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Against The Scourge

New York City


a part of Against The Scourge, by EKRonnie.


EKRonnie holds sovereignty over New York City, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

441 readers have been here.


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New York City is a part of Against The Scourge.

7 Characters Here

Harper C. Fields [2] I'm an asshole? Well...tell me something I DON'T know.
Kira Nightingale [2] I could drink you under the table, bitch.
Carter Millens [1] "Tell me a story, darling."
Tristan Aeol [1] ...
Andrew Price [1] I mean, have you seen me?
Lorelei "Rory" James [1] "It's not that simple, unfortunately."
Nadi Porter [0] Try this on for size.

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1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Andrew Price
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Andrew Price
May 21st, 2014
9:06 PM

The cool thing about having money was buying your way around the rules, even the laws. Andrew swept into the club without needing an ID, or even needing to use the front entrance clogged with girls and guys begging and bribing the bouncer to get in. The club's name was Fancy, the interior decorated like some 20's flapper joint. Sequins, golden lining, thin champagne glasses and leather couches. Unlike the usual clubs with their DJ's and light shows, Fancy was...just that. Fancy.

Andrew corrected his collar twice, stepping through the doorway opened to him. A waitress stood on the other side, pink lips glossy and blonde hair ponytailed. "Evening, Mr. Price."

His smile came out a little crooked, eyes ducked to give the impression that he remembered her. He didn't, but she giggled in naivety.

Most nights were spent here, spent with this crowd, this alcohol, this smooth jazz and this wardrobe. Careful deep blue blazer with matching slacks, black shoes and a red tie. He felt adventurous tonight, changing the color of the tie for the only change in the last month. The days drawled on in class at the private school of Tale House Prep. The afternoons were napped away.

Nights...Andrew finally paid attention.

But after a month of these dreary rhythm, he felt the settling murkiness of boredom shielding his eyes. It almost felt like alcohol's wavering haze, but not quite. This was a natural reaction...a reaction to loss.

He ordered a scotch and downed it, ignoring the burn. He settled then on a rum and coke, swirling the ice inside with a small, black straw. He studied the room for a distraction, but not many folks visited on Wednesday nights save for the locals, meaning those that lived in the building above. Wilson Park, Madeline Rosen, Geoffery Canton. Names he knew and faces he'd known most his life through his parents' work.

His drink was gone in minutes.

They were older faces tonight. Save for one. Violet Harem. All black hair and long legs. Her eyes were lined in blue while her lips laughed in pink. She fit in like an olive on a peanut butter sandwich, but the guests and staff had come to accept her as their own. After all, her father was the governor.

Andrew stepped over to Violet, smiling again. "I like your dress."

She paused in her conversation with Harold Wins, a self-help expert that also owned the Fortune 500 company that controlled most of the country's produce trade from overseas. Most thought of them only when they met them, their business quite secret from the public eye, or rather, unnoticed.

"Andrew," she sang out, planting a kiss on his cheek. Harold knew his time with her was over when she didn't turn back to him, so he sauntered away, drinking the last of his spiked tea. "I knew I'd find you here."

"Lookin' for me, huh?"

"Of course," she sighed, pulling his red tie into her pale fingers. Her perfume washed over him, like falling flowers. And he didn't hide his eyes traveling down her shirt. "I'm here for the week. Daddy left the suite to me."

That was quite the surprise. And a good one. Andrew had already been planning their route back to his place, but she had solved everything.

"What are we waiting for?" he purred into her ear and she hugged him close.


Lights off, he watched her body lose its clothes. The patio blinds were open, leaking city night lights onto her outline. Curves and shadows. The bottle in his hand tasted of blueberry vodka and he hoisted himself up on his knees as she danced her way to the bed. They never spoke, only moved. They'd known each other for years and the routine was the same, they knew each other's wants and needs well, probably too well for teenagers.

But tonight, she whispered to him, "Let's make this special."

When they disappeared under the covers, Andrew had no idea how special this night would be.

Moments later, his panic attack let him know.

He had been kissing her chest, trailing down her breasts and tickling the inside of her thighs. Teasing and toying, her favorite. His thoughts had been circling different memories with her, one in particular coming to mind from last summer. His first threesome. She'd invited her friend Ginger along for the ride, petite and short, but feistier than Violet could ever be with her sensual nature.

Andrew pictured Ginger, remembering the girls kissing and putting on a show for him. Breathing heavier, his arousal grew even more.

Violet was sighing happily, fingers trailing down his back. "Working out?" she teased, raking her nails against his shoulders.

Actually no, Andrew knew. But he nodded against her stomach, kissing her hard and nipping her waist. Everything was hot and fevered, unlike before. He must have been craving her more than he realized. It had been months after all.

Her fingers went to his hair. "How long has your hair gotten?"

He licked at her and she yelped happily. The question gone.

When he righted himself, kneeling between her legs, he smiled down softly, peeling the blankets away. He wanted to see her. But when she lifted her eyes, her face didn't read excitement. "And- Ginger?"

"What?" Andrew blurted, wasn't his voice.

Violet pulled away, rolling off the bed to point at her. "Where's Andrew?"

"I'm Andrew," he said, touching his chest. His...chest? Looking down he was surprised to find...boobs? heat from earlier continued, now he realized not related to Violet at all. His fingers buzzed and he held his head, feeling dizzy.

What he noticed next sent him over the edge. His penis was gone.

Violet searched the room for Andrew, panicking and confused. She thought it was some sort of magic trick, but couldn't figure it out. By the end, she was dressed and storming downstairs to demand an explanation from Andrew downstairs, but Andrew knew he wasn't down there. He was here. In the suite.

As a girl.

He passed out after that, unable to bring himself to touch his foreign skin. Violet found him hours later, yelling at him for pulling weird pranks and being weird and acting weird and just...She slammed the door in his face when she had exhausted anything else she could think of.

