Posts Tagged ‘Fractal’

“I admit it,”  I said.  “I fucked up.”

Maxwell had no sympathy for me.  I didn’t expect him to.

“You are telling me you had your powers readjust six times?”  Maxwell asked Margaret.

“Yeah, and?”

Maxwell had no response.  It was a mix of emotions, hearing this and seeing her treat it so casually.

“This,”  he began, sighing.  “This is serious.  I can’t really let you all go.  Not before, and not now.”

I relented.  I didn’t want a scene to be the first thing, and it already was.  Even the soldiers in the distance were tense.

Unperson restarted the conversation after a few seconds.  “So, Ryan Anderson, Margaret Upton and Samantha…”

Samantha didn’t take the bait.  She just stared at her, cautious.

“She’ll prefer to go by Samantha for now,”  I said.

Unperson gave a curious look.  “Let’s get you inside,”  she said, leading the way.  I followed, with Samantha tightly holding onto my hood still.  Margaret walked alongside Maxwell, trying her best to get acquainted with an old friend.

 

***

Three Years Ago: Kingdom of New Austin.

“Ryan, you aren’t eating,”  said Fractal.  He was dull, everything wiped from his mind by Taker.  Taker began to enjoy the boosts his power got, mainly the ability to use his powers without the touch requirement.  I hated it.  I couldn’t trust anyone.

I hated his sick joke of a reward.

“I don’t want to,”  I said weakly.  It still moved on the plate.  unnerving.

“Ryan, if you don’t eat you’ll lose your strength,”  said Fractal with no inflection at all.  “You want to get out, right?”

There it was.  The goading.  I didn’t want to die here, neither did Event Horizon or Sacrifice.  Taker abused this, used it to turn us against ourselves.  I almost wanted to die, and every time that feeling reached its peak, Taker jumped on it.  A cycle of torment.

Fractal put the plate down, just out of reach enough that I’d have to crawl over to get it.

“It’s only fair, it’s a treat,”  he said.  “She took yours, you take hers.”

It wasn’t like that, I thought.  It wasn’t.

I hesitated, reaching out for the plate, shackles and chains clinging along the floor.  I finally crawled over once it stopped beating.

“Good,”  smiled Fractal, uncanny in his appearance.  “Every last bit.”

I slowly took a bite down, blood spilling from Sacrifice’s heart into my mouth, down my hands.  She probably grew a new one by the time I was given this.  A new one for Event Horizon.

 

***

“Hey, what’s with the staring?”  asked Unperson, waving a hand in my face.

“Sorry,”  I said, my attention finally grabbed.  “Daydreaming.”

She shrugged and sat down at the other side of the table, papers in hand.

“Shall we begin?”  she asked.

“Can we hurry?”  I asked back.  I didn’t have time for this red tape.  I had to check up on Samantha, too.

“We could just get somebody to read your mind out your range,”  she said, stern.

“Fine.  Here’s what I know; four members are left from the Hunting Party, one of them is effectively harmless.  The kingdom is ruled by Taker, who has mind control powers,”  I said, counting my fingers.  I put my hand away under the desk.  They were all back, but how they grew wasn’t a good memory.

“Sorry!”  I said when I noticed her confused look at my actions.

“That’s all good,”  she said, writing down some notes.  “I’m more interested in you.  You mentioned mind control.  I don’t want to ass-“

“Assume I am under Taker’s thrall?”  I finished for her.

“Yeah.”

I sighed.  I didn’t know if I was, really.  Three years for him to prod and poke at me, with my glaring weakness every time I was asleep or distracted combined with the things he did everyday to throw me off, to throw us off our balance…

I didn’t know.  Maybe I broke down at some point and he patched me up, or he gave me a subliminal order for Trauma later on?

“Ryan?”  I looked up.  Unperson looked worried again.

“Your cloak fell down a little,”  she pointed.  I smiled and pulled it back up, covering my left shoulder.

“It’s not broken, right?”  she asked.

“No,”  I replied, brushing her concern off.  “It’s healed.  I don’t want to talk about this.  So-“

Unperson interrupted my excuses.  “You need help, Ryan.”

“I don’t,”  I said, quieter.  “I’m fine.  This is irrelevant to the reason I’m in here anyway.”

They can’t prove I am or am not a sleeper agent, truth be told.

“I’ve told you what I know, or all the rele-“

“You didn’t tell us exactly what happened,”  Unperson sighed.  “We need that.  Everything that happened, from the day you and Event Ho-  The day you and Margaret had gone missing until the moment you le-“

I stood up and left the interrogation room, annoyed that I was asked to narrate what happened.  I had to find Samantha, anyway.  If she was being asked the same questions…

No.  I ducked into a utility closet as several guards walked by, just avoiding their attention.  Maybe she’s in the same hallway?  That would be stupid.  They’d separate us.  Myself and Margaret have powers.  Samantha would be assumed to have them.  I took a glance into one of the rooms, my pace quickening when I didn’t see Samantha or Margaret.

No guards as I turned the corner, only a breeze knocking paper away behind me.  Damn portable buildings.

Almost every room at least glanced at, and none of these portable offices have more than one floor.  I went for the exit, nearly breaking out into a run.  I reached my hand out for the do-

Unperson grabb-

I tripped over and fell into a trash can in haste.  A guard came out to look at where the noise came from, spotting me instantly.

“Hey,”  He shouted, reaching for a gun or taser.  “Stop!”

I didn’t have time for this.

The door was feet away from me, I charged at it, tossing the trash can at his direction with one arm making trash flying through the air and block his sight.  I barged through the door and ran to the next building, the base kicking up in activity.

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7 | 4 : Ambush

Posted: 08/06/2014 in Ambush
Tags: , , , ,

“It feels good to be king,”  said Taker, sitting there like he was a king.  He was a king.  “Doesn’t it, Sacrifice?”

Sacrifice clenched her fit and got up, standing.  She was shivering noticeably from where I stood.  Anger.  Resentment.  Disgust.

“Taker,”  she said slowly.  “Why?”

Taker looked at her, pretending to be offended.

“For fun,”  he said, exaggerating his mock offence with gestures and faces as he stood up.  “Isn’t that my only motiv-”

He stopped, standing normally but not quite.  “I can’t do this pretend stuff anymore,”  he sighed.

Taker took several strides towards us quickly and lifted Sacrifice’s chin as soon as he had reach, making her look at him with level eyes.  “Bet you didn’t know I could fuck with your head.”

Sacrifice slapped his arm away, scowling.  “What the fuck do you mean by that?”

Taker smiled, backing off with his arms stretched wide and a massive shit eating grin painted onto his face.  “Who’s the daddy?”

Sacrifice leapt for Taker, reeling her fist back for a punch.

