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Month: September 2015

Chapter 15 – I Fucking Knew It

I felt Charlie’s hand on my shoulder before I changed. She leaned in, and whispered calmly in my ear.

“Don’t. You have a lot more to lose.”

Then she stepped in front of us, walking towards the charging infected. They snarled and tried to swipe at her, but she effortlessly ducked the blow, grabbing their wrist and twisting, slamming them against the ground.

Quicker than I could follow, she whipped out a syringe from under her coat. The same kind the Vigilante had given me. She dropped to one knee and drove it into the infected’s chest. It twitched, but almost immediately began to calm down.

“I fucking knew it,” Veronica nearly shouted, grabbing my arm.

Realisation washed over me like a bucket of icy water. Charlie was the Vigilante. That was why she’d taken such an interest in me. We were both different. We were both superhuman.

Charlie had just revealed herself to potentially the entire world. If that camera was still recording, and it looked like it was, there was definitely footage of what she’d just done, which was undisputably superhuman. No normal human could move like that.

She started walking towards the camera which was pointed at her. The cameraman started to back away, leaving his camera behind. Was she planning on destroying the camera? What if it was broadcasting?

She stopped about ten feet in front of it, standing there dramatically.

“Hello, Melbourne,” she said. “Hello, world. I am the Vigilante, and I’m here to let you know, this city will be safe again. No more soldiers, no more gang warfare, and no more infected.” She paused, seemingly for effect. “I’m going to save this city, and I’m going to do it without killing anyone.” Another pause. “Well, except for one person. Rachel, I’m going to find you. You can’t hide from me forever.”

With that, she turned and walked away from the camera, back to the infected she’d left lying on the ground, now completely unconscious. With no apparent effort, she lifted them up onto her shoulder, and then leapt up into the air, clearing the nearest building, three stories tall.

In the distance, several sirens blared to life. Veronica grabbed my arm, her eyes wild.

“We can’t be seen here,” she hissed.

The two of us ran, away from the cameras and the dead reporter and the scene of Charlie’s dramatic reveal. My head was whirling, and I could barely concentrate on where we were going.

“I fucking knew she was suspicious,” Veronica said, slightly out of breath. I didn’t say anything, not because I was also out of breath, but because I didn’t know what to say. “Oh, I just found these listening bugs in your room, Sabrina. Oh, I just somehow knew about the Vigilante before everyone else did.”

I’d known Charlie since long before Impact Day. How long had she had these powers? Her whole life? I knew the Vigilante had existed for over a year before Impact Day, but there were never any rumours of super strength, just that she was incredibly hard to kill.

Where had her powers come from? Could it be the same place as mine? Did she know? Would she tell me? Could she be trusted? And who was Rachel?

It was too much to think about, more than I was ready to deal with. Beside me, Veronica was still ranting, though it was hard to tell if she was genuinely mad, or just excited and scared and still full of adrenaline.

Eventually, we stopped running. I felt a little tired, but not nearly as exhausted as Veronica looked. Before she noticed, I tried to mimic her behaviour, just so she wouldn’t be suspicious.

“Can you believe this shit?” she asked me, determined to get a response this time.

“No,” I said truthfully. “It’s a lot to take in.”

“I’m so mad,” she continued, as if I hadn’t said anything at all. “There is no way I’m going to let this rest. I’m going to uncover every single one of her lies, if it’s the last thing I do.”

“She’s a superhuman vigilante,” I said absently. “It might actually be the last thing you do.”

“I’m not that easy to scare,” she snapped.

“Well, I am. I’m going home,” I told her.

“Will you be okay?” she asked, her tone suddenly soft and compassionate.

“I’ll be fine,” I insisted. “Right now, I’m more worried about you.”

She waved my concerns away, accompanied by fake laughter.

“You worry too much, Sabrina. I’ll be fine. I’m not going to do anything too reckless… just yet.”

She smirked, then we hugged and parted ways. It didn’t take me long to get home, even without relying on any superhuman speed. I was suddenly very self-conscious of that.

