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The Strange Talent of Taylor Hebert

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Shirazad, Oct 6, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: The Strange Talent
    Shirazad

    Shirazad Sapphic StoryTeller

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    Read The Legacy of Luthor Strode by Tradd Moore(read a sample online here) and just had the thought to write an AU with Talented people instead of superheroes.

    Crossposted from Spacebattles where it kinda blew up in popularity - putting this here just in case the mods change their mind.
    --------​

    [Trigger Warning: Extreme Violence(so much), Mentions of sexual assault, foul language and OOCness]
    My name is Taylor Hebert and I was just shot nine times. Seven in the chest and twice in the leg.

    The red haze disappeared and It felt like waking up from a particularly vivid dream.

    My breath came out rough and ragged, a chortling wheeze forming in the back of my throat each time I inhaled – like a whistle as I struggled to keep it together. Mom’s aviator jacket was overstretched across my chest, the sleeves were a slight bit cuffed and the collar had been shorn off entirely by a stray shot.

    It hurts.

    It fucking hurts so goddamn much.

    I flicked away a chunk of brain matter from my hair, then ran a hand across my chest, along the creases my unbound breasts formed and cringed in pain when I ran a finger across an open, and bleeding wound.

    I know the bullets are caught in my muscles.

    I can feel them, lodged inside as they are.

    A bullet wound. One of nine, If I recall correctly – and I did, my memory has been rather impeccable of late.

    Impossible, right? I know… I know – believe me, I don’t… rather, I didn’t believe it myself either at first.

    I trailed my finger away from the wound, moving on to the Clavicular head region – the bundle of muscle that ran just below the shoulder blade, where two more bullet wounds were. Then again, lower – rather, further up, along the ridge of my left breast where the side had been glanced by the fourth shot, which had consequently lodged itself before the lateral lip of the intertubercular groove (six inches above the elbow, and two and a quarter below the shoulder - the bicep essentially).

    There were others – one, possibly the most painful, lodged directly into my right breast.

    A cluster of three on either side of my torso, one to the left side just beneath the lowest rib and two on the other.

    … then two more in my right thigh.

    They all hurt.

    I can do a lot of impossible things. Like…

    I tensed my body and flexed. Muscles bulged and squirmed like a bag of worms as I squeezed the bullets out.

    …this.

    One by one, they all popped out and fell to the shag carpeted floor of the studio apartment. As the last spurts of excess blood squirt out, I stood with my arms against my waist, Dad’s old hockey mask sticky against my face, bloodied and dirtied as I surveyed my handiwork.

    My name is Taylor Hebert, and I have certain…

    The lamp to my right cast an orange glow to the room, like the glow of a hearth and it gave the surrounding décor a sense of warmth, purposely contrasting against the cream of the walls.

    Though, the lamp served no purpose anymore.

    The room had been painted red.

    Eight men laid dead before me.

    The first one I’d ripped in twain – quite literally. I’d severed him in half with my bare hands, separating his upper body from his lower body. I’d thrown him aside and he’d apparently landed on top of a desk, back against the wall, sat upright with his gut literally spilling to the floor.

    I hadn’t completely torn him in half I realized. There was a thin string of stomach lining, perhaps the small intestine that connected his upper body to his lower.

    His name had been John Clancy – African American, thirty-seven years old, no wife or children, and he was a budding SoundCloud artist with a small following and two notable songs to his name, a gangbanger, a rapist and a murderer.

    Next to John laid Scott, Mateo and Shinji. Last names unknown, ages indeterminate and no known ties.

    Scott was missing the entirety of his lower jaw, his tongue and larynx; and he had a hole that went through his throat all the way down into his chest cavity. A fist sized hole I’d punched through.

    Mateo had both of his arms removed and was missing the upper half of his head after I’d cleaved it clean off using his own severed hand as a bludgeon.

    Shinji had a hand stuffed into his mouth, the fingers poking though the underside of chin and eyes bulged out.

    Scott played guitar, Mateo did vocals and Shinji had been the tech guy in charge of editing and their social media. Scott was also a rapist/murder, as was Mateo and Shinji.

    Above, and imbedded into the ceiling – again, literally imbedded into the ceiling was Nagi. Seeing is believing the saying goes, and I heartily agree – words cannot describe Nagi’s fate, for I lack my mother’s diction to describe what can only be rightfully mistaken for a video game glitch.

    Nagi was the hanger-on. The leech of every friend group, the third wheel as it were.

    Happy to participate in his ftiend's atrocities. Anything for a good laugh, anything to fit in.

