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Tag: Zoe

Bonus – She Watches

Sabrina approaches the unconscious body of Zoe, oblivious to the smoke and flame and sparking wires. Others in the crowd cry out, but nobody steps forward to help her. All they do is watch, and pass judgement.

The Vigilante watches.

Sabrina steps on a shard of glass and mirror, the edge of it cutting cleanly through her flesh. She stumbles, but doesn’t notice. Her focus is on Zoe.

The Vigilante watches.

Sabrina stares at Zoe, her eyes full of wonder. Zoe is reflected in Sabrina’s eyes.

Zoe moves.

Sabrina stares.

Zoe is powerful, elegant, graceful. Feminine and beautiful and terrible and deadly.

Sabrina covets that existence.

Something inside of her reaches out.

Power surges through her.

Sabrina passes out, overwhelmed.

Zoe picks her up.

The Vigilante watches.

Chapter 4 – Stranger Things Have Happened

Somehow, I found my way back to the building I’d woken up. I hadn’t consciously decided that was where I wanted to go, but I knew I wasn’t ready to go back home. Not looking the way that I did.

“Welcome home,” Zoe said, hardly glancing up as I stormed into the room.

“What the hell happened out there?”

“We did,” she said casually. Then she did look up, and smiled. “You look different.”

“Don’t change the subject,” I said. “Who’s we? You and Gabriel?”

She sniffed the air around me, and her expression darkened.

“You met Gabriel?” she asked, though it wasn’t really a question.

“What is with you two?”

“I’d avoid him,” she warned. “He’s dangerous.”

“What makes you any different?” I demanded.

“Nothing,” she said, shrugging. “We’re far too similar for my own comfort.”

“Then shouldn’t I be avoiding you, too?”

“Probably,” she said.

“Huh.” I was expecting her to defend herself, to tell me that she was different to him. I didn’t really know how to respond to that, so instead, I changed the subject.

“You said I looked different,” I said. “What did you mean?”

“Why not check the mirror?” she asked.

Confused, I went back to the mirror. I had to bite my lip to keep myself from crying out in surprise.

I looked exactly like myself again. Tan skin, curly brown hair, freckles, all of it.

“I look like me again,” I muttered, forgetting that Zoe could almost certainly hear as well as I’d been able to when I was pumped full of adrenaline.

“Stranger things have happened,” she said.

I turned to face her. She met my eye, a relaxed smile spreading across her face, and waited for me to speak.

“I want to go home,” I told her, half prepared for a fight. Instead, she just nodded.

“So go,” she said. “You’ll be fine.”

“What do I tell my family?” I asked.

“Whatever you want,” she said, shrugging.

“You’re not like, swearing me to secrecy or anything?” I asked, not sure why I was surprised.

“Why should I? The only thing I’d ask you to do is not let anyone know where I am. Especially Gabriel.”

I nodded.

“I can do that.”

“Go see your family, then,” she said gently. “You know where to find me if you need me.”

“I will probably have more questions,” I said.

“I will answer as best I can.”

Chapter 2 – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

“You’re about to wake up,” an unfamiliar voice told me. “Be very, very careful.”

Her voice was soft, pleasant, almost sensual. She also had a strong, refined British accent.


“Try to remain still,” she said. “This is going to be a bit of a shock.”

I opened my eyes, and immediately felt like I’d been punched in the brain. It was like looking into the sun from right in front of it.

“Everything is so bright, ugh-”

“Don’t move,” she said urgently, and I felt her hand pressing down on my shoulder. “Please, it’s important.”

“Who…” I began to ask, but changed my mind. “Where am I?”

I was slowly able to make out blurred shapes, but nothing looked familiar. Strangely, there was no panic, only curiosity.

“Somewhere safe. Try to sit up, very slowly.”

I let her guide me into a sitting position, expecting to feel dizzy and disoriented. Instead, I felt that same sensation you get during a plane takeoff.

“I feel weird,” I told her. “Everything feels…”

“Fast and weightless, right?” she said, nailing it exactly.

I turned to look at her, and realised it was the woman from the wreckage, only cleaned up. She was wearing cargo pants and a hoodie, but also the sort of makeup that looked like it belonged in a Hollywood movie. It was an odd look.

“What happened to me?” I asked, my head full of questions. “Am I dead?”

“Not exactly,” she said, which was not the definitive yes-or-no answer I was expecting. “There was an accident. You’re… different.”


She sighed, taking a step back. Her movements all had a striking sort of easy grace, as if every action were a carefully choreographed dance.

She looked me up and down, her expression suggesting she was considering what to say to me.

“Do you want the real explanation, or the one that will make sense?” she asked, watching me carefully.

“Both?” I asked, confused as to why I was getting the choice. My answer seemed to amuse her.