Taker was unimpressed.  “Stop, peasant.”

Sacrifice froze.  She froze in the air, immobile.  I took a double take.

“Wow, this king thing is great!”  said Taker, surprised and happy at his newly found power.  “Ryan, come over to your king.”

My legs moved on their own.  I couldn’t struggle or control myself as I walked over to Taker.

“H-Hey!”  I said, approaching Taker while dragging the cocoon behind me still.  “What the hell!”

“Stand right here,”  he ordered pointed just in front of where Sacrifice was.  I saw her looking at me, still in the air.  “Facing her.  Don’t move from there or speak.”

Everything felt slow as I slowly walked to where Sacrifice was aiming for before she paused.

Event Horizon stirred.  “Mmm,”  she mumbled, mouth covered.

Taker untied her from the impromptu harness I made with the silk and pulled her away.

“So Ryan,”  he began as Event Horizon began to realize where she was, struggling with futility against the cocoon.  “You wanted to kill Sacrifice, right?”

I said nothing.  Couldn’t.  My eyes darted between Taker and Sacrifice, as did hers.

“Changed your mind?  She has a habit of doing that.  She did it pretty well back in the day,”  he said, gesturing to Fractal.

He held the cocoon up, forcing Event Horizon to face us.

“Anyway, you know exactly how strong she is, right?  You think she’s telling the truth?  Do you trust her?”

He smiled.

“You could die.  You could be smashed like a melon if you are wrong and I say the magic words.”

She wouldn’t lie to m-

She already did.  She has, several times before.  That was irrelevant.

“You know, that little girl you were after was really fun to talk to.  She offered me a bet, or a deal.  I keep you for three years.  Three years.  You, Sacrifice and this little dear here,”  he revealed, stroking Event Horizon’s chin,  “Are all mine to play with.  Have fun with.  She’ll be busy bringing her own plans to fruition, and I get a free pass after three years.”

Free pass?

“You see, she wants to give me a gift after I gave her a chance to move freely, without that human side interfering.  I break you three down; she gives me the gift I seek,”  Taker walked over to Sacrifice.  “Sacrifice dear, will you tell Ryan every lie you’ve told him that don’t relate to how your powers work?”

Sacrifice looked at me, her face horrified.

“I-” she choked.  “I lied about my past.  I was good, once.  I changed after a while, and things progressed.  Most of my teammates stayed with me.  Glutton. Fractal.  Jawbreaker.  Taker was a villain.  It sorta happened when Druggie came by, we were just teens looking for thrills.  I-”

I knew that.  I did the research and found a summary of your back story.

“I lied about what I was doing with Kingmaker.  I didn’t want to be queen.  I wanted some medicines, and surgery equipment.  M-”  Sacrifice paused, her face was miserable, spilling out her secrets like this.  “I had a father who was sick.  H-He was going to die.  I uh, somebody came by and I tried to get help.  I did the things you know trying to figure out how powers work.  It was sort of relevant when I-”

She looked terrible, telling me this.  It was if she was exposing her true self, exposing her body for all to see.

“It’s why I was so wanted, I think.  Knowing stuff.”

I don’t care.  That wasn’t important.

“I lied about the promise.  I wouldn’t hold it up when we were done.  I’d have killed you or run away or something.”

She didn’t elaborate on why.  She didn’t need to.  I trusted her based solely on the fact I’d have a chance to avenge the hell I was being put through and she crushed it, if I wanted to go through with it.  Our whole relationship, the reason I was okay at the back of my mind with her eating my fucking flesh, it was ruined in an instant.  The promise was a lie.

I wanted to scream.  Scream in anguish, hate, pain, betrayal.  I wanted to cry.

“That’s it,”  Sacrifice finished, exhausted.  “I’ve finished.”

“Good job, not shut up,”  said Taker, turning away from Sacrifice and looking at me from.  “Well, Ryan?  You ready to take the hit?  If you want to live, just say three magic words;  ‘I give up’.  Say them and you’ll get a reward.  One that will make the next three years bearable.”

I could move my lips.  Sacrifice’s reaction said it all, as she saw my face contorted into pure unfiltered contempt.

“I give up,”  I said, staring her down, still immobile.  Taker smiled.

“Good, good,”  he cheered, patting me on the back as I stood there, unmoving.  Unable to.  “I think you’ll like this reward.”

He walked off, slowly, still in my sight.  “You see, I looked into Sacrifice’s mind.  It was easy, really.  Hell, she even thought that I couldn’t, because of all the little false memories I made.”

For the next three years, I regretted this decision every day.

 

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I dragged Event Horizon along with me, making sure not to wake her.  The softness and lightness of the cocoon Kumo made meant I could easily drag her along without waking her up at all.  I actually tied some around myself, freeing up my hands as I dragged her along the multiple hallways that were separated by doors.

The trip was quiet this time.  Sacrifice was concentrated, and so was I.  Taker had to die; this was an unspoken agreement.  Anything after that was not meaningful at all.  I didn’t care about the promise right now.  We might not live through this.

My thoughts were interrupted by a familiar face.  A face I saw many times, smiling behind the surgeon’s mask as he jabbed me with the needle.

“Druggie!”  yelled Sacrifice, serene.

This was unusual, seeing her so calm, so concentrated.  The current look she gave made every action she took before look exaggerated, as if every act was part of a theatrical play.  Druggie looked at her, his eyes declaring nothing but fury.  Four syringes, one between each finger of his right hand, each a different colour.  I gulped a little.

He took the green one between his pinky and his ring finger, and stuck it into his neck, walking towards us.  I moved back and Sacrifice walked a little forwards.

Druggie forced it into his veins, taking the red one that was between his ring and middle fingers as he discarded the now empty syringe he used to the side.  Sacrifice sped up to a sprint, and so did Druggie.  They met in the middle of the hallway.

The sound of the impact was intense.  Wind blew me off my feet.

Sacrifice was lucky to be partially in blood from her frequent skirmishes.  She was red and bloodied, standing there as dust blew past her.

Druggie injected both the yellow and blue formulae that remained into his neck at the same time.

“Sacrifice,”  he said.  “You’ll pay.”

Sacrifice looked almost confused as she suddenly shot down the hallway at blinding speed, missing me by inches.

The crashing noise confirmed that she was smashed through a wall somewhere behind me.  I turned around to see Druggie there already, moving faster than I could see.  He was holding Sacrifice by the ankles, hammering her body against the pillars.  One by one, each broke with the force of the impact as her flesh connected with stone.

“I figured cutting and stabbing and drugging you wouldn’t work at all, you bitch.”

He used her limp body to crater the marble floor with a downward swing, still holding her by the ankles.  The pillars and floor were ruined.

