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    1. Maxx 9 yrs ago
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Recent Statuses

3 yrs ago
Current I'm bringing Dragon Cave back and no one can stop me.
4 yrs ago
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7 yrs ago
I am back into this shit, I guess. Say hello if you'd like.
7 yrs ago
I am one with the force and the force is with me.
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7 yrs ago
I have suddenly become deeply troubled.


"That's why we must eat the old people first. They can't have that kind of power."

I've been roleplaying for six years, and if I do say so myself I've gotten pretty good. I've been to many roleplay sites around the internet, and for right now I'm happy calling this one home. I write fantasy, high science fiction, and poetry. I'm involved in the Nerdfighteria community as well, making the world suck a little bit less one day at a time. Though sometimes it's rough and incredibly time-consuming, roleplaying has brought me some of my closest friends, some of the most genuinely awesome people I've ever met. This train is still going, and there's no stop in sight! DFTBA.

The Disappointment Club:

"What the fuck did I just read"

We're special-ed special forces, the most exclusive internet club that no one wants to join, and the most thoroughly disappointing group of individuals the world has ever seen (we even disappoint when it comes to disappointing). Together, we're quite possibly the best six friends the internet has know.

- @Junkmail : Living Proof That God is Dead.
- @He Who Walks Behind : I still won't forgive him for what he did to that starfish.
- @Dragonbud : Her Gregory Cosplay is fire.
- @Surtr : I think he's still trying to pimp me... Help.
- @Spoopy Scary : He's Greg.

List of Super-Power Pet Peeves:

-Shadow Powers
-Blood Powers
-Pain Powers
-"Dimensional Storage" Powers
-Spider Powers

Most Recent Posts

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Labor Day

Helen spent her day off mostly lying in bed, her head aching from the last night’s drinking and smoking. She nearly threw up shortly after waking up, though was able to pull herself together afterwards. She drank two liters of water and ate a plate of fried plantains with vegan bacon. Then she laid back down in bed, stretching out over the pink and green striped covers. The walls of Helen’s room were a pale sage, and art decorated as much space as it could: band posters, flower presses, a year-old wall calendar. To the left of her pink and white desk, dozens of Willow’s drawings (as well as a few of her own) plastered the wall. On the back of the door was a black poster with a large white pentagram in the middle. Around it were the words:

“God and Goddess
Wise and True
Guide Me Now
In All I Do.”

After several more hours sleeping off the hangover, Helen finally got dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a dark yellow tank top. She put on her hiking shoes and packed her backpack, which was green and polka-dotted with small yellow and pink flowers. She began to pack her bag. Into it she stuffed a phone charger, a bottle of water, a Nature Valley Bar, a pair of gardening gloves, and a small pocket knife. She stuffed a travel-size can of pepper spray into her pocket, as well as her phone and her keys. She laced up her brown hiking boots and wandered out of her bedroom towards the living room. Helen’s mom, Cassie, was sitting on the sofa, drinking a glass of wine with her feet up on a cushion. A rerun of Friends was on TV.

“Hey honey,” Cassie said. “Have you finally decided to become nocturnal?” Helen sighed--it was only 5 o’clock and the sun was high in the sky, but her mom had a point.

“Nah,” she said. “I just had a really bad headache this morning.”

“I figured,” Cassie said. “You must have been trashed last night.”

“Mom!” Helen said, her face flushing red.

“Oh come on honey,” Cassie replied. “When Willow brought you home last night she practically had to carry you through the front door and you reeked of weed.” Helen looked down at her shoes, embarrassed. Her mom had this way of trying to be relatable that only served to make Helen feel more embarrassed when she did something she wasn’t supposed to. Maybe that was the point.

“You just need to be careful sweetie,” Cassie said. “I don’t want you to get arrested or something!”

“Mom I’m not gonna get arrested,” Helen said. “Nobody cares about weed anymore--it’s not the 1970s.

Okaaaay,” Cassie said singsongedly. “So now that you’ve risen from your slumber, where are you heading? Back to Willow’s?”

“Yeah, probably,” Helen said, disguising her lie by looking down at her phone. Cassie smiled, her cheeks slightly pink from the wine getting to her.

“Awww,” she said. “You two are so cute together! I’m so happy for you!”

“Mooooom,” Helen said. “You know it’s not like that. Willow is just-”

“I know, I know,” Cassie replied. “I’m just teasing you! It’s my job as your mom!” Helen rolled her eyes and moved for the door.

“I’ll be back later,” Helen said. “Love you mom.”

“Love you too honey!” Cassie called out. “Don’t make bad decisions!” Helen groaned. She felt like she had already made a bad decision by walking out the front door.

6:00 PM

The waste tunnel sat at the end of a gravel access road off of Mount Gray Boulevard, about half a mile out of town. A wild and unkempt field stretched around the ditch, brambles and grasses and wildflowers all tangling with each other. The side of the road was littered with broken glass, chunks of asphalt, and the occasional heroin needle. Down the road, an abandoned construction site sat in an alcove, a mess of rusty rebar and jersey walls. Doug, Helen’s car, crunched through all of the debris on the roadside as it pulled onto the access road and down to the waste tunnel. The tunnel was built into a small ridge. It consisted of a heavy iron grate about the diameter of a person. A heavy iron padlock held the grate shut. To the left of the ridge and the grate, a rusting silo moldered, standing like some kind of scrap metal obelisk. A wall of scraggly trees disguised the tunnel from the main road, and if you didn’t know where to look you’d have never known it was there. The day was cloudy, and a slight drizzle tapped on the windshield.