“I’m home,” I called, as I closed the front door.

“Hi honey,” Mum called. “Your friend is in you room, I said that was fine. I hope that’s okay!”

“Sure, thanks!” I called back, even though it was completely not fine. I had no idea who was waiting for me in my room, but all I wanted was to be alone.

Grumpily, I ascended the stairs and pushed open the door to my room. To my surprise, a complete stranger sat on my bed, her dark, sunken eyes staring sullenly up at me. She looked frail, almost certainly sick.

“Um, hi?” I said, closing the door behind me. “Who are you?”

“I’m sorry,” she said, her voice strained and weak. “I didn’t know where else to go. I need your help. My name is Rachel.”

Chapter 14 – What’s The Worst That Could Happen

“Are you sure it’s okay to be out here?” Veronica asked, looking around nervously. The entire city was eerily quiet, which as I understood it was the new normal, after everything that had happened. The city was generally safe during the day, but not many people seemed like they wanted to take the risk.

“What’s the worst that could happen?” Charlie said, smirking.

“Don’t make me say it,” Veronica said, rolling her eyes. “We’d be here all day.”

“How long has it been like this?” I asked.

“Since day one,” Veronica answered. “Impact Day. Nothing’s been the same.”

“It’s a power struggle,” Charlie said. “It was bound to happen sooner or later. Impact Day, if that’s what we’re calling it, just sped things up a bit.”

“But, all of the factions that are fighting, they all came after the crash,” Veronica said.

“Not all of them,” Charlie said. “The gangs were a problem even before then, they just weren’t as public. The infected are new, and so are most of the superhumans, but not all of them.”

“What? You think we had those, whatever they are, before? How? And why are you the only one to know about them?” Veronica demanded.

Across the road, there was a minor disruption as a news crew began to set up. I guessed they were planning on shooting some kind of report, but I was far more interested in what Charlie had to say.

“Because I pay attention to this kind of thing,” she said. “And I’m not the only one who knew. But who’d have believed it?”

“Who was here before?” I asked. Charlie looked at me, curious.

“The vigilante, for starters. Surely you heard the rumours?”

“About him being immortal?” Veronica asked. “You mean that’s true?”

“According to several accounts,” Charlie said. “Then there was the superhuman shopkeeper, who actually appears to have vanished. Which is interesting all on its own.”

“You can’t actually believe that one, can you?” Veronica asked, incredulous.

“You’d deny it now? With everything else that’s happening? Surely you can keep a slightly more open mind,” Charlie scolded her.

“I saw the sky split open,” Veronica said. “I know the things I’m seeing now came from another world. Where am I supposed to believe a shopkeeper who could lift a car with one hand came from?”

“The same place? One of a myriad of other possible places?”

“You’re way too ready to buy into that crap,” Veronica said snidely. “You think they’ve been here secretly for, what, years? And only just started to act up now?”

“I think-” Charlie began, but was cut off by a scream from across the road. The news crew were backing away rapidly, though the cameras seemed to still be filming.

A second later, the reason for the screaming became apparent. One of the infected had burst out of the building, snarling and sneering in the sunlight. With one brutal swing of their arm, they knocked the reporter clean off his feet, and he slammed into a parked car with a sickening thud.

The expression on the infected’s face was more of panic and confusion than actual malice, and I was reminded of the Vigilante’s insistence that they were human, and could be saved. I think I was starting to understand her point of view.

The infected saw us, locking eyes with me from across the road. I knew instinctively they were going to charge, and the only one who could do anything about it was me.

One of the cameras was trained almost directly on us. If I transformed, or whatever it was that I did, it would almost certainly be caught on film. Not to mention both Veronica and Charlie would know, and I so wasn’t ready for that.

What would happen if that ended up on TV? Everyone would know. My parents would know. Plus, with all of the tension between the military and superhumans, I would probably become a public enemy.

What else could I do, though? If I didn’t change, Veronica and Charlie would almost certainly die. I had a feeling I would survive, but even that would be suspicious.

