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Tag: Ami

Bonus – That’s A Cute Trick

Miss Murder sat on the very edge of the building, her feet dangling over the ten-story drop. The wind blew her short hair across her face, but she barely noticed, lost in thought.

Part of her wished things had gone differently, that she hadn’t ended up in the situation she was in. It wasn’t that she didn’t like her partner, she did. It was more that she didn’t trust him.

Would he turn on her, eventually? Almost certainly. His fascination with Haylie had turned into obsession, almost single-minded. Once he’d figured her out, would he even need their partnership anymore? If he decided he didn’t, there was no way he would let her live.

What other options did she have, though? Even if she left now, he’d come after her, and she knew better than to think she could hide from him, even with her power. Besides, if she left him, she’d be alone. It wasn’t like Charlie would ever take her back.

Could she kill him? Maybe, but she didn’t want to. He didn’t deserve that, and it wasn’t in her nature. Killing was a job, one she was good at, one she could justify because the death was never her choice. She was a weapon, nothing more. Killing him would be different.

She shook the thoughts from her head. She was already in the middle of a job, couldn’t afford to delay any longer. She looked across the road, focussing on a spot on the opposite rooftop. Close enough? Just.

As she looked, the space between here and there shrank, until they seemed to be the same. Then they snapped apart again, except she was in the other place, leaving only her shadow behind, and even that followed her before long.

As far as the Celestial knew, her power was limited to ‘blinking’, short range teleportation. She wanted to keep it that way, just in case.

Blink. Another rooftop. Then another. Then down to the ground, across the street, moving faster than she could run, and it used no energy at all.

It didn’t take her long to find them, not with how quickly she could cover ground. Five members, none she recognised. All dead. Nothing more than an inconvenience to her.

She walked among the bodies, getting just close enough to check their causes of death. One was covered in lacerations, dead by blood loss. Another had been decapitated, that was easy. Blunt trauma, no visible weapon. If her suspicions were correct, there wouldn’t have been one. Another, internal bleeding. The last was tricky, but she was familiar enough with the symptoms of a heart attack to recognise it as a cause of death.

Her fingers wrapped around the grip of her knife, her nerves on edge. It wasn’t like she was any more durable than those corpses had been.

A sound, barely audible, but she was trained to noticed that sort of thing. A footstep behind her. She whirled, saw the culprit, hesitated.

She’d seen footage of Ami, one of the superhumans who’d arrived in the crash on Impact Day. Read reports, many of which included physical descriptions. None of them quite captured what she was looking at.

Ami was short, probably the same height as her, and unsettlingly pretty. A slender frame, the body of a teenage girl. Vibrant eyes, an unnatural shade of violet. Other than the colour of eyes, her features were Asian, and she could easily have been a model. There was a curious smirk on her lips.

Focus on her eyes, Miss Murder reminded herself. Watch for sudden movements. She’s a threat, and you have a job to do. It would be a shame to kill someone so pretty, but she’d do it if she had to.

She noticed the katana strapped to Ami’s back. Ami’s eyes flicked to the corpses, then back to Miss Murder. Her smirk didn’t falter, but Miss Murder felt movement behind her. A telekinetic attack? Couldn’t take the risk.

She blinked forward, drawing her knife in the same movement. Rematerialising right in front of Ami, she slashed the blade across the girl’s throat, knowing the blade was sharp enough to cut through.

Ami staggered back, but not nearly enough blood spurted from the wound. It was already beginning to heal. Miss Murder swore to herself.

Almost too fast to see, Ami had drawn the katana, slashing at Miss Murder in the same motion. It was reflex alone that saved her, blinking away just before the blade passed through her. Ami grinned.

Psychic hands grabbed Miss Murder, pulling her off the ground, into the air. Instinctively, she tried to blink away. She focussed on a spot, felt the distance between here and there disappear, felt them snap back apart again, but when they did, she was still in the same place. She hadn’t moved.

Telekinesis could interrupt her blinking? No, that wasn’t fair. Not to mention it didn’t make sense.

Well, fair or unfair, sense or nonsense, she needed to get away. Taking a deep breath, she managed to calm herself, focussing on the same energy that let her teleport. It was like a crystal, right at her core, and as her thoughts settled on it, it burst, the energy contained within washing over her body.

