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Beginnings: A Tink Anthology

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A Whateley Academy Tale

Beginnings: A Tink Anthology

by

Domoviye

 

Broken

 Broken

Buffalo, New York
March 2007

Beatrice rubbed more skin cream on her stomach and chest, frowning in disgust. The weird lines weren't going away, in fact they were getting worse. What had been short little lines of slightly redder skin around her breasts, had grown, forming lines from her thighs to her neck and reaching around her back. They weren't all thin lines either, some were as wide as her thumb.

“Mom,” she called, while tossing on a sports bra, “come here.”

The door opened and her mother stepped in. Her hair was a bit of a mess, and her hands were wet from washing dishes. “What's wrong, Bee?” she asked, sounding exasperated.

“You know how you said I was getting stretch marks because of puberty? You were wrong.” She didn't add 'as usual', but the tone of her voice made it clear what she was thinking.

 That earned a sigh and her mother rubbed her forehead. “Have you put the cream on like I said?”

“Yes. In the morning and at night. It hasn't done any good. Do you have any useful advice?”

“All right. When I get the time today I'll call the doctor and set up an appointment.” Any further discussion was cut off by the door closing.

Putting a shirt on, Beatrice went to her bed using Moxie, her stuffed kitty, as a pillow. She wished she knew what was going on. She was behind her classmates when it came to puberty, having only really started last year at thirteen years old, so she'd enviously watched the other girls as they'd grown. None of them had anything like this happen to them.

It sucked so much. She constantly wore an undershirt so no one would see her body. Changing for gym was a horror, it was easier to change in the bathroom stall than put up with everyone staring at her like she was diseased.  And it wasn't like her parents were helping. They seemed intent on making things actively worse, especially her mother. Everything was broken, and no one would admit it.

“Bee,” a quiet voice said from outside the door.

“Come on in, Petey,” she said, a real smile came as her little brother came into her room.

The six year old, still in his pyjamas, quietly closed the door, then rushed to the bed, jumped on and gave her a big hug. She rubbed his short brown hair, and hugged him back. “You OK?” she asked.

He shook his head, and somehow found the strength to hug her even more tightly.

“What's wrong?”

“Daddy is crying in his office again.”

Kissing his head, she rubbed her brother’s back. “You aren't supposed to eavesdrop.”

“I didn't. I heard as I walked by,” he said. “Why is Mommy making him cry?”

She bit back a groan. How was she supposed to tell a six year old about their mother cheating with her boss, without actually saying it. She could barely understand it. They'd been a happy family, now it was broken all thanks to their mother. “You know what happened. Mom did something bad, and hurt Dad's feelings. They're trying to make things better, but it's going to take time to fix it.”

“Everyone says that, but what did she do?” he demanded.

Screw it, she'd try to make him understand. “There's different types of love. Like... you love Patches, and you love me, but not in the same way, right?”

He screwed up his face, as he thought about his gerbil and her, then he nodded.

“OK. There's a special love that's supposed to only be between a mommy and a daddy. That's why they get married, because they really, really love each other.” It wasn't strictly true, but at least he'd understand it. “Well Mommy loved her old boss the same way as she did with Daddy. And it really hurt him.”

“That wasn't very nice of her,” Petey said.

“I know. So that's why Daddy's sad, and Mommy is acting different.”

“So it wasn't because we did something bad?” he asked.

She bit back a sob, and held him tight. “No, we didn't do anything bad. You've been the best little boy anyone could ask for.”

He tilted his head so he could kiss her cheek. “And you're the best big sister ever in the whole wide world.”

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Beatrice was listening to music on her bed, trying to shut out the world, when the world slammed open her door. “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!” her mother demanded.

Taking off her headphones, she scrambled across the bed until her back was against the wall, her heart racing.

“Why did you tell your brother that?”

“What?” she asked, too panicked to think clearly.

 “About what happened. What gave you the right to tell him! How do you think that makes me look to Petey?” her mother demanded.

Anger began to rise up. The woman had fucked her boss who knew how many times, gotten caught doing it and ruined their family, leaving only broken fragments of what had been. Now she was angry about being called out for it. Getting to her feet, Beatrice felt powerful, electricity ran through her muscles. “Why shouldn't he know? Do you want him to think all of this is his fault?!”

Her mother strode forward, so they were practically nose to nose. “I expect you to help this family. Not break it apart. Your father and I are working things out, we don't need you fucking it up by turning Petey against me.”

“Maybe I'm tired of lying to him. Why shouldn't he know his mothers a whore, who doesn't give a damn about us?!” she shouted.

The slap came out of nowhere. It was hard enough to send her falling onto the bed, seeing stars. Clutching her stinging cheek, she glared at her mother who was standing there her mouth open in shock. “Feel better now, bitch?” Beatrice asked through her tears.

 “You're grounded. You can eat supper in here, and only come out to go to the bathroom and school,” her mother said, slamming the door shut as she left the room 

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April, 2007

“I'm broken,” Beatrice muttered.

Looking at her arms, the 'stretch marks' had moved quickly over the last few weeks from her torso to her limbs and neck. Her mother had never gotten her the doctor appointment like she'd promised, for all that woman cared, she could be dying of cancer. No one asked why she was always wearing pants and long sleeve shirts, even though it was warm enough to wear lighter clothes. No one cared anymore. Even her friends had mostly given up on her, since she couldn't leave the house or have them over.

She didn't feel sick. If she was being totally honest, physically she felt better than ever. Emotionally, she pictured herself as a cracked and broken porcelain doll, thrown on the floor like garbage. Staring out the window, she dreamed of flying away and never coming back.

The door opened.

“Hey Petey,” she said, not looking around.

He walked over to her and gave her a hug. “I miss Dad,” he said.

“He'll be home tonight after work.”

“No he won't. He'll eat supper and go hide in his office. He's not home anymore.”

Sitting sideways on her chair, she lifted her brother up onto her lap and wrapped him in her arms. “Well I'm here for you. No matter what happens, I'll never leave you alone.”

They cuddled for a while, not talking, not doing anything, just letting each other know they cared and were loved. Beatrice lost track of time, but eventually felt her brother shifting around and playing with her shirt collar.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Looking at your grey skin. Why are you grey?” he asked.

“What?!”

“The back of your shoulder is grey.” He pulled at her collar. “Your whole back is grey and black. Were you painting yourself?”

Getting to her feet, almost throwing Petey to the floor, she rushed to her dresser grabbing her hand mirror and went to her small makeup table. Pulling her shirt collar down, she held the mirror so it would show the back of her shoulder and reflect it into the larger table mirror. Her skin really was grey. It was blotchy at the edges, but an inch or two away from the edge it was mostly smooth grey skin. And there was a pitch black line running through it towards her neck. It looked like a crack.

“OH GOD!” she cried.

