shoes before they stretched or broke.

My sharp claws dug into bricks and mortar alike, thrust through with unnatural strength, and I climbed slowly. One movement at a time, I clambered onto the roof, and became free to roam around my hometown.

As I leapt around the rooftops, wind ruffling my fur, I reveled in the smell, sounds, sight of my town at night. Racing rapidly homeward, faster than I could approach by car, I cast my thoughts backwards, into memory, remembering the first time I changed like this, terrified and exhilarated all at once.

We were on a field trip, visiting a zoo. It was so fun, running around with my friends, seeing all the animals. That’s when I saw him, Trent; I think his name was, the smallest kid in our class. He was trying to see over the fences, get a better view of the lions. I was running over before I even knew, dashing towards him as his foothold slipped, and he fell straight in, dropping almost on top of the male lion. I didn’t pause to think, just vaulted the fence, landing in front of the younger boy, who was silent with shock. The lion let out a coughing growl, and I stared into its merciless eyes. Raising my arms, fully aware of the frailty of my young body, I shouted at the lion, as the world distorted into startling clarity, blues and greens flashing to vibrant life before my eyes. Sure I was about to die, I screamed at the lion. And, amazingly, it took a half step back, suddenly unsure. I stayed still, standing in front of Trent, who had begun to sob quietly behind me. I don’t know how long I stood there, facing the lion. The next thing I remember was a strong arm wrapping around me, and carrying me from the lion’s den.

They sent me home early, and I went to my room. I was on my bed, lying over the covers, fully clothed, shock stopping me from thinking, from acting. As I stayed there, time flew, and darkness claimed my room, sunlight no longer hitting my small window. And then it started. The itching. That same vivid coloration, blue and green growing brighter, even in the darkness. And the itching, growing worse and worse until I ripped my skin with my nails. And then I entered pleasant darkness.

 

Standing up from my bed as I woke, I looked into the mirror, staring at the feline lines of my face, the tawny golden fur with dusky grey stripes hiding within. My eyes, vertical slits cutting through the luminescent green, took in all of this in incredible detail, showing me the play of air currents on my thick fur. Staring at the mirror, I placed my hands on it, and my hard claws clicked against the glass. I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding, and turned to my window. Sliding it open, I slipped out with fluid grace, my new claws somehow naturally finding weak mortar as I climbed to the roof. Spotting the house next door, the roof a few meters away, I ran for a jump few thirteen year olds would have dared try. Reaching the edge of my roof, my toes curling lightly over the lip, I leapt. And I was flying, soaring through the air, and landing perfectly on all fours on the neighbors’ house. I let out a ululating howl of triumph, a screeching roar that reminded me of the hungry lion. And then I ran on, into the night, reveling in the freedom of the rooftop jaunt.

 

Oh god, that was a good day, way back then. The first time I found felt free of a mother I saw as oppressive, a father who wasn’t mine. I became strong, fast, useful. I could help people, save people, and look good doing it too. I grew up with pictures of the SVRA teams everywhere, knew exactly what getting powers meant, what it meant I HAD to do. So I did it, my own way. No way I was giving up new found freedom, not even to join a super team. I learned to fight, which wasn’t hard, not with my skill-set. And I learned when to run, and circle back. It was fun, and it was four years of intensive self training. I grew up, and fast. There were rumors about me, some good, some bad. I felt like a badass, a superpowered crime stopping machine. Of course, I wasn’t really, but pride does go to ones head. And of course, with pride, comes the fall.

I cringed away from that memory, ignored it, shoved it down. Pain, and fear, not something I wanted to relive. Not when I do in half my nightmares. So I buried it beneath sensations, the wind in my fur as I flew across the rooftops, gaining speed with each leap, each thud of the ground against my feet. My eyes, spotting vivid colours in the dark of night, locked onto the lit windows of my house, my open window, and I leapt, crossing the street in a blur of motion, and dived into a forward roll through the small space. I shifted back as flew through the window, becoming clumsy, slow, weak. Deaf, dumb and blind, I thumped down on my bed, my heart beating fast, purging the adrenaline rush from my veins. I looked at my nightstand, the cup of still warm cocoa there, left by my mom, with a note: Stop sneaking out, Stephen. ❤
Grinning to myself, I sat up, picking up the cocoa and drinking from it in deep gulps, grateful for the sugary heat as tiredness caught up to me. Putting it down half finished, I collapsed, fully dressed, onto the bed, and slept, entering the dreams behind my eyes.