She dropped to the ground, her body incorporeal, nothing but shadow and smoke. She ran, holding it for as long as she could, barely a couple of seconds, before the effect vanished, and she was returned to normal. The moment she did, a psychic hand grabbed her, pulling her back to where she began.

“That’s a cute trick,” Ami said, with a softness Miss Murder was not expecting, not prepared for. She sounded sweet, almost friendly.

For her part, Miss Murder said nothing. She was trapped, and both of them knew it. All she could do was glare at her captor, and wonder how she was going to die.

Instead, Ami smiled again, sheathing her katana. She leaned against an invisible wall, a casual display her of power, a reminder of who was in control of the situation.

“Alright, I’m sufficiently intrigued,” she said. “Let’s talk.”

One again, Miss Murder said nothing. Ami looked almost disappointed.

“Or not. Tell you what, I’ll give you two options. Either I let you go, just this once, and you learn nothing. Or, we talk, we both learn something, and maybe things don’t go this way next time.” She gestured to the dead gangsters.

Miss Murder hesitated. Ami was a mystery, a valuable one. The Celestial would want any information she could gather. She herself was curious. Talking was the better option.

It was also considerably more difficult, unless Ami was happy to monologue at her, and somehow that didn’t seem likely. Reluctantly, she tugged at the scarf that covered her mouth and neck, pulling it all the way off.

Ami’s reaction was exactly what Miss Murder expected. Surprise, horror, disgust, curiosity, confusion. It was always the same.

A handprint was seared into Miss Murder’s neck, a black mark against her tanned skin, ugly and painful. It wasn’t a scar, or a burn mark, not exactly.

“Ah,” Ami said, recovering quicker than most did. “That’s… Okay. Think. Think very simple concepts. How did that happen? I might be able to help.”

Stupidly, Miss Murder let a flash of hope through her defences. Her mind filled with painful memories.

Charlie’s hand around my throat. That look in her eyes, it isn’t human. My neck is burning, aching, it feels wrong, it feels wrong. Behind Charlie, Rachel grapples with him, her body barely able to move, but Charlie already got to him. His spine is broken, and it’s not healing. Why isn’t it healing?

I should be strong enough, should be able to break free from Charlie’s grip. Wendy’s blood still courses through me, I can feel it, but it’s getting weaker. Charlie’s doing something, taking it out of me, must have taken it out of him.

What is she? None of this makes sense, she’s not like us, not like us at all. She’s not human, can’t be human.

She tricked us, lied to us, used us all. Even Rachel, but Rachel should have known better. Rachel helped her trick us, should have known Charlie was playing her as well.

Charlie drops me, I fall to the ground, my neck is burning, I can’t breathe, can barely move. Everything’s getting dark, she crouches, whispers something in my ear, but I can’t hear it, can’t hear anything, can’t see anything.

Am I dying?

Ami staggered back, the same way she had when Miss Murder had tried to cut her throat. A look of fear and confusion passed over her face, quickly replaced by concern.

“I… What? She- No. Okay, no. I can’t help with that.” She took a few moments, breathing deeply, before reaching into a pocket. “How about this instead?”

She offered a pen and notebook to Miss Murder, who hesitated for only a moment before taking it. She needed to ask the question.

You can read minds?

Ami took the paper, then shook her head.

“No. Well, kind of. Not words, which is what people usually think. Not enough to be useful.”

Miss Murder nodded, not understanding at all. It didn’t matter. She wrote out another message, in careful, cursive script.

Is this your territory?

It was important to know. If she’d claimed it, it would be worth advising the Celestial to avoid it, at least until he was more prepared.

“No,” Ami said, reading the note. “I’m moving around. They just picked a fight.” She gestured to the dead again. “Bad idea. Now, you’ve asked two questions, so I get two.” She hesitated, thinking. “Are you with them? Who do you work for?”

Miss Murder was already writing the answer.

Yes. Celestial.

Ami frowned, looking back at the corpses.

“A local gang? With a superhuman like you? That sounds unlikely. Where did you get your powers?”

Miss Murder had to think about that. There were so many possible answers to that question, but only one that was really honest.

Don’t know. What do you want?

It was far too open of a question, but it kept the focus on Ami, not herself. And maybe it would teach her something useful.

“To go home,” Ami said, shrugging. “I miss my brother, my life. Can’t figure it out on my own, though. I’m not scientific, not clever like that. Never was. Gabriel could figure it out, but he’s focussed on Zoe. She might be able to figure it out, if she can avoid him. Haylie could do it, but she’s… missing.”