Helen pulled onto the side of the access road, Doug’s tires squelching as it sunk into the mud. She sighed, looking out at the scene before her. It looked like she and Willow were the first ones there. She checked her watch: 6:00 on the dot. Where was everyone? Did they chicken out? It would make sense for them to have--this was a terrible idea. Helen turned Doug off and reclined her seat to look up at the cloth ceiling. Her stomach was a mess of knots and her arms were numb with fear. Helen was the kind of kid who did rebellious things just to get under the skin of grown-ups who acted like they had sticks up their ass. She was certain she would not do well in juvenile detention if they got caught.

“I’m not sure how good of an idea this is Will,” Helen said. “We really aren’t supposed to be here…”


At about the time two white girls wearing patterned harem pants and matching round glasses began to cozy up to Lenny and Bobby, Helen realized her presence was no longer welcome. She got up, taking one more hit on the bong, and walked to the door, where she dismantled the barricade set up to prevent too much smoke from escaping into the rest of the house. Helen wasn’t sure if she had ever been this high before; her head felt weightless and she felt like if she laid down she would sink into the floor and vanish like Willow. That said, Bobby had been spending a little too much time staring at Helen while playing 90s acoustic pop songs, so she figured staying here would end…badly. As she left the room, Helen placed her hand against the wall to balance herself. Then she drifted out, closing the door behind her. At the spot where she had placed her hand, a human eyeball now stuck out of the wall, its lids made of wallpaper but the eye itself startlingly human and the same emerald green as Helen’s. Bobby and Lenny didn’t interest her, but if those girls wanted to put on a show…Helen might as well watch.
Through the hallway, Helen stumbled, avoiding the Bacchanalia occurring around her as best as she could. In a word, things were starting to get out of control; one of the strikers on the soccer team had his hand stuck in the drywall; two drunk girls who Helen did not recognize had somehow figured out how to climb onto the crystal chandelier hanging over the house’s stairwell and were swinging back and forth as though they were on a bull ride. One of the guest bedrooms was open, and through it, Helen could see that several people had managed to climb out of the window and onto part of the house’s roof, where they were laughing and passing around a blunt. Helen rubbed her eyes, which were just about as dry as they could get, and continued down the hall, dodging two drunk girls making in a whirlwind of fury. Helen happened to know that those two girls were members of a local Christian youth group who had once hung posters around Kirby decrying the evils of “teenaged homosexuality”. Oh, how the times had changed.
Helen walked down the stairs, half slumped over the rail. Her head felt light but her body felt heavy and slow, a strange combination, and shifting focus from the eye in the wall to her own eyes was a task requiring considerable effort. She passed by Chad on her way down the stairs- he looked displeased. As she reached the bottom landing, she saw him at the top of the stairs, trying to figure out how to get the drunk girls out of the chandelier. Helen shrugged and continued onwards, figuring that what happened to the Charles family’s chandelier was the least of her worries.
Helen caught sight of Willow and Dexter across the living room sitting on the couch. Helen took off running, bumping into several people on the way, leapt into the air, and landed on the couch next to Willow, wrapping her arms around her friend and yelling “heeeeeeeeeey bestieeeeeeeeeee”.
The party raged on. Teenagers boned. Alcohol was spilled. Vomit was vomited. Becky tried to parachute out of a second-story window with a bedsheet and a dream. Chad Charles felt the maelstrom swirl around him. It made him nervous. There were a lot of people in this house, some of whom were from out of town. Evelyn tried to start conversations three times and was cut off by more chaos- Titus yelling, Willow floating down out of the air, Becky unceremoniously landing in a hedge. For a brief second, he scowled, trying to figure out how to regain control of the situation. Before he could lose his composure, though, he swirled back around to Evelyn, who too had swirled to put him between her and Titus. Smart.

"We've got a few different things going on," Chad said. "Beer pong here, pool in the rec room. Think there was a game of King's Cup going on down there too. A few of the AV club nerds came earlier with a Gamecube and I think they're playing some weird game upstairs. I watched for a few seconds- a fox with a gun and a dude with a sword. Not my thing. Lenny and Bobby set up upstairs with a bong, and of course we've got all the alcohol you can drink. I bet I can even get Henry to black out." Chad turned as a boy walked up to him- short and thin with a puff of brown hair and lipstick almost as good as Evelyn's. He hugged Chad.

"Hey, Joey!" Chad said. "Jamie, have you met Joey? He's a friend of mine from out of town." Joey and Jamie's eyes locked.

"Oh, um, hey," Jamie said, smiling. "You look familiar. Maybe I saw you at a drag show a while ago?"

"RuPaul in Philly?" Joey said.

"Yeah! That was an awesome show. She killed it out there," Jamie and Joey began to walk away into the crowd, chatting about wigs and lipstick and dresses and "slay"-ing, which Chad figured would be some kind of slang in about five years. He turned back towards Evelyn.

"I heard you got caught up in all that crazy shit Friday," Chad said. "What was it like?"

In the kitchen, Mateo looked up at the ceiling. He bit his lip, trying not to cry in front of a crowd of teenagers. His head swirled with alcohol and self-loathing. Dexter was standing over him, blocking out the light. Mateo scowled and prepared to be insulted. He was met with kindness. Mateo stopped. For a moment, the tears leaked their way into the corners of his eyes. He felt his face burn so hot that he could have cried vapor. The laughter circled him like a flock of gulls, picking at his already garbage self esteem.

"Y-yeah I'm fine," Mateo said. He wasn't sure if he was. He shook his head and the tears were gone, replaced by red-faced anger. "Punk..." he added weakly. Dexter helped him up. Mateo wobbled on his own two feet, and looked down at his khaki shorts- they were soaked through. He looked over at Dexter and tried to come up with something mean to say. Nothing came. He stood there for a few moments, as the laughter died down and the teenaged attention span expired. Then he stumbled towards the dining room. Mateo's gut felt like molten lead- heavy and burning and churning. His face quickly drained from scarlet to pale.