Andrew had dressed, unable to comprehend what had happened. He had been a girl, at least until Violet woke him up minutes before. He touched his chest. Flat. He touched genitalia and it was definitely there. If it wasn't for Violet's reaction, he would have decided it had been a dream.

But the heat was gone and he knew what he'd felt.

Returning home, he hid in his room, lights off and mirrors away. He didn't sleep well at all.


1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kira Nightingale
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Kira Nightingale
May 29th
3:12 PM

"C'mon, Reg...I skipped last period for this."

Across from Kira, the redhead fidgeted, adjusting his fingerless gloves and sunglasses perched on his greasy bangs. She had him, she knew she did, and bit back a taunt. Playing with Reggie and Mo basically counted as practice for the big leagues anyway, but when they twisted under her confident gaze, she loved the rush of maddening power.

"Reeeeeg," she said, elongating his name as she leaned back against the tree.

They were set up on a cardboard box on the bit of grassy land between the skate park at the jungle gyms. Rolling wheels and child cries mixed around them. The younger kids were out of school earlier than them, waiting for parents at the playground. None of them noticed the high-schoolers under the shady trees though.

"Fold," he finally let out, shoving the cards down. She giggled, picking up the face down hand and frowning playfully over their pile of teddy grahams.

"So close."

"Shut up," he muttered, rolling to his side and then to his feet. "We're going skating." The younger kid at his side, hair dyed blacker than night, moved quickly at the words, following his brother's lead. The kid tried not to wear his sadness, but he was definitely upset about the teddy grahams.

Kira grabbed Mo's sleeve when Reggie had turned his back. Smiling, she slid the baggy of snacks to him and gestured for him to take it. Gladly, he did, moving to hug her. Everyone knew she didn't do hugs though, so he back up at the last second, nodding then running off to his skateboard.

"Bit of a softie, aren't cha?"

Kira knew that voice. And knew her smile was strained when she turned to the other side, lifting her knee to rest her arm. "Nick."

"Kira." He sat across from her, beach blonde hair in his usual faux hawk and muscle shirt gray today. The May air wasn't warm or cold, but his wore a thin jacket all the same, casual as ever. "Up for a game?"

"Uh, not really. I just played one with-"

He slammed his palm down on the cardboard box, grinning. When he lifted away, the folded bills were evident. Not singles either like he usually played. Twenties.

Kira bit her lip, but only for a second. Weakness wasn't something she showed normally, but today, well, she needed the money. Needed might not have been the correct word, but she was so close to buying that board down on Mason's. The owner at the shop had agreed to hold it for her if she had the money by this afternoon. This morning she had given up hope of ever owning the artful masterpiece, the design of suns and moons making love behind clouds created by a local artist, Jacque Im. Kira had plenty of his stuff, but this one was gold.

Leaning forward, she smiled as well. "Black Jack?" she asked sweetly, gathering the deck and shuffling the cards between her quick fingers.


A few games later, Kira wasn't feeling well. Her stomach knotted, but she kept up appearances, glancing to Nick across the box every few seconds, searching for his cheek to twitch or his smile to falter. But today he sat confident and collected. He'd been practicing in the mirror no doubt.

She might have to try it herself.

Because she knew her face had cracked long ago. Losing two games, she had lost half of what she had saved over the last week from doing odd neighborhood jobs and cleaning tables at Robella's. This was the last game, she decided. All or nothing. Leave it up to fate.

Nick's smile widened, if that was even possible. "Raise," he said, throwing another twenty on the stack.

Kira didn't carry her money with her, but pulled another scrap of notebook paper from the spiral at her side, writing her call in her right leaning scrawl.

The pot held at least $200 at this point.

And she felt sick. Sick as a dog in the middle of dammit-its-too-hot summer. Wiping at her brow, she found sweat and quickly pulled her hair up into a ponytail, focusing on her hand.

Clubs. Four clubs and a diamond. She had two pair, that was it. He could have anything and she couldn't tell if he was bluffing. His practicing would be her ruin. She'd never have that skateboard.

She looks nervous, Nick's voice said.

"I'm not nervous," she laughed, easily hiding all the unease and nausea taking over her body.

Nick nodded once. "Sure. Not nervous."


She won't know what hit her, his voice cackled, echoing and somehow flat. Reggie's trick is going to teach her a goddamn lesson, oh yeah. Kira's mine.

"Trick?" she blurted, pulling her cards to her chest. "What trick? Are you seriously cheating me right now?"

"What?" Nick's eyebrows came together in a knot of confusion. Fake confusion. She saw the panic and he hadn't practiced hiding that.

Immediately she was up and tearing his cards away. A flush? No, not quite. Throwing the cards down, she saw him flinch, his right hand going to his left...above the wrist.

How could she know I hid it in my sleeve?

Kira's head pulsed hard, but she ignored it, used to having allergies and the colds that came with the changing of seasons. She'd gone years without medicine and tugged at his jacket instead of worrying about her health. Sure enough, two aces spilled from inside, spinning to the dirt.

"You bastard."

"Kira, I-"

With her rough strength, she shoved him into a tree and knocked an elbow to his nose. The pain spread over his face, one nostril blooming red. She'd never liked Nick, but now he was dead to her. She gathered the cards and all his money, storming away.

"Hey!" he shouted, trying anger. "That's mine!"

Kira swallowed hard, unsure why her arms were shaking. Over her shoulder, she yelled back, "Shoulda thought about that before cheating!"


When she made it around the corner, she finally allowed her body t0 fall to one knee, leaning against a brick wall and vision slurring. She'd been drunk before, but this was worse. Had she been drugged? It wasn't uncommon in the area, the mixture of suburb and the not-so-suburb suburb in the town lending to naΓ―ve girls tricked by guys with money. But there would be no way she'd been slipped something.