    Near the door were the last three. All sprawled out in various stages of undress, dead and eviscerated. They were Nicolai, Daniel and Valentine.

    Nicolai’s face was blue, his eyes were popping and leaking amber tears, with a downside-up whiskey bottle that I’d stuffed down his throat sticking up from his mouth. The bottle was half full with amber liquid(whiskey), and a milky red(blood) with chunky bits of bile floating about inside the concoction that he’d vomited into the bottle when he tried breathing.

    He’d been my first hit, and I hadn’t given him much time to react thus he was still facing dead ahead, remote still in his hand and still seated against the love couch.

    Daniel, I’d simply bludgeoned with his own SMG then emptied the clip into his head. All that remained of his head was a fine red mist coating the entire west wall, dripping down the autographed poster of the Godfather and covering the cabinet with the various Transformer figurines.

    His body laid prone, stuck on his knees with his rear end facing up.

    Valentine had been my human shield for most of the fire fight… at least before I found out I was somewhat bullet-resistant, after that I’d snapped his neck then tossed him aside into the adjacent bathroom where he'd hit his head against the ceramic toilet bowl and caved his skull in.

    If dead could have been any more dead, Valentine surely would be it.

    Nicolai was the camera guy and Daniel the property owner – the apartment was his, the recording equipment was his and the record label was in his name.

    Valentine on the other hand was the face of the crew, and I dont mean that figuratively - he was the most photogenic of them all with a square-jawed aesthetic, dark skin, a somewhat muscular build and sporting snazzy cornrows.

    If I drove stick, he would’ve been my first pick of man... if looks were all that mattered that is.

    Nicolai was no rapist, nor was Daniel and Valentine – but they were murderers, enablers and bystanders. The fact did not absolve them – their suffering was well-deserved for their association with serial rapists I felt.

    … Talents.

    I walked over and past the prone bodies, making my way to the second-floor bedroom were my last… victim was hiding in a closet from the sound I could hear.

    A woman and perhaps the worst offender out of the whole group.

    She didn’t participate, but she was the keystone of the operation. She was the ‘talent scout’ as it was, the one responsible for luring in young girls, sometimes boys, with the promise of starring in their music videos.

    She was, in a way, the defacto leader of this particular outfit of ABB.

    “…Yan,” I called her out as I made my way up the stairs, each step a thundering footfall followed by a yawning creak. Half of that was on purpose, I could already hear Yan’s pounding heart and the elevated rush of blood as well as the panicked motion of someone trying to stay still at all cost – the fear factor.

    The other half was just my sheer bulk against the flimsy mahogany stairs, a full-figure of pink-muscle is surprisingly heavy – who knew, right?

    “I just wanna ask you a question Yan?” I said, leaning into the door a little. It creaked, and I heard the sound of a click – the cocking of a gun.

    “I just wanna ask you something about a friend of mine…. Her name’s Emma – you’d know her, I think. She’s a third year at Winslow. Red hair, round face – she’s got her mother’s figure, a real bombshell, well, she’s a redhead, so… spitfire, I guess.”

    I walked in and closed the door behind me.

    ‘..oh god… oh god, oh god,’ she whispered.

    … and closed the windows too, as I paced around.

    “… thing is – I just came back from Summer Holiday -from my Gram’s place. Went there for a bit of healing – a little time away from this gang ridden shit-hole of a city to mourn a little. Three months of nothing but positive vibes, a bit of exercise and good eating all around… its good for a girl y’know.”

    I made a show of looking around, taking a peek under the bed, under the covers and the bathroom inside the main bedroom – seemingly ignorant of the walk in closet.

    ‘… oh fuck…. No, no, no, no, no, no.’

    “Imagine my surprise when… instead of being picked up by my best friend and her dad, I had to go see one at the hospital – ears cut off, eyes scratched blind and severe trauma, physical and mental. Assault the doctors said. Then I had to bury another father - I had to attend another goddamn funeral, the following week.”

    I neared the closet…

    “She didn’t… couldn’t speak of what happened but when she did – she said your name Yan. She called you out by name and described you by features - freckles and all. You and your pose. Anne recognised you from a YouTube video you made, so~,” I drawled, “… here we are now.”

    ‘…oh god… oh god… oh god.’

    And stopped right by the opening, looked into the dark where she was hiding and peering through.

    “God can’t help you Yan,” our eyes met, and I felt more than I heard her heart skip a beat.

    “God didn’t help Emma from you Yan – he didn’t help uncle Alan, or the thirty other girl your boyband cornered, gang-rapped, mutilated then killed. If he didn’t help any of them, what makes you think he’ll help you?”

    ‘…,' silence was her answer. Rightfully so, I felt.