“The fact you killed her disgusts me,”  he said, tossing her into the ceiling.  She fell down after a few seconds with no grace.

Druggie dashed to Sacrifice as she fell, punching her with incredible force.

“I’ll just fucking pummel you till you can’t get up, then I’ll take you to Dad.”

I was horrified, watching this.  The whole time I was with Sacrifice she was more competent and anyone I knew, she was fast, powerful, intelligent.  Right now, she’s being beaten half to death before my very eyes.  She’s being overwhelmed.

Druggie grabbed the back of her head and brought it for a knee to the face.  It sounded painful from where I was.

The beating continued, her body covered in bruises.  Druggie avoided attacking the bruises, as they seemed to form an impromptu armour on her body.

After one minute, Sacrifice got the first decent hit in.  Druggie mistimed a kick and sacrifice was able to strike his leg with her right arm.  I noticed that her wrist was broken.  She must be in complete agony.

Druggie lost balance and hopped back, but sacrifice followed up with another hit, this time to the temple.  He tumbled to his side as he dashed an impossible distance for any human.

“What? Going into withdrawal?”  chuckled Sacrifice, her body visibly beaten.  She’d die if her powers weren’t active, clearly.

Druggie was sweating.  He charged again, a relentless assault, unending and unreadable to me.  Punches, kicks, elbows, knees.  The only moves I was able to see were the grabs and throws, and just barely.

Finally, he stopped.  He tossed her hard into the cracked and broken marble floor from a decent height.  His clothes were worn out, frayed at the ends.  His face mask was gone, his hair a mess.

He grabbed Sacrifice by the ankles and looked at me.  I was too terrified to refuse.

I followed him down the hallway, keeping back to make sure I didn’t let Sacrifice into my range.  If I shut her powers off, I’d kill her.

Her hand twitched.

“Boy. You take her,”  he said, pointing at me as Sacrifice slowly moved her arm to his right leg.

“I have Event Horizon, I can’t take her,”  I stalled, glancing as she moved her arm to his ankle.  He stared at me intensely, making me look back at him, holding my hands in the air in submission.

Sacrifice crushed his ankle as I stared him in the eyes.  His scream was blood-curdling.

She got up, showing me that her bones had healed. Unfortunately, nearly every bone broke,  and many healed while they were in the wrong place.  Her legs were bow shaped, her ribs and hands has stray bones sticking out, her jaw was misplaced.  She was black and blue and yellow from head to toe, and her left foot was bent into a fist.

She stood, twisted and malformed, almost grinning as three teeth fell out.

“I eedig,”  she said, unable to speak properly. “You ose.”

Blood sprayed me and Event Horizon as Druggie was beaten to a pulp against the marble floor of the hallway.

 

***

 

 

Sacrifice spent an hour breaking herself, putting everything back to where it should be.  I took the time to vomit behind one of the few remaining pillars as she did so, somewhat horrified at the sound.

I finally looked at her when she was done, and she looked human again.

“So,”  I began,  “Why the wait?”

“Waiting for his drugs to wear off,”  she said, holding a bit of foot in the air.  “He nearly knocked me out, I just came back at the right time.”

She got up and we continued out trek to the throne room.

The doors to the throne room were large and wooden in texture, but solid metal from how they felt.  Sacrifice pushed them with all her might, and fell over to her knees as the doors finally gave way.

I checked to see if she was okay, and I saw the worst situation possible as I glanced into the room.

Taker sat at a round table before the throne.  The King sat at his throne, a spear protruding from his head, a flow of blood dripped off the end of the spear and his wide eyes stared at nothing.  The crown was in Fractal’s hands as he stood behind Taker.

“Good to see you could make it,”  said Taker softly as the crown was placed on his head.  “Long live the king.”

I turned to look at Sacrifice, and I saw it.

I saw despair.

 

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The trip made me feel miserable.  The drugs took their sweet time wearing off, and during the whole time they did I had to sit there, looking at the Hunting Party.  Bloodwitch, Sacrifice, Jawbreaker and Ellen were the only ones in the van with me.

Bloodwitch was in the back, leaning over into the passenger seat.  Sacrifice was busy reading a book, occasionally glancing at me, to see If I was trying anything funny.  Jawbreaker was driving, and Ellen sat in the passenger seat, looking out the window.

I had to do something.  I thought about my powers.  I took my sweet time and read up on their powers whenever I could.  I read everything I could about them.  The NHN Database, fan forums, Wikis and everywhere else.  I was convinced I could beat them.

Honestly, I was a fool.  I was younger and weaker than all of them except Bloodwitch and Ellen, and I didn’t want to fight Ellen at all.

The bleeding stopped a while ago, and I’d wiped everything off my face with the sleeve of my suit.  My helmet and my Shield lay next to me, freely sliding along the floor of the van as it took turn after turn.

A faint whizzing sound filled the air, distracting us all.

“Everyone get down!”  yelled Jawbreaker, Swerving the van.

A bullet penetrated the front window explosively.  Sacrifice toppled over, the shot just missing her.  When the van landed on its side and skidded uncomfortably along the road, stopping after several long seconds.

Sacrifice picked herself up first, along with Ellen.

“Wow, you look great up there,”  she laughed at me as I dangled from the side of the van in my bindings.  “A chandelier.”

“Let me down,”  I said sternly.  She gave a look and I added “Please.”

“One second.  Friends before foes,”  she replied.  “Jawbreaker, Bloodwitch!”

“JB is KO’d,”  replied Bloodwitch, checking up on Jawbreaker.  The airbags were deflating, slowly.

“Good, take this one down from here,”  said Sacrifice as Ellen opened the door.

“Truama, dearie?  You stay as a hostage.  I’ll need you.”

Bloodwitch roughly unbound me and let me fall too the floor.

“Up,”  she ordered.  I got up quickly, grabbing my helmet and shield.

I looked around and the sun hurt.  Another van was on the road, parked perfectly.  The rest of the Hunting Party was here, I assumed.

Sacrifice was quick to action.  “We have company, Guys! Get out!”

Fractal had already teleported Kumo, Glutton, Taker and Druggie out of the van, along with Event Horizon, who was in handcuffs.  She caught a glimpse of me, and her face told me what I didn’t want to know.

She followed me and got caught.  I turned away.

“Well, now we are all here,”  began Sacrifice,  “We should be taking cover, although it may not help at all.”

She turned to the tipped over van as another thud rumbled through it.  A ball bearing less than a centimetre in diameter stopped inches away from her mask.

“Ryan, use your powers,”  she ordered me.  I didn’t comply.

“No,” I murmured, “I don’t ne-”

“Your friends will die here,”  She interrupted as she turned her head.

