Tuesday, 24 January 2023 01:00

The Vengeance of Lady Hexx

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Morpheus’s Legacy Universe – Part 6

The Vengeance of Lady Hexx

by

Morpheus

 

I grimaced, cursing the weather in frustration. It was too damn hot. Then I reminded myself halfheartedly that it really wasn't all that bad. It could have been a lot hotter out, like it had been the week before. Or even worse, it could be raining.

On a normal day, I wouldn't care about the weather. I'd been nice and comfortable inside of an air-conditioned office building. But not at the moment. At the moment, I was standing out in the middle of what looked like a large parking lot, next to the half demolished remains of a warehouse.

However, neither the parking lot nor the warehouse were what occupied my attention. Instead, I was watching the truck and the dozen men in sealed yellow suits who were carefully loading five gallon drums into it. Drums that were each clearly marked BIOHAZARD.

My name was Scott Felding, and I was a fairly tall and somewhat attractive man of 32. I would never be on any magazine covers, but I didn't have much difficulty in finding dates either...though I had yet to find the right woman to settle down with.

I also worked for Barion Morris Realtors. In fact, that was the reason that I was currently standing outside and watching the men in the biohazard suits working.

My company had leased the property to a smaller company, though it recently turned out that this was a front for some sort of mad scientist super villain. He had built some sort of laboratory within the facilities, though doing what I still did not know. All I knew was that some hero had found out taken him out, but there was a large mess left behind which required cleaning up. And my job at the moment was to was to watch the cleanup crew for my company.

Even though I had been watching the hazardous materials being removed for most of the day, I still wasn't even really sure what was in them. I had heard them mention that they thought it was waste products from various experiments and possibly mutagentic compounds, though that made little sense to me. I worked in property management...not biochemistry.

"We're almost done," one man called out from by the truck.

I looked over at the half dozen containers that appeared to be near the last of what they had found in the facility, but still had to be loaded into the truck. I nodded faintly, thankful that I'd finally be able to get out of there and back to doing my normal job. Baby-sitting these over hyped janitors was taking time away from my real work.

Suddenly, I heard a noise from above...just an instant before a massive ball of fire smashed into the ground on the other side of the parking lot. But a moment later, the ball of fire stood up...revealing itself to be a man...or at least what looked like a man made of fire.

"What the hell?" I demanded in shock, though fear quickly appeared as well.

The burning man stood there for a moment, looking somewhat dazed. Then the flames around him seemed to grow even more intense, burning into...melting the very concrete that he stood on.

But then, something else suddenly hit the ground as well a short distance away, though this time it was not a burning man. This man was not burning at all. Instead, he was well muscled and blonde with the square jawed good looks that everyone instantly attributed to either the perfect super hero...or actor. He was also dressed in a blue and white spandex costume. The white on his chest was framed by the blue to form a stylized letter F, and there were silver metal wrist bands and shoulder pads, as well as a white cape. And this man was familiar to not only me, but anyone else who watched the news.

"Force," I gasped, instantly recognizing the world famous hero.

Without a word, Force punched the ground, sending a sudden shockwave through the ground and knocking the burning man off his feet. However, the same shockwave knocked me off my feet as well.

I quickly scrambled back to my feet, seeing that the burning man was flying off into the air, with Force following close behind him. Force quickly even overtook the burning man, hitting him and slamming him back to the ground...or at least right into the top of the truck full of biohazard canisters.

The cleanup crew were already running, though I could only stare in shock as the truck started to erupt in flames. The burning man went back to the air and fired a stream of fire from his hands, straight at Force, though it seemed to do no good at all. Force even grinned before firing some sort of blast back, missing the burning man but hitting the ground below him, sending a massive shockwave out which shattered concrete...and sending me flying backwards.

"Oh shit!" I screamed, suddenly realizing just how much danger I was in.

I yelled out to get Force's attention, to let him know that I was right there. But to my horror, I realized that he didn't notice me...or just didn't care. How could he possibly have missed a bunch of guys in bright yellow biohazard suits running around beneath him? He had to know that we were there...

Force slammed the burning man into the ground again, then hit it himself. Just as I was getting back to my feet, he slammed the ground, sending out a massive shockwave that shattered the concrete...creating gaps and holes. And a moment later, the truck...still on fire...suddenly exploded.

I screamed in pain and terror as I was thrown back, fire erupting everywhere around me. But instead of hitting the ground, I continued to fall a little further before finally slamming to a painful stop. Though everything was happening so fast, a part of me was aware that I had fallen through one of the holes that Force had torn in the parking lot, and into one of the tunnels below it.

"FORCE!" I screamed out for help, or at least tried to since all that came out was a weak gasp.

There was no doubt that I was hurt, though just how badly I couldn't tell. Everything hurt too damn much. Though I could guess that I was probably burned from the explosion and fire, not to mention whatever the fall had done to me.

As bad as I was though, I was still holding on. I was still awake, which meant that I saw the half charred biohazard canister as it fell down into the hole with me. It hit hard, splitting open and spilling some sort of slimy goo all over me. I tried screaming, but that only let some of it get inside my mouth, causing me to choke as I struggled for breath.

Suddenly, my skin started burning...though it was hard to tell on top of all the other pain that I was feeling. But even then, something else hit me...dripping on me from above. Somewhere up above...probably by the hole was another leaky canister. Whether it was the same stuff as the one beside me or something else, I didn't know. Nor did I truly care. At the moment, I didn't care much about anything...even if I lived or died.

At the moment, my whole world had dissolved into nothing but pain, dizziness and confusion. But even that slowly faded away into nothingness.

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I had no idea how long I remained there at the bottom of that hole, soaked with the biohazard goo, fading in and out of consciousness. My existence seemed to alternate between periods of nothing, and periods of awareness...awareness that was filled with pain and numbness.

At first, I silently prayed during my periods of awareness...prayed for someone to find me. I prayed for the pain to end. And I even prayed for a quick death, rather than the slower one which I was coming to believe awaited me.

Towards the beginning, my periods of consciousness could barely be called that. I was in pain, feeling as though my skin were on fire and everything within me was broken. Those periods were short, and my mind too dazed to even think clearly at all. I was barely even aware of my surroundings. But then my periods of wakefulness slowly became longer and more clear. The pain was replaced more and more with a numbness over my entire body.

Then came the time that I had been awake, staring up at the sky through the hole above me and slowly realizing that I had been awake for longer than any time yet. I kept expecting the darkness to claim me again, yet it did not. I remained awake...I remained aware. And then I became aware that the numbness was fading. I was slowly able to feel my body again.

"No pain...," I whispered, which was the most I was able to get out. They were the first words that I had spoken since I had fallen in and tried calling for help. They were the first words that I'd had the strength to even attempt.

As the numbness slowly faded away, I awareness of my body started to return. However, there was no pain. At least nothing like I had felt before. What I did feel though was a growing hunger. That just served as a reminder that I had no idea how long I'd been trapped down there without anything to eat.

But even as sensation in my body returned, I still could not move. At least not at first. Then even that slowly started to return, starting with my fingers and eventually spreading from there. It took a lot of effort, but I was finally able to lift my arm up. It wasn't far and I was exhausted, but I'd managed to do it. But that was just before sleep overcame me again. Not the dark unconsciousness that I had been drifting in and out of...but true sleep.

When I finally woke up again, I felt much better...and much stronger. But still, I remained motionless for some time before cautiously sitting up. I felt strangely calm as I did this, as emotionally numb as I had been physically. I supposed that I had just been through too much as was and couldn't handle anything more at the moment.

"I'm all right," I croaked out weakly, feeling a vague sense of relief at that.

With some effort, I managed to get to my feet, feeling disgusting as I realized that I was covered with something crusty. I absently realized that it had to be the stuff that had spilled all over me and started to wipe it away. However, my clothes started to crumble and fall away as well.

I didn't bother wasting more time with that, looking up at the hole above me and then the shattered walls all round me. I grimaced, knowing that I had to get out of there. I had to get away. With that new purpose in mind, I was filled with determination and slowly managed to crawl my way back out. Nothing else mattered except getting out...getting back to the surface..

When I finally got back to the surface, I took a look around the parking lot, or what was left of it. There were cracks and holes all over the place, as well as quite a few signs of things having burned. The whole area was a complete mess, though it didn't look like an extremely recent mess either.

However, I didn't waste much time thinking about the damage to the parking lot or the fact that there was no one there. Instead, I lay down on the ground and rested for awhile, having exhausted all of my energy just getting out of the hole.

After I'd regained enough strength, I sat back up again, noticing my clothes for the first time. They were all extremely pale, as if heavily bleached, and covered with the dried up crust of the biohazard goo that had spilled on me. And they were completely falling apart, as if extremely dried out and fragile.

But the clothes were the least of my concerns as my eyes caught sight of my hand, then shot wide in surprise. My hand was white...not just pale...but WHITE. Pure white. Chalk white. And it didn't even look like my hand. My fingers looked a little thinner...more delicate. And I had longer, sharper looking nails.

"What...?" I started in confusion.

I held both of my hands in front of my face, seeing that it wasn't just one hand that was affected. Then I slowly looked over the rest of myself, seeing that all of my exposed skin was chalk white as well.

It was only at this point that I realized just how strange my whole body felt. At first, I hadn't been thinking about it, being dazed from all the pain and numbness. There was also the fact that I'd known that I'd been hurt and didn't want to think about that, even if I wasn't feeling any more pain.

With that, I tore at my clothes for a better look, wincing as they crumbled away beneath my fingers. I was even more stunned as I saw what was beneath my clothes. Not only did my entire body seem to be chalk white...by there were two growths on my chest. It took me several seconds to realized that they weren't growths...they were BREASTS.

I took a deep breath as I stared down at them, "Impossible..." But as I looked closer, I couldn't deny that they were breasts. A woman's breasts. Nice...big...round...firm breasts...and on my chest as well. "This can't be..."

Suddenly, I was VERY thankful that I was still too much in shock to fully take in the horror and confusion of what was hitting me. If I wasn't still at least a little emotionally numb, I might even have screamed out in panic.

As it was, I tried to deny it, looking around instead. I couldn't make out everything about the parking lot and warehouse since the sun was in the middle of setting. But as I had seen earlier, there was no sign of the fire...of the cleanup crew...or of Force.

"Force..." I whispered, suddenly wondering why he hadn't saved me. How come no one had come to look for me in the hole? Why was I just left there...?

Then I suddenly remembered WHY I had been put in that hole in the first place. That fight... No, not just the fight. It was Force.

I remembered the way he suddenly slammed into the middle of our cleanup...not even seeming to care that there were people there while he was fighting. He didn't seem to care that there were all sorts of bright yellow containers and protection suits that were all clearly labeled BIOHAZARD sitting around either. Not even when he threw that fire guy right into the clearly labeled truck full of the stuff...or smashed up the containers.

"FORCE!" I growled out, more force my voice than I'd been able to manage since my accident.

HE was responsible for the accident. HE had brought the fight there, caused the explosion and everything else. Force was supposed to be some kind of super hero, but how could any hero be that careless...that reckless.

However, I didn't have time to just sit around and be pissed at Force. I grimaced and realized that since no one had found me, I probably wasn't expected just yet. So it was up to me to get to the hospital myself and find out what the hell had happened to me.

Unfortunately, I was nowhere near the hospital. In fact, I was much closer to the worst part of town. There was little in that area but a few warehouses, and close by there were the slums. And even worse, the Ruins.

The Ruins was a part of the city that had once been a rather nice residential area, though as the decades passed, it slowly became more low income housing. But several years ago, there had been a fight between several developed, leaving more than a block in ruins. Every building that was still standing afterwards had been condemned, leaving the area free for the homeless, drug addicts and gangs to move into.

Of course, there had been talk about leveling the Ruins and rebuilding something more useful there, and I had even heard some of that talk in my own office. However, it had yet to happen, and there was no set plans for it as of yet, due to local politics and economics.

But at the moment, none of that was of much concern to me. Nothing was except for getting to someplace warm...someplace safe...and finding something to eat. The hospital was definitely high on my priorities, but several steps below a nice juicy hamburger.

I quickly found my way into the Ruins, not having consciously intended on going into them. In fact, normally I would have steered clear of that place, though my current circumstance were far from normal. I was even a little startled when I looked around and realized that this was where I was at.

Most of the buildings there were half rubble, and the ones that were still standing didn't look in great shape either. The streets were littered rubble and long abandoned cars, or at least what was left of them. No one had done too much cleaning of the area after those developed had half leveled it, and it showed.

As I carefully made my way through the Ruins, I felt rather nervous...remembering some of the stories that I'd heard about that place. It wasn't a place that nice normal people tended to live anymore. Not by a long shot. Even the cops didn't bother going in there most of the time. However, it was too late now and I thought that it would probably be best if I just got through and away as quickly as possible.

Strangely enough, I had half expected to see the streets completely filled with street gangs and the like, though I barely saw anyone at all. And those I did see were mostly glimpsed at a short distance, running across the street or dodging into what was left of one building or another. I suspected that most of the Ruin's residents had gone to shelter since it was already dark out.