A pang of guilt washed over her, one she tried desperately to dismiss. Could Ami read that? Would she figure it out?

“Anyway, my question. What do you want?”

It took her by surprise, even though she felt like she should have expected it. She didn’t know how to answer it.

Ami watched as she began to write, before the answer was properly formulated in her head.

My old life. My voice. Freedom. Nothing I can have. How can we avoid conflict?

“Tell your thugs not to engage. Send yourself if you want to communicate. Don’t think I want to talk to anyone else.” Ami paused just long enough to come up with her own question. “What were they doing here?”

The corpses again. It occurred to her that she didn’t even know their names.

Scouting. Why only me?

Ami smiled as she read the question. It was a nice smile, honest and relaxed.

“Not sure. I’ve just got a good feeling about you. Is that going to be a problem?”

She had to think before answering that. Problem? Almost certainly. The Celestial wouldn’t take it well, but that was his problem. Did it bother her? Not at all. If anything, she liked the idea. Kept her valuable, and if it gave her more opportunities to learn more about Ami, so much the better.

No problem. How would I find you?

“Smartphone,” Ami said, procuring one from another pocket. How many of those did she have? “City haven’t shut off coverage yet. They might not. If they do, we’ll figure something else out. Oh, and don’t try to track me.”

Miss Murder wrote her number down, and passed it to Ami, who entered it into her phone. Ami gave a number back.

If any Stars give you trouble, let me know, she wrote, deliberately keeping to paper and not sending a digital message. After a pause, she added, You can kill them first.

That got another smile out of Ami, a curious one.

“Not quite so invested, are you?” she asked. “Why stick with them?”

It’s complicated.

“Isn’t it always,” Ami said with a dramatic sigh. “Well, let me offer you something. If you see her, the one who did that to you-” she gestured at Miss Murder’s neck “let me know. I want to see what she can do.”

Miss Murder wasn’t quite prepared for the reaction she had to that. The thought of Ami confronting Charlie, engaging her, terrified her. She hurriedly scrawled a response.

You can’t kill her.

Ami shrugged dismissively. “Okay. I won’t.”

She shook her head, wishing she could actually speak. So much was lost in text.

No, you can’t kill her. She made an effort to underline can’t. It was important.

“Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice used to say,” Ami said, whistling. “I have one more question for you.” Another smirk preceded the question. “What’s your name?”

For reasons she didn’t quite understand, Miss Murder pressed the tip of the pen against the paper, and wrote her name.

Her real name.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Ami.”

Character Visual Reference Guide

In case you were wondering what some of the main characters look like! (Or want to do fan art… hint hint)

Sabrina Labelle

Age: 17

Height: 5’8″ (172cm)

Ethnicity: Mixed (European + Mauritian)

Body type: Chubby

Hair: Medium length, curly, dark brown

Rachel Fierro

Age: 18

Height: 5’4″ (162cm)

Ethnicity: Spanish

Body type: Athletic

Hair: Long, wavy, black

Charlie Farrow

Age: 18

Height: 5’5″ (165cm)

Ethnicity: European

Body type: Athletic + chubby

Hair: Short, straight, brown

Zoe/Specimen ‘Z’

Age: ??? (looks mid-20s)

Height: 6’2″ (187cm)

Ethnicity: European

Body type: Slender

Hair: Short, straight, blonde

Gabriel/Specimen ‘G’

Age: ??? (looks mid-20s)

Height: 6’2″ (187cm)

Ethnicity: European

Body type: Slender

Hair: Short, straight, brown


Age: ??? (looks maybe 18)

Height: 5’3″ (160cm)

Ethnicity: Asian

Body type: Slender

Hair: Medium-length, straight, black

Chapter 20 – Take It

I was not prepared for the violence of Ami’s attack. She threw herself at me with a frightening speed, a flick of her wrist turning into a diagonal cut that threatened to behead me on the spot.

Thankfully, as fast as she was, I was faster. My instincts, or more likely Zoe’s instincts, had me leaping backwards, light on my feet, just out of reach of her dancing blade. She was deadly, and brutally efficient, but every move she made, I seemed to know exactly where not to be. My body moved on its own, except that it didn’t, because every move felt intentional, and I felt completely in control.

A wave of what I could only assume was psychic energy knocked me off my feet, but body balanced itself, riding it out, and I landed gracefully on my feet. She never relented, forcing me back, keeping me on the defensive no matter what I did.