She looked at me.  She looked deep into me.  The Ball bearing was so close.  If only it started moving again.

“Start thinking, now!”

I hate her.  I hate her so much it hurts.  I hate how she’s using them; using me.  Still, I have to do this.

“Fine,”  I said.  “It only attacked the van, and isn’t going for you.”

The ball bearing quickly darted towards me, striking my facemask that is attached to me helmet.  I fell backwards, stumbling.

“Ryan, no!”  shouted Event Horizon.  Nobody else moved, not even Ellen.

“Sounds like its owner was mad at hearing that,”  said Sacrifice.  “You think its owner is hiding or nearby?”

I didn’t care, blood dripped from a shard of plastic in my cheek.

“Fuck, don’t as-”

Sacrifice ran over and kicked me in the stomach.  “Answer me!”  she shouted.

This was a game to her.  Another way for her to assert her dominance.  She knew exactly what was going on.  I hate her so much.

“I think they are hiding or something!”  I shouted in response to her interrogations.

“Good, good,”  she replied, smiling.

I got up as she walked over to Event Horizon.  The ball bearing floated aggressively between her and Sacrifice.

“You were the team leader for the Juniors, weren’t you,”  she smiled, stroking EH’s hair back gently.

“I still am,”  she replied.  “Don’t touch me.”

“Lock that ball down.”

“Why should I?”  asked Event Horizon with a smug but scared look.

“Well, if you don’t I’ll just give a pledge to Texas here and now, and in about two hour-”

Event Horizon reacted before she could finish.

“Okay!”  she said, panicked at the thought of Sacrifice’s threat.  “I’ll do it!”

The ball bearing stopped moving.  Event Horizon winced a little.  Sacrifice walked away, into the open.

“It’s pulling hard,”  she complained.

“Suck it up, dearie,”  smiled Sacrifice.  She turned around to face us and yelled directly into the sky, arms outstretched and her body showing.

“Show yourself!  You can do it!”

No response.

“We’ll fight honestly!  Come on!”

Still no response.  Event Horizon’s foot dragged a little along the ground, prompting Bloodwitch to snigger.

“Fractal, get everyone but the leader in the van and dri-”  She was cut short with a loud fizzing sound behind her.

A young man with long, flowing golden hair stood right behind her, holding a motorcycle helmet in one hand with hos bike between his legs.

“I figured you’d have to show yourself if Event Horizon held onto your toy,”  gloated Sacrifice.  “Get lost or I’ll kill you.”

The young man smiled.  Event Horizon dropped to her knees in exhaustion as the ball bearing she held with her power fell to the ground.

“Don’t expect the King’s guard to be so pathetic,”  he smirked, sticking one hand into his pocket and placing his helmet on with the other.

Sacrifice was about to move, but Taker took control of the situation, much to my surprise.

“Sacrifice, don’t do that,”  he pleaded gently.  “It’s not fun that way.”

I looked at them and noticed that everyone was staring at Sacrifice, waiting.  Were they judging her?

Even Ellen did so.  I looked at Event Horizon as she groaned.  Our assailant huffed.

“War is not fun.  Protecting our King is a privilege.”  he stated with pride.

“Fine,”  said Sacrifice, after such a long stare down against what was the entirety of the Hunting Party.  “We’ll do it the fun way.”

She turned around, bowing.  “I bid you welcome, I am Sac-”

“Dear god woman! Put on some clothes!”  Interrupted the man, shocked.

“Who the fuck are you anyway?”  I finally asked, annoyed.  Just fucking kill her, or get out the way and let somebody else kill her.

He gave pause and looked at me, glad to be distracted from Sacrifice’s bosom.  Sacrifice gave me a nasty look.

“Why,”  said the man in full theatrics.  “I am a member of the king’s guard, Merly.”

 

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Quiet.  Silent.  Everything was Nothing and she was alone with her thoughts.  Who would want to talk to you?  It’s all your fault.  You’re going to cause nothing but misery, forever.  It’s all your fault.  You deserve this.

Ellen’s mind raced, and it could only hurt her.  She was not allowed to talk to anyone, not after what she did.  The guards were blocked from even seeing her, she was that horrific.  Confined to a nearly impossible degree, with gags, blindfolds, chains, cuffs and straight-jackets all supported with a complex metal contraption suspending her in place.  All that was was all her thoughts; all her thoughts were all that was.  She waited and hoped for the occasional jolt of the van as it took her to the city kept her awake. Anything to make the Ellen in her mind go away, or be distracted for a moment.

You don’t deserve to live. You killed them.

Ellen couldn’t escape her own thoughts for even a single second.  It hurt.

Did it feel good?  Having her die because you didn’t want to hear me for just a little longer?

A thousand accusations, a thousand spiteful words pierced her with precision that proved to her it was her own mind doing this.  Her very soul was trying to drive her insane.

She loved you, and you said those filthy, evil words.

It was working.

And guess what?  You get to go free.  I’m sure Uncle Jonathon will be proud.

A violent jolt of the van changed her mind for a second.

Oh my.  It appears you’ve caused even more death.

Metal tearing, shouting, screaming, gunshots.  Nothing.

They had kids.  Both of them.

More metal being torn, louder, more pronounced.

And now it’s your turn.  You’ll spread misery forever, without fail.  You disgust me.

“This her?”  a ragged voice asked.

“Yeah, this is the one,”  answered what sounded like a young girl’s.  “Taker, take out the bits we don’t need once I’ve tapped her.”

Pain.

 

***

 

Ellen woke up to find herself alone.

No voice.  It was gone.  She got up and realized he was free.  She was free, and there wasn’t that constant voice in her head telling her how horrible she was every second she wasn’t near Ryan, and she could move and walk and speak and-

“So you took out her will to die?”

Ellen shot around and saw them. Seven Humanoid figures and a giant spider.  She’s seen weirder teams of capes before.  Unlike Ryan she actually bothered with reading cape news and gossip, rather than instinctively sneering and going for the remote.  She recognized them already.  The Hunting Party.  She was back in the clutches of the hunting party.

Sacrifice, Druggie, Fractal, Glutton and Jawbreaker stood in a group.  They were finished off by three of their other members whom the news reported as visiting Asia at the time they attacked Norfolk.  Taker, Bloodwitch and Kumo.

 

“Why are you here?”  she asked.  Or more correctly, that is what she meant to ask.  What she actually said was “Ahh, Munroe.  You think you can save this little girl, too?”

A brief moment of horror crossed Ellen’s face as Bloodwitch slapped her across the face, sending her across the room.

“Taker, she told you to take out all the bits we don’t need,”  Bloodwitch snarled at Taker, her veins visibly popping from her powers.