"Ah shit," he said. "I...I need a fuckin' toilet," he said. Mateo bumped into several people as he drunkenly lumbered into the dining room, then leaned on the wall for support. Where was the bathroom? This place was enormous- back at his house, a one-story rancher, he knew where everything was. This place was a maze.


One of the upstairs bedrooms of Chad's house had quickly been converted into a stoner's paradise. The bed and other furniture had been pushed up to the wall, the mattress covering the window. Tapestries of vibrant colors now hung from the previously-beige walls, and a crowd of teenagers sat in the middle of the room as though around a bonfire, except the bonfire was a large blue-and-yellow glass bong. Sublime played from a bluetooth speaker sitting in one corner of the room that oscillated between different colors- reds and pinks and blues and yellows. Various teens of all shapes and sizes sat in the circle, from the black-and-white Andrew Eldridge to Helen, who wore a yellow sundress with pink sunflowers on it, a literal laurel in her hair. The ringmasters of the circle of stoners, though, were clear- they were Lenny Bass and Bobby Sunshine. Both of them sat at the back of the circle, backs to the mattresses, and commanded the attention of the group, Lenny with his puffed afro and open-chested yellow leather jacket and Bobby with his denim vest and guitar across his lap, which he absentmindedly strummed as he watched the bong pass around the room. As Willow phased through the wall, Helen took a champion puff of the bong and released a thick grey cloud into the air, earning a high-five and a "you go sister!" from Lenny. Bobby looked up from his guitar-playing at Willow, and his face stretched into a characteristic surprisingly-large smile.

"Willow!" He said with a calming cheerfulness reminiscent of Bob Ross. "Welcome to the party! It's super groovy to see you sister!" Helen looked over at Willow with an almost-as-wide smile, her head lopped over to one side and her whole body moving as though she were a marionette piloted by a sleep-deprived alcoholic. Her eyes were bloodshot and her hair scattered everywhere.

"Willooooooooooooow," she said. "Hey girllll! It's so good to see you!" She leapt up and ran to her friend, nearly trampling Andrew, who frowned and mumbled "Yeah, this is nothing compared to the darkness brewing in my soul." under his breath. Helen attempted to wrap Willow in a great big hug- she smelled strongly of marijuana. She then passed clean through Willow and landed in a heap on the floor, giggling manically.

"Girlllll this weed is so goooooood!" she said. "You gotta try some come onnnnnnnnnn!" The rest of the circle made a place for Willow to sit. Bobby leaned back against the mattress as the sublime track came to an end and propped the guitar up on his thigh.

"It's so nice having you lovely brothers and sisters here tonight," he said with that same calm voice. "It's not often that we get nights like this with so many lovely people gathered together at once, and I sure am having a groovalicious time. So now, I'd like to play a song for you all to show you my gratitude..."

"Here's Wonderwall."

Titus' heart sunk in time with his ass into the couch. The piece of furniture strained under his weight and made a sort of black hole, pulling the people sitting nearby towards him. To put it into a word, Elle looked...disinterested. He had racked his brain for something sweet to say to her, some smooth pickup line or compliment, but before he could think of anything she stood up and walked away. figures, he thought. Titus had never had a girlfriend. No girl in school wanted anything to do with him, and he didn't know why. Sure, he was big and a little clumsy, but didn't girls like tall guys? He drained the glass of jungle juice he was holding, dwarfed by his gigantic hand, and then got up from the couch and walked into the dining room, shoving his way through the sea of drunken teenagers. He walked past the DJ and to a full floor-to-ceiling set of windows that looked over the hill on which the Charles estate sat. Pine trees and ferns dotted the hillside as it sloped down to the suburban sprawl below. Off in the distance, he saw twinkling lights of cars whizzing past on I-97. He sighed, crushing the red solo cup in his hand, and felt sorry for himself. Some random partygoer bumped into his elbow, and Titus' head snapped around.

"Oh sorry-" the girl was abruptly cut off.

"Watch where you're going, small-fry!" Titus yelled. The girl jumped back, spilling her drink.

"Christ," she said. "You don't gotta be a dick about it." She stormed off. Titus looked back at the window, frowning. Maybe he deserved the loneliness he felt, he thought.

In the kitchen, Mateo attempted to dry the large wet spot on his crotch with an entire roll of paper towels. He rubbed as hard as he could, trying to get the stain out. halfway through, he dropped the towels and they unrolled across the floor like some kind of half-assed teepeeing. People stopped and laughed as they saw Mateo's red boxers sticking out from his half-down pants, and his face grew scarlet with embarrassment. Then Dexter entered the room and taunted him and Mateo just about had enough.

"I didn't piss myself you fucking peabrain," Mateo said. "It's just water. Get the fuck off my case before I turn your nuts into jelly." As he said this, he stepped on a half-full can of Mike's Hard Lemonade, which spurted and caused him to slip. Mateo landed on his ass, now in a puddle of literal yellow liquid. The few people in the kitchen, getting beers or snacks, burst into laughter.

With many guests having arrived, the party began to reach critical mass. The music seemed a little louder, the crowd just thick enough that the average person would have to bump into a shoulder or two moving from one group to the next. The smells of leather, sweat, and marijuana melded into a perfect elixir of debauchery. Atop the house on the widow's walk, Chad watched the people trickle in, calling out to those he knew, texting his buddies on various sports teams to figure out who everyone else was. Parties like this attracted folk from other towns sometimes, and that was seldom a good thing. This wasn't Chad's first rodeo, though, and he had...methods for dealing with such folk.

