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1 day ago
Current To catch a predator, except instead of Chris Hanson they have a very angry Gorilla. The show is now called Statutory Ape
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4 days ago
Read and lead rhyme and read and lead rhyme, but read and lead don't rhyme, and neither do read and lead.
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5 days ago
Then how come it took for 15 years to come back from the gas station!
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7 days ago
If you include dead people, the average person is MOSTLY dead.
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18 days ago
I love rice. It’s great if you’re hungry and you want 2000 of something.
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hello yes i'd like to play shadow the hedgehog but with really stinky feet
garbage time
<Snipped quote by JunkMail>

I hope my salt tastes like rotten tomatoes.


nut
Archie

The Cianwood cafe was a small place with a metal exterior, classic and welcoming to every passerby. There are fresh flowers out front, a neon open sign blinking, and a small blackboard displaying the statement "Amanda was here. Drake is a loser!" in chalk. A few bikes are locked up or simply stacked around the buildings exterior. It’s quaint, Archie thinks. Archie pops head through the glass door. A tiny bell rings. A number of customers are scattered around, some having coffee or just reading the newspaper. A voice screams, "Idiot, get back in here and take your shift!"

As soon as he walked in a dark-haired boy around his age dashes by grinning like a maniac, quickly apologizing on his way out after accidentally smacking Archie’s shoulder. He smiles brightly, his tan skin covered in tiny scars looking like rugged Indiana Jones-type with his large brown leather jacket. Before he knew it the tiny bell rings again and the kid salutes, bag on his back, and rode off in his bike parked in the front. Archie turned in confusion to face the owner of that shrill voice, but doesn’t allow himself to gaze for too long at the woman, wearing a yellow waitress uniform, a pencil behind her ear and an annoyed pout. The last thing he wanted was to be on the receiving end of any of her grievances.

"I'll drown him later," she says, to no one in particular, turning to pin a slip of orders in the kitchen window for the cook. Holding two strawberry milkshakes on her platter, she glides her way to a table where a younger boy and girl sat, placing both concoctions neatly with a sweet smile. A part of him is bemused by the woman’s antics, so he decides to slide into one of the seats at the counter and in typical Archie fashion almost slips and falls right off the other side when he does so. The waitress catches him as he almost eats shit, and he offers her a smile for her benefit. She whispers into the ear of a regular, an older gentleman, who chuckles and lifts his coffee mug an inch or so off the table.

His phone buzzes again, and he slides it out of his pocket. Not all the way, but just enough to see that there was an alert from Cara that Natalie had requested his location. He accepts without thinking, and Cara sends her his location. He freezes shortly after, realizing exactly what he had just done. Natalie wanted to see him, which was always great- but she had broken it off with him for lack of better terminology and that meant that if she was visiting there would be more talk about feelings and hnnnng. Archie hated talking about feelings. He had seen and read about moments like this in movies or books but now actually being in it he was realizing that seeing someone who made your chest feel funny would equal the intensity of having to shit your pants.

Archie realized he had been giving the counter top his full undivided attention. It's cherry red and clean as a whistle and oh look there is-

"Menu?"

The waitress offers him a wrinkled folder.

"Thank you," Archie say, "C-can I start with a milkshake- oreo, and fries?"

Her name tag says Madeline.

Maddie smiles knowingly, "And you didn't even have to look at the menu."

A few minutes pass, and she returns with his order. He’s feeling antsy now, and cant quite place why Natalie has this affect on him. One fry after another.

"So-"

Maddie says suddenly and leans in, towel in hand. She must’ve been cleaning something.

"I gave you cold fries," she said, breaking out a grin, "You didn't notice, though. Aha, I was waiting for you to cringe and spit it out. Let's be real, you and I, nothing is worse than cold fries."

It’s a welcome distraction, and the extrovert streak inside him flares up at the comment. Archie swallows the amount he had in his mouth, almost choking, "Uh, you know teenage boys? We're animals that'll eat plastic."

The waitress tilts her head back and laughs, genuine and full of mirth, and slides him a bucket of warm fries. “Sorry I messed with your order. Haven't seen you before, thought I’d test you out.” She said, giving him a wink and then moving onto the next customer. Archie shakes his head in amusement and thinks that he may just visit here more often.

He hears the door open and the little bell ring, and he turns to look without even thinking, and there she was. Natalie Ellis. From the way her baggy cardigan feel over her shoulders to the worn out converse were covered in scuffed sharpie drawings to the way her left leg bends slightly more than her right, she looked great. Just as good as she had looked on Homecoming night. He swallows, and pats the seat next to him. Encouraging her to join him at the counter.

“Hey Nat,” he says, feigning ease in his voice. “What’s up?”



There were two rules that the The Silent Court required its members to abide by. The first was to keep silent, and the second was to keep count.

To keep count of all the atrocities they had witnessed. Of all the people who had lost their lives and livelihoods to parahumans and had been intimidated by the CPC into silence.

Today they would scream without so much as raising their voices.

Today they would show the world that they could not be ignored.

One hour left.
I have adjusted my ad according to the new title.


I will grind you into salt and use you to season my food for years to come.
Archie


The rest of the trip went out without much of a hitch. Archie didn't hit anyone else, his transformation was under control, and Eli wasn't making any complaints. Although a quick glance gave away that she wasn't exactly the most coherent. Certainly not enough to be dealing well with the constant jostling she was being subject to- but at the end of the day who was really keeping count? Not Eli, that's for sure.

Archie only slowed his unyielding pace when he came upon the doors. And only then just enough to not blow them off their hinges. For all of his self described control Archie was unprepared for how quickly he came to stop just short of the automatic sliding hospital doors. He felt his weight shift and he knew that normally with he and Eli's combined weight it was very possible they could topple over. He braced and he was... fine. He had to remind himself that all things considered he wasn't normal right now, and with the power and speed he had possessed in simply getting here it was no surprise that he could easily overcome his normal limits.

"We need a doctor right now! This guy's in really bad shape, I think he's been shot!"

He heard Amelia yell, her words bouncing around in his head uncomfortably. She was never this loud before. He could hear conversations with perfect clarity down the halls, and the fluorescent lights of the building were almost blinding. He groaned in discomfort, blinking several times in an attempt to adjust his eyes to the sudden change of light.

Several doctors recognized Radvi's clothing and status as a security officer, and there was a sudden surge of activity in the hospital's entrance. Radvi was quickly taken from his current caretakers, with a multitude of healers. They had unapologetically shoved the group of students out of the way, desperately trying to impede or redirect the blood flow from the wound without starving the tissue and killing it. Three factors determine the extent of injury from a gunshot wound. One is velocity, or the speed at which the bullet travels as it leaves the muzzle. Another is frontal area, meaning the surface area of the bullet that strikes the target. The third is the distance the bullet travels before it is stopped—for example, by entering and exiting the skull of a middle-aged security officer.

The firearm was a medium-velocity weapon with a relatively short barrel. Its cartridges are small, carry little gunpowder, and travel less than 1500 feet per second. Nevertheless, they can create a hole three to six times the size of the bullet's frontal surface area, because the frontal area flattens and spreads as it hits the target. The nose of the cartridge decelerates rapidly at this point, but its center of gravity is located near the base, so momentum carries the bullet forward, tumbling end-over-end and leaving further tissue damage in its wake. Distance is a factor because air resistance slows the bullet. Increasing the distance between gun and target decreases the bullet's velocity, reducing its kinetic energy. Unfortunately, most victims are shot from close range—such as half the width of a standard conference room. Radvi had been shot from less than five feet away.

The ER staff move forward, expressions grim in their short assessment of the damage. Radvi was quickly heaved onto a gurney, healers working as he was moved, not stopping for even a moment as he was shifted. It was more and more apparent by their vigor that Radvi was hanging on by a thread. An older, portly gentleman that some might remember as Fry Owens, the head of healthcare, barked out orders for Radvi to be taken to surgery.

The bullet gets all the credit in a gunshot wound, but it doesn't work alone, especially when delivered at close range. Hot gases from exploding gunpowder and metal fragments from the bullet and the gun barrel are blasted into the body at the same time. The gases char the tissues, and the gun powder and metal fragments are deposited along the wound track. The edges of the entrance wound are abraded and haloed with a dirt ring caused by the bullet "cleaning" itself on the skin and surrounding tissue as it passed through. The wound may also be infiltrated with fibers from clothing or other refuse that were dragged into the body along with the bullet. He would need to be stabilized, and the wound would need to be cleaned and cauterized and shaved away to salvage what was left of who Radvi was. He was wheeled off, the whole ordeal being agonizingly slow, but having lasted only thirty seconds.

During the buzz of activity, two older women had taken Eli out of Archie's arms, one of which gives her a once over and nodding to her counterpart and disappearing in a different direction than Radvi had gone with Eli. The other lady held up a flashlight, quickly going over Archie's eyes with it much to his chagrin. He lazily swatted at the offending light, but realized quite quickly how spent he felt. She was asking him questions, but he wasn't really listening. His eyes traveled to Amelia, Lynn, Keaton, and the rest of the group.

He felt the nurse grab his chin and force him to look at her. He didn't hear what she had to say, but he thought he heard the word hungry.

He could go for something to eat, for sure.


“This way!”

A team of five agents went down into the woodland. Cara pinged the approximate location they were heading for. They all had their guard up, halfway expecting someone to jump out at them from the surrounding trees. But no such danger happened upon them.

“Up ahead, got three... scratch that, four people.”

They reached the spot where it all went down. The only people who were left were Natalie, Nicholas, Keaton, and Freaky-D. All just situated quietly, not quite doing anything so urgently. Upon seeing the faint glow of D’s somewhat broken helmet, the team felt a mixed sense of both apprehension and satisfaction. They didn’t know to what level D was involved with whatever had taken place during all those gunshots, but hey - a wanted criminal is a wanted criminal.

“Don’t move!” One of them called out as the team approached, four of them surrounding the still kneeling and hunched over Freaky-D. He showed no signs of intent to resist whatsoever, not even shifting his gaze towards any of the agents. With no fanfare, they stood him upright and cuffed him.

“Got him.”

“Where’s the officer down who was reported?”

“You take him somewhere and find out what he knows.” The agent giving the orders said to the ones apprehending D. He then turned back towards Natalie, Nicholas, and Keaton. “And you three need to follow me off the premises and back to your dorms. Tell me what you saw along the way.”




Don't go around tonight, Well it's bound to take your life, There's a



December fifth began just like any other day, all things considered.

The Promise had cooled further in the winter phase of its annual four season cycle. The trees had lost their leaves and frost adjourned the leaves of the surviving bushes and other flora. It was brisk, that morning. The snow and ice melting into slush and wetting the greenery and dirt- but never disappearing completely as it crunched softly with the leaf litter beneath his feet.

Perhaps the strangest thing about The Promise was its lack of weather. Archie was used to weekly rain that, when it came down, came down in buckets that flooded the streets some and made puddles and muddied the dirt so that he had to be careful coming home lest he track dirt into the living quarters of the hulk he had occupied for most of his childhood life. North Carolina as a state was warm most of the year, but was far from immune to cold snaps that made the water far more biting and difficult to deal with than the rest of the year. Archie liked to imagine what the weather would be like today if there was any. Sure, it was chilly and all but would it be that clear kind of chilly? Or would it be a soggy, cloudy day that would make him want to huddle up and not leave his cot?

He wasn’t exactly sure what today would be, of course but he normally imagined that The Promise would have that clearer weather that shone like the bare sun overhead. He supposed that today, it would be a bit cloudy. No drizzle, but threatening with rain that would never come like an adult waving their finger at a small child.

He had tossed on a brown leather jacket and red flannel, some blue jeans and boots. A casual working man’s outfit. Functional by design, and it warded off the cold. It was nothing showy, as was his typical style. He had heard that he was supposed to look on the nicer side today, but he couldn't find it in himself to care THAT much. Today new parahumans would be boarding The Promise for the first time, with older parahumans returning home for the first time in years to see real weather and do real things with their lives that didn’t have to do with school or power training. A part of him was excited, because that meant there would be new people that he had never seen before at all. The Promise had a fairly small student population and with how often he went on walks or went out for the evenings to get out of his tiny dorm, the more often he felt like he was seeing the same faces. That being said, he was almost certain his little incident on the first day would be brought up in some capacity. He sighed. Oh well, at least this year’s freshmen couldn't make any worse of a first impression than he did.

School had finished a few days ago for the semester, but the notifications that Cara had prodded him with at least once per day with had made sure that he did not forget about his last and only responsibility of the semester- to make sure that those coming received as warm a welcome as he did. He always found himself filled with easy mirth at that. He almost killed several people and was welcomed by a super criminal on day one. It wasn’t exactly the warm welcome that he would have hoped to receive, but at the end of the day he would give The Promise credit where credit was due- Hyde didn’t come out unless he let him out, and it was never boring.

The Cianwood coffee shop wasn’t too far away now, nestled right at the edge of a small shopping plaza facing a few courts that were often used for basketball and modified for tennis. A few younger people, kids around the age of 12 seemed to be drawing on the sleepy sidewalk with chalk. It had become a bit of a daily ritual for him to stop by and get breakfast there before heading to work at the ring’s elder home. It was a Saturday so he didn’t have work, but he DID still need to eat. This little area reminded him of home. In the good way, back when he was a kid and could take his brother’s bike to the local outdoor shopping mall and just enjoy the weather, He had found out about the coffee shop’s existence from the waitress he had spoken to the night he visited Lynn and discovered the body. "I don't know… I still think the coffee at the Cianwood Shop is better. Nothing is imported or stuck full of preservatives there; they grow their own coffee beans and make it all from scratch..."

He felt his phone go off in his pocket and unconsciously checked it. It was a message from Cara.

”New arrivals scheduled to board at 1PM! Be at the Loading Bay or be square!

He checked his watch. It was 11:30AM.


One hour and thirty minutes left.
Archie


"I can get them to the infirmary instantly. It'll be way faster then anything that needs to be sent out here."

“How many people can you teleport with you? Eli should go to help the doctors figure out where and how much brain damage there is, and someone needs to keep applying pressure on the wound,"

"Is there anything obvious that I can do to help?"


Amidst the chaos of the situation, Archie found himself thrown for a momentary loop. Again. Despite everything that had been occurring around him for the past several months he was still unused to the the idea that the people around him were parahumans who could crap thunder, shit lightning, create fire from nothing, and apparently teleport. His whole life he had been told that they were these beady eyed malevolent beings, yet here he was- going on a date with one and well, being one himself. It was surreal.

They weren't creatures of horror. They were people. People with the capacity to do a lot more things than most but at the end of the day there were still people who walked and talked and for the most part acted like any other normal person. They all seemed a bit more jaded and beaten than the average joe- but that was perhaps because of misconceptions that the populace had about them. Misconceptions like he himself had at one point. Parahumans were quite literally surrounding this man in an effort to help him in some way. He felt Eli sag against him, and her sudden weight surprising him when she fell against his chest. She smelt like sweat, some of her hair was wet and stuck to her skin. She was hot- like she had managed to run a fever in the span of a few minutes since he had last seen her. She was pale, and she was semi-conscious at best. Whatever she had doing had left her completely spent, and she didn't have anything left. She didn't look good at all. He didn't know what she had been doing exactly, but he was smart enough to know it had to do with her power. He couldn't place it, but he could remember the sounds of death. Images and colors the he couldn't even see in this state. The restaurant exploding. The smell of burnt flesh and ash. A parahuman's last display of power.

Archie, wordlessly pulled Eli against his chest, his right arm coming up under her shoulders and cradling her head in the crook of his shoulder. He slipped his other arm under her knees, and he heaved. Archie lifted Eli up with him as he stood and turned his head to Nicholas to answer his question. "Help them. Find someone with a badge and bring them here." he barked, looking from him to Lynn in case she protested again, and then back to Nicholas again. He cast a look up to Natalie, who stood at the top of the dead fall. "Hospital, meet me there." he said, facing her but loud enough for the whole group. Amelia would be busy teleporting herself and Radvi and anyone else that was going. He took off, running along the bottom of the dead fall as quickly as he could without jostling Eli as much as he could. As the drop off became more and more shallow, he stepped up to the bank.

The run through the forest was quiet, because all he could hear was his heart pounding in his chest. It should have been harder to carry her than it was. But the further he ran, the easier it became. That feeling he had in the Chinese restaurant- like he had been plugged into a power plant and could do anything was rising up in his chest again. It felt good]. He didn't even realize he was on the street until he bowled straight through two people who had been too slow to evade his unyielding legs- like engines against the pavement. The hospital was in sight now. He couldn't see this well in the dark. Not normally. He breathed, trying to steady his heart rate without slowing his legs. He could let it out in power training. Not now. Not when Eli needed him.
F
Archie and Natalie



"Yeah," Natalie says, shaking her head in agreement to something that he had said. He couldn't remember what he had said. What were they talking about again? "Yeah, no, yeah, I get it." She puts her hand down on the seat of the bench they're sitting at and looks behind her towards someone's laughter by the fire, and the proximity is enough that Archie's breath hitches. Oh, great, so her body being close to his general vicinity is enough to give him a heart attack, but holding her hand and walking and talking was fine? He's such a loser.

Archie sighs and scrubs a hand over his face. It's… it's been a long day. And why is he doing this, anyway? Natalie tells him that she likes him, albeit awkwardly and in a roundabout-way, and he asked her out because he thinks he liked her too. Scratch that, he knows what his feelings for Natalie are, and they go up and above the definition of 'like-liking', as a middle-schooler would so eloquently put it.

"I wonder what it's like, being normal." Natalie says absentmindedly, watching the antics of another young man telling a story about their friend who was inexplicably called 'cheese pizza'. They're a pretty good ways away from the fire, on a bench alone by the tree line Lynn and Eli and Amelia had disappeared past. He isn't sure how to answer that question at first because he liked to think he WAS pretty normal all things considered, but instead she turns in her seat and looks at him.

"What about you?" she says, the edge of her lip curving upwards. He's so smooth, he didn't even say anything yet. "What do you think?"

"I think I'd like to kiss you," Archie tells her matter-of-factly. Natalie goes rigid as a board for a moment, taken aback by his honesty. She laughs though, eventually. Maybe it's his goofy grin, or his candor, or the way that he's looking at her- but it's genuine. She smacks his arm lightly, and what she says next takes them both by surprise. The liquor was talking, but she didn't care. "Well why don't you then?"

"Ow! Um… what?"

Natalie's expression is completely neutral, but the faint blush tinging her cheeks is visible even in the darkness and it kind of gives her away.

"Oh."

There's a pause.

"Can I kiss you?" It's a question this time, voiced softly as she looks at him through hooded eyelashes. Archie nods jerkily without really thinking about it, because of course he wants to kiss Nat, but changes his mind almost immediately after. He needs time to consider the implications of this. It doesn't matter, though, because Nat is already leaning forwards with far more grace than he could ever muster even sober. Her breath is soft on his face for a moment before she closes the gap, and unlike when they held hands this time his body doesn't freeze. In fact, it does exactly the opposite – his left hand moves up to cradle her jaw out of its own accord, and he shifts his head slightly downwards to improve the angle. He's taller than her, even when they're sitting down. He has to bend a little to make their position work, but it's not the slightest bit uncomfortable and he loves it. His heart monitor is going off, and one of Natalie's hands falls over his wrist. He feels a sudden jerk tug- and his eyes flash down catching just enough of a glimpse to tell that she had torn the band. The sound dies, and he finds himself too busy with other things to continue thinking about the goofy gadget.

Natalie tastes like spearmint and coffee, which is not a combination he'd usually find appealing but in this case it really really is. They should make a candy this flavor, he'd buy up the entire world's collection in about a week. But then, he thinks, maybe it wouldn't be the same, because it's not really the spearmint or the coffee that's amazing, it's Natalie, and she's just one of those things that you can't bottle and sell. Which is a shame, because he'd buy up the entire world's collection of Nat in a day.

The kiss starts off soft, but once he realizes she's responding and deepens the kiss Nat opens her mouth against his and all bets are off. She twists her fingers into his hair to keep him where he is – like he'd ever leave – before biting his lower lip gently, then soothing it with her tongue. With her tongue. He feels like he's on fire, but the good kind of fire, the kind that keeps you warm and happy and not the kind that burns down your house or your hand.

His hand moves from her face to the back of her neck, still without his permission, and tangles itself in her beautiful dark hair. He kisses her harder, and kind of sloppily due to general inexperience, but Natalie either doesn't notice or doesn't care. From what he knows, she's even more in the dark than he is. She grabs the front of his shirt with so much force that she nearly rips it, and makes this whiny little moaning noise that bypasses his brain completely and travels straight downwards to his –

Screaming. From deeper in the woods. Gunshots- four total.

Few things could sober a man up as quickly as the sensation of danger. The fear, the adrenaline, they all seemed to wake the body up. As with anything it never fully diminished the effects, but it brought Archie a whole lot closer to his normal self than he had been. Except this isn't his normal self. The breathing that had once been husky and eyes that had been passionate were now labored and filled with fear. His hands fall to her shoulders and he pushes her away- not hard enough to be rough, but enough to break the kiss. His head snaps to the woods. All he can remember is screaming, and pain. Bullets peppered him, digging into his skin and him lashing out against the pain with tooth and claw. The first clear memory, staring down the barrel of a gun that was being handled by people he had known his whole life.

"Eli." Archie said abruptly, followed shortly by "Shit, Amelia and Lynn."

Natalie was taken aback by sudden break, but the gunshots had shaken her too. She wasn't sure how to feel about Lynn, but the other two had been kind to her. She followed his eyes in the direction of the woods and then met his. "We should go. Find them, I mean."

Archie nods shakily, all previous thoughts leaving his mind. He had to make sure his friends were okay. He couldnt let what happened to him happen to them. He couldn't- His chest was burning, and he was already several inches taller than he had been prior. He felt Natalie press her hand on his terrifyingly cool skin. He closed his eyes and focused on reigning himself in. "You're okay, Archie." she said, her hand wrapping around his bicep and squeezing. He breathed. He was okay.

The sounds of yelling and crying were easy enough to follow- it felt like he could hear the whole Promise anyway. What worried him was that he could smell- no, he could taste blood in the air. It was scary how quickly he navigated the woods, his nose making him a literal bloodhound of a person and leading him to the deadfall in what felt like less than a minute. He skidded to a halt when he heard Eli's labored breathing- Natalie just about running into his back because he had stopped so fast. He gave her a quick 'sorry', but was almost too distracted to think properly. Breathe.

Lynn was easy enough to spot, she lit up like a light bulb in the dark. He glanced over her while she stashed something by a tree and was able to gather that she was unharmed- at least in any major way. He shifted his gaze again to the deadfall, his eyes finding Eli and Officer Radvi's bodies because they lit up with soft heat that the rest of the surroundings didn't have- aside from Lynn and Natalie that was. Officer Radvi was hurt, and Eli was doing something in an attempt to help. They both oozed with the scent of sweat, adrenaline, and the irony taste of blood. He didn't even know what he was going to do to help, but he slid down the deadfall and quickly filled an open space besides Eli, opposite to a damaged and brutalized Freaky-D. He allowed one of his arms to slide across her shoulders to stabilize her- whatever she was doing was taking a toll on her well.

Officer Radvi was in a bad way. A good portion of his jaw was gone, as was his eye. He had an alarming hole in his skull. Archie's heart was beating out of his chest. He turned to look up the deadfall and shouted. "Natalie! Have Cara get help! Officer Radvi's hurt bad!" he turned his attention to Freaky-D. "Please, D, go get help!"

Despite the smell of blood, and the screaming, the fear, and the confusion of what the hell had even happened, Archie breathed. He wasn't going to turn. Not here, not when they needed all hands on deck.
T H E P R O M I S E



With the two disposed of, Arianna turned to her rapidly reforming twin. She could hear them again. Feel them again. That was good news.

There was no further exchange. No more words were spoken. The other three would catch up soon- as with anyone else within hearing range of the gunshots. So much for a quiet burial. She sighed, and her body shimmered and sank into the dirt- eventually hitting the metal of the hull.

Arianna was gone.
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