“Now now, I was only having a joke.  It’s not like you’d kill yourself anyway,”  replied Taker, adjusting his glasses.  “Though if you let me take something of similar value, I’d give you back your death…”

“Back off, you fucking creep,”  Bloodwitch replied, a spear of blood shooting out of her arm and touching Taker’s neck.

Glutton suddenly jumped and bit down on the blood spear, breaking it.  He shot a look at both of them and resumed eating his burger.

“Enough,”  ordered Sacrifice calmly.  “We have many experiments to run in the future.  Taker?  Take these things,” she handed Taker a note of paper.  He smiled while looking at the list and walked over to Ellen, who just managed to stand up.  Ellen turned to run and began to look for a door or a window.

“It’s no use, dear.”  said Taker, slowly walking towards her.  “I took away the exits.”

“Clara, help me!”  Ellen cried.  Bloodwitch clenched her fist and looked away.  “Don’t let it happen!  Don’t just stand there watching again!”

Taker got even closer.  Ellen tried to make another run for it but she froze.  She suddenly fell to her knees and put her hands behind her head.  Bloodwitch was using her powers on her.

Ellen panicked, struggling to speak.  “Clara, please!  I didn’t mean it! You said you’d prote-”

“You aren’t her!”  shouted Bloodwitch, visibly angered.  Ellen shut up, reduced to sobbing.

Taker reached her, and placed his and on her head.

“Loyalty to your friends, family and everyone else bar us.”

A surge of blood rushed through Ellen’s head.

“Please, Danny… It wasn’t their fault,”  she whispered to Taker.

“Your ability to use your power on us.”

Another surge of blood.

Ellen could actually say what she wanted to.  “Please, stop this.”

“Your ability to betray us or rebel against us in any form.”

Another surge of blood, heavier than the last.

“And finally, your will to leave us.”

It was done.  As the last pulses of blood ran through her head and she heard the tinnitus slowly pass by.  Even her thoughts changed.  Ellen was still scared, still frightened, but now she feels no need to escape, to try and run away.  She looked up at Taker as he took his hand away.

“Why?”

“We always take a new member from each experiment,”  smiled Sacrifice.  Ellen remembered a small detail about her; she used to be a well known metahuman researcher.  Her experiments have come to this?  Awful.

“It’s a way to keep on having fun.”

“I see.”  Ellen wasn’t disagreeing.  Only loyalty to the Hunting Party remained.  It pained her to admit so, just a little.

Sacrifice walked closer to her, wearing a bull’s head instead of the goat she last saw.  She placed her hand on Ellen’s shoulder.

“You are now Trauma,”  she said gently.  Ellen got up, allowed to move again.  Sacrifice turned to the rest of the Hunting Party. She clapped her hands and spun around in a mischievous manner.

“Who wants to see the current situation of Texas?” she asked.

Kumo was the first to reply.

“Why go Texas?”   the spider hissed.

“Because, Kumo, I want to study the Effects of Druggie’s formula on a Kingmaker victim.  The King of Texas is conveniently nearby, and he’s going to open up soon anyway.  Kingmakers need to wage wars and Texas hasn’t had one in 15 years,”  she replied.

Kumo didn’t respond.

 

Alliance walked into the meeting room of the New York National Heroes Network Debriefing Room.  He looked over at his fellow agents and at down in his chair.

Array stood up and turned on his projector.  “As you all know I and Hindsight have been following the Hunting Party for the last month,”  He said, pointing at his masked colleague.  “They’ve hit Norfolk an hour ago.”

Undertow clenched her fists.  “Why didn’t we hear about this now?”

“I suspect that somebody is allied with their cause.  It’s most likely Agent Jameson, but that isn’t important.”  He said.  “Six teenagers were kidnapped.  We all know their usual MO.  Expect these kids to be highly incontinent with their powers.”  Array handed 6 folders, one to each person in the room who isn’t himself.

“Myself and Hindsight have already written down the best course of action.  I expect you to follow this to the letter, as usual.”

Alliance, Undertow, Vortex, Queen, Water Strider and Agent Mulch opened the folders and read them.

Agent Mulch was the first to protest.  “What the fuck do you mean, only capture the cloning ability user!?”  he said.

Hindsight smirked a little under his mask.  “I’ll assure you that if you go after anybody but the twins, you will die.  This is the only option.”

Agent Mulch snorted.  “If they are dangerous at all, then any loss to prevent another fucking Buffalo City event is perfectly fine.”

Undertow looked at the agent with bared teeth.  She let up after Water Strider but his hand on her shoulder to calm her.

“I assure you,” said Array. “They are all perfectly harmless to normal people.  I do note that they will cause damage only if somebody with powers tries to attack them, however.”  He put his hands up in the air.  “I’d like to catch them all, really.  I hear a professor in Ethiopia came up with a cure to Druggie’s super serum.”

Undertow finally spoke.  “I’m not going to fucking allow you to experiment on minors.”

Array smiled.  “I have full permissions, and you are assuming I’m going to create some godzilla thingy.  Besides, I need their permission to perform any experimental treatment, both from the doctor and the children.”

Undertow looked at Agent Mulch.  “Come on.  Don’t let him.”

Mulch sighed.  “I have to agree with Undertow here.  This stuff is an unproved science, and I don’t think the risks of what could happen outweigh the benefits.” Array opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted.  ” …and before you go to cry about it, I’m not going to allow it this time because Hindsight says it’s okay.  His duration for his ability to see the future is short a majority of the time, and the problems may be long term.”

Alliance stood up.  “We should go.”  Undertow, Water Strider, Vortex and Queen followed suit and left the meeting room.

While they walked down the halls, Vortex was the first to break the silence.  “So when is the honeymoon, newlyweds?”  he asked Undertow and Water Strider.

Water Strider gave him a look and smirked.  “I’m not telling you.  God knows what prank you’d try and pull.”

Vortex shot his hands up in fake surrender.  “I’m not like that all the time, it was only once!”

“You teleported Undertow’s bra onto alliance.”  Queen interjected.  Undertow put her head down slightly.

“At least they fit him,”  said Vortex.  “God know what would happen if Alliance had bigger boobs than Undertow.”

Undertow put her hands over her mouth to stop laughing and hide her embarrassment.  Queen decided to smack him over the back of the head instead.

“Thanks, Queen.”  said Water Strider.

They reached the roof and huddled in a circle. Alliance, Undertow, Water Strider, Vortex and Queen held hands.

Vortex smiled, giddy at the upcoming fight.  “Here we go!”

Thunder struck the roof of the New York building, and they disappeared.

 

***

 

The National Heroes Network stood in front of the Hunting Party.  Sacrifice, Fractal, Glutton and Jawbreaker stood in a circle around 7 teenagers.  One was glowing brightly.  One had a mask over her face.  Two were identical.