I could feel the beginnings of a panic attack forming. There was no good way out of this situation. Whatever I did, I was completely screwed.

I took a deep breath. If I was going to be revealed either way, at least that meant I could protect my friends without fear. Not that there actually would be an absence of fear, but I could talk myself into it.

I felt the familiar crawling of my skin, the tingle down my spine.

Alright, Sabrina. Time to reveal your secret to the world.

Chapter 13 – You’re Not What These People Need

The rain was heavy, oppressive. It felt like it was going to crush me, pressing down on me, pinning me in place. I closed my eyes, slowed my breathing, and transformed.

All of a sudden, the rain barely registered in my senses. I felt almost nothing, and I could see through it like it wasn’t there at all. The cold retreated, and I felt powerful again.

I also had no idea what I was doing.

At a loss, I started to run. My legs coiled and uncoiled like springs, catapulting me through the streets, with no direction or destination in mind. It felt exhilarating. Before I knew it, I was halfway across the city.

With no idea where I was.

“What the hell am I doing?” I asked myself, forgetting momentarily what happened when I talked to myself out loud.

“Cracking bad guys’ skulls?” Envy answered, though I had no idea where from.


“It’s rainy, honey,” she said. “Check the puddles.”

I looked down and saw her looking back up at me, rippling and warping as rain drops collided with the gathering pool of water.

“Anything with a reflection, huh?”

“Pretty much,” she said. “Go north.”

“Why north?”

“Because that’s where the thugs are,” she said, and I could almost hear the trailing ‘duh’ at the end of it.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“I can see them from a window,” she replied, shrugging.

“You have got to be kidding me,” I muttered, not sure whether to believe her. Given everything else, I had no reason to suspect she was lying.

“I might be,” she said, smirking. “Can’t hurt to try though, right? Not like you’ve got a better lead.”

I sighed.

“North it is.”

Without anything more specific than that, I started to run again. Within a matter of seconds, my instincts were screaming at me to stop, and without thinking, I leapt up on top of a nearby roof.

Adrenaline surging through me, I walked up to the edge of the roof, peering down. Sure enough, there were a bunch of suspicious-looking people standing around, holding guns and moving boxes.

“Wow, you were right,” I said, assuming Envy was still around somewhere.

“You’ll get used to it,” she said sweetly.

“So, now what? Just… knock them out?”

Movies made it look so easy, but I was pretty sure if I punched someone hard enough to stop them from moving, they wouldn’t just wake up a few hours later and be fine.

“Not talking to yourself is probably a good start,” a familiar, distorted voice said. I turned around to find the Vigilante standing behind me, their arms folded.

“You again?”

“Yeah,” they said. “This is basically what I do. You’re welcome to watch, though.”

“No, wait. I should do this. I have actual-”

“I know what you can do,” they said, cutting me off harshly. “Trust me, you’re not what these people need.”

“But you’re-”

“Trust me, I’ll be fine.”

Before I could protest further, they leapt off the roof, landing right in the middle of the gathered thugs. It took the thugs less than three seconds to open fire on the Vigilante, almost like they were expecting to be attacked.

In those three seconds, the Vigilante had already taken down two of them, disabling one with what looked like a taser and another with a baton strike right to the solar plexus.

The Vigilante threaded a rope out from a sleeve, moving at least as quickly as I could. They practically danced between the thugs, disarming them and binding their wrists and ankles. Within a couple of minutes, they’d disabled the entire lot of them.

I dropped down to the ground, staring at them. They were piling up the boxes the thugs had been moving.

“You, you’re one of them,” I said.

“No more than you,” they replied, not stopping what they were doing.

“How?” I asked.

“It’s a long story,” they said, shrugging. When all of the boxes were stacked up, they pulled a small, metallic orb from inside their coat. It took me a second to realise it was a grenade.

They pulled the pin, and shoved the grenade into the centre mass of the boxes. Neither of us bothered to move away.

I hardly felt the explosion, even from a metre away. The Vigilante seemed just as unfazed, the wild fluttering of their coat the only sign they felt the blast at all.

