An overhauled version of Katie!
Pandora Falls, Khazan
Steve is amazing. He plays bass which is a totally underrated element of any band. He loves old punk music, video games that aren't first person shooters and draws comics based on new reports he sees on TV about the SLJ and the Angels of Mercy. His hair is brown and always in that perfect mess style. I've known him since we were four. He's seen me naked at least two and a half times; once when we were playing doctor when we were eight, once at twelve when he walked into me changing into my bathing suit while at Melissa Gentry's pool party and last year when I got my nipple pierced and crushed his hand in the process. So yeah we've been through a lot up to and including attending the Pandora Fall's autumn fair every year. I'm not sure WHY we come since we do the same thing which is some mix of making fun of people, freaking kids out in the "haunted house" and eating corn dogs till we puke.
The only thing that sucks about Steve is the fact that he's a star lacrosse player. I don't understand the damn game but apparently he's the reason why our high school, The Shady Oaks Ents (don't say anything about our damn mascot by the way. Apparently Shady Oaks has the right combination of pot heads and Lord of the Rings fans to get Ents voted in as a school mascaot) have been regional champs for the last 4 years and they say it's because of him. And while around me he is the usual dorky Steve I've known since we played Sentinels vs. Fallen make believe games in the basement he has become a bit of a jock which includes having a bleach blonde bimbo cheeleader by the name of Suzy Harlowe who couldn't tell you the difference between….
"Hey Katie you ok?"
I comically shook my head as I said "yeah I think I am."
"You had that glazed over deep in thought face again. What's going on your mind?"
"Um, you know, the usual, like what new deep friend concoction they’ve come up with this year.”
Steve laughed as he said "well I thought I’d have to take you on in a wheel-barrow last year after the food baby you had in your stomach.
I nervously laughed while we paced around the midway games and food stands. Passing the food tent I contemplated ordering the deep fried butter I felt a tug on my arm. Steve had reverted back to his six year old self.
"Hey look Katie the Petting Zoo is back!"
"Considering what happened last year with the Boa Constrictor at Shannon’s Amazing Lizards I'm actually not shocked."
"We gotta go it use to be our favorite." Steve dragged me while I tried to handle the pain of his strong grip crushing my arm. I tried to casually slide my arm up, hoping to cup my hand with his as I closed my eyes and hated how desperate I was for this guy.
It didn't happen though. Before I could finish my foolishly school girl plan we were at what was probably the saddest petting zoo of all time. The sign was an old cardboard box ripped up with "PATTING ZOO" scrawled in sharpie. The animals were surrounded with chicken wire and those wooden stir sticks you get for free when you buy paint. Not like these animals needed corralling. The sad group of goats, sheep, rabbits and a single pony looked tired and lethargic as they lay in the grass.
"You want pat? Five dollars" said a man with a thick accent that can only be described as vaguely eastern European.
"Where did you get these animals from? Rehab? And are those dogs? Seriously we have dogs at a petting zoo. Come on Steve we're..."
Steve reached into his pocket as he pulled out some money. "Ten and two for you my good man."
"Haha ok you go and pat animals big spender."
We walked amongst the sad corrals when Steve decided to pick up one of the rabbits and stroked it in his arm.
"Steve I can't believe you paid that dumb ass twelve dollars. This place is depressing.”
"Katie you are in desperate need of some cheering up. I mean lately you've just been so damn negative. How can you be mad around animals? You use to love going to the petting zoo. Come on, pet the bunny."
"It looks like it'll die any minute now."
"Katie, pet the bunny, it’s a mini lop!"
Chuckling as I said "fuck you know my weakness. Hand that furball to me."
I cradled the lethargic bunny in my arm and stroked its soft fur I did feel a sense of relief. The bunny burrowed its head into my body as I kept looking down at it. I started to feel a calming wave over my body as I felt the corners of my mouth curl in a smile.
Then the bastard bit me.
"Mother FUCK!" I yelled dropping the little guy to the ground before he hopped away.
"Katie what happened?"
I looked at my arm as I saw where his two buck teeth jabbed into as I said "that little bastard took a... OW!" I turned back and saw the once lying goat now full of life take a bite out of my ass before I pulled away.
It seemed all the animals were becoming lively as they barked and howled and well whatever rabbits do all around me. The owner of the petting zoo was running as Steve tried to hide me behind him.