    “Get out,” I demanded.

    Yan scrambled from the cover of cloth and shoes; a small revolver shakily held in her hand pointed my way.

    I let her keep it for the time.

    “Sit,” I took the fainting chair near the foot of the bed and pointed to the bed itself for her to sit on.

    She was a quivering mess as she sat at the foot of the bed. Her skinny jeans had a wet spot running down to her ankles, and her makeup was coming undone from the profuse sweating she was suffering from.

    “… I know you remember, Yan.”

    Her eyes betrayed her, as did her body. I’d kept note of how her body reacted as I talked about Emma – there had been reactions consistent with recognition.

    She knew exactly why I was here.

    “… what do you want?” she asked, gun still pointed at me and hands still shaking.

    “... I want you to make a choice.”

    “… a choice?”

    “The very same one you gave Emma. Pick one of three…,” I reached out my hand and she tensed.

    My hand wrapped around the revolver and she jerked back, rather, attempted to but failed to overwhelm me. I pinched the barrel and felt the metal give, bending like putty in my grip.

    I let go, and she pulled the trigger the moment my hand retracted.

    The gun fired.

    There was a click as the hammer fell, a bang when the gunpowder ignited and a crack when her wrist snapped from the recoil of a trapped shot.

    She screamed and in her pain and panic, she threw the gun away, which clattered uselessly against the floor.

    I ignored her wailing and continued, “Eyes…”

    She was still screaming but her fear spiked in recognition.

    “Ears…”

    “…I’m sorry… I’m so sorry… please, no… no, I’m sorry…,” she curled in on herself, cradling her swollen hand to her belly.

    “… or face…,” I finished recalling the words Emma mutters in her sleep.

    “…please,” she pled.

    “Make a choice Yan. I don’t have all day – the cops will be here soon, and I don’t want to be anywhere near this when they show up.”

    I waited.

    She made her choice soon after.

    It’s no magic, I assure you. Nor is it a superpower, or some byproduct of government experimentation - I think.

    It’s just a talent I have.

    To explain… well, I’d have to go back to the very beginning.

    It all started with a book.
     
  2. Warer

    Warer Shadowstep12 Sleep fucking is impoilte

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    Great.
     
  3. Jonn Wolfe

    Jonn Wolfe (Verified Sarcastic) (Not a Wolf)

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    Ooooooooohooooo.... I got chills, man. *Watched*
     
  4. Threadmarks: The Book
    Shirazad

    Shirazad Sapphic StoryTeller

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    The book came later, but the start of my story opens with a disconnection with my mother.

    “Taylor honey… I don’t – god, this is hard. O-ok – so, after your fa-father’s accident, I-I haven’t been the best mother I could be for you,” Mom’s voice message played back on my phone. I almost didn’t recognize the number displayed, mostly on account of it being a landline. She hadn’t used, much less touched a mobile phone since the crash.

    As I listened, I heard sniffling in the background of the recorded message sometimes, and some instances when she should struggle to say a word and choke up.

    “I… uh, haven’t really been there for you as I should have been,” she said. “I’ve just been trying to process it all, and in that time… I pushed you aside and – uh, yeah…”

    A gross understatement I thought, somewhat bitterly.

    I hadn’t slept in my own bed since the funeral. Almost a half year had passed since then and I’d spent most, if not all that time over at Emma’s, crashing in their guest bedroom - my other bedroom in my other home as it were.

    Nor had I managed to have a full conversation with mom that wasn’t over the phone, that wasn’t her telling me my stay with the Barnes’ was being prolonged or one that didn’t end in tears or awkward silences whenever mention of Dad came up.

    She had yet to step foot in the house… not without breaking down.

    “…I wanna make it right by you, so – I arranged something for the summer holidays before your senior year. It’s… It won’t be long, just a couple weeks while I get my shi… stuff together – its… uh, grief counselling, did I tell you? Yeah, a colleague of mine introduced me to a psychiatrist… Dr Yamada. She’s uh… she’s actually the one who suggested this, so… uh, it all works out, I think. Emma will be doing some photo work most of the time so you won’t have time with her anyway… and you had that thing with Camp-Out so I guess you already had plans.”

    Had – past tense.

    I’d had to cancel that for this trip, and I was… maybe, just a little bitter about it still. Why would I not be? After all, If I’d gone, I would have been one of the senior camp leaders after my two years of attendance.

    “… I just need time – alone, to process and heal… and you need… something that I’m not exactly in the right state of mind to give you. I need this to do better by you, to be better, so… Gram said she’d be fine hosting you for a bit – so, yeah… uh, enjoy your stay. Don’t forget to call… and… I love you.”