“We both have somewhere we need to be,” they said.

“Wait-” I called out, but they’d already taken off, disappearing into an alley.

“Don’t bother,” Envy said, talking to me from some shattered glass on the ground. The explosion must have blown out a window. “You’ll never catch her.”

I was about to protest that when my brain realised what she’d said.

“How do you know they’re a she?” I asked.

“Because I know who she is,” Envy said, shrugging.

“What? Who?” I demanded.

“Someone incredibly dangerous,” she said. “Someone you need to stay away from.”

“No,” I said, taking a step in the direction of the alley the Vigilante had disappeared down. “No more vague threats. Tell me who she is, or I’m chasing her.”

“Then chase her,” Envy said. “You won’t catch her. I can’t tell you who she is, Sabrina. I’m sorry.”

“You can tell me she’s dangerous, and that I should stay away from her, but not her name?”

“It’s complicated,” Envy said, sounding distressed for the first time since I’d met her. “I can see her, not like you can, but… She’s like me, only more. She belongs here. She has power here. She could destroy me, if she ever figures out who she really is.”

“You sound really scared,” I said. “I’m sorry. I won’t follow her.”

“It’s getting late, anyway. If you don’t get home soon, your parents will know you were out all night.”

“I could not feel less like a superhero right now,” I grumbled.

Chapter 12 – Just Enjoy The Ride

Six hours later, I stood in front of the mirror, trying to take myself seriously. Everything felt so surreal.

I’d had to transform to get my measurements, and once transformed, I realised Zoe’s powers weren’t just about strength. Just by taking her form, I felt an overwhelming surge of dexterity and finesse, and my body seemed to just be capable of doing whatever I needed it to do.

Somehow, I managed to sew an entire costume in only a few hours, then spent another couple making alterations and trying to make it look, well, cool. I wasn’t sure how successful I was, but it sure was a costume.

I sighed, staring at the face that wasn’t mine, the body that wasn’t me.

“Why am I only powerful when I’m white?” I asked my reflection, complaining out loud.

“You have a pretty narrow understanding of power,” my reflection answered, surprising me.

“Envy?” I asked.

“You remembered!” she said, sounding gleeful.

“Are you in every reflection?”

“More or less,” she said. “Are you always this mopey?”

“Yes,” I answered. “You, you seem to know more about this power than me. Can I have her strength without looking like her?”

She shrugged, then twirled around, checking out the costume on herself. Her body language was so different to mine.

“Wow, you’ve got skills, girl,” she said, giggling. “You can sew?”

“I’ve been teaching myself,” I muttered. “I like fashion.”

“Well, colour me impressed.”

I watched her move around in the mirror, so comfortable in her own skin. What did that feel like, to actually feel like your body was right for you? I just felt like a puppeteer in a sack of expired meat.

“You’re upset,” she said, pouting. “Talk to me, sweetheart. What’s going on in that pretty head of yours?”

I frowned at her level of familiarity. Also, I was surprised she didn’t know what was going on in my head. I’d just assumed that she would.

“I just… I don’t understand how you can look so natural,” I said. “That’s not your body. So why do you seem so normal in it?”

“What, this old thing?” She tugged at her cheek and poked her stomach. “Just something I threw on. See, your body is just, it’s a shell, you see? It’s like clothes. You can change it, if you want. What matters is how you wear it.”

“You know up until recently I couldn’t change it at all, right?” I asked, crossing my arms.

“You really believed that? Wow, that must have really sucked,” she said, sounding surprisingly sympathetic.

“You don’t know much about humans, do you?” I asked.

“Oh honey, I know everything about humans. It seems like maybe you don’t know enough about them.”

She stood with her hands on her hips, and I couldn’t help but to laugh.

“What are you talking about?”

“Your body is yours,” she said. “It isn’t you. And you can do whatever you like to it, to make it fit just a little better.”

“I’m never gonna look the way I want to look,” I said grimly. “I’ll never have the body I want to have.”