"Kira?" A familiar voice at least. Ms. Reginald from Robella's. Her gray hair was in Kira's face, Kira unable to remember the hug she was now in. "Let's get you inside." Poor thing. What have those rotten boys done this time? I'm going to speak with Mayor Bradley at once. This is outrageous. Oh did I leave the stove on?

Head leaking with too many thoughts and theories, Kira's neck was loose when she was brought into someone's arms, their strong muscles warm.

What happened? She's pale. Weak. Damn woman doesn't know how to run a restaurant without burning the place down everyday. She looks nice though. Shouldn't she be in class? After everything we've done for her and she's...
Maurice was supposed to be here already.

"Get me a towel!"

Kira knew the couple was only trying to help, but they were too much - too worried, too panicked, too caring.

blood, whyishebleeding?
"Call 911!"
colors are endless and blackness consumes

Kira could hear them and she could hear Nick before. She realized what it was. She realized that she had finally cracked like she thought she would.






Kira wouldn't wake for three days.


1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lorelei "Rory" James
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Rory James
May 17, 2012

Rory found herself rushing, again. Damn procrastination. Panic raced through her veins, as she waited for the printer. It was making the strange odd noises it made while preparing to print, but still nothing was happening. "C'mon, you stupid machine." Rory pulled at her hair in frustration.

She nibbled on her bottom lip as she glanced at her watch. Class started in 28 minutes. It would take 8 minutes to get to the train station. The train would be at the station in 8 minutes. Rory groaned out loud, there wasn't enough time. The printer finally began printing, the white page slowly filling with letters.

Why can't I just email it? Why does this teacher have to be so anti-email?

"Rory, don't you have to get to class?"

Rory jumped at the sound of the voice. It was her mom, always concerned. "I would love to be getting to class, but my teacher insists on having only paper copies, due the day they're due. No late papers. Immediate zero." The red head stated annoyed. It was her mother's fault, but her frustration was becoming harder to control.

"Can't you email them? Let them know you'll be a little late to class?" Her mom suggested. Her coco colored hand pressed on to Rory's shoulder, hoping to calm the red head. Rory looked to her mother's face, the older woman's features were completely unlike her own. That's what happens when you're adopted.

Where Rory was pale, with billions of freckles and fiery orange hair; her mother had a beautiful coco colored complexion. Short black hair that was cropped just above her shoulders, and almost unnaturally straight. "If only I could, he's anti-email." Rory huffed. She gave her mother a sympathetic look, and thanked her for trying to help. The happy moment was cut off, however, when the printer made a loud whirring noise.

The red head spun towards it and watched the paper inside go in and out as the printer tried to figure itself out. "No, no, no, no..." Rory immediately attempted to fix it, but had no idea what could possibly be wrong. She looked up at the clock, the minute hand sitting so close to the 8. The train would be in the station soon, she wasn't going to make it.

And then, suddenly, the second hand stopped moving. Rory stared at it for a moment, perplexed by the sudden stopped. She looked at the watch on her wrist, it too had stopped ticking. "...Mom...?" She slowly turned her head, hoping her mom knew why both clocks had suddenly stopped working. "Mom!"

Her mother was frozen in mid turn, her hair still caught in the movement. Her mouth was open, as if about to say something. What is happening?

Assuming it was just some clever, highly detailed, prank, Rory turned back to the printer. It was no longer making noise or spitting the page inside and out. Her entire paper was printer, and sitting in the tray. She took the pages and immediately left the room, carefully avoiding her frozen mother.

"You can stop now," She called as she raced down through the townhouse. She grabbed her things and raced outside, where she was surrounded by more frozen people. She stared unblinking at the sight of people frozen in their steps. Someone's drink was spilling from their hand, after someone bumped, the brown liquid frozen in its fall.

Rory's breathing got heavier, she was freaking out!

Then, suddenly, as if a switch was flicked, everyone began moving. Quickly. Unnaturally fast. Everyone sped up around her, until finally it stopped and everyone was moving at a normal pace. Rory looked down at her watch, and gaped. It was almost 1! How was it almost 1?!


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Character Portrait: Harper C. Fields
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Harper Fields
12:15 PM
June 6, 2005

It was the last day of school. Summer had finally come, and Harper couldn't wait to get out of the torture prison that was 7th grade.

He hardly listened to the teacher, who was rambling about the end of grade exams they had just taken, and instead scribbled lazily on his paper, imagining days at the beach where he could swim all day. Maybe he'd be able to join the swim club again this year.

If only school could be just swimming...he'd be an A+ student for sure, instead of C-level.

Hehe...C level...

He had been drawing a stick figure version of himself swimming in a vast ocean of C's in the margins of his notebook when the bell rang for their lunch. He was the first person out of his seat, already out the door before the teacher had completely excused him.

Of course, it wasn't the food that had called upon this fast pace of action. There was another, deadlier reason.

Indeed, as he crossed the hallway and the students filed out of the other classrooms for their lunch, Harper realized he had moved too slowly.

He plastered a grin on his face as the taller boy and his two friends neared him. Friends...more like sidekicks. Ironically, his bully was wearing a Batman shirt, charcoal with the bat signal encircled in yellow emblazoned on the front.

Did that make him the Joker?

Harper could have run, but the last time he had given chase, they had all gotten in trouble and were landed in silent lunch together. Later, during gym, they had hit every single baseball directly at him. The tall boy, Frank, had even thrown his bat at him. It had caught him upside the head, and Harper had laughed it off, pretending to die dramatically from the blow, but it still hurt. A lot, actually. Even today the bruise throbbed dully.

So, with no escape in sight, Harper greeted his bullies. "Evenin' guvnor," he said brightly, mimicking the accent he had heard from Pirates of the Caribbean last night, "And 'ow is the great Frank and 'is goonies?"

"Goonies? Hah! You're one to talk!" one of the friends laughed. His name was Ralph, and he was thin, but tall. Much taller than Frank. He also had a very stupid and annoying laugh.