It was obvious she knew exactly what she was doing. My powers were the same as Zoe’s, and she must have fought Zoe countless times before. More than that, Zoe was an experienced fighter herself, and I, I was just a scrappy teenager who’d spend most of her life avoiding any sort of violence.

A small part of me wanted to believe that could work in my favour. Like, maybe I’d win by being unpredictable and raw. The rest of my brain, infinitely more practical, squashed that hope quickly. That only worked in movies, and as ridiculous as my life had become, it was far from cinematic.

As if to remind me, Ami’s next attack came closer than ever, her sword actually slicing through the skin of my forearm. It stung, but the wound healed itself within seconds of opening. She observed that with scarcely concealed frustration.

I caught sight of Envy, watching the fight with an expression somewhere between amusement and boredom, reflected in a glass pane. She caught my eye, and frowned at me.

“You’re not going to get far if you don’t fight back,” she said disapprovingly.

“I don’t know how to fight!” I protested, stumbling and recovering from another psychic attack. Ami was showing no signs of getting tired. If anything, she seemed to be energised by the encounter.

“You don’t need to,” Envy said. “Just watch what Ami does.”

“That is not how it works,” I complained, throwing myself sideways as I instinctively avoided a psychic wave. Ami hurled a crate at me, catching me off guard, but I twisted out of the way at the last moment.

“You really think Zoe’s power is just strength and speed, don’t you?” Envy said, sounding disappointed.

Irritated, I grabbed the crate I’d just dodged, and with surprisingly little effort, managed to throw it right back at Ami. A wave of her free hand was enough to deflect it, but she clearly hadn’t expected the retaliation, and I saw her falter briefly.

“Isn’t it?” I asked, my mind racing.

“No. She learns,” Envy said. I leapt behind another stack of crates, trying to focus on what Envy was saying. “Almost instantaneous muscle memory. Just try and do what she does.”

She pointed to a metal bar lying on the ground, on the other side of the warehouse. My eyes focussed on it instantly, despite the distance and darkness. Surely not.

I ran towards it, nearly losing my head to a surprise attack as Ami rounded the pile of crates. Once again, my reflexes saved me, as I literally leapt over her, flipping unnecessarily in the air above her. That hadn’t been intentional, and I wondered if Zoe was something of a showoff, and if I’d inherited any of that. In any case, I hit the ground still running, picking the bar up and twisting on the spot, turning to face Ami.

My body seemed to know exactly how to hold the bar, mimicking Ami’s stance perfectly. The weight felt right, natural, and my eyes scanned Ami’s posture, looking for any hint of her next move.

She lashed out, and my arm responded. I parried the attack easily, a flash of surprise appearing on Ami’s face. Frowning, she redoubled her attack, a vicious flurry of sword strikes that I was barely able to stay ahead of.

It occurred to me that if I stayed on the defensive, she would eventually get the upper hand. I only had to slip up once to lose, and it didn’t seem likely that she’d give up before then. I needed to go on the offensive.

No sooner had that thought crossed my mind than my body responded. A flick of my wrist and the metal bar became a weapon, and Ami had to throw herself out of the way to avoid it. It was obvious she wasn’t nearly as fast or strong as I was. If I could maintain the same level of aggression as her, she didn’t stand a chance.

All of a sudden, a stabbing pain in my gut stopped me in my tracks. Pain felt different while I was channeling Zoe’s power, more like an inconvenience than an actual concern, but it was so unexpected my body didn’t seem to know how to react.

I looked down. My stomach was bleeding, though there was no evidence that anything had cut me. The wound was already healing, but I didn’t understand what had caused it in the first place.

I felt another spike of pain in my shoulder, and more blood began to ooze out. Then my thigh, and my hip. Invisible blades stabbed at me, and I realised only then how much I’d underestimated Ami’s telekinesis. She’d been going easy on me.

A frustrated roar escape me, and I hurled the metal bar at her. It caught her in the shoulder, and she cried out in pain, distracted just long enough for me to charge at her, crossing the distance between us in a moment. I hit her, hard, and she went flying backwards, narrowly avoiding slamming into a pile of crates by creating what appeared to be a telekinetic cushion.

“You’re going to lose,” Envy said, snapping me out of my furious rampage. I snarled at her.

“You wanted this. I thought you’d be happy.”