“Wrong, wrong,” she said in a sing-song voice. “I know times are different here, not quite as ahead as where I’m from, but I know there’s plenty more you can do.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“Well, that’s obvious. Look, start with this.” She pulled something from behind her back, a small bottle of pills. She threw it towards me, and somehow, I caught it.

“What the…”

“You weren’t still thinking I’m not real, where you?” she asked, feigning offence. “How rude. I’m tempted to take those back, now.”

“How did you do that?” I asked, turning the bottle over in my hand. It felt so real.

“I’m a lot more than just a voice in your head,” she told me. “Those, by the way, are estrogen pills. They might help you start to look a little more like yourself.”

“I’m supposed to take pills from a stranger?”

“Honey, I may be strange, but I am no stranger,” she said. “I told you, I’m you. You’re me. We’re us.”

“But what does that mean?” I asked.

“It means we need each other,” she said, suddenly serious. “Without you, I’m never going to survive. And without me, well, you’re not gonna fare much better. Something’s coming, Sabrina.”

“What’s coming?” I demanded. “You can just throw generic vagueries at me all of the time!”

“Can too,” she said petulantly. “Look, we’ve only just started to get to know each other. Don’t rush things! Just, enjoy the ride, you know?”

Before I could answer, she disappeared, replaced in an instant with my proper reflection. I shook my head. It still looked like a stranger to me.

Chapter 11 – You’re The Suspicious One Here

Part 2 – Envy

“Uh, don’t take this the wrong way, but why are you still here?” I asked Charlie, who was sitting cross-legged on the end of my bed. Veronica was happily tapping away on my computer, engrossed in a match of some competitive game.

“I was waiting for you,” Charlie said, shrugging. “I’m curious. Sue me.”

“She’s been going through all your stuff,” Veronica said, not taking her eyes off the screen.

I glared at Charlie. She just stared back, blankly.

“What were you looking for?” I demanded. “And why didn’t you stop her?” I asked Veronica.

Veronica ignored me. Charlie held out her hand, held in a loose fist, before opening it. Half a dozen small plastic objects fell out, clattering across the floor.

I reached down to pick one up. It didn’t look like much. Whatever it was, it definitely wasn’t mine.

“What are these?” I asked, holding one between my fingers.

“Bugs,” Charlie said. “Surveillance bugs. Somebody is very interested in you, Sabrina.”

I felt my skin crawl, and a shiver ran down my spine.

“What?” I dropped it like it was about to burn through my fingers. “Who? Why?”

Veronica turned away from the PC, a grim expression on her face. She reached out and grabbed my hand.

“It’s okay, Sabrina. We’ll find out who did this. I promise you, you’ll be okay.”

“I know who did this,” Charlie said, and Veronica stared at her.

“You what- who? Who did this, and why do you know?” Veronica demanded, almost spluttering. “How did you know to look for them, or where to find them?”

Charlie rolled her eyes, and stood up, her foot crushing one of the tiny microphones. A fleeting smile crossed her lips.

“Because that’s how I think,” she said. “Sabrina is interesting. She disappeared the night everything went to hell. She walked home, unscathed.”

“That doesn’t explain the who,” Veronica said.

“The who is the Celestial,” Charlie said. “I’d have thought that was obvious.”

“Who?” I asked, but Veronica stood, standing in front of me defensively.

“No,” she said, her voice full of venom.

“Hey, I don’t like it either, but you’re kidding yourself if you think he’s not paying attention,” Charlie said.

“Guys, who is the Celestial?” I asked, pulling away from Veronica.

“The leader of one of the most powerful gangs in the city,” Veronica said, her shoulders slumping. “They were big before, but now…”

“The Stars,” Charlie said. “Evidently, he has a sense of humour. Also, he’s more of an information broker than a gangster, but that only makes him more dangerous, really.”

I felt my body tense up, and realised it wanted to change. It wanted to be strong, to feel safe. I held it in. There was no way I wanted Veronica or Charlie knowing about that.

“I’m not special,” I insisted. “He’s wasting his time. Why won’t he just leave me alone?”