Movement, screaming, raw cries of terror. I ran towards them, my stride eating up pavement, my heart leaping into my throat. A sudden, deafening crack, and I stagger, before pushing onward. The man with the gun, shouting at me, shaking her roughly by the hair. I roar, becoming more bestial, shifting to all fours, my tail whipping out behind me as my clothes rip off my back. I cover the ground faster, take two more hits to the body, and leap at him, yowling my defiance, knocking him down. And slamming his head against the ground. The woman screamed as my charge knocked her away, but the man was silent, our blood mingling as his flowed from his skull, leaving him. I locked eyes with the dead man for a moment, before racing off into the night, away from the man I’d killed.

Movement, screaming, raw cries of terror. I ran towards them, dodging the bullets I knew were coming. The man threw the woman away from him, taking up a better shooting stance. I roared at him, taking a shot in the chest as I leapt into him, smashing his head into the ground. My blood mingled with his, as his life left him. I screamed in rage, fleeing the man I’d killed.

Movement, screaming, raw cries of terror. I forced myself to stay humanoid, ducking into a tackle at the last minute, driving him off her and forcing him to release her grip. I felt his breath leave him as I hit, and he went down, hard, his skull thunking dully against the ground, which was soon painted red with his blood. Why, why couldn’t I stop killing him! I roared, leonine, furious and afraid, and leapt at a wall, fleeing to the rooftops to escape the murder scene.

I woke up, sweating and screaming, as a cool, gentle body hugged me, rubbing my back. I leaned into the hug, crying softly, as my mother patted my hair, held me, and made everything alright.

Zero Hour – Ravus Decem I

I crawled out of the tunnel as fast as I could. Their voices echoed behind me, I needed to move faster. I circled around back towards the slide, hoping they wouldn’t notice. It was to no avail.

Two boys cornered me on the playground. They were both at least a year older, and much bigger.

“Silas Weaver? More like Silas Beaver!” guffawed Richard, while Sam laughed behind him.

“Just look at those teeth! His mom probably can’t even look at him without barfing.” I clenched my fists and trembled. Richard turned around to talk to Sam, “I bet he-” but I ran.

I squeezed by Richards thick side and darted under Sam’s arm. Even then, I was fast.

“Hey, stop!” One of them shouted behind me, but I kept running. I reached the playground monitor, and hid behind her.

“What are you boys doing?” She asked me sharply.

I pointed at them, and said the magic word I learned at last weeks assembly. “Bullies.”

She whirled about, and faced Richard and Sam.

“Come. With. Me.” Exchanging terrified looks, they followed her inside.

“You too, Silas.”

We went straight to the main office. She brought the bullies inside, and told me to wait.

Some time later, she brought the sullen boys out. They apologized, and promised to stop.

The monitor turned to me, and said “We have received several reports of these boys being bullies. They won’t bother you again.” Richard and Sam walked off, and I hugged her leg.

“You did the right thing, Silas, I’m proud of you.”

The next day, they broke my front teeth, and I switched schools.

10 Years Later

“How was school, Silas?” My dad said, smiling at me.

“It was fine,” I replied as I put my backpack on the couch.

“Do anything interesting?”

“Well, the weather was a little wet during track, but other than that, not really.”

He looked out at the torrential rain and smiled to himself, then returned to typing on his computer. For the past couple of days, he’s been working on some new project, a romance novel this time.

I left the den, and walked down our main hallway. It extends down towards my parents room, and the foyer. The staircase starts somewhere in the middle. I climbed the stairs, went up to my room and powered up my laptop. After slogging through about an hour of homework, I went downstairs to watch some TV. I sprawled on the couch, and my dad glared at me; “Try to keep it down, OK?” I gave a noncommittal grunt in return.

A few hours later, I rubbed my eyes and turned to the clock. It was 6:30. “When’s Mom gonna be home?” I asked.

“She said she’s going to leave the office at six to pick up Kepler from the vet, so probably ’round seven.”

“What’s for dinner?”

“Leftovers.”

I smiled to myself, fend-for-yourself nights were my favorites. After gorging on steak tips and spaghetti, I walked upstairs to my room. It took another hour, but I finished my homework. I went downstairs, where my dad was washing up from his and mom’s dinner.