    The voice mail stopped playing back, and I locked my phone, plugged it to the charger, and placed it under the pillow in dad’s old room.

    I’d just arrived at Grams’ place, just settling in and getting my bearings about me.

    Grandma’s (or Gram as she liked to be called) place was… not very modest. It wasn’t massive like a mansion, but it was a somewhat upper-class home, built with enough rooms to be considered a small dormitory, too many rooms to be honest.

    With dad gone, mom and I, some cousins as well were the only ones who ever really visited and stayed for any length of time within these halls. It only made sense that most of the rooms were used for storage.

    The house itself was evidently very well lived in with signs that once-upon-a-time this was home to a very large family. The decoration was also nice too, if a little old with its off-white walls, luxurious shag carpeting in every room, dark-brown wooden furniture everywhere and little art pieces lining the cabinets all around the house.

    This was where Dad grew up, the home he returned to everyday after school, and I was sitting on the bed he slept in. His old room… clearly a teenager’s room. It looked almost like it had never been changed, not since he moved out to find work and start a family.

    It looked like he’d just moved out. His old comic book posters still lined the walls, and the playboy magazines were not so well hidden under the bed with wooden cabinet filled top to bottom with vhs tapes, cassette tapes and vinyls near the window to attest to that.

    Going through the collection brings a smile to my face, to know that we always did share the same taste in music… and a tear down my cheek, and a choked sob in the back of my throat that threatens to spill in knowing that he’s gone now.

    ‘… look to the positives Taylor,’ I try, and tell myself.

    With the thought in mind, I decide to go through some of his stuff for anything interesting - Gram did tell me to make myself at home when I got here.

    I found a Walkman in one of the drawers, which I put to good use and hung around my waist as I listened to the best hits of the 80’s – some ‘Billy Jean’ to liven the mood followed by ‘Tainted Love’.

    The magazines under the floorboards I stayed clear off.

    There wasn’t much else to find except a rather impressive collection of comic books, of which I had no interest in - the same could be said about fiction as a genre in general, but one did draw my eye.

    A signed copy of The Golden Man – neatly kept in an airtight plastic sleeve for preservation.

    I remembered there being a movie in the works based on it. Set to release sometime in Late October, with the directors hopes for it to become the establishing film in a cinematic universe.

    I recall fondly the times Dad and Uncle Alan would revert to children when talk of the film came up. Dad had loved the comic and had planned on buying tickets for when its premiere showed in the Bay – tickets enough for the whole family to enjoy, the Barnes included.

    With a smile to my lips and a tear down my cheek I took the comic and slowly, almost reverently took it out of its plastic sleeve cover to read whereupon another one fell. It had been nested behind the Golden Man, causing the sleeve to bulk up.

    It caught my eye almost instantly.

    I set aside the Golden Man to inspect the other book that had just fallen out of the shared sleeve.

    I held it up, and wiped away at my eyes, and struggled to read the blocky letters without my glasses.

    “… the Hercules Method,” It read.

    Further inspection revealed the books nature to me.

    It was not a comic book as I’d originally thought.

    It was, instead, a mail order exercise manual… an old one at that – an actual Charles Atlas Analog.

    I’d originally thought it a comic book for the cover which had a grainy drawing of a posing Hercules, a speech bubble beside him with the words – “Are you tired of being puny”, with a blocky title card and miscellaneous text on either side of Hercules.

    “Be a better you, today” – the first text said.

    “Align your body, mind and soul to reach new heights” – the other one said.

    ‘…did Dad own this?’ I wondered, thinking back. Dad had been rail-thin, with lanky arms and twiggy sticks for legs - a physique we shared. Despite that, he had been a surprisingly adept lifter – working with and leading the Local Tradesman’s Union, a runner of some skill and a brawler who could hold his own against some of Brockton’s toughest gangbangers.

    The book must have yielded some results, I concluded – emphasis on some, he had still been skinny and lanky.

    ‘… maybe I should give it a try,’ I thought.

    It wouldn’t do to spent so much time moping about, I thought, besides I had nothing but time on my hands – three months of it even, and I needed something to pass the time. Anything that would put my mind off Dad, or at the very least something to make me feel just that much closer to him.

    Seeing all this stuff that used to be his didn’t bring back the hurt as much as home did, so I figured, I must have been on the right track.

    I skimmed through the first few pages. The words and diagrams seemed to pull me in hypnotically, with an almost irresistible sort of magnetism – like reading my new favorite book.

    I found that the exercises weren’t as strenuous as I thought.