Running out of the room, she found her mother in the living room reading a book. “Mom! I need to go to the doctor!”

“Stop shouting. What is going on?” her mother demanded.

“My back, it's black and grey. I-I-I don't know why. It might be cancer, or a super fungus. I don't know. We need to go.” She headed for the door, barely able to think straight.

“Wait a minute! What do you mean your back is grey?”

Lifting her shirt Beatrice turned away to let her mother get a good look at her back. “Petey just saw it today. I don't know how long its been there. Come on! We've gotta go!”

Her mother finally got to her feet. “Did you put Petey up to this? Getting him to paint your back? If you want to act out, fine, I can deal with that, but don't bring your brother into it.”

The panic didn't vanish. Instead it was pushed to the side, crowded out by a red hot fury. She'd barely talked to her mother in a month. She'd done everything she was told. She'd kept Petey from crying and made sure he would go to sleep at night. She was trying to keep things together in the broken remnants of their lives. Electricity flowed through her body.

“You think this is a joke!” she screeched.

The electricity formed a ball between her shoulder blades. Her mother was shouting something, getting closer, hand raised to strike her. Petey was in the hallway screaming with tears streaming down his cheeks.

 Beatrice saw the hand moving in slow motion, her mother was going to hit her again. Shrieking with anger, the electricity erupted from her, tearing her shirt apart.

Glowing black energy surrounded her.

She felt a hand strike the energy field. The blow didn't hurt, it had all the strength of a newborn.

Flexing her back, the energy field spread open like a pair of wings. Ignoring her mother who was standing there, mouth agape, clutching her hand, Beatrice looked at the black energy. They were shaped like wings. 

Tightening her back muscles, the energy wings flared out to her sides. They weren't solid energy, but broken up into dozens of pieces that looked like individual feathers.

“Bee, you have wings!” Petey said.

“Uh-huh,” she said. They suddenly vanished, leaving her feeling like she'd been running for hours. Collapsing to the floor, she could hear her mother calling 911, while Petey ran towards her calling her name.

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 May, 2007

Beatrice stared at her MID, trying to shut out the argument going on in the living room.

“I will not have a mutant using my name!” her grandmother shouted.

“Mom, be reasonable,” her Dad said. “It's her name as well. We can't just change it.”

“You can and you will if you want to be in my will,” the woman said for at least the tenth time. 

Crawling under her blanket, she wished the world would just end. Mutants were supposed to be powerful, she felt anything but. Her brand new MID told her she wasn't weak, Exemplar 2, Energizer 2, Wizard 3, that should mean something.

When they'd asked for a codename, she couldn't give them a good one. So the MCO agent had called her Broken. It fit, so she'd gone with it.

She was Broken. Her life was Broken. Her family was Broken.

She wasn't Beatrice anymore. She wasn't Bee. The face that looked back at her from the MID was brand new. Grey skinned with black cracks and weird golden eyes. This was the new her, Broken.

Getting out of bed, she went to the living room. Her grandmother recoiled at the sight of her broken face.

Grandma was right, she wasn't Beatrice anymore, she was a broken doll, that somehow walked and talked. Even her parents looked away from her.

“You want the name back,” she said to her grandmother, “it's yours. I never liked it much anyways.”

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June, 2007

“Bee,” Petey said.

“I'm not Bee anymore. I'm Mary now,” she said. The name still sounded odd to her, but after three weeks of being called Broken, she had to admit it was better.

“I like Bee more.”

“So did I, but it's not me,” Mary said.

Putting his arms around her, he said, “You'll always be you. That's why I love you.”

Wrapping him in her arms, she picked him up so she could give him a kiss. “Thanks. Now do you want to see something cool?”

“What is it?”

“Magic.” Putting him down, she took out her notebook. She'd found a site on the net that had simple safe spells on it. Most people claimed it was fake, but she'd taken a chance on it anyways and practiced a few of them.

Reading over the instructions again, she waved her hands just so, whispered some unknown words, and pushed her essence into it. The essence felt different from the electricity of her wings, it was a cool gentle wind moving through her. With a lot of practice she'd learned to let some of it out.

The essence turned into a flickering silvery light, that looked like a star on a moonless winter night.

“Awesome,” Petey whispered. Reaching out he poked it with his finger, causing it to pop out of existence.

“Pretty neat huh,” she said, smiling at her achievement.

“Yeah. Can you do anything else?”

She shook her head. “Not yet. But I'm trying to learn how to make it move around. If I can do that I'll never need a flashlight.”

“Suppertime!” their mother called.

Petey got up and walked to the dining room. She remembered when he used to run to the table, there had been a time just months ago where she'd sometimes race him, not anymore. Mary went more slowly, making sure to wash her hands very thoroughly before going to the table. Taking a seat, she kept her head down, ignoring how her parents didn't quite look at her broken face.

The table was silent as they ate the pork chops and rice. It would have been uncomfortable if they hadn't been doing it for months. Since she'd been confirmed a mutant, the silence had simply grown even more oppressive.

Looking at her parents through her hair, she cleared her throat. “Um, I need some more makeup.”

“What happened to the jar I just bought you?” her mother asked.

“You bought it four weeks ago. I used it up.”

Her father looked at her disapprovingly. “You're not going to school, so you don't need it. You can stay inside.”

“All summer?” she asked. She should have been surprised, but very little surprised her anymore when it came to her parents. 

 “It's not like we're going on any big trips this year. I don't see the problem with it.”

“I want to go to the beach with B- Mary,” Petey said.

“She can't go to the beach,” their mother said.

“But she's cool. I want her to do magic for my friends and watch her go flying again!”

The already cold atmosphere became freezing. Her parents speared her with their eyes. “You've been flying?” her father asked.

Mary looked down at her lap. “Sometimes. At night.”

“YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE FLYING!” he roared.

“And you have to wear your makeup if you go outside!” her mother yelled.

She got to her feet so quickly her chair tipped over. “Why don't you just call the MCO and tell them to arrest me? You want to keep me in prison, you might as well make it official!” she shouted, storming to her room.

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July, 2007

Her parents came into her room. “Mary, we have some good news,” her mother said.

She looked at them, refusing to speak. She hadn't spoken to anyone except her brother for almost a month. In fact she'd barely done anything except keep herself clean and play with Petey when their parents weren't watching.

“We found a boarding school that's for mutants, like you, in New Hampshire,” her father said.

“So you've found a way to legally get rid of me. Thank god, when can I leave?” she asked.

Somehow her parents looked insulted. “Next month.”

Sneering, she asked, “Can't it be sooner?”

They left without answering.

A little while later Petey came into her room and crawled onto her bed. “I don't want you to go,” he said, hugging her.

“I don't think I have a choice. I can't stay here,” she said, hugging him back.

“You said you'd always be here for me.”