Then I finally heard some people talking and looked to see several people standing around a metal barrel with a fire in it. There were three of them and they didn't look like the gang members that I had imagined, but more like homeless people. Two of them were grizzled old men, and the third looked like an old bag lady, even having full shopping cart that she was leaning up against.

"Hello," I started, nervous about them but my empty stomach trumped my caution.

All three of them turned to look at me, and almost at once they all gasped in shock. The two men scooted back, looks of fear on their faces. Then one of them turned and ran away as fast as he possibly could.

"It's a vampire...," the second man screamed in terror, quickly turning to join his companion in running away.

The woman remained there for a moment longer, clutching possessively at her shopping cart, looking at me as if daring me to steal it. But as I tried smiling at her to show her that I meant no harm, that seemed to unnerve her more.

"Mine..." she whispered, suddenly looking around as if expecting her friends to be there to back her up against me. And after realizing that she was there alone, she too turned and ran away from me.

"Wait...," I tried calling out, though my voice was still too weak to carry far.

After a moment, I realized that they were all gone...having run away from ME. They had actually been afraid of me. That was something of as surprise, though I realized that I had to look like hell after spending who knew how long in that hole. Of course, there was my bleached skin too, but I didn't want to think of that.

Instead, I took the opportunity to look around where they had been gathered, to warm myself up a little around their fire. I'd begun feeling a little chilled, though definitely not cold enough to need it just yet. It wasn't really the fire that I was looking for though, but something to eat.

Though I felt a little guilty, my grumbling stomach quickly quieted that. I looked around and didn't seem much of anything except for that woman's cart, so looked in there at the pile of stuff that it was filled with. And to my delight, some of it was food. There were several slightly overripe fruit, some stale bread and a number of dried and canned items. Without hesitation, I started eating.

Only after I had stuffed my mouth did I really look at what else was in the cart. There were clothes, which I realized would be useful since my own had crumbled away. As it was, I was almost entirely naked, though I had been too dazed....and stubborn to pay that much attention. I grabbed a bunch of those up in my arms, as well as most of the food.

Then, I turned my attention to the newspapers. There was quite a large stack of them as well. I looked at the paper on top, my eyes going wide as I saw the date on it. Assuming that it was that day's paper, I had been out of it for almost a week and a half.

"Oh shit," I gasped as I dropped the paper back onto the stack.

However, as I stuffed an entire Twinkie into my mouth, I thought of something else and quickly started going through the stack. That bag lady had a paper from almost every day it seemed, so I dug down, looking at the front pages and the dates until I found what I was looking for.

"Here it is," I gasped as I looked at the front page article about the fight between Force and the burning man.

I frantically read through the article, using the light from the fire to see by. To my disgust, it made the whole thing look like the burning man's fault. Where was the explanation that Force had been the one to bring the fight into the middle of where we were working? Or that he had been the one to cause all the damage while going after him?

However, one line suddenly caught my attention. "...explosion caused the death of passerby Scott Felding who was incinerated in the blast..."

For a moment, a very long moment, I just stared at the article in horror. It wasn't possible... I was dead... Or at least everyone thought that I was dead. That would certainly explain why no one had come looking for me in the hole.

"Oh my God," I whispered in shock, realizing that everyone I worked with thought I was dead. My family and friends thought I was dead. Somehow, I was going to have to tell them that I was alive...

But then, I let out a loud yawn, the exhaustion setting in again since I had finally filled my stomach. I grimaced, realizing that I wasn't going to make it to the hospital. I wasn't even going to make it back home. So with that, I picked up everything that I'd found in the cart that looked useful, then made my way into one of the shattered buildings.

"Just great," I grumbled as I looked around the darkened interior, not feeling very safe. Especially when I reminded myself that every building around had been condemned. For all I knew, it could fall in on me at any moment. Then I muttered, "Relax," telling myself that if it hadn't fallen in yet, there didn't seem much chance of doing it overnight.

The dark interior of the building though did make me thankful that I'd taken a pair of candles and a couple books of matches that I'd found in the cart as well. They quickly provided me with enough light to make my way further inside.

Several times, I thought that I heard movement elsewhere in the moving, and not just the creaking. There were other people in the building, though I didn't think that any of them were really close to me. However, it was a reminder that I had to be careful of not just the building.

The building that I was currently in was still half standing and had at one time been an old apartment building or hotel, so it wasn't too difficult to find a room that was suitable for the night. And by suitable, I meant that it was empty of other people and had a door that I could close, as well as things that I could jam against it to keep someone from coming in.

Once I had barricaded myself into the room, I collapsed on the floor, wrapped in a blanket that I had taken and sleeping on a bed of clothes. It was the softest bed that I'd slept on in a week and a half, and I was immediately asleep.

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When morning came, I wasn't sure whether it had come too soon, or not soon enough. I would have preferred the comfort of my sleep to dealing with reality, yet at the same time, I knew that I couldn't put it off. I was going to have to face things.

I grimaced as I lay there on the hard floor, thinking that I'd slept pretty well considering. Or at least I had, except for when I'd been awakened by the sound of gunfire somewhere in the distance, or someone screaming. But after those incidents, I was tired enough that I quickly fell back to sleep.

"Some neighborhood," I mumbled to myself.

Then I slowly sat up, feeling the new weight on my chest and quickly remembering what that weight was. I grimaced, quickly getting to my feet and trying not to look at my body too much. It was hard to avoid though since my clothes had almost entirely flaked away, and my chalk white skin was impossible to miss.

It was only then that I looked around, seeing the tiny apartment that I was in clearly for the first time since there was sunlight pouring through the shattered windows. It was even worse off than I'd thought the night before, with the windows all missing and several holes through the walls. There was even one section of the floor that was extremely buckled under, looking as though it could collapse at any time.

"What a shit hole," I grumbled, thinking that it was a wonder that the ceiling didn't fall in on me while I slept.

With that, I started for what I thought was the bathroom, feeling a bit disgusted as I saw what kind of mess it was in. Then I positioned myself to use the toilet, noticing for the first time that I was lacking the necessary equipment. That should have been a complete shock to me, though it wasn't. I'd been half expecting something of that nature since I'd noticed my breasts and feminine hands.

I winced, spitting, "Damn," as I looked between my legs, seeing that I did look just like a woman down there now. Except of course for the fact that my skin...and small patch of hair were chalk white.

Though I was definitely not pleased with the fact that I now had an innie instead of an outie, there seemed little that I could do about it at the moment. I grimaced, feeling angry though pushing it back. Instead, I tried focusing on practicalities...like straddling the toilet so that I wouldn't actually have to touch it as I did my business. It felt strange...familiar yet different at the same time.

Once I was done, I flushed the toilet...or at least tried to. The bowl had already been completely dry before my use, and flushing it hadn't changed that. Of course, it was obvious that there wouldn't be any water or electricity in a place like that, so I wasn't surprised. Just annoyed.

"Fucking shit hole," I complained.

Then I noticed the mirror. It was set over the sink, and cracked in several places. I knew that looking at it...or at myself in it would be a bad idea...a very bad idea. The very thought was terrifying. How badly was I scarred? Those people had run away in terror... But at the same time, I couldn't resist.

After taking a deep breath, I looked into the mirror and let out a gasp. My eyes widened at the sight, then I had to try wiping the mirror clean to make sure that I was seeing what I was seeing. The face staring back at me wasn't all scarred and deformed like I had half expected, though it sure as hell wasn't my own face either.

"Impossible...," I whispered, my hands going up to feel my face.

The face that stared back at me was definitely a woman's face, and one that probably would have been very beautiful if it wasn't for the fact the skin was all chalk white. And not just the skin either. I had long white hair, and thin white arched eyebrows. But the strangest part were my eyes. Like my skin and hair...they were pure white.

"Holy SHIT!" I blurted out, suddenly realizing why those people had run.

I no longer looked human. With my pure white skin, hair and eyes...I looked completely unearthly. Inhuman. Especially my eyes. They made me look as though I could have been a statue or something. No, even worse, they made me look like I was a creature of the night...maybe a ghost or vampire.

"No wonder they ran...," I whispered, suddenly feeling extremely tired.

Turning from the mirror, I returned to the pile of clothes and blankets that I'd slept on, then sat down to slowly explore my body. Though I was tempted to scream, I tried my best to be objective...to pretend that I was looking at someone else. It wasn't easy, but it did help a little bit.

As I'd already seen, my body was definitely all female now, at least as far as I could tell. And my skin was not only chalk white but very smooth. In fact, other than on my head and pubic area, I didn't seem to have a single hair left on my body.

I nervously looked at my breasts, thinking that they were absolutely huge. They certainly felt like it. Though I wasn't any kind of expert, I guessed them to be about a D cup or something. Whatever their cup size, they were round and firm. Perfect breasts...if they had been flesh colored, and of course, on a real woman rather than me.

Once I was finished, I had to admit that I had a very sexy and feminine body, and knew that if my skin color had been more normal, I'd probably have guys tripping over themselves to get close to me. But as was...I was a freak. An unnatural looking freak. And I hated it. Both the freak part, and the curvy woman's body part.

"Damn it," I growled.

Then after giving my body a look of disgust, I started getting dressed in the clothes that I'd stolen. None of them fit of course, and even worse, they were all dirty and probably infested with fleas or something. However, they were better than nothing and at least provided a way for me to hide my body from my sight.

Since I was dressed, I turned my attention to the next important business. Breakfast. My appetite was beginning to return, so I started in on the rest of my food cache. If nothing else, it helped to take my mind off my changed body for a few minutes, though just barely.

And when I had finished eating, I looked down at the newspaper that I'd found the night before. The one with the article. I picked it up and read through it again, then several more times, each time getting angrier and angrier.

"That fucking bastard!" I screamed out, thinking of Force.

Force had been responsible for the whole thing. He'd been so reckless...so careless. He was the one who'd brought the fight to where we were at in the first place, the one who destroyed everything nearby just to hit that burning man...and the one who didn't seem to care if anyone...meaning me, got hurt in the process...

I was furious as I thought about it. And I was even more furious as I thought about the article, which didn't even say a word about Force having caused the disaster. Instead, they blamed everything on the burning man. The villain. From what I'd seen, he'd been more trying to get away than anything. It was Force who had done all the real damage.

Suddenly, I remembered that this wasn't the first time. I couldn't help remembering the scandal from several months earlier.

At the time, Force had been leading his own team of developed called the Elite. They were supposedly the elite of the developed hero community, composed of some very powerful as well as famous heroes. However, most of them were known more for solo work than for being part of a team.

The Elite had been fighting some sort of living mannequin, but all of those powerful and 'elite' heroes couldn't even stop her. And in the process, they went too far, getting reckless and leveling half the neighborhood. It was Force and his team that had done that...not the mannequin...who somehow managed to get away. And the whole fight had been caught on video.

But as humiliating as that had been for Force and the Elite, it was made even worse when some kind of robot had appeared a short distance away from where they were at and leveled everything nearby. And as close as the Elite were...they didn't even show up to stop the robot. Instead, it was the very mannequin that they had just been fighting.

That whole situation had created a large scandal and was big news at the time. The Elite had become laughingstocks almost overnight and their team disbanded, with each of the members going their separate ways, apparently pretending that they had never even been a team in the first place.

"Force," I spat, knowing that it was exactly the same thing. He'd been reckless then...living up to his name and destroying nearly everything in sight, just like he had been at the cleanup.

I had no idea how long I just sat there, thinking about Force and what had had done to me. But eventually, I had to calm down and focus on more practical matters, such as getting home. And of course, getting to the doctor to see if they could do something. Of course, I knew that there was probably nothing that they could do for me. I'd never heard of any kind of normal doctor or medicine being able to deal with something like what had happened to me. However, I didn't want to admit that...or even think about it.

After wrapping even more clothes around myself to help hide my skin and hair color, I carefully left the room and headed out of the Ruins as fast as I could. The whole time, I thought about my home on the other side of the city and wished that I had my car. But unfortunately, I'd caught a ride to the parking lot with one of the cleanup crew, which meant that I was on my own.

I hated the thought of having to walk all the way home, but I knew that there probably wasn't much other choice. I didn't have the money for a taxi and didn't know who I could possibly call for a ride. Somehow, I couldn't think of a single person who could help me, who was close enough for me to actually tell what had happened. Or who might actually believe that I was me.

While I was walking, I couldn't help noticing the way people looked at me. They were looks of disgust, followed by quickly averting the eyes. Everyone seemed to think that I was a bag lady or something, but then again, I supposed that I looked like one, being wrapped up in dirty clothes the way I was. Of course, the looks were much better than the rude comments which where occasionally hurled in my direction as well.

It took me all day, and a number of breaks, but I finally got home. I let out a long sigh of relief once it was in sight, thinking only of how great it would be to take a nice long bath...to get off my aching feet, have a nice meal and sleep in my own comfortable bed. Even the doctor could wait until I'd had all of those.

However, when I got to the door and remembered that I didn't have my key on me, I let out a stream of curses. It must have been left back in that hole I'd been stuck in, or possibly even destroyed like my clothes and just about everything else. Either way, I wasn't going to be able to get in that way. But when I went to my window to see if I could get in that way, I was in for another surprise.