    Nowhere in the method book was there mention of equipment needed – just a willing mind, a focused soul and my ready body.

    Matter of fact, the exercises were so simple I decided to try one on the spot to sate my growing curiosity.

    I took my shirt and hoody off, stripping myself almost bare to my underclothes and sat down on the floor, legs crossed, and hands cupped together in meditation – as instructed by the method book, something about freeing the body from its bindings of cloth.


    The lotus position was about the simplest thing in the book I could do – yet, apparently, and thankfully it was also the very first step.

    The pretzel like contortions detailed in further pages would come later apparently, when I’m more learned so the book said, but I was skeptical.

    Settled, and somewhat relaxed though still heavy of heart with loss, I took a deep breath in, and another deep breath out, all the while seated stock still, maintaining my position and posture. I held for five minutes before mortification came down bearing on me.

    “… this is stupid,” I said to myself and moved on to the next step.


    The next step was a way to fashion compression exercise wear out of cloth wraps, and the various ways to tie it in order to direct growth and achieve specific results – around the waist promoted flaring of the hips, around the chest helped build up pectoral muscles, under the sole, around the ankle and leg made for calf muscle build up etc.

    There was even a separate page for women – different body types and musculatures demanding different techniques and with different results.


    I marked down the page as something of interest – the section on achieving the perfect figure especially. I didn’t hold to hope that it wasn’t a hoax, but it was worth a try I thought – anything to get rid of my frog like qualities.


    Push-ups, sit ups, planks and more followed – needless to say, I struggled with them, but I resolved to see myself through this and braved the sting of muscles tensing, flexing and contracting in ways they’d never done before.

    When a half hour had passed, I stood and neared the tall boy mirror and beheld the results of my exercise.

    “Terrific,” I thought wryly as I looked down on my gangly form. Long legs and mom's hair were my only saving grace, the rest wasn’t much to look at with my flat chest, too thin and too wide lips, the glare to my eyes without glasses and my acne ridden complexion.


    ‘Extraordinary Change,’ the method book promised. It was certainly going to require, at the very least, a miracle to change what I had to what the book promised.

    ~knock-knock` there came a knock by the door.

    I yelped and scrambled to dress myself and made to stop entry when Gram peeked in regardless, white tray in hand with a plate full of pasta, a glass of homemade orange juice and an assortment of fried veggies on the side in a smaller plate.

    There was a lot piled on the plate.

    “… doing some exercise are we?” she asked with more than just a trace of accent – one she swore was English, and a cheer in her voice as she walked into the room to place the tray atop a drawing desk to the left.

    I had one leg inside my pants when she walked in and bless her for not misunderstanding the scene she’d walked in on. She was very light on her feet I found, especially for someone her age and had walked into the room before I could protest much.

    “…yeah,” I replied.

    “… tha’s good dear – hope ya’ stick ta it unlike your father,” she said, a distant look in her eyes as she reminisced.

    I noticed she was looking at the method book all the while.

    “…was this Dad’s?” I asked her.

    “It was,” she said, “Danny got tha when he was being pushed around by some mean boys at school and decided ta make a change… of course, being my boy, he gave up within a week and after that I drove down there and put the fear o’ god in them boys for picking on my boy, but not before he made me buy rolls of cloth that he swore he’d use but never did, some foam mats and all other junk that’s been sitting in the shed for years jus collecting dust,” she replied with a hearty laugh, fondly recalling.

    “Do you… do you mind If I use it?”

    “Of course not, dear. I did just say it’s all been collecting dust didn’t I. If ya’ find anything ya’ like, dun’ even ask… jus’ take it, if its under this roof, it’s yours. Hopefully you’ll actually use it…. and If ye’ have any special diet in mind, just holler at me and I’ll see what I can cook up…”

    “I will Gram,” I said, “… and thanks for letting me stay, I know mom just sprang this on you out o-”

    “No need for that. I should be thanking you for keeping me company,” she said with a laugh. “You’re about the only ones that visit anymore.”

    “…”

    She moved closer to me and pulled me into a hug. I sank into her embrace, and hugged her back.

    “It’ll be okay. You’ll heal and it will get better eventually… you just need time, some positivity in life and a distraction – a bit of exercise just might be what you need.”

    It was…

    It was exactly what I needed
     
  5. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Interesting so far.

    Taylor taking the 'talent' road to becoming a badass.

    (Incidentally, you may want to threadmark the latest chapter).
     
  6. Shirazad

    Shirazad Sapphic StoryTeller

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    I just figured out how to threadmark in the right order. It wasnt showing because I kept messing it up and having to delete it over and over again.
     
    Ack likes this.
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