 Kissing his forehead, she fought back tears. “I know. I'm sorry I have to break my promise, but I'll call you every chance I get. And you're learning how to read so fast, I can write you letters every week.”

 “Promise,” he asked.

“Pinky promise,” she said, holding out her little finger.

Smiling, he wrapped his pinky around hers.

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August, 2007

Mary stepped off the train and saw several other teens who looked as excited and nervous as she felt. The caked on makeup hiding her broken appearance was itchy on the hot day, but there was no way she was going to show her real face.

“This is a new start. Best face forward. Don't let them see how scared you are,” she whispered to herself. Smiling, she went to a group of friendly looking girls who seemed to be hiding certain features behind sunglasses and bulky clothing. “Hi, are you going to Whateley too?” she asked.

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The day had been long, exciting, and astounding. She'd never seen anyplace like Whateley, and compared to some of her fellow Whitman cottage mates, she didn't look odd.

Now everyone was going to their room, ready to get organized and prepare for bed. But where every other girl had at least seen their roommate, Mary was still on her own.

“Mary,” Mrs. Savage said, “your roommate seems to be running late. Her luggage arrived while you were touring the campus, so just ignore her things for now and make yourself at home on the right side of the room.”

“OK,” she said.

Going to her room, she took one last look at the pairs of girls in the hallway who were chatting and giggling together, then closed the door. Her luggage was stacked neatly on her side of the room. Her roommates stuff was on the other side, and it was interesting.

On the bed was a huge dollhouse. It wasn't a cheap plastic house, it seemed to be made of fairly solid wood, tiny bricks, and even steel. There was what looked like a detachable water tank on the side, along with a brick box that said 'batteries' on it. Careful to not touch anything she looked it over and didn't see any way to open it up.

“How does she play with it?” she asked herself. “Better question, what teenager still plays with dolls?”

On the nightstand was a small rosebush, with lots of pink roses in full bloom. Checking the soil, it was a little dry. “If she doesn't show up by noon tomorrow, I'll water it for her.”

There was nothing else of interest in the room. She was all alone, with what little she could shove into her two small suitcase. In the silent room she could hear girls talking outside in the hallway. They seemed happy.

Looking around the empty room again, she wished Petey was there to snuggle with her. Taking her stuffed cat out of her luggage, she curled up on her bed, utterly alone, and began to cry. 

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Fetch

 Fetch

Scarborough, Greater Toronto Area, Canada
June, 2007

Patrick rode his skateboard down the sidewalk, casually weaving between the pedestrians who were leaving work early. Checking his watch, he was happy to see that he wasn't late to meet his friends. They were to meet up at the Ellesmere Skate Park, and hang out for a while.

At least that was the plan, who would actually show up was a mystery. His Mom was at work at the grocery store until eight, so he didn't have anything better to do. His friends however could be told to do some 'important' chore, be getting yelled at by their parents for some reason, having to look after a younger brother or sister, or just had something come up. It wouldn't be the first time, a big hangout turned out to be him and one or two of his friends, or just him.

Not for the first time, he wished his parents had the money to get him a phone. When he could finally get a job in two years, he'd work his ass off to buy one.

His unhappy thoughts were interrupted by a weird smell. It was unpleasant. Sniffing the air, he could smell sweat, perfume, exhaust, garbage, spices, food, and more. He smelled them everyday in the city, but this was worse, it was like someone had taken them all mixed them into a perfume bottle and sprayed it straight up his nose. He started to gag and had to swallow some vomit.

Holding his breath, he sped up, hoping to escape the smell.

There was an unpleasant whine in his ears, like bad headphones. 

A moment later his ears were assaulted by the roar of engines, people shouting in his ears, the stamping of feet, a phone rang hurting his ears. Screaming in pain, he covered his ears, trying to shut out the noise.

The pain and confusion was overpowering. Patrick forgot he was on his skateboard, he didn't realize a road was coming up. He didn't see the car. Brakes screeched as the driver desperately tried to avoid hitting him.

It was almost enough.

The bumper hit Patrick's leg, knocking him off his skateboard and onto the hood of the car. His head smacked against the metal and he slid down to the pavement with a groan.

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Patrick lay in his hospital bed, his head sore and his leg itchy. He couldn't do much to fix either problem, since his leg was in a cast thanks to being fractured. His head hurt not only from getting hit by a car, but because everything was so noisy and the air was filled with smells. He thought hospitals were supposed to be quiet, but this one seemed to be made for people who were hard of hearing. Everyone was shouting, the sounds of machines reverberated through the walls and hallways, and the rooms caused annoying echoes that messed with his head.

“Mom, I told you I don't need anything,” he said for the fifth time, hoping she'd either go away or at the very least quiet down. .

“I know, honey, but you had me so worried,” she said. “Are you sure you don't want me to call your father? He's working tonight but he said he could probably get the night off if you need him.” 

He winced and covered his ears as she spoke. “You don't have to shout I can hear you just fine.”

“Pat, I'm not shouting,” she said, her voice ringing in his ears. She leaned in closer to get a good look at him.

“Yes you are. And why are you wearing so much perfume?” he asked. Now that she was closer, his nose began to run from the overpowering scent of flowers.

 She looked confused. “I'm not wearing perfume. I just put on some deodorant this morning.”

“I can smell it. It's like it's smeared inside my nose.”

The confusion turned to worry. “Just wait here, I'm going to get a doctor,” she said, leaving the room.

It was still noisy and smelly in the room, but it was bearable now with the door closed. Sighing in relief, Patrick closed his eyes, hoping it would help his headache. What he really wanted to do was go home, he'd be more comfortable in his own room, but he wouldn't be allowed to leave until at least noon the next day. They wanted to observe him and make sure his brain was OK after his concussion.

He scowled to himself. If they wanted to make sure he was OK, they could give him a better room that didn't reek of medicine and cleaner. Keeping things to a dull roar would be nice too.

Something clicked against the floor.

Opening his eyes, he looked around and was surprised at the sight of a mangy dog looking up at him, happily wagging its crooked tail.

“Where did you come from?” he asked the mutt. His Mom had closed the door, and he was certain no one had opened it.

The mutt gave a little woof, stood up on its hind legs and placed its paws on his bed, the way it held its head it clearly wanted him to pet it. Patrick took a close look at it, the fur was a patchy mix of brown and a light tan, and was almost a mane around its neck and shoulders. Its right ear had a notch taken out of it, probably from a fight and was folded down at the base, while the other ear folded a little at the top, making him seem unbalanced. It looked clean, just scrawny, and its eyes, one brown and the other blue, were bright. It started to whine.

Carefully he held his hand out, letting the mutt sniff it. It didn't hesitate, licking and nuzzling his fingers, whining nonstop. Patrick began scratching him between the ears, and the whining stopped, its tail began wagging so quickly it was a blur.