"What the hell?" I demanded, staring through the window at my empty living room. It was completely empty, not even any furniture or pictures on the walls. "My stuff..."

I made my way around, looking through all the other windows, but it was more of the same. My entire house was empty. Even my car was missing. I collapsed onto my front steps in shock, not sure what had happened or what to do next. I'd been gone for just a few days and I got robbed of everything.

Then I remembered the newspaper article. "I'm dead." I winced at those words.

My landlord must have heard about my supposed death and decided to clear my stuff out so that he could rent the place to someone else. Either that, or my parents had come down and done removed all my stuff themselves. And if they'd done it, then just about everything that I owned had probably already been given away to Goodwill or something.

"Nothing," I whispered in horror. "Nothing left..."

And I didn't just mean that there was nothing left in my house...nothing left that I owned. I had nothing...not even my own face anymore. Not even my own body. Even my own family thought that I was dead and gone. EVERYTHING that I had was gone. Nothing remained.

After that, I just sat on my steps and cried, feeling ashamed of doing so but unable to help myself. If this wasn't something worth crying for, I didn't know what was.

Some time later though, one of my neighbors came walking past, pausing to glare at me in disgust. That was a bit startling since we'd always been on good terms, but there he was, giving me the same dirty looks that everyone else did.

"Get going," he snapped at me, "this isn't a shelter..."

I stood up, suddenly feeling angry. I'd lost everything and that asshole wanted to talk to me like that? I tore back the hat and clothes that I was wearing to hide my face, giving him a full look. The look of shock and fear on his face was priceless and at another time might have made me laugh.

"Oh, I'll get going all right," I snarled at him, then paused to look back, "There isn't anything here for me..." Not anymore.

With that, I took a menacing step towards him, while he took a nervous step back. Then I grimaced and started walking again. My legs were already killing me from all the walking that I'd done that day, and I knew that the bottoms of my feet were probably covered with blisters. But at the moment, I wanted to get as far away from my former home as I could.

I only went about a block further though before I had to stop. It was already starting to get dark out and I was completely exhausted. Somehow, I didn't think that my legs could take much more of that at the moment. I needed a place to stay for the night and something to eat. However, I knew that at the moment, I would have trouble getting either.

In the end, I snuck into someone's backyard and made good use of their shed to sleep in. It wasn't very comfortable, but it wasn't really much worse than the night before. It almost seemed as though I was getting used to misery. Unfortunately, I couldn't do anything about the food at the moment.

The next day, I woke up sore and achy, barely having slept at all. It took almost all of my willpower to even get moving, especially after how much I'd overexerted myself the day before. However, the thought of being caught in the shed by the owners provided enough motivation to get me going again.

I cursed under my breath almost constantly as I slowly moved away from my former home, not sure where I could go or what I could do. I only knew that I couldn't stay there...I couldn't go back. Not to my home, not to my job and even my friends and family. Every one of them thought that I was dead and I couldn't face breaking their hearts by showing up alive again, and revealing what kind of freak that I'd been turned into. At least not until I could get turned back to normal, and I wasn't holding my breath on that one.

Just when I had thought that I'd lost all luck, I was delighted to find a five dollar bill on the ground. I stared at it for a moment, unsure if it was really there. Or maybe if someone nearby had dropped it. However, I quickly snatched it up and hurried away, hoping that if someone had accidentally dropped, it they didn't see me pick it up. Normally, I wouldn't have done something like that, but that wasn't normal circumstances.

"Finders keepers, losers weepers," I muttered to myself as I left the 'scene of the crime'.

Since I was half starving, the answer to what to do with the money was obvious. Food. And fortunately, there was a McDonald's right in front of me. If I'd had the energy, I would have run.

"Imagine," I muttered bitterly, thinking that a five dollar bill was a fortune or that McDonald's was the greatest food ever. It disgusted me that I'd been reduced to that.

As soon as I stepped inside of the restaurant, I was met with a number of hostile stares. I grimaced, trying to ignore them as I made my way to the counter anyway. The pimple faced kid behind the register looked rather nervous, glancing back to his manager for reassurance.

"Big Mac combo meal," I told him, nearly drooling at the thought.

"Sorry. Can you repeat that?," the boy asked. I groaned and repeated my order, but he shook his head, "I still couldn't make that out..."

It was then that I thought about the scarf that I was using to hide my face and slowly moved it back to give my order. The boy's eyes widened as he got a good look of my face...of my chalk white skin and dead looking eyes. He looked as though he was either going to scream or feint.

"Go ahead and stare," I snapped at him, aware of everyone behind the counter giving me those looks. I slapped my bill on the counter, "Just give me a Big Mac combo..."

"What the hell is she?" I heard someone off to my side demand.

Another person gasped, "God...those clothes... How can anyone live like that...?"

I grimaced, biting back the urge to yell and scream at them as I waited impatiently. The people behind the counter hurried to give me my order, even before people who'd been waiting there longer. It was obvious that they wanted to get rid of me, especially since they didn't even bother to hide their stares.

As soon as I had my food in hand, I hurried out the door, well aware of the people who continued to stare. One teenage boy even followed me for half a block, calling out names and insults before he finally lost interest.

"I can't believe it," I spat out viscously as I found a secluded spot where I could eat my meal in peace.

I was burning in rage as I thought about my experience in the restaurant. The way they'd treated me had been horrible...as though I hadn't even been human. Everyone who saw my white skin was like that. Suddenly, I realized one more problem that I now had because of my...accident. I had a college education....but I couldn't even get a job at McDonalds. Who would possibly hire a freak like me?

While I was sitting there, I heard something nearby...a bunch of yelling, followed by sirens. Curious, I looked around the corner and saw that there was a building on fire. Several cop cars were already gathering around, though no fire engines had yet to show up.

Suddenly, I saw THEM. It was the E.R.S. The Emergency Rescue Squad. Definitely a strange name for a super hero group, but these were an odd group of super heroes. All four of them were arriving in a floating pink bubble.

I stared at them, having seen them on the news a number of times but this was the first time that I'd actually seen them live. The E.R.S. was unusual in that it was the only super hero group that I knew of that actually worked for the city. They were all city employees, and most of them didn't bother with secret identities, though they did still keep the costumes and silly names.

First was Pursuit...a black man with a black and white spandex costume, with a gold police badge on his chest. He had been a normal cop before something caused him to develop the ability to run at super speeds. But instead of putting on a costume and being a super hero, he just continued to do his normal job...albeit with developed powers. This had made him such a media hit, that he had been given a spandex costume and code name anyway.

Next was Rescue, a blonde man wearing a red and white costume with a big red cross on his chest. He had a number of pouches and stuff on his costume as well to hold medical supplies. He was a real strange one among super heroes, having been a medic before gaining the ability to make force field bubbles. He used those to fly with, to get into difficult locations and protect people. But what made him an oddity was that he used his abilities not to chase down and fight criminals, but to find people who needed rescuing and getting them medical attention and to safety.

Pursuit and Rescue had both been such a big hit in the local news, that the city council had recruited them both for a team of developed devoted to dealing with emergencies. Sometimes those emergencies involved rogue developed, but just as often dealt with anything else that needed help.

Smoke was the next member of the team, a dark skinned, black haired woman with a black spandex costume. She had the power to actually turn her body into smoke...to sort of fly that way and get into tight spaces. Of course, she also had the ability to shoot fire from her hands, but that was sort of downplayed in the media due to it being more dangerous.

The last member of the team was Nexus, the only one who wore a mask and kept her real identity secret. She claimed in interviews that this was because she had a family that she was protecting. Nexus had dark brown hair and wore a costume that was mostly blue with some gold, also having a gold metal mask. From what I'd heard on the news, she was extremely strong, very tough and had sharper than normal senses.

As I watched, everyone of the E.R.S. arrived in Rescues' force field bubble, then immediately went to work. I was amazed as they hurried to get inside the building, then pulled everyone to safety. It was so quick...so efficient.

"That's the way heroes should be," I thought aloud, helping people rather than hurting them...like Force.

It didn't take long for the whole situation to be settled, with the fire department arriving the E.R.S. left the same way they'd arrived.

I waited a minute more, then wrapped my face back up and turned to continue on my way. But on my way to where, I didn't really know. I didn't have any place to go now. But after I had started, it suddenly dawned on me that I did know. That was why I'd been walking in that direction. I was going back to the only place left for me...the Ruins.

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It had been four days since I had witnessed the heroics of the Emergency Rescue Squad, and two days since I had returned to the Ruins after having visited my old home for the last time. Somehow, I doubted that I would ever be able to return to that life, even if I should be cured by some miracle, and knew that the Ruins was the only place left to someone like me.

Currently, I was sitting in a place of darkness, lit only by the light that came from several small narrow windows up above. The walls and floor were both concrete, being softened up only by the small pile of blankets and clothes that I had managed to salvage. It was not a great place of comfort, but it was one of security. Or at least as much security as I could find in the Ruins.

After I had returned to the Ruins, I knew that I couldn't stay in that abandoned room like I had the first night. There were too many other people around, people staying in nearby rooms...and people who weren't all nice. There were gang members and drug addicts, several of which I'd witnessed getting violent from a distance. That was why I had chosen to find another place. A place that was a little more hidden....and a lot more secure.

I scrounged around for more than half a day when I had stumbled across it almost by accident. It was an abandoned...and apparently forgotten basement for one of the more heavily damaged buildings. Even the small slit windows at ground level were almost completely obscured by the rubble that surrounded the building.

Only the bottom floor of that building remained, though only half of it was really stable. I had been looking inside when I found what appeared to be where the rubble had collapsed. However, a second look revealed that there was a large opening in the rubble, and a bit of a hallway beyond. The hall didn't go far before becoming completely sealed, though in that short distance was a stairway down to the basement.

It was a small basement that was structurally intact, the most intact part of the entire building. Light came in through the two small and hidden windows to the street, and there was a metal door that could be locked from the inside. I had immediately realized that this would be the perfect place to stay while I was in the Ruins. It was both hidden and secure. And I quickly went about making it even more so, hiding the opening in the rubble to prevent anyone else from discovering it as well.

At the moment, I might have been in a place that was fairly secure, but that didn't make me feel much better. In fact, I was feeling pretty horrible and had been since I'd woken up a short time earlier. Every muscle in my body ached, especially my stomach. I was beginning to suspect that I had food poisoning, not surprising considering my dinner from the night before came out of a dumpster behind a grocery store.

"I can't believe I did that," I complained to myself with a grimace.

I'd been eating out of dumpsters. At first, I'd been extremely disgusted by the idea when I saw other Ruins residents doing so, but then my stomach started getting more insistent. Finally, I'd broken down and at least looked, being delighted when I found 'good' food having been thrown out. There were cans of food thrown out because they were out of their expiration date.

"I can't believe that I've been reduced to THIS," I spat out bitterly.

Just a few weeks earlier, I had a nice home, a good job and almost sixty thousand in my bank account. But now...now I a homeless freak who'd been reduced to living off of other people's garbage. If it wasn't so pitiful, it would have been hilarious.

Taking a deep breath, I poked at my breasts, having ignored them as much as possible since my transformation. It hadn't been easy, especially with the fact that they were so large...so prominent. And...God help me, so sensitive. At the moment though, they were even more sensitive than before, at least the nipples were. They were sore as well.

"Maybe it's some kind of cancer," I thought aloud, having thought of that possibility before.

I didn't know what kind of changes that my body had really undergone due to that toxic goo, and for all I knew, my whole body could be riddled with it now. Sure, I'd felt pretty decent up until that morning...at least considering, but who knew how these things worked.

Just then, I realized that I felt something warm and sticky between my legs. I gasped, wondering if I'd accidentally pissed myself, but when I put a hand down there to feel...I realized that it wasn't. And when I pulled my hand back up to look at it, I was even more horrified to see that my fingers were coated in blood.

"Oh SHIT!" I cried out, staring at my fingers in horror.

My heart raced and I felt like screaming in panic. I was bleeding... I was bleeding and I couldn't get to the hospital for help. I jumped to my feet, my thoughts racing a thousand miles an hour. I was hurt... I had internal bleeding... The accident had hurt me worse than I thought and now I was hemorrhaging. I was going to bleed to death, right there in the middle of that hell hole called the Ruins.

I paced around in my little hidey-hole for the next hour, knowing that moving around so much was a bad idea, that it would make me bleed even faster, but unable to help myself. What else could I do? I sure as hell couldn't get medical attention like I was, even if I could get to the hospital. But strangely enough, even as I paced, I didn't seem to be bleeding any heavier, or even getting any weaker.

Then suddenly, it dawned on me. I froze where I was, staring down at myself in horror, my eyes going wide at the impossibility of it. "No way... It can't be..."

My hands quickly patted the flat area between my legs, the place that was formerly occupied by my male equipment. And as I did so, the sinking knowledge of just what the sickness and bleeding really were soaked in. It wasn't food poisoning which would have been much more comforting, or even internal bleeding. At least not of the sort that I had thought.