Sacrifice was holding several syringes in her hands.  Alliance knew that colour.  It was Druggie’s self destruction formula.

“Don’t let her inject anybody with that formula!”  he ordered.  “Attack the Hunting Party, we’ll deal with the kids later!”

He turned to face the hostages and the Hunting Party.  “Nobody Move!”

Sacrifice yelled something.  Nearly everyone charged into the fight.  Fractal appeared right in front of Undertow’s face.  She waved her hand and he was flung into a building with a crash as the window was broken.  He suddenly appeared behind her and touched her back.  She disappeared.

Vortex teleported himself and Queen in front of Sacrifice.  She tried to stab at them with her syringes, and Queen dodged back.  “Squeeze your hands.”  Queen said.  Sacrifice crushed the syringes in her hands, and leaped forwards to punch Queen.

“Kneel.”  Sacrifice stumbled, missing her punch.

“Kneel.”  Sacrifice stumbled again, almost flipping over.

“Kne-”  Queen was struck in the face with a plank of wood before she could finish.  Fractal then teleported behind Vortex holding the wooden weapon but suddenly shot up into the air and hovered there, floating at the height of a small building.

“Got him!”  yelled Water Strider.  Undertow raced back into the fray riding a small puddle at break-neck speed down the empty road.  She crashed into one of the teenagers who hadn’t run away.  There were two of them, looking the exact same.  How did she not see him?

The two teenagers were yelling at the same time, to a third who was eerily still.  “Derek, listen to me!  The syringes are gone!  We have to go back to the others!”

The still boy pressed on, refusing to listen to his comrade.  Undertow felt a thud as  he hit her.  She tried to punch back, and went right through him.  Water Strider charged into the fray, kicking and punching all three teenagers, somehow hitting the still boy.

“Stop, I’m trying to help!”  Said both twins at the same time.  Water Strider stopped attacking.

“On your hands and knees then!”  he ordered.  The twins acted at the same time.

A glow became brighter and brighter.  “What the hell is that?”  asked Vortex, shielding his eyes.

It began to fade, dimming slowly.  “One of the kids.”  said Alliance as he walked towards the group from his fight.  He looked beaten up.

“Jawbreaker and Glutton got away, as predicted by Hindsight.”  he said.

Alliance looked at Sacrifice as Fractal blinked in and out of existence, taking her with him.  Undertow kicked some dirt into the air and screamed at the sky.

“That was a waste of time!  Fuck!”

Alliance looked at her sternly.  “We stopped a potential disaster, and according to Hindsight’s report, we have a source of useful information from the cloning boy.”

Undertow shot Alliance an angry look.  He was always so calm and by the book, which aggravated her to no end.  Even Vortex couldn’t get him riled up, and that guy has tried many times.  Alliance stood firm in his opinion, and Undertow conceded defeat.

“Okay.  I understand.”  she didn’t.

Alliance picked up the twins by the arms.  “Kid, your name.  And don’t give me any callsign stuff, you are not wearing a mask.”

The twins took a second to think, then explained in unison.  “I’m Richard, but everyone calls me Ricky.”

Alliance relaxed a little.  “What do you know about the other hostages, Ricky?”

“I know them all.  They’re my friends, sir.”

“Really?  You know their names?” Alliance inquired skeptically.

” Micheal Scott, Maxine McKinnon, Ellen White, Ryan Anderson and Derek Smith.  They’re good kids sir.  It isn’t our fault this happened.”

“I know son,”  said Alliance.  “It was just bad luck, really.”

Queen and Water Strider walked up beside Alliance.

“You’ve been injected with a serum from Druggie,”  explained Queen.  “We’d like to run some tests, to get an idea of what will happen to you and your friends.”

Ricky nodded slowly.  “Okay.  I understand.”

I was tied to a chair in some basement or store-room.  I could hear Derek screaming.  Ellen was tied to the chair to my right, asleep.  Micheal and Maxine weren’t here, I could only assume they were already being worked on, or were killed.  Sacrifice walked in, and sat on top of my lap, facing me.  I’d enjoy being straddled by a naked woman if the person was not wearing a rotten goat’s head and wasn’t caked from head to toe in dry blood, which I could only hope belonged to the aforementioned goat.  I also figure the whole supervillain thing  also is a turn off.

“You know, there are two ways to get powers, dear.”  Oh god she talks like my mother.  I groaned.

“A ‘Want’ or a ‘Give’.  Have you ever heard of them?”  she said as she walked her fingers of her right hand up my chest.  I’ll add ‘reminds me of my mother’ to the growing list of turn offs.

“A ‘Want’ is when somebody wishes for something so hard they are given powers to help them.  For instance, if somebody wishes desperately not to die, they might become invulnerable, or immortal.”  Sacrifice stopped her hand at the top button of my shirt.  I gulped.  She started walking the fingers of her left hand up my chest.

“A ‘Give’ however, is when you are given powers from someone or something else.  For instance, your loud friend here is being given a nice little serum to empower him, like those two black-haired kids you were with.”  she explained as she stopped her left hand at the same button.

“You should see what the girl does, sweetie.  Poor thing.”  She unbuttoned the top of my shirt.  I moved my head away from her.  The smell of dead goat was getting to me.  I looked at the eyes of the goat she was wearing.  They were popping out of the goats sockets, and a fly was crawling over it.

“Shut up!”  I blurted out.

I screamed as pain soared through my chest.  Looking down, I saw her hand pressed flat against it.  She tensed her fingers and another spike of pain shot through me, making me scream again.  She rose my head with her chin, and looked straight at me from the goat’s mouth.  She has blue eyes.  Angry, blue eyes.

“Listen kid,”  she said.  “Every time you piss me off I’ll take it out on one of your friends here, like that little lady over there.”  She turned my head to face Ellen.  She was still asleep.  I thought of Ellen and how her mother must be feeling.  Hopefully the local heroes will find us soon, or the police.

She stuck her tongue out of the hole in her mask and licked the side of my cheek.  I suddenly felt dizzy as my balance started to give way.  Derek had stopped screaming at some point, I can’t tell when.  I heard a door open, and Sacrifice turned around.

“Druggie, do this bastard next.”  she snarled as she got off me. Sacrifice and a man in a Surgeon’s mask who I could only guess would be ‘Druggie’ dragged my chair to another room. There was a few stains of blood, a lamp and 2 syringes on a table, both containing a silvery liquid.  There were 4 on the floor.  Derek, Maxine, Micheal and somebody else.  I swallowed a little.  Druggie stood in the light, and he looked a lot like a surgeon. He had the mask, the gloves, the scrubs.  I could see that a little blood stained his clothes.  He picked up a syringe and walked over to me.