“I'm glad you’re friendly,” he said. “But how did you get in here? And why are you in the hospital?” The dog didn't have any tags, despite how friendly it seemed, it didn't look like the type of animal they'd bring to a hospital to cheer up patients. The dog was a mutt, and while it wasn't filthy, it clearly hadn't been taken care of for a while, missing fur in some places, and just giving every impression of being a friendly stray.

The door opened, and his Mom and a doctor came in.

“What are you doing, Patrick?” his Mom asked.

He gave her a confused look, that should be obvious. “I'm petting a-”

The dog had vanished. He'd been petting it, his hand hadn't left the mutts head, and it had disappeared. 

 “There was a dog here!” he said. “It was right here! I was petting its head when you came in. Where did it go?”

He watched as the adults' expressions turned from confusion to worry.

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The Next Day

Patrick gave his Dad a wry look. “How am I feeling? My leg is in a cast, I'm wearing a mask so I don't throw up, and I have to wear headphones so my eardrums aren't blasted. Also I'm apparently a mutant. How's your day?”

That got a chuckle from his old man. “Ask a stupid question, get a smart ass answer. What about the hallucinations?”

“I wasn't hallucinating. There was a dog in the room, it came back a few times last night and was even sleeping on the bed.”

“So where is it now?”

He shrugged, shifting the paper mask the hospital had given him to help keep his insane sense of smell from becoming sickening. “I have no idea. I wish it would come when I called. I'm sick and tired of people thinking I'm crazy.”

His Dad nodded. “Can you try to call it now?”

“OK, but it won't work,” he said. Ready for failure Patrick sat up in his hospital bed and clapped his hands together. “Come here boy. Come on out wherever you are.”

Nothing happened.

They sat in silence for a minute, his Dad looking thoughtful. “When you called him, did you feel anything? Something in your head?”

“Nnnoooo. Why?”

“Close your eyes, and try to ignore everything around you. Focus on your mind and feelings.”

He gave his Dad the side eye. “You're being weird.”

“Trust me.”

Closing his eyes, Patrick tried to shut out the world. It wasn't easy with his increased senses, but taking deep breaths, and focusing on his heartbeat helped.

“Now,” his Dad said softly, “keep concentrating on you, and call the dog.”

“Come here boy.” As he said the words, he felt something in his head. It was like something was suddenly paying attention to him.

He opened his eyes in surprise. “I felt something.”

That got a nod. “All right, that's good. Now give the dog a name.”

“A name?”

“Yeah, it will help it and you, focus.”

“How do you know all of this?” Patrick demanded.

“I'll tell you later, now pick a name.”

 “I suck at picking out names.”

His Dad smiled. “It doesn't have to be a good name, just give it a name that isn't an insult.”

He thought about the dog. It wasn't much of one, just a regular looking beat up old mutt. “OK, Mutt. His name is mutt.”

“You really do suck at names,” his Dad said. “But it works. Now concentrate on Mutt and the feeling you have in your head. Picture him in front of you, and call him.”

Closing his eyes again, Patrick thought about the dog. Now that he had an idea of what to feel for, he could sort of sense it, it felt like the dog was wagging its tail in anticipation. “Mutt, come here boy.”

“Damn!” his Dad shouted.

Opening his eyes, he let out a little yell of surprise. The dog was sitting in front of his Dad, who had jumped to his feet. The crooked tail was moving a mile a minute, as it sat there with its mouth open and its long tongue hanging out.

“I knew he was real,” he said.

Gingerly petting Mutt, his Dad nodded. “Yeah, he is.”

“How did you know he would come if I gave him a name?”

“Can you keep a secret?” his Dad asked, giving him a very serious look.

“Yeah.”

“I'm a mutant. A very low level avatar.”

His day just kept getting stranger and stranger. “Seriously?”

His Dad nodded. “When I was about your age I started getting weird sensations, noticing things I shouldn't, able to tell if something dangerous was about to happen, and a sense there was something else in my head. I started calling my spirit Frank, and it seemed to like it, I could sense it more easily and my danger sense got a bit better. I think he's a rodent of some kind.”

“Does Mom know?”

“I never told her or anyone, I didn't even tell the MCO.”

“Isn't that illegal?”

That earned a shrug. “How will they prove it? All I get are hunches and a bit of a nudge about things I should notice. It was a hunch that told me you might be an avatar too.”

“So what do I do now?” he asked.

 “Get your MID, you can't exactly hide Mutt as easily as I can hide Frank. Then get used to being a pet owner.” His Dad cocked his head at the spirit dog. “I wonder if he needs food?”

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August 2007

Patrick sat on the bus beside his Mom, his hand in his pocket holding his brand new MID. His cast had come off the other day, his minor fracture had healed fairly quickly, so he'd had to head off to the MCO for testing. It wasn't as bad as he'd feared, and his Mom had come along to watch. The most interesting thing was learning that Mutt was made out of ectoplasm.

The MCO researcher had been a bit confused by that, but guessed that the dog spirit had somehow taken over his manifesting power to create its body. 

Thinking about it, Patrick wasn't sure if he liked that very much. Being able to create whatever he wanted when he wanted, would have been cool. But having a dog that didn't poop, didn't need to eat, and didn't shed was pretty nice.

He wrinkled his nose as a smelly passenger walked past. He'd gotten used to his supercharged sense of smell and hearing, tuning out the excess so he could go around without a mask or headphones all the time. It still wasn't pleasant.

Pushing the stop button, he got to his feet. “I'm going to Dad's place, I want to talk to him about everything.”

“All right, Fetch” his Mom said, chuckling at his choice in codenames. “You'll be home for supper?”

“Yep. If I'm going to be late, I'll have Dad call you,” he said, before hopping off the bus.

He started walking the block to his Dad's apartment, which wasn't in the nicest neighbourhood. It didn't really bother him, he and his Mom lived close by and it wasn't much better. He was a local and knew how to avoid most trouble.

“Come on Mutt,” he said.

His dog came out from behind a parked car and fell in beside him. The spirit still looked like a knee high old stray, with his floppy ears and crooked tail, but his fur was full and sleek, and he didn't look as scrawny. Taking a dog treat from his pocket, he tossed it in the air, chuckling as the spirit jumped up to catch it. It didn't need to eat, yet it never turned down the chance to get a bit of food. When the dog demanifested, Patrick would need to clean up a pile of dry biscuits, but that beat having to pick up dog poop.

“Where did that dog come from?” a gruff voice demanded.

Turning around, Patrick found himself looking up at a guy who looked to be about twenty and nasty, two others dressed alike stood behind the first guy.

“Don't know, he's some stray who took a liking to me,” Patrick said, careful to not look hostile or challenging, while not being scared.

“That's not what I mean. It came out of thin air. How the hell did you do that?”

Taking a step back, Patrick tried to keep the touch of fear he was feeling out of his voice. “I don't know what you're talking about, dude. He's just an ordinary mutt.”