"I'm having a...a..." I stared down at myself, at the marks of femininity which protruded form my chest, visible even beneath the clothes I was wearing, "I'm having a God damn PERIOD!"

At that very moment, I didn't know whether to let out a scream of horror, a sigh of relief that I wasn't dying like I'd thought....or just burst out laughing at the ludicrousness of it all. Instead, I collapsed to the ground and started crying.

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"Nothing should bleed this long and still be alive," I spat as I looked through a pile of trash, hoping to find something useful.

It was the second day of my period, and I was not happy in the least. I was sore, achy and in a VERY bad mood. And of course, there was also the fact that I was making a bit of a mess.

"No wonder women are such bitches when they're on the rag," I muttered, feeling pretty bitchy myself at the moment.

Though I hated the looking like a woman, my new period had shown that my transformation wasn't just skin deep. I now not only looked female...but apparently was one as well. And at the moment, I was hating that even more than before.

"How can they live like this?" I grumbled, "Every single month..." I could almost understand why women would want to get pregnant now. That way they'd at least get a break from their periods.

As ironic as it was, at the moment I would have killed for a sanitary napkin, a pad...or even tampon. Anything to clean this up a bit. As it was, I'd been reduced to wearing shorts stuffed with rags, which was neither sanitary or effective. Unfortunately, it was all that I had at the moment.

"That fucking bastard," I screamed out, forgetting my normal caution to stay hidden for a moment, "It's all his fault." Of course, I meant Force. With every day, I'd been hating him more and more. Every bit of my misery was because of him.

Then I paused as I caught sight of something in the pile of trash, being distracted from my troubles for just a moment. But only a moment. It was a big cutting knife. It was dull, a bit rusted...but still usable. Now if I could find a way to sharpen it, I'd have a useful weapon. And living in the Ruins, that would definitely be useful.

Once I had the knife, I slipped it into my clothes, taking a nervous look around. Fortunately, I didn't see anyone nearby. Of course, that wasn't too much of a surprise considering that most of the people that lived in the Ruins had been avoiding me, running away or hiding as soon as they saw me. Apparently, the people that I'd run into the first night had spread stories about me, and now everyone thought that I was some sort of living dead that might drink their blood or something. It was a but unnerving to realize that people actually thought of me like that, but it was a bit of a relief at the same time. It made people leave me alone.

"Alone...," I whispered sadly, knowing just how alone I really was now. I didn't have anyone anymore. It was definitely a lonely existence.

After a moment, I let out a sigh then gave another quick look at the trash pile. They might be avoiding me, but I wasn't going to push my luck and avoided staying out in the open for too long.

I picked up the few useful items that I'd found in my scrounging, then hurried away, determined to get back to the safety of my basement before anyone became brave enough to try coming after me. I was just thankful that I still had a few cas of veggies saved so that I didn't have to go looking for food again either.

While I was on my way back, I caught sight of some guy wearing rags vanishing into a building. I wondered if he was running from me, or if it was something else. But in the end, it didn't matter.

I continued moving to safety, when I saw someone else in the distance as well. However, this time it was a man who was just sitting there, not running away or anything. I watched for a minute, but he showed no signs of moving. That did seem just a little strange. After waiting for just a little longer, I started walking in his direction. I knew that it probably wasn't a smart idea, that I should just avoid him like I avoided everyone else. But the truth was, I was feeling a bit lonely, even if I told myself instead that I was just going to check it out.

When I got closer, I saw that he was an old man, looking to be in his fifties or so. It was hard to be certain though due to his old clothes and somewhat dirty face. He looked in my direction, giving a bit of a smile, showing that about half his teeth were missing.

"Howdy," the old man called out to me, his hand going to a hammer that was sitting next to him, but making no effort to pick it up or threaten me with it.

"Um....hi," I started nervously, not sure what to say. He was the first person that I'd really talked to at all since my transformation. And at the moment, I wasn't even wearing anything to cover my face, so he had a full view of my face.

"You have a nice voice," the old man told me. Then he abruptly changed the subject, "The name's Hank..."

"Nice to meet you," I told him as I moved closer, feeling nervous but a little more comfortable. He didn't seem dangerous.

It was just then that I noticed his eyes, and the fact that he wasn't looking straight at me. Sure, he was looking in my direction, but his eyes didn't seem to be focused. And they looked just a little cloudy.

"Are you blind?" I abruptly asked, staring closer at him and fighting back the urge to wave my hands in front of his face.

Hank shrugged, "Yep. Well...at least mostly. I've still got a little bit, but I can only make out light or some shapes when they're really close like..."

I let out a sigh, "That explains it..." No wonder he wasn't running. He didn't see my face...my pure white eyes or chalk skin.

Then Hank frowned, "You the one they been talking bout...? The ghost girl...?"

"I guess," I responded as I sat down in front of him, "But I'm not a ghost or anything. I've just got...a medical condition." That sounded a bit more reasonable than telling him that I was a mutant freak who'd been changed by toxic waste.

"Never put much stock in talk anyway," Hank told me with a smile, "Glad to meet ya..." He held out his hand, which I shook.

I remained there and talked with Hank for a little while, finding that he was a rather nice old guy. Most of all though, it was just nice to be able to talk to someone...someone who treated me like a person, not the freak that I really was.

However, I wasn't completely comfortable with staying out in the open for too long, nor was I feeling well. My period was still making my life a living hell...or at least a bigger one than it already was.

Just as I was leaving, Hank called out, "Maybe we can talk again sometime." Then to himself, he added, "Nice lady. Too bad everyone's scared a her..." That last almost made me smile.

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I was surrounded by darkness, lit only by the small fire that I'd built to provide light and keep myself warm. There was only so much that it could do for my basement home, but what it did provide was very welcome.

Then I turned away from the fire, looking towards the windows...knowing that no one would see any light from the fire on the other side. Not only were the windows positioned in such a way to much such a thing very unlikely, but I'd also build my fire in a spot where the light wouldn't even reach the windows.

It had been two days since I had met Hank, and thankfully, my period seemed to be slowing down. The whole experience had been something of a nightmare, and I didn't look forward to experiencing it again the next month.

"Mydol," I muttered, "Need to find some..."

Of course, that was on a very long list of things that I would like to get my hands on. The first on the list was Force's neck, followed by a cure and then a good comfortable bed and a great tasting meal. Unfortunately, none of those seemed very likely at the moment.

I had no idea why I was just sitting in darkness, doing nothing but wasting fuel for the fire and thinking. It was already late enough that I should have been in bed and sleeping, that was if I had a real bed worth the name. Fortunately, my pile of clothing had increased, making my bed a bit bigger and softer, though still no match for the real thing.

Then, I sat upright, hearing something coming from outside. I moved closer to the windows and listened, realizing that it was...laughter. That and singing. Neither of which were things that I'd heard in the Ruins since being there. I'd heard yelling, gunshots and all sorts of strange banging noises, but never anything like those.

I remained in my basement for a little longer, growing more and more curious about the noises that I was hearing. Finally, I couldn't bear it anymore. I just had to know. I had to find out what the hell was going on.

After taking a deep breath, I carefully left the safety of my basement, following the sounds until I found them, sitting right outside the building next to mine. There were four men, homeless men rather than gang members, and they were all sitting around a small bonfire, laughing and singing.

As I cautiously moved closer, I realized that one of them was Hank. And then I saw that they were passing a bottle around, each taking a drink before passing it to the next.

Suddenly, one of them caught sight of me. He stared at me for a moment, giving me an odd look before bursting out laughing. "It's that vampire lady..."

One of the others giggled, "She's gonna take our souls..."

But then Hank looked around, not even in my direction. "Why dontcha come have a drink lady...?"

"What?" I asked in surprise, even more surprised when the other three hadn't really objected.

"Why dontcha have a drink?" Hang grinned, holding the bottle out.

I hesitated, then slowly moved closer, taking the bottle from his hands. It was obvious that he and the other guys were pretty smashed, or otherwise they probably wouldn't have stuck around after seeing me there. But as I looked at them...at the dazed looks in their eyes, I couldn't help thinking that whatever they were on, it was more than just booze. I sniffed the bottle, suspecting that it was probably in there.

"Spiked," I muttered to myself.

"Drink up," one of the nameless men urged me.

"Yeah...," another grinned, "Drink our blood...."

I rolled my eyes at that and sighed said, "What the hell...?"

After hesitating only a moment more, I took a long drink, nearly gagging as I did so. It was some sort of cheap whisky...or at least I thought that it was. It was pretty rough going down.

"Smooth...," I gasped out, earning some laughs.

With that, I sat down with the others, feeling the effects of the booze...and whatever else was in there hitting me real quick. I soon felt real lightheaded and strange. But I continued to take drinks from the bottle as it was passed around to me. And before long, I was even singing along with the group.

Suddenly, I looked around and realized that everything around me looked extremely strange. That caused a brief thought that maybe it was acid in the booze, but that quickly passed as I was lost in the strangeness surrounding me. It was as though everything was made of sand...but with much tinier grains. Smaller than I could even see...yet somehow I could. I could sort of feel it everywhere...in the walls...in the ground....and even in the air.

"Wow...," I whispered in dazed amazement.

I just stared at pavement in front of me for some time, lost to almost everything else. It was like sand... Really...really fine sand. And with that thought, I giggled and started making a sandcastle. A really nice one...or at least that was my only thought at the time.

And after I had finished with my sandcastle, I turned my attention back to the others. I accepted several more drinks and joined them in more off tune songs before eventually falling asleep right there in front of the fire.

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When I awoke in the morning, I felt less than at my best. I was chilly and my body ached all over from sleeping on the hard pavement. Even my head pounded horribly, another remnant from drinking too much the night before.

"This is worse than the damn period," I groaned as I slowly sat up, thinking that at least this would be gone by the end of the day and wouldn't keep coming back automatically every month.

Once I was fully sitting up, I looked around and realized that the others were gone. I wasn't sure whether to feel thankful for that or nervous. Who knew what could have happened to me, saying out alone in the open in the middle of the Ruins. I was damn lucky that nothing had happened.

Then I suddenly saw something that made me let out a loud gasp, making me more than half sure that I was still seeing things from whatever was in the booze the night before. Right in front of me, sprouting straight out of the pavement...no, actually MADE out of the pavement, was a sandcastle. Or at least a section of pavement that was shaped exactly like one.

"What the hell?" I blurted out as I stared at it, remembering how I'd built it the night before.

And the small castle in front of me was exactly like I remembered, except of course for not being made out of pavement rather than sand. I could only stare at it blankly, feeling stunned and confused. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Shaking it off for the moment, I took a quick look around me, remembering exactly where I was. Then I hurried back to the relative safety of my basement, locking the door behind me and only then letting out a sigh of relief.

However, for the rest of the day, or at least once the hangover wore off enough, I couldn't help thinking about the sandcastle. Or was that pavement castle? I remembered the strange way that I'd seen everything the night before when I'd built it, but none of it made any sense. I had actually made a sandcastle...out of the sidewalk.

Then, it suddenly dawned on me. "Hoy shit," I gasped, staring down at my hands in surprise. "I'm...I'm...I'm developed."

That biohazardous waste had done even more than just turn me into a girl and mutant freak. It had caused me to develop more than tits and white skin...it had caused me to develop super powers. But I still had no real idea what kind, or how I could use them again. Nor even IF I could use them again.

"Just my luck," I spat out, "I'd develop the power to make sandcastles...but only while drunk."

But once I had the idea, I wasn't about to give up just that quickly. I continued thinking about it...about the odd way everything had looked while I made it. Then I wondered if that might have something to do with it, and tried to get back into that frame of mind.

Then late in the afternoon, it happened. My vision seemed to shift and I gasped as I saw the world around me made up of countless tiny grains. Absolutely EVERYTHING was. And then I realized that I wasn't actually SEEING the grains, it was more like I was FEELING them. I was somehow SENSING them.

"It worked," I whispered in amazement, staring at everything around me.

After a moment, I turned my attention to the concrete floor, then slowly pushed my hand into it. The concrete easily moved aside, letting my hand go in, almost like it was sand or a liquid of some sort. I was in such awe of this, that I suddenly lost it.

"Oh SHIT," I cried out, trying to pull my hand free. It was no good though. My hand was actually stuck in my basement floor, just as surely as if I had held it there while cement was poured and hardened.

I struggled to pull my hand free for about fifteen minutes before I finally calmed down enough to try using my new power again. It took me another minute before I was able to sense things in that strange way again, but then it was easy to pull my hand free.

"YES," I laughed excitedly as I jumped up, wiggling my fingers experimentally.

I was so excited as I danced around that I immediately lost that sense again, but it didn't matter. Now, I knew that I could get it back. And that meant that I could do it again.

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For the next two days, I practiced with my new ability almost constantly, working at it until I could shift in and out of that strange awareness at an instant. It was quickly becoming so easy that I barely even had to give any thought before I could sense things like that.

At the same time, I practiced with the ability to manipulate things like I had the pavement as well. And I'd soon found that it extended to more than just concrete and cement. I could do it with metal as well, shaping it in my hands as though it were putty.

"Not really much of a power though," I sighed to myself, thinking that it would be great for party tricks and the like. "Oh yeah," I muttered bitterly to myself, "I'm going to get invited to a lot of parties..."

