Squad Support

“Taking the visor off,” Eury advised the room by habit. The 14 year-old-girl in pajamas sat on the edge of her bed and looked down at the floor. She removed her violet-crystal visor and placed it on the nightstand next to several spares. Then she slipped on her sleep mask as she lay on the bed. “You there, Abby?” She asked aloud. Her friend was the only person in the room when she gave the warning, but she might have left in the few seconds it took Eury to lay down. Or she may not have felt like talking; the real reason Eury learned to wait until her eyes were covered.

“Yeah, I’m here,” Abby called back. Eury was glad she felt like talking. “What’s up?”

“Who’re you going to be tomorrow?”

“I’m still gonna be Abby I guess. That’s a weird question.”

“NOOooo.” Eury sat up in bed and faced the direction of Abby’s voice. “It’s the first day of school!” Eury threw her hands on the bed in excitement. “The first day of a brand new school! A school just for UNIQUES! No one knows us; we can be who we want to be!”

“Oh, okay,” Abby nodded in understanding, not that her friend could see. “Yeah, I’m still gonna be Abby.” Eury groaned with frustration and threw herself backward on the bed.

“Why aren’t you more excited?”

“I haven’t lived my whole life wanting to go to school,” Abby shrugged. “I’ve already been. It’s not that great.”

“And you’re not even a little bit excited about meeting SoundCrowd?” Eury asked.

“No way. They know we’re on Ballisea’s team; I’m sure they’ll treat us like jerks because we’re the ‘bad guys‘.”

“They wouldn’t do that!” Eury replied. “Probably. Some of them might, but Dirge wouldn’t!”

“Whoever you’re pretending to be will disappear the moment the rest of the students find out we’re Ballisea’s side,” Abby said.

“But it’s my chance to be cool!” Eury whined at the ceiling.

“Eury,” Abby said with a softer, closer voice. Eury felt the bed shift as Abby sat down next to her. “You kill people by looking at them. How much cooler do you want to be?”

“I guess,” she grumbled.

“What’s wrong with Eury?” Eury recognized Lupe’s voice from the direction of the doorway and guessed the girl just walked in.

“She’s nervous about school,” Abby replied.

“I’m not nervous.” Eury faced the direction of Lupe’s voice. “I thought it would be a good time to try out a new me.”

“She thinks she needs a cooler identity,” Abby added.

“What? No way,” Lupe grinned. Only Abby saw it. Eury felt the bed shift in the other direction when Lupe joined them on her bed. “You’ve already got a cool identity.”

“I know. I kill people by looking at them,” Eury said meekly.

“Nu-uh. That’s cool too, but there’s something even better.”

“Really?” Eury sat up again. “What?”

“Yeah, what?” Abby asked.

“You too,” Lupe said. Eury got the impression she was talking to Abby.

“Us three and the boys were all hand-picked by Ballisea. The strongest Unique that ever existed chose us…,” Eury felt Lupe poke her arm to drive the point home. “…to be on her derby team. You both know the stakes; you know she really wants to win this. She thinks we’re the best shot she has.  You guys…,” Lupe stood up. Eury felt the bed pop back up in her absence.

“…we’re the B-Squad!”

Sniff Test


“As you can imagine this arrangement is best kept between us,” Professor Woodman said. Lupe Villalobos stood in an empty class room in front of the seated, round man in a tweed suit. He pushed up his green horn-rimmed glasses, and smiled awkwardly at Lupe. “It would benefit my lessons if I’m able to use you as a sort of,…” his hands waved in the air while he struggled with the right word. “…visual-aid. I understand you may not want to reveal that side of you to your classmates,” he gave a weak, obligatory nod. “But, I could use your help illustrating differences between Unique and Zero werewolves.” Lupe’s eyes widened. The extra fluorescent light made them sparkle like emeralds.

“There’s another werewolf here?” She felt a tickling at the back of her neck; the tiny red hairs bristled up from her tan skin. The man nodded causing his neatly combed dark bangs to dip to his forehead. He used his hand to push it back up as a reflex.

“Ms. Knight teaches Balance, but I doubt they put you in her class,” he shrugged with a high-pitched chuckle. “I don’t have to tell you about werewolves, right?” Lupe breathed a sigh of relief and nodded.

“Once you show your feral side, that can be the extent of it. I have various demonstrations in mind,” Mr. Woodman paused. He opened the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a palm-sized, jingling, black leather sack. The sharp sound of the silver clinking together was enough to ring in Lupe’s ears. She took a step back.

“Oh, sorry,” he apologized in a hurry. He carefully put the sack down and closed the drawer again. “I didn’t know you were that sensitive to silver.” Lupe forced a smile and shrugged.

“I didn’t either, there wasn’t much silver on my Earth.”

“Well, that’s what I was going to explain anyway. Once you demonstrate to the class how you turn, that’s already your earned ‘A’. There are other demos that I’d like to pair with lessons about different Unique aspects, but the choice is yours for each one.” He knocked on the dark-wood desk. “We obviously won’t do the silver one. If you agree, you’ll have to change next week at the latest. And if you like, I’ll let you use the classroom privately to show your friends before you show the class.” Mr. Woodman smiled at Lupe and pushed his glasses up again. Lupe giggled to herself when she saw them start to move down again the moment his finger stopped helping.