His ordinary mutt, placed itself between him and the three adults. Patrick noticed that Mutt was now waist high. It began growling.

“Mutt, stop,” he ordered.

One of the guys buddies swore. “That dog is growing.”

Mutt's growl became deeper.

“I think he's a mutant,” the third man said.

Grabbing Mutt's furry neck, Patrick tried to pull him away. “Mutt! Stop. Bad dog!”

The three men pulled out knives. Patrick cursed, he needed to get out of there now. Pulling harder on his spirit, he found the animal wouldn't budge, and it had gotten larger. On all fours, Mutt's head was level with his own. The growling was deep and booming. Passersby stopped what they were doing and hurriedly turned around to avoid them or headed into the nearest shop. People pulled out their phones and began making calls.

“What the hell?!” The three men backed up, holding their knives out, trying to keep the now monstrous size dog away from them.

Mutt kept growing, now the size of a small car. Ignoring Patrick it stepped towards the three, head low, teeth bared, spittle falling from its snarling mouth.

“MUTT! STOP!” he shouted uselessly.

There was a roar of jets and a man in red and white body armour dropped from the sky. He held a broken crystal sword in front of him, he wasn't wearing a mask, his gaunt face was hard and his eyes were emotionless. In the air above him, a woman in a pink and white costume stood on the wing of a devised flying machine, lights sparkled above her hands.

Patrick stepped back at the sight of the superheroes, The Fool and his handler Firecracker. Then he grabbed Mutt's leg, he didn't know what would happen if Mutt got hurt, and The Fool wasn't one to hold back.

“Control your dog,” The Fool said.

“I'm trying! Mutt, go home!” he cried.

The three men who had caused all of the mess took off running. Mutt barked, kicked Patrick off of his leg and jumped over the superhero, to get the trio.

The Fool ducked to avoid getting hit, and raised his broken sword. The air shimmered in the shape of a blade, Mutt leapt through the shimmer and split in two, fading away into nothing.

“What the hell just happened?” Firecracker said.

Patrick felt Mutt in his head, whimpering in pain and fear. The Fool began walking in his direction, the sword raised. He scrambled backwards, not wanting to face the hero.

Mutt appeared again, a little smaller, but still the size of a bear. Patrick felt weak kneed for a moment. His spirit growled at the hero, eyeing the broken sword warily.

The Fool thrust his sword forward, Mutt jerked out of the way and snapped at the hero. Firecracker threw a ball of flame at Mutt, who yelped as it burned his flank. While the dog was distracted, The Fool swung his sword cutting deep into Mutt's front leg.

The wound was pure white for a moment then sealed up. Mutt grew bigger to the size of a truck.

The superheroes backed up. Patrick heard Firecracker talking on her radio calling for backup. He had to stop this now.

Running forward he got between The Fool and Mutt. “BAD DOG!” he shouted, slapping Mutts' muzzle.

Mutt looked confused and hurt for a second, then faded away. In his mind, Patrick felt his spirit whining in betrayal.

Turning to face the heroes, Patrick gulped as The Fool loomed over him.

“This fool would like to know what just happened,” the hero said, his broken sword dangerously close to Patrick's chest.

“I can explain,” he said.

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Ministry of Supernatural Affairs (MSA) Office
That night

Patrick sat back trying to take everything in, while his parents looked over several forms and pamphlets, trying comprehend all that had happened to their son in just an hour. His first up close and personal encounter with superheroes had almost ended in a fight, and Mutt was still whining in the back of his head at his betrayal.

“You really think that Patrick is dangerous?” his Mom asked the government agent.

“From the statements, Mrs. Sharpe, Patrick seems like a good kid, his spirit is a problem. What do you think would happen if some bullies started a fight with him at school?” the agent said.

He watched his Mom turn pale at the thought. He'd already thought of it, and looking at his Dad's worried expression he had as well.

“But sending him to this Whateley school. It's so far away and in the US. Isn't there anything closer?” she asked.

“There are some Canadian boarding schools that can accommodate mutants. However, from what The Fool and Firecracker have said, they would have a similar problem with handling your son's spirit as a regular school. We can't force you to send your son to Whateley, but if something goes wrong and a person is injured or killed due to the spirit, Patrick will be held responsible,” the agent said, his mouth twisting like he'd bitten into a lemon.

“That's the stick,” the agent said, “now for the carrot. Due to the nature of your son’s power, and the necessity for proper training, we will provide a scholarship that will significantly lower the admission costs. Depending on your finances, this could be as much as 80% of the costs. There's also the possibility of enrolling him in the Heroes of Tomorrow program.”

“The Ride Along Program?” Patrick asked, using the much more common name for the program.

“Yes. If you enroll in it, you'll get a full ride scholarship, but each summer you'll need to work with a superhero, military, or the police for a few weeks, learning how to best use your powers for society and potential employment as an adult. With your heightened senses and your spirit, placing you with the police, military or the forestry service, focusing on search and rescue and finding contraband, would likely be the most effective way to use your power. However that will all be sorted out if you decide to consider the program.”

His Mom spoke up. “I think we'll enroll him at Whateley, and we'll discuss the Heroes program. But can we have some time to think about it?”

“Of course,” the agent said. “But I must insist that Patrick immediately begin taking a dog obedience program.”

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Boston
End of August

Getting on the train, Patrick followed along behind the government agent who was taking him to Whateley. They'd flown to Boston that morning, and it would just be a few more hours before they reached his new school. His minder took a seat, Patrick wanting a bit of privacy took a seat that kept him in eyesight without sitting right beside the man.

Mutt appeared beside him, curling up on the seat with a contented sigh.

“OH DOGGY!” a girl squeaked.

Looking around, Patrick didn't see anyone at first, then he looked up. A purple winged fairy, carrying a small purse that was as big as she was, came flying down the aisle, ignoring the shocked looks and gasps her presence caused.

The tiny six inch tall girl came to a stop in front of Mutt, holding out a hand to his nose. “You're just an adorable little thing aren't you!” she cooed.

Mutt looked up at Patrick, clearly confused, then gingerly licked the fairy's hand.

“You like me! You really like me!” she shrieked, jumping onto Mutts neck, where she proceeded to bury her arms in his fur and begin scratching.

“Uh, hi,” Patrick said.

“Hello. Is this your dog? He's so cute! What's his name?”

“He's Mutt, and I'm Patrick.”

“I'm Teri! You look a little young to be traveling on a train all by yourself.” 

He wasn't sure how to take that comment, considering she was as big as his hand and looked like a mini teen girl. “I'm going to school,” he finally said.

“REALLY! So am I!” she said. “I bet we're going to the same school. Maybe we can take the same classes! This is like fate! Me the awesome and adorable Teri, Mutt the cutesy wootsies doggy, and Patrick! We'll rule Whateley with our fantasticness!” 