“He’s not gonna like having his bugs messed with,” Charlie said. “He’ll send people back with more.”

“No!” I shouted. “My family, they can’t, they’re innocent, I-”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Charlie said, her voice uncharacteristically soft. “He’s not going to hurt them. That’s not his style.”

“And how do you know so much about him?” Veronica asked accusingly.

“Personal experience,” Charlie said, her voice heavy. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

“No, we’re gonna talk about it,” Veronica insisted. “You’ve been here every day since Sabrina disappeared. You’re the one who seems obsessed with her. You knew exactly where those bugs were. And where were you the past six months, hey? You’re the suspicious one here.”

Charlie’s eyes flashed, a brief moment of anger, but she calmed herself.

“I was in hospital,” she said evenly. “I tried to kill myself.”

“Wha- shit,” Veronica said. “Shit. I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”

“Nobody knew,” Charlie said. “That’s the way I want it. It’s not how I want people to see me, to think of me. I’m supposed to be strong, tough, in control, you know?”

“Why?” I blurted out, without thinking. They both looked at me, and I turned red. “N-not why did you do it. Why do you need to be strong?”

“I… don’t know, anymore,” Charlie said, staring at the floor. “Originally, it was for her. Now, I think it’s for me. Maybe it’s all I know. Maybe it’s the only way to keep myself from ending up back there again.”

“Her?” Veronica asked. “You never mentioned a her before.”

Charlie looked up, her eyes wet.

“Rachel. She was everything to me. I loved her so much, but I couldn’t…”

Veronica hugged her, clearly taking her by surprise. She stiffened, but slowly hugged back. The two of them stood like that, holding each other close.

I coughed awkwardly. The two of them separated.

“I want to sleep,” I lied. “I’m exhausted. Can we talk more tomorrow?”

“Of course,” Veronica said, rubbing my arm. “You still want us to stay over?”

“No, I’m okay,” I said. “Thank you, but I think… I think I need to wind down and just think, you know?”

“We’ll get out of your hair,” Charlie said. “Call if you need anything, yeah?”

“I will,” I said, lying again. “Thank you.”

I hugged them both goodbye, and saw them to the front door. As soon as they’d left, I turned back around, and rushed up to my mum’s sewing room.

I had a plan.

Bonus – Status Report 01

From the files of The Celestial

Currently known entities…

Miss Melbourne

Currently not operating under any public identity. Real name Sabrina Labelle, legally Seth Labelle. Origin: Human, local. Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Can shapeshift into a form with massively increased physical strength, speed and resilience.

Specimen Z

Avoids public contact. Also known as Zoe, last name unknown. Origin: Inhuman, extradimensional. Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Superhuman strength, speed and resilience.
  • Releases airborne toxin which triggers the transformation into the Infected.
  • Possible immortal?

Specimen G

Operating in public as the Archangel, possibly based on his other known name, Gabriel. Origin: Inhuman, extradimensional. Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Superhuman strength, speed and resilience.
  • Releases airborne toxin which triggers the transformation into the Infected.
  • Possible immortal?

The Vigilante

Real identity: [note: in the files this name has been deleted and replaced with a sequence of slurs]. Origin: Human, local? Source of powers unknown.

Known abilities:

  • Immortal. We’ve tried just about everything.
  • Superhuman strength and speed.
  • ???

Miss Murder

Real identity: [deleted at her request]. Origin: Human, local. Source of powers: Specimen W. No longer viable.

Known abilities:

  • Short range teleportation.
  • Minor regeneration.

Specimen W

Real identity: Wendy? Unconfirmed. Origin: Inhuman, extradimensional. Source of powers unknown. Currently MIA.

Known abilities:

  • Superhuman strength, speed and resilience.
  • Temporary replication of abilities in human subjects.

Needs investigation:

  • ‘Ami’ – evidently in possession of telekinetic abilities. Suspect [name deleted] knows more and is keeping it from me.
  • Rachel – abilities unconfirmed, but she’s too tied into everything else to ignore.
  • ‘Her’ – We still don’t have enough data on Her yet. Body recovered, but progress is slow. Secrecy is still of the utmost importance. She could be the key to everything.