“Wow thanks, Mr. Woodman. I’m definitely interested in the grade, but my friends already know,” Lupe shrugged.

“Jerome what’s the-oh.” A female voice came from the open doorway. Lupe turned to see a short athletic woman with pink hair standing at the door. A sharp, heavy scent brushed Lupe’s nose. She grimaced at the woman and stepped back while trying to contain a growl in her throat. The woman smirked and stood up straighter.

“Something bothering you, pup?” Though she was not any taller than Lupe’s 5’5″, she somehow managed to look down on the tall girl. Lupe clenched her fists and fought back rushing adrenaline. Professor Woodman jumped out of his seat and rushed to close the door the second he saw the woman. However, she planted her foot to keep the door open. The rotund man’s weight was no match for the strength in a werewolf’s leg. Lupe bared her teeth at the woman with a forced smile.

“Not at all, Zero,” Lupe spoke through gritted teeth. She turned to Mr. Woodman, still leaning against the door. “I’m in, we’ll sort the details later.” Lupe gripped the straps of her grey canvas backpack and walked toward the door. Her knuckles grew whiter as she approached the woman.

“I already forgot why I was here,” Ms. Knight shrugged then cleared the door before Lupe reached it. Lupe visibly relaxed when the woman disappeared down the hall. Color filled her knuckles again.

“She likes you,” Mr. Woodman chuckled and patted Lupe on the back.


Lupe sat atop a green pleather examination table in a cramped waiting room. Flutter, an eight-foot-tall pale woman with bright red hair that matched Lupe’s, sat in a wooden seat across from her. A sudden knock at the door called their attention, but a nurse walked in before either of them could answer. The blonde nurse carried in a clipboard and paused when she stepped in the room. She looked at Flutter, then at Lupe. After a moment she looked back at Flutter through squinted eyes.

“I give up,’ she tossed her arms up with mock exasperation and smiled. “Who am I here to see?” she asked. Flutter pointed at Lupe and the nurse nodded. She walked to the girl and introduced herself.

“I’m Fernie,” the nurse offered Lupe a hand and Lupe shook it with a smile.

“I’m Lupe.” Fernie nodded and smiled. She clicked her pen and started reading from the clipboard.

“How long have you been a lycanthrope?” Fernie asked.

“As far back as I can remember,” Lupe replied. Fernie looked surprised.

“Really? I guess you won’t be able to recall who bit you, right?” Fernie asked. She drew an ‘X’ by the next question, then drew several more ‘X’s on the next few questions. “Those are all about your symptoms when you turned, but if you don’t remember…” Fernie paused then she looked at Lupe with wide eyes.

“Wait, were you born a werewolf?” she asked. Lupe nodded. Fernie sighed. “Oh, that doesn’t happen here. You’re not from this Earth are you?” Fernie turned and gave Flutter a long look up and down. Then, she turned her attention back to Lupe.

“No,” Lupe said.

“I need a different set of forms.” Fernie headed to the door. “Be right back,” she smiled and walked out.

“Does she know what you are?” Lupe asked Flutter. The woman shook her head.

“She can see I’m Fae, but she can’t tell what,” she smiled at Lupe. In less than a minute Fernie entered the room carrying a different clipboard and a small black case. She set the case down and clicked her pen again.

“Okay, let’s restart the interview. Are werewolves common on your Earth?” Lupe shook her head.

“I think I’m the only one.” Fernie nodded.

“Are you a Unique?” Lupe glanced at Flutter, but the tall woman’s only response was an encouraging head nod.

“#47, La Corona.”

“Perfect! This’ll be easy,” Fernie said. She opened the black case and pulled out a white, lemon-sized stress ball. “Have you ever knowingly, or un-knowingly turned anyone?”

“No, I’ve never bitten anyone.” Fernie handed the ball to Lupe.

“Bite this, please.” Lupe put the squishy ball in her mouth and bit as hard as she could. “That’s enough,” Fernie said. Lupe released her jaw and looked at the ball that Fernie held. Instead of the white stress ball she expected, red fur covered the surface of the ball. The nurse shook the ball until all the red strands fell out and it became smooth and white again.

“Well, you’re definitely infectious,” Fernie began to explain. Lupe’s heart pumped faster. Her fists tensed up into balls, she worried about what Fernie might say next. She looked at Flutter, but the woman seemed perfectly relaxed. “But that’s easy enough to manage with a prescription,” she scribbled something on the form. “How do you change?” Fernie asked. Lupe shrugged.

“I dunno, I just do it,” she replied.

“Oh, you can change any time?” Fernie wrote something on the form. “How does the moon affect you?”

“It doesn’t,” Lupe said. Fernie reached into the black case and pulled out another white ball. This one glowed with soft blue light when she squeezed it.

“Focus on the light,” Fernie moved the ball slowly in different directions to watch Lupe’s reaction. After several movements, Fernie turned the ball of light off with a squeeze, then put it away.