"Katie stay back."
I watched as their eyes fixated on me and I knew what was going to happen. Pushing Steve onto the ground I bolted the other direction as the animals started to give chase. I screamed and admit it was probably not my finest moment as the other fair goers watched. I kept my eyes on a tree but tripped over my big clumsy boots and for the first time in my life cursed a Hot Topic sale.
The animals descended upon me I put my arms up. As far as last thoughts go realizing you're about to die due to a petting zoo stampede has to be up there with one of the worst.
"Oh her eyes are opening up!" It was the voice I recognized first, that of my mother's.
When I finally came to my mom and dad were the first things I saw. They were sitting on each side of a hospital bed as they both came in to hug me. I wrapped my arms around them as I said "well I know I'm not in heaven because you two are the first things I see."
My dad sat back and punched me in the arm as she said "always the joker."
I let out a little nervous laugh as I replied "oh you know I love you two. So how long am I stuck in here?"
My parents looked at each other my mother said "well sweety we've just been waiting for you to wake up."
"You've been here for two weeks pumpkin. You were admitted with some pretty bad bites and broken bones but the doctors said you miraculously recovered in less than a week except for what they said was a coma though it wasn't the usual coma they had encountered. During your coma your internal body activity actually increased rather than slowed down. However they wanted to keep you under observation until you woke up."
I tried to process what my dad said, scrunching my face while my mother chirped in and said "oh that's just stuff some doctor here gets to write about in a medical journal. We're still working on your release papers honey but there's someone else who I think wants to talk to you."
My parents moved aside and I saw Steve there sitting in one of the visitor chairs as my mother said "I'll leave you two alone now." She gave me a cute little wink as they both left my room.
"Hey there Katie Cooties."
"Back at you Septic Tank Steve."
"I'm happy you're awake, seriously."
Tilting my head I looked at Steve's face reading it like an open book. "You don't look happy."
"I’m a little conflicted emotionally. Suzy and I broke up yesterday. She complained about how much time I was spending here and that led to her complaints of the time we spent in general and we had a fight. Who cares? I'm just so relieved you're fine."
I guess a normal girl would be conflicted here about feeling sorry her best friend's relationship had just gone down the shitter while also feeling great about her best friend's relationship going down the shitter giving you the opportunity to hone on them. That sadly was not what I was consumed with at that moment.
"Steve shut the fuck up for a second. Do you smell that?"
"Uh what? Latex gloves? Your bed pan?"
"No idiot." I took a long sniff while putting my hand up to Steve’s face. "There be Tacos lurking."
I jumped out of bed as I kept following the beautiful scent of spiced beef and corn tortillas. I raced the elevator as Steve was chasing his way behind me. I ducked quickly into the elevator as I slammed my palm down on the close button, watching the doors close on Steve as he screamed "your gown!"
When we finally made it to the main floor I bolted out of the elevator as I made a bee line for the cafeteria. I might have shoved an old guy down as I grabbed a tray and went to the food lady whose faced resemble chiseled rock and had a demeanor to match.
"All the tacos! NAO!" I demanded as the lady shrugged and stated to load soupy loose meat into reheated shells.
Steve was huffing and puffing his way into the cafeteria as he walked up to me. His breath coming out in gulps as he said "gown... not... tied..."
Looking behind me I saw my bare ass hanging out for everyone to see. "Well sometimes the price of tacos is giving everyone a show of my fine ass." Steve slumped up against the foggy glass window of the hot table as I grabbed my tacos and looked for a seat.
Reactive Adaptation - Supreme
Getting back to school my existing persona of that "weird nerd girl" had been upgraded to "weird nerd girl who was in an unexplained coma for two weeks." Suffice it to say I enjoyed the air of mystery I had about me as I walked through the halls and heard the faint whispers going on behind my back. Unfortunately this did not extend to the faculty who were hell-bent on making an example of the girl who always talked back in class.
I looked out the window during algebra class thinking about something or other when all of the suddenly Mr. Stork broke me out of my mini daydream. He was a man who felt math was paramount over every other subject and has been accused of leering at a tenth grade student.
"Is there something more interesting out there then in here Ms. Winters?"
"Everything is more interesting Mr. Stork" I said as the class let out a collective "ohhhhhhh."