“This will hurt.”  he said.

He plunged the needle into the side of my neck.

***

At some point I passed out from the pain, and when I woke again I saw Derek, Micheal, Maxine and two others in the same room with me.  It was a bathroom.  Derek sat on the toilet, still as can be.  Maxine was tied up with a bag over her face.  Sacrifice’s taunting came to mind, and I shuddered to think about what happened to her.  Micheal was glowing.  He literally was.  I couldn’t look at him because it blinded me.

One of the other captives was sitting in the walk in shower, and another in the bathtub. Me and Maxine were on the floor.  We were all tied up with rope, but no longer in chairs.

Fractal opened the door.  I could hear crying.  Ellen was crying.  He snapped his fingers, and our ropes weren’t there anymore. He snapped again, we were suddenly in the middle of a street. Sacrifice and two other members of the Hunting Party stood around us.  A short, fat man holding a lamb shank and eating it messily was to my left.  He smirked as I looked at him.  The girl to my right was dressed as a clown.  How cliche.  I turned to look at everybody else.  Maxine was still wearing a mask over her face, and Micheal was still glowing.  I worried about myself and Derek, when I noticed him shift suddenly.  I didn’t even see him move.  I haven’t seen him move at all.

Ellen appeared out of nowhere, right in front of us.  Fractal must have done that.

Sacrifice cleared her throat.  “Listen up kiddies,”  she said.  “The National Hero Network will arrive in roughly one minute.  I have in my hands a special part of Druggie’s serum.”  She held 8 syringes in her hands, each filled with a blue-ish liquid.  “I’ll break them all if you attack me or any of my teammates.”  She dropped one.  It broke on the ground, its contents spilling everywhere.  “If you be good little children and fight the NHN, I’ll give you a syringe.  These are the only things that will stop your powers from going fully incontinent.”  Micheal looked at Maxine.  “I’m not sure you 6 friends would like to live your lives in a cape asylum.”

Wait, six?  There’s me, Derek, Micheal, Maxine and Ellen, right?  What about the other two?  Ellen, Derek and I looked at the two men with us.  They looked the exact same.  Twins?  Why only six then?

A thunderous boom shattered the windows of the nearby houses breaking my train of thought and I instictively ducked along with Ellen who let out a small shriek.  When I looked up, five figures stood before us all.  The National Hero Network.

Sacrifice looked at us and then the five heroes.  “Nice to see you, Alliance.”

The man in the center wore a short cape of white and red, with a large ‘A’ over his chest.  He yelled, his voice booming.  “Nobody move!”

Sacrifice turned to us.  “A free syringe for anybody who kills those capes!”

Only Derek and the twins ran towards them.  The Hunting Party followed behind.

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Posted: 05/18/2014 in Entry
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I was tired and hot.  Summer does that to you.  What also does that is a classroom with no open windows because they are held down with – I shit you not – zipties.  Apparently the hinges are loose enough that breaking them would cause the whole window to fall off.  I honestly believed my teacher, because a building with flood warnings for a hallway after a bought of rain and walls enough concrete and drywall removed you can see the steel supports  usually came with other glorious defects.  Thank god I don’t have to use the elevator.

My teacher, Mr Craig was droning on and on about political studies.  A new class in the school.  Considering the political changes the last five years, it’s overdue.  I stared out the window aimlessly.  I didn’t care about politics at all.

“Anderson,”  I was brought back to reality.  “I repeat, how many nations are there after the Kingmaker incident?”

Oh, Great.

“300-ish,”  I said.  “I wasn’t listening properly, sir.”

Mr Craig sighed.  “Ryan Anderson, answer me properly.  Are there more or less nations now than before the Kingmaker incident?”

I didn’t know.  Honestly, I didn’t know much because most things weren’t in my interest.  How I get the marks I do on tests, I’m clueless.  I must by lucky.  I tried to answer his question, even while I didn’t know what he was on about.

“Less?” I said, unsure.

“No.”

Damn.  No luck today.  Mr Craig walked back to the front of the class to repeat what he was probably saying.

“As you all know, apart from Mr Anderson over there,”  he said, pointing to me,  “The Kingmaker incident is the result of the metahuman known as Kingmaker using his power to rampage through Asia into Europe.  Even after his death, there are still people affected by the Kingmaker aura, including the King of Texas and the Queen of Wales.”  He finished writing a bunch of nations on the board.  Most of them were monarchies, which is what Kingmaker caused.  “Due to this, rather than having just under 200 nations and sovereign states, there are roughly under 300 of them.  Oddly enough, there are only fifteen Kingmaker states.  Many of the other nations are either former kingmaker states or states recognized because of the push towards the recognition of former self-governing communities like Zululand, Scotland and Xinjiang.  The answer is 600, Ryan.  Write that down.”

I wrote down ‘asshole’ on my notebook.  He continued on and on, about how developed nations disproportionately have had history of being ruled, governed or somehow given access to knowledge based metahumans and their produce and more boring shit like the scrapping of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

It’s not my problem.

 

* * *

 

Class finally ended and I sat down to eat with the only two people who can tolerate me.  Michael and Ellen.  Micheal finished his mean in record time, and took it upon himself to lecture me about the previous class.

“Ryan, you shouldn’t go and piss the teachers off all the time,”  he said while adjusting his glasses and closing a tupperware box filled with crusts.  “He’s getting paid to teach you, and it is your problem.  The world changes.  Accept it.”

I ran my hands through my black hair and leaned back on the bench.  I’ve already had this conversation before.  I’m not getting myself invested in the world of lunatics.  I don’t want to hear about heat vision, teleportation, invisibility or all that other crap.  Superheroes and supervillains are not on my list of issues, nor they ever shall be.  I glanced over at Ellen.  She was as intent as Micheal to get me to pay attention.

“…and it’s not just about superpowers or politics. You don’t do math, you litter, you don’t write down notes or keep to times without help…”  Micheal was still talking?  Damn.  I’ll write down a little more next week and hand in a piece of homework or two.  That always works.

“What about tomorrow?”  Ellen asked him after he was done.

“Uh?  Tomorrow?”

“Yeah, aren’t we all going out with Maxine and Derek to Newton Cafe?”  Ellen replied.  “It’s at 3 pm, Mick.”

Micheal turned to look at Ellen quickly then back to me.  “Okay, I remember that.  I think.”

“Maxine and Derek should call later on if they still want to go.” I said.

Ellen shook her head.  “They are fine.  They just decided to not come in.”

“Really?”  I asked.  “Unfair.  I have nobody to talk to now.”

Lunch passed by uneventfully with our topics of discussion alternating randomly from why fast food for breakfast is gross to why burning down a house isn’t a good way to distract a mugging.  I got up and walked to my English class early as Derek and Maxine are not here and neither Ellen nor Micheal have any reason to be in class with me.