“You’re right about moonlight. No effect. What’s your experience with silver?” Fernie asked. She reached into her case again.

“Never noticed anything,” Lupe said. Fernie pulled out a large silver coin and showed it to Lupe.

“Hold your hand out,” Fernie said. Lupe extended her hand and held it palm facing up. “I’m going to drop a silver coin in your hand. If it hurts, drop it.” Lupe nodded. “Three,” Fernie began a countdown.

“Two. One.” She dropped the coin. Lupe yelped the moment it touched her skin. She felt intense burning pain eating at the palm of her hand. Lupe jerked her hand away to let the coin fall to the ground, and she massaged her wounded hand. “Major silver allergy,” Fernie commented to herself as she wrote on the form.

“Okay that covers all the important stuff,” Fernie said. “You’ll be registered in our multi-verse system if that’s okay?” She asked Lupe. “It helps us keep track of the werewolves that travel through universes.” The girl nodded.

“Yes, please. I was going to ask about that,” Lupe smiled with excitement.

“Really?” Fernie’s eyes grew. “Wow, you’re the first, ‘yes’ I’ve ever gotten,” Fernie shrugged then gave Lupe a sly smile. “We have to add you either way, but we’re also required to inform you. And you want to be added? Why’s that?” Fernie asked.

“I can’t enroll in school unless I’m registered,” Lupe smiled.

Spider Trap

A dinner-plate sized black hole opened in the air next to Alan Crane’s seat. A black cat with a white fur stain atop its head stepped out of the hole and looked up at the thin, lanky man. The white splotch on its head resembled a skull.

“New pickup,” the cat spoke with a soft, feminine voice. Alan’s head dropped as he released a heavy sigh. He felt relieved it was only a “pickup”.  “Check your node for details. Usual drop off,” the cat stood and turned to enter its hole again. It paused halfway in the hole, then turned to face Alan. He saw golden eyes staring at him from inside the black hole.

“Yes, Janet,” he mumbled. The cat’s head bobbed in a faint nod, then she disappeared along with her black hole. Alan reached into his coat pocket and retrieved a small, transparent rectangle. He woke it and a picture of a dark-haired girl wearing a black visor appeared on the display. He glanced down at the only information provided.

  • Abby Araña: Unique #33 – La Araña. Unique ability – Swarm Summon

“Damnit Janet,” he grumbled at the empty air where the black hole was. “Better get started.” Alan placed his hands on each empty seat next to him and closed his eyes.  “Everybody out,” he thought. A small, bright purple scorpion climbed out of his cuff on one hand. A dark black scorpion crawled out of his other cuff. After that, dozens more scorpions in varying colors and sizes followed out of his sleeves. Once he released them all he sat up straight in his chair and waited for the next stop.

A small crowd of ten people, including a girl with a black visor, boarded at the next stop. Alan breathed out in relaxation, it seemed luck was on his side for once. Once the train left the station, Alan’s scorpions knocked out all the other passengers. Abby did not seem to notice that almost everyone else was unconscious. The girl’s attention seemed focused on her node. Alan sent a single scorpion to sting her to test her reaction. She did not move at all, but Alan felt the nameless scorpion die.

Did anyone see what happened?” he mentally asked his minions.

Spiders crawled out of her skin to kill him. A lot of spiders,” one of his scorpions replied into his mind.

Okay. Get ready,” Alan reached into his coat pocket. “Rush her!” he gave the command and stood from his seat at the same time. He pulled a tazer out of his pocket and fired it at the young girl. Two large, furry tarantulas jumped out of her skin to intercept the electrodes. They exploded as the current ran through them, but Abby did not flinch. She remained focused on her node.

Alan watched his soldiers crawl at Abby from all sides but spiders poured out of her skin like water. Her spiders protected her like living armor, they assaulted anything that got too close. Alan dashed across the subway car towards Abby, his skin hardened and became purple chitin to protect him from spider bites.

He grabbed her hair to pull her out of her seat and dozens of black widow spiders crawled out of her hair to climb up his arm. He felt the spiders attempt to sting him, but his carapace kept him protected. Abby’s black visor fell off when he yanked her hair, and Alan paused at the sight. Behind her visor, her eyes consisted of two black holes in her head. Abby giggled as two giant, softball-sized spiders crawled out her eye sockets and leaped at Alan.

Now, Sleepy!” he commanded the purple scorpion that crawled along the ceiling of the subway car. While Abby’s hundreds of eyes focused on Alan, Sleepy landed on her head and sunk his stinger into her neck. She fell unconscious immediately.

Without her controlling them, the spiders crawled away. The swarm dissipated, but the two largest spiders that crawled out of her skull returned to her eye sockets. They bothered Alan enough that he put her black visor back on her face before he lifted her over his shoulder.

B-Squad (6-29-18)

[WP] You have lived on earth your whole life. One morning, you wake up in the center of a modestly sized crater, as you look about you see fields of violet-tinted grass, a faint red sun in the sky overhead, and two moons in *much* closer orbit than our own. [Link to post.]