Eventually, Chad spotted who he had been looking for and decided to head downstairs. He slid the glass screen door of the widow's walk closed behind him and walked through his room, perfectly tidy save for a few pairs of shorts lying around in the general vicinity of the hamper. The room was well-furnished: a desk, a bookshelf, a trophy shelf with a few medals and several Debate Team trophies on it. Twin posters of Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi sat on either side of his bed. Sometimes, when Chad was nervous, he would talk to the poster of Kobe. He felt nervous tonight, but he only gave it a nod. Before leaving, Chad turned to the mirror on the back of the door and took off his glasses. Light erupted from his face, so bright that it shone from under the door. Chad was used to looking at his own reflection- his eyes could handle the light. He mumbled to himself.

"You're the man. You're the guy everyone loves. You're handsome, popular, rich, cool. Let's do this." He winked to himself, put the sunglasses back on, and stepped out of his room, being sure to lock the door behind him. As Chad walked, everyone turned and cheered his name. Chad's classic Buddy Holly smile shone brighter than his eyes as he greeted his fans, giving out handshakes and daps as he moved down the hall. A few drunk girls put their arms around him. He pretended to like it. Alex Viccio, captain of the soccer team, pushed one of the two girls, both out of towners, out of his arms to shake Chad's hand.

"How you doin bro?" Alex said. Chad smiled and gave his old friend a hug.

"Righteous, my man," Chad replied. "Who you got with you?" Alex turned back to his girls.

"This is Vicky, this is Annie," he said, gesturing to each girl. "They're, what's the word again?" Vicky whispered into his ear. "Oh yeah, they're bisexual." Both of them giggled and waved to Chad.

"Well, nice to meet you ladies," Chad said. "Where you from?"

"York Catholic, hehehe," Vicky said. Annie was afraid to speak. Chad nodded.

"Ah yeah? Righteous. Well, enjoy the party! Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you enjoy yourself!" As Chad was about to walk away, he put a hand on Alex's shoulder and brought him in close for a whisper.

"I told you not to bring bitches from out of town," he said. "We'll talk about this later." Then Chad pulled back, smile wide as ever, and left the hall, leaving Alex looking uneasy.

Chad moved down the hall and stairs, past a guest room where it sounded like a guy was having his first orgasm in a girl. All of the important rooms in the house were locked, but Chad learned long ago that if you didn't give horny teenagers a way to vent their sexual urges, they would find...creative solutions. He considered banging on the door and congratulating the guy, but that seemed mean-spirited. He moved down the spiral staircase and to the party, where he saw the person who had made him leave his perch. See, Chad was king of the school, the undeniably most popular, good-looking, and well-liked kid there. But there was one thing he didn't have and hadn't in a long time- a queen.

"Grab me a drink?” Evelyn said. Chad beamed all the brighter and held up one hand. As if it were programmed, someone threw a Smirnoff Iced his way and it landed perfectly in his hand. He popped the top of the bubbly pink drink and handed it to Evelyn without skipping a beat.

"Strawberry lemonade's my personal fav," he said. "I can get you another if you'd like. I'm glad you could make it Evelyn! Always good to have you around." he turned to Jamie and offered a fist bump. "Hey man! Calculus, third period, right?" Jamie only nodded. He stiffly looked down and returned the bump.

"Uh...uh yeah," Jamie said, obviously smitten. "Yeah that's me! You have a...nice house!" Chad laughed heartily.

"You bet I do," Chad said. "Mom's a great interior decorator." Chad looked down at Evelyn and noticed her mittens. That was...certainly an odd look, but Evelyn wasn't important for her fashion sense, after all. “I’m sure your house is much nicer, Evelyn.” he said.

Titus caught the ping pong ball midair and looked at it in his massive hands. It was like holding a grape in his massive hands, and took quite a bit of finessing to get into a proper pong form. He looked down at the girl below him. Elle, he remembered her name was. She was in his english class once, though he was usually too busy talking or sleeping in the back to have noticed her. She was pretty- Titus was a sucker for freckles, and she had pretty brown eyes. Titus blinked and realized he had been looking at her for just a little bit too long.

“Hey big man,” Mateo said, pants around his ankles. “You pussying out or what? I got a cup over here that needs-”

“RANDY JOHNSON,” Titus bellowed. He wound up like a pitcher and launched the ball as hard as he could at Mateo’s remaining cup. The Randy Johnson was the riskiest move in the beer pong meta of Jack Kirby high school. Knock the cup over, and you win. Miss the cup, and you had to endure the grueling naked half mile.

The cup exploded on impact with the ball, sending water and shards of plastic flying every which way. Mateo squealed as the ball bounced off of his exposed hairy thigh, leaving a red mark. A healthy splash of water drenched the front of his boxers. Half of the crowd gasped and the other half busted out into laughter.

“Oh dude what the fuck?” Mateo said. “Now I look like I fuckin’ pissed myself.”

“Ah, it’ll dry,” Titus said, stretching his arm like a pitcher. “Think I’m gonna tap out now. Gotta rest my arm for the next time some hoe tries to step on my win streak.” Mateo grumbled to himself as he began to pick up shards of plastic off of the floor.

“Fuck it yeah I’m tired of this game,” Mateo said. “Somebody else can get their fuckin’ pants pulled down.” Mateo pulled his beige cargo shorts back up as he shuffled into the kitchen. The beer pong table remained open for the next round of players. Titus grabbed a blue one-liter thermos from a table nearby and took a sip from it. Then he nervously looked back at Elle. Two kids who were making out had just moved, leaving enough space for him to squeeze in. He took a swig from his pitcher of jungle juice and, feeling emboldened, walked over.