I glared down at my white hands...then at the wall, bursting with anger at my situation. Suddenly, the wall seemed to explode inward, leaving a deep hole, almost a crater. I froze, my anger vanishing as I stared at the hole in amazement.

For a long moment, I just stared, too stunned to say anything. Then I slowly moved closer, nervously touching the hole, proving to myself that it was indeed real. Finally, two words slipped from my mouth, almost on their own. "Holy shit...."

There was of course absolutely no doubt that I was the one who'd done that. I'd done it in just the same way that I'd made the pavement into a sandcastle. But this time, I hadn't even touched it. I'd punched a hole right in the wall, all the way from the other side of the room.

"No way..." I whispered, knowing that there definitely was. I could use my powers without actually having to touch things.

Still feeling stunned, I sat back down, my mind racing as I tried to absorb what had just happened. I still wasn't sure what it all meant, or what it would mean. However, I knew that it was something big.

And to make sure that it hadn't been just some kind of fluke, I tried it again, this time focusing on the ground in front of me. I concentrated my will, focusing on it and watching as the concrete actually seemed to turn as fluid as water, then pull back of it's own will, leaving a small hole in the floor. After a few more seconds, I willed it to fill itself back in again.

"Yes," I grinned as I stared at the floor.

I tried it again, this time focusing on something else. I felt everything as though it were countless grains of sand which moved at my command. Instead of just willing them to part this time, I willed them to move up, to form into a small column that sprouted from the ground instead.

"YES!" I exclaimed loudly, jumping up and down in excitement. It had worked.

Then, I paused to think about my powers and what this meant for them. For a little while, I had suspected that all of the tiny grains I was sensing everywhere, were actually molecules. Sensing them...and moving them. And now it appears, that I had been doing it with my mind the entire time.

"Sort of like telekinesis," I mused thoughtfully, though I only seemed to be able to move the molecules around. "Molecular telekinesis," I corrected myself.

Molecular telekinesis...the ability to move molecules with my mind. It certainly didn't sound that impressive. In fact, it sounded almost pathetic. However, I wasn't stupid enough to think so. All matter was made up of molecules, and since I could move the molecules around that comprised matter...I could actually reshape it.

Suddenly, the implications of my power hit me. I had real power now...not just some party trick of being able to mold stone as though it were clay. I could actually reshape matter with my mind, and I somehow knew that I could do a LOT more than I'd just done. That was just scratching the surface.

I knew that I still had a lot to learn about my powers, about how to control them and just what I could do with them. However, at the moment, I wasn't thinking about that.

For the first time in weeks, I had something of value. The accident had taken everything I had...everything I was. It had even robbed me of my very identity. But now...now I actually possessed something again. Something that was mine and mine alone. And it felt great.

Just then, it suddenly hit me. In an blinding instant of clarity, I knew exactly what I was going to use my new powers for. I had a purpose again... A goal beyond merely surviving. I was going to do something that I'd only been able to dream of...and frequently had until then. I was going to get revenge. Revenge on the man who'd taken everything away from me...who'd turned my life into a living hell. I was going to kill Force.

Of course, I knew what that meant. Force was a hero...one of the most famous heroes on the planet. And since I was planning on killing him...that would make me the villain. But at the moment...that was perfectly fine with me.

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I stood out in the open, giving a faint smile as the sun beat down on my skin. It felt good, especially since I didn't have my face covered and was letting anyone in the Ruins get a good look at my pale skin.

Normally, being out in the open like that would have made me nervous, but I'd been feeling a lot more confident since discovering the truth about the power that I'd developed. It had almost been like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, or more likely, I was no longer completely powerless...completely helpless to the whims of fate.

Picking up a pair of rocks, I stared at them for a moment before looking at their molecules, and then making them fuse together...forming into a single rock. I couldn't help smiling faintly at the results.

Ever since I had discovered that I was a molecular telekinetic a week earlier, I had been practicing with my powers quite frequently. Almost constantly. I had been trying to determine exactly what my limits were...what I could and could not do.

For one, my powers were a bit stronger than I had first thought, but they definitely had their limits. I could only affect things up to a 100 feet or so away. The further things were away from me, the more difficult it was to sense their molecules and more importantly...effect them.

And then there was organic matter. I had quickly found that I could barely effect any organic matter at all. With a whole lot of effort, I could cause wood to break down...but I couldn't reshape it like I could stone, metal or plastic. Then there was living matter...which seemed completely immune to my powers. I couldn't directly effect anything that was still alive, though whether that was an actual limit to my powers or a psychosomatic one, I didn't know. Nor did I really care.

Of course, I'd discovered just as much about what I could do as about what I couldn't. Probably even more.

When I'd first started using my powers, I'd used them around my basement, figuring that I might as well improve things while I was at it. I'd sealed cracks, made it more stable as well as more secure. Then I went to work on enlarging it, melting one of the walls and moving the space back a bit.

While I had been doing that, I had realized the possibilities and started to make a tunnel in order to create an escape route. And once I'd done that, I stretched the tunnel further, and then further still, until I had eventually created a series of tunnels that ran under half of the Ruins. I'd dug into basements, even ones that had been sealed by damage or buried. This had given rise to the further realization that my power gave me a way to get into places that no one else could.

Since I now had access to places that no one else in the Ruins did, I used it to salvage things that no one else had been able to. Things which would make my own life more comfortable. It hadn't taken long to turn my basement from a drab hole in the ground into something that I could possibly start thinking of as home.

My 'home' now had all the necessities of a real home, or at least as much as I could reasonably find. I now had a couch, as well as a real bed and mattress. Those were incredible luxuries after being so long without.

And then, there was my pride and joy. While I had been excavating tunnels, I had run across a water line. It hadn't taken too much to find some more pipes, then create another line from that which led right into my 'home'. I now had running water, and had improved upon that further just a few hours earlier by adding a bath tub.

"All the luxuries," I mused, feeling rather pleased with myself.

However, I still didn't have any electricity, which was something of an annoyance. Not that I had anything to plug into it at the moment. Perhaps I could find a small generator somewhere, though I wasn't going to count on it.

Then I frowned, thinking of the nearby lab which had been the source of the toxic goo. Somehow, I suspected that I'd been able to find a lot of useful stuff there still, though I had absolutely no intention of looking. I could almost feel my skin on fire at the very thought of it. There was no way that I was going back to that place. None. I'd already been having nightmares about what had happened there...about the fire...and about being buried alive in that hole, burning up with that toxic goo.

Shaking my head, I put those thoughts out of my head and then started walking back to my 'home'. I changed direction though when I saw Hank sitting out in the open with what looked like a bottle of booze. I hadn't really seen much of him since the night with the drinking...when I'd actually developed my powers.

"Hello," I called out to Hank when I got close to him.

"Hey Lady," he called back with a grin, looking in my general direction but obviously not at me. Not until I got a lot closer. I remembered him telling me that he could make out some general shapes up close. "Ain't seen ya in awhile..."

I just gave a wry smile at his little joke. "What the hell was in that stuff you guys gave me?"

Hank just shrugged, "Whiskey?"

"Okay...," I sighed, knowing that there had been something more than just that. "So," I asked, thinking about those other guys we'd been drinking with, guy's who's names I didn't even know, "do they still think I'd some kind of vampire...?"

After another shrug, Hank responded, "Nope." I felt a little better about that, until he added, "They think yer a witch. Castin hexes and stuff..." Then Hank suddenly looked more worried, "You're not...are ya? Yer not gonna cast some kinda hex on me..."

"Oh no," I groaned, realizing that my little sandcastle hadn't gone unnoticed. Not surprising since as far as I knew, it was still there.

Then I glanced back at Hank and reassured him that I had no intention of doing anything to him. Not like I even could since my powers didn't work that way.

After a few more minutes, I left Hank and returned to my 'home' via a back route through my tunnels. I was rather pleased with them, knowing that I could get back home safely and securely, without being seen, from a number of different places in the Ruins. All that I had to do was melt a hole in a wall or ground, go through into the tunnel on the other side then close it behind me.

Once I was back inside the safety of my basement home, I looked around, smiling faintly as I did so. It certainly had been improved a great deal since I'd first found it. Not only did I actually have furniture now, and a few rugs to cover parts of the floor, but I also had more light, thanks to a Coleman lantern.

I looked longingly at my new bathtub, realizing that I hadn't had a decent shower in... I hadn't had any kind of shower or bath since the morning of my accident. God, it had been far too long and I was feeling extremely filthy.

I didn't waste much time before stripping out of my clothes and filling the tub with water from my new line. It was cold since I didn't have a water heater, but it was a hell of a lot better than nothing. Though I cringed at the temperature as I climbed in, I couldn't help very pleased as well.

"Finally I sighed," scrubbing myself clean and then climbing back out.

The water was pretty dirty and I knew that there would be a horrible ring. I'd known that I was dirty from going so long without a shower, but I hadn't realized that it had been quite that bad. It was only then that I realized one small problem. I'd never put in anything to drain the water, though knew that I'd be able to take care of it with my powers later on.

As I dried myself off, I caught sight of a large mirror that was laying against one wall...facing the wall. I'd found it and brought it back on impulse while scavenging...even broken pieces back together. However, I had yet to really use it, not wanting any reminder of what I'd become.

Then I looked down at my naked body, which I'd been trying to ignore since I'd first woken up in it. However, I hadn't been able to ignore it...or the fact that I was physically now a woman completely. That point had been more than made when I'd started my bleeding.

After several minutes of just standing there, I turned the mirror around, then stood in front of it. I stared at myself for a long time, my eyes going wide at the image. Of course, I knew exactly what it was that I was going to see so it wasn't a surprise.

But as I stared at my reflection, I did realize something that was a surprise. I definitely looked like a white skinned freak...but I was a beautiful white skinned freak. My eyes bulged as I stared down at myself, admitting for the first time that I was beautiful. Extremely exotic..but still beautiful.

"Damn," I whispered to myself.

Of course, my long hair was tangled and I really needed some proper grooming, not to mention some good clean clothes. However, overall I looked very good...especially considering my circumstances.

I ran my hands over my body, feeling it beginning to respond. It wasn't the first time that I'd felt a little turned on since my transformation, though I had purposely ignored it every other time. I wasn't completely sure why I wasn't ignoring my body this time. Perhaps it was because I'd already run through the worst part of womanhood and was beginning to accept that I would be like that for the rest of my life. However, I suspected that a larger part of it was my growing confidence. It was giving me the courage to actually deal with what I'd become rather than running away from it like I had been.

"Interesting," I commented about the new sensations that I was feeling.

I carefully touched one of my nipples, which was fully erect, feeling sort of like a tiny erection. My crotch on the other hand was definitely showing the effects as well, though in a somewhat different way. I was beginning to get...moist.

My hands continued to roam over my body, pausing to touch my breasts and vagina. I held my hand there, then gently began to rub it, gasping at the sensation as I did so. It was so strong. And it felt so good. With that, I moved over to my bed, sitting down so that I could give it all of my attention.

It didn't take me long before those powerful new sensations that I was feeling built to the point where they finally burst...exploding into a raging torrent of pleasure. It was an orgasm unlike any that I'd ever felt before in my life, more powerful than any that I'd ever had as a man. Whether that was because I was now physically a woman, or whether it was because I was a freak, I didn't know. And at the moment, I didn't care.

I continued to explore my body for the next hour or so, lost in the strange but powerful new sensations that had come along with it. And by the time I was done, I could only wonder why I hadn't done so sooner.

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It was the day after I had first discovered the pleasures that could come along with my new body, and I was sitting in the middle of my bed, having just completed another session of masturbation. Though that might seem rather crude, there was little else for entertainment in the Ruins.

Finally, I sat up, looking at myself in the mirror again. I'd made a point of doing that much more frequently now, thinking that it might help me to accept what I'd turned into a bit easier. Still, that didn't mean that I was happy about having my entire life and body torn away from me like that. Not in the least.

I hadn't forgotten about my goal of getting revenge on Force. In fact, I thought about it quite frequently, though I knew that I wasn't ready for that just yet. At least not with any chance of success. As it was, I'd wanted to learn more about my powers and myself before I did so. The more that I knew what I was capable of, the better off I would be.

"Taking out a member of the Protectorate won't be that easy," I reminded myself, knowing that many had tried. I hated Force, but had to admit that he didn't get to be one of the most famous developed around by being unable to take care of himself.

With that, I decided that it was time for a little more training. I certainly wasn't going to kill Force just by fingering myself to the brink of unconsciousness. I still had a lot of work to do to get ready.

But once I was dressed, I cringed, knowing that I'd need to get some new clothes as well. Sure, I was able to clean my clothes in my tub now, but they were still nasty looking rags. I sure as hell wasn't going to inspire any kind of fear or respect from Force wearing that kind of garbage.

After this, I went outside, not sure whether to actually practice my powers since I seemed to have gained complete control over them already, or to go scavenging for more materials. There were still a number of things that I could definitely use. Especially some new food. That was always in short supply.

