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Angel....or Mutant?

United States

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a part of Angel....or Mutant?, by Ichigo15.

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Ichigo15 holds sovereignty over United States, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

1,215 readers have been here.

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United States is a part of Angel....or Mutant?.

13 Characters Here

Marceline "Marcy" Bernard [48] "What? No Vamps raining from the sky today? Oh, wait, never mind..."
Matthew "Matt" Bernard [41] "The Vamps are coming for us? Gosh, really?"
"Sariya" Eins [41] "I'm not worthless... I'm not! I'm a person too, right? And that means I'm worth something... right? But if that's true... then why? Why does everyone hate me...? Please, don't leave me alone again!"
Samuel Echtin [39] "Running is so much easier than fighting."
Taylor Rice [37] "Life sucks right?"
Michael [29] "Fly away, cling to your hopes for freedom. I'll hunt you forever."
Marcus [28] Character Edited!
Euro [25] "How long do we have to run? I want us to have life...family life....a real life..."
Alice [15] "What is the world?"

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Polishing off the final cheese burger from my meal, I balled up the wrapper and wiped my hands on a napkin. Grease, the only substance that is delicious and disgusting. I should be nothing but satisfied right now, and planning my next move, but instead, almost against my will, my dark eyes scanned each and every person in the room. I didn't know if I had some extra special danger sensing ability or if it was just pure primitive intuition, but a familiar hard mass of anxiety and fear settled into my chest.

Obviously, the crap was about to hit the metaphorical fan.

I stood up and took a precious few seconds to dump my trash in the disposal (Taking care of pollution, one biodegradable grease paper ball at a time) and then I was walking out the side door, into a draft of fresh night air. I lingered in the shadows beside the building, sheltered partially by a tree, as I scanned the area and listened for anything unusual. Ten seconds of silent observation could save your life, I'd heard that uttered in a loud, snarling tone about ten thousand times from the loud-mouthed jerk who trained the Vampires right outside our cozy little prison room/lab.

Good times.

I finally decided that there was nothing there and moved to step out of the shadows, when a large shadow obscured the light from a nearby street lamp, followed shortly by another one. They couldn't be anything but Vampires... how had they found me? It seemed there were only two... but even as I watched, one suddenly turned and swooped in another direction and dove into the nearby woods.

I started to step back into the shadows, but froze. No matter what I did, they obviously knew I was here. They would be expecting me to run and I would have no where to go. The thought of being trapped like a mouse sent a surge of hot anger through me. I would have to do the opposite of what they were expecting then, which was beat the crap out of them.

Back at the Ward, my ability to fight and survive had been tested against beings of all types, but mainly Vampires. I hadn't known what they were looking for when they made me and tested me and still didn't know, but I knew I could handle at least one Vampire easily, otherwise those nightmarish fights had been in vain. I just had to watch out for that second vampire and make sure they didn't work together, otherwise I might have problems.

I shrugged out of my leather jacket and shoved it into the tree trunk so I could retrieve it later, unfolding my wings and stretching them in preparation. I spent another few seconds tracking the Vampire in the sky, making sure the second one stayed gone (where the heck had it went, anyway?), and checking to make sure there weren't any witnesses to what I was about to do. So far it was clear, but any minute someone could pop out of nowhere.

I sucked in a breath and broke into an all out run from the restaurant, leaping into the air and working my wings hard to gain altitude and speed. I was already fifty feet above the ground when the distinct noise of Vampire wings flapping reached my ears, growing louder. I glanced back, as if I hadn't been expecting the Vampire, and flapped harder, the Vampire only feet behind me.

I could probably get away if I really tried, but there were no guarantees. Plus I was having a major adrenaline rush and I was very, very mad about being chased. I turned sharply in the air to come back the way I had come, noticing as I did that the Vampire was slow to do the same. They could turn fast on their own, but not if they were chasing unpredictable bird kids.

I swung up and turned as sharply as I could, wings straining, and managed to grab onto one of the Vampire's wings as he was attempting to make the same turn I had. It wasn't easy, but I managed to plant both my feet on his back, shifting one to his shoulder blade where his wing "arm" extended and folding my own wings in as we dropped steadily faster.

"Stop chasing me!" I half snarled, half screamed over the deafening roar of the wind, and pulled on his wing as hard as I could. There was a loud snapping noise that I could actually feel reverbrate in my bones and he screamed. I didn't know if I'd dislocated his wing or broken it completely, and at the moment I didn't care. I opened my wings and kicked away from him, propelling him the forty or so feet to the ground and propelling myself up at the same time.

It was horrible, having the strength to hurt someone like that, but that guy was a Vampire and he had the same strength. And would've done the same thing to me, so I stomped on any feelings of guilt I might have and firmly told myself I would keep my food down. That food wouldn't be as delicious the second time it came up. While I was giving myself a mental pep talk, I also told myself that I would beat the crap out of every Vampire I came across -with a smile on my face- until they stopped chasing me, even though I knew that wouldn't stop them from following their orders. Maybe it'd make them hesitate in the future, though.

I smirked as I landed beside the restaurant and retrieved my leather jacket from the tree, keeping an eye out for that second Vampire. Right now I'd be more than happy to take that jerk on. What can I say, I'm a violent person when my buttons are pushed. No sign of the Vampire though, and for the moment I hesitated by the tree, trying to decide if I should walk or fly. They'd be expecting me in the air, but maybe they would be able to keep a better eye on me if I were on the ground.

And normal people wonder about how they're going to get to work.

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Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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Taylor


“Huh?”

I stumbled (if possible in the air) at the sound of a voice startling me. I turned; arms raised but instead find one of the bird kids. Oops. I glanced over at Samuel. Were we friends? Well maybe, considering all the crap we had gone through together. “Yeah” I say nodding. “Maybe we should go help him” I suggested and took off, folding my wings in so I plummeted downwards. At the last few seconds, I opened them up, yanking backwards with a quick landing. I loved doing that. I made sure to land near Samuel, glancing up to see if he followed. The vampires were steadily decreasing. It seemed like luck was on our side for now.

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Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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#, as written by TheFlag
Samuel


Samuel quickly reaffirmed himself to the ground and hazily brushed his clothes from the grit that covered them, he then remembered the danger he was in and shook his head raggedly before quickly looking up in panic looking for his foe. The vampire that he had kicked had reeled back from his hit, it hissed before spitting out some incoherent gibberish which seemed like a insult directed at Samuel, then it took off from the ground and flew high up into the sky and into the distance. Samuel took a quick breath before looking around again, the Vampire's numbers seemed to lessen, and seemed to be getting thinner by the minute, Samuel smiled before sighing with relief, confident that they have won this battle. Samuel still felt slightly scared and wary at how sudden this attack had been of course, he feared another like this but at the same time felt the buzz of victory washed over him, filling him with overconfidence and a slight over-eagerness to fight.

Although their numbers had lessened, a few vampires were still focused on the battle and were reluctant to stop. Samuel knew this battle was lost to them, but they probably didn't, they lived for this after all and most didn't know when to stop. Samuel noted a few stragglers but other than that the place was clear, he was still in wonderment at how swiftly it ended and he nodded triumphantly, before wondering if anyone normal had seen this, he thought not as the Ward were smart, and had probably prepared for this, but he still had his doubts on the situation. His eyes flicked forward and he flapped his wings for effect, before hearing his stomach rumble louder than it has ever been, "I'm starving." Samuel moaned to himself recalling how he had dropped his previous snack. He tried not to dwell on it, he'd get some food later, right now he had to focus on this.

As Samuel heard the wind break he heard a scuffle against the ground someone had landed near him, Samuel turned quickly and almost yelped before immediately relaxing, it was just Taylor after that he felt relief wash over him, she had made it and was okay. He looked at her before grinning, "I think we've got this fight in the bag..." he then glanced at her curiously, "I can't believe there were so many of us in the same area..." his mind didn't know what to think, all of them in the same area was surely to big to just be a coincidence, but he wasn't very sure on the matter. His eyes looked forward on the stragglers of the area, before he muttered "Then again there's still a few of the vamps left..."

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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Matthew


My lips pursed as I dived after the girl following her at a more leisurely pace. The battle was over. The Vamps were retreating. Now all that was left were the bird freaks.

But that didn’t necessarily make us (you know, Marce and me) friends with them. Heck, it didn’t even make us acquaintances. Not yet, anyway. When you come from a place like the Ward, the first thing you learn is to trust no one (with the exception of us unbreakably close siblings). My worries for both of our new mutants had been subdued. Neither one of them seemed terribly hurt, which put them back up on the “suspect list”. Like I said, trust no one.

By the time we landed, I realized a very important thing. I hadn’t taken a good look at either one of the new additions. Shamelessly, I turned to graze my eyes over the girl.

She was pretty. She would have been prettier if she’d had a bath, but when you’re a mutant on the run from a bunch of freaky scientists, trying to survive the wilds and not get killed is your number one priority. It’s kind of hard to fit bath time into that schedule. She was short, shorter than Marce, but I supposed she was an average human female height, which would probably make her stand out much less in a crowd of normal people.

Prying my eyes away, I turned to take a good look at the boy. He was shorter than me, too. I was about 5’8, whereas Marce was about 5’6. As you can see, we either: a) Come from a family of tall freaks, or b) were messed around with to be that tall. Whatever the situation, we not exactly little people. Well anyway, back to the other guy. He had wild, uncontrollably jet black hair, tousled up in a mess on his head, and I nonchalantly wondered if I could one day rock that look. Nah, not my style.

The boy had been saying something, and by the time I zoned back in from my observations, his words had passed right through my brain. I picked up on the idea that there was relief, since the Vamps were retreating, and some amazement that there were more winged freaks in the world. Wonderful.

My lips parted, and I was in the process of asking what their names were, when my sister landed next to us with a soft thud. Boy, she looked beat up. Her sweater had a defined lined of blood running down it, no doubt soaking to her under shirt, whereas her jeans had been ripped up a bit. What’s worse was that her left wing seemed to be stiff and mutilated with a flurry of loose feathers, claw marks, and blood, and it was giving me a bit of a panic attack. She looked bad. And yet her face, bloody nose and all, had this tough-as-nails look on it. That’s Marce. She’s a survivor.

Marceline


Gosh, I hated the way my brother was looking at me. He was taking in every cut, scrape, and bruise I had, and was knowingly thinking the same thoughts that I was: I was in pain.

But we had two new editions with us. And I did not like to look weak in front of anyone but my brother.

My mouth parted for a moment, a small opening between my thin lips, as I evaluated and grouped together my thoughts. The adult mutant landed next to me. He wasn’t the tallest (standing maybe an inch above me), but he had a strong, dominant, almost too confident look to him, that I assumed came along with the whole “I’m an adult” thing. Admittedly, he was kind of handsome, but not my type. You know, you can never trust adults. Though, I had a feeling this guy was on our side.

The two other kids seemed to be acquainted with one another somehow, and they showed an easy recognition of one another. Matthew fell back from the girl’s side to flank me, scratching the back of his head as he did a casual 360 of the place. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. He gave me a quick, barely recognizable, thumbs up, that told me we seemed to be safe in the darkness. His eyes roved over to my left wing (as did the adult’s) and both their brow furrowed. I refused to look. I hated to show weakness, and hate to be afraid. I hated the fear of seeing just how bad I was damaged...What if…my flying…

Focus Marce, focus.

First and foremost:

“What are your names?” I asked motioning to the new editions. My voice was hardened, almost demanding, and I wondered if I should have regretted the commanding tone. I wasn’t the leader (and definitely not the adult) but it felt like me, talking like this.

“Euro,” the adult replied. I nodded, waiting for the rest of their responses, and casually throwing Matthew a look. He nodded ever so slightly, telling me he was there, that he wasn’t going to leave me. If Matthew had been born first, he would have been a great older brother.

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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Taylor

I tensed slightly. I know what I said about being happy there were more bird kids but now I just felt on guard. We had just met them and sure they seemed to be battling on our side but still, anything could change. Uh-oh more paranoia. I looked at Samuel. "No biggie, they're retreating" I said, shrugging. I glanced at the guy from before. He was studying us but for what? Did we look suspicious?

I hate when I get this way. It's annoying so I decided to put an end to this. Closing my eyes tightly I took a few deep breaths then opened them. I looked at the others and let out a relived sight as I blinked a few times. My head hurts a little bit now. I shouldn't do that for a while I think solemnly to myself.

I look up as the girl from before asks for our names. One of them, an adult introduces himself as Euro. It's a cool name and simple. I rub my neck which is aching slightly. "Taylor" I say, still attempting to massage my neck. What i give for a really nice nap right now. A comfortable bed, a fridge stocked with food. All I need is one day to get myself together and then maybe I would fill like fighting again.

I wince slightly as I lower my arm. Everything freaking hurts.

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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#, as written by TheFlag
Samuel


"No biggie, they're retreating" Samuel nodded at Taylor's response before he casually glanced at the boy behind her, he seemed to descend at a leisurely pace which caused Samuel to snort briefly. Samuel's eyes then lolled upwards as he saw two more bird-people land, he flinched at both of their landings but he didn't know why, surprise he supposed but he felt a certain unease, which didn't really help the situation.

In total there were three besides him and Taylor, he observed them calmly running a cool eye over each of them, he was sure they were doing the same: one was a male an adult he stood roughly at Samuel's height and carried a certain vibe; next was another boy, he was taller than the adult but undoubtedly looked younger; last was the girl, she looked beat up pretty bad her wing looked a mess and Samuel frowned hesitantly before pausing, not sure how to react.

“What are your names?” The girl cut in her voice was hard and demanding, Samuel lowered his gaze to the ground as the adult introduced himself as Euro, he wasn't sure what the name meant but then again most names didn't really have a meaning, but nevertheless it certainly was a cool name. As Taylor introduced herself Samuel leaned against himself into a more comfortable position, Samuel squinted through the dark, he had amazing eyesight but alas it couldn't penetrate the darkness.

"Samuel..." He said wearily waving his left arm, he then stifled a yawn. Samuel absentmindedly began to examine his own injuries briskly, he lifted up his left sleeve tiredly, to see a faint bruise which was slowly receding into itself leaving behind unmarked flesh, good he had already healed most of the damage he had received today, a small mercy he was thankful for. His eyes slowly descended back onto the group, as he tilted his head curiously, but also slightly anxious.

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Call it intuition, or call it paranoia, but I had a very strong feeling that I would be a big mistake to turn my back on the Vampire that had disappeared into the forest. There was no reason it wouldn't come back to check on it's partner, and thus no reason it wouldn't come after me once it found him crippled and insensate on the ground. I didn't want to be caught unaware, it could very well get me killed, or worse, captured again.

So, as much as I desperately wanted to take off and put as much distance between me and this place before the cavalry most likely arrived, I decided to follow the other Vampire and take it out, too. But I didn't want to leave my jacket behind, so I tied it around my waist, where it hung and looked stupid. But who am I to worry about fashion, especially when I'm taking the initiative and going after my enemies like some kind of badass (paranoid) war veteran.

Checking once more for potential witnesses (and finding none), I took a running leap off of the ground, throwing my wings open and flapping swiftly to gain altitude. I veered around and was soaring over the forest in minutes, flying in circles with my feet almost touching the canopy as I searched for the spot where the Vampire had disappeared. My memory didn't fail me and I found it quickly... it also had a bunch of broken branches and stuff around it so it wasn't really that hard.

Was it carelessness or a deliberate trail to lure me into an ambush?

No, that kind of thinking would have me hovering stupidly over the canopy until someone (probably the Ward) spotted me and THEN I was trapped for real. I really had to stop doing this to myself. Vampires are so mindlessly savage, they might as well be stupid. They wouldn't waste time laying a trap.

I went as low as I possibly dared and descended carefully through the hole the Vampire had made, which was big enough for me to slide through easily once I closed my wings. I landed on a branch with a rustling thud just loud enough to make me mentally wince, crouching on all fours and clinging to the branch like a monkey. I held my breath and listened hard for anything unusual, tuning out the incredibly loud but not unusual night noises.

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Mike walked through the halls, trying to seem un troubled by the recent events. Blood still covered his armor and gear, he had little time to switch out weapons and ammo, though he didn't really have to as he only fired one bullet. His armor was covered with the blood of his comrades, he had no right to change out his armor. It was punishment for letting so many of his comrades die. Not that it even mattered though, all vampires were cannon fodder, tools to test the bird kids. Mike gave the report, but the Ward always acted displeased; even if he did succeed. It never mattered in the end, Mike was never proud of his work anyways. He pulled off his armor after he closed the door, from there he pulled on civilian clothes. He kept two side arms on him just in case. Mike was ordered to scout. Gather intel on their next heading. Mike closed his eyes for a few moments. He slung a small pack and made his leave. Mike wore jeans and a pair of combat boots. His attire was meant to keep civilian eyes away from him. The bird kids would know Mike when they see him. That was the disadvantage of being a guard and a retrieval soldier.

There was rarely time for rest, plus Mike hadn't really exterted himself at all. It made sense to send Mike, for the staff at their current facility was already taxed to its limit. Mike exited thr ward's facility. and proceeded to walk through the woods. He couldn't afford to be caught in the air. Not yet anyways.

Mike did a low whistle and closed his eyes, the echo location method revealed the terrain around him. Nothing that could get him killed, that was good news. Mike's boots trampled most twigs and leaves under foot. He payed no mind to trails, and made his own. His face was relaxed, not quite as cold. He could let his guard down a little perhaps.

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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Matthew


Euro, Taylor, and Samuel. I let the names sink in before commenting, “Nice names.”

Giving a nonchalant grin, I said, “I’m Matthew.”

I waved timidly feeling shy for the first time in eons. There weren’t any high amounts of adrenaline or testosterone pumping through my bloodstream anymore, and so I had cooled down a copious amount of degrees. Which left me feeling out of place and awkward. Among mutants. I mean, gosh, I must have taken a beating to the head because usually I was the outgoing sarcastic idiot in the bunch. But hey, it was a new experience, meeting so many of us in one area. Almost overwhelming.

Clearing my throat I tried to deliver a sarcastic line to smooth over the atmosphere.

“At least Dracula and his hoard of bats are gone now.”

Which was true. Mike and the Vampires had disappeared from sight and sound. Not even my night vision was able to spot them standing out amongst the darkness of the Arizonian scenery.

That left us safe for now. But safety didn’t make up for the damage we’d taken. I winced as my left arm ached painfully, reminding me that the bone had probably twisted out of place somehow. It sounded much more gruesome than it looked, and caused a prolific amount of pain.

Marce jabbed me with a feather light touch in the ribs, her silent way of telling me to shut up.

Wait.

Marce jabbed me with a feather light touch? Marce’s average form of gentle would have still had me wincing. She was never that soft. The girl had beaten me with disinfectant smelling lego blocks in the Ward, for crying out loud. When she was three. There was no way she was going soft on me now.

“Marce,” I said, anxiously realizing she had deterred to give her name.

“I can’t feel my wrrrring….”

“Marce?....!” I yelped, snapping forward as my sister slowly began tilting to the side, still burbling out incoherent words. Catching her in my arms, I flinched, watching her limp wing smack the ground with a soft thud, and ignoring the dull pain that plagued my left shoulder. Her other wing was neatly, and tightly folded up against her back, and I wondered if she’d been straining to do so to the other, now dead looking, wing as well.

“Marce!” I shouted, feeling myself begin to panic. My muscles seemed to lock up, and every instinct screamed for me to either fight of fly away.

“Can’t. Feel. Wing.” She forced out of her lips as I continued my internal debate. Her lids threatened to close on her, giving her that groggy six A.M. look.

Euro


I stared at the girl, mind boggled with her condition. I hadn’t seen the full extent of the damage to her wing till now. The long jagged claw mark had ripped right through some of her muscle, and if I knew any better, the source of her fainting was due, not to the damage, but from her blood loss.
Her eyelids fluttered open now and then, and she murmured words that would have been barely audible to any average human.

I frowned. She needed a hospital. My eyes roamed up to the faces of Taylor and Samuel, before exchanging looks with a horrified Matthew.

“She needs a hospital,” I said calmly, keeping an eye on Matt just in case the kid snapped at my suggestion.

“It’s the only way we can help her. We can’t fly her there, so we’ll need to hitchhike. And by hitchhike, I mean steal a car.” I was already appraising a few of the parked up vehicles, trying to determine which would be both the easiest to steal, as well as the fastest.

And then, a thought occurred to me. Biting my lip for a nanosecond, I turned to Matthew and said, “She’s your sister. So it’s your choice weather you want to save her not, but…”

I turned to Taylor and Samuel, trying to give my best big kid smile, “You guys aren’t related to them, from what I understand. If Matthew chooses to go along with this, you two are welcome to either come along for the ride, or leave. It’s all up to you.” I said slowly, calculating the effect that each word would have on both kids. They looked to be around the same age as Matthew and his sister, which I could only guess was about fifteen or fourteen. However, all four could have easily passed for older.

I wondered if they would accept the offer. I figured that none of them had any real homes (exemplified by Matthew and his sister stealing food earlier), but Taylor and Samuel weren’t related to either one of them. I curiously wondered if they cared to join a group like this, one with more “freaks”. Or were they out on the run for themselves?

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Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Jude Oakheart
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(Firebird, I'm really sorry to godmod your character, but... You haven't really left me any options. Please forgive me. X.X)

"Hey, what's-" Jude began, his voice halting abruptly as I dived behind the tree. He stopped for a moment, seeming to be considering his options as he gazed at me perplexedly where I cowered behind the tree. At last, he seemed to reach some sort of a decision, and, heaving a helpless sigh, he spoke once more.

"Are you alright?" He asked. I nodded slightly, still watching him fearfully, unsure of what he was going to do. "Okay, then," he continued, turning away from me at last but giving me a slight smile back over his shoulder. In an instant, I grew much more relaxed. He wasn't angry, he was going to let me stay! "If you don't want to move from here, you don't have to. I'm going after that bird kid. You just wait here for me to come back."

As he turned and walked nervously into the light, I watched him fade from view. Little did I realize how much danger I was in, with my protector absent and myself all alone, nor did I predict how events would unfold...

For several minutes, I waited, my eyes trained warily around the trunk of the tree behind which I was concealed. Shapes bustled about to and fro as people left the building for whatever reason - I didn't know that the diner's closing time was almost up - but the shapes of both Jude and the mutant child I had sensed were hidden from my sight. I watched tentatively, fear slowly dawning on me as I realized that the beings that pursued us before might still be on our trail, and that staying behind might have left me exposed. I began to nervously wish for Jude to return, not wanting to contemplate the possibility of being attacked alon-

A branch snapped above me, the faint crack amplified by my paranoia, rending the air like a gunshot in the silence. I glanced slowly up, but I can't say I expected what I saw: a black shape, dropping sharply from the air, descending upon me with bat-like wings spread wide, as though it were some great bird of prey! Before I could so much as scream, I found the wind knocked from my lungs by a powerful kick which sent me reeling. I tumbled head over heels, rolling pel-mel across the dirt in a confused, terrified bundle of intertwined limbs. Desperately, I tried to rise, and to flee my attacker, only to find his hand descending to block my vision: he was already right on top of me! I tried to cover my face, but a powerful blow struck through my disorganized defenses, dealing me a painful slap across the face and snapping my head backward, then holding it there as the enemy clutched my throat. As I was hoisted limply into the air like a broken doll, my adversary's visage became clear to me in the moonlight.

Batlike wings, taut, angular features, and fangs in place of teeth... so this was a Vampire, the being I evidently resembled, yet was just as evidently being hunted by nonetheless. It gave a quiet, hoarse chuckle and clamped its vise-like grip down tighter upon my neck, cutting off my breath and silencing yet another scream of terror in my throat. I could feel my vision growing blurry, my thoughts growing panicked, and my body growing weak.

A voice in the back of my mind couldn't help but note the irony of the situation. Just as I had encountered my protector, so I had encountered the one whom he could not protect me from, and just as I had been helpless before Jude, so I was helpless before the hunter who had claimed me. But the situations were not the same. In the case of Jude, I had held onto some hope that he would relent, that he would somehow save me. But this Vampire would do no such thing, and I knew it. He would knock me unconscious if I was lucky, torture me if I wasn't, and then take me back to the Ward for my execution. In short, unless I could somehow escape him... I was going to die.

Despite my weakness and fatigue, this fear bred something within me. Whether it was strength or some instinct to survive, I didn't know, but the next instant, I found my own grip tearing weakly at my assailant's own wrist, forcing it inch by inch from my throat and growing stronger with each passing second as the air returned life to my body. I gazed with righteous indignation down upon him, my own amber eyes - wait, weren't my eyes burgundy? - meeting his own surprised dark orbs for a single instant. Then, I spread my wings, the moonlight shining down upon me and bathing me in a divine halo as though I were some kind of avenging angel locked in mortal combat with some terrible demon, planted my foot in my enemy's gut, and forced off with all my might.

An audible snap resounded through the air. I had forgotten to release my grip on my enemy's wrist, and I found to my surprise that the force of my sudden movement had been enough to snap his wrist entirely. On top of this, my powerful kick had actually knocked him off his feet, sending him flying into the tree behind which I had cowered just a moment before. But, I had little time to celebrate my brief victory, for in an instant, he was up and upon me once more, giving a feral roar and bringing a lightning fast kick up into my gut, picking me up and sending me flying into the tree canopy above. The sharp branches tore at my flesh from all sides, and when I fell to earth again, I found blood trickling from several small wounds, and a very angry Vampire welcoming me back to the ground with a sharp punch to the solar plexus. This I managed to deflect, bringing one of my hard wings in front of the blow and turning it away along the surface of the extra appendage, sending him staggering past me and giving a snarl of pain as his knuckles were cut along my scale-like feathers, and as my knee drove itself up and into his groin. He staggered backwards, and I followed up the attack, reaching out and grasping his shoulders. He was overbalanced, so it was a simple matter to haul him back up and towards me, causing him to stumble right into my next attack as I drew back my wings and proceeded to slap them back and forth, several loud snaps like the cracking of a whip ringing through the air as my enemy's head tilted back and forth, back and forth, blood oozing from countless tiny cuts as my scaled wings flayed the skin from his face. I found myself giving a quiet chuckle which rose and fell with the sounds of my wings tearing across his flesh, an action which terrified even me. Deep down, I couldn't help but wonder... what was I doing? I was scared out of my wits, I should have been helpless... And yet each time my enemy approached, an instinct, an impulse, would occur to me, and I would simply act on it, as though I was a marionette, dancing as my strings were pulled. Something deep down inside me was telling me how to fight, and, even though its tactics horrified me, I couldn't help but obey.

A sharp jolt of pain snapped me back to reality. My horror at my own actions must have distracted me, for I realized to my much greater terror that I had momentarily ceased my beating, and my enemy had caught my wing mid-stroke and was twisting it violently. Giving a psychotic, bloodstained smirk, he silenced my squeak of fright in an instant as he smashed his own head against my own, sending me falling backward, only to be hauled back up by my agonized wing, then knocked to the ground again by a savage kick to the shin. Letting go of my wing, he threw himself shoulder-first on top of me, driving me into the dirt and immobilizing me with his own weight. I cried out in pain, only to be silenced once again by a sudden blow to the face, forcing me to raise my suddenly weak and fragile hands to defend myself. My burgundy eyes widened in terror. The strength was gone. There was only fear, and pain. I was helpless, and alone - immobilized, and under attack. Desperately, I reached out for the first willing mind my senses came across. I had hoped to reach Jude, but little did I know that he was not the one to whom I appealed.

"Please! Help me!"

The one to whom I cried out telepathically was not my protector, Jude... No, the one I could only pray would save me was none other than the mutant I had sensed before.

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(It won't let me tag Sariya, I tried it with and without quotes on the first name :/)

It was dark and surprisingly loud in the forest, even this high up in the trees. The lights from the city hardly penetrated the thick foliage, and I could've sworn I heard the footsteps of something enormous padding through the forest below me.

I waited for my eyes to adjust, as they were not much better than human eyes in the darkness. Details began to come into focus and I immediately looked at the other trees to make sure the vampire I was after hadn't already spotted me. All clear. I looked down and saw that there wasn't enough space to spread my wings and glide to the ground, at least not from my current perch. It was only a twenty foot drop, but I didn't want to make any noise.

Oh well. With my luck, the Vampire probably already knew I was here.

I slid off of the branch, hanging onto it by my hands for a moment before letting myself drop. I landed in a crouch, not with a muffled thud, but with a sharp crack as the log below me broke apart. I mentally said a few choice swear words, some for the log, some for the Vampires, and some to the Ward for ruining my life but not seeing it fit to give me night vision.

As if I'd caused it, the unmistakable sounds of a fight erupted to my right. I tensed, halfway expecting whoever it was to come after me, but there was a cry of pain that sounded female and the sharp sound of another blow. I warily moved in that direction, quietly, though the noise of the fight was loud enough to drown out any sound I made. Black and white shapes flashed through the trees and I crept up to get a closer look.

It was the second Vampire, attacking (or being attacked?) by another humanoid I couldn't identify. I'd never seen wings like those, especially not that color. She stood out like a sore thumb, no wonder the Vampire had spotted her... if she hadn't attacked him first. The former seemed more likely, she looked terrified and didn't seem to know how to fight... and the Vampire was holding her up by her neck, rather than tearing her apart, he seemed to be taking his time. The sick freak.

Okay, maybe I should stop running commentary in my head and actually help out, but I was torn. Half of me insisted that I help, but the other half insisted that it was a trap and they would both attack me. What if it WAS a trap? What if she was one of them?

No! I told myself angrily. Vampires wouldn't take the time or effort to set a trap. They'd just attack and kill!

But what if the Ward had ordered them to do it?

I snarled at myself in my head, resisting the urge to smack myself in the forehead. They wouldn't waste their time with something like that!

But maybe they were studying our behavior or something. Maybe this had all been some kind of giant test and we had been set free on purpose. It would explain how the Vampires had known where I was at.

I was distracted from this horrible contemplation by the loud snap of a bone breaking.

While I had been frozen with indecision, the fight had abruptly changed. The vampire girl... there was no other way to describe it except that she had almost become another person, someone who was capable of defending themselves. She had broken his wrist and was now beating the crap out of the Vampire.

Maybe she would finish him off. But like I said, my luck is terrible.

As quickly as she had begun to fight back, she abruptly froze and the Vampire gained the upper hand, even more vicious than before. I started to rise, hesitated, straightened up, but remained where I was. What if it was a trap?

We've been over this!

I had been intending to take care of the Vampire anyway, the only difference this time would be that I saved someone in the process. I couldn't just leave her to her fate. But why couldn't I move?

Please! Help me!

I grimaced as a thought that wasn't my own rang loudly in my head, but it made up my mind for me. I couldn't ignore a plea for help like that, and it had to have come from her. Come to think of it, I'd heard "thoughts" like that before, at the Ward, but they had been faint impressions, impossible to decipher.

This was only a fleeting thought in my head as I surged out of the unruly hedges I'd been hiding behind, leaped over a fallen tree, and landed gracefully beside the Vampire. I grabbed him by one of his wings and yanked him off of the girl, but to my shock, he wasn't surprised at all to see me. He whirled on the spot and sliced at me with his claws, forcing me to let go of his wing and leap back or risk having my throat cut open. I recovered quickly, but waited for him to charge me, which he did.

I crouched at the last minute and put all my weight into his stomach as he surged over me, using it to my advantage to send him crashing to the ground on his back. I threw myself on his chest as he started to rise and heard the breath woosh out of his lungs, right before I punched him in the windpipe, causing him to choke. Even as he struggled to get his breath back he managed to grab my wrist as I went to punch him again; I punched him with my other hand instead, trying to break his hold on my wrist, and in retaliation he swiped at my face with his claws.

Even though I had lurched back, I felt a hot pain start above my left eye and across my temple, and warm blood started to pour, obscuring my vision in that eye. Not that it stopped me. I started punching the Vampire in earnest, keeping a wary eye on his claws, though he still managed to nick me a few more times with them. I was astounded, I couldn't remember ever having this much trouble with just one Vampire. Compared to this one, the other was a docile kitten.

He managed to throw me off, but before he could tackle me like I had him, I grabbed a fist sized stone off of the ground and slammed it into his temple. And the fight was over, just like that. He toppled bonelessly to the ground and I scrambled to my feet, breathing labored.

"Wow," I said between breaths, wiping blood out of my face. "Wow." That fight had taken a large chunk out of my confidence. Next time I'd think twice before I assumed a lone Vampire was easy to get rid of.

I straightened up and suddenly turned to face the girl with the vampire wings, my expression wary. But she hadn't attacked me, so it wasn't a trap after all... unless...

The whole thing had been a ploy to get me to trust her?

But she had looked terrified.

"I really have to stop doing this to myself," I said out loud, breaking the sudden silence and probably sounding crazy.

"Are you okay?" I asked her, in a tone that was wary and almost accusatory. I still hadn't made up my mind about her intentions. I hesitated, then added, "You're not one of them, right? I mean. You weren't pretending... right?" Like asking would do me any good... but I stared hard, hoping to catch her if she was lying about anything.

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(Apparently, to tag her you need to put a & symbol in. Sorry. XD)

Giving an enraged hiss, the Vampire raised his working hand, clenching it into a fist and bringing it down at my face. Desperately, I grasped at it with my trembling hands, hoping to turn the blow away, but found myself unable to block the sheer force of the furious attack, and the hands I willed to protect me were instead beaten against my own head along with the enemy's fist. Again the Vampire drew back his hand, and, in that moment, I knew I was helpless. I had played my last card by calling for help - ironically, that was all that my powers seemed to be good for - and now, I had no options left open to me. My strength was gone, my terror overwhelming, my body weak, and my defenses broken. What could I do but either wait to be saved, or be taken and die before that time?

I could do nothing.

As my enemy's fist came down again, I shut my eyes tightly, hoping to somehow escape the impact by ignoring its visible presence, like a child covering his face and claiming he can't be seen if he can't see anyone else. It was useless, obviously, but somehow, my fears demanded the action to be taken, as though sparing no expense and leaving no stone unturned for a possible route of escape that, deep down, I knew did not exist. But, to my surprise, the pain of the strike that descended upon me never came, for with another feral snarl, the Vampire was suddenly grabbed by the wing and wrenched away from me. With a rush of air, the beast turned away from me, swiping upward at a shape I could not make out, but did not fear. In an instant, I realized the truth: I had been saved.

The Vampire rose and lunged away from me toward the figure I assumed was Jude, come back to rescue me, but with a faint gasp and a thud, he was knocked flat to the ground, and my rescuer pounced upon him, mounting a counterattack. I didn't watch any longer, instead opting to move away from my assailant and out of the way of my protector. Scrambling across the ground, I dove behind several shrubs and a tree, peering back out only after the sounds of fighting in the glade had ended.

Silhouetted by moonlight as he rose from the fallen form of his defeated foe, my guardian's features became clear to me for the first time, and, to my surprise, I found that the person I looked upon was not Jude - rather, it was some other mutant I had never seen before, but whose mind I recognized. He was a little taller than myself - which was to be expected, considering my rather puny height - but not quite so towering as my last companion. Compared to Jude, he was very thin, perhaps even as thin as me, and his countenance was softer and more youthful. His unimposing stature and boyish features suggested that he was probably close to my age, maybe even a little younger. But the real question was... who was he? The logical answer was that this was the avian boy I had sensed a few minutes before, who Jude had gone off to look for, but despite this possibility, I was still surprised, and rather unnerved. The obvious fear occurred to me in an instant. Could I trust him? He had saved me, but I knew next to nothing about him, and had no way of determining what he might do to me. For all I knew, he might have some purpose in mind for me even worse than the planned execution the Vampire would have led me to, or the frightening, if secure companionship/captivity Jude had offered.

"Wow. Wow," The mutant muttered, brushing the blood and sweat from his face. "I really need to stop doing this to myself." Evidently, he'd been in more than one fight with Vampires, if his comments were anything to go by. Well, then, that answered at least one question. He was slated for recapture and execution just as I myself was, which meant that, at least, he was on my side in regards to the Ward. That, in turn, meant that I might be useful to him as an ally in some regard, which gave me at least some hopes that he might leave me alive, although I did not doubt that if he wished it, I would be forced to become his captive. Still, this was better than no information at all. But, my observations were suddenly halted, for instantly, I found his dark gaze turned upon myself, both his expression and his voice laced with distrust as he spoke, this time to me as I slowly, fearfully rose from behind the bushes, feeling terribly exposed by his searching black eyes as I stood, my wings and silvery hair catching the light of the moon as it bathed me from head to foot, drawing into full relief the laboratory prisoner's garb I still wore and clearly identifying me for what I was.

"Are you okay?" He asked coldly, his eyes seeming to pierce into my very soul, as though he would search my very being with his gaze for any trace of some undefined guilt, then would tear it from me with his accusing eyes. I nodded nervously, still reluctant to use my voice after having gone for so long in silence - it didn't help that the Vampire had partially refastened the old gag when he was choking me, although only one of two clasps now held it loosely over my face like an oddly comforting mask of white cloth, and thus I could still speak if I so chose, and could have unfastened it at any time myself. I stood fixated by his cold eyes and equally cold words, my hands still half frozen at the level of my collar, clasped fearfully together now but left trapped where they had been raised to shield my face just a moment ago. I looked, ironically enough, as though I was praying, my hands tightly interwoven just below my chin and fidgeting about with suppressed anxiety as I stared back at the one who gazed at me, terrified by his eyes but also enthralled by his pointed gaze, too frightened to even look away from him despite how desperately I wanted to avert my vision. But despite my fear, a strange feeling, like a barely intelligible voice I could only faintly perceive in the very back of my head, told me that I wasn't the one who was afraid: rather, that my potential rescuer was afraid of me. It seemed preposterous, and yet, something about him that could not be seen, smelt, touched, tasted or heard, but rather could only be felt, perceived as an impulse by some kind of sixth sense, told me thus. He did not trust me, not because I was suspiciously afraid of him, but because he was suspicious, and hence afraid of me. But... why? The answer became clear in a moment as he once more spoke, sounding just a little more vulnerable and a little more anxious than he had before.

"You're not one of them, right? I mean, you weren't pretending... right?" He asked. Suddenly, everything made sense. He was worried that I, too, was a Vampire: his enemy. Even if I only resembled one in part - namely, in that my wings were batlike despite their scalelike feathers - I still shared almost no similarities with Angelic mutants, or with normal Humans, save in my physical shape. My hair, eyes, skin, wings, body, and everything else about me... all of these were unnatural. It was only to be expected that I would be confused for some new type of Vampire, wasn't it? I started to nod, but then stopped, a pressing question occurring to me. If I wasn't an Angel, though, was I a Vampire? I couldn't be sure that I wasn't actually one of "them." In fact, I didn't even know what I was myself!

"I... I'm not sure..." I said at last, my quiet, broken voice muffled slightly by the cloth over my face. I glanced away at last, no longer afraid of his eyes, rather, I was lost in thought, in fears about myself and my own nature. "I don't know what I am... I don't think I'm one of them, but... I'm not sure if I'm like you, either." I had only answered one of his questions at this point, which meant I would have to continue, no matter how reluctant I was to keep speaking. I was afraid of him, and that fear choked my words in my throat, but, on the other hand, there was more to it than that. I wasn't just afraid, I was... ashamed? After years of silence, of not speaking, of being unable to speak, it simply felt wrong of me to actually say anything. It didn't feel like I had the right to make words, anymore. As though I had committed some grave sin, and lost the privilege of speech. As though I was, quite simply, unworthy of saying a single word, and with each syllable I spoke, I only compounded my error, only committed yet another crime.

"B-but... thank you for rescuing me," I said at last. "I wasn't faking a thing, i-if that's what you meant. I ran away when I should have died, and so... I know it's wrong to be so selfish, but I want to live, and so... I was running away. If you hadn't saved me, then they'd have taken me back, a-and... That is, I owe you my life, and..." I trailed off, no longer sure of what I meant to say myself. Was I thanking him? Was I answering his question? What was even the point? Flushed with humiliation, I decided it would be better to just shut up, and so simply gazed downward, defeated by my own inability to understand myself. I just hoped he would believe me, and understand that there was nothing to fear in a useless being such as myself.

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My eyes widened and I felt myself step back.

“Can’t. Feel. Wing.”

I instinctively reached out to touch my own wings then stopped. Instead I began to bite my lip hard. It was probably the only think keeping me from freaking out.

The guy near me, Euro, suggested taking her to a hospital. I don't know why but I immediately thought "Bad idea" but of course it was probably the best thing to do which made me not want to go more.

Then there was talk about hitchhiking. I could feel myself zone out slowly as I tried to think and register my thoughts. Closing my eyes, I pressed my fingers to my temples and inhaled and exhaled. "I want to come along. If that's okay with you all" I said as calmly as I could then open my eyes slowly and looked over at Samuel waiting for his opinion. Personally, I couldn't just leave them here. I don't know why, considering the fact that I didn't even know them all that well.

But I guess I’m a nice person, which could have its disadvantages and advantages. I glanced at the girl's wing, studying it. It took everything inside me not to look away. "The hospital seems like the best answer” I said and couldn’t help but notice how shaky my voice felt.

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Samuel


Samuel tried to remain detached and focus on something else rather than the idle chatter, he still managed however to pick out key bits of information such as the boy's name but he was more focused on the matters at hand, and frankly was still shaken by how quickly everything seemed to be going, he convinced himself he'd adapt to it eventually which seemed to lessen the shock, and give him some breathing room. Samuel drifted downwards, before he realized he still hadn't had anything to eat, as hunger once again set in immediately he scowled before trying to focus on something else. Which brought him to his other need. Electricity. He needed to recharge and although he had built up some power, he needed more if he wanted to assure himself he'd be ready for another attack but that would have to wait he guessed as it wasn't his top priority.

Samuel's eyes focused and he felt slight unease as the one known as Matthew spoke “Marce,” it wasn't the words that got his attention it was his voice tone it sounded anxious. “I can’t feel my wrrrring….” The girl then began to tilt to the side, Matthew yelled her name before snapping forward catching her as her damaged wing hit the ground softly. Samuel looked clearly alarmed, he knew the girl had accumulated some injuries but he didn't think they were that serious. "Marce!" Matthew shouted, the reply was most worrying “Can’t. Feel. Wing.” the words sounded forced and Samuel quickly stepped forward.

Samuel could see the girl's wing clearer now, and it looked bad he couldn't deny that. The muscle looked shredded, as paralleled claw marks ran up her wing, she also seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness. “She needs a hospital” Euro suggested calmly, and Samuel shuddered carefully at the suggestion. Samuel regained himself and he thought carefully about the prospect, through Samuel's limited experience through the world he knew most doctors wouldn't really know about bird anatomy let alone a person with functioning wings, and that several mutants walking into the hospital looking like they've been in a grave fight would attract a lot of attention. Samuel also felt that several loose ends hadn't been tied up, but he supposed most of them never will.

“It’s the only way we can help her. We can’t fly her there, so we’ll need to hitchhike. And by hitchhike, I mean steal a car.” Euro continued, Samuel felt like objecting since he hated the thought of being inside one of those contraptions, but decided that he'd bring up his questions later about the decision, that is if he hadn't left as he was still deciding if he should stay or go, the question confused him greatly so he remained silent. Euro then bit his lip briefly before turning to Matthew, “She’s your sister. So it’s your choice weather you want to save her not, but…”

Euro then turned looking at Taylor and Samuel, he smiled but Samuel could feel something serious about to be brought up, which increased his tension. “You guys aren’t related to them, from what I understand. If Matthew chooses to go along with this, you two are welcome to either come along for the ride, or leave. It’s all up to you.” Samuel gulped, before he looked down towards the ground weighing out his options. Surviving alone would be a lot easier, but traveling in a group did have its bonuses as well, perhaps the Ward would think twice before coming after them he doubted it, but there's safety in numbers as far as he knew.

Samuel heard Taylor agree to Euro's offer as Samuel felt a certain pressure settle onto his back, he tried to readjust himself before as calmly as he could state, "Yeah I'll travel with you guys..." his voice and his body was shaking, Samuel wasn't used making big decisions due to the weight of the subject, but he was glad he didn't just stand there like an idiot drooling. Samuel then looked back up, "Are you guys sure about the hospital? I mean... would doctors even know how we work? Honestly a vet would probably know more knowledge about a wing..." he paused before continuing "And a hospital is a very, very public place..." he sighed before stating, "I'm just not so sure..." he then reaffirmed himself, and spoke more confidently, "But if you're certain it's best I'll follow..." he added a dry salute, before chuckling.

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: "Sariya" Eins Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Marcus Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Alice
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Euro


“The hospital seems like the best answer,” Great! So Taylor was on board. I nodded to her encouragingly. Power in numbers. Now all that was left was…

"Yeah I'll travel with you guys... Are you guys sure about the hospital? I mean... would doctors even know how we work? Honestly a vet would probably know more knowledge about a wing... And a hospital is a very, very public place... I'm just not so sure...But if you're certain it's best I'll follow..."

I frowned, feeling shame begin to fill up my system. Samuel was right. Besides the whole “we’re-screwing-ourselves-over-by-going-to-a-hospital” thing, it’s not like the doctors would have any idea how the girl, or for that matter, any of us worked. I mean, carrying her to the vet still gave us the chance to get our asses busted by the Ward or some other government facility, but hey, at least she’d survive. Hopefully. And here’s where I got stuck.

The hospital was a huge, open public facility, with freaky, annoying doctors, and obvious tattletales who’d have us busted with the government the instant we got there. I knew that for sure. That’s how ruthless intellectuals worked.

The local veterinarian on the other hand was generally concerned with dogs and cats. Ever wonder why there are stand alone Avian vets just dedicated to the health of birds? Never fear here’s your answer; as the majorities of pets consist of dogs and cats, people are bias to learning about cats and dogs. Even horses pass their lists. But guinea pigs, rats, birds, lizards, and many other “minority” pets fall into a different category. You’d need an animal hospital for that, and trust me when I say a vet’s clinic does not constitute the words animal hospital.

“That’s a good idea, Sam,” I was banking on the idea that he didn’t mind me calling him that, “But Avian vets and regular vets are two very different things.” I said softly, “If we….assume that just any vet will be able to handle her, we could be playing with fire. Not to mention the fact that a vet may not have what it takes to make a human blood transfusion. If I know anything about doctors, I know they’re intellectuals, kind of like lower level scientists. They’ll save her, if only to study her later on. We can almost bet on the fact that they’ll call up an Avian specialist to assist them if they have too….” I trailed off.

God, the girl was going to be hanging by a thread by the time we got there. She twitched in Matthew’s arms for a second, before going still again. I could hear her breathing steadily, which was a good sign, but the occasional twists of pain were a cause for concern.

“Can we hurry up with the decision making?” Matthew scowled, panicked concern scrawled across his face, “She’s going to go into a coma by the time you guys get moving.”

I rolled my eyes, but accepted his harsh words. He was simply concerned about his sister’s well being, and probably wasn’t thinking straight. Without a second thought, I slipped over to the closest car, a decent looking Honda Civic, probably of a generation older than 2012. I had one of two options:
1) Use some sort of pin to unlock the front door of the car
or
2) smash the window open.

Seeing as there was no pin, I went with option two. Using my shoe, I made a hole just big enough for my hand to fit through without scraping myself. The alarm, of course, was going crazy, and I had to work fast to unlock the door and rewire the underneath of the steering wheel so that the car would shut up. This had been me and Solo’s life when we’d first escaped. And while I was no pro, I most definitely knew what I was doing.

Which brought up another problem.

A very pressing, very heartbreaking, very traitor like problem.

I had to ditch those kids as soon as the girl was safe. Staying with them….was dragging me and Solo back to a life of misery. I would explain it to them. Explain why I was leaving. But for now, my concern was getting her safely to the hospital.

As the engine roared to life under the working of my hands I began barking orders. Unaccustomed to being in charge, my commands sounded more like solid requests rather than orders.

“Sam, you get in the front,” always safer to have someone besides yourself looking out for stuff in the front seat, “Taylor and Matthew you get in the back….Matthew support your sister’s weight. Try to keep her in an upright position so that the blood doesn’t flow faster towards her upper area and head..” Eyeing her blood soaked sweater, I came up with another quick idea, hoping Taylor would go along with it, “Taylor take her sweater and press it against the wound with enough force to slow the bleeding…”

Matthew, upon hearing my command, quickly slipped the bloody sweater off from his sister, revealing a simply black t-shirt, much less stained. He offered the sweater to Taylor with a pleading look on his face, and I hoped she would accept the job. The reason I’d chose her over Sam or Matt? Simple. She was a woman.

As I finished my tirade of commands, I slipped into the driver’s seat, patiently waiting for them to join me in the car.

Alice


I stared at the monitor indifferently as was my habitual response to anything that flickered on and off the hazy screen. I had been, naturally out of my own curiosity, observing the bird children, learning from their movements, but not necessarily understanding their interactions. The “Eins” as daddy referred to her was deathly frightened of everything, including her savior the “Marcus” who had rescued her from the clutches of a pair or so of Daddy’s Vampires. I couldn’t understand her, couldn’t understand her fear. If she’d been the stepping stone to the blossoming of my life, how was she so different from me?

If I had been there, I would have killed the Vampires and enslaved the boy.

It only made sense. One with such power should not wield it lightly. One with power must flaunt said power. One with power must become the dominant one.

That’s why I was Daddy’s heiress.

I was the powerful one.

“Alice,” Daddy’s voice was filled with kindness; fake kindness, but it was the only type I knew of. I wasn’t sure if to react brightly, or if to simply saunter over to him. In an attempt to please him, I skipped over to him as an average six year old would. Seeing as I was in the body of a six year old, I could only hope it would work. He ignored me.

Hope. Ha, what a joke.

Arriving by his spinning chair, I put a delicate hand on top of his. The chair seemed to float, as I could not make out what lifted it, and I assumed it worked on some sort of intensely concentrated vaporizing system. I could smell the water in the air, after all.

“Yes Daddy,” That was a default response. It was the obedience Daddy wanted, and it was the obedience he got.

“You’ll be leaving for Arizona today,” he said quietly, grazing his eyes over the gruesome scene one of our bird children had, had. She looked very similar to me, at least similar to me when I was an adolescent, but much more beat up with a grisly set of claw marks on the side of her wing, courtesy the Vampires.

I wasn’t sure if to call her a “poor thing” or if to think she deserved it. I wasn’t sure how Daddy wanted me to react.

“Yes, Daddy,” I said. What else was I suppose to say? What else did people say? He went on as though I’d asked a question about what I was to do once there,

“I may have a few Vampires waiting for you. They will guide you through the steps of integrating yourself into the human world.” My hear skipped a beat (I think that’s the expression).

Daddy was going to let me be with the humans. Daddy was setting me free on the world.

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It didn't take a genius to realize that whoever she was, this girl was frightened of just about everything. All I had to do was look at her to see the fear leap into her wine red eyes. Now that I was looking, I noted her unusual coloring - namely her silvery hair and wings, which were unlike any I'd ever seen before. They were Vampire-like, but they were covered in feathers, feathers that were different from mine. Harder and more compact.

And, she was tiny. Even her wingspan. I was wondering to myself how she managed to stay in the air when she finally answered my question, though she did so hesitantly.

"What do you mean you're not sure?" I replied, trying in vain to suppress the note of impatience that crept into my voice. When she elaborated, I realized she'd taken my question literally. If this was an act, it was a really, really good one. But a large part of me was scoffing and tossing suspicions in every direction, while the rest of me was weary of always suspecting everything. Just once I wished I could give it a rest.

And on top of that, what was I supposed to do next? It seemed wrong to just leave her there. And however paranoid I was, I suddenly hated the idea of running away on my own with a passion. The thought of having another person, another ally, was enough to almost make me happy. Wouldn't it make sense to take my allies where I could get them? Strength in numbers, etc?

I sighed, realizing as I did so that I'd interrupted the girl's rambling. I recalled what she had been saying.

"So, you're from the Ward too?" I asked after a moment, hoping she'd elaborate. I had a feeling if I started firing too many questions at her she'd lock down and refuse to say anything. A sound behind me had me glancing back, but the Vampire hadn't stirred. Still...

"We should get out of here, before anyone else shows up," I suggested, feeling odd elated by the "we", even as I told myself that it didn't mean anything, anything at all.

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"Sigh. So, you're from a Ward too?" The boy asked sharply, breaking the silence and compelling me to turn my gaze upon his piercing eyes once more. His voice sounded... tired. It didn't seem like he was so worried that I was an enemy anymore, rather, it simply seemed like he was exhausted and fed up with the world for being the way it was, as though he was simply too fed up to care whether or not I was a threat to him anymore, and had simply decided to believe my words for now. I felt a little more at ease with this deduction, since it meant that I would at least have a little bit more time to figure things out before anything happened to me. My hands stopped fidgeting about at last, and instead settled where they were, folded before my collar.

After a moment, I managed to remember that I was supposed to answer when someone asked me a question - an impressive feat, considering the confused nature of my thoughts - and after another, I managed to make the decision to give a quick nod rather than using my voice, a new and worrying prospect in which I did not place any faith. My answer conveyed thus, the boy glanced around, evidently having heard or seen something that unnerved him. But, after a moment, he seemed to settle slightly, giving a wary glance to the fallen Vampire before turning to face me once again.

"We should get out of here, before anyone else shows up," The boy said simply. The comment was not, in and of itself, surprising. Anyone in their right mind would, when still so close to the enemy's home territory, and having only just foiled one of the hunters pursuing them, suggest immediate departure. It was only common sense to distance oneself from the enemy while one had the chance. But, on the other hand, the comment meant several things that were quite astonishing.

"We," he had said. That could only mean one thing: I was to go with him at once, and to trust in him to keep me safe. But, on the other hand, he could just as easily have said "You're coming with me, or I'll kill you." I was quite clearly at his mercy, so if he wanted me to obey him out of fear, then now would be the obvious chance to establish how things were going to be. I'd have no option but to follow him, so why...?

No, the only reason he would phrase things that way was because he wanted me to feel at ease... wasn't it? That simple, obvious suggestion, was also a gesture of reassurance, and a statement of policy. It meant that so long as I did nothing to endanger myself, he wasn't going to hurt me. Moreover, it was an invitation, which meant I would have the opportunity to reject his offer, if I wanted to. But, terrified as I was, I already knew what my answer would be. I would accept his request, and go with him.

It was basic survival instinct, really. He had just saved my life, and was, in essence, offering to continue protecting me without specifying anything I'd need to do in return. It was too good to be true, I knew, but it was also a much safer bet than Jude, whose intentions I could not guess, save that he needed me to serve as a locator for other Mutants, and far, far superior to going it alone, as I had almost no idea what sort of world I had ventured into, and couldn't protect myself from a particularly dangerous animal, let alone the Vampires that would surely pursue me until I was dead and buried. And, if worst came to worst and he questioned my usefulness as an ally, I could always serve him in the same manner as I would have served Jude. And, while I knew Jude would not harm me yet, I could make no such guarantees for the future. This boy, on the other hand, was much the safer bet. And, if I went with him, I could escape both of those parties that would capture me: Jude and the Ward alike. So, at last, I decided, and gave voice to my reply, no matter how hard it was. Shuffling nervously into the clearing, I glanced about much as my protector had just done, then nodded and gave my response.

"R-right... I-I can come with you, then?" I asked, attempting to confirm my suspicions. In that instant, my heart seemed to stop, as I waited on baited breath for his answer, and for the fate to which that answer would subject me.

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That was definitely a loaded question. It implied a lot more than what I had intended, not that I had any clear intentions; I just wanted to get away from the Vampire. Now I would have to answer that question before this went any further. Could she come with me? Her personality alone made her a liability, not that it was her fault. My scarring was physical, leaving my mind more or less intact, but I had a suspicion that it was the opposite for her just based on her personality. Besides that, there was safety in numbers. We could take turns keeping watch, things like that.

My mind was way too quick to jump for that piece of logic, but for once I wasn't in the mood to analyze myself. In fact, I'm rarely in the mood to play psychiatrist in my head, but most of the time I can't seem to turn that feature off. Despite all the thoughts whirling around in my head, it'd only taken me a few seconds to make a decision, one that -if I knew myself as well as I thought I did- I would mentally agonize over if the slightest thing went wrong.

"Yeah, you can come with me," I replied, after a small pause... and I realized something else. "You're going to need some new clothes..." I trailed off, shifting my gaze to her hair. "And we might have to do something with your hair, I don't know." The wings went without saying.

Safety in numbers, I repeated to myself as I tried to figure out what to tackle first on my lengthy to-do list. I knew I was very lucky to be able to process knowledge like I did. Living at the Ward didn't exactly prepare you for socialization, and they didn't exactly educate you either. At least not from what I had seen. Though they had prepared me to survive, it was my ability to retain knowledge and put all the info together that was allowing me -at least I hoped it was- to make the right moves to blend in.

We'd find out.

"Alright, let's get out of here. We need to get rid of those clothes before we do anything else." Assuming she would follow, I walked a couple yards towards the edge of the forest, where I could just make out the nearest building, three stories tall and inhabited by a series of shops. "We'll fly up to that building and look for a... salvation army. I got my clothes from one of those, but in another location."

I shook out my deep black wings and leaped straight up into the air, flapping hard. It was a lot of effort versus a running start, but I decided that it would be well worth the soreness later if I could train myself to do it easily. I quickly gained altitude and swooped up over the edge of the building, landing lightly on the roof and clamping my wings to my back.

As always, I scanned the area in every direction in search of any suspicious activity, even glancing up, though I couldn't see far as dark as it was. Satisfied with that, I moved to the edge of the building and started reading the names of the shops clustered around it.

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Alice



I guess I hadn’t expected the turn of events that consorted the words “setting me free” in referral to my father’s decision to send me to Arizona.

Take note: I’d never before called Daddy the word “father”. I didn’t think that’s what little girls did. But after the events of today, the bitter resentment in my heart was telling me not to call him anything, at least not any word that denoted that idea of affection. Today was the first day my “father” had hit me. Ever.

Usually, he’s a fake, but sweet man, often trying to entice me into playing along with his convoluted plans by throwing “heartfelt” and “affectionate” words in my face, and messing with my “emotions”.

But today was far from the usual. Today he became harsh and unforgiving, with a lashing hand and scorching words. Today he became the tyrant I’d never expected.

See, here’s what happened: A few of his assistance had been preparing me for the flight to Arizona. I did nothing along the lines of helping them. They simply packed my clothing, dressed me, and executed a rerun of everyday’s boring events. A physical examination was performed as usual, as well as a check up on my mental stability and telepathic level. Then, I was prepared to hop aboard one of Daddy’s luxury jets, an impossibly fast one at that. I’d made a fuss about which form I was to arrive in: My adolescent form, or my childish six year old form. Due to the ruckus I’d caused, one of the female scientist (it always was the women) had decided to play along, stoop down to my six year old intellectual level, and allow me to dress accordingly to a child. This hadn’t gone over well with him. He came and slapped me when I rebuked against his wishes to change formation. Frightened to death by his actions, I promptly changed forms and was redressed consequently.

That brings me to the three hour flight, for which I know you have no interest in. Three hours of a mutant freak staring out a window is something I’m sure many of you don’t dote on, especially those of you who have flown from American to Korea. It’s a hassle isn’t it?

So, if you figured anything out about me now, you must know not much stands out to me. Or rather, I don’t comprehend enough for things to stand out to me. So, hence my landing in Arizona, I went through the very boring process of being checked up again (a physical and mental), before being loaded in a crate and shipped over to an undisclosed location in Arizona, obviously another one of our bases.

There I was walked through the hallways of the experimentation section of the ward. Not everyone at the Ward has wings, you know. I saw a terrified looking, kind of duck child, staring at me from behind his quarter’s windows. He didn’t necessarily look like a duck; rather, his feet were webbed, a uniquely different thing to what I was used to observing. He didn’t smile at me, and I didn’t smile back. But in an attempt at…pity, I sent over a thought to him.

They won’t kill you. You’re useful, different.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if my words were true. I’d just said it to comfort him, and lo and behold, his eye brightened under his thick black eyebrows. I still didn’t smile in reaction to his response. I wasn’t sure what to do. So I simply looked forward and allowed the guide to tow me along to a meeting room.

I guess it was plain for a room of this type: long, polished, dark brown table, with an array of equal seats on each side, with yet a few people in the room, and “father’s” face on the large monitor at the head of the table.

One female scientists (they were much more…motherly, than the males) guided me over to a chair, holding it out for me to sit in, before retreating to her own place across from me.

My father nodded, and another male flipped out a phone of sorts, scrolling through the contacts, before finally pressing what seemed to be the “send button.”

“Michael,” he said abruptly, as though someone had answered, “We have a job for you that requires your immediate return to the Ward. I’m sure you’ll be…fairly pleased with your new toy.”

With that he snapped the phone shut, and the room fell into a dull silence waiting for this Michael arrival. Personally, I suppose, my inner self was expressing something like excitement. Was this the Vampire that was to oversee my transition into the human world? Or was he simply the head of the Ward in Arizona? Antsy, I shifted in my chair wishing I could be back in Antarctica, where thing all of sudden seemed a hell of a lot easier.

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Mike took a small break in the woods, taking the long way back to the town. He sat atop a sturdy tree branch, large enough to support Mike's weight. He calmly leaned back on the trunk of the tree, breathing in fresh un processed air. When you grew up with synthetic smells in your nose one tended to like the fresh air that much more. The same bird from before, earlier in the day, landed on Mike's hand. He brought it up to his face and observed it with one eye. Mike stretched a finger, to which the bird hopped over too. Mike gave a deep sigh. Surely Mike was hardwired to kill anything he wanted to in his free time, but Mike never liked killing even the smallest of creatures. He found peace in the fact that he could preserve a fraction of lives he crossed every day.

The phone rang in Mike's pocket, which in turn scared the bird away. Mike drew the phone out of his pocket, and spoke in his usual cold voice. "What is it?" Mike's voice was that of an indifferent killer.

“Michael,” he said abruptly, “We have a job for you that requires your immediate return to the Ward. I’m sure you’ll be…fairly pleased with your new toy.” The Vampire spoke, his voice as careful as can be. Mike gave a small grunt in response and closed his phone. The branch creaked, as Mike launched himself onto the ground, and from there took flight. He Silently wondered what was so important to have him return. He calmly angled his way downwards, and flared his wings before hitting the ground. He opened the front doors, and marched his way through the building. Some Vampires stopping out of sheer respect on his way in. Mike was sad that he only gained respect through fear, but there was simply no other way with his fellow Vampires.

Mike opened the door, his face devoid of any emotion. Mike shifted, and glanced to the screen. His posture changed from relaxed, and uncaring to alert and at attention. Mike's eyes met Gunther's for a few moments. Mike's eyes still keeping their half asleep appearance. His eyes shifted over a girl sitting in a chair situated near a table. She appeared to be as clueless as Mike was. His eyes shifted back to the screen. Mike gripped his power, rage boiling up inside of Mike. Emotionless as ever Mike spoke in a guarded tone.

"How may I be of service, sir?" Mike spoke calmly.

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I winced and covered my ears with my hands as the car that Euro smashed went off. It was the most obnoxious sound in the world. Like more obnoxious then the sound of vamps chasing you. But just as quickly as it started the noise ended. I wasn't exactly sure what was he doing but it was working pretty well. I nodded as he began barking orders at us. I still felt slightly overwhelmed at everything that was happening though but I kept myself as calm and collected as possible, putting on a determined face.

I quickly made my way glancing up at Euro as he asked me to press the sweater to the wound. I panicked inside because; hey let’s face it, I’m not doctor. And what if something went wrong? I forced the negative thoughts away and grabbed the sweater, trying to avoid Matthew's look. Grabbing the sweater I turned and pressed it on the wound on her wing, softly then a little bit harder. Sure enough, the bleeding was slowing with made me let out a sigh of relief.

"Hope I’m doing this right" I mutter as I wrap the sweater around her wing. It looked sloppy. Really sloppy actually but it was the best I can do. "Um, right" I say awkwardly, and then quickly slide into the back seat.

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Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice
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#, as written by TheFlag
Samuel


"That's a good idea, Sam," Samuel nodded at Euro's response before slowly lowering his gaze towards the ground listening vaguely as Euro continued, “But Avian vets and regular vets are two very different things.” Samuel winced, before he nodded calmly: it seemed he didn't know as much about the world as he thought, but then again he had lived a ridiculously sheltered life so he couldn't blame himself, although he still felt like an idiot for not taking that into account.

Samuel's eyes drifted upwards as he began to focus more on Euro's words, "If we….assume that just any vet will be able to handle her, we could be playing with fire. Not to mention the fact that a vet may not have what it takes to make a human blood transfusion." Samuel winced again, this time he looked a lot more distressed. That was a very good point: one that he should have been taken into consideration. But he assumed that Matthew had the same blood type as his sister, after all they were brother and sister but he wasn't exactly certain. Samuel lowered his head once again, in thought. The hospital would surely attract attention, but he admitted that it was probably the best bet for the girl.

"If I know anything about doctors, I know they’re intellectuals, kind of like lower level scientists." Samuel muttered mostly to himself, "Perfect..." he used the word loosely and most certainly sarcastically, he had grown a certain dislike to Scientists due to his personal experiences with them: which were mostly them experimenting on him "They’ll save her, if only to study her later on. We can almost bet on the fact that they’ll call up an Avian specialist to assist them if they have too….” Samuel nodded satisfied with Euro's response, as Euro trailed off he watched the others follow for a few seconds before lagging behind them.

As Samuel stopped behind the group he heard Matthew scowl “Can we hurry up with the decision making?” Samuel came to an abrupt halt behind the group, “She’s going to go into a coma by the time you guys get moving.” Samuel craned his neck around, before he blinked calmly waiting for the next course of action. Samuel watched as Euro dashed over to the nearest car where he swiftly followed, Samuel ran his eye down the car before noting "It looks very... small in there." Although Samuel had never rode in a car before he felt a instinctive dislike to them, probably due to the noise.

Samuel watched curiously, watching as Euro used his shoe to smash the cars window. Samuel jumped as a loud sound emanated from the car, it continued as Euro swiftly unlocked the door and pushed himself underneath the steering wheel, rewiring several wires. The alarm suddenly stopped and the engine of the vehicle roared to life, Samuel muttered half-heartedly "Looks like we're in business after all."
The victory over the car was short lived, as Euro began barking orders, however they sounded more lighter than usual orders, like a request if anything else.

“Sam, you get in the front,” Samuel nodded carefully, before looking helplessly over at Taylor and Matthew wanting in someway to provide help “Taylor and Matthew you get in the back….Matthew support your sister’s weight. Try to keep her in an upright position so that the blood doesn’t flow faster towards her upper area and head..” Samuel nodded reassured about Euro's decision “Taylor take her sweater and press it against the wound with enough force to slow the bleeding…” Samuel stood still watching Matthew pull of his sister's bloody sweater revealing a black top in much better condition, Matthew handed it to Taylor.

Samuel turned around not wanting to look at the scene any longer. Samuel headed towards the car's front door and slipped into one of front seats next to Euro, he left the door open for a few seconds before tiredly shutting it behind him. Samuel rested his head against the glass morosely, before he glanced outside the window at the scenery, everything seemed to serene too quiet he couldn't describe it, it was foreign to him and felt strange. Samuel heard the door open, and looked backwards noticing Taylor slipping into the back seat, he waved casually before casually before looking forward towards the window again.

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(Hooray for massive misconceptions and epic-level social failure! Eins is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters to write, just because of how strange she is compared to all my other ones. XD)

In the instant that I was given my answer, I could feel relief flooding into my heart as though bursting forth from behind a dam. It was too good to be true, and yet, for all intents and purposes, it was true! I had finally found someone willing to protect me, as of yet without any cost to myself. My face lit up with a smile of exuberant gratitude, the foreboding that had covered it vanishing like a seemingly endless night giving way to the first rays of dawn. I didn't realize at the time exactly how apt that analogy was.

"Thank you," I said at last, wanting to burst out with joy but restraining myself due to the circumstances. Consequently, what wanted to be a triumphant, thankful cry was nothing more than a hushed half-whisper. But, no matter how soft or quiet those airy words were, they still carried with them the full weight of my immeasurable gratitude. It might have seemed silly to be so thankful for a simple offer with no security, no defined term of being, a suspiciously undefined means of repayment, and no plan behind it, but to me, it meant the world despite all of these factors. I had seen the thoughts in this boy's eyes, heard them inside his head, even if they had been thickly veiled behind his subconscious, and I could tell that he was at least partially in earnest. By this means, and by his actions, I could discern for sure one thing: my chances were much better trusting in him than they were relying on anyone else. And so, I accepted his offer with all the thankfulness of a lost kitten given a new home, and all of the nerve-wracking confusion and worry that entailed.

"You're going to need some new clothes," The boy said suddenly, snapping me out of my joyous reverie. I halted halfway across the glade, not really understanding what he meant. True, the jumpsuit was cold and somewhat inconvenient due to its many locks and buckles meant to restrict and detain its wearer, but I didn't really understand why the garment needed immediate replacement. Was it really that pressing an issue? If so, why?

"And we might need to do something with your hair... I don't know." This comment confused me even more than the last one. I understood that my hair was abnormal in comparison to that of most other people I had seen, but I didn't understand why that was such a bad thing. At the time, the thought hadn't even occurred to me that such an abnormality might be deemed suspicious by ordinary people who didn't know of the Ward and its doings, as I the only world I had ever known was the Ward. It seemed only natural to me that everyone knew about the Ward, and thus that abnormalities such as my own would be thought unusual, but uninteresting. Truth be told, blending in with ordinary Humans hadn't even occurred to me, as, quite frankly, I did not know what an ordinary Human was, save for the biological definition I had gleaned from the Masters back in my old room. The only differences between me and a normal Human, as far as I knew, were my avian and vampiric traits. In my naive mind, I simply assumed that they thought the same way and on the same level as myself.

"Alright, let's get out of here. We need to get rid of those clothes before we do anything else." The boy turned and strode toward the edge of the clearing, leaving me baffled but forcing me to take off at a slight jog to catch up with him before he reached the edge of the forest. Unfortunately for me, my footwork was still off due to my inexperience walking on uneven ground, and I found myself tripping over a small outcropping I had not noticed, and, with a stifled squeak of surprise, fell flat on my face before I had even finished taking my second step. Undeterred, however, I swiftly picked myself up and rushed over to the boy's side, dusting myself off as I did so.

"We'll fly up to that building and look for a... salvation army. I got my clothes from one of those, but in another location," the boy explained rather unsatisfactorily. I had no idea what a salvation army was, or what one looked like, or how I would tell one apart from anything else in the area, so his directions were rather useless to me. I didn't understand. He spoke as though I was supposed to know these things, almost on an instinctive level. Then... it must have had something to do with the Ward, right? That was the main thing we shared in common - being brought up in the Ward - so that seemed to me like the only logical option. Satisfying myself with this deduction, I began to ponder the meaning of those two words, hoping to be of some use to my new protector by finding this army thing he was looking for. A little voice in the back of my mind asked me why I didn't just ask him what he meant, but I silenced it with the justification that I was evidently supposed to know this, and if I showed ignorance in such a manner, I'd no doubt come off to him as stupid. Foolish as it was, I wanted to impress him somehow, to make sure I didn't fail him and give him a reason to reconsider his offer.

Well, when I thought about it, I'd many times in my mental wanderings in the Ward encountered the word "salvation." Each time I did, it always seemed to have a different meaning. Some of the older mutants and the lower ranked scientists seemed to associate it with some sort of universal and apparently very powerful parent known as "God." But, this word, too, seemed to be defined differently each time I ran across it, and it seemed to me preposterous that so many people could share the same parent, especially considering the fact that mutants like us had no families to begin with. I ended up dismissing it as some kind of metaphor, and moved on. In relation to the higher ranking scientists, the word "salvation" had carried a much different connotation. They had referred to their salvation as their complete acquisition of everything they wanted, and the complete control of whatever they wanted. I seriously doubted that this was the right definition of the word, so I dismissed it as well. Lastly, I had stumbled across the word in the minds of mutants like Jude and this boy. To them, salvation was, quite simply, freedom, liberty, and the right to live their lives as they pleased. In short, it meant rescue from the confines of the Ward. This definition seemed the most appropriate, so I moved on to the second word.

"Army." That was a very simple word I had run across often in the minds of all of my Masters, and understood well. The "army" - of which I only knew one - was the organized force of mutants that, led by the Ward, was intended to follow their Masters' will and conquer the world. This word at first seemed to correspond much better with the second definition of salvation than the third, which rather confused me. But, at that point, I remembered something I had once heard, about armies being able to change their commanders. It had been the fear of many of the scientists who worked on us that we would instead serve other Masters than themselves. In that case, perhaps this "Salvation Army" was the army that the Ward had intended to build, turned against it and used instead to fight for the Salvation of those mutants still forced to serve their Masters? Such an organization, I supposed, would surely have some subsection devoted to supplying fellow runaway mutants. Without this vital system, it would surely be rendered powerless, and collapse, would it not? And, I supposed, clothes might be counted amongst the supplies such a resistance movement could provide. But this seemed much too good to be true. Could it really be that this boy who had found me was actually an agent of a secret, underground rebellion, sent to free me from my captors and give to me "salvation?"

In retrospect, I must have gotten something wrong somewhere. Despite the boy's subconscious screening to keep my prying eyes away from his thoughts, I could still understand enough of what he was thinking to know that what he referred to wasn't some kind of underground resistance. Besides, looking back to see where I went wrong, there were several things that were quite impossible about my deduction. First and foremost, why would we be looking for a secret resistance army from the top of a random building? It didn't seem like we would find anything that way. Also, if he was an agent of this secret resistance - or at least knew enough about it to get supplied with clothes - he would have to also know where its base was already, making any such search completely irrelevant. No, much as I would like to believe in this fantasy, there was no organized group of mutants who would help and protect me. I would have to make due with the companion I had.

Motioning for me to follow, the boy skirted the edge of the small wood we were in, then abruptly leaped upward, flapping his wings and shooting up into the night sky through a gap in the tree canopy. Not wanting to be left behind alone, I quickly took a deep breath, braced myself, and then leaped upward, my wings flapping with a strength and a power that belied their small size. In a single fluttering of my diamond-like wingspan, I was in the air, and another stroke propelled me through the trees. Just one more, and I was in the open sky, my puny stature and miniscule weight rendering my abrupt launch almost effortless.

In retrospect, it had been quite difficult at first. To be honest, today was the first day I had ever really, truly flown. In my cell, I had practiced hovering so as not to let my wings atrophy, but once I was free and in the open sky, it had been another matter entirely to work out how to guide myself, and to keep myself from falling. The prospect of flying for any longer than a short glide was still rather frightening to me, meaning it was rather fortunate that the building my guardian had chosen to move to was only a few wingbeats away. Turning myself towards it, I clumsily flapped my radiant, bat-like wings, and managed to set myself on the right course. Another two strokes, and I had reached the roof, my feet finally finding reassuringly flat ground as I stumbled to a standing position, folding my wings once more. Even from that small flight, it was rather evident how clumsy I was, both landing and in flight. I hoped my guardian wouldn't hold it against me, and then turned my mind to some of the questions that still confused me.

"Err... You said I needed to get rid of my clothes... right away, right? W-well, it's kind of cold up here... B-but, if it's important, I could just leave them here." I asked, innocent confusion filling every cadence of my voice as I fiddled with the collar of my jumpsuit, fully unfastening the cloth mask and trying to find out exactly how the jumpsuit fit together, never having needed to remove it before. But, evidently, it was urgent that I abandon the outfit at once, so I sought to comply, blissfully ignorant of the implications of the actions I was trying to commit. To be sure, I had long since known of the differences between the Human sexes, male and female, thanks to the definitions provided me in the minds of the scientists that had surrounded me during the large part of my existence. I even knew how Human reproduction worked, and about the genetic distribution between parents and offspring. All of the biological components made sense to me, but, at that time, I was entirely unaware of there being any sort of social importance to those differences. I simply assumed that everyone understood them from an academic point of view - as that was the only point of view I had ever experienced - and felt no embarrassment or drive in relation to the bodily features of the opposite sex. Consequently, I wasn't in the least reluctant to comply with the rather vague command I had been issued, and, in fact, had no idea that I had misinterpreted it, as my experience showed that such an order could make logical sense under the circumstances, and my lack of any self-conscious prejudice kept me from being dissuaded by a desire for privacy, a word which I did not, in fact, even understand at that point in time. And so, I continued in my search for some buckle or fastener that would allow me to remove the jumpsuit. A few moments of feeling about led me to a zipper located just beneath the buckle on my collar that had used to fasten the gag across my throat, and in an instant, I had pulled it open, separating the mask of sorts I had worn before and dividing my already rather meager clothing to an almost fully revealing point. The only thing that saved my future self from a great deal of humiliation, once I had been informed of what I was doing, was a series of buckles and straps that held the garment together despite the unfastened zipper, and thankfully kept me from removing it due to my rather clumsy hands and lack of manual dexterity.

It was at this point that I felt a great deal of emotions, many of which contradicted each other and equally many were unfamiliar to me. At the same time, I felt a rather piercing pair of black eyes staring directly at me, and so looked up, turning with confusion to face my companion, unaware of the meaning of his stare or his suddenly frantic thoughts.

"A-ah... is something wrong?" I asked nervously. What I really meant was "Did I do something wrong?" but I let that question go unspoken, hoping against hope that the cause of my guardian's worry was not me. But, given the discomforting stare he was giving me, I had a feeling that these hopes were meaningless...

(Sorry for the slight godmod at the end. I'm just kind of assuming, given Marcus' personality, that he will be very, very confused by Eins' complete lack of social understanding or inhibitions, hence the sudden surge of thoughts and the stare I added in. Again, I apologize if this is something you'd rather have me remove. In such a case, I'll comply gladly.)

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Euro Character Portrait: Matthew "Matt" Bernard Character Portrait: Marceline "Marcy" Bernard Character Portrait: Samuel Echtin Character Portrait: Taylor Rice Character Portrait: Michael Character Portrait: Alice
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Euro


Awkward didn’t even begin to cover the atmosphere in the car. I wondered, out of sheer curiosity, if any of them were feeling claustrophobic. I knew what it was like, coming from the Ward, and then getting freedom. Everything with plausible amounts of space was welcoming. Everything with barely any space was terrifying. Hopefully, these kids were tougher than that.

As I’d requested, Sam had taken a seat next to me up front, while the rest of the kids had piled in the back. Taylor had slipped into the backseat with an awkward look on her face, and in an attempt to reassure her, I said, “You did a great job Taylor. So long as she isn’t bleeding as much as before, we’ve got more time.”

I wasn’t going to lie. It was crowded in here. The addition of our wings, all of various widths and lengths were another thing to take into consideration. If I’d just let my wings out loose enough, I’d be touching the tip of Sam’s shoulder. Therefore, I kept them plastered tightly against my back. I was uncomfortable having anyone but Solo touch my wings. Years of countless experiments and pain had made me impossibly frightened of situations with the involvement of someone besides me or Solo touching my wings.

My hands were firm on the steering wheel; while I had no driver’s license, I’d had plenty of practice in my early days of escape.

Something had been bothering me, pricking the back of my mind constantly, since we’d started driving.

“Kids,” I said, sighing, “There’s no way they aren’t going to call the FBI out on you guys…just…be careful…”

Well, I’d totally chickened out of what I was originally going to say. I’d been mustering up the courage to tell them I’d be ditching them after the girl was safely checked in but…I couldn’t do that. No one knows that way an adult knows the feeling of looking a kid in the eye and shamelessly telling them that you wouldn’t be there with them. I mean, personally, before this, I’d never done something like that. But I’d seen it plenty of times in movies.

I sighed again, focusing on the road ahead of me. I could already see the peak of the hospital’s roof, and was quickly beginning to feel the familiar anxiety build up within me.

“We’re nearly there, guys.”

Matthew


I stared at the careful wrap that Taylor’d made out of Marce’s blood soaked sweater. It seemed to be holding up, something I was thankful for. In a car with three guys, a woman was always useful. My mouth twisted at my own sexist joke, before I turned my face down to look at Marce. She looked so beat up. Her hair, which was usually already messily tied up, was clearly and obviously knotted now. Poor kid. She’s have a total drama session trying to untangle it when she woke up.

“We’re nearly there, guys.” Euro’s voice interrupted my thoughts.

Ew, the hospital. The second most dreaded place on my list of most dreaded places. I knew the moment we arrived we’d be hit with the scent of heavy chemicals. I’m not sure how to describe what the drive was like. Long, boring, antagonizing, irritating, upsetting…I could go on but I won’t.

I just knew the moment we arrived, I wanted to turn tail and run. We hadn’t reached the transparent set of double doors yet, and I was already able to smell the high, disgusting, fear inducing scent of disinfectant, hear the various conversations of random people talking about their relatives, or friends, or acquaintances, and the conditions they were in.

A few of them gave me peculiar looks. In order to hide Marce’s wing, I’d stuffed it under my own sweater. It looked like I was a pregnant man, walking with his accident ridden sister to get treated for insanity. Jeez.

I couldn’t help but notice that Euro’d donned his hood, and was pointedly looking down. Away from the cameras I guessed. We didn’t really know anything about Euro. Heck, we didn’t know anything about each other. But hey, we’re all the same peas in one pod. How bad could we be?

Everything went by in a flash. You’d think there’d be more detail to what we did, but really it was simple. Marce was in critical condition, and from the moment she arrived, she was sent into emergency. The rest of us were guided to the waiting room, save Euro who was called upon several times, by several nurses to speak with the doctor taking care of Marce. I could only guess why (cue sarcasm). I was called in once; for a blood transfusion. By the time I arrived back in the waiting room everything was fuzzy, and I was feeling gosh darn tired.

Plopping myself down on a soft, plush like chair, I tried to deliver a report to Taylor and Sam, “She’s doin all right. Doctor says ‘s gonna be a few weeks before she can return to normal health.”

Weeks in our case probably translated to days.

I was quite for a moment, before a few other questions struck my mind, “Where are you guys from, by the way? I mean, a Ward I would guess, but you guys got any specific directions on you? Any places you were supposed to be heading? Any plans of your own…?”

As hazy as I was, I was still tense. Everything was so…disgusting, and uncomfortable here. I could never fathom how a normal humans, patients included, could stand to be here, much less sleep here.

As I questioned them, I completely overlooked one very important detail: Euro had disappeared.

Marceline


”Hello?” I called out. No one replied. It was dark where I was. And we all know how well birds do in the dark. You know, unless I’d been my brother, or had owl blood (hoot, hoot).

My lips pursed as I blindly felt my way through wherever I was. The things I touched. They felt like prickly bushes and thorns, and I silently prayed for me to regain my sight. Everything was so dark. Everything was so lonely.

And there was a pain. An indescribable pain piercing my left wing.

I wandered for while. Nothing but silence. The wandering seemed to last forever.

And that’s when I heard them. Or rather, I knew they were coming with no other more specific forewarning. Sharp, snapping teeth, glistening white in the dark, with outspread wings, bigger and more agile than mine. They followed me through what I now assumed to be trees, dipping and diving and cackling like maniacs. I couldn’t achieve flight here. My wings, they were too thick to properly snap out in the crowd of the bushes and trees.

Instead I ran towards it. A beautiful light that split the forest in half. And when I arrived there, when I arrived at that entrance, I found the most beautiful thing in existence. A wide, outstretched field of healthy green grass, with the clear blue sky as its overseer.

Knowing this was my chance, I snapped my wings out…I snapped…my wings…

Where were my wings? The hung limp by my side. I couldn’t feel them. And they were coming. All of a sudden things were going faster. I just kept running and running, and trying and trying, but my wings refused to budge.

And then they descended on me. They hissed and jabbed me with electric sticks, sending me to the ground. And when finally I was subdued, one took a long silver knife out from its pocket, covering my eyes with one grisly, smelly hand.

And all I could feel was the sharp, protruding pain of that knife cutting into my wings.


Alice


"How may I be of service, sir?" The “Michael” had arrived. He was calm and collected when he slipped into our room, quickly assessing the presence of all who was there. I felt him glance over me once, but I couldn’t be sure of it.

My father seemed to be having an icy stare down with the Vampire.

“Mike,” he said innocently, hidden venom dripping from every word, “How good to see one of my most successful Vampires again. I have a special job for you, lad. I want you to take care of this here girl. Alice, stand up,”

Gunther commanded me with the same terrifying disposition he had used earlier, and I immediately snapped out of my seat.

“You,” he said, once again addressing Michael, “Will take care of her and teach her the way of human beings. Make sure she successfully integrates herself into the human populace. And if you can do so, we’ll see about further promotions within the Ward.”

My father smiled in a way that could only be described as “evilly” before cutting off the video chat.

I turned to Mike. Not a word was uttered around the table, and for a while I simply assessed my new caretaker.

Sighing (who knew I was capable of it) I said in a monotonous voice, “You were assigned to “babysit” me as father has thought of it on so many occasions. So I will listen to you, and understand from you the ways of people.”

Once again the room was silent. A coughing Vampire, the same one who’d contacted Mike, spoke up, “Maybe you should take her somewhere, Mike.” He suggested, “Get started on the whole teaching her to be normal thing. Gunther’s kept her locked up for most of her life. She doesn’t know anything.”

“No to mention,” A female scientist intervened, “she’s only a year or so.”

“A year and six months,” I corrected. While I deterred to show it, I was actually seething on the inside. If hate is the right emotion, then, I hated it when they spoke of me as though I wasn’t there. As though I was just come pawn on a chessboard.

Standing stoically still, I patiently awaited Mike’s response. Surely he would think up some activity to keep me entertained.

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Gunther was careful, just as Mike was. He appeared to be just an ordinary scientist, but he was far from it. Gunther was a mad man, a lunatic with an army. There was never a more dangerous person in the world. Mike knew Gunther was onto him. Gunther knew about Mike's new found intelligence, free will even. He gripped his power, ready to use it at any moment. Things used to be much simpler years ago. Mike was only instructed to kill, or die trying. Everything made sense. Now he worried about the lives of others, he hated his role in life. He was constantly worried about a knife in the back, an act in which Gunther was poised to do.

“How good to see one of my most successful Vampires again. I have a special job for you, lad. I want you to take care of this here girl. Alice, stand up,” Gunther motioned to Alice, his voice cold, angry even. Mike could feel Gunthers distaste for everyone in the room. Even the new comer. He hated his creations, all of them. Mike's hands were clasped together behind his back. He listened, still in his half asleep demeanor.

“You,” he said, once again addressing Michael, “Will take care of her and teach her the way of human beings. Make sure she successfully integrates herself into the human populace. And if you can do so, we’ll see about further promotions within the Ward.” It was quite disappointing, because Mike didn't want to move up in command. He just wanted all of the death to stop.

One of Mike's fellow Vampires offered advice, and intel. To which Mike nodded his head once, and showed him the door quietly. Mike rubbed the back of his neck. Mike would give anything to sit down for a while, and have a nice read. Still he had work to do. Mike would never rest so long as he was still alive.

One of Mike's eyebrows llifted up when The female scientist said Alice was only a year old. Oh... that Alice. Well This should prove interesting. Mike rubbed his eyes once. He looked towards the door, then back to Alice. His posture was relaxed again. His eyes still giving nothing away. "First thing's first, do you prefer to be called Alice? You may call me Michael, or Mike if you'd like to." Mike presented the first question. It was designed to show Alice that he cared about her opinion. Mike wasn't anything like Gunther. There would be change in the air.

"If you'd follow me, I think a walk is in order. After all, you must've traveled a long way." Mike casually added the last part. If he could find out where Gunther was hiding, Mike could provide some leverage in the scenario that he was back stabbed by his masters. Mike opened the door for The scientist, and Alice. Motioning with a worn and scarred hand.