“Hi mom” I said, hugging her.

“Hey Silas,” she replied, hugging me back.

“How was the office? Did you sue anyone else today?”

She chuckled. “Just some idiot who drove his car into his neighbor’s collection of prized lawn gnomes. He claims they were possessed, and he was killing them in self-defense, but there’s really no proof.”

I grinned and plopped back on the couch, turning the TV back on.

“Your turn tonight” I announced as I tossed the remote to my dad as he joined us.

He nodded and flipped to some generic action thriller, like always. My mom sighed, and snuggled in with us.

—-

About two hours later, I went back up to my room. Movie night was always fun in our house, but I was tired as hell. After brushing my teeth, I fell asleep.

I blearily opened my eyes, and felt an all too familiar sensation from my lower torso. Rolling out of bed, I walked over to my bathroom door. To avoid waking anyone else up, I shut it quietly behind me, stepped over to the toilet, and let it rip. The nearby window provided all the light I needed, then I gently flushed, washed my hands, and went back to bed. Before I could fall back asleep though, I heard the tinkle of glass breaking downstairs. Immediately, my heart started pounding and I sat up and listened. Oh god an intruder? I thought to myself.

My parents’ door opened, and I heard the heavy footsteps of my dad walk out into the short hallway. There was a loud click of a light switch then my Dad yelled.

Noise exploded from below and I got out of bed. Shouting and thumping emenated through the floorboards.

“Oh god no,” I moaned before turning on the lights. People ran through my house, and my mom screamed.

“Oh fuck!” I said, quietly. I ran back into my bathroom, shut the door, and locked it.

I heard voices now, clearly and distinctly without the yelling.

“Bastard hit me! I’m gonna fucking end him!”

Someone let out a muffled scream, then I heard a loud smack.

“Shut up bitch!”

I heard more thumps and an ominous crack. My mom stopped screaming, which was far worse. My hands began trembling with worry.

“Go check upstairs,” a hard voice ordered.

“Oh fuck fuck fuck fuck” I whispered as some boots clomped up the staircase. My phone was downstairs, the window was too small. A sense of doom crept upon me; there was no way I could escape.

My bedroom door crashed open with a bang. The thug walked in and stopped. I heard him ruffle around the sheets and blankets on my bed. He walked over to my bathroom door, and rattled the knob.

“I know you’re in there, come out now and we won’t hurt you.” I stayed quiet, praying he wouldn’t enter.

He sighed, loudly. “Kid you’ve got one more chance to come out, or I come in.” I leaned against the door, and braced my body against it.

I heard him sigh again, and a rustle of clothes. The handle next to me started to glow with heat, but I couldn’t feel anything radiating from it. I dove away from the door and sprawled on the ground, facing the door. The doorknob glowed white and melted, splattering on the ground. The man pushed the door open, and I got my first view of the intruders.

He was tall and bulky, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a ski mask, like an old timey robber. Then I saw his hands, one was vividly red, the other a deep blue. My eyes widened, I knew who he was. State Shift.

About a week earlier

“Hey, change the channel, put on the news,” my friend Jimmy told me.

“What, why?” I asked.

“My sister just texted me, those burglars from the city struck again!”

I quickly changed the channel, and turned up the volume.

…the gang has robbed four houses so far, and this one makes five. So far, their M. O. has been to sneak into wealthy residences, steal everything of value, then sneak out. Only once did they resort to violence, and left one survivor. This crew is reportedly led by the metahuman Veer and his lieutenant State Shift. It consists of at least two non-powered members. They are considered very dangerous, and the SVRA should be contacted immediately if seen.

Two grainy and blurry pictures popped up on screen. A short, reedy man with dark eyes had a caption naming him Veer. Next to him was a man wearing a balaclava, who had red and blue hands, and a caption that said State Shift.

Veer and State Shift are both wanted for breaking and entering, burglary, murder, and rape. Mr. Groselan has put a bounty on both of them, for their defeat or capture. We go now to his released message.

A serious looking old man in a suit appeared on the screen, standing in a graveyard. “My name is Mr. Groselan, and the two metahumans known as Veer and State Shift invaded my late daughters home, raping her and beating her so severely she died later of her injuries.” His hands were shaking badly, but he continued with a grave look on his face. “Their crew is responsible for the deaths of my grandchildren and my son in law. They cannot go unpunished for any longer. I am offering a reward for the person responsible for bringing these,” he spat on the ground “men to justice. One million dollars each for Veer and State Shift, five hundred thousand for each member of the gang. That is all,” he said, the camera shutting off after capturing the tear on his cheek.