"Right. How silly of me," Harper corrected, grin not dropping, "It would be an insult to the original goonies."

"Someone thinks he's top-shit, doesn't he?" Frank said, slamming a beefy hand on Harper's shoulder and dragging him away from the cafeteria, a smile on his own face to keep any teachers from wondering, "Just cuz your daddy's some top-shit lawyer doesn't mean you are. You're dogshit, Harper. Harper Farper dogshit."

"Yes, I know," he replied with a roll of his eyes, "You've only told me like six million times. And Farper still isn't a real word, genius."

"Farper still isn't a real word, genius," Frank mimicked, voice higher, and shoved Harper into the boys bathroom, "You're not a real word!"

"That doesn't even make any sense," Harper argued with a laugh, wrestling his shoulder away from Frank. He succeeded, although it was possible that his bully just let go. He took a few steps backward, worry clouding in his stomach. Of course, he hid it all with a defiant smile.

"Yeah? Well who's the smarter guy here? I am," Frank said, shoving a thumb towards his chest, "Even these two douchebags are smarter than you! You're just some stupid gay prick who thinks he's better than everyone."

Harper cocked his head. The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. "It takes one to know one."

Frank looked like he'd been spat on. It was that look that Harper always lived for. It made getting punched worth it. But to his surprise, the look didn't stay as long as it usually did. Instead, Frank laughed. Loud and mean.

"You think you're so fucking funny don't you?" Frank asked, "Well, news flash, no one else thinks you are! In fact, everyone in this school hates you, so why don't you do yourself a favor and go kill yourself?"

It was Harper's turn to laugh. "You think I haven't already tried, with you guys on my ass everyday?" he asked, tone bitter despite the smiles, "I think we both know I don't have the balls to do it."

Frank shrugged. "That's simple then. We'll just have to do it for you."

Before Harper could react, hands were on him, grabbing his shoulders, his neck, his arms, his hair. He kicked and screamed, trying to bite and scratch, but to no avail. In fact, Frank just laughed. "I thought you said you wanted to die!"

They dragged him to the toilet, forcing his face down into the water. Out of all the things they'd done to him, flushies were the worst. Of course he always acted like they were nothing after the fact, but in truth they terrified him. Being held down there went against every instinct, both as a human and as a swimmer. He had almost hated the water, almost quit swimming because of was cruel of them to take something he loved so much and use it against him. And they knew it.

They started the flushing, water swirling into his nose, filling his ears, leaking into his tightly closed mouth. They pulled him up after a few seconds and he gasped for breath.

"Dogshit. You're dogshit, Harper!" Frank hissed. He went back under, for twice the length before air reached him again.

"Dogshit. Harper Fields is dogshit! Say it!"

Sputtering, Harper still managed a smile. "Frank Rich--"

This time he was slammed so hard under that he felt the porcelain crash against his nose. Tingling sensations flooded from the orifice, and the water warmed around him.

"Dogshit! Say you're dog shit!" Frank nearly screamed into his face.

"Oh shit, man, he's bleeding!"

"It's just his nose," Frank snapped. Harper felt him grab his arm and twist it back. He cried out, the pain racing up to his shoulder and down his back.

Back under he went, for even longer. When they pulled him back up he was coughing.

"Say it!"

"It!" he spat out, and was forced under again, arm twisting even further and head knocked against the bowl. The toilet kept flushing and flushing and flushing.

This time, when they pulled him up, he was crying. "Dogshit!" he sobbed, "I'm dogshit!"

"Your father's dogshit too! Say it!"

"Your father..."

He corrected himself when they brought him up again. "My father's dogshit too."

"And your mom!"

"And my mom."

Back under. When they brought him up his head was spinning and he felt like was going to throw up.

"And your mom what??"

"My mom's dogshit."

"And your sister!"

"NO!" Harper screamed, eyes flying open and lurching towards Frank, "NOT MY SISTER! NOT MY--"

They pushed him under, a hand keeping his face pressed hard against the porcelain, towards the drain. Each time they pulled him up, he only screamed "NOT MY SISTER!", until finally they just held him there, water swirling around him.

After half a minute passed he opened his mouth instinctively, water filling in immediately. He screamed bubbles, thrashing and trying to free himself, but the grip was strong. Water burned his nose, his throat, his eyes. He needed to resurface. Needed to breath. White spots fluttered behind his closed eyelids, and he was panicking. An arm had gotten loose, and his skinny fingertips scrabbled at the toilet, trying to force himself up.

He couldn't breathe...couldn't breathe...couldn't....breathe...

And then suddenly, he could. And he was moving. Sliding down down into the drain, like the toilet was sucking him up, slipping out from Frank's fingers and disappearing into the pipes.

An hour later, lower Manhattan was in a buzz. A maintenance worker had found a 12 year old boy calling out from the street drain, covered in filth...and smiling.


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Character Portrait: Tristan Aeol
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Tristan Aeol
May 15, 2014
2:46 AM
Hong Kong

Cantonese buzzed around him, only a few words jumping out at him.

If only they were speaking Mandarin.

He couldn't see, a bag over his eyes. He was on his knees, wrists bound in zip ties that dug into his skin. Ankles too. His head swam from the discomfort and what he could only assume was drugs that they had someone stuck him with. He had felt the needle after they'd jumped him on his way back to the hostel.

A rough hand grabbed his arm, yanking him to his feet. He imagined what it must have looked like...a small Chinese gangster dragging a 6 foot 2 foreigner to standing position and then making him walk in small, baby footsteps. The sight could have made him laugh.

He'd always had a strange sense of humor.

He was only assuming they were gangsters, although he was certain he wasn't far off. Judging from the words he could understand, he figured that it was a group of Triads who had caught him. For what, he didn't know. Extortion, maybe? A kidnapping plot? If that was so, then he was more famous than he'd thought.