“Alright. You’ve absorbed some of my genetic material,” she said.

I had a sudden flashback to finding her in the wreckage, lifeless and then suddenly not, effortlessly snapping a metal pipe. She was giving no indication of being a person who had been impaled through the chest.

“What are you?” I asked, hating myself for the movie cliche.

She tilted her head, as if considering how best to answer my question. I desperately wanted her to tell me she was just normal, that all of this was normal, but I also knew I wouldn’t believe it even if she said it.

“Let me put it this way,” she said. “I wasn’t born so much as… designed.”

“I… what?”

She sighed again, leaning against a table behind her.

“Right. Sorry. I’ve only been here a short while, but everything seems different here. Do you understand genetic modification?”

“You mean like cloning?” I asked, but I knew as soon as I said it that it was wrong.

She shook her head, then stopped.

“Err, sort of. It’s like… Imagine you could build a person in the same way that you build a machine. Imagine what you could make that person. That’s me.”

She walked across the room, gentle, elegant steps, catlike.

“Basically, I’m the perfect soldier. Or I was supposed to be. I turned out to be something of a disappointment, but physically, that’s exactly what I am.”


“I’m stronger, smarter, faster and tougher than any human could ever be. By a significant margin. And now, so are you.”

I met her gaze, still struggling to believe what I was hearing. It was entirely too surreal.

“How?” I asked, grasping for anything.

“I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m pretty sure it was a combination of residual temporal energy and direct exposure to my blood.”

I tried to resist the urge to tell her that half of those weren’t real words, and focussed instead on what I understood.

“Your blood? Because I stepped in it?”

“My blood is special, even more than my body. It’s what makes me capable of, well, being me.”

That couldn’t have less to me. If anything, it was just making me doubt more than ever that any of what I was experiencing was real.

I shook my head.

“Well, this is officially the weirdest dream I’ve ever had.”

“I wish I could tell you it was just a dream,” she said, sighing.

She leant against the wall, running a hand through her hair before folding them across her chest.

“Who are you, anyway?” I asked, realising I hadn’t even gotten her name. She had me feeling surprisingly comfortable, all things considered. She almost felt like an old friend. Which, when I thought about it, was a little concerning.

“Right, sorry,” she said, shaking her head in surprise. “I guess I neglected to introduce myself. You can call me Zoe.”

“It’s… nice to meet you?” I said, awkwardly offering her my hand.

She took it gingerly, her skin soft but her grip firm.

“Do you have a name?”

“Se-” I began, then hesitated. That familiar, comforting feeling wouldn’t go away. I felt like I could be honest with her. “Sabrina.”

She smiled, and squeezed my hand a little tighter.

“Nice to meet you too, Sabrina.”

I dropped her hand, and tried standing again. The world swam a little, but I didn’t feel like I was going to fall over.

“I think I feel better now. Still weird, but… well, it’s more different than bad.”

“You’ll get used to it,” she said. “I guarantee nothing is wrong with you, though.”

Her confidence surprised me.

“How do you know?”

She smiled gently, but it was a smile I was painfully familiar with. It was the smile of somebody who knew something bad about me.

“Because there’s really not a lot that can be wrong with you at this point,” she said enigmatically.


“It might be easier to just show you,” she said. “Stand still.”

She reached down and pulled a knife out of her boot. Something flashed through the back of my mind, but before I could do anything, she’d plunged the knife right into my chest.

Surprisingly, it didn’t actually hurt all that much. Then again, maybe that was normal. I’d never been stabbed before.

“Wow, what the fuck?” I demanded, staggering back. My hand instinctively went to grab it and pull it out, but common sense saved me just in time. You don’t just pull out a knife, that’s how you bleed to death.

“Give it a second,” was all she said.

“What the hell did you do that for?” I hissed, still waiting for it to really start hurting. She just smiled solemnly at me.

“Sabrina, I just stabbed you in the chest with an inch wide piece of metal, and you said ‘ow’.”

“It hurt,” I snarled, even if the pain wasn’t much more than a dull throbbing.

“That’s my point,” she said calmly. “Kind of.”

“Your point is that it hurt?”

“My point is that it only hurt. Try taking it out,” she suggested.

I stared at her, incredulous. She’d just stabbed me in the chest, and she was acting like it was the most normal thing in the world.

“That seems like a really terrible idea,” I said, taking another step back away from her.

“Fine, fine,” she said, sounding exasperated.

She reached out, grabbed the handle of the knife, and pulled it out. I felt it slide out of my chest with minimal resistance, and my hands immediately pressed against the open wound.

I cried out more from surprise than pain, my eyes frantically scanning the room for something I could use to stop the bleeding. Zoe just stood there, looking almost amused.

“Let me know when you’ve bled to death,” she said dryly.

“Shit,” I said, breathing heavily. “I need to, where’s my phone, I…”

I trailed off as I realised there wasn’t nearly as much blood flowing out of the wound as there should have been. In fact, there was barely any at all.

“What?” I muttered, patting my chest.

There was nothing there. No wound, only the tiniest amount of blood.


“Again,” Zoe said, “you’ll get used to it.”

“Human bodies do not heal this quickly,” I said, not quite meaning the level of accusation in my tone.

“I never said I was human,” she said with a shrug.

“I need a mirror,” I said. “I need to see-”

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” she said, looking a little concerned. “This is already a lot for you to take on board. Maybe you should-”

I shoved past her, looking for anything reflective. It didn’t take long; there was a mirror in the next room.

I stopped dead when I saw my reflection. At first, I didn’t even realise it was me, but I’ve spent long enough agonising over my mannerisms and expressions that I knew it couldn’t be anyone else.

“What the fuck…”

Zoe appeared in the reflection behind me, placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I pulled away violently. Seeing the two of us together…

“Like I said, you absorbed some of my genetic material,” she said. “Some of the changes are… external.”

My hair, once brown and curly, was now blonde and straight. My freckles and lightly tanned skin had been replaced with smooth, pale whiteness. My eyes had gone from dark green to bright blue.

As my eyes travelled down my reflection, I realised those weren’t the only changes. I had boobs, I had hips, my nails were a strange silvery colour.

A thought raced through my my mind, and without thinking, my hands slipped between my legs. That, surprisingly, was not different.

“I don’t understand,” I said, and I realised then that I even sounded different. My voice was higher, but also huskier.

“I’m sorry,” was all she said.

I couldn’t stop staring at my reflection. It should have made me happy; after all, I’d never looked more feminine, or, if I was being honest, more attractive.

It wasn’t me, though. I didn’t look like myself, and no matter how much I’d ever hated how I looked, I never wanted to look like anyone else.

“I need some air,” I said, trying in vain to slow my panicked breathing.

She just nodded, and gestured with her head towards the door. A little unsteady on my feet, I took a step towards it, and then it was right in front of me. I twitched involuntarily.

“Right. Faster. Stronger. Probably harder and better too,” I muttered to myself. “Fantastic.”

Chapter 1 – The Scream Heard ‘Round The World

Part 1 – Sabrina

I couldn’t tell Veronica what I was doing on Impact Day, because I was with her. It was a Friday night and we were doing the same thing we always did, hanging out and playing video games. Her younger sister, Ashley, was asleep on the armchair.

Veronica and I both sat cross-legged on the couch, controllers in hand, furiously mashing buttons as we attempted to virtually murder one another through brightly coloured avatars. She was focussing intensely, determined not to lose to me. I was wincing every time one of the characters got impaled by something sharp, and marvelling at their ability to keep fighting.

“If it were me,” I said, blocking a barrage of punches, “I’d give up after the first hit. What do these people even have to be fighting about?”

“Oh, who cares?” Veronica asked. “Honour, love, a desire to rip their shirts off and punch each other?”

There was a bright flash of light as my character unleashed some kind of energy beam, knocking Veronica’s off the screen.

“I do not understand how you’re so good at this,” she complained. “You don’t even like video games. Or fighting!”

“Maybe I’m not good,” I teased. “Maybe you’re just really bad.”

She responded by having her character flip over the top of mine, and kicking her up into the air. I cringed.

“Have you ever been in a fight?” she asked, suddenly serious.

“No,” I told her.


“What, huh?” I demanded. “You think I would?”

“Well, I mean, I don’t think you’d go looking for a fight,” she said. “Just, you know, I can see people wanting to fight you. Because of the-”

“Oh, right,” I said, deflating. “Yeah, I’ve had some close calls. I think I’m too much of a shut-in to really have much to worry about, though.”

“Ashley got into a fight once,” she said.


“Mmm. Wouldn’t tell me what it was about, but apparently some kid said something that pissed her off, and she just, let him have it.”

I looked over at Ashley, still asleep on the couch. I could have sworn I saw her lips curl into a slight smile.

Ashley was only thirteen, and as a general rule, soft spoken and quiet. Excitable around Veronica and I, but the rest of the time, she was more of the quiet nerdy type.

“What could have set her off?” I asked, resting my controller on the floor and stretching out on the couch.

“I don’t know,” Veronica said, shrugging. She dropped her controlled, and pulled my feet onto her lap. “I can guess, though.”

“What, me?” I asked, looking back over at Ashley.

“You know she loves you,” Veronica said. “You might as well be her second bigger sister.”

“I guess that’s kind of sweet,” I said. “Still, I’d really rather she kept out of trouble.”

“You’ll never guess who her new idol is,” Veronica said, rolling her eyes dramatically.

I frowned, not sure what she was talking about. Ashley wasn’t the type to idolise anyone, except…

“Oh, no,” I said.

“Yep. It’s a good thing they don’t sell merch, the house would be full of it.”

“What appeal could a vigilante thug have to a teenage girl?” I asked, and Veronica laughed at the expression on my face.

“Hey, you didn’t grow up on comic books. She did. The vigilante may as well be Batman as far as she’s concerned.”

“Batman? They’re a skinny punk in a ski mask and a hoodie. Not exactly superhero material,” I said. “Besides, they haven’t been seen for like, six months. They’re either dead, or coming back as a supervillain.”

“This city has enough villains,” Veronica said, shaking her head. “Sometimes it does feel like something out of a comic book, y’know?”

“More like a fifties gangster movie,” I said. “At worst, West Side Story.”

“Hey, you know the rules,” she snapped, then grinned.

“No musical theatre in this house,” I repeated monotonously. “You have no culture, you know that?”

My phone buzzed in my pocket, surprising me. I dug it out clumsily, and realised my mum was calling me.


“Honey? It’s getting late, are you coming home soon?” she asked, her tone more concerned than annoyed.

I pulled the phone away from my ear, and checked the time. It was a good hour later than I’d thought.

“Sorry, I didn’t realise the time,” I said. “I’ll start heading home now.”

“Okay, honey. I’ll see you soon,” she said, and made a kissing sound before hanging up.

“Gotta go?” Veronica asked, pouting.

“I think I pushed my luck a little tonight,” I said apologetically. “She’s still not cool with me staying over at girls’ houses.”

“If only she knew,” Veronica said wistfully.

“I am so not ready for that conversation,” I said, shuddering. “For now, I’m just gonna put up with it.”

I grabbed my blazer and pulled it on. Veronica leapt up from the couch, surprisingly graceful, and wrapped her arms around me.

“You know, whenever you are ready to talk to them, I’ll be there with you,” she said.

“Thank you,” I said, hugging her back.

I hugged her once more at the door, then started my walk home. Thankfully, we didn’t live too far away from each other, and I knew it wouldn’t take me long to get home.

Except I never got home.

It started with a scream. A single, piercing, mind-numbing scream that seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. The ground beneath me trembled and shook, and I lost my footing, landing hard on my butt.

All around me, everything seemed to warp and twist. I watched as cracks began to form, running through the ground, through houses and trees, even through the air itself.

High above me, in the sky, I saw the same thing that everyone else in the city saw that night. A massive tear, and a sparkling diamond sky beyond it.

There was a deep, sharp crack and some kind of silver construct came bursting through the tear, seconds before it sealed itself up again. The construct, looking like some kind of sci-fi spaceship, broke apart violently, pieces flying away in all directions.

A chunk of ship landed with a deafening boom a street away from where I was sitting, and I felt my stomach churn. Without even thinking, I leapt to my feet, running towards the billowing plume of smoke that had already begun to form.

By the time I got there, a crowd had already gathered around it, but nobody seemed game enough to actually step onto the property. I pushed my way to the front, and had to fight against my body’s urge to throw up.

The house had completely caved in, and parts of it were still burning. I couldn’t tell if anyone was inside it when the wreckage hit it, but there was definitely someone in there.

I could barely make them out, a silhouetted figure leaning against a wall, half surrounded by fire. Instinct took over again, and I ran towards them even as the crowd began to shout. I blocked them out.

I vaulted over the fence, stumbling but managing to maintain my balance. The heat and smell of burning wood hit me at the same time, and I covered my mouth with my elbow, squinting to see through the smoke that was making my eyes water.

The closer I got to the prone figure, the more I realised just how dire the situation was. Some piping had broken loose, and was currently jutting right out of their chest. I didn’t realise until it was too late that I was standing in a pool of their blood.

I staggered forward, and got a better look at the person who couldn’t possibly still be alive. It looked like a woman, possibly in her mid twenties, with short platinum-blonde hair. Her expression was eerily serene.

I’m not sure what came over me, but I found myself overwhelmed by the desire to touch her. I crouched beside her, my trembling hand reaching towards her face.

The moment my fingers touched her, I felt a painful shock race through me. My entire body spasmed, and I collapsed beside her, twitching, even as I saw her move.

Her eyes fluttered open, looking about curiously. If she felt any pain from the pipe sticking out of her chest, she sure didn’t show it. Her gaze fixated on me, and a strange sort of smile played across her lips.

She reached in front of her, her delicate fingers wrapping around the pipe, and effortlessly snapped it. I could only watch as she slowly stood up, separating herself from the pipe. She cracked her neck, her spine, her fingers, then stretched out like a cat.

The last thing I remember before I passed out was her crouching beside me, reaching out to touch my face, just as I’d touched hers, the same smile still sitting there.