I had just been outside for several minutes when I heard some yelling from nearby. Though all my common sense told me that I should just high tail it back to safety, I was feeling a little cocky from my new powers and decided to check it out.

Turning around the corner, I saw a group of half a dozen men standing around. From the looks of their matching jackets and the guns that a couple of them had, it was obvious that they were a gang. One of several gangs that liked to use the freedom from the law that the Ruins provided.

"Look, we've got half the shit sold already," one of the gang members told the one who appeared to be the leader, holding out a bag as he did so, "We'll get the rest on the street by next week..."

"Good," the leader smirked as he took a second bag from someone else and looked inside. "Almost enough cash to buy those blasters that freaked out doctor is selling..."

"We'll be the top gang," someone else laughed.

I watched for a few more minutes, my eyes locking on the bag that I strongly suspected contained drugs. Then my attention locked onto the other one...the one with the cash. I couldn't help getting a little thoughtful at that. Cash was something that I could definitely use at the moment.

Once I made my decision, I stepped out into the open and started for the group. One of them noticed me and cried out, "What the fuck...?" This was followed by similar comments as the rest turned towards me, their weapons drawn.

Then I paused, glaring at the men in front of me. All of a suddenly, I was burning with rage. Not really at them...but at Force...at everything that had happened to me. I was finally going to cut loose with all that pent up rage inside of me, and they just happened to be a convenient target. I almost felt sorry for them. Almost.

Without a word, I caused all of their guns to melt in their hands, while simultaneously causing the ground beneath the bag of drugs to turn into quicksand pull it under. The men all stared at me in shock and horror, with two of them turning and running away immediately. A third hesitated only a moment, glancing between his leader and his running friends before joining them.

"Go," I stated, gesturing for the remaining three to run as well.

"What the fuck is she?" one of the men demanded.

"It doesn't matter," the leader snapped, "Get the fucking bitch..."

That was definitely not a smart idea, and I let them know that by making the ground raise up, then slam into them almost like a large wave. Two of them men were hit hard by the concrete wave and send flying. The last man standing was the leader, who stared at me with both fear and hatred. I was suddenly reminded of a cornered rat.

"Last chance," I told him coldly.

However, he didn't seem to want to be reasonable and almost in a single motion, pulled a knife and charged straight for me. I was startled for a moment, but quickly caught myself and turned the ground underneath him as soft as quicksand. He sank in up to his ankles, then I hardened it again.

"Not very bright," I muttered.

Then I noticed one of the men that I'd hit with the concrete wave, on his hands and knees, moving towards the money bag. I wasn't about to let him get it after what I'd just gone through, so made a concrete hand rise out of the ground and grab him around the ankle. He wasn't about to go any further.

I paused again, looking around to make sure that there weren't any more surprises, then I picked up the bag of money and calmly walked away. The gang leader screamed at me from behind, but I didn't pay him any attention.

Just two minutes later, I was back in the safety of my basement. And only once I was safe inside did I pause to open the bag and stare at the pile of cash in front of me. There was a lot of it, and from a quick going over, I guessed several thousand.

"All right," I grinned, feeling a surge of triumph.

I could barely believe what I'd done. I'd torn apart a small gang, buried their drugs under the ground and ripped them off of several thousand dollars. It was something that I never would have done before...never even would have imagined being able to do. But then again, I reminded myself, I was now a super villain.

Best of all, I wasn't penniless anymore. I had money again. Sure, it was drug money...probably even blood money. But the fact was, that didn't matter to me. I hadn't been involved in any of that and I needed the money.

Now, the big question was...just what was I going to do with all the money now that I had it? But after taking a look at my dishelved appearance in the mirror, I suddenly knew. I now had all of the power I needed to go after Force, but I was still going to need a whole lot of cleaning up as well.

Within two hours, I had taken a bath and put on the cleanest and nicest clothes that I had. Then, I left the Ruins, heading for the nicer part of the city. I felt horribly exposed like that...with everyone able to see my white skin. However, I was comforted by the knowledge that I had my power to back me up. It helped give me the confidence to do what I needed to do.

The first thing that I did was go into a clothing store to get myself something decent to wear. I made every effort to ignore people staring at me, though I couldn't help glaring at several of them, fighting back the temptation to give them something to really stare at. Like the ground swallowing them up. However, I managed to keep from doing that, resorting to only giving dirty looks to just about everyone who looked at me.

When I left the store a short time later, I had bought everything that I needed. Though I had been briefly tempted to try buying something sexy to see what I looked like in it, I had instead remained practical. I'd bought several pairs of jeans, T-shirts, a jacket and a nice comfortable pair of tennis shoes. And perhaps even most importantly, I had bought a bunch of underwear. They were unfortunately women's underwear, but I was realistic enough to know that they fit my body a whole lot better than male ones would.

I was a little less than pleased with the faint discomfort that that the new bra I was wearing gave me. I hadn't really thought about needing to wear a bra now that I was a woman until I'd seen them in the store, but it did make a bit of sense. But at the same time, I still wasn't sure that I even needed to wear one. Sure my new tits were fairly large, but they were also very firm. They hadn't felt at all painful from jiggling around without a bra like I'd heard some women saying. Perhaps not needing a bra was part of my strange mutation. However, I thought that it was better safe than sorry so had decided to wear one...for now.

Just as I stepped outside the store, a large fat man wearing a cowboy hat stood a short distance in front of me. And if he had been staring at me any harder, I would have thought his eyes would have popped right out their sockets.

"What on God's Earth are you?" he demanded. And from the looks other people nearby gave, I could tell that they were sharing his interest. "Some kind of freak..."

"Leave me alone," I warned, moving to go around him.

However, the man changed position to get into my way, and I could hear someone behind me laughing. I glared at him, beginning to get more than just annoyed.

"She isn't normal...," someone else exclaimed.

"No shit," a large black woman blurted out, "That thing ain't human... Look at them eyes..."

"I said what the hell are you?" the fat man demanded again, glaring at me as though I was some sort of threat, just by my mere presence.

"Damn," I growled, thinking that I preferred the attention I got while covered in rags.

Sure, there were a few sneers and rude comments, but for the most part people had avoided me...pretending that they didn't even see me. However, once they saw what I looked like without the rags hiding my appearance, they became a whole lot more interested...much to my growing disgust.

"Get the fuck out of my way," I snapped at him, again trying to get past.

But again, the fat man wasn't about to allow that. "Not till you tell me what the hell you are girlie..."

"What I am...," I said slowly, in a cold angry tone, "Is tired of dealing with assholes like you."

And with that, I concentrated on his rather large belt buckle, causing it to break apart...to disintegrate into dust. That was followed by a similar disintegration of the buttons on his pants. An instant later, his pants popped open, dropping down to his knees. And while everyone was staring and laughing at him, I used the distraction to move past.

"Fucking bastard," I growled to myself, thinking of that fat ass hole, and then of Force...the other bastard. The one I really hated.

With a snort, I tore my thoughts away from that, focusing instead on the business of the moment. I slipped on a pair of sunglasses that I'd bought in the store, hoping that since they hid my eyes, that they would help prevent quite as many stares. Not too likely considering my skin and hair coloring, but it certainly couldn't hurt either.

Of course I still received a lot of attention as I hurried down the sidewalk, though it did seem to have eased just a little. And it was much easier to ignore since I had already been able to release a bit of steam at that fat man's expense.

Several minutes later, I found what I was looking for. I paused in front of the beauty salon, feeling somewhat queasy about the very thought of going inside. Though my body was most definitely female, I was still a guy deep inside. However, I knew that I definitely needed to get something done about my appearance and that seemed the best place to do it.

With that, I stepped inside, taking in the gasps and stares from the few women who were already there, then removing my sunglasses and getting more. I wanted them to get the full picture and hopefully get over it so that I could get this going...and over with.

"Can...can I help you...?" one of the beauticians asked me nervously. She stared into my eyes, then would tear hers away...but be unable to keep them away for long.

"I need you to do something about this," I tugged at my hair, which was a bit tangled after those weeks of neglect.

"Of course," another woman...who seemed much calmer and more collected stepped in. "Right this way maam."

Soon my hair was being washed and lathered in shampoo. I lay back, wincing as she brushed it, working all of the tangles out. She seemed somewhat surprised at just how easily they did come out once she started on them.

"Such interesting hair," the woman commented nervously. "Is it natural...? I don't see any roots..."

I just grunted at that, thought I did feel somewhat comforted by the small talk. It made me feel like I was a real person again...not just a freak.

Though the woman who was working on my hair suggested the possibility to cutting it shorter so that it wouldn't get tangled again, and hinted at being able to dye it for me, I decided against either of those options. The long hair might be a little bit of a hassle of I wanted to keep it, and the color would certainly draw attention. However, I knew that those would both be like scars of battle...and serve to remind me of what I had become. And of course, who was to blame for that.

But while I was having my hair trimmed and styled, another woman came over and started working on my nails, giving me a manicure. Though I hadn't really thought about it, I realized that they probably needed some attention as well. They were longer than my old nails had been, almost like claws, and I hadn't been cut since I'd woken up with them. Still, they hadn't seemed to have grown much more or been too badly chipped in that time either. However, the manicure was definitely appreciated.

The whole process seemed to take a long time, yet it was over sooner than I might have expected. And strangely enough, I had actually enjoyed it. Not only had I enjoyed being treated as though I were human again, but I rather enjoyed the attention and pampering as well. It was no wonder that women spent large amounts of money for that kind of treatment.

Once I was done, I admired myself in the mirror, staring at my reflection in awe. My new hairstyle was a definite improvement, as were the slight makeup touches that they'd done to my face. It seemed to add the hint of color, making me look just a tiny bit more alive. Then I looked at my nails, which went into perfectly manicured points.

"Very nice," I admitted, smiling as I did so. I was rather pleased as I paid them, even giving women who'd worked on me a large tip.

I quickly hurried back to the security of the Ruins, feeling even more confident than before. The care that I'd received in the salon and my new clothes had made a definite improvement, not just in my appearance but how I felt. I felt more human than before.

And then once I was back home, I looked into my mirror, continuing to admire what they had done for me. I looked at my hands, stretching my fingers and then smiling. It was a pleasant smile at first, but it then turned into an almost cruel one.

"It's time," I announced, realizing that I was almost ready to go after Force. I was almost ready to take my revenge for what he'd done to me. "I have almost everything I need..."

As far as I could tell, I had almost everything that I needed to be a super villain and get my revenge. I had my motivation. I had my powers...powers which I had finally mastered after a lot of hard work and practice. I even had my super villains lair. Probably not nearly as nice as most...but it was what I had available.

"A name," I blurted out, realizing that I still didn't have a code name.

Every developed that I'd ever heard of, hero or villain had some sort of silly code name. It was some sort of rule as far as I could tell. And I realized, it would be necessary to actually be taken seriously among those people.

"Certainly can't use my own," I muttered thoughtfully, knowing that my real name wasn't of my use anymore. I sure as hell didn't look anything like a Scott Felding anymore. Nor did I really feel like I had as Scott. That name no longer applied to me in any way. It had been discarded along with my old body and buried along with that old life. "But what can I use...?"

I thought about it for a long time, realizing that it wasn't quite as easy coming up with a code name as I would have thought. At first, I thought about calling myself Vengeance, but thought that I remembered hearing of someone else calling themselves that. And I 'd thought of calling myself Nemesis...thinking that this would be appropriate as well. But again, I was sure that someone else was already using that name. It appeared that just about all of the good names had already been taken.

"I wonder if they have copyright code names," I spat in frustration.

Then my thoughts shifted to Hank, or more specifically, to the conversation we'd had when he told me that everyone thought that I was some sort of witch. Maybe I could use that. My powers were sort of like being able to catch a witches hex...

"Hex," I mused, my attention catching onto that single word. "Hexx...," I repeated after a moment, "With two X's."

That sounded a bit better, but it was still lacking. It was short and sweet. TOO short and sweet. It lacked any real 'ooomph' to it. It needed something...

After a moment more, I thought about Hank again, suddenly remembering what he always called me. Lady. Since he didn't know my name, he always called me 'lady'. I wasn't really...but it would be like my long hair...a symbol of what I had become. Something to remind me of what I had become...and why.

"Lady Hexx," I thought aloud, deciding that I rather liked it. It felt more...balanced. "That's it," I exclaimed more loudly, standing up and looking into the mirror and knowing that I finally had a name. "From now on...I am Lady Hexx!"

I felt a surge of pride at my new name, but suddenly paused, realizing that I was still missing one thing. I still needed a costume...

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I scowled fiercely as I silently stared at the wall, just as I had for the last twenty minutes. However, it wasn't really the wall of my basement home that I was staring at, but what was hanging from it. Or more precisely, the three things hanging from it.

"Which one," I mused as I stared at the three costumes.

When I had realized that I would need a costume to complete my revenge, something to fit the style and make Force take me seriously, I had immediately went to work gathering loose material and designing one. But in the end, I had created not one costume...but three.

While I had been creating my costumes, I had thought about my new body, deciding to use it to my advantage. I would show it off a little, using my new curves to distract Force. If I was going to fight him...someone that experienced, I would need absolutely every edge that I could get.