"Well that's too bad you're not into the subject because we're about to have a pop quiz. Now you can all just get your pencils out, bags on the floor because...."
Mr Stork's voice started to fade but not from my usual tuning out. I looked down and watched as my chest expanded and contracted. “Mr. Stork I think I need to go see the nurse.”
"Ms. Winter let's not use 'the poops' as an excuse to get out of... good golly girl what's wrong with you?"
I started freaking out as I could hear t he thumping of my heart beating so fast the sound reverberated through my body into my ears. I began to panic as Mr. Stork grabbed my arm and guided me to the nurses office.
When we finally made it there the nurse told me to lie down as I did. She took her stethoscope to my chest. Mr. Stork paced in the room as he said “this better not be some elaborate scheme you got going on here.”
The nurse turned and scolded Mr. Stork as she said “how dare you! Her heart rate is off the chart! It's beating so fast it's like you're a humming bird. We should send her to a doctor, at least send you home."
As soon as those words were said my chest sunk down. The constant beat from my heart started to slow down as I felt the sweat form on my forehead. The nurse kept her eye on me as I sank into the examining seat before she pulled her stethoscope off.
"It seems to be back to normal. Regardless I'm calling your parents and sending you home. Some rest will probably do you some good."
As the nurse left to get me a release note I looked over at Mr. Stork and his face red with anger. He put his fingers up to his eyes and pointed them back towards me as he stormed out. I on the other hand looked forward to my shortened day.
Natural Weaponary - Standard
"Mom, dad, I got sent home." As I entered my house I dropped my bag off in front of the door as I went into the kitchen. Grabbing a Coke Zero from the fridge and closing it I saw the note left there by my parents.
"Dear Pumpkin sorry but your mother's uncle has passed away and the funeral is back in America. We'll be away for the rest of the week. We've left some cash for you and for tonight there's a frozen pizza in the oven. We'll call you throughout the week. No parties. Love Mumsy and Daddykins."
While I was a little ticked off about the sudden disappearance I did see this as a bit of a blessing in disguise. Ever since I got home from the hospital mom and dad have been a little too smothering. I know, they almost lost their baby girl, but come on I'm also a fucking teenager.
Anyway I turned on the oven and get my home work started as I sat in my kitchen. My belly rumbled from the smell of pizza slowly cooking as I heard the bell ring. I wasn't sure why I was so famished but I just couldn't help myself as I pulled the pizza out and let it set as I rooted around the drawers for the pizza cutter.
"Where the fuck is it..." I muttered as I went through every drawer before opening to dishwasher only to see a pizza cutter sitting there encrusted with two day old pizza sauce.
"God fucking damn it how am I going to cut this..." I started my own personal mini rant when suddenly my right hand felt hot. Stopping myself a moment to investigate I screamed as I saw my hand had been replaced with a large lobster claw.
"WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS THIS FUCK! WHERE THE HELL IS MY HAND! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO.. oh wait..." In a strange moment of clarity I gripped the pizza in my grotesque claw as I snapped it down, cutting it in half perfectly. I continued as I cut the pizza into eight even slices. Calming cleaning off my claw I watched as it reverted back to my hand.
Grabbing a slice I leaned against the sink as I said “holy shit. I think I have super powers.”
Burrowing (which is really swimming, it will be described as swimming, I don't care what you people think because we should have a swimming power before a burrowing power. Seriously iconic swimming super heroes: Aaquaman, Sub Mariner, Iconic Burrowing Superheroes: NONE) - Standard
Swimming in Phys Ed had to be some cruel joke devised by some bitter former cheerleader whose better days were served in high school prior to her constant need for botox injections and vomiting after dinner. I say this because it creates an environment where it’s impossible to hide whatever flaws commercials, boys or more than likely your own dumb mind makes you think you have. As I sat the water’s edge in my plain white one piece I noticed Suzy and her little band of cheerleader cronies in their breaking-dress-code-but-no-one-will-do-anything-about-it bikinis. After passing a few girls and making comments they decided to make a bee line towards me.
“So it looks like a coma did wonders for your waist line.” Suzy crossed her arms and titled her head as her friends gathered behind her.
I smirked as I looked back at Suzy “look I could insult you but that’s hardly a challenge given your C average.”
“So what are you going to beat me in then? Being a freak? Playing video games?”