“Uh, I don't think that's a word. And what?”

Mutt and Teri ignored his confusion.

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Horizon

 Horizon

Thunder Bay, Canada
Early August, 2007

“You know rollerblades are lame right?” Lindsey asked, leaning on her bike as she waited for Sandy.

Sandy finished tying up her laces, grabbed her bag that now held her shoes and got to her feet, before responding to her friend. “I don't care. I don't have a car, and the buses suck.”

“You have heard of this little thing called a bike, right?”   

“How many times has your bike been stolen?” she asked with a smirk.

Her friend rolled her eyes. “At least I don't have to carry my bike everywhere with me.”

“Well you can keep your bike, until someone steals it, and I'll keep my rollerblades,” she said, patting the bike handle.

As her hand touched the bike it shot away, jerking Lindsey off her feet, before slamming into a nearby brick wall so hard it crumpled. Lindsey laid on the ground for a moment, too stunned to do anything, then she began shrieking, clutching her arm.

Practically throwing herself to the ground, Sandy took a moment to look over her friend. She didn't know what had just happened or why, all that mattered was that Lindsey needed immediate help. Her brain slowed things down, she knew that soon enough she'd be panicking and shaking, but for right now she was calm, collected and focusing all of her attention on her friend. “Hold still, Lindsey,” she said, forcing herself to sound calm and in control, just like she'd learned in her first aid course. “I'm going to look at your arm, and see if I can help, OK?”

Her friend kept screaming, but stopped moving quite so much. Taking it as permission to help, Sandy looked at the injury, the forearm was bent at a ninety degree angle, she saw a piece of bone sticking out of the skin. She breathed a sigh of relief, it was only bleeding lightly, so the artery wasn't cut, or it was pinched off by the bone. Moving to the hand, she gasped, the fingers were a mess, most were either broken or dislocated, but her index finger had been ripped clean off.

A crowd had gathered, a few were taking pictures, others looked concerned or sick. Pointing at a woman who seemed to be taking a video, Sandy yelled at her, “You, call 911, now. We need an ambulance ASAP!”

A teen had a light jacket over his shoulder. Still following her training, she didn't quite shout, “I need your jacket. We need to stop the bleeding and protect her injury.”

The teen came over, his face grew pale as he saw the injuries. She took his jacket and very carefully wrapped it around the arm, going around the exposed bone so it wouldn't move, and would help stop the blood. There didn't seem to be much else she could do for the injuries. The missing finger was bleeding but not nearly as badly as she thought it should be, and trying to wrap up her hand could do more damage to the mangled fingers.

Turning to the teen, who was wincing at the sight of his now bloody jacket, she said, “I'm going to need you to hold her arm. She can't move it or it will get worse. Got it?”

He nodded.

“Lindsey,” she said, looking her friend in they eye, “an ambulance is coming. You're going to be all right, OK. Now I know it hurts, but we're going to hold your arm so it doesn't move. Don't try to fight OK? You can cry and scream, but you need to hold still.”

Lindsey nodded, biting her lip so hard it started to bleed.

Very carefully, she moved the arm so it was resting on her friends stomach and chest. Nodding to the teen, she had him put his hands on Lindsey's wrist and just above the elbow. Then she got to her feet and started scanning the ground.

“Where are you going?” the teen asked.

“I need to find her finger. If we can find it, they can sew it back on,” she said.

A few of the spectators started looking at the ground. Sandy went to the bike, her mind still focused solely on the medical problem, the crumpled metal looked like it had been hit by a train. Flipping it over, she saw a red smear and what looked like a bit of skin on the handle bar. She couldn't find the actual finger.

Going back to Lindsey, she knelt down and started talking, trying to keep her friend awake and focused on her. Afterwards, she had no idea what she had said, the next thing she knew an ambulance had pulled up and paramedics were racing over to them.

The shock began to take control.

Shaking, she backed away to give them space. “Her forearm is badly broken. There's light bleeding. I wrapped it up like I was taught. And she's missing her index finger. I-I couldn't find it. I think, oh god, I think it was crushed. The bike, it just went flying, and she was on the ground. And, and, I did the best I could. I-I-I,” she burst into tears.

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In a sterile office, at the largest police station in the city, Sandy sat in an uncomfortable chair hugging herself. Her father, wearing his best suit, sat beside her, holding her hand while facing the detective and an MCO agent.

“I don't know what else you want to hear, my daughter has told you everything she knows. Now I think we can all agree she acted admirably by helping her friend. She should be allowed to go home and rest from the traumatic event,” her father said.

“I'd like to know how a bike slammed into a building hard enough to crush it. This isn't something that normally happens,” the officer said.

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

The MCO agent looked over her notes. “Is your daughter a mutant, Mr. Hawes?” 

Her father narrowed his eyes. “Not that I know of, Ms. Gagnon. Why are you asking?”

“Mutant powers would explain how the bike was destroyed,” she said. “We'd like to test her as soon as possible.”

“I'm not up to date on laws concerning the MCO and mutants, but I don't believe you have the authority to demand testing.”

“In the current situation, that is correct,” she replied. “However, if your daughter is a mutant and this was a tragic uncontrolled use of her powers, it would be best for everyone's safety to confirm it as soon as possible.”

Sandy watched her father as he thought it over for several moments. When they'd taken her and her mother from the hospital, she hadn't known what was going on, still in shock her mind had been numb, making everything seem like a dream. Then she'd seen her dad looking like he was about to go to court, and had started to panic. They'd spent over an hour questioning her, with her father interjecting, demanding time to speak with her alone, and refusing to answer certain questions. Now she was exhausted and just wanted to go home.

Her thoughts were interrupted when her father spoke again. “I'll set up an appointment for her.”

“Excellent. We have an opening for tomorrow,” Ms. Gagnon said.

“No, I'll set it up through the Ministry of Supernatural Affairs,” he said, cutting her off, “and we'll do it in Toronto. They have the best resources there, we don't want to miss anything because we went for speed rather than thoroughness.”

Ms. Gagnon didn't scowl, but her eyes showed how unhappy she was at hearing that. “Very well. Thank you for being so cooperative.”

“Now then, as Sandy's father and lawyer, unless you have something of critical importance to ask, I must insist that we end the interview and allow her to rest.”

The detective stood up and motioned to the door. “I think that's enough for today. If we have any more questions we'll give you a call.”

Sandy got to her feet and leaned on her father as they left the office. Her mother was waiting just outside, and immediately moved in to hug her. Clinging to her parents, they made their way to their car, where she practically collapsed into the backseat.

 “How did it go?” her mother asked.

“Not well. They think Sandy is a mutant. If she is, and she did cause the accident, they could charge her with several crimes, starting with assault using lethal powers,” he said.

Her mother cursed. “I'll give Mark a call tonight. He owes me for helping with his divorce case.

“Mark?”

