Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fear and Loathing, Part 3

“So that makes four of us living here, if you count Phantom.” This time, having taken the used lollipop out of her mouth, Allure moved to put it in the trash.

Phantom didn’t look at Allure, but it was clear who she was referring to, “Don’t mind her. She says things to get attention. Actually, anything she does, she does to get attention.”

“So you’re Phantom?” Fenrir asked.

“He’s a quick learner,” Allure said, moving closer towards him, “His name’s Fenrir.”

“Is he here because of Claire?” Phantom asked.

“Yeah, that’s why I’m here.”

“You don’t need to worry about me” she remarked, “Intangibility comes in handy, in situations like these.” With that, her form and clothes grew paler, to the point that they were barely visible. Then she flew towards the kitchen, passing through the door, instead of opening it.

“What’s wrong with her?” Fenrir asked.

“She’s just upset ‘cause Claire was a good friend of hers,” Crusty remarked.

There was a silence, as everyone’s thoughts veered in different directions. Fenrir was embarrassed at his insensitive question. Allure was bored, as all this talk about death had gone on for too long. And Crusty was simply aloof, content to watch her T.V.

The silence was only broken by the sound of the television, which suddenly burst into a clamor. “DY-NO-MITE!” the main character yelled. The T.V. was the only one laughing.

“There’s one more of you, isn’t there?” Fenrir asked.

His answer was a scream on the second floor.

Yelling, “Stay down here!” Fenrir changed into his half-wolf, half-man form. Leaping with a speed and agility greater than any human could achieve, he quickly reached the door where the scream came from. Changing into his full-wolf form, he pounced at the door and and broke it open. He was met with another scream.

“W-Wolf?” she cried, not sure whether it was a question or a call for help.

It was only after looking at her slender, frightened form--her messy, chestnut brown hair, her quiet brown eyes--that he realized she was alone.

Changing into his human form, he chuckled, “Uh, sorry. Thought you were in danger.”

He heard another scream. This time he saw it come from the television.

“I’m just watching a horror movie,” she said.

“Why? Not that it’s my business, but--”

“Why would I watch horror movies, at a time like this?” she asked, voicing his thoughts, “They call me Mercury Stone. Merc for short. I--” she looked down at her necklace for a second, “I have an alien stone, that’s powered by fear, mine or anyone else’s. In times like these, it pays to be prepared, no matter how scary preparation might be.”

“I should’ve asked, how
couldn’t you be watching a horror movie, I guess,” he said, looking at her.

“Yeah,” she said, looking at him, trying to muster a laugh, “That makes sense, I guess.”

Looking around her room, Fenrir noticed all the horror memorabilia cluttered everywhere. Horror DVDs lined an entire bookshelf, with a few left over to litter the floor. There were a few posters placed haphazardly, Fenrir’s favorite advertising some crazy B-Horror movie called, “Earth Vs. Spider.” There were even a few books, H.P. Lovecraft being the most prominent author. Next to one of the books, he saw an empty pack of cigarettes, along with a lighter.

“Aren’t you a little young to be smoking?” he asked.

“It helps me calm my nerves,” she said, “when I go overboard on trying to collect fear. Claire used to light the cigarettes for me.” She walked over to the cigarette pack and lighter. Picking up the cigarette pack, she threw it in the trash can. She looked at the lighter, making the flame spark up, for a moment, but it quickly subsided, “I still haven’t gotten used to these things, yet.” Fenrir gave a moment of silence to the way that the smallest of things are changed, when someone you know dies.

Then came another scream.

Fenrir pounced into ready position, only to see that the scream was coming from the television. One of the H.P Lovecraft books flew into the television set, causing the screen to break.

“Oh, no,” Merc said, “Not again. Ugh.”

“That was you?” Fenrir asked, looking at the broken television set.

“That’s what the necklace does, mainly. It telekinetically attacks something that’s frightening me. Sometimes, it even makes me a telepath.”

Fenrir smiled, “That’s great. If anybody comes in here looking to tussle, you’ll probably be able to handle them, then.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Merc said, “but I just don’t know much about this thing yet.”

“How’d you get it?” Fenrir asked.

“Phantom gave this to me, less than a year ago. We’d always been friends and, well, I’d always told her how much I wanted to be a super hero. She says she picked it up from a street-punk one day. It didn’t come with an instruction manual, obviously.” She grabbed at her gold-chained necklace and looked at the stone inside. She glared at it, hoping she could somehow force it to reveal her answers.

Meanwhile, Phantom sat in the kitchen, cutting up an apple. Every second or so, the knife would slam against the cutting board, and the apple would make a satisfying crunching noise.

“You sure do like your knives, don’t you, Phantom?”

Phantom whirled around to see who was talking, even though she knew who it was.

“What are you doing here, Allure?”

“It’s my kitchen, too, isn’t it?” she asked, taking a step closer to Phantom, “I was just coming in here for something to eat.”

“Mhm,” Phantom remarked, not really satisfied. But she went back to cutting her apple, nonetheless.

“Thanks,” Allure said, taking a piece of apple from Phantom.

“I can’t really say ‘you’re welcome,’” Phantom replied, as she finished cutting her apple. Reaching into the cabinet, she took out a small bowl which she then put the bits of apple into. She could hear Allure take a bite of her apple. “Are you okay?” Phantom finally decided to ask.

“About what?”

“About Claire’s death.”

“Yeah,” Allure said, “I just wish everyone would stop talking about it so much. Really, aren’t you the one with the problem?”

Phantom rolled her eyes, sitting down at the kitchen table, “Please, Allure, you’re being too sensitive.”

“All I mean is, you always went around in black. You always had your morbid side. But now it seems like it’s consumed you. Are you feeling guil--”

“Sorry I care about people,” Phantom said, taking another bite out of your apple, “I guess it makes me weird and morbid that I don’t brush off the death of a good friend.”

“I’m not asking you to brush it off. Just don’t let it take over your life.”

“Oh, take over my life? You’re acting like it was years ago. It was yesterday, Allure. Claire died yesterday. And you’re just sitting here like nothing happened. For Christ’s sake, you’re using your powers on a guy you just met the day after our friend died!”

“You can’t just turn off pheromones, Phantom. That’s just not the way it works. My power is to make people attracted to me, just like yours is to phase through things--and out of reality, if I’m telling the truth. Did you turn your powers off when Claire died?”

“You’re impossible,” Phantom said.

“I’m impossible?” Allure asked, “I’m not the one who invited the alien into our dorms, only to take all its stuff. I’m not the one who kicked it out of our dorms. I’m not the reason that thing’s out to get all of us.”

“That thing wanted to take over the world,” Phantom said, “I saved the world by taking its stuff. And then I helped a friend out who wanted super powers. I did what I had to do.” Phantom held back tears, “Claire’s death isn’t my fault. It’s not my fault.”

“Yeah,” Allure said, “It is.”

Back in the living room, Crusty gazed into the television, ever-more enthralled with the meaningless machinations of the characters. Sometimes it amazed her, the way those two-bit characters managed to get out of their troubles.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something. Turning her head to see what it was, she saw nothing. She saw nothing more than the dark of night. She gazed back into the television. Must not have been anything.

Merc, still up in her room, sighed, putting the stone down. “Maybe I’ll never figure it out. My whole life is centered around this thing, and I don’t even know where it came from, or how exactly to use it.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure all that will come in time,” Fenrir said, patting Merc on the back, “What say you and I go downstairs?”

For the third time tonight, Fenrir heard a scream.

“You guys have got to stop watching horror movies,” Fenrir said, rubbing his head for a second.

“But my television’s broken,” Merc said.

“Yeah, I know. But Crusty’s watching television downstairs.”

“No, you don’t understand. Crusty never watches horror movies. They scare her too much.”

Realizing there was nothing outside, Crusty turned her attention back towards the television. There was something so all-consuming, something so delightful--

Something knocked on the window. Turning around to look at it, she saw nothing. But this time, she wasn’t satisfied. Leaning close to the window, she thought she was able to make something out. It was a strange figure. Didn’t look human. She put her nose right next to the glass, as close as she could get without touching it.

Then it attacked her. She screamed as it leaped through the window at her. It looked like nothing she had ever seen before: slimy with eight legs, it proceeded to hop on her face. She grabbed two of its legs and threw it onto the ground.

“Super strength, anger, and mercy. I have two of these things.” With that, she kicked the alien hard. She saw as the thing burst open, its green blood spilling all over the floor.

That’s when she felt something crawling up her spine. Leaping up, she fell back-first onto the floor, feeling the cold green blood oozing along her back. Two more were coming at her from opposite directions.

She was too preoccupied to notice Fenrir and Merc rushing down the staircase towards her.

“What the Hell’s wrong with her?” Fenrir asked.

“She’s fighting aliens,” Merc said.

“But there’s nothing there,” was all he could spit out.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fear and Loathing, Part 2

Without saying another word, the bailiff took Fenrir by the arm and guided him to the other side of the jail. The ordinary thoughts of escape flooded his mind, of course, but he knew his helplessness at this particular moment: this particular bailiff had the ability to null the powers of others. A useful ability, to say the least.

When he’d finally reached his destination, he found himself filled with questions. However, he hid under his blase countenance and continued into the office of Julia Byrne.

“Mr. Fenrir. Please, have a seat,” as Julia spoke, the first thing Fenrir was impressed with was the warm smile on her face. Somehow, amidst all the chaos of the prison, she had managed to stay pleasant. He’d heard the rumors to that effect, but somehow seeing it in person made it all the more real to him.

“Thank you,” he grunted, sitting.

“Do you believe in second chances?” she began.

“I’m a mythological being. The line between belief and reality always gave me trouble.”

“I see. Well, we need you, Fenrir. And if you’re willing to help us, we’re willing to take ten years off your sentence.”

Fenrir stroked his chin, thinking the proposal over, “What do you need me to do?”

“It’s a simple job. You just have to guard a sorority for one night.”

“If it’s so simple, why do you need me?”

“Well, the girls have super powers and we want someone who would be able to protect them against--”

“Something so powerful a whole sorority of super-powered girls couldn’t handle. What are we talking here?”

“That’s the problem,” Julia said, “We don’t know.”

“Well, I never was one to miss a fight.”

Even Ragnorak, he thought.

“That’s what we were relying on. You’ll do it?”


It was all kind of a whirlwind after that. They gave him street clothes to change into--a t-shirt, jeans, and converse, allowing him to blend in on a college campus--and he couldn’t help but smile at the shirt. It was for the Canadian heavy metal band Thor. Not something he would have worn normally, nor a god he would have supported, but he appreciated the effort none the less. Within ten minutes of agreeing to it, he was in a car sitting in the passenger seat next to Julia, on his way to the sorority.

“You don’t have your bailiff with you,” Fenrir said.


“Your bailiff. The one who can keep me in control. He isn’t here with you, to stop me. Why?”

“You may find this difficult to believe, Fenrir, but I’m quite capable of handling myself,” Fenrir was puzzled by the warm smile she had on her face, as she continued driving the car.

Transitioning into a half-wolf form--something akin to a wolf who could stand on his hind-legs--Fenrir put his snout into Julia’s face. “Have you ever talked to a god before?”

Her composure remaining the same, she responded, “Actually, I have. Now please, don’t distract me while I’m driving.”

With that, Fenrir felt a pain surge into his brain. For a brief moment he went into a seizure, which stopped as soon as he transformed back into a human. After that, he blacked out.

He awoke to the words, “You remember your assignment?”

“Yeah,” Fenrir replied, shaking his head as he looked out the window, “I remember it.” Seeing the car was parked in front of the sorority, he got out.

For the first few steps up, he stumbled, but finally he made his way to the sorority, when he knocked on the door. That’s when she opened it. He was surprised, to see her standing there. She was tall, maybe 5’11”. Her blond hair reached a little down past her shoulders. But it was her vibrant, ruby red lips which captured his attention. Stuck in-between them was a lollipop, which she rolled around with her tongue.

Taking it out for a second, she spoke, “You’re not much of a talker, are you?”

“Uh, hi,” Fenrir said, trying to wake himself up, as if he’d been caught in a trance, “Name’s Fenrir. I’m your bodyguard.”

“Shouldn’t you wait in the car, or something? Isn’t that what cops do, when