Lupe Villalobos standing around in a crater would not answer any questions. She reached up one of the sides gripping the violet grass around the upper rim of the hole. The texture of the violet grass felt the same as the green grass on Earth. The girl’s coppery hair shimmered under the moonlight that she was making a point to ignore. She scanned the large field, turning slowly and staring out along the grassy plain. 

“Whoaaaaa,” Lupe whispered to herself. Despite the situation, she marveled at the beauty of wherever she was. The sight encouraged her to face the two moons she purposely kept at her back. She turned around and found that she could still feel surprised. 

“Hi.” Underneath the two giant moons, she saw a beautiful, giant woman at least twice her size. The woman’s pale skin glowed in the blue moonlight and Lupe noticed a long red braid hanging over the front of her shoulder. She sat on a rock several feet away. The strange woman smiled at Lupe when she spoke. Lupe took a step toward her, then paused. 

“Hi,” she replied. “Where am I?” The woman chuckled, then turned her head to glanced at the twin moons. After a second she focused on Lupe again. 

“Earth,” she said with a smile. Lupe shook her head. 

“I’m from Earth.” She spread her arms wide to gesture at the field of violet grass. “It’s nothing like this.” 

“You don’t have grass?” She asked.

“Yeah. We have grass, but it’s not purple,” she said. Lupe reached down and grabbed a handful of grass blades and tossed them into the wind. Violet glimmers floated away on the breeze. 

“It’s violet,” the woman corrected her. 

“No, my grass is green. This isn’t Earth, so where am I?” The woman’s lack of hostility encouraged Lupe to step closer and she felt relieved when the stranger did not move. She decided to close the distance completely and kept walking. 

“Earth,” she repeated, then shrugged. “Just not yours.” Lupe stopped walking. Her eyes went wide and her mouth dropped open. 

“Huh?” She looked around again, then stared at her. “No way, it has to be a different planet. Earth doesn’t have two moons and pur-violet grass.”Why am I here? It has to be you because you seem to know a lot and there’s no one else around.” The woman smiled. 

“Technically it is a different planet, but it’s still the Earth of this universe. You’re quick, that’s part of why you’re here.” She cocked her head behind her. “C’mon meet the others.” She stood with easy grace making sure she did not scare the girl away, then began walking in the direction she suggested.  

“You’re special,” she began to explain, but Lupe interrupted her. 

“How do you know that? Actually, how do you know anything about me?” She asked. The woman must have heard her footsteps halt in the grass because she turned to face Lupe. She sat again, in the grass, to put the girl at ease. 

“We brought you here to have a talk. That’s it. If you’re not interested we’ll put you back on your Earth, and go our separate ways,” she said. “We didn’t talk to you on your Earth because this way makes more of an impression. We’ve been watching you for a while, and you’re pretty quick to change. I put you in that crater to distract you with questions we have the answers to and force you to listen.” 

“You brought me to a parallel universe just to talk to me?”

“Alternate, not parallel,” she said. The smile remained on her face and Lupe found herself becoming more at ease with the woman.

“What’s the difference?” she asked. 

“Proximity I guess? It’s not exactly that, but that’s the best way to put it. If we were parallel with your Earth, the grass would probably still be green.” She looked up. “There’d definitely be only one of those. The further you are from your home universe the bigger the changes.” The woman’s focus dropped to Lupe again. “But that’s not why you’re here. Although If you do stay you’ll learn all that stuff.”

“Okay. You said I’m here to listen, so I’m listening.” Lupe walked to the woman and sat in the grass next to her.

“We want to invite you to a private high-school next year,” she said. Lupe burst into laughter. 

“You’re kidding! I’m in an alternate universe because I won a scholarship???” Her laughter died down as she took in the violet field again. “It is beautiful though. I guess thanks for not just sending a letter.” The woman stood again, with less care this time. Lupe felt comfortable enough with her that the tall stranger did not need to measure every movement. She walked away again, and Lupe scrambled up off the grass to keep up with her large steps. 

“This is just where we train,” the woman said. Lupe realized she led her towards an encampment in the distance. She recognized an orange glow and saw several figures seated around the fire. “I thought it’d be a good idea to show you where you’d spend a lot of time if you decided to join up.” The woman said. Lupe made up her mind during the walk. Once the pair entered the orange glow Lupe saw a group of four kids her age, two boys and two girls. Each of the girls wore a glassy visor on their faces. One solid black on a dark haired girl, and the other translucent purple on a blonde girl. 
As they approached the four kids stood from their seats and greeted Lupe and the giant woman. 

“I’m in.” Lupe blurted out when she saw the friendly faces gathering around her. She felt a hard slap on her back from the tall woman. 

“Great to hear!” she said. The four kids stood before Lupe. The tall woman stepped forward, turned, and extended a hand to Lupe

“My name’s Flutter,” the red-headed giant said, then she turned to introduce the rest. She pointed at the blonde girl, then worked her way down the line. “Purple visor is Eurys, black visor is Abby. Green board shorts is Todd.” She gave a dismissive wave towards the fourth boy standing at the end. “And Felix.” 