“Mark Latimer, an old classmate. He deals with mutant law. Not the best in the country, but he's good, and he lives for these types of case." She looked at her husband. "You really don't remember him, do you?"

"Doesn't ring a bell."

"Early last year when I was flying down to Ottawa practically every other week, I got him a sweetheart deal when his husband divorced him. He's the one who gave us the five thousand dollar bottle of wine at Christmas,” she said. 

“Oh, that nice red wine, now I remember," her father said, finally placing the name. "All right, if we need it I'll take all the help I can get.”

Sighing in exasperation, her mother pulled out her phone.

“Did I hurt Lindsey?” Sandy asked quietly.

Her mother turned around in her seat. “No honey. We don't know what happened yet, so don't you dare blame yourself.”

“But what if I am a mutant and my powers did that?”

“Did you mean to do it?”

“No.”

“OK then. We don't blame a person who is doing everything safely but has an accident that hurts someone else. We investigate it, learn what happened and why, and avoid it in the future,” her mother said. “If, and it's a big if. If you do have powers, you need to learn what they are and how to control them, so accidents don't happen.”

“OK,” Sandy said. Sinking down lower into her seat, she stared out the window trying to shut out the memory of her friend's mangled hand.

linebreak shadow

The Next Day

Sandy was writing in her diary when the pen flew out of her hand, landed on the edge of the desk and rolled off onto the floor.

“What the...” she said.

Picking it up she stared at it and her hand. “Did I do that?” she asked herself.

She hadn't left the house all day. She was exhausted, having barely slept that night thanks to nightmares of snapping bones, blood and screams. Her feelings were all jumbled up and confusing. She was worried about Lindsey, scared at the thought of being arrested, terrified that she'd hurt her friend, and wondering what would happen if she really was a mutant.

Trying to make sense of things, she'd started writing out any strange things that had happened recently that could be a sign of powers. The list was longer than she liked, with things falling out of her hand or suddenly being out of reach when she reached for them, and now this happened.

Holding the pen in her open palm, she thought about making it move. Nothing happened.

“I'm going nuts,” she muttered.

Her mother knocked on the door. “Sandy, I made you some lunch.”

“I'll be there in a minute.” Closing her diary, she took some deep, meditative breaths, trying to calm herself before leaving the safety of her room. Sitting down to a homemade chicken salad, she dug in. She hadn't known how hungry she was until she'd seen the food. 

Her mother sat down across from her. “Sandy, I called my friend Mark, and explained everything to him. He isn't too worried about your case. Even if you are a mutant and heaven forbid you caused the accident, it was clearly an accident and you didn't mean for it to happen.”

“So I won't go to prison?”

“It's unlikely.” Her mother gave her a small smile. “It seems the first aid course we made you take really was worth the price. There's a video of you shouting orders and doing your best to help Lindsey, you did everything exactly right. With that, and Mark's help, your Dad will have an easy time dealing with everything.”

The news made her feel a little better. “Thanks Mom.”

“I'm just passing on the news. Right now I wish I practiced criminal law, family law isn't much help.”

“Didn't you say Mark owed you a favour? If we need him, I'm very happy you deal with divorces,” Sandy said.

“Thanks for making me feel better, honey,” her mother said. “Do you want anything else? I have a tub of black cherry ice cream in the freezer.”

“Ice cream in the middle of the day?”

Her mother smiled. “I think you deserve a big bowl of it.”

“Tha-”

Her hand brushed the side of the salad bowl. It streaked across the room, shattering against the fridge. She and her mother screamed in fear and shock.

Sandy sat there, staring at the broken porcelain and scattered salad. “I did it,” she whispered. Guilt and fear washed over her. Her chair suddenly moved sideways, causing her to fall off as it banged into the table leg. 

“Sandy!” her mother said. “Calm down. Don't do anything, just stay where you are and don't do anything.”

Trying to clear her mind, Sandy closed her eyes and began counting backwards from one hundred, while her mind replayed the scene of Lindsey shrieking in pain.

Something grabbed her socks and pulled her along the floor until they were ripped from her feet. Her mother ran to her side, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Sandy, focus on me. Look in my eyes, focus only on m-”

Her mother hurtled across the room, slamming hard enough into the wall that she left a crater. Screaming, Sandy got to her feet and ran for the phone.

linebreak shadow

When the paramedics arrived, they found Sandy holding her knees in the middle of the kitchen staring at her mother who was slumped on the ground.

“Don't touch me. Don't touch me. Don't touch me,” she repeated over and over.

linebreak shadow

Mid-August

Sandy stepped onto the military plane, heading for the reinforced chair that sat in the middle of the cargo area. The plane was usually used for prisoners, today it would take its passenger to school. 

Ms. Gagnon took a seat facing Sandy. The MCO agent didn't look happy at the thought of travelling for several hours watching her. "Horizen," the agent said, "we'll be in the air for a little over two hours. If you need to use the facilities, you will notify us and wait for permission before leaving your seat. You are not to touch anything that could be affected by your power. Your parents have provided you with a music system, it is attached to your chair, you will ask myself or Mr. Parker if you want to use it and we will activate it for you. Do you understand?"

She nodded once, not looking up, just putting on her seatbelt and stared at her lap.

 The government agent from the MSA who was also going with them, made sure she was properly buckled in before taking his seat.

Her father was the last one to enter the plane, but he wouldn't be staying. He had to go back to the hospital to look after her mother, who would probably never walk again. “Sandy,” he said, kneeling down beside her, “I want you to know that we still love you. Nothing will ever change that. When you get to Whateley, you train as hard as you can so that you can control your powers. As soon as you do that, your mother and I will fly down there and give you the biggest hug you've ever had.”

He reached out to touch her hand. Sandy jerked away, her eyes wide in terror. “Don't touch me. I can't hurt you too.”

Tears filled her fathers eyes. “I'm sorry. Remember, this wasn't your fault. We'll be here waiting for you.”

Blowing her a kiss, he walked off the plane.

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Hawthorne Cottage
Early September

Sandy sat on her bed as the house mother, Mrs. Cantrel, looked over the damage. The bolts holding the desk in place had snapped, so the desk was now a shattered wreck and the steel wall was dented.

“We'll get that fixed up in an hour or two,” the house mother said. “Why don't you come out to the common room while we wait for maintenance?”

“No, I don't want to hurt anyone,” she said, scooting back from the door.

Mrs. Cantrel nodded in understanding. “Your English tutor will be coming this afternoon. She's here for detention, but she's extremely enthusiastic.”

“Can't we do it over the computer? I don't want anyone to get hurt,” she asked.

“Oh don't worry, she won't hurt you. She's a lovely girl.”

She glared at the house mother. “I don't want to hurt her.”