Looking over at the pool I wasn’t sure why I was confident it would work but I just blurted out “swimming.”
Suzy looked at me a she said “you do realize I am the captain of the school’s swimming team and if memory serves me correctly you spent all of Melissa Gentry’s pool party sitting in a Konnichia Neko! Floaty while eating chips.”
“I know, so do you accept?”
“What do I get when I win?”
“I’ll be a slave for your little group of airheads.”
“Fine I accept!” Suzy started to make her way to the water’s edge as I followed her.
“You didn’t ask what I get if I win.”
“Somewhat irrelevant but make your token demand.”
“You stop leaving creepy voicemails on Steve’s phone.”
I watched as Suzy’s face turned into a deep crimson hue as she didn’t even wait for a countdown or anything. She dove into the water kicking her feet as I wasn’t even sure if we really started but sloppily belly flopped in after her. She was a good half second ahead of me and expanding the gap as I tried to swim after her. I felt my arms burning as I gulped in water with air. I could barely see in the blue pool water except for the flesh colored blob in front of me getting further and further away.
Suzy touched the wall as she turned and faced me, taunting me underneath the water as I finally touched the wall, turning around as I felt my legs taking over. Suddenly I was kicking as my body twisted up and down. I saw Suzy was far but instead of the blob getting further it started to get closer. My vision underwater started to get clearer as I noticed I was only half a body length away from Suzy. Gasping for a breath a different instinct kicked in as I leapt out of the water, squeaking as I did before crashing back down diving perfectly. The wake of my water slowing and confusing Suzy as I quickly over took the lead. Pushing harder and harder I stuck my hand out touching the wall as I threw my head out of the water as the other girls cheered. Suzy finally touched the wall as her underlings pulled her out of the water.
Looking over at her I smiled and said “you going to make good on your promise?”
“Whatever Katie, you’re still nothing but a big freak” Suzy said as her entourage stormed back to the change room.
Enhanced Senses – Superior
The final bell rang for the day as I quickly tried to get my things in order. My backpack hanging off one arm I tried to balance myself as I shoved my books into the bottom of my locker. Turning around I watched with one of his lacrosse buddies walking by as I waved at him.
Steve stopped as he said “hey there, heard you kicked ass at the pool. I didn’t take you for the sporty type.”
“Well you know, I can only gorge on so much junk food before it would catch up to me.”
Steve smiled as he said “I like it. Maybe go out for the team this year.”
“I just might. Hey do you want to hit up the comic shop later tonight?”
Steve pulled away as he said “need to make a rain check on that. The team is going out for a team building dinner. See you tomorrow night?”
I nodded as I said “ok see you tomorrow.”
While I was putting my jacket on my ear started to twitch as I heard Steve’s voice with his friends as they turned the corner of the hall.
“So are you like dating Katie?”
“What? No! We’re just good friends you know.”
“Thank god! I know she’s your buddy but she’s kind of a weirdo. A little freaky even.”
I heard Steve nervously laugh as he said “well she can be at time but…”
As I slammed the door to my locker I stopped listening in on their conversation and made my way home.
Juggernaut Momentum - Standard
I started to storm my way through the halls as I burst through the doors to the quad. It was my usual shortcut turned into a mess by my own forgetfulness. The clubs were in full swing and had their recruitment drives as over eager students tried to get people to sign up for their teams, clubs and leagues.
“Shady Oaks LARP!”
“Anime club! I saw you at the con last year!”
“You shouldn’t waste those legs on swimming Katie. Track team is where it’s at!”
“Debate club Katie! You’re always arguing!”
I don’t know why they stormed on me this year. Or maybe they do this every year and I just had a better grasp at annoying all the chatter. The groups of people blocking my way as I shoved past them only compounded the problem as I heard her voice behind me.
“Aren’t you popular? Almost makes me want to ask you join the cheerleaders.”
Suzy walked past me with her friends. Standing in my way as I said “hey not really in the mood for your crap right now so why don’t you just let me go.”
The girls formed a human wall in front of me as Suzy said “sign up and we’ll let you pass. We promise we’ll make it fun for you.”
Suzy kept shoving the clipboard against me as I slapped it out of her hand.
“Some is getting feisty!” Suzy and her friends kept laughing at me. I could feel my blood getting hot and flush in my cheeks as I shot my arm out and pushed the bubbled headed blonde onto the ground.