Powerful stuff, the news lady said. And now, to Bill with weather.

“Damn,” Jimmy said. I nodded silently, and switched the channel back.

Present Day

The villain stood before me. A hulking man, his very presence was intimidating. I looked into his cold eyes, pleading without words.

“Sorry, kid” State Shift told me. He held his blue hand out, and a blade formed out of solid air. “But Veer says no survivors.” He lunged towards me, and I froze, looking behind him, out the small window.

Something inside me jerked, and I Moved, leaving my bathroom behind and appearing in my backyard. I sprawled out onto the dark lawn, my eyes burning as the world became monochromatic. My mind reeled; I’m colorblind?

The bathroom window broke open, and State Shift stuck his hand out. I tried to teleport again, but instead, I Looked. State Shift gestures, and blades of solidified air erupt from the ground, impaling my body. I jumped to the side, rolling away from the shards into the bushes.

Ok ok, I have to get away, get the police, the SVRA, anyone! I blinked my eyes, still offput by the lack of color, and reached out to Look again. Instead, I Grasped the world around me. My eyes widened at the feeling of a bunch of hands moving around me. Telekinesis too, but I need to Look, dammit. I need to know if I’m in danger! I screwed up my face in concentration and- 10 seconds. A car drives down the road -sighed in relief.

I sprinted away from my house, choking down the fear. Entering the damp woods behind my house, I ran as fast as I could through my new shadowy world. No time to think about the color, just fucking run. I burst through the trees and ran across the soft grass.

Mrs. Hildebrand was a widow who paid me to tend to her yard. She was my closest neighbor, and has always been nice to me. I jumped up her front steps, and mashed my finger on the doorbell while pounding my fist into the door.

“Mrs. Hildebrand, please open up! It’s a pretty fucking extreme emergency!” I said as loud as I dared, the robbers could be searching for me. About a minute later, the lights flicked on, and the door opened. I stepped inside and shut the door behind me.

“Silas, what’s this all about?” She asked me, as I pushed past her and grabbed the phone. I held up one shaking finger to silence her, and dialed the authorities.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“Hello, my name is Silas Weaver. I live on 16 Alderbrook drive, you need to send help, fast.” I replied with a slight voice crack.

“Calm down. What is wrong?”

“Men have entered my home. They-they hurt my parents. I recognized State Shift.”

“Help is on the way, and the SVRA have been alerted. Can you tell me what happened?”

“State Shift broke into my room and then bathroom. I uh, escaped out the window and ran to this house. He mentioned Veer, like the supervillain. I think he’s in my house as well, please send help!” I gushed out, quivering.

“Stay where you are, Veer’s gang is extremely dangerous. You’re lucky to have escaped.” I dropped the phone, and it hit the ground with a clatter.

“It’s going to be alright, dear,” Mrs. Hildebrand hugged me tightly, stroking my hair. I broke down, and grabbed a tissue. Mom and Dad. They’re in there with them. I left them, how could I leave them? I glanced down at the tissue, and Grabbed it with my mind, holding it just above my palm. I’m a Metahuman now, I should be able to protect them. Every time I’m confronted, I run away. No more. I stopped crying, and clenched my fists. No more weakness, I’m strong now. The fear was gone, only anger remained. Strong enough to save my parents, to stop the bad guys. Some part of me screamed at that. I was too weak, too inexperienced, too pathetic. I wasn’t strong enough, it seemed to yell. I don’t care. I’m so fucking tired of choosing flight over fight. That ends today.

I shrugged out of Mrs. Hildebrand’s embrace and walked to the door.

“Silas, where are you going?”

“Back to my house.”

“But I thought the police officer would have told you not to do, well, that.”

I looked her in the eyes, all too aware of the lack of color. She stiffened in surprise.

“I don’t care.” I cut her off just before she opened her mouth.

“I have to do this.” I shut the door, and started running back to my house.