That got a laugh. “There's no need to worry about Teri, she's a tough girl. I'm sure you'll get along with her. Or she'll drive you crazy.” 

linebreak shadow

 

Samson

 Samson

Toronto, Canada
August

The crowd parted for the severely obese man. No one wanted to get near the sweaty, mean looking, person who had to weigh at least four hundred pounds and was dressed in greasy old clothes that could barely contain his bulk.

The man didn't worry about the looks of disgust he attracted. In fact he wanted people to avoid him, it was why he picked the body. It was safe.

He rubbed his wrist, wincing in pain. There was no bruise or obvious injury, but he still cradled it, keeping it close to his body. His eyes flicked back and forth, watching his fellow pedestrians with a wary eye. If anyone had taken a close look at his pig-like face, they would have seen the terror in his eyes.

Stepping into a convenience store, the man picked up a bottle of water and a bag of chips. He paid for it with a dirty five dollar bill, shoving the change into his pants, missing his pocket by several inches. His hand and the change disappeared momentarily into his clothes. When he pulled his hand out the change was gone.  

Taking his snack, he hurried down an alley to a dumpster. Placing his hand against the back of the filthy thing, he shoved it as hard as he could, making a little space behind it. Looking around to make sure no one noticed, he began to shrink. His flesh evaporated into smoke that vanished seconds after. For a moment there was a white humanoid blob, about the size of a ten or eleven year old boy, then it reformed into a young teen who looked perfectly ordinary.

He squirmed in behind the dumpster, getting as far back as he could. As safe as he could be, he opened his chips and hungrily devoured the entire bag. Then he ran his finger around the inside to get every crumb and bit of salt, and licked his finger clean.

His stomach growled at him.

Crawling out of his hiding spot, he grew in size until he was once more an enormous man. Looking around he headed out of the alley. He didn't know where he was going or what he was going to do, just needing to keep moving, hoping no one recognized him.

linebreak shadow

The soup kitchen was busy. A line of the poor and homeless waited for their chance to get a meal. A man who had once been large and well muscled, but was now sickly, his wide shoulders thin and hunched, his muscles turned to a large paunch, stood near the front, his rummy eyes wide and constantly moving. He jumped when someone bumped into him from behind.

The volunteer waved him and several others inside. Getting a tray, he followed the line, getting a sandwich, a cup of fruit juice and a bowl of vegetable soup. He nodded in thanks to each person, not speaking.

Sitting down, he paused and looked at the food in confusion for a moment. Rubbing his throat, it seemed to shift for a second, a lump went down from his chin to his chest. Breathing in through his mouth, he nodded in satisfaction and began to eat.

“Haven't seen you around here,” his table mate said.

He hunched down, as if afraid he was about to be hit, then gave himself a shake. “Never needed to come here, before,” he said.

His high pitched voice earned him some raised eyebrows. Looking away, he began eating so quickly it looked like he was trying to choke himself. He didn't even seem to swallow, he just pushed the food further down his throat with more food, topping it off by drinking the steaming hot soup straight from the bowl in one long gulp.

Ignoring the many eyes that were now watching him, he got to his feet and hurried out. As soon as he was on the street, he looked around for somewhere to hide. A block away, he saw a pile of garbage bags. Shrinking down to the size of a young teen he crawled under the garbage making sure he was well hidden. Then increased his size to an adult.

Feeling safe from prying eyes, he curled up into a ball, putting his hands up against his mouth. Slowly he began properly eating his supper.

linebreak shadow

The young man, who was the size of a professional football player, clutched his stomach in pain. People walking past could hear it growling, almost roaring, with hunger. Staggering along the street, he came to a stop outside of a well kept, high tech building. A sign above the door read, 'QUEEN CITY HEROES'.

Going inside he was greeted by several displays, showing the various heroes, past and present, who made up the team, some of their bigger fights, and super villains they'd fought. A small desk with a greeter, was just off to the side.

“Hello, welcome to the Queen City Heroes Center. Feel free to look around and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask,” the greeter said, giving him a big smile.

The young man shrank down a little, he was still big, but was now clearly a teenager. “I-” he started to say, only to stop. Biting his lip, he said, “I need help.”

linebreak shadow

Firecracker and The Fool, watched the young man finish off his third hamburger.

 “Feel better?” Firecracker asked.

“Yes. Thank you,” the young man said.

“Glad to hear it, you sounded hungry.”

“I barely ate anything for four days,” he said.

The hero reached out to pat his hand in sympathy. “How old are you?”

The fear returned to his eyes. Very softly he said, “Thirteen.”

“Where are your parents?”

The heroes jumped back as the young man grew in size, becoming eight feet tall, very thick and covered in muscles. His terrified expression was more eloquent than any words could be.

“OK, calm down,” Firecracker said, softly and gently, while The Fool moved his hand away from his sword. “No one is going to hurt you.”

Very slowly, he shrank back down.

“You ran away from home, right?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Your parents were abusive?”

He was silent for almost a full minute, unconsciously clutching his wrist. When he finally spoke, he was almost too silent to be heard. “They tried to kill me.” 

“They attacked you after you manifested?”

“Yes,” he whispered.

 “Is this your real face?”

He shook his head. “I woke up like this. It's like a shell. I can't get rid of it.”

“We still don't know your name,” she said, “can you at least tell us your first name?”

 “Adam.”

“Thank you for telling us Adam. We're going to call some people who will help you, OK. It will help everyone if you're as honest as you can be. If you don't want to tell us something, just say so, don't lie about it. Can you do that for me?” the hero asked.

He nodded.

linebreak shadow

Whateley
End of August

Adam Newman headed to Crystal Hall alongside his new roommates Patrick and Mutt. His blond hair, blue eyes, and muscular build drew the eyes of several girls, he smiled shyly at the attention.

 “Any idea what classes you'll be taking,” he asked.

Patrick nodded, not seeming to be paying attention. His eyes kept going to the sky, as if he was afraid a bird was going to attack him.

“Something wrong?” Adam asked.

“Just worried a crazy fairy is going to find me. Warn me if you see-”

“MUTT! There you are! I missed you so much!” A tiny purple haired and winged fairy flew out of some bushes straight at the dog, hugging its head and kissing its fur. “Hi Patrick! Who's your friend?”

Patrick facepalmed hard. “Hi Teri. This is my roommate Adam, or Samson if you want his codename.”

The fairy flew up to Adam's head, and looked him up and down. “Wow, you're big! Come on, my roommate and I are about to eat supper, you can sit with us. It will really help your reputations as lady's men by sitting with two gorgeously hot babes on your first day.”

“Uh, what?” Adam asked.

“Let's just go with her. It's easier this way,” Patrick said, with a resigned tone.

Confused, Adam followed the nattering fairy. 

 

The End
Read 1157 times Last modified on Monday, 04 July 2022 23:58
Dan Formerly Domoviye

Find out what I'm working on in and out of Whately, by checking me out on Twitter.

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