A psychic blade slashed across my chest, and I danced backwards, realising keeping my distance from Ami was now imperative to my survival.

“Are you ready to listen?” Envy asked, her tone irritatingly petulant.

“I’m all ears,” I growled, still backing away.

Ami began to approach me, blade trailing beside her, a look of murder in her eyes. I wasn’t afraid, not quite, but every instinct in my body was screaming at me to run.

“Then I’m happy,” Envy said, evidently unconcerned about my plight.

“Great. Any chance you could actually be helpful?” I asked, as I scanned the room, looking now for any way to escape without having to get near Ami. I couldn’t see one.

“Take her power,” Envy said, her voice filled with cold power. It wasn’t a suggestion or even an instruction. It was a demand.


I caught her reflection, a serious focus that was quickly replaced by a friendly grin. The change was unsettling. She was unsettling.

“What, you thought it was just a one time deal?” she asked, with an almost childlike glee.

“I didn’t- how?” I asked, as Ami drew ever closer. Psychic hands gripped my throat, lifting me into the air. I was out of time. If Envy was going to do anything, I needed her to do it now.

“Don’t you feel it?” she asked, as the grip around my throat tightened. “Can’t you see it in her eyes? Don’t you see your reflection?”


I locked eyes with Ami, those dazzling, inhuman violet eyes. At first, all I saw was anger, mixed with a little fear, and a lot of determination. Then something shifted, and I saw deeper. I saw her. I saw myself. I saw everything.

“I see it. I feel it,” I said, completely forgetting about the crushing pressure around my neck,

“Now take it,” Envy ordered.

Power swirling around me, through me, into me. I knew what I had to do. I knew how to do it.

“Yes,” I obeyed.

Chapter 19 – A Voice In Your Head

“You really do look like her,” Ami all but purred, her violet eyes appraising me curiously. Her body language was relaxed, but the sort of relaxed you’d seen in a wild animal, ready to pounce at any moment.

I felt a sort of burning, envious feeling as I looked back at her. She was so flawlessly pretty, almost inhumanly so, like something out of a fantasy novel. I found myself taking an immediate and irrational dislike to her.

“Well, I’m not.”

The shadow of a smirk played across her lips, and she began to circle around me, slowly.

“So hostile. Have I offended you?”

Her voice was so gentle, almost soothing. Her movements were graceful, but purposeful like a dancer. Warning bells were ringing through my head.

“You don’t belong here,” I said softly.

“On that, we agree,” she said with a smile. “This place is a dump.”

I hadn’t expected her to agree so readily, or so enthusiastically. There was a flicker of pain and fear in her tone.

“Do you have a plan?” I asked. “For getting back?”

“Yes,” she said, without hesitation. “Finding Haylie.”

“Who?” I asked, then frowned. I thought she was the only one of the invaders I’d yet to meet. Now there was another one? “There’s more of you?”

Ami shrugged, and I was a little caught off guard by her lack of defensiveness. Everyone else had been so mysterious and aloof.

“There should have been four of us, plus Zoe,” she said. I did the math in my head. Ami, Gabriel, now Haylie… that meant there could still be another.

“Are you going to try to capture her again?” I asked, feeling strangely defensive of Zoe.

“No,” Ami said bluntly. “I don’t care about her, not like Gabriel does. I just want to go home.”

I recalled something Zoe had said about him, and something he’d said about her. They referred to each other as brother and sister, though they bore no familial resemblance.

“They’re… siblings?”

“Kind of. It’s complicated,” Ami said with another shrug.

The two of us stood there, not quite sure what to make of the other. Here I was, standing in front of some kind of… superhuman, from another world, and I had nothing to say. No questions to ask.

I realised, with no small degree of alarm, that despite how I felt about Charlie, I agreed with her goals. We did want the same thing. We wanted to protect our city.

Unlike Charlie, though, I didn’t immediately suspect Ami of being dangerous. She wanted to go home. Zoe just wanted to go home. The others probably did too. We didn’t need to fight them.

Envy appeared without warning, a look of withering disdain plastered across her face. She folded her arms, glaring at Ami.

“Attack her,” she hissed, and I felt her fear and anger wash over me. Despite my best efforts to resist it, I could feel the temptation prick at the corners of my consciousness.

“What? Why?” I demanded, forgetting for a moment that Ami would notice my reaction. She looked bemused, if not surprised by it.