I sat in class and wondered about how the day tomorrow would go.  It was difficult balancing what everybody liked and hated enough to avoid causing disaster.

Micheal was the easiest to manage.  He’d do anything me and Maxine were doing anyway.  Ellen needed her parents permission to do anything, but Micheal and Maxine was able to convince them for tomorrow.  Maxine seemed to have similar tastes as me, but she’s a lot more brazen about them, and has her own friends she talks to.  It was lucky that I was able to invite her for tomorrow.  Derek is hated by everybody who isn’t us for some reason.  He has a few issues, but severe bullying does that to a person who’s first friends are in high school.  He’ll just tag along.

I already had an idea of what to do.  There was a nice event happening in a restaurant nearby.  One of the bands Maxine likes was playing tomorrow at about 3:15.  Maxine would say yes, and Micheal and Derek would tag along easy.  Ellen wouldn’t need much to convince her, she likes to rebel from her mother every now and again.

A slam of a book on my desk.  “Ryan, pay attention.”

Damn it.

 

***

 

It was 2:59.  Derek, Ellen and I were sitting at Newton Cafe.  I couldn’t wait to tell them about the band.  Ellen was twirling her blond hair, and Derek was telling Ellen about how his neighbor’s dog jumps over his fence every day for no reason.  I checked my phone again and started playing some small app I downloaded.

“Hey,”  Maxine said to everybody.  “What’s up?”   Micheal was with her.

“Hey,”  Derek replied.  “Waiting on you two.”

Maxine sat down at the table while Micheal took a chair from the table nearby and dragged it along the floor.  “So are we just gonna drink coffee and hog wi-fi?”

“Nope.”  I said.  “The Open Doors are playing in Basil’s coffee-house.”

“Why didn’t you tell us to meet up there?”  Maxine huffed.

“It’s in March street. Ellen’s mother wouldn’t agree to let us take her to that.”  I said.  “Right, Ellen?”

Ellen shrugged her shoulders and took a sip of mocha.  “Yeah.”

I looked over at Maxine.  She wanted to go there so bad she started figiting with the ring on her finger.

“Who’s coming with me?”  I asked everyone.

Maxine smiled.  “I would have dragged you all down anyway now I know they are in town. You lot need to listen to them.”

Derek stuck a hand up for a second.

Micheal shrugged.  “Whatever, sure.”

Ellen looked at the ground.  “Um, okay?”

I smiled.  Unanimous agreement.  Perfect.  I got out my seat and took my coffee with me.  “I know the way, we’ll be there for the band if we walk over right now.”

We left the coffee shop and left the mall.  We reached the high street when the bells rung.  Ellen screamed out a little.  Micheal looked up at the speakers.  Derek sighed and muttered something under his breath.  Maxine looked at Micheal, and then me.

A screech as the speakers blared out a feedback loop and blared a message.  “Warning, please return to your homes,”  I gulped.  “The Hunting Party has been sighted in the city center.  I repeat, the Hunting Party has been sighted in the city center.  Everyone is advised to return to your homes.  The National Hero Network will lend aid shortly.”

Ellen looked like a puppy died in her hands.  Michael wrapped his arm around her.  “I’ll call Susan,”  he said to her.  “We’ll head to your house, and call our parents and stuff from there.”  Everybody looked grim.

“Yeah, we’ll do that.”  I said.

We jogged the way we came.  There was slight panic, as traffic built up and the warnings still blared out, but faintly enough we could talk.  I swallowed my pride.

“I’ll be honest. I don’t know about the Hunting Party.”  I said.

Maxine shot me a look.  “Ryan, the Hunting Party are a group of supervillains who specialize in creating other superhumans.  The problem is that people who get powers from them usually can’t stop using them, because they are passive powers.”  We reached the end of the high street and jogged on to the suburbs.

“Although, we don’t actually do it the normal way.”  a voice said behind us.  I turned around to see a naked woman wearing a goat’s mask over her head.  Ellen screamed.  Maxine and I jumped back.  Micheal held on to Ellen tighter.  Derek nearly turned tail and ran.

“Congrats, kiddos!”  the goat headed woman boasted like a gameshow host.  “You’ve been chosen!”  She cocked her head at us, watching our terrified reactions.  I realized that the mask she was wearing was a real goat’s head from the smell.

“Sacrifice. Her name is Sacrifice.”  Micheal whispered in my ear.

Sacrifice looked at Micheal.  “Yes?”

“I wasn’t talking to you, I was telling Ryan your name.”

“Really?  Does this Ryan not know a celebrity like me?”

I gulped down my fear and looked her in the eye.  “I don’t pay attention to things that don’t effect me.”

I regretted acting tough immediately.  Her head arched back as she held onto her stomach and she laughed repeatedly with a cartoonish exaggeration.

“You hear that, Fractal?  This kid thinks we aren’t his problem!”  She yelled to nobody in particular.  Derek elbowed me hard in the side.

I turned to face the others and Maxine shot me another angry look while laughing came from all around.  We all huddled closer.  “We are going to effect you.  You won’t forget this day, any of you.”

Sacrifice put her hand on Micheal’s head and he fainted.  Ellen began screaming.  Derek ran away.  A man appeared out of nowhere in a yellow jacket and hit Derek in the stomach.  I pulled on Maxine and Ellen, but Sacrifice caught her and she fainted too.  Maxine and I ran into the main street.

I turned back and Sacrifice was just standing there, waving goodbye.  She was mocking us.  We ran into the mall which was thankfully empty, and we hid in a nearby toystore.  Maxine punched me in the face and I fell over.

“You fucking asshole!”  she yelled at me.  “Why would you piss her off like that?”

“I was being honest!”  I protested.  She kicked me and I grunted. It was a weak kick, as we had both ran half way across the city.

“You don’t know what they do to people!”  She was fuming at me. “You don’t pay an ounce of attention and now they are going to… FUCK!”  She swiped all the toys off an isle and kicked a box across the store.

I lay down from when she punched me.  “Tell me then.”  I said.

It took Maxine five minutes to calm down.  The Hunting Party was still nowhere in sight.  You’d think they would have found us already.

“The hunting party create people with powers, but they can’t turn them off,”  she said.  I nodded in confirmation.  “So people either have to kill them or lock them up before they do something really dangerous.  You know Buffalo?  They caused that.  They also caused Pittsburgh, and Morgantown.”

I didn’t know what she was talking about. I opened my mouth to ask another question.

“And it looks like we’ll cause Norfolk too.”  Maxine let out a small squeak. I didn’t bother turning around.

Everything went pitch black.

 

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