“Flux,” Felix said and stepped forward to offer Lupe a handshake. #46, El Sol.”  Lupe shook the boy’s hand but looked at him with confusion.

“46? What?”  She felt a reassuring pat from Flutter on her back. 

“We’ll get to that. By the way, you’re #47, La Corona.” 

Weapons of War (4-6-18)

[WP] I didn’t want to start this fight, but I’ll finish it. [Link to post.]

“I will NOT.” Flutter growled at the kids in front of her. She stood still, though maintaining her composure took effort. 

“You think you have a choice?” Felix, the natural leader of the group, and the instigator of their revolt stepped forward from the group. He shook his head. “Ballisea’s off world, she can’t protect you.” The brown haired boy gripped his weapon tighter; his hands began to glow with a golden light. Scales formed over Flutter’s body to protect her. 

“I always have a choice,” Flutter said. Todd, a blonde boy, dropped his weapon then took a step backward leaving the two girls between him and Felix. Flutter smiled at Todd.

“Oh, they didn’t mention that I’m half dragon, did they? Good, I’m glad one of you is reconsidering.”  Abby, a dark haired girl wearing a pitch black visor over her eyes moved to grab Todd’s hand and pull him forward.  

“C’mon Todd! We can totally take her!” Abby encouraged him, then leaned forward to whisper something in his ear. Todd glanced upward in an obvious fashion and Flutter followed suit. She gasped when she saw thousands of spiders, in all varieties, streaming down from the ceiling at her. 

“Your armor won’t do you any good if you can’t move,” Abby said with a smile. The spiders began to land on Flutter’s golden scales and she brushed them off as fast as she could, but there was always more. They swarmed her, covering her tall 7′ form in crawling black and brown. Flutter had enough sense not to open her mouth, but in seconds she toppled over as the spiders encased her in layers of webbing. She wriggled on the ground trying to free herself while the four kids ran to her. 

“Nice one, Abbs,” Todd said, and they exchanged a high five. The spiders continued to wrap Flutter while on the ground tighter and tighter. Felix kicked Flutter’s prone form in the stomach. 

“You always have a choice, huh?” He kicked her again for good measure. “Not this time.” Abby lifted her weapon, but Felix held a hand up to stop her. He shook his head. 

“Eury first,” he said. 

“What? But I trapped her!” Felix nodded. 

“You did, your spiders are awesome. But we’re a team. We help each other,” he said. Felix waved the blonde girl with a purple visor over her eyes forward, and offered her his weapon. “C’mon Eury. you’re in this with us too.” She looked at Abby. The dark haired girl nodded her head and smiled in return. 

“He’s right.” Eury took the blunt weapon from Felix, and a slight smile tugged at one corner of her lips. Abby’s spiders cleared from Flutter’s wrapped body, leaving behind a large wriggling mass encased in white. Todd chuckled.

“She looks like Mundo,” he said. Eury’s smile grew, and the rest of the group laughed. The laughter was drowned out by Flutter’s scream. The two seconds the spiders did not maintain the webbing keeping Flutter contained was enough for her to tear herself free. She shredded the webbing and rushed to her feet to stare at the four slackjawed kids. The exertion took a lot out of her, but Flutter spoke through her ragged breathing.

“I didn’t want to start this fight, but I’ll finish it,” she said. The giant 7′ woman leaned down and grabbed a velvety purple pillow from the floor. “And after I win this pillow fight, it’s definitely bed time you guys.” An answer hit Flutter in the face as Eury threw her blue pillow at her. 

Circus to Circus (4-4-18)

[WP] ”Everyone here has their story” she said, looking around her. ”So what is yours?” [Link to post.]

Todd took a couple of deep breaths to relax before he pushed the solid, grey metal door open. It swung into the room easily, then he stepped across the threshold. The size of the room surprised him. When Ballisea told him to join “the others” in the cafeteria he expected a bright, wide open room filled with seats and tables. Instead he found a smallish dim room and a group of four people sitting at a round table. Dozens of pizza boxes were piled on a buffet table that sat against one of the walls. Most of the boxes looked empty and some looked older than others; it seemed like pizza was all they ate here. Todd wouldn’t complain. 

He looked over the four “others”. The first one that caught his eye was a giant pale woman with fiery red hair braided behind her. The other three looked about his age. Two girls and a boy. The blonde girl wore a translucent purple visor over her eyes, the dark haired girl wore a pitch black visor. Todd wondered how she saw through it. The boy sported a chestnut colored crewcut and wore a pair of sunglasses, but he seemed more focused on his slice of pizza than Todd’s entrance. The other three stared at him, as far as he could tell. He waved.

“Hi. Uh, I’m Todd. Ballisea told me to come introduce myself.” The giant woman stood from her seat and walked to Todd, with an outstretched hand and friendly smile.  

Hey Todd, I’m Flutter. That’s EuryAbby, and Felix.” The towering woman pointed to the the girl with the purple visor, the one with the black visor, then the boy. Todd shook her hand while staring up at her, he guessed she was at least 7′ tall. “Grab a slice, and have a seat.” Flutter said, then went back to her own seat. Todd shook his head and went straight for the table.