“Why? Because she’s the enemy,” Envy said, almost shrieking. Ami tilted her head, at first curious, then, without warning, livid.

“Who are you talking- wait. No, no way.” She stomped toward me, her finger pointed at me accusingly. “Who are you, really?”

Envy’s fear was quickly replaced by my own. Ami felt electric with dangerous energy, her tone thick with a deadly purpose that sent a chill down my spine.


I felt invisible hands grab me by the shoulders, lifting me into the air, slamming me against the wall.

“What did you do to them?” Ami demanded, crossing the distance between us and drawing a short sword as she did. The blade flashed in the moonlight streaming in through the window.

“See? She’s violent and dangerous!” Envy said, racing through reflections to stay near me. “Fight back!”

I did my best to ignore her, focussing on Ami.

“I don’t know who you’re talking about,” I told her, somehow manage to wrest myself free from the ghostly grip that held me against the wall. I fell to the ground, landing with a grace that was not my own.

“Exxo,” she said. The sword was held by her side, not pointed at me, but the threat of it was anything but forgotten. “I can feel them, hear their echo in your mind.”

“Exxo? I don’t know who that-” I realised suddenly what she was talking about. There was only one possible explanation. “Envy. You can hear Envy.”

“A voice in your head,” Ami said, and I noticed her hand tremble. “This power isn’t Zoe’s. She couldn’t have done this. Ugh! I need Haylie.”

Envy’s fear hadn’t subsided. She haunted the peripherals of my vision, begging for attention.

“Ask her what she’s going to do with you now.”

“Let me go,” I told Ami, not much feeling like asking for anything.

Ami looked at me, an internal war waging behind her eyes. She shook her head.

“No. No, I need to find Exxo. You’re my only clue.”

I took all of Envy’s fear, and all of my own, and I crushed it, turned it into fury. When Zoe’s power was running through my, rage came easily. Almost frighteningly so. It was a good thing I’d thrown away the fear already.

“Let. Me. Go.”

The threat in my voice didn’t escape Ami. The phantom hands assaulted me once again, hurling me away from her, back into the wall.

Tell me where you got your power!” she roared.

No!” I shouted back, breaking free of her invisible grip and landing on the balls of my feet ready for a fight.

If she thought she could bully me, she had another thing coming. I would tear her head from her shoulders before I let her take Envy.

Chapter 18 – I Thought We Were Friends

“I did not think this through,” I said aloud, standing in front of an industrial prototyping machine, which seemed to basically be a fancy 3D printer. I was half expecting Envy to chime in with a helpful idea, but she was uncharacteristically silent.

She wasn’t gone, I could still feel her presence, but she seemed distant. No, it was more than that. I could feel waves of discomfort radiating from her. She was afraid of something.

Realising she wasn’t going to be any help, I focused my attention back to the problem at hand. Somehow, I had to get this giant machine back to Zoe, without breaking it. With her strength, I could probably lift it, but I couldn’t picture myself carrying it all the way across town, especially not without attracting attention.

“You need a truck,” a voice behind me said, startling me.

“What the-” I said, as I turned to see Charlie sitting on top of a pile of storage crates. She was dressed in her usual Vigilante getup, trenchcoat and all, but without the mask. It just reminded me that she’d gone public with her identity.

“Good thing I wasn’t trying to sneak up on you,” she said with an insufferable smirk. Rachel’s pained expression flashed through my mind, and I felt my body tense up.

“What are you doing here?” I asked coldly.

“Investigating,” she said, shrugging.

She dropped down from the top of the crates, landing gently and irritatingly elegantly. Her coat billowed around her.

“Investigating what?” I asked, taking an unconscious step away from her.

“This,” she said. “You. Whatever you’re up to.”

“What I’m up to is none of your business,” I snapped. She looked surprised, and a little hurt.

“There’s no need to be rude. I thought we were friends, Sabrina.”

I felt my legs buckle. I had suspected she knew about me, after her comment before she outed herself, but hearing it confirmed still frightened me.


“Yes, I know who you are,” she said impatiently. “You haven’t exactly been subtle about it.”


She rolled her eyes, striding towards me assertively. I shrank back, feeling more frightened than I would have expected. I was sure she wouldn’t hurt me, didn’t even want to hurt me, but the fear was almost paralytic.

“Relax,” she said, sounding almost annoyed. “I’m not your enemy. We both want the same thing, I think.”