More likely it was for organs. Unless they were hoping to sell him into the sex trade. That really would make him laugh. Although perhaps he should feel flattered. He'd never thought others would find him that attractive.

He was forced into a chair, zipties still on. Bad thoughts and memories filled his mind, but he pushed them back. Not now. He needed to think. The chair reclined, and when they finally pulled the bag off, a bright light glared down at him.

He shut his eyes immediately, but gloved fingers pulled his eyelids apart, and a crude imitation of a surgeon examined him, mint colored mask stinking of cigarettes and alcohol.

Great. A drunk operation.

The hands pulled at his other eye next, before running through his hair and gripping his chin, forcing his mouth open and touching his teeth.

He'd always had nice teeth.

"Talk," the 'doctor' instructed in heavily accented English. Tristan just stared at him through half-lidded eyes, his default expression. Side chatter, and then more prodding. "Speak. American, right?"

More staring. There was some laughter, and one of them made a joke that Tristan could understand, and he swallowed dryly.

If he didn't talk, perhaps he also wouldn't scream?

He needed to get out of here. But craning his neck around revealed 360 degrees of gun toting Chinese mafia. Fat chance of that...
He'd need a better plan than just running for it.

Cold metal slid between his wrists, and his zipties were cut. A possible opening there. His ankles were still tied, but maybe...

Hands grabbed both wrists simultaneously, forcing them against the arms of the chair. He felt cold metal...handcuffs.

It was then that he really started to panic.

He struggled, kicking both legs out, trying to pull his arms out, eyes widened, the whites betraying his fear. Anything but this. It was too close. Too close.

He was easily overpowered, hyperventilating when they finally got him bound. No, no, this can't be happening. A plan. He needed a plan.

He bit at the doctor's fingers when they reached into his mouth again. He missed, and was rewarded with a hard slap to the face and angry Chinese. Too close. It was too close.

"Play nice, or die," the voice warned, and hands forced his mouth open.

Why was this happening to him? Hadn't he already gone through enough crap in his life? Weren't the powers at be finished with him? Why this? Why now? Everything was just getting back to normal...

He wanted out. He wanted to leave. He wanted to be everywhere but here. A drill buzzed, and his eyes squeezed shut as he tried to reach out and stop it...

He blanked out, but didn't. He imagined himself exploding, the drill jammed, and then thrown back, into the doctor's face. He sliced through the gangsters, poked their eyes out, smashed their teeth in, stomped on their knees, pried apart the handcuffs and then used them to strangle anyone in his way.

When he opened his eyes the light flickered. He was still on the chair, but his wrists were freed, along with his ankles. It wasn't until he stood up, bare feet feeling hot liquid on the floor, when he looked around, horrified at the blood bath he saw, that he realized the dream he'd had was real. That somehow, he had caused all this.

He threw up on the spot.


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Character Portrait: Kira Nightingale
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When the three days passed, Kira opened her eyes. Not to a hospital, as was expected. White walls, white sheets, tubes and needles. The place itself never bothered her, but the people did. Here though, blue walls, dark brown sheets, not tubes and definitely no needles. Her head ached as it stretched back into reality.

Soft buzzing circled around the back of her mind. At first, she wasn't sure what it meant. Then she remembered. She could hear thoughts. She could feel emotions.

And that's what was coming through the door.

"You're awake," the visitor said, surprised. A shocking, powerful bout of surprise. It struck her worse than any needle could, straight to the top of her spine. " are you feeling?" She looks a mess. What happened to her? Maybe she can finally tell us and we can help.

Kira closed her eyes, ready to faint. Whatever food they had managed to get in her churned wildly in circles.

She's going to pass out again. They won't be able to questions her and they'll take her away.

When she registered the face as her father's, Kira couldn't put the thoughts to the man. He cared about her? What a load of bull. She rocked back and forth, trying to stay upright, but feeling the pillow at her back. She could close her eyes. Pass out. End the invasion of her father's lies.

His hands found hers, holding them tight. "Kira. Please, look at me."

"Mr. Nightingale?"

More voices out loud, inside. Kira tore her hands back and covered her ears. "Go away!" she shouted. She didn't hear her own words. Couldn't begin to start to know her own thoughts. Everything swam in blue walls and brown sheets, a strange ocean of otherness.

"Sedate her."

"Please! Don't! She's my daughter!"

"Mr. Nightingale we are taking your daughter into government custody-"

"She didn't do anything wrong!"

She left the bed, arm stinging, eyes rolling. She tasted iron again as clouds rolled in from the left, then the right, billowing bits of fluffy white. The blue walls disappeared.

"Kira, no!"

And it finally stopped. The pain. Her father's pain, wrapping around her mind like an itchy blanket. He'd never acted so desperate around her, around anyone. He'd always been the low life of the town. People felt sorry for Kira, but she refused that pity. She blamed her father for not loving her.

Perhaps she had been wrong.


Three months later, Kira wiped a tear from her cheek, reliving the memory emotion by emotion. She sat at the round table, leaning to one side and holding six chairs. More of those chairs were about to be filled. As soon as she received the OK.

Speak of the devil.

Topher came in with the usual ratty hair, Hawaiian shirt and glasses. Holding a clipboard. "Here they are."

Kira stood up, pushing against his excitement in her mind. During the past months she had learned the basics of pushing emotions back, but still felt his eagerness seep into her own mind. She was smiling because of him, flipping the pages quickly and scanning because of him. A few years older and a computer genius. The guy was a legend, or would have been if their operation wasn't so dependent on secrecy.

"Wake up Liz," Kira told him. He scampered off in his six foot, lanky way, bringing his emotions with him.

Kira sank back into her chair, holding her head. She had read the names and locations, but only then could she fully feel her own panic about the mission. It was her first after all. Topher, Liz and Minnegan had found her weeks ago, but had given her time to adjust to their surroundings. Now she was "part of the team." Quite literally. Topher had ordered matching dark blue T-shirts. They didn't have a logo or slogan, but she knew what they represented.