The first costume was a prime example of that. It was very skimpy and made of black material, showing a lot of cleavage and a lot of skin. It had thigh high stiletto heeled boots, a black bikini top and looked something like a dominatrix outfit, though it had a long red sash around the waist to add a splash of color to the otherwise black and white motif.

Though the first costume was extremely sexy looking, and I knew that it would certainly distract any man looking at me, I didn't have the first idea of how to actually walk in high heels like that. But at the time, I'd gotten a bit carried away. Of course, there was also the fact that it was also too sexy and I blushed slightly at the thought of appearing in public wearing something like that.

The second costume was toned down a little from the first, though still very sexy. It was a skimpy red one that still showed a fair amount of skin, and was decorated with several black metal skulls. I'd come up with that one to emphasize the whole vampire thing since that was what people kept thinking that I looked like.

However, after some thought, I realized that the third and last costume was my favorite. It was a green one piece thing that cut off at just the right place to show a decent bit of cleavage, while still remaining tasteful. It also covered my shoulders and arms, leaving my hands exposed. Around my neck was a black choker that I'd made with a small green stone set in it. And then there was the final touch, a cloak made out of a slightly darker shade of green.

I rather liked that costume. It wasn't quite as sexy as the first two, and perhaps I chickened out a bit, but it did make me feel more comfortable. And I thought that the cloak was a nice touch, giving a hint of mystery as well as being able to hide my strange appearance a bit.

"I guess you're it," I said, reaching for the green costume.

It didn't take me long to get ready, and soon I was standing there, feeling my heart racing. I was excited, nervous and afraid at the same time. The burning rage...the thirst for vengeance were right there, keeping me on edge. It was almost time.

"Finally," I whispered, thinking about what was ahead of me.

Now I had everything. Everything that I needed to be the super villain and kill Force. I had my costume, my name and my powers. But most importantly, I had motive. Motive to kill him...and thanks to a public appearance that he was scheduled to make in a few hours....opportunity.

And after taking a deep breath, I left my home, feeling a deep satisfaction that one way or another, this would soon all be over.

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I closed my eyes, breathing deeply as I felt my heart race. It was almost there. The time for my revenge was so close that I could almost taste it.

Then I opened my eyes and looked out around me. I was at a recently constructed building, a new museum of the developed which Force was scheduled to ribbon for. He was apparently trying to get all the good publicity he could after the scandal with the Elite several months back. And that was good for me. It told me exactly where and when I could find him.

After waiting only several more minutes, I saw him. A flash of blue and silver dropped from the sky, directly in front of the building where several politicians and reporters waited. I grimaced faintly at that, then started to move into position.

"HELP!" I screamed out, dropping to my knees and covering myself with my cloak, "I'm hurt... I've been mugged and he's getting away...!"

So I wasn't the best actor. Actress. But that apparently didn't seem to matter as Force took the bait and stared flying towards me. Of course, how could he do otherwise with people watching. However, I didn't really want them watching, which was why I got to my feet and staggered around the corner, pretending to be hurt.

"Are you all right maam...?" Force called out as he came closer.

"He went there..." I called out, pointing to a neighboring lot that was just out of sight of the reporters.

As soon as Force landed on the ground, I cut loose with my powers. The very ground around him turned to quicksand and started to pull him under. And at the same time, I made the ground nearby rise up, planning to bury him from all directions at once.

However, I notice several of the reporters coming so gestured towards them, causing the ground to rise up into a large wall, blocking them from us.

"Go away," I screamed at them, pushing the wall back a bit, "This is between Force and me..."

Suddenly, there was an explosion as all the ground around Force was suddenly thrown back with incredible force. He was floating out of a small crater a moment later.

"I don't know who you are..." Force started, glaring at me arrogantly, "But you're going down..."

"The name is Lady Hexx," I hissed back at him, throwing my cloak back to let him get a full look at me. "And you already took me down." I spat it out with as much venom as I could.

It didn't appear as Force was really listening though as he fired a massive blast of raw force right in front of me, shattering the ground and sending me flying backwards. I winced as I hit and he just smirked, getting ready to do it again.

With a surge of anger, I caused the ground to suddenly shoot up at him from beneath, creating a pillar that hit him. And while he was disrtacted, I created a virtual tidal wave of rock and cement, sending it flying straight at him. However, he quickly turned and punched it, causing it to explode away just as it would have hit him.

Now Force flew straight at me, his arm raised to throw a superhumanly strong punch. I created another wall between us, realizing as I did so that I wasn't going to stop him that way. He'd already shown that. He was too powerful. But I still had no intention of quitting now.

"You fucking bastard!" I yelled at him, deciding to change tactics a little.

I used my powers to make a giant stone hand burst from the ground and grab him in mid air. I was going to crush him to death, maybe even drag him down and bury him at the same time. He struggled within the hand, and it took all my strength just to contain him. But it wasn't enough as he broke out of that as well.

My adrenaline was rushing wildly and my senses all seemed sharper than every before. I could feel all the molecules around me with extreme clarity.

"Come here bitch," Force growled out at me, "I'll snap you in two..."

Without saying another word, I lashed out again, throwing another wave of stone at him. I was determined to keep doing that until he was worn out...until I got him. Or until I died trying.

But this time, I caused the wall to explode early, tearing it to pieces so that he was bombarded with shrapnel and lots of rocks instead of just a single wall. And this time, I suddenly noticed something different. The rocks appeared to bounce right off of him without doing any harm...but I sensed more than that. Since I could feel the molecules, I could feel them all abruptly stopping an inch before they'd even touched him.

"Holy shit," I whispered, suddenly realizing that he wasn't really invulnerable. He had a force field.

However, I didn't have time to consider what that meant as Force pressed his attack on me, suddenly hitting the ground and slamming it, sending a massive shockwave towards me. I tried to get out of the way but was hit anyway and sent flying, hitting the ground with a painful thud.

"Damn," I spat, quickly getting back to my feet.

Force had taken this opportunity to put me on the defensive, blasting at me with his force blasts while I moved back, pushing wall after wall of stone up between us for protection. It wasn't getting me any closer to my goal though.

Then Force suddenly changed tactics slightly, flying above my stole wall and firing another blast straight at me. With only an instant to think, I remembered his force field and tried something new with my powers. I held the very molecules in the air where they were, refusing to let them budge as his blast hit my wall of solid air. My own force field. Still, it was a massive strain on me since I was holding the air there with nothing but my own power. But it worked. At least that one time since I didn't think that I could survive another one that way.

Knowing that I wouldn't be able to keep that up, I decided to change tactics myself. I concentrated, bringing the stone behind Force to life again. The very ground rose...forming into a 9 foot tall humanoid shape. It was a statue...a golem that was completely under my control.

"Gotcha," I growled, glaring at Force with all the hate inside me.

My golem swung at Force with it's massive fist, sending the hero flying backwards. However, he didn't seem to be hurt in the least. Instead, he charged straight for my golem, punching it, though I used my powers to keep the golem intact.

Force and my golem fought for several minutes, with him getting angrier and angrier. Suddenly, he punched my golem again, unleashing a massive concussion burst as he did so, sending pieces of my golem flying everywhere. That didn't bother me though as I knew that it would only take seconds for me to create a new one.

"Enough of this you fucking bitch," Force yelled at me, firing massive force blast right at me.

I blocked his blast with another wall, moving to the side as I did so. And from my new position, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Sparing a quick glance, I was horrified to see that it was some of the reporters, standing by and watching the fight.

Force flew up into the air, looking extremely pissed as he fired another force blast in my direction, one that seemed much more powerful than the ones before. But unfortunately, I knew that the reporters were right behind me...right in the way of his blast.

"NO," I gasped in horror, jumping to the side yet at the same time, creating a massive all of stone in front of the reporters to protect them from the spillover from Force's blast.

I stared at Force in horror, realizing that he was doing it again. He was so intent on getting me that he was ignoring everyone else nearby. Including the reporters which he damn near killed while blasting me. That fact suddenly reminded me exactly why I was the way I was. Why I had suffered so horribly. And of course, exactly why I hated him so much.

However, Force didn't seem to have noticed the reporters, or the fact that he nearly hit them. Instead, he was grabbing a car off the nearby street, holding it over his head as he glared at me.

It was then that I noticed it with my powers again. The car...he was holding it over his head but wasn't actually touching it. There were air molecules between his hands and the car.

Suddenly, I gasped in understanding, staring at Force in amazement. His powers...his powers weren't at all what I'd thought. They weren't at all what had been demonstrated and reported on TV. He wasn't super strong and invulnerable at all.

"Holy shit," I gasped in disbelief.

His powers.... He just manipulated that force field and kinetic energy. That force field not only made him appear invulnerable, but he could move the force field at will..., using it like an exoskeleton and making it move heavy objects while appearing that he was extremely strong. Then I realized that the flying was the same thing. He just made the force field rise...and it lifted him along with it.

But at the moment, that revelation about Force's powers weren't going to do me much good. I knew that I had to do something and in an instant, caused the car he was holding to melt in his hands. I made what was left of it spread over his body, wrapping him up in a thick cocoon of metal.

"Buried alive," I whispered, deciding that it would definitely be appropriate. Especially after the way I'd been buried in that hole.

Just as I turned around, letting out a sigh of relief that it was all over...I heard the metal creaking. I snapped back around, just in time to see the metal explode away from him. I was barely able to solidify the air in time to keep from being hit by the shrapnel.

"YOU BITCH!" Force screamed, launching a series of force blasts that destroyed nearly everything nearby.

While Force was attacking, I pulled as much stone and metal around me as I could, using my own cocoon for protection. Within moments though, he stopped and I was able to come out.

I took a single look at Force's face and gasped at the look of raw fury that was there. He was pissed and ready to kill me. I supposed that I should have felt proud at being able to drive him to that point, but the truth was that I was worried. I suddenly realized that I had probably attacked him too early. I wasn't nearly as ready to deal with him as I thought. He was too powerful...too experienced. And at the moment, he was the one ready to kill me.

Once again, Force hit the ground and caused a massive shockwave which shattered the ground in all directions. Taking another clue from what I'd seen of him, I used the air to remain where I was, hovering a few feet above the crater that he'd created below me.

Though I tried using the air molecules to actually fly, I immediately discovered that it was a lot harder than I would have thought. In fact, it was taking almost everything that I had just to keep myself floating. Deciding to stick with what I was good at, I made a column of stone rise up from underneath me, giving me something to stand on again and then pushing me up higher in the air.

My actions seemed to infuriate Force more, who launched another attack, destroying nearly everything around...including the column that I had been standing on. I nearly screamed in panic as I started to fall, though I quickly caught myself, then noticed a woman about to me smashed as well thanks to Force's attack.

"GO AWAY," I yelled at her, even as I used my powers to protect her.

I cursed at her and the other reporters who were so stupid that they'd purposely get in the middle of something like that. But that only lasted a brief moment as I turned my full rage back to where it really belonged...FORCE.

Though I felt a brief bit of guilt for starting the fight when people were close, I knew that I'd purposely tried keeping them out of it. I'd tried keeping this just between me and Force. But Force... He didn't seem to care who was there. He was getting so reckless while coming after me that I was afraid that one of those bystanders was going to get hurt bad...or worse.

But while I had been trying to save that reporter, Force had moved on, grabbing another parked car from the street and throwing it at me. I used my powers to shatter the car in mid-air...leaving little more than dust and small shrapnel to even reach me.

Force let out a howl of rage, then ran back to the road, grabbing another car, holding it above his head as he glared at me with a look of raw hatred in his eyes. He floated a little off the ground, readying himself to throw the car.

Suddenly, I saw something that made my eyes go wide in horror. "NO!" I screamed out, seeing a pair of children's faces peering out of the car window. "THERE ARE KIDS IN THERE...!"

However, Force either didn't hear me or just didn't care. At that moment, I thought that it could have been either because he threw the car straight at me.

I was horrified as I watched this, and not for me. I would have been able to block the car with a wall...or even blow it up. But either of those would probably have been lethal to the kids. Just as hitting the ground would be.

Without taking time to think, I gasped out, giving everything I had to making a giant stone hand raise from the ground and catch the car. It would probably have to have been jarring...but nowhere near what it would be if it had actually hit.

Though I knew that I was leaving myself open to Force, I causing the car doors to melt off, letting the kids get out and clear. I yelled at them to run, creating a wall of stone behind them for further protection, then speeding it up by making the very ground move like a sidewalk escalator to move them along even quicker.

"Hurry," I called out, gasping, "This isn't right..."

There was something just not right with what was going on. I was the villain...and I was busy saving all the innocent bystanders while the hero was the one being reckless of their safety and putting them at risk. That wasn't the way it was supposed to be.

Just then, Force was beside me, picking me up in a single gesture and throwing me. I hit the ground hard, and would have hit much harder if I hadn't been able to use the air molecules to slow myself and act as a cushion.

Knowing that I didn't have the luxury of resting, I quickly came up with something new. Or more accurately, it was borrowed from Force's little trick with the force field. I summoned my powers to create another golem...one bigger than before. And this time, I formed it around me, until I appeared to be a 15 foot tall stone monster.