“I don’t want what you want,” I very nearly hissed at her. She recoiled, confused. Then realisation spread across her face.

“You spoke to Rachel,” she said, her voice strangled.

Her expression, her tone, answered the question I was too afraid to ask. Was it true, what Rachel had said? Did Charlie really do that to her?

I knew the answer was yes.

“You’re a monster,” I growled, the transformation ready, but I held it at bay.

Charlie sighed, slumping against another storage crate.

“Well, there’s no denying that,” she said. “I was going to ask if she hates me, but I guess I know the answer already.”

The two of us stared at each other, the tension between us threatening to bubble over into violence. I could feel her fury washing over me like physical heatwaves.

“Tell her…” Charlie hesitated, and I almost believed the pained expression on her face. Almost. “Forget it. Tell Zoe something instead. Tell her I am going to send her back where she came from, but not before she suffers for every single person she’s infected.”

“Tell her yourself,” I snarled, as the transformation ripped through me. I felt my entire body shift and tear, and the world around me slowed down, grew calmer as a storm began to rage inside of me.

“Incredible,” Charlie said, not nearly as intimidated as I wanted. “How do you do that?”

“Looking for more powers to steal?” I accused, every inch of me ready for a fight. It was more than just adrenaline, it was a raw, primal need.

“I’m just looking to protect my city,” she said, more impatient than intimidated. “You know better than anyone what someone like Zoe can do, and to fight her, I needed what Rachel had.”

“And to hell with the consequences, right? Too bad if anyone gets hurt along the way?”

“There won’t be anyone left to get hurt if I don’t stop them, Sabrina!” she shouted, filled with frustration. “They are going to kill this city, and you know it won’t stop there.”

Before I could respond, a third voice filled the room, one I hadn’t heard before.

“Have you considered that we might actually leave willingly, if we had the option?”

A young woman- no, a teenager, barely older than we were, stepped out from behind the same crates Charlie was leaning against. She was dressed in loose-fitting, dark clothing, and moved with a lethal grace that set my nerves on edge all over again. Her short black hair fell about her face in a perfectly styled mess, an almost mischievous smirk playing on her lips. I found myself fixated on her eyes, shimmering violet and filled with presence and power.

“Ami,” Charlie said coldly.

“So nice to see you again, Charlotte,” Ami said tauntingly. “How are you feeling today?”

“Strong enough to crush your smug little skull,” Charlie threatened. “What are you doing here?”

“None of your business,” Ami said smoothly. “Now, unless you’re looking for a fight…” She trailed off, but the threat was blatant. Rage consumed Charlie’s face, and her eyes actually seemed to darken, but she turned on her heel, and began to storm off.

“You’re not invincible, Ami,” she cautioned. “I will figure you out eventually.”

“If only you still had the tinker on your side,” Ami called after her. Charlie froze, but said nothing. “You’re a child, Charlie, and you’re playing with fire.”

Charlie left in silence, leaving an awkward silence hanging in the room. Ami turned to me, all of her tension evaporating almost immediately.

“Now then. Sabrina, was it? I think it’s time that you and I got acquainted.”

Bonus – A Conversation In An Alley

From the files of "The Celestial", recorded 27 hours after "Impact Day":

???: Gabriel. You know you can’t be out here.

‘Gabriel’: Trust me, I’d rather not be. But I need to find her.

???: Why, because she’s dangerous? You’re just as much of a danger right now, and you know it.

G: I’m avoiding civilians.

???: It will still spread.

G: Ami, I can’t let her slip away again. We finally had her.

‘Ami’: You need to let it go. We can find your sister after we’ve figured out where Haylie and-

G: No. I will find her. I have to.

A: Alone?

G: If need be.

A: And you’re willing to doom a whole new city to the affliction to do it?

G: What choice do I have?

A: Work with me. Help me find the others. Help me figure out where we are, and how to get home. Then we can find Zoe again.

G: I can’t. I’m sorry.

A: You two really are as bad as each other.

G: You know what she’s capable of, Ami.

A: Yeah, and I know what you’re capable of. What about Alice? Don’t you want to get back to her?

G: Ami, don’t.

A: Fine. Enjoy your rampage. Infect an entire city. I’m going to find Haylie. I hope you and Zoe rot together.

Celestial's notes:

Find Haylie. The others are too dangerous to engage right now. Haylie could change everything.