“I said get out of my way!” The other cheerleaders started to stand in front of me as I pushed through them. Keeping my head down while throwing my elbows I heard the little prissy bitches squeal as I shoved my way through the crowd.
“Someone stop that little freak!” Screamed Suzy as I felt the hands of her friends try and pull me back only for me to scream out again and free myself from their grip. Hapless kids who got in my way were knocked down as my eyes focused n the other set of doors on the other end of the quad. I finally made it as I pushed on the metal bar and pushed into the other end of the school running towards the exit.
Berserker Physiology - Standard
I kept hiking through the ravine wile kicking a pile of leaves formed from the tall trees shedding them in preparation for autumn. The Sunset Ravine was somewhere I always went when I “ran away” from home. I never really ran away, it was more of an idle threat I’d toss at my parents or my teachers when I wanted to get away and be by myself. While Pandora Falls changed from sleepy little town to bustling suburb Sunset Ravine remained constant. Even now I know where every worn path, every marked tree and every perfect photo spot existed.
Including my favorite spot to just sit and look at the sky. Dead Man’s point was a hike up the escarpment and had a breath taking view of the city and the entire woods around the ravine. I sat on my usual boulder as I looked out at now purple sky and the houses slowly turning on their lights in intervals all around the city.
“What the hell am I doing here?” I muttered to myself without really thinking what I meant by that question. I was shifting in my seat as I looked down at the boulder and saw something from my past; the scratched “Steve and Katie – 2005” we put on that boulder when I first took him here.
Jumping off the rock I walked around it, observing its shape and size before I got behind it. Gripping it tightly in my hands I started to push it, feeling the boulder first slide then roll in my effort as I pushed it closer and closer to the edge of the escarpment. I gave the boulder one last heave before I sent it over the edge, watching it fall quickly through the air before landing with a hard thud.
“Katie what the hell are you doing?”
I stopped and stood up straight as I didn’t say a word. Turning around slowly I saw Steve standing there.
“Everyone said you were pissed when you left class. I didn’t hear till one of the guys on the team got a text and I blew them off figured you’d come here and…”
I didn’t let him finish his words. Instead I just ran up to him and wrapped my arm around him.
Armor – Standard
“Are you cold?”
I shivered visibly as the autumn night descended on us. “No.”
“I can give you my jacket.”
“I’m fine Steve.”
Steve started to try to put his jacket over my shoulders as I felt my skin grow tough and line itself with
soft white fur as Steve jumped back. I crossed my arms as I looked away from him.
“See I told you I’m fine.”
Flight - Standard
“You know Katie it might not be my place to ask but I just saw you push a boulder and grow fur. Plus everyone was talking about how you swam like a dolphin. I guess I’m just due for an explanation.”
I stopped walking as I tried to hold back everything inside me. “Steve, friend of mine, you think you’re due for explanations?”
He walked beside me as he grabbed my hand, holding it and squeezed it tightly. “I’m you friend Katie.”
“Well Steve let me answer your question. I don’t know what’s going on. I barely have a handle of what’s going on. I woke up from a coma and now my body is acting all weird. I mean I’ve already been through this ‘magical changes to your body’ bullshit once why do I have to do it again? Sometimes I think it’s cool and then someone calls me a freak and before it was just a word but now I actually AM one.”
Steve squeezed my hand while he moved in to hug me “Katie you’re not a freak.”
“Am I not? Then answer my question. Why this?”
“Why the hugs and the hand holding and the waiting for me in the hospital? Why hang out with me? Why all this concern for me Steve? And then you go and date a girl like Suzy.”
“Katie I didn’t…”
“You didn’t know? You didn’t know I was crazy about you? I MIGHT believe that if you were some other guy but you’re not an idiot.”
I pulled my hand out of Steve’s as I started to walk faster. Steve stood there for a moment as he said “I just thought you wanted, or we wanted to be friends.”
“Well you thought wrong.”
I kept walking faster as Steve ran after me “come on Katie let’s talk this through. I mean at least let me walk you home.”
I stopped and turned around with Steve right in front of me. I looked up at him “no more of this. I don’t need you to be my white knight. Not anymore.” While I said that I felt my body growing weightless. Soon I was floating above Steve, darting through the air on my way back home.