I was safe within the center of my stone shell, moving towards Force and feeling just a little more confident. However, I was also terrified. While we'd been fighting, I couldn't help realizing that I seemed to be outclassed. But I wasn't about to give up now. Not after all that I'd gone through because of him. I grimaced in determination and then used my stone armor's fist to punch at him.

At first, I had the upper hand. I punched Force and sent him flying. He even seemed bruised and tired after my attack. However, he was still standing, even more furious than before. It was then that he charged me, flying straight at me and punching my golem armor in the chest, unleashing a blast of his raw force at the same time. In that instant, my golem exploded and I was sent flying.

This time, when I hit the ground, I felt a horrible pain exploding from my side and arm. I rolled over on the ground, yelling out in pain. I strongly suspected that I'd broken my arm and ribs after that one.

Force flew up into the air and I could feel the raw concussive force building around him. He was going to blast me again, but more than that. I could tell that he wasn't going to just go after me this time. He was doing something more powerful, something similar to what he'd done to create the massive crater. He was going to level half the area.

But in that very instant, I saw my opportunity. Force was building his attack and had left himself somewhat vulnerable. I forced myself to my knees, knowing that if I could hit him with everything that I had now, I might be able to take him out when he fired.

However, I noticed something out of the corner of my eyes. Two kids...the kids from the car were still in the area. They were standing back behind a large chunk of rock that had been overturned, and right in the middle of Force's blast zone.

"NO," I screamed out in warning, my voice hoarse and tired. It didn't have enough power to reach Force and at the moment, I don't think that he'd even care if he did.

I knew at that moment that I MIGHT be able to hit Force, but probably not before he could throw release the blast.

Without thinking any further, I reacted, using the last of my power to raise the ground one more time, to form it onto a bubble around the two kids...and harden it as much as I could. Then I braced myself for the blast that was coming, determined to save those kids from it...even as Force finished what he'd started on me at the waste site.

To my surprise though, the blast didn't come. Instead, a man's voice yelled, "STOP THIS!"

Force slowly landed on the ground, looking tense but no longer powering up to fire that super force blast. And he looked pissed as hell.

Then a woman came running into the field, heading for the stone bubble that I'd just erected and screaming, "My babies...!" She was in a panic, obviously the kid's mother. With nearly the last of my energy, I released the bubble, causing it to dissolve so that the kids could come out.

"He attacked me!" another woman's voice yelled out. I looked to see a reporter...the woman that I'd saved earlier pointing at Force.

At that, I noticed several police officers coming towards us, looking nervously at Force and me. They had their guns out, obviously uncertain of the situation but determined to do their duty.

"You're under arrest," one of the cops yelled out. But to my surprise, he was pointing his gun and looking at Force. "For reckless endangerment and destruction of private property..."

"WHAT?" Force yelled out furiously, "You can't arrest ME. I'm HERO!"

"You have to come with us sir," the one cop said, trying to be very respectful to someone who was such a famous hero.

Force looked furious at the very idea, then howled out, "NO!"

At the same instant he yelled out, Force slammed his fist into the ground, sending a large shockwave straight at the cops. And as the ground exploded around them, the cops were thrown back...screaming in pain. And without even looking at the cops who were now on the ground injured, Force shot straight up into the sky, vanishing from view.

I stared up in stunned silence, shocked at what I had just seen. But then, I slowly sat up, wincing from the pain in my ribs and arm. It was only then that I noticed someone behind me. No...not just some one...there were four of them.

"Oh shit," I gasped, wincing again.

It was the E.R.S. The Emergency Rescue Squad, with their leader Pursuit standing right in front of me with deep scowl on his face. Rescue, Smoke and Nexus stood just behind him, none of them looking very happy either.

Then Pursuit looked at me, staring for just a moment before announcing, "You're under arrest..."

I didn't offer any resistance at all as Pursuit put me under arrest. I was far too sore and tired to fight back and doubted that I even had the energy left to use my powers. It was over and I knew it.

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My eyes were closed tightly and I kept my body just as motionless as it had been for the last half hour as I continued concentrated. But then I finally opened my eyes, blinking as I looked around the small room that I was in, having little more than a cot, a toilet and a small TV up in the corner.

At the moment, I was deep in the bowels of Mount Prometheus. It was the super prison, especially designed to hold developed criminals. And I was one of them, locked away in my tiny cell.

Ironically, it was actually somewhat more comfortable than I had grown used to in the Ruins. Or at least compared to before I'd improved things a little with my powers. It was warm, I had clean clothes, blankets, a TV and best of all...plenty of food. Three hots and a cot as they might say.

I had been a prisoner there for just a week, ever since the fight with Force. There had been no trial, at least not yet. I had just been flown their almost directly. It was one of those new laws which allowed the more serious containment of potentially dangerous developed suspects until their trials. I also suspected that there were more than a few inmates that they never bothered to give a trial to and had no intention of doing so.

Mount Prometheus had a very effective method of keeping prisoners contained. I had a metal collar around my neck, a collar which contained among other things, a tracking device and an explosive charge that could be detonated if I attempted escape.

I didn't really have much chance of escape though as I was almost never released from my cell. It didn't even have bars, just a heavy door with video cameras to monitor me. Even my food was delivered.

Of course, the most effective method that they had was keeping my powers neutralized. The guards didn't say how, so I thought that it could very easily have been something in the collar or even something in the cell itself. However, I had also overheard several other prisoners saying that they thought it was caused by some developed who was hidden within the prison and who had the power to neutralize the powers of everyone else within a certain distance.

"Effective," I muttered to myself.

Then I turned my attention to the TV up in the corner, feeling thankful that they'd provided at least that for me. It was the only form of entertainment that I had, though there were only a few channels. Apparently, they thought that a distracted prisoner was less likely to try causing trouble. As if that were even possible there.

Unfortunately, there wasn't really anything new on the news. They were still going on about my fight with Force. There had been enough reporters there...and video cameras to make sure that the entire thing had been well captured. I hadn't realized just how well until I'd been stuck in the cell watching it. In fact, that had been just about the only thing on the news for the last week.

It appeared to be a huge scandal, with just about everyone shocked by what had happened. They were shocked by the way reckless way that Force had completely disregarded the safety of everyone around him...at how I had actually saved people that he as the hero should have. That just brought back further attention to the previous scandal that had caused the disbanding of the Elite.

But there was of course more to the scandal than just his complete and total disregard for anyone else while fighting. There was his actions afterwards. The reporters had caught him on camera as he attacked the police when they tried to arrest him. One of those cops had even ended up in the hospital, seriously injured. Now there was a warrant out for his arrest and Force had nearly become public enemy number one. At least that was how the news was making it look.

And as I stared at the TV, I couldn't help thinking that it was somewhat ironic. Sure, I didn't kill Force like I'd intended to, but in a strange way, I had destroyed him. Because of that fight, he had lost everything that he had. He'd lost his reputation as one of the greatest heroes and had instead become a wanted fugitive. A man who would endanger children and attack police.

"He's done for," I said, feeling a great deal of satisfaction from that. The world finally knew what he was really like. Of course, I still wanted him dead for what he'd done to me, but that would do for now.

After watching the news for another few minutes, I turned my attention back to my collar. Even if it wasn't what was neutralizing my powers, as I strongly suspect, it was an annoyance that I would need to get rid of before I could escape. I smiled faintly at the thought.

My powers were almost completely neutralized...but the operative word was almost. I could still sense things a tiny bit...and I could even still move a molecule or two at a time...with a lot of effort. I had been doing so for several days now, slowly moving the molecules in my collar so that I could eventually break it open and escape. However, it would still take some time and effort. But time was one thing that I seemed to have a whole lot of lately.

Just then, there was a hissing sound as my cell door opened. One of the guards gestured at me with his gun and announced, "You have a visitor. Come on..."

I was startled at that, not having any idea who could possibly be visiting me. I didn't even have a lawyer...unless it was some court appointed one. As I was moved down the corridor, I became more certain that this was the case.

A few minutes later, I found myself in a small room, watched by nearly half a dozen guards who waited just outside. They were taking the security very seriously. But then again, I supposed that would be normal when dealing with a lot of developed...powers or not.

I sat down and waited for a few more seconds before someone else entered the room through the opposite door. I was more than a little startled at the familiar sight. It was a black man in a black and white costume, with a shiny badge on his chest. It was Pursuit.

"Lady Hexx," Pursuit nodded faintly as he sat down on the other side of the table from me. "I believe that is what you call yourself..."

I nodded at that, not saying a word though wondering why the hell he was there. He was the one who arrested me for God's sake and I didn't know what he could possibly want with me now.

"I suppose that you are wondering why I'm here," he told me.

"You could say that," I responded cautiously.

Pursuit was silent for a moment as he just stared at me, with me staring right back. He tore his eyes away first, apparently uncomfortable with my pure white eyes.

"I've been talking with the governor," Pursuit finally said. "We've been reviewing what occurred during your attack on Force..."

"And," I encouraged, becoming curious in spite of myself.

"To start with," Pursuit told me, "the woman who's children you saved is a friend of the governor's niece. That has earned you a small amount of good will." Then Pursuit paused, adding after a moment, "And there is the political aspect. With all of the witnesses to your protecting those people, the governor thinks that he might be able to use that."

I wasn't really certain where this was leading, but I had a feeling that it was very important. Someone like Pursuit wouldn't be coming all the way to Mount Prometheus just to talk to me if it wasn't serious.

"And what about you?" I asked, noticing that he'd mentioned things from the governor's point of view...not from his own.

Pursuit just stared at me intently. "Why did you attack Force? Were you hired to kill him? Were you trying to make a name for yourself by taking him down...?"

"It's personal," I spat out bitterly. Then I sneered, "Force made me the woman I am today..."

"But you didn't attack him when you had the opportunity," Pursuit pressed. "You saved the children instead."

I just shrugged at that. I knew that I'd missed my best opportunity to take out Force, but I sure as hell couldn't let those kids die. Especially not because of me.

After a moment, Pursuit smiled...faintly. "What I think Ms. Hexx...is that you have potential. We can use someone with your powers on our team..."

For a moment, I just stared at Pursuit in stunned disbelief. I was sure that I'd misheard him. I was a villain... I was in prison for hunting down a famous hero and doing my damn best to kill him. There was no way in hell that Pursuit could be saying what I thought he was saying.

At my surprised look, Pursuit continued, "The governor has suggested...and I agreed that we let you out on probation. The conditions are that you will join the E.R.S. and use your powers to help people. You will be on call to the state for emergency situations...disasters recovery, search and rescues....that sort of thing. And...," he sat forward slightly, stating, "I will act as your parole officer."

"You can't be serious," I stated, trying to keep my voice calm and steady.

However, Pursuit looked very serious. "What do you say? Do you walk out of her with me now...or wait for your trial?"

I leaned back at that, silently reminding myself that there was another option. I absently fingered the collar around my neck, thinking that I would probably have it off in just another week or so. Then I could escape. However, the thought of being on the run didn't really appeal to me very much.

"All right," I nodded my agreement. I'd just agreed to go from being a villain to a hero, and I hoped that I'd made the right decision.

After shaking hands with Pursuit to seal the deal, I was let out of that room and eventually out of Mount Prometheus entirely. Even my costume was returned to me, though it definitely needed a little cleaning and sewing up, both of which would be rather easy with my powers.

Over the next two months, things changed very drastically for me. I joined the E.R.S. as I had agreed, and went to work as a hero, helping to save people's lives for the city. For the most part, that involved different forms of rescues and assistance, though there were a few criminals that we had to fight as well. Some of them were even developed.

But as well as doing that work for the E.R.S. and the city, I was also called on a few times by the governor to do things for other parts of the state. For the most part, that came down to disaster relief and helping dig people out of rubble after an earthquake had leveled buildings and trapped them within.

My lifestyle had changed quite a bit as well. Instead of living in a basement in the Ruins, I was living in a nice apartment, paid for by the city. I was even given a small salary and plenty to eat. Of course, I felt slightly guilty at my good fortune and made sure to occasionally bring some food back to Hank and anyone else in the Ruins who needed it.

I was no longer Scott Felding, and at times it seemed as though I never had been. I was Lady Hexx now...freak...woman...and hero. Like it or not...I was what I was and had come to accept it.

It was strange, going from being a homeless freak to being thought of as a hero. But I was...I was saving people's lives and doing good deeds. And that gave me a great sense of satisfaction. And of purpose.

During the few times that I did meet up with other developed heroes though, I found that my reputation among that type wasn't as a hero. I was still seen as a villain... They resented me, blaming me for what had happened to Force. As if I had purposely framed him and destroyed his reputation. As if I had personally pushed him over the edge. The only ones who seemed willing to trust me, even not knowing about my past, were the other members of my team.

Even as I played the hero, saving lives and helping the city, I still had one thing that remained in the back of my mind. One thing that I thought about quite frequently. With us being the good guys...and with Force having a warrant out on him, I had little doubt that one day I would encounter him again. And when that finally happened...I was going to be ready.

 

The End

Read 500 times Last modified on Monday, 23 January 2023 20:04
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