“No thanks, not hungry at the moment.” He sat in an empty chair between Felix and Abby. “Am I gonna get cool glasses too?” he asked. Abby chuckled. Felix started on another slice of pizza, while Eury stared at Todd. She did not so much as crack a smile. 

“Abby and Eury have their reasons, Felix just thinks he looks cool,” Flutter said. She mussed Felix’s hair, then yanked his sunglasses off while he tried to fix it. 

“Hey!” Felix said. “I’m sorry we don’t have them on my Earth.” Felix tried to snatch them from Flutter, but gave up after the third try. 

“Your Earth?” Todd asked, looking around the table. “You guys are from alternate Earths too?”

“Yep! Each one of us is from a different one. It’s awesome!” Abby said, with a large smile. Eury only nodded. 

”Everyone here has their story,” Flutter said, looking around her. ”So what’s your deal?”

“Hey I wanna hear you guys’ story too,” Todd said, looking at Eury specifically. 

“Abby is #33, La Araña. Felix is #46, El Sol. Eury is #14, La-” Flutter’s quick introduction was interrupted by Eury. 

“I’m Death.” Eury said. She stood from her seat and walked out of the room. 

“She’s still warming up to the group,” Abby said. “Which one are you?” She asked Todd. 

“#54, the frog,” Todd replied. “But, I’m already feeling kind of useless. From what Mundo told me Sol and Death are wicked powerful.”

“Oh yeah, I’m #42, La Calavera,” Flutter added. “Just to rub it in,” she smiled. “Don’t sweat it, everyone’s here for a reason.”

“I’m just a Spider, we’re on the same tier,” Abby said. “But how’d Ballisea pick you up?” 

“Uh, she bought me?” Todd shrugged, the right side of his mouth turned up in a half smirk. “My parents run a circus. We’re on the road a lot, so I’m supposed to be homeschooled. My parents never bothered with it though. Ballisea saw my act and said she wanted me to go to school, but my parents didn’t want to lose one of their biggest acts,” Todd said. He spread his arms wide and leaned forward in a mock bow. “So she asked how much it would take to convince them otherwise. They named a number, Ballisea made it happen, now I’m here.” 

“So you’re a Frog, what can you do?” Felix asked, then started on a third slice of pizza. 

“Man, you sure love that pizza,” Todd chuckled. Felix began to reply, but the mouthful of bread and cheese prevented any discernible words from leaving his mouth. 

“They didn’t have pizza on his Earth either,” Flutter said. Felix nodded vigorously while chewing. 

Strength and Numbers (4-2-18)

[WP] A spider dangles down from the ceiling in front of you, but just out of reach. You hear a quiet voice say, “So what are you going to do now?” [Link to post.]

Abby walked out of the shimmering blue portal and stared at her large pink and white house. She saw no sign of her parent’s car in the driveway. The dark haired girl smiled at the tall woman with horns exiting the portal behind her. 

“See? No one’s home, I’ll bet they’re out looking for me,” Abby smiled, then ran to her front door. She tried her house key, but it did not want to fit the lock. The tall woman caught up, and spoke up from behind her.

“I’m sure it’s very common to change the locks before searching for a beloved missing child,” Ballisea said. She drenched the word “beloved” in sarcasm. “You’ve only been missing for a few hours, they must have been in a hurry to keep you out.”

“SHUT UP!” Abby yelled. She vented her anger by punching the door. To her surprise the punch broke the door off its hinges. It flew backward in pieces. 

“Oh I forgot to tell you. You’re a lot stronger now,” Ballisea commented. 

“What? How?” Abby asked. She brought her hands up to admire them. The door may as well have been tissue paper, she did not have a single abrasion on her knuckle. Ballisea chuckled.

“Really? With everything that’s happened to you today, your strength is what surprises you?” 

“Good point, I guess.” Abby stepped over door pieces and into her home. Everything looked like it should, but in the back of her mind she could not shake the feeling that something was wrong. “I’m gonna go check my room.” She ran through the dining room and down a long hallway past two bedrooms, the den, and a bathroom to the other side of the house. Ballisea followed close behind. Abby turned a corner to her door, then screamed the moment she reached it. A sign hung on the door to Abby’s room. It said “JANET’S ROOM. KEEP OUT.” 

“Janet? Isn’t that the name of the girl that left you out in the forest after cutting a 33 into your arm?” 
Abby punched through the door and discovered several boxes inside the otherwise empty room. No bed. The dresser her dad built for her was gone. “They sure didn’t waste any time finding a new daughter.” Ballisea chuckled. Abby hung her head. 

“It’s true. Everything you said is true.” Tears rolled down her bright red cheeks. Heaving sobs wracked her body. A single house spider drifted down from the ceiling in front of Abby. 

“So what are you going to do now?” The spider asked.