That small part of me kept talking though. I had no combat experience, and was going against a group of well armed, veteran metahumans. The SVRA or the cops should be getting there any minute now. I can help, maybe I can sneak in and, and, and kill them. A sense of finality filled me, I’ll save my parents, and kill the men responsible for this. I can see the future, teleport, and move things with my mind. I can do this. That small part of me fell silent, and I reveled in the crazy, desperate feeling welling up inside me. It’s do or die, Silas. It’s time to take back my home.

I reached the edge of the woods, and stopped. I closed my eyes, and reached for the power. I opened them, and Looked-8 seconds.I run out onto my lawn, and collapse as a bullet flies through a window and hits me– and decided to wait. I counted to ten, and- 10 seconds. I run out onto my lawn, and reach the house safely- ran as fast as I can.

I reached the wall of my house, and crouched down- 10 seconds. I climb up the tree and ease open the nearest window and shimmy in. The exiting goon turns around- and counted to ten again. Apparently, my Vision cuts out at ten seconds or death. Good to know, so- 10 seconds. I ease up the tree, and enter the window, and shimmy in undetected- I entered my house.

The window opens into the guest bedroom, which is undisturbed. That made sense, the men are looking for valuables, and we don’t have many in this room. I grabbed the solid glass paperweight by the nightstand.

Edging up to the doorframe, I concentrate and accidentally Moved back to the window. Damn it, these powers are fucking annoying, I need to be more careful. I creeped back to the door, and- 10 seconds. I peer out to the right, into the upstairs hallway, where the door to my room stands ajar at the opposite end, at the top of the staircase. I quickly turn to the left, and see the goon entering my dad’s office at the end if the hall.- counted to ten. I snuck into the hall, and turned to the left. Concentrating, I Look and Move at the same time- 4 seconds. The man spins about at my sudden appearance, and guns me down- dropping to the floor at my reappearance. The goon doesn’t notice me, and continues rifling through my dad’s desk.

Ok, just like a video game, just whack him in the head really hard. I fingered the paperweight in my hand, and slowly stood up. Swinging as hard as I could, I slammed him in the side of his head, right above the eye. He fell to the ground with a loud crunch. I lunged toward him, and hit him again. The bloody paperweight fell from my hand, and I puked all over him. Holy fuck I just fucking killed a man, holy shit.

“Walter? What’s wrong?” A voice came up the stairs. Panicked, I reached for the power again. A rushing noise filled my ears, building to a deafening climax. Then, suddenly, it stopped. I heard only my blood flowing and my heart beating. Everything else was silent. I spat to get rid of the lingering vomit taste, and it flew two inches before halting in the air. Time stop? That’s new. The rushing noise began again, and I ducked behind my dad’s desk as it reached a crescendo. I felt time return with a jerk. My spit hit the ground with a plop, and I heard footsteps come up the stairs. Again.

Come on, come on. I focused again, and Looked- 10 Seconds. State Shift enters the room, and discovers the body. He examines it and- that is very bad. I quietly scanned the top of the desk, and grabbed the scissors and a stapler. State Shift ran in as I pulled my hand back.

“Walter, what the fuck? Aw hell.” State Shift ruffled the body. I looked down, under the desk and into the hallway. This better work. Reaching out with my mind, I Grabbed the door to the guest room, and slammed it shut.

State Shift whirled around, and got up from the body. I needed to time this right, so I Gazed into the future and- 10 Seconds. State Shift quietly approaches the door. I Move behind him, unnoticed, then stab him in the neck with the scissors.- now! As State Shift neared the door, I looked over the top of the desk and Moved right behind him. I buried the scissors in his neck, and he collapsed with a yell.

I fell on top of him, trying to pin him so I can stab him again. State Shift screamed, and blood jets from his neck. I got off him, leaving the scissors. Taking a precious moment, I Looked- 10 seconds. A voice calls out from below, and footsteps approach the stairs. State Shift’s flailing slows down from blood loss. I run back to the guest room-

“Shift? Shift!? Aw fuck!” A man shouted, as he began to run to the stairs.

Meanwhile, I had already run into the guest room, tossing the stapler aside. I ducked back out the window, and dropped to the ground. I have to avoid a direct confrontation, buy time for the SVRA and the police. On the ground, I started running around to the front of the house, my stomach heaving. Oh God forgive me, I killed another man. If it wasn’t empty, I would’ve already hurled.

I ran by the side door and stopped. I rang the doorbell a couple times, to piss off whoever was left. Shit. That was stupid. Now they’ll know I went outside. I wasn’t thinking straight, and I had a blistering headache. I needed a second to rest, so I dove behind a hedge that bordered my house.