“Hey Elle,” he said. “You mind if I sit here? I’ll leave you plenty of space, promise.”

On the other side of the living room, Willow’s phone buzzed.

From: Helen <3

“Hey giiiiiiirl. U here yet? Come upstairs this shit is crazyyy”

As Willow had known Helen for most of her life, she would know that the use of extra i’s and y’s was a surefire sign that she was high as a kite.
The scene on Main Street somehow became more chaotic as the ASA and police moved through, bustling from building to building and checking for injured people. Each paramedic and police officer was accompanied by an ASA security officer, yellow rifle in hand. Several firetrucks pushed through the rubble and began fighting various car-becues along the street. A fire had started in Mooncash as one of the espresso machines ignited, but it was small and took mere seconds for the pressurized hoses to extinguish. People were pulled out of damaged vehicles and out from under rubble. A triage was set up and injured folk were shuttled to the Leesburgh General ER for care. Dexter Quinto and Evelyn Noblezada were both amongst those taken to the emergency room. Evelyn, of course, was first and those looking on could swear her ambulance was just a little nicer and the stretcher just a little more padded for extra comfort. All in all, twenty-seven people would be taken to the ER for treatment. Three would stay in the ICU with severe injuries. There were, miraculously, no deaths.

Titus MacArthur laid on the ground for a long time as he saw the lead iodide paintball hit the golem and said golem collapse. He looked up at the sky, once sunny and clear but now clouded by smoke and concrete dust. He coughed, shaking the rubble around him a bit, and looked down at his arms. Titus was a hairy man, but now several patches of bare, red skin dotted his forearms, leftover from the concrete golem attempting to swallow him. As he watched, the redness faded a tad, though it would be a few minutes before it vanished for good. The hair did not regrow- Titus' powers didn't work on hair or nails, much to his chagrin. Slowly, he stood up and surveyed the area around him, watching as paramedics and security officers bustled this way and that. He looked down at Henry, lying wounded next to him. Henry had fought the golem much longer than Titus had, and Henry didn't have the added benefit of being able to heal broken bones in a day. Several paramedics had crowded around Henry, clearly unsure of how to get a lizard the weight of a small car onto a stretcher designed for normal sized humans. Nearby, an ASA security agent looked on, the yellow rifle in his hands lowered, but his finger near the trigger. Just in case.

Titus bent over and grabbed Henry carefully by the back and tail. Effortlessly, he picked Henry up, careful to avoid his visible wounds. He stood up with Henry overflowing from his arms, one hand dangling. The scene looked a bit like if the La Pieta had been remade in the image of Godzilla and King Kong. The paramedics marveling at his incredible strength, Titus began to walk to the ambulance. The entire time, Titus' eyes never left the ASA officer, whose eyes never left Henry and whose finger never left the trigger of his rifle. They reached the ambulance, where Henry was loaded onto a bariatric stretcher and, with assistance, lifted into the ambulance.

While the security officers flitted about with their rifles, several other folks in suits moved about the scene. Each held a clipboard and they milled about the crowd, stopping at various people and taking down their names. Each of our intrepid heroes was approached, with generally the same formula. One such agent came to Helen where she, Elle, and Willow stood in front of the wrecked Mooncash Coffee. She was a short Latina woman with strong cheekbones and shoulder-length hair. She spoke to them the same as the rest of the agents spoke to the rest of the crowd.

"I am Agent Sophia Chavez of the ASA Enforcement Division," she said. "Is anyone in need of medical attention?" Helen wordlessly looked down at the boy next to her, who was crying and hopping on one leg. Sophia shouted back to the crowd of officers and several paramedics approached and began to take the kid off on a stretcher. Sophia continued to speak.

"I will need to take down each of your names and phone numbers," she said. "You aren't in trouble, but after the scene is cleared and some research into this event is done, we would like to speak to each of you individually to take eyewitness accounts." Each of them gave their names and phone numbers, and the agent walked off, commenting "I like your sweater" to Lloyd as she passed.

As we leave the wrecked Main Street behind, where much more work has to be done, we notice other people who witnessed the events. From each busted shop front and wrecked car, people look out from their hiding places. They see Henry, Titus, and Chris, who traded blows with the monster head-on, kids who risked their lives to defend the street. They see Evelyn and Dexter, who ran into harm's way to rescue the trapped and deafen the monster with bad dubstep. Both leave the street on stretchers, injured in the line of a duty no one asked them to perform. They see Helen and Elle, who escorted the wounded to safety, though they never engaged the monster directly. They see Willow too, but the onlookers, of course, don't know what Willow has learned.

The minds of each of those onlookers get to thinking- when tragedy struck, they ran for their lives, to protect themselves while others suffered. Yet, these teenagers, none of them old enough to drink a beer, ran to fight a monster they had no chance of defeating, risking everything to protect those who couldn't fight for themselves. In the minds of those onlookers, they don't see a group of teenagers in front of them anymore. They see heroes. No, not just that. Normal heroes are firefighters and paramedics and school teachers and bus drivers. These kids are something altogether different, not just people who can respond to tragedy and save lives, but people who can confront tragedy directly and prevent the brunt of its harm.

For the first time in the history of the world, a group of onlookers watch as superheroes walk off from the battlefield, nursing their wounds from a fight to save the town of Leesburgh.