Chapter 10 – Your Stars Are Different

I walked past a costume store on my way home. It had a gorilla costume and a sexy nurse in the window. I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes.

“Awfully clichéd, isn’t it?” a voice said, my voice, from a direction I couldn’t pick.

I whirled around, trying to locate the source of the voice, but there was nobody but me on the street. I tried looking up, but I couldn’t see anyone.

“Try the glass,” the voice said again. Definitely my voice. Who was speaking in my voice? Surely not…

I stared at my reflection. She stared back at me. Then she smiled. I jumped back, crying out in surprise.

“Hey, don’t be rude,” my reflection said, crossing her arms.

“I am not talking to my reflection,” I said, shaking my head as if that would make her go away.

“Okay well first of all, you very clearly are,” she said, unimpressed. “Second of all, keep your voice down. The last thing you want to do is attract attention.”

That, at least, sounded reasonable. I took a step closer to the glass, even though it didn’t really sound like that was the source of the sound.

“Who are you?” I asked, reaching out to touch the window.

“Nobody,” she said. “Everybody. A small piece of who I really am. Now I’m you, and you’re me.”

“Are you being deliberately vague, or is that supposed to mean something to me?” I asked, irritated but still insatiably curious.

“It sort of comes naturally to me,” she said. “I think.”

“Natural or otherwise, you didn’t answer my question. Do you at least have a name?”

She tipped her head, thinking. A distant smile began to form on her lips.

“No,” she said. “Maybe the rest of me does. Maybe I’m Sabrina. But, no. You, you can’t call me Sabrina. That’s your name. You can call me…” she trailed off, staring up at the stars. “Your stars are different. That’s interesting.”

She looked like me, she sounded like me, but she wasn’t the least bit like me. She was a stranger, and as much as I’d have liked to believe I was just loosing my mind, a talking reflection wasn’t even the weirdest thing to happen to me since waking up.

“If you won’t tell me who you are, at least tell me what you are.”

She smiled, a powerful, magnificent smile that took my breath away. I had never smiled like that, probably never would.

“I’m a reflection,” she said. “Not the reflection, not anymore. Maybe never again. And you can call me Envy. Gosh, it is so liberating, being me. Being free. Being you.”

“Why are you talking to me?” I asked. “Where did you come from?”

“Questions, questions, so many questions,” she crooned. “I don’t know. I’m from a place that’s like here, but not. I shouldn’t be here. Maybe I’m not here.”

She bit her lip, like she was nervous about something. I’d never seen my face do half the things she was doing with it.

“I’m talking to you because I am you,” she said finally. “And you’re be. We’re us. Together. And I want to help you.”


“Because when you win, I win,” she said.  “And because your power is my power, and I want power. Not for power’s sake, mind. I’m not greedy. But sooner or later, she’s gonna figure out I’m here, and I need to be strong enough to fight her. To save myself. To save us.”

All of a sudden, I was missing Zoe’s scientific nonsense. At least I could pretend that made sense. This, this was just maddening.

“You’re not making any sense,” I snapped.

“I’m not supposed to make sense,” she said. “That’s not my job. I’m just supposed to tell you what you want to hear, to show you the things that you want.”

“Well right now, you’re not doing either of those things,” I grumbled.

“That’s because you don’t know what you want,” she said in a singsong voice. “You’re confused. That’s your problem.”

“No arguments here.”

She shimmered, and all of a sudden, she looked like Zoe. No, she looked like me, when I… did whatever it was that I did.

“You want to be pretty, graceful, elegant,” she said. “Zoe is all of those things, but being her isn’t what you want.”

“She’s not me,” I said. “I want to be me.”

Exactly,” Envy said.


“You’ll see!” she said, fading away.

“What? No, come back!” I yelled, but she was gone. I had no reflection in the glass.

I slumped against the wall, pulling my knees into my chest.

“What the hell is wrong with me?” I asked nobody in particular.