I sat on the wet ground, between the bush and my house, and breathed. My heart was pounding rapidly, and I needed to think. Slowly, I inhaled and exhaled. Alright, I’ve got precognition, teleportation, telekinesis, and time stopping powers. There’s at least two more left, and Veer is one of them. How do you fight someone who redirects motion? Just then, a wailing siren pierced the night. I peered through the leaves and saw approaching lights. Finally, the cops are here!

I snuck up to the end of one side of the house, peering around the corner to the front. Several police cruisers pulled up, and officers piled out of the them. They assembled behind their cars, and a drew their guns. One officer got out a bullhorn.

“This is the police. Come out of the house with your hands on your head, now.” I Looked- 10 seconds. A burst of gunfire erupts from the upper window on the opposite side of the house, gunning down three officers- and shouted “Upper right window!”

Most of the officers looked towards me, at the window above me. Too late, I realized my mistake. I had said right, my right, which was their left. Gunfire erupts from the window, mowing down four officers. One of them returned fire, apparently he had heeded my advice. The gunfire stopped. My front door burst open.

A man stepped out. Even in black and white, I could tell who he was. Veer. He raised his hands like a conductor, a pistol in each. Cackling madly, Veer began firing randomly into the air as the cops shot at him. I froze up in a combination of fear, panic, and wonder as each and every bullet arced nearly through the air, curving in circles to strike the police officers. In seconds, they were all dead. I looked on in horror as Veer kept laughing, pulling his triggers until he heard clicks.

I picked up a stick. Focusing, I Rushed. As time froze, I ran forward, bursting out of the underbrush in a sprint. Veer wasn’t close enough. I was feet away when time started with its precious cacophony. I swung with my stick, but he smiled and I fell forward, my momentum driving me into the ground instead.

“You little fucker,” he snarled “You killed them, and you’re going to pay!”

I gazed up at him, stunned from hitting the ground so hard. He pulled out a gun and Crack!

I woke up in the hospital, a soothing presence in my head. Hello, Silas.

“Who is this?” I groaned hoarsely. No need to speak, my name is Thinker Prime, from the SVRA. You are in the hospital, you were shot.

Veer?

That’s right, he directed the bullet into your left shoulder. It was intended as torture. Luckily, I stopped him soon after. You see, he has no telepathic defenses, and an unusually weak psyche. It was simple to shut his mind down.

My parents?

The voice hesitated, and sounded sad. I’m truly sorry. Your mother didn’t make it, and your father is in the ICU right now.

I screwed my eyes up in pain, and began to cry. I failed.

You did not fail, you are responsible for stopping a group of killers and thieves. That is admirable.

But I couldn’t save them!

You had your powers for all of ten minutes, and you managed to stop the group.

I should have saved them!

Once you are healed, you should join the SVRA. Make sure you won’t fail to save anyone else ever again.

I clenched my fist in anger as I looked out on my grey world. I won’t fail, I promise.

Writer Introduction: CerealKiller

Hi Everyone, my pen name is CerealKiller

I’d say I’m somewhere between a novice and an intermediate writer, I’ve written stuff before, and it’s not bad, but I’m not great at keeping a plot going long term, which is something I think/hope writing in a group with other people prompting me will help a lot. I’ve been reading TANH for about 4 months.

My character, Lynx, has the ability to shapeshift into two cat-like forms, one humanoid and one quadruped. He has enhanced strength, senses, reflexes, all of that jazz, and heals pretty quick too.

His real name is Steven Chambers, and he’s 17 years old. He’s had his powers for about 4 years, and, unknown to him, they were passed down by his father, who left his mom when he found out she was pregnant. He has two half brothers, and a half sister, and he loves them all, but can be a bit distant to them. His youngest brother is five, the older one is 14. His sister is 11. He’s quite tall, 6 foot 2, and lean, with defined muscles.

My plans for him are pretty vague, at the moment. He’s a smart kid, or at least he thinks he is, and he quite enjoys the freedom his powers give him. So he’s not gonna want to join the SVRA immediately, or at all, without some pretty compelling reasons. He also is going to be a hero, or at least a vigilante, because he can’t not be. For him, that choice isn’t one, he just has too.

I live in South East England, and I enjoy writing (duh), and video games.