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

8:00 PM

On the edge of Leesburgh, atop a hill in a community of reasonably nice houses, sits the house of the Charles family. It is a monolith of white plaster and glass, geometric and colossal and bizarre to behold even in a neighborhood of large homes. The Charles family are lawyers, and corporate law has been good to them. Richard Charles defended coal companies, primarily, though he also defended Tom & Nuss Horizons Fulfillment Center during several landmark cases in the disassembly of labor rights movement. The money Richard made off of his cases, he poured into his home, making it not just the largest in Leesburgh, but the largest in York County.

It happened that Richard and his wife, Patricia, were spending the Labor Day weekend lying on a private beach in Hawaii, being served drinks by people who made less in a year than Richard Charles did in a day. As such, Chad Charles, only son of his parents, was having a party, and basically all of Leesburgh High was invited for a night of dancing, music, and underage debauchery. Let's go over the floor plan, shall we?

Past the foyer of the house is a spacious open concept living and dining room. A large white-leather sectional sits across from am 85 inch plasma screen TV. The walls are covered with painting and family photos arranged by a professional interior designer, though Chad covered them all up with tarps to prevent damage. A fireplace sits in the family room and a beer pong table has been set up between the couch and TV. Titus MacArthur and Mateo Ramos are playing currently, and Mateo just hit the bitch cup on his first shot and so, naturally, is no longer wearing his pants. In the dining room, the table has been scooted to the side and a DJ has set up. The large white dining room table is laden with all sorts of snacks, from Doritos to salmon and caper crackers. There is a large water fountain, but, curiously, no alcohol.

...until you enter the kitchen. Here, the kitchen island has been buried by a verifiable Christmas tree of alcohol. 60% of that tree is Natural Light, and the other half is split between Bud Lite, Miller Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and, Modelo Especial. Chrissie Wong is standing in one corner, deepthroating a beer bong full of just the most disgraceful alcoholic rubbish imaginable while several girls cheer her on. An orange cooler sits on one of the counters, filled to the brim with jungle juice. Several empty bottles of vodka and rum lay nearby like spent shells left from the alcoholic explosion.

There's a rec room with a pool table, several arcade cabinets, and a dart board. There's a balcony off of the dining room that hangs off of a cliff and overlooks most of the rest of town (several people are, of course, smoking weed on said balcony). There is a garage of classic cars, though the door is locked and everyone attending has been told on no uncertain terms that entering the garage means death. There are several smaller sitting rooms around the house, each just as opulent as the main family room, though with slightly smaller TVs. Upstairs, lines of offices and bedrooms and bathrooms larger than some people's apartments can be found. A jacuzzi sits in one of the bathroom and several people are relaxing in it as the jets massage their worries away. The smell of weed pervades the whole house like a ghost, and the sounds of moaning and shaking bedframes reveal just how many students of Kirby High are desperate to lose their virginity before they graduate.

Above it all, on a widow's walk on the third floor of the mansion, Chad Charles leans against the railing and overlooks his kingdom. He is a tall, athletic, attractive man, and a yellow glow can be seen around his black sunglasses. His perfect blond hair ripples in the wind, and his perfect white smile shines brighter than his eyes. He shouts down as cars pull up to the mansion:

"Hell yeah bro! Welcome to the party!"

"Looking good babe! Come inside! Grab a beer!"

"Brianna! Is that a new haircut? And a new boyfriend?"

And that is how the party of the king of Jack Kirby High began.

The golem was struggling. Not only was it now behaving as though it were severely hampered by the sound of a dozen bass drops at max volume, but both of its arms were being held tight by enormous muscly men. Not much more damage had come to it since being hit in the face with a truck, but the music was getting louder and it seemed agitated as its head twitched around wildly. Seeing that the creature was in a bad way, Titus squatted, lowering his center of mass, and pulled even harder on the golem's arm. Henry did the same, acting on instinct. As they did, the golem turned and bore down on them. They both found their hands sinking into the golem's skin as it suddenly turned very dark and wet. The golem's body shrank as its arms grew, globing over their arms up to the shoulder, devouring them. Titus pulled as hard as he could (which was about hard enough to lift a semi-truck) but the wet concrete just stretched and morphed around him like killer putty, sticking to his skin. As the concrete reached his chest, it seemed like our dear friend Titus was about to be absorbed.

The sound of a dozen trashy dubstep remixes boomed over the rolling of wheels to a halt and the blaring of sirens. From behind Henry and Titus, a megaphone sounded:

"THIS IS THE ASA, CEASE AND DESIST IMMEDIATELY," The golem did not cease. One of the policemen, clad in riot gear, ran around the black ASA squad car carrying a large rifle.

"L.I. L.I.," he called out, the code for a Lead Iodide round. He fired a round and hit the golem in the shoulder, splattering yellow paint across the creature. As the round connected, the golem looked up, having just realized that the ASA had arrived. In an instant, the wet concrete prisons Titus and Henry had been cocooned in evaporated, sinking back into the golem. The golem sailed backwards like a stalk of corn in the wind. The whole creature shuddered as the stalk of the golem widened and the creature's chest collapsed in a sickening motion, like an animal laying an egg. Then, in an instant, the whole golem turned solid and dry as a sidewalk block. There was a crunching noise, and the golem careened onto its side, landing in the street and shattering. Its head rolled through the carnage of cars and landed just at the base of the pile of wreckage Evelyn had climbed, looking up at her with a blank, unblemished face.

The street was an absolute mess. Four storefronts lay in disarray and dozens of cars had been smashed to pieces in the rubble. A light pole stuck through the front doors of Mooncash and several small fires burned across the street. The dubstep boomed over it all still, making the empty scene nowhere near silent or tranquil. At various intersections along the street, emergency vehicles rushed in, from ambulances to fire trucks to police cars. ASA agents flooded the street nearest where the golem fell, armed with rifles and searching for signs of trouble or a second attack. All of their rifles were equipped with yellow magazines loaded with lead iodide rounds. As they searched, a voice came over the megaphone.