“I don’t know,” Abby whined at the spider through her tears. The sound of a car driving up the gravel driveway caught her attention. She dashed to the window. Her parent’s car turned into the long gravel driveway that led to the house, though they would not see the broken door until they drove all the way in. She caught a glimpse of Janet, the last person Abby saw with her own eyes, sitting in the back seat of the car. All three occupants wore smiles on their faces. Abby felt a soft hand on her shoulder.

“It almost makes you wonder if they put her up to it. Do you think they told Janet to take your eyes too, or was that her acting on her own?” Ballisea said, then squeezed Abby’s shoulder with a firm grip. “I know you’re upset dear.” Ballisea pulled on Abby’s shoulder to turn her around, then pointed to a side of the room. 

She made a gesture with her hand and a pitch black hole appeared, floating vertically. “My offer still stands of course. If you stay, whose to say how they might react to you being here. Come with me, and you’ll have a fresh start. School starts in a few months, and I know you’ll have new friends by then. Friends that care about you, and want you around.” Abby looked up at the woman. 

“Why is that portal black?” Abby asked, scared that she could not see anything past the hole in reality. 

“It goes farther than the shortcut that got us here,” Ballisea said. Abby still felt unsure, she looked up and focused on the pair of bone-white ram horns curling out of Ballisea’s head. 

“Where? You know a lot about me, are you a demon?” Abby asked, unsure what answer she wanted to hear. Unsure that she would choose to stay with her parents if the woman was a demon. 

“WHO’S IN HERE??” Abby heard her father’s voice from the front door.  “I HAVE A GUN.” She knew he didn’t have a gun. 

“The second question is complicated, we’ll answer that another time. As for where…” The corners of Ballisea’s lips turned upward into a sharp smile. “An alternate Earth. Come with me and leave this world behind entirely. No matter who you were here or what you do, no one will be able to find you.” Ballisea brought her hand up to her chin and rolled her eyes upward, as if she were thinking. Then she gave a soft, pleasant chuckle. “Why, with you being in a different universe entirely, you could easily get away with murder. I’m sorry, that sounds horrible,” Ballisea covered her mouth with mock embarrassment, then smiled again. “I meant to say revenge.” 

“JANET! Stay out of your room until I check the whole house!” Abby heard her father’s voice again. She turned to face the single spider hanging in the center of the room. 

“Go round up some of your friends. You guys are going to have a feast tonight,” Abby said. Dozens of different types of spiders began crawling out from under her clothes. She looked to the doorway in time to lock eyes with Janet. Abby’s swarm of spiders flowed toward the screaming girl in the doorway. 

“Skeeter, Lefty, you guys go too. I want to get a good look at this,” Abby added. Skeeter, a large black widow crawled out of the empty eye socket, and down the right side of her face. Left, a large brown furry wolf spider crawled out of her left eye socket. She watched through their eyes as they rushed towards Janet’s ankles. 

“I’ll wait for you on the other side. Join me when you’ve had your fun. No rush though, enjoy it,” Ballisea said.

Web of Lies (3-25-18)

[WP] Sunday Free Write [Link to post.]

Abby practiced switching views from spider to spider while they tended to her. She named the large black widow that spoke to her first “Skeeter”. Her parents promised her a dog after they got settled in their new town. She planned to name it Skeeter, but Abby decided having a pet black widow that she could talk to was way better. Thinking about her parents made Abby realize the sun was starting to dip below the trees. She needed to get home.

“Alright guys, that’s good enough. Let me up,” Abby said to her spider pit crew. A mixture of wolf spiders, tarantulas, black widows, brown recluses began undoing the webs that held her down, she watched it all from Skeeter’s eyes. She moved to stand up, but Skeeter stood on her chest. His view disoriented her, and she fell on her butt.
“Ow.” She thought for a second, then decided on a solution. “Hey Skeeter, get in my eye hole.”
“Yes.” Skeeter’s small voice said in her mind. She felt the light pins of Skeeter’s spindly legs climb up her bare neck and onto her face. It crawled up her cheek and settled into her right eye hole, turning around to face outward. Now she could almost see normally. The left side of her view was still blank, as if her left eye were closed.
“Good enough,” she said. She stood and dusted herself off as as a reflex, even though the spiders had already cleaned her off while she lay on the forest floor. “C’mon guys, let’s go home.” The spiders climbed her legs and disappeared under her skin. She took a single step forward, then stopped. “Uh, any of you guys know the way out of here?” Abby realized she didn’t know where she was. She did not have time to pay attention to any landmarks as Janet and her group of friends chased the new dark haired girl into the forest.
“I can get you home, Ms. Araña” a female voice said. It sounded loud and clear, not like the spider voices in her mind. She turned toward the sound and took a step back. Immediately the spiders on her skin popped crawled out, ready to defend her. Through Skeeter’s eyes she saw a tall, pale woman wearing a long black dress with slits cut up to her hips on both sides. A pair of bone-white ram horns curled out of the top of the woman’s head, adding to her height. “But you won’t like it,” the woman added with a sad look on her face.
“Who are you? What do you mean I won’t like it?” Abby asked. Her spiders did not lower their guard. Abby realized this woman was talking to a girl covered in spiders, and did not seem bothered, nor surprised by it. “How long have you been there, why didn’t you help me?” Abby added. The tall woman shrugged.
“Those are all excellent questions, Abby. My name is Ballisea. In some ways I’m like a fairy godmother, you could say. I help lost,” Ballisea nodded towards Abby. “…or unwanted,” she stressed the word and met Skeeter’s eyes.”… kids. In your case, can you imagine your mother or father hugging you, or kissing your cheek when you have a black widow spider sitting in your eye socket? You know why you moved to this town, right? Lower cost of living. Your parents are struggling financially, and a special daughter would probably make a great sale to the government.”
“THEY WOULDN’T DO THAT TO ME!” Abby screamed. Hundreds of spiders crawled out of the surrounding trees to stand around her. Ballisea shrugged.
“I understand you don’t believe me. It’s okay, you’ll see soon enough. Your mom is pregnant again, your replacement is already on the way. But let’s get you home.” Ballisea waved her hand at the air and it rippled like water. Bright blue light glowed behind the ripples, then Abby saw her house on the other side of the portal. “This is a short cut. I’ll go with you because I know you’ll change your mind. By the way, I saw the whole thing. I was going to help when Janet pulled her knife out, but I heard her say she wanted to carve your favorite number in you. I needed to let that happen.”
“Why?” Abby asked.
“That’s going to take more explanation than we can do here. Let’s get you home first, and see if you want to stay.” Ballisea gestured towards the portal, and Abby walked through it.