Uniforms, costumes.

She pulled at the fabric against her. "Ugh."


1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Carter Millens
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Carter Millens
May 30, 2014
5:02 PM

"I need a heal!"

Constant tapping and clicking were the only sounds that filled the darkened room. A sporadic shout every now and then added to the sounds. Carter sat almost in complete darkness, the only light coming from his large computer screens. He had barely noticed the sun had even begun to go down, his focus solely on the monitor in front of him.

He had been working this dungeon with his guild for over three hours. They kept dying at the very last minute, every time. No matter how many times they planned and prepped. "Someone heal me!" He yelled again.

Incoherent shouting emitted through his headset. His other guild mates trying to figure out where their healer had gone. "Where is he? Did he die?" Carter questioned.

"He's not even responding," One of his mates said. "He's not on the chat. He's gone."

"What the fuck!?" Carter yelled. He quickly changed his tactic, opted to run to safe area, but was killed the moment he turned around. "God dammit!"

He pulled his headset off, throwing it onto his keyboard. He groaned, rubbing his hands over his eyes. More sounds were emitting from his headset, his mates yelling as they died. He groaned again and put the set back on. The team was dead, and were booted out of the dungeon.

"Alright guys," Carter stated, annoyance in his voice. "Someone try to contact Kevin, we'll regroup tomorrow. If he's not there, or doesn't get back into contact, we'll have to find a new healer."

They had already gone through three healers, trying to find one that could keep up with them. So far, everyone fell short. Or abandoned mid way through the dungeon. Thinking about it made Carter more frustrated, but he stood from his chair to try and calm down. He then realized how dark it was and moved to turn on the light.

As he neared the door, he could hear voices, which was odd. His Aunt Molly should be the only one home. No offence to her, but she really didn't have friends. Opening the door, the voices grew louder.

"Ma'am, we're not here for you. We're here for you nephew."

"And I am telling you. He's not here."

"Ma'am, we both know he's here. He has daily dungeon crawls starting at 4, and those usually take about two hours."

Carter could feel Molly's shock. Even he was shocked. Who were these guys? Why did they want him? How did they know his daily schedule. He stepped further out of his room, and headed down the hallway to the living room. He saw them before they saw him. They looked seriously official. Black suits, sunglasses. Government official.

"Molly?" Carter questioned as he stepped around the corner into the living room.

Molly's eyes widened, pushing past the officials. She grabbed him by the shoulders, her brown eyes filled with worry. "Can I talk to you for a second? Alone?" She looked to the officials, and then pushed him back towards his bedroom. "You need to get out of here." She whispered harshly.

"What? Why?" He questioned, also keeping his voice down. Albeit, he wasn't sure why.

"They know, about your powers." She pushed into his room, immediately grabbing the empty backpack on the floor. She began filling it with clothes, and a few other essentials. "They're going to take you away."

"What? How do they know?" He questioned grabbing his phone and tablet. As well as their charges. "Why do they want to take me away?"

"They think you're dangerous. They're gathering up anyone with abilities." She handed him the backpack, and ruffled his hair. "Just get out of here, before--"

Molly was cut off as the officials began heading towards the bedroom. They were shouting, as the main man, the one talking to her earlier, pushed through the door. "We're doing this to protect you. He's dangerous." He shouted, brandishing a fun.

Molly immediately stepped in front of her nephew. "Clearly, you've never met him. He wouldn't hurt a fly! His powers aren't even dangerous!"

"Ma'am, step aside."

"Get out of here, Carter." Molly snapped.

Carter snapped into action, realizing now what was happening. He was going to be taken away. They were going to lock him up. Experiment on him, or something. He quickly thought of a place, any place that wasn't here. He closed his eyes, and then opened them to find himself standing in the middle of a cornfield.

He glanced around himself, looking for any sign of where he was. A large sign on the side of the road nearby read Norman, Oklahoma.

"Great. Oklahoma."


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Flipping through channels, no one could ignore the signs, the reports, the growing panic building within the not the world. Broadcasts from all over repeated the same mantra over the speakers:

Dangerous. Enemies. Stay away.

Mothers were afraid of their children. Fathers denied their family could be involved. No matter how hard they tried to cover it up, governments couldn't hide the explosions, the sudden fires, disappearing children, morphing limbs. If you didn't know one of the "Dangerous Ones" you heard stories all over work or school.

At first, when the surge of abilities spread through cultures, religious groups were in a craze. Now, with all the deaths, moreso than not religious gatherings happened more often, in mourning and fear. Some people refuse to leave their homes for fear of these "Creatures" and "Demons."

It isn't long before riots begin. Children with abilities killed in "accidents"...

June rolls in...and the world is in panic.

The name Lady Flame drifts between alleyways...a myth among monsters.


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Character Portrait: Harper C. Fields
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Harper C. Fields
June 22, 2014
Upper Manhattan
5:31 PM

With a sigh, his shoulders deflated as he looked over himself in the mirror.

Normally he wouldn't care about appearances. He knew he looked good to begin with, and right now he looked damn good, but he was never one to pine after others' opinions. Considering it was his birthday, by all means he should have every right to just flaunt everything in his birthday suit, rather than Louis Vuitton.

Anything to make the parents happy, he supposed. Or rather, Sadie. God knows, if she hadn't begged, he wouldn't be here right now. There were much more thrilling ways to celebrate your 22nd than with two people who, he was certain, would prefer that he had never been born, despite being the very two people responsible for his having a birthday in the first place.


After getting his hair so that it tread the line between on-purpose messy and accidentally messy, he finally descended the stairs. A smile spread on his face when he saw his sister, 15 years old and pretty, her own brown curly hair pinned back. "Ready to eat, Spielberg?" she asked, taking his arm.