Helen walked over to the shattered window of Mooncash, seeing the golem vanish and the police arrive. As she stood there, watching and looking for something to do, a hand touched her ankle. She looked down to see a teenaged boy, maybe fourteen, clutching an ankle that was clearly broken. Several ceiling tiles had crashed down and covered him in a shallow, but obscuring, layer of debris. Tears filled his eyes and his face was covered in dust.

"Help..." he stammered. Helen jumped like she'd been bit by a snake. She quickly reached down and began to clear the boy off, removing the debris and brushing some of the dust off him. She grabbed him by the arm and together, the two of them staggered to their feet, the boy keeping pressure off his injured leg.

"Uh, let's get you...over there, I guess," Helen said, moving towards the door awkwardly. Two ambulances reversed up next to where the ASA had parked their cars and several more now sat along intersections on blocks further down the street.

The ground beneath Main Street shifts and groaned, but nobody could see or hear it. Pipes shifted, dirt crumbled. A shape moved slowly through the dark. It was round and dark and slithered down along the tendril leading from what had once been the concrete golem to the concrete casing of the city's main sewer pipes. The ball contacted the pipes and the concrete all around it turned wet. The ball was about three feet in diameter- if you were a small person, maybe you could fit inside. The ball fused with the pipe, sunk as deep into it as it could go, and then zoomed off along the pipe, traveling west quite quickly.

Of course, no one above could see any of this happen, but from the dark of a crawlspace just above the main sewer pipe, Willow Dendry's pale eyes were illuminated by the glow of a flashlight. She saw it all.

As the golem's fist smashed the front of the SUV, the radio snapped off. Satisfied, it went back to work, lifting a concrete block with a tendril and preparing to fire at the Subway. Many of the people inside had taken the chance to run back into the kitchen and, hopefully, out the back door of the establishment, emptying it before any damage could be dealt. In the air, a small sound could be heard, a quiet "waaaaaaah" that the golem hardly noticed. There was chatter and shouting all around it, but none of that mattered- it was laser-focused on its target. The tendril arced backwards, preparing to throw the sidewalk block. In the distance, the sirens grew louder as the authorities approached. Then, all at once...


The golem froze as suddenly every car on the street erupted in a synchronized base blast. The ground shook. What undamaged glass remained on the street rattled in their panes. A small girl hiding inside of a store was pushed off of her feet by the blast. The golem seemed to gyrate and a crunching, grinding moan escaped from it. Arms down and mind seemingly frozen, the creature was not at all prepared for an SUV to smash into the side of its head. The car struck the golem engine-first. The force of the impact broke a gas line inside of the car and the heat from the engine ignited it, causing the car to erupt into a fireball. Shards of glass and aluminum flew every which way like shrapnel. The mangled remains of the car fell down onto the golem's shoulder, then crashed to the ground a scant foot from the nearby Chris.

The golem looked down. Cracks had formed at the base of its stalk. The golem wheeled its head around like the lights had been turned off. Still all around, the dubstep blared. It unleashed another moan, then arced its body in the only direction it could keep track of- the direction from which the car had been thrown. An enormous concrete fist plummeted downwards like a piledriver. Henry caught it as it descended, sending a loud "BOOM!" through the nearby area. The gigantic lizard strained under the force of the fist. The concrete beneath him cracked and then, oddly, seemed to turn dark and liquify. Before he knew it, he was being forced down into the ground, concrete welling around his feet, then ankles. The golem, bearing its full strength down upon him, raised its second fist and brought it down full force upon the first, prepared to crush Henry into the ground.

The boom of the dubstep masked enormous footfalls as someone huge ran up behind the golem. Just as the fist was about to collide with Henry, a blur of red streaked past. The golem's fist was shoved off-course and impacted the concrete, shaking the ground and obliterating a piece of the sidewalk. When the dust cleared, the fist was wrapped in a bear hug by an enormous man with fire-red hair. He sat down in a crouching squat, lowering his center of mass to make himself harder to lift.

"Looked like you could use a hand!" Titus MacArthur shouted to Henry. Then, with all his strength, he began to pull on the golem's fist. The golem and Titus became locked in a vicious tug-of-war.


Helen stood frozen in the middle of Mooncash, torn between Elle and the crowd moving towards the back exit. She hadn't even realized Henry was out there, not in the least fighting the giant monster! She looked back and forth, to the crowd fleeing and to the shattered windows, through which the battle raged. Helen was scrawny and unathletic- she had never lifted anything heavier than a couple gallons of milk for the coffee shop. Maybe she could- no that was stupid. If she went out there she'd get hit with a rock and die. Henry was a giant killing machine capable of lifting a car. She was just...somebody normal. Well, maybe not normal, but not useful either.

Helen looked around at what remained of her store. The telephone pole had obliterated the front doors and pierced the espresso bar, destroying a fridge on the way. fluorescent lights hung from their fixtures like tangled marionettes. Glass shards covered the floor. The damaged espresso machine had begun to smoke, and would burst into flames at any moment. She looked back at Billy, who was being carried out of the back with a crowd of terrified people. She looked at Willow, her best friend in the world who saved Helen's life when she couldn't save her own.

She took Elle's hand.

"Let's do something to help," Helen said.

A sidewalk block sailed through the air like an artillery shell. It smashed through the front windows of the boutique, sending up a cloud of dust, glass shards, and early fall fashion that was probably already too last season for Evelyn. The ground shook with the force of the impact. Screams erupted from the boutique as the people hiding inside vanished into haze. In the distance, sirens began to wail, signaling that the police and fire department were scrambling. The golem surveyed the surrounding area. It turned towards the next undamaged store, a Subway. Inside, a crowd of people fled towards the back as the golem turned its focus onto them. Yet another sidewalk block rose from the ground, suspended by a dark grey tendril. It cocked back to launch another projectile.