Seeing Spiders (3-22-18)

[WP] you were left for dead in the middle of an unknown forest, you pass out thinking this is it. All of the sudden you wake up and all your wounds are stitched with what looks like spider webs. [Link to post.]

Abby woke up in darkness. Despite opening and re-opening her eyes several times, her vision remained pitch black. She attempted to wipe her eyes clean, but discovered she could not move her arms. She felt a tightness around them, as if something kept her tied down. She tried to move her legs, but found them bound as well. Abby pulled at the soft bindings, then discovered she lacked the strength to free herself.

“Hello??” She questioned the darkness, unsure whether she wanted to hear a response or not. She received one.

“Hello,” a small voice said to her right. She turned her head toward the sound, but no light met her eyes. She did not know who spoke. 

“Hello? Who are you? Where am I?” Abby asked, facing the direction of the first response.

“Hello.” the voice said again, further to her right than she could face. Abby felt a feather touch tickle her earlobe. She flinched, but remained tied down. Her body shuddered as a result. “Who am I?”

“Help me,” Abby said. Asking for help triggered a flash of memory. She remembered pleading for help as Janet, a dark haired girl, and her friends bullied her. They chased Abby into the forest, just because she was the new girl. 

“Initiation!” They yelled over and over as they kicked her curled up form. Then Janet pulled out a switchblade and popped the sharp end out.

“Help you.” The voice squeaked. Dozens of other tiny voices around her echoed the first. “Help you,” they all said. She felt tickles moving, skittering over her body. Abby let herself relax, somehow the sensation comforted her. 

“Why can’t I see?” Abby asked. The pins crawling over her body settled into a pattern. She felt them moving back and forth across her upper left arm. More memories formed in her mind. Her arm is where Janet left her mark with the blade. Abby remembered searing pain before she blacked out. 

“I can see,” the main voice said, as if taunting her. The rest of the voices agreed. “I can see,” each voice said.

“I can see.”

“I can see,” over a dozen voices informed her they could all see. The situation began to wear on her. Abby remained unconvinced the unknown voices meant to help her. 

“I want to see!” Abby yelled. Then she could see. Her body remained unable to move, but her vision floated across a girl’s body. She saw a bleeding 33 on the girl’s arm, then recognized it.

“That’s my arm!” Abby shut her eyes trying to make the vision go away, but closing her eyelids did nothing to block the confusing view. She remembered Janet laughing while cutting the number, Abby’s favorite number, into her arm.  

“My arm,” each voice repeated. “My arm.” “My arm.” …  Her vision moved back and forth across the wound. each pass left behind a white silken thread. She noticed her vision darkened before each turn, and paid attention to why. Whatever she looked through appeared to burrow into her skin then out again, though she did not feel any pain. During one pass she caught sight of a spider and her arachnophobia kicked in. 

“Spider!” she screamed. Her body wriggled frantically. 

“Yes.” The main voice said. “Yes,” some of the other voices said. “Spider,” the rest added. She realized the situation. 

“Show me my face,” Abby said. She had to know why she couldn’t see. Her view crawled up her arm, she understood now that she peered through a spider’s eyes. Her perspective crawled up her cheek; she felt the light, pin touches moving up the side of her face. It climbed up her nose. She gasped when she saw her eye holes. White webbing sealed her empty black sockets. Sobs wracked her body.

“My EYES!” she yelled. 

“Your eyes,” the main spider said. Her spun on her nose to see the rest of her body. Dozens of different spiders crawled over her body, cleaning her wounds and sewing her clothes back together. 

“But you’re spiders,” Abby said, the hopelessness heavy in her voice. 

“You’re Spider.” the familiar voice said.