"Am I?" he asked, and patted his stomach, "I'm going to need a bigger suit when I'm done. I've been starving myself all day, so this better be the best damn birthday dinner ever, princess."

"Harper!" she giggled, "Be careful or Mom will hear you!"

"Well, that'll be a first," he joked as they went out to the foyer. He stalled by their giant fish tank, a large cylindrical fixture with a coral tower and tropical fish, palm against the glass. It was big enough to fit a grown man. He'd verified it.

Although it was much more comfortable to swim in it as a fish.

He watched the fish longingly, swimming without a care. His eyes flashed and he glanced at Sadie mischievously. "What do you think would happen if I just stayed here?" he asked. Somewhat of a vague question, but his sister knew what he meant, and she frowned.

"Harper..." she trailed off, "Don't..." She bit her lip.

"Chillax," he said, pulling away from the tank, "I was just kidding."

"I know but..." her voice grew worried and lowered, "you know, with all the stuff that's been need to be more careful." She paused. "I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Hey. Princess. Look at me," Harper said, halting and spinning to her. He put his hands on her shoulders. "You're not going to tell anyone. I'm definitely not going to tell anyone. No one else knows. It'll be fine." He kissed her on the forehead. "Now, seriously. I need food."

They met their parents at the limo. His mother was all smiles and coos, petting at his shoulder and fixing his hair. She talked to him the entire way, going on about every member of the family and all the drama going on with them. No doubt it was a welcome distraction to the drama that used to be them. His father stayed quiet. Harper avoided eye contact.

Dinner was...altogether pleasant enough. Not exactly comfortable, but the food was good. The place they ate at was very, very fancy, and even though he looked the part, Harper certainly didn't feel the part. He busied himself with eating, stuffing his face with scallops and bacon and raising his eyebrows every so often whenever his mother needed verification that he was, indeed, listening raptly to her business plights. Though, after a couple daquiris, she seemed content to just ramble on by herself, regardless of whether anyone paid attention.

Things turned sour during dessert. Specifically when his mother decided to share the soapbox. "Honey, why don't you say something?" she asked.

"What's there to say?" his father asked, slapping his cloth napkin on the table, "You've said it all. There's nothing to say."

"Talk about your work or something," his mother said, ignoring the warning signs. Sadie and Harper glanced at each other, wondering if they should take evasive action.

"Work?" his dad repeated, "Work sucks." It was clear he was avoiding a stronger word. "Everything sucks. The economy for one is going straight down the toilet. And I've got that damned fraud case to deal with."

Sadie immediately glanced at Harper. He got the hint and focused on the remains of his chocolate lava cake.

"Ohhhh," their mother continued, oblivious, "You mean the one where that little boy found out that ponzi scheme?"

"Yeah, and I'm defending the fricken' company," his father snapped. Harper gulped. Perhaps at home this would escalate into something bigger. Morals arguments and whatnot. He knew his dad didn't pick his clients, but he was a corporate lawyer. There were some things that were easier to turn blind eyes to, especially if they were difficult to prove.

"Well, I'm sure you'll figure something out," his mom said, taking another sip of her fruity drink, "At least you don't do homicides. Did you hear about that Porter vs McMillan mess? Ugh."

Harper couldn't help himself. "Is that the one about the girl who was hit by the C train and didn't die?" He felt Sadie's glare, but ignored it. They were supposed to act natural, right? This was natural.

"Pushed, darling, she was pushed," his mother corrected, "One of her school friends. Even the security camera didn't catch it, it was so crowded. If she didn't come back to life, her friend would have gotten away with it."

"Doesn't really sound like much of a friend," Harper retorted. He turned to Sadie. "How do you think she came back? Wouldn't she be splattered all over the tracks? Do you think she regrew body parts, or did they Iron Giant their way back to her?"

"Harper," Sadie scolded, covering her mouth with her napkin, "You're going to make me sick."

"She should have just stayed dead," his dad said as he looked over the bill, "That would have been normal."

"Oh, and her friend should have just gotten away with murder?" Harper asked, the words out of his mouth before he could stop them.

"They might not even call it murder," his father answered callously, "They're saying these...abnormals...they might not be human. It'd be like killing an animal."

The words felt like bricks, but he tried to hide their impact. "Humans are animals," he argued back, trying to keep his tone light and joking, "What, you think they were hatched from an egg or something?"

"Show some heart, dear," his mother reprimanded, a drunken slap on his father's arm, "What if it had been Sadie? Or Harper?"

Too close. Too close. Almost immediately Sadie and Harper started speaking loudly, asking if the bill was covered and wasn't dinner great and are you going to finish that dessert because we should really be going now.

The ride back was quiet. Awkward. When they returned to the house, their mother wrapped her arms around both of them, sloppy kisses on their cheeks. "What a wonderful dinner! I have such wonderful children!" she announced, stumbling in her heels. She released Sadie to focus entirely on Harper. "Happy Birthday, Harper, darling. It's so good to have you back in the big city. Look at look so handsome," she fixed his hair for the umpteenth time, "Just like your father."

"Heh. Yeah," he said, smiling. He glanced up at the man in question, who was already pouring himself a drink and heading to his study.

"Your present's in your bank account, dear," his mother said with a kiss on his cheek, before Sadie took her and led her to her room. "Thank goodness we have normal children!" the older woman crowed.

Harper headed to the game room, turning the TV on and flipping through the channels. Sadie joined him after a few minutes, a brightly wrapped package in her hands.

"Steven Spielberg collection?" he exclaimed when he opened it, "Oh, we're marathoning this."

They got through Jurassic Park and Jaws before Sadie finally had to call it quits, fatigue overcoming her. "Happy Birthday, Spielberg," she yawned as she climbed up the stairs.

"Thanks, Princess," he said, popping in Indiana Jones.

He managed to finish the first one before he too started to feel sleepy. And in need of a swim. Normally, at this hour, everyone in his family was asleep, but when he neared the fish tank, he was surprised to see his father standing in front of it.

"Hey," he greeted, a little nervously. His dad's collar was rumpled, the glass in his hand different than the one he had first held.

His father tipped his head a little, but didn't look at him.

"Lookin' at the fish?" Harper asked.

The man nodded. "You always loved the fish," he finally said, "Ever since you were small. I remember once, you counted each of them. 25, you told me. There were 25 fish. 8 different species. You knew all of them. Talked to them. Gave 'em names."

Harper gave a small half-laugh. "Kids, amirite?"

"I used to replace the fish as soon as they died," his dad continued, "So that there'd always be 25. And I always got the same type, so that you wouldn't know."

Harper shook his head. "Fooled me, all right." Although, he had always known.

His dad was quiet for a moment. "Sometimes, though...when you were in high school...I noticed an extra fish in the tank. Sometimes it was another angel fish, or another clownfish or something. The ratio would be off. I used to think you were buying extra fish and plopping them in, but whenever the guys would clean the tank, there was still only 25."

Harper's stomach had tightened as soon as his father had mentioned the extra fish. He tried to keep his face normal, tried not to give anything away. Just stare at the fish tank. His dad was drunk, most likely. At least buzzed. He was rambling. Just like his mom did.

"After you took off," his dad went on, "The fish stayed at 25. I almost had the fish tank removed, but Sadie wouldn't let me. She likes these damn fish too. But then last Christmas...there was that extra fish again. Again, I thought it was you, buying another fish, but after you left, the fish was gone too." His eyes turned to Harper's, dark, accusing.

Harper raised his hands, "Oops. Ya caught me," he joked, "That's...that's what I've been doin' all this time. Buying extra fish just to mess with ya. And then...ah...diggin' them out. Just to keep messing with my old man. Heh."

His father didn't look impressed. Or convinced. Even under the influence, he was too smart for that. Corporate law had given him a mind that a few shots couldn't dull. And his lawyer game was on tonight. "You know, they found that one kid in Jersey last week who could turn into a bird," he said, eyes on Harper, "They said she'd been able to do it since she was 10, but no one knew until she told her boyfriend. And Rory over at Rory and Mulligan? The government rounded his son up after they found out he could walk through walls."

Harper swallowed, dryly. "All right. So...what?"

The older man was silent, eyes still trained on his son. Harper kept his eyes on the fish tank, staring at its occupants. How many times did his dad stand where he was, counting the fish? Who counted fish in their spare time? Who remembered these sorts of things? And why?

There was a punchline to this sick joke, and his dad was taking his sweet time getting to it.

"You know, a couple years ago, when you were dicking around in Boston, we got a visit from some DC suits looking for you," his dad finally said. "Obviously you weren't here, and I didn't know or care where you were, so they left us alone. Then they came again, this year, in February. Same ones. Looking for you. Didn't say why. Didn't say what for. I told them to fuck off. Not for you, but because they were pissing me off. And then, two months later, all this shit about abnormals and "Dangerous ones" starts hitting the fan. And those same DC suits show up at Rory's to take his kid."

Harper wanted more than anything to just be in that fish tank and hide in the coral cave. Or at least be back in Boston, away from his father. "Where are you going with this?" he asked, the humor gone from his voice.

"I didn't think I was going anywhere with it for a while," his dad admitted, "It's all circumstantial. Too soon to jump to conclusions. But then this morning, when I'm getting ready for work, I see that the ratio's off again. And I realize that there's another fucking fish in the tank. And now. I'm standing here. Next to my son, who knows, just as well as I do, that right now, at this moment, there are only 25. Even though, this morning, there were 26. Just like there were 26 during Christmas, and 26 when you were in high school, but never when you were actually in the house. And you, peculiarly, never ever commented on this mysterious, 26th fish. Until now, when I brought it up to you."

A forceful hand clasped onto his shoulder and wrenched it back, forcing Harper to look at his father. At that moment he didn't feel 22. He felt 17 again, when his dad found out he hadn't been accepted into any colleges. This was just like the moment before his dad dropped the military school bomb. The night before he ran away. His father didn't bludgeon him with fists or beat him with belts. He did more with words. With arguments. With sneaky, oily, back-handed lawyer tactics. Harper knew that at this moment, his father didn't seem him as a son. He saw him as a witness for the opposite side, someone to dissect and cut up, to cross-reference until the truth was pulled out. Or at least some semblance of it that he could manipulate.

He used the only weapon he had left.

He cracked a smile. "What. You think I can turn into a fish? Is that seriously what all this is about? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?"

His dad didn't say anything. Didn't flinch. Didn't change. Just glared at him.

"Look," he said, trying a different tactic, "Everything you said, it's still circumstantial. You don't have any actual evidence. You're crazy, for all I know. This extra fish is totally bonkers."

"A year ago, yes," his father allowed, "But now it makes too much sense not to be true. It explains too much."

"What does it explain?" Harper demanded, "Nothing! I'm just your screw-up son who'll never amount to anything! End of story!"

"I need to know."

"What do you need to know?"

"Are you one of them?"

He hesitated, for only a second. "What does it even matter?"

His father's eyes widened. "You are."

"You're drunk."

"You're deflecting."

"You're crazy!"

"Still deflecting. Jesus Christ. You actually are an abnormal. A Dangerous One."

"The only dangerous one here is you!" Harper exclaimed, pulling hard away from his dad's grip, which had become vice-like. "You're flinging around accusations, and you don't even have any evidence! Where's your proof, Mr. Lawyer? You don't have any!"

The glint in his father's eyes was the last thing he saw, instant regret the last thing he thought before something crashed into his left temple...

He woke up minutes later to water filling his nostrils. When he tried to surface, his head rammed against something hard. He forced his eyes open, the salt stinging them, and they only widened when he realized where he was.

The fish tank.

His dad had trapped him in the fish tank.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Fucking Christ.