""-no good bloodsucker, fat motherfucker now look who's in -"

The golem recoiled as a T-boned SUV rocketed forwards and plowed into its base. The car's hood crumpled like tinfoil as it smashed into the golem, but it did seem to stumble, its entire body wobbling as the car smashed into it like a sunflower stalk in wind. The golem looked down at the car. The sidewalk block sunk back into the ground. The golem seemed irritated, hunching its shoulders and holding up its hands. It drove a fist into the windshield of the car and as it did so unleashed yet another crunching groan. It didn't seem to notice the fire welling up at its base as Chris tested his homemade napalm.


Willow sprung into action, leaving Helen lying on the floor in shock. Helen looked up to see Elle land on the floor next to her. Helen blinked. Elle's words seemed to wash over her like seawater, but took their time sinking in. Slowly, Helen pushed herself up onto her elbows. She was still numb over most of her body, but she could feel heat and pressure in her ankle. She tried to stand up clumsily, and as she did dust fell from her apron and shirt. The ankle was tender, but she could put weight on it. That was probably a good sign.

Helen began to hobble along the back of the coffee bar. Her other coworkers had begun to move now, though most of them were as dazed as she was. Sophia, a fellow coworker, came out of the back with the first aid kit. She knelt down in front of Billy and began to dab his head wound with alcohol wipes.

"No, I don't nee-" he began.

"Shut up," Sophia replied. "Let me help you." Thoroughly disarmed, he leaned his head back and she proceeded to clean. Willow was talking on the phone but Helen couldn't focus enough to tell what she was saying. Everything was hazy except for what was right in front of her, like she was in a tunnel. One of the other baristas walked over to the door to the trash room and opened it. The others began to move towards them.

"That way leads out behind the building," Helen said to no one in particular. "We should be safe there." She began to wander forwards towards the door, bumping into people as she went. Everything but her ankle was radio static.

Chaos unfolded as the tremendous concrete monster’s rampage continued. Smoke began to rise from one of the cars in the pileup, the beginnings of an engine fire. People trapped inside their vehicles struggled with seatbelts and twisted metal, desperately trying to free themselves. The monster bore down on Henry with both of its massive arms, each fist as large as the already titanic lizard’s torso. The creature released a dull, guttural groan like a piece of machinery. Its featureless face cast a malevolent shadow over Henry. A dull buzz came from the creature, like the crackling of a radio. It was low and barely-perceptible to the average person, especially over all of the chaos nearby. As the buzz came, the creature seemed to straighten up and stopped pressing its weight onto Henry.

It turned away from Henry and towards the other side of the street, where several businesses sat: a bar, a boutique, and a Verizon store. As it stared, the sidewalk around it began to wobble. An entire sidewalk tile lifted up out of the ground, suspended by a long tendril of concrete. It whipped back and launched the tile across the street, where it crashed through the front of the Verizon store effortlessly, taking out a whole row of iPhone 3s. The creature turned back towards the building directly behind it, Saturday Comics, and, twisting entirely around, drove its fist into the top of the facade. A cloud of dust blew into the air as the bricks shattered and crumbled to the ground. Inside, the rotating stand of Venom comics tipped over and fell, turning to a disorganized mess.

The block to the right of the first one the golem had launched lifted into the air on a tendril. This one was directly in front of the alley Evelyn and Dexter had run down. It whipped back as if to throw the block across the street, aiming for the boutique.


The light post smashed through the front doors of Mooncash like a javelin. The doors exploded into a cloud of glass as the butt-end of the post rendered metal tables and chairs to rubble. It crashed into the front of the bar, shaking the entire building and crushing the wood and marble facade. Coffee beans erupted into the air like volcanic lava as the espresso machines went flying. The force of the impact shook glass canisters of tea and freeze-dried fruits off of the wall, where they fell like shrapnel bombs. The cash drawer lurched off of the countertop and smashed into the floor, opening up and sending coins flying across the back of the bar. The crashing and banging of innumerable more objects could be heard all around, from dishes in the back room to carts of pastries sent reeling by the impact. Nobody stayed on their feet.

The air inside Mooncash was a haze of coffee grounds and dust. A siren blared from the intercoms and a red light on the wall flashed, a security system a little late to its job. Helen lay on her back, eyes looking up at the fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling. Her face was whiter than usual, a mask of fear and shock, and her hair splayed out around her head, soaked through from the black tea that had smashed onto the floor. She took a deep breath. Inside, her mind was a blank slate. She had no thought of what to do or of what had happened.

Helen lifted her head and looked to her right. The light pole had crashed through the espresso bar and embedded itself in the cabinets against the back wall. It had missed her by maybe five feet. On the other end of the bar, several of her co-workers lay in a heap, having apparently stumbled over each other to avoid being hit. Billy, the manager, lay between them and Helen. As he lifted his head, blood poured from a sizable gash in the right side of his face, made by the falling glass. He put a hand up to his face and screamed.

Slowly, what had happened dawned on Helen. Her store had been attacked. People were hurt. In the distance, Helen thought she heard someone calling her name, but she wasn’t sure if it was real or just her imagination. She wanted to see if she was hurt, but her whole body was numb with adrenaline. She looked down to see Willow wrapped around her torso. It looked like Willow had tackled her out of the way of the oncoming pole.

“Willow,” she said, voice empty of emotion. There was a long pause, and then “...what do we do?”
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