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Metempsychosis [Worm]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by JBukharin, May 7, 2020.

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  1. Threadmarks: 0: Placidity
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Chapter 0: Placidity


    Five minutes left for class to end.


    There wasn’t much to do in that little time span but offer some partial attention to the newest lecture about World Issues. Mr. Gladly was happily giving some tales related to personal experience and knowledge about the importance of the Capes. My fingers twitched, twirling the small black pen that was by now hovering over the doodled paper.


    Having already taken all notes necessary from the real part of the lesson, there was no reason to keep writing down the silly tales coming from the teacher. Mr. Gladly wasn’t terrible, in fact he was one of the most ‘normal’ teachers that this school had among its staff.


    The real issue was… personal. And subjective.


    While many would find the individual lovely with his charismatic ways and his cultural baggage accumulated from years of studying parahumans, I couldn’t help but see him on a different light, one characterized by what could’ve been his previous attitude towards the world.


    Beyond the friendly exterior of “Mr. G”, I could feel like he strutted fairly cocky despite his amicable tones. Terribly so considering how he would always end up rallying a small group of students to flaunt around his own knowledge and his contacts. In most cases, the large majority of this group was formed by people that I really didn’t feel strongly about.


    Twenty minutes to twelve; just five minutes left before class was over.


    It’s been a while since I had envisioned him as one of those ‘popular guys’ back during his youth, yet I hadn’t truly tried to verify his this claim was correct or not. Would it be correct to inquire about his past? Perhaps even gaining a little ounce of respect towards the teacher. Maybe he had some good-willed seriousness that he was just keeping for himself and those he trusted… or maybe he was just an outright jerk that was decent in keeping a facade born from niceties.


    In the end, I really didn’t care much about this very case… but I did end up glancing around my shoulders while starting to place my notebook back to my schoolbag and I noticed an unpleasant stare on me. Madison Clements was sitting two rows on the left and two seats back from my chair. A smirk was plastered on her lips, a mischievous undertone that did nothing to reassure my current nervousness over the uneasy possibilities that would rouse from that devious display.


    I looked back to my desk as I was done settling the notebook in an attempt to clear my mind. Stare at the wearied wood while tapping softly at it seemed to work wonders from how relaxed by breathing was. The thoughts born from that silent interaction slowly turned my mind cold as I realized that today wasn’t going to be a nice day for me.


    “I think it’s about time I wrap up,” Mr. Gladly said with a slightly dismayed tone, drawing some saddened reactions from the students listening to him. “Sorry, guys, but there is some homework for the weekend. I want you all to provide your own thoughts about Capes and the impact they have on our society. On Monday there will be a test which will see you divided in groups to express your own input over the subject. The winner will receive some treats from the vending machine, I will personally pay.”


    Some cheering ensued, but it wasn’t as well-spread as the teacher had seemed hopeful about. And I was confused by his own perplexity over the matter. While this little reward system would’ve done magic to gain the attention from some elementary school kids, the same couldn’t be attained with people of my age. While the school was nice and well-furbished with proper equipment and decent food by the cafeteria… the vending machines didn’t offer much to find those a good ‘reward’.


    But while I was keen to merely sigh at this little announcement, I spotted someone making their way towards me. Emma Barnes had a pretty smile on her face as she passed by my desk, pausing just a moment to lower her gaze on me. She gave a blink.


    “Wanna partner up?”


    I snorted, shaking my head in visible amusement as the beautiful redhead took a seat by her chair… beside me. Emma was one of the few students that strayed from the stereotypical system of cliques within high school. Curvy, very gorgeous, but most of it all… affectionate.


    It was unusual for someone of her ‘standing’ to be showing such a friendly mannerism around ‘someone like me’. It was odd, but maybe not that much considering that we had been friends for a long time. Childhood friends at that.


    From kindergarten up to now, we had been always quite close to another. It was still common tradition to visit each other at our households during the weekends, but nowadays we spent this free time either making up for some issues with school-related projects or even doing some early homework sessions.


    It was nice to know that I wasn’t truly alone in that complicated place, but I was also wary of the double-edged nature of Emma’s natural beauty. While she had more than once refused to join the Duo in their little group of popular girls, her standing was still regarded as one of the most sought among fellow male students.


    Which would see it as a good reason to single me out whenever possible. To be notice by the pretty girl. The redhead was well-aware of this situation. She had lashed out at any aggressor more than once, her words cutting deeply in their amusement. It was a relieving spectacle for sure, but one that would also prelude to some retaliation over the humiliation.


    The bullies weren’t going away, especially with how ‘tame’ some of their pranks were. No violence, no punches and kicks. They were well-aware of the strict rules about any violent escalations. So they limited their actions to ‘simple’ harassment. It wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t certainly going to call the situation idyllic.


    With the lesson coming to an end, Emma and I proceeded to make our way with the rest of the classroom back to the cafeteria. Once more, I pondered over why would a school allow an hour to be divested in that pause. Sure, lunch was an important meal for students, but a full hour was just a wasteful mismanagement of the school’s schedule.


    Still, the redhead was glad to have that much of free time to invest in some conversation. She was the starter of any discussion, with her chatty nature making it somewhat entertaining to imagine what kind of topic she would use to begin the usual round of talks.


    We were alone by the small table in the cafeteria. Most of the students had formed larger group and left none to wander alone out of their usual circles.


    “Have you considered changing your hairstyle?”


    The question had been the catalyst, yet it wasn’t as unique as I had hoped for it to be. But there wasn’t much to do over the lack of various subjects that we could find common ground about.


    “Why?” I inquired back, sounding fairly interested over this specific query.


    “Your hair is getting long again.” Her eyes trailed at my dark hair, almost tempted to reach out for some of the locks. “And I can see that it’s fairly messy. You should pay a little more attention to your appearance.”


    I blinked. Confusion stirred with surprise at that comment. It wasn’t the first time Emma had offered some advice over making steps in changing my current appearance. She had already suggested alternatives over the use of glasses, but I had been quick to remind her that my green eyes weren’t just receptive about contact lens.


    She offered me to go with her to the mall for a quick shopping spree, to which I was forced to refuse out of uneasiness over going through the lengthy process of getting some new clothes. While I knew that her concern over this matter was legitimate, I didn’t see much of a problem over the fact I was wearing a dark-brown hoodie and a pair of black pants.


    The concerns were mostly tied to the fact that my overall fashion style screamed about ‘Nerd’, or ‘target’ for the simple minds of some of the bullies. I didn’t reject this thought, but I preferred to be comfy than to be ‘trendy’.


    Yet the real problem behind this little interest of her to see me take steps in ‘updating myself’ was correlated to another topic which I wasn’t keen to discuss with anyone. Emma was a nice friend, but one that failed to hide the fact that she wanted to see me finally scoring a ‘success’ with some girl.


    She was supportive for any initial situations that would see me drawn to a girl from school. It was rare nowadays considering that most weren’t willing to come close to me but-


    She still tried. Which proved how much of a friend she was by then offering some movie nights or other activities to soften the ‘blow’. I wasn’t distraught by any of these experience, just demoralized bit by bit the more this situation persisted. The redhead offered as much support as she could afford to, without making any drastic actions that I would deem unpleasant.


    But my predicament was the opposite of Emma’s own issue. She had ranks of guys trying to gain her attention, but none had yet to genuinely try to know her better. They all cared for Emma the model, than Emma the gorgeous lady with a good heart and mind too.


    It was maddening how forward and annoying some would get, and there had been plenty of occasions where I had to move and help her out of some unpleasant situations. She was happy when I would offer support, but she was also good at hide her relative sadness with the lack of proper ‘boyfriend materials’.


    “Maybe I can help you with that,” Emma suggested with a giddy look, “I’ve been following some instructions videos that explained how to properly cut hair and, I promise I will not make any messes.”


    I cracked a small smile. “It would be impressive if you managed to make a mess bigger than the current one.”


    Her lips twitched in clear amusement, but comfortable silence ensued shortly after as we both started to pick up our respective lunches. While the girl was happily humming while staring at her lettuce with some tomato slices, I frowned at the brown bag that I had been left to take earlier that morning.


    Emma noticed, her blue eyes narrowing at the mysterious bag. A question was more than a must now.


    “Your father?”


    I merely nodded at it. I knew too well the difference between the food prepared by mom and those prepared by dad. While one would spend more than a couple of minutes to make a substantial meal, the latter would just make sandwiches.


    Despite the fact the sandwiches were delicious, I preferred mom’s cuisine from dad. Danny Hebert was a simple man with many things to worry about because of his work. Annette Hebert was an English Teacher to one of the colleges around Brockton Bay, but she still managed to find harmony between this burden and her skills in the kitchen.


    But just as I took out the medium-sized sandwich out of the brown bag, I noticed a shadow looming by my side. I glanced slowly, my eyes taking a guarded shine as I noticed whom had come to our table.


    Madison Clemens was a late bloomer. Someone that had just enough adorableness within her petite frame that just made her stray away from the standard stereotypical appearance one would imagine on a popular girl. But what many could consider like a cute doll-like complex, I just found it to be a childish frame that just matched with her pettiness.


    “Emma, bug,” The girl greeted tightly, her saccharine-filled tone driving a sour and bitter emotion in my stomach. “Can I take a seat here?”


    The redhead frowned annoyingly at the little insult directed at me. She glanced to my face, perhaps hoping to find it a good reason to retaliate to the fellow popular girl. I was placid. Having been subjected to this kind of insults for so long now, I really didn’t care. Which in turn translated in a calm expression settled on my face while I took the first bite out of my lunch.


    “No.”


    Emma’s refusal was met with a sigh. It sounded chiding. It gained a scowl on the redhead’s face. But still, the petite girl didn’t seem to care, nor listen to the answer as she still took one of the free chairs for herself. Silence ensued, this time turning unpleasant as the tension within the table just increased with this petty action.


    I was still calm about the matter, but not because I thought that Madison had good intentions over this unexpected activity. I knew that the malicious intent was still there. But what motivated the petite girl to pursue such an aggressive and antagonistic mannerism toward me was the very girl she was defying.


    Emma had rejected the friendship offer by Madison. And so the brunette failed in her early plan to form a trio together with her and Sophia Hess, another one of the popular girls in Winslow High School. The reason behind this fail was correlated to the fact that mere instances before she had asked her this offer, I had been belittled and insulted by the late bloomer.


    The redhead had disliked that very detail a lot. Enough to spurn a glacial rejection over the ‘friendly manners’ of the brunette. But instead of seeing the issue rooted on her foul personality, Madison easily saw the problem in me. I was the sole obstacle for her to erect a ‘formidable group’.


    Sophia, which had merely followed the brunette around for the sake of seeing what kind of person Emma was, ended up annoyed by my presence too. Just not by Madison’s own reasons. In the dark-haired girl’s mind, I was the essence of everything that was weak. And Sophia seemingly has a big hatred for weak people.


    And while Madison continued to silently and smugly stare at us, having nothing do except to look at us with odd patience within her eyes., I felt a couple of shadows hover above me.


    I tensed up, swiftly trying to turn around and call out the culprit. But it was too late. I felt two of the guys push their hands on my back. My face was forcibly slammed on the texture of the table, with the bug containing what was left of my sandwich getting crushed by my chest.


    “Now,” Madison called out with a gleeful tone, and before Emma had the chance to intervene, I felt a large quantity of liquid fall onto my body.


    It was cold, it was unpleasant as it seeped in my clothes and I could feel a sickly-sweet smell coming from the unknown mixture that was now drenching my entire body. It was a mix of various soda drinks. I could smell some cranberry juice, some grape too and- Soon, it reached my face and my eyes. My sight burning, intensifying my struggles through that deplorable humiliation.


    There were cheers, there were gasps of surprise and shock. But soon the entire cafeteria went silent as numerous teachers rushed to the cause of the commotion. The bullies scrambled quickly, dropping unceremoniously on the group the big tray that had been used to move around the liquid over my head.


    I couldn’t see, with Emma trying to help by offering me her handkerchief to clean my eyes but the sensation wasn’t just subsiding. Before I had the chance of properly shriek at the painful experience, to explode in the most inglorious of ways against my attackers, I felt a hand reach out and pat my back.


    “Ms. Barnes,” A feminine voice whispered tensely, I could recognize it being Mrs. Knott. “You should probably help Mr. Hebert back to the infirmary. It seems like a serious issue. Go now.”


    Her last words were filled with worry, but the redhead seemed to spring in action as she carefully helped me stand up and move through the cafeteria, my sight still blinded by the burning liquid.


    I felt nervous, I felt furious but… most of it all.


    This all sounded so familiar for some reason.


    ------------d-d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-d---------------d-d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d-d----------


    AN


    To perfectly describe the big picture: Some big mistakes were made.


    Quick notice: I don’t think I will fix a proper updating schedule for this story. Writing this chapter took me a while as I decided to try and replicate the style used in the original Web Serial. And yes, this is a pseudo-AU where Taylor is a guy, Emma is still his best friend, and Annette Hebert is still alive.


    Now you will ask: “What is really going on?” And the only thing I can say is Taylor (aka Khepris) might have done a little deal with the Devil. And this timeline is kind of Blursed.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  2. Stormbringer117

    Stormbringer117 Soulless

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    Metempsychosis: noun - the supposed transmigration at death of the soul of a human being or animal into a new body of the same or a different species.

    So basically this is a body-switching Alt Power/AU fic.

    That's a fairly strong premise, let's see where this goes...
     
  3. corndogman

    corndogman Journeyman Munchkin

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    Did you deliberately put the whole chapter in twice?
     
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  4. JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Not deliberately. I really have a serious problem with my mouse and... it tends to right click when I left click. I had to rewrite a couple of old drafts because of that crap. Now it's all fixed.
     
    RazielofSecrets and Grimmouse197 like this.
  5. Dragonpriest88

    Dragonpriest88 *Prostrates Self*

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    I have seen no evidence here that Taylor gives good hugs, this must be rectified posthaste! I demand hugs!
     
    JBukharin likes this.
  6. Threadmarks: Corroboration 1.1
    JBukharin

    JBukharin Signer of the Totalist Charter

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    Corroboration 1.1


    The quick check up by the infirmary confirmed some unpleasant worries I’d been having while I was being led to the head-nurse. While no lasting damage has been inflicted at my eyes, my clothes had been stained by the disgusting mix of fruit juices. I was provided with some towels to clean up my drenched hair and face, but there was nothing that anyone could’ve done in that moment to salvage my clothes. The violet and the red had darkened the brown and the blue, turning both hoodie and pants in darkened versions of their usual selves.


    The bus ride back home was a quiet one. Emma had taken a seat beside mine, looking quite sympathetic but rather silent over my current mood. I was annoyed, but not angry. I was still uneasy over the fact that the girl had been so accepting of skipping the afternoon classes over this predicament… but I was still glad that she was there to keep me company.


    This wasn’t the first time that I was forced to deal with these pranks. It was always the same since the first day of school. Professors knew about it, and acted the best they could without ‘shaking the boat too much’.


    I could understand their point. I really could. But words hardly mattered when I was forced to deal with the harassment without even a chance of moral retribution. A year and a half, it’s been so long since I’d started studying at Winslow High School. Every day was… memorable. Unique pranks, all meant to be cruel just in the right note and before turning outright assaults.


    Emma had always been there to offer help where she could. And it wasn’t just in High School. The girl had been a pillar since elementary school, someone to lean on and trust to offer some of my thoughts when I felt the need to talk to someone. Yet the support had been mutual when there were times when the redhead herself was forced to deal with unpleasant situations.


    I’d been there for her as much as she had been there for me. A deep friendship that I couldn’t help but treasure as one of my greatest gems.


    Glancing to the side, I noticed that the girl was currently holding close to her chest both my backpacks and hers. Much to my immense relief none of the foul content had spilled onto my bag, thus saving several notebooks, textbooks and two novels from utter destruction. There was also my art project, safely kept inside the small box in which I put it in.


    The situation was quite annoying, but so far not the worst to be dealing with. Especially since I would’ve now need to explain why my clothes were damaged in such way to my parents without creating any issues out of that talk. While dad was a little more understanding over the circumstances that saw my hands tied over the case, mom was… quite stubborn with her morality. If there was something that was wrong, especially with the kind of work she was mostly accustomed to, she would go on a fiery march to see the problems solved ‘properly’.


    A gentle woman, someone that had plenty of wisdom and tales about her own experiences that she would eagerly share when asked about her past. While many things were still unknown to me, I’d quite a clear understanding of how both mom and dad had met each other and how they had become the people that were now.


    “Are you sure that you’re not angry?”


    The question pierced through my musings. I glanced again at Emma, the redhead blinking and offering me a tentative look. She wanted to help as she could see that I still had some foul thoughts over the matter. The girl just knew when I wasn’t just ‘over’ a bad instance, and she would push onward to try and crack onto my temporary shells born from coping with it.


    “I’m… not,” I slowly answered, taking a moment to avert my stare away at her pressuring blue orbs. “I’m just… thinking about something else.”


    It wasn’t a genuine lie. While my general annoyance was originating from the prank, the overall sourness was driven up by something a little more complicated to explain to someone else without being instantly called out as a madman. Something that transcended a little bit the usual range of daily problems that I would end up facing along my path.


    Something that was somehow connected to the fact that the prank felt… familiar. As if it had happened already before. Which shouldn’t technically be possible since I would’ve remembered something so unforgettable, but somehow I couldn’t just remember it.


    The worst part of this realization? This wasn’t the first time I ‘remembered’ an event which I wasn’t actually present by. In fact, the first time when this phenomenon had happened was right… as I unlocked my powers.


    It happened a little before going to High School, and it all started out from a missed trip.


    Nature camp was something that I’d wanted to visit for months, and I remember having made numerous plans over the various stops within that trip. I wanted to see that beautiful place, to see the nature that wasn’t there in Brockton Bay. There was enough money, the timing was just correct as it was meant to begin by the first days of July and-


    I didn’t go after a curious talk I’d spared with Emma.


    Sure, it was just plain odd to halt all the plans that have been made over such an important travel because of a mere discussion, but the reasons that truly drove me to stay at home was more related to some topics brought up in that conversation.


    He could remember two details triggering some alarms inside his head, with the first one being related to the fact that redhead had received some work offers by an agency located by the docks, and the second one being the unpleasant night walks she would’ve to take to return back home after the work was done.


    It had sounded oddly worrying. It was just ‘enough’ to keep me from going for the trip. Emma was surprised herself, but she seemed happy that I would keep her company during these walks.


    Things were supposed to go smoothly. I’d thought of those ‘flashes’ to be just some silly sparks of paranoia, trying to get me to worry senselessly about someone that was strong enough to keep her own from some petty thug. Despite her frame suggesting more of a ‘model-based’ work, which was mostly true, the redhead had studied a little bit of martial arts in the past for the sake of having some means to defend herself.


    It was appalling to even consider anything worse to happen. Brockton Bay might have some criminal gangs, but there was a noticeable presence of the Protectorate within the city. The parahumans, both Heroes and Villains, were always keeping the status quo. And not many were keen to break that peaceful scene imposed by that lack of villainous deed committed in crowded sections of the city.


    But the instance Emma was supposed to go through would make her seem vulnerable. And that meant running into people a little beyond the standard mugger. I was unsure how much it would’ve helped my presence in this case, but back then I was certain that my mere presence alone would’ve dissuaded any attacks… on the basis that there were two people instead of one.


    A silly concept that subsequently proved to be wrong. Deadly so. In fact, I would even say that the first hints that this idea was possibly the dumbest possible was the punch slamming on my face, and the kick on my ribs from some masked grunts. The group had matching full suit, and most of their faces were covered in masks that seemed to closely resemble… those born from Japanese mythology.


    Oni. I almost frowned at the confusing theme, but the pain back then had rid me of the chance of make logical thoughts of the matter. I was on the ground, bleeding. My brain was buzzing furiously to try and plan up a way out for the two of us. I could hear some chuckles behind the masks. Some were still giving me attention while a few were already approaching on Emma.


    She was holding her ground, but her panicked look as she looked down at me- I felt close to hyperventilate. I- I couldn’t do anything. Getting up? I was going to get killed, thus invalidating any attempt to save the girl. Lying down? Defeat the entire purpose of doing something else other than staying put.


    My breathing was ragged, desperate even. I needed to do something. They were approaching her. Some had their guns and blades prepared. Why? What were they trying to do with this? Why there were so many?


    Why now?


    WHY-



    I blinked. My brain burned at the thought. It was mine- but it wasn’t. I gulped, my saliva failing to help with my dry throat as I tried to make sense of this- this image.



    No. Nonononono. This is not happening. This couldn’t be the case. It just couldn’t. I’m- These criminals were looking so ready to kill. But why- and what I should do? What I can do against them when I’m this worthless. I can’t move, my body was still reeling from the few hits that disposed of me.


    I was tired. My mind was buzzing so fiercely, so urgently.



    This final thought was what made things happen. It was so… strange. So confusing. So… liberating.


    It was like I was releasing a burden. Letting go of a restriction that I always had up until that very moment. I could feel the buzzing in my brain growing soothing. I could see dark smoke-like forms suddenly rush at the unsuspecting criminals. Their screams would soon fill the street as the immediate presence of so many little insects crawling around them was enough to shock them into inability.


    Some trying to move around, but none was able to throw off the swarm. They slowly fell on the ground. The stressing sight forced them unconscious, their panic serving as the final tool of their ‘defeat’.


    Emma stared at the scene with morbid curiosity, her wide eyes displaying shock and some fear at the sight of so many bugs rushing to her rescue. She was silent, yet her stare slowly turned at me as… I was kneeling at that point. I couldn’t remember moving, perhaps it was the rush of adrenaline that had pushed me into that position.


    “I’m sorry,” I blurted out without thinking too much about it. Was it guilt? Was it worry? I couldn’t remember it properly.


    I was crying, my tears were just flowing despite my incapacity to understand what was going on. The memory still bruising my tired mind as I imagined the unthinkable, the horrible. The most unforgivable mistake I could’ve been pulled in that very moment. The swarm scattered shortly after, and the buzzing returned back with a painful fashion.


    Drained. I was… I was drained. My mind grow more fuzzier at that point, and I only remembered someone kicking me from behind, their leg slamming on the back of my head. The concrete tasted as ‘crunchy’ as I’d thought it to be. I couldn’t even remember much of the following week. My head was just hurting and I could barely distinguish people visiting my room.


    I could recognize mom’s and dad’s voices. I could recognize Emma sitting close and crying about what had happened. I remember dad mentioning that she had been skipping some of her model interviews for the sake of being nearby for when I would’ve woken up.


    The rest of the visitors mostly were doctor, yet I was sure that there were some individuals that weren’t. It was a recurring nightmare to imagine a figure standing at the edge of my bed. They were donning a dark hockey mask, a camouflaged robe with a hood on. In their hands what seemed to be a crossbow.


    They were only staring. It was tense, and it was silent. It was angry, and it was annoyed.


    I paused in my remembrance as I felt someone tapping at my shoulders. I felt my attention returning back to the present. Emma was looking at me with a quizzical look, in her hands the little notebook I’d kept hidden within the bag. I felt my eyes widen up at her discovery, slightly irritated by it considering what she was looking at.


    “Didn’t you say that you didn’t want to be a hero?” The redhead inquired curiously, her blue eyes darting briefly at some of the sketches I’ve had drawn there. Some were… concepts. Ideas that were- felt mine, but I sure hadn’t put much thought behind it. Three designs, each having some merits and flaws.


    “I don’t want to,” I replied weakly. While I’d no intention of donning a cape and making any risky attempts at a superhero career, I still decided to go through and try to emulate the ‘images’ that would once in a while appear while I was asleep.


    I was still unsure how my powers worked, yet the progress made in trying to mix things up among the three models created quite the interesting sight. The process was surprisingly quicker than I expected it being. After spending two months worth of free time alone by the basement to get the costume working, with experiments to test the theoretical effects of the armor built, I could say that I had a super-suit.


    The Spider-Silk had been difficult to recover at first, but I decided to follow up one of the strangest routines possible. Breeding spiders wasn’t something I had been actually interested about up until I had realized that there weren’t many in Brockton Bay.



    Located in the Northeast of the United States, the city had a cold weather most of the year that rendered the survival of spiders incredibly difficult to achieve. Thus I had to step in and make some careful programming for their breeding schedule. It was… enlightening to discover how the ‘order’ had to be sent.


    The primal instinct that swelled in a chorus ended up being an awkward sensation to listen while I was trying my best to go through my routine back home. But the results had been positive, and in the end I got plenty of costume spinners that carefully worked their way in weaving a proper bodysuit and sections to house the next step of my costume-building project.


    Making the armored spots was a little bit… crude. Making use of some of the insects’ exoskeletons to create some composite structure around the suit proved to be morally doubtful. And it was pretty awkward to consider I was feeling bad about bugs. Still, they were my bugs.


    After weeks of philosophical thoughts over the worth of my little minions, I ended up creating enough material to cover all the planned sections of the costume, even the back of the head. The resulting product proved to be a masterwork. Resilient to blades, I ended up trying out the defensive prowess of the armored plaques and… nothing short of wire cutters seemed to work against those. I had to put some extra strength to get it to bend and break, but I was fairly sure I had succeeded in creating a light-weight and flexible armor for a superhero.


    In the end of this difficult process, I ended up with a super-suit… and plenty of doubts over the fact I really needed to get myself a life. The issue about this tiring endeavor? I had no reason to have a super-suit. At least, not for active capes’ duty. I just built it to… prove something to myself. What exactly… I wasn’t sure of. It was all confusing.


    I didn’t tell anyone about these ‘flashes’. The strange memories, the sudden words and thoughts. It felt familiar and foreign at the same time. It was just too awkward, too… related to madness. And I really didn’t need to receive that kind of attention from people. I knew it wasn’t insanity, there was no reason for it to be that. Yet it was there, constantly ‘reminding’ me of things that I have yet to see, experience- things that didn’t exist to begin with.


    I tried to distract myself by thinking about heroes. The Protectorate was known to pay handsomely and I knew that a career as a superhero was the dream of many people trying to get powers. But I really wasn’t trying to go through that path. I had plenty of problems keeping the costume a secret from both mom and dad. Plus I didn’t have the time and the optimal chance of going for that line of work.


    “Those sketches are good,” Emma persisted with some interest. “At least I know that I can hire you as my fashion designer.”


    I blinked at that offer. “There are better people for that kind of job-”


    “But there is only one Taylor Hebert,” She rebuked quickly and with a smile pending by her lips. “And I’m not letting you go just yet, buster.”


    A snort came from me. I shook my head at her clear attachment to me, which was accentuated by the fact she was straddling at my arm. If before the assault we’ve been close friends, I think the situation had intensified with the close call we both had. The redhead had stuck around even in those moments where I was thrown in the worst of my moods.


    “Also, I think we should get off now,” The girl continued with some seriousness, carefully pushing me to stand up as she got off from her own seat. “We’ve arrived.”


    The bus had just stopped a block away from home. It would be a little walk to reach the house, one where people were possibly going to notice the state in which my clothes were. Rather unpleasant, but unavoidable considering that the next stop would’ve been farther than the one there.


    With a grim outlook with what I was going to be subjected into, I found solace on the fact that Emma had slipped her arm around mine, helping me take a proper pace as we stepped out of the vehicle and into the street.


    The gawking, the curious stares, the disappointed sighs from the various people in the crowded roads washed away as the redhead pressed me to swiftly move away from the sight. We marched quickly on the sidewalk, arriving at the house pretty quickly.


    Stopping by the entrance, I spared the girl a glance. “You know that if there’s mom, she will-”


    “I prefer your mother than to my parents,” She answered quickly and determinedly, “Plus, you wouldn’t leave me out now, would you?”


    The redhead tried to sound pouty, yet her tiny smile pleading for my acceptance made it clear that she knew how things were going to end up into. And I quickly conceded her passage, knowing that if Alan Barnes learned that his daughter had skipped school because of me, it would be another can of worms I really didn’t want to open.


    And so, a happy-looking Emma spearheaded for any sight of occupants at home, at least offering me some warnings for anyone in there. If it had been dad, things would’ve been easier to manage but… if it was mom, things would surely turn complicated once again.


    With her silent gesturing directing me to quickly rush to the bathroom, I did so with a mere nod. As I was inside, I locked the door closed and proceeded to remove my clothes near to the bathtub. While most of those had dried up during the bus ride and walk, I didn’t hesitate in throwing them in a laundry hamper before entering the tub.


    A quick bath, one that was meant to just get the ‘grape flavor’ off my skin and hair. It was a refreshing couple of minutes that made me think once more about the Duo’s actions and their vehemence with their dislike.



    Actually no, I wasn’t- thinking of that. Sure, they weren’t by all means nice but- Wait, Trio?


    I realized quite quickly that it wasn’t another one of those flashes. It was starting to get rather frequent now and the worry piled up together with my current stressed self. I really didn’t need to deal with some round of madness popping around like this. I just refused to accept this as a normality for my life.



    Maybe this was all correlated to my power? Could it be that it wasn’t just insects but also something connected to the mind? I was literally mind-controlling bugs, but I failed to see why this was actually causing me this much of an issue on a personal scale. Why would I be influenced by this kind of power to this degree? Was there something more that I had failed to notice?


    As I pondered well about this, I quickly took a moment to finish off with cleaning up my wet hair and put on the spare clothes I kept prepared for this kind of occasions. The stuff was mostly light, but it was enough to cover myself up as I made my way back to my own room.


    Home was old, but it had been renovated in the last few years. It had been in a terrible shape up until both mom and dad had started to pour money from their jobs in restructuring the place. It was expanded just a little bit as the majority of the money was used to fix some of the major flaws like some of the walls and the floor. It was all rebuilt for the sake of looking like a proper house.


    The basement itself was ‘restored’ and the old concrete walls were all restructured to better sustain the foundation of the home. The old furnace was removed and a better one was installed, with the old coal chute was removed to offer even more space within the large room. All in all, it was quite modest, but there was hardly anything to whine about. Money was never too much of a problem, especially since I had started offering some help around to lessen the burden on my parents. It was a team-effort. And I was glad that things were going well for all of us.


    I hummed quietly as I carefully picked my spare of good clothes, quickly stripping and putting on the newer pair of hoodie, this one dark blue, and pants. Once I had everything put on their proper places, I prepared my mind for the worst scenario. Yet I failed to notice up until it was too late that someone had slowly and quietly advanced towards me while I had my back turned to the door.


    I felt a shadow looming over me, my panic rising up in my chest as I swiftly turned around- only to be engulfed by a tight hug. I was squeezed comfortably, and I relaxed as I recognized a familiar giggle coming from the face staring down at me. A pretty smile adorned the bespectacled woman’s lovely complex, and her dark-hair, akin to mine, flowed down naturally.


    “Mom?” I was nervous. Rightfully so as she squeezed a little harder.


    “Hello, son,” She greeted back with some amusement and a hint of seriousness waiting to be unleashed. “Isn’t it a little to early for you to be back at home?” She leaned a little, her eyes sporting a frown as she sniffed over my head. “Did you shower? Your hair are a little wet and-”


    “I can… explain?”


    “And you will,” She nodded, her tone of voice dictating that this was going to be one of the main priority. “And… why is Emma here too? Why are you skipping together school?”


    There was a note of teasing, enough to gain a shiver out of me.


    “There is an-”


    “Explanation,” The woman concluded for me with a sigh. “I swear, you took this defensive attitude at any teasing from your dad. And I’m sure he will be happy to hear about what kind of ‘explanation’ you want to offer about this.”


    I felt a groan building up by my throat, but I knew better to give out any ‘suspicious’ reactions at mom’s curiosity over the situation.


    This was surely going to be a nightmare to solve.



    -----------d-d-d-d-------------d-d-d-d------------d-d-d-d-----------d-d-d-d---------


    AN


    Things are shaping up for a ‘stranger’ world. Expect some interesting surprises to happen quite soon as… Taylor and Emma aren’t the only one that have been ‘changed’ by whatever is going on.


    Also yes, I hereby proclaim Mrs. Hebert as the one that beats Taylor in hugs! But that doesn’t mean that her son is going to not offer hugs when needed. The fluff- oh, the fluff~!

    Lastly, on a more serious note, Taylor does have a difference in his powers… and that is dictated by the Trigger than led him to become a Parahuman. A little higher than Master 5.
     
  7. Verge

    Verge Getting sticky.

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2019
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    Anddd watched. its nice to see an Emma that's still friends and not affected by shadow stalker. Since their still friends, wonder if Taylor will do jojo model posing and all that jazz because he learned it from Emma's modeling gig. I already imagine him standing there menacingly.
     
    Mrt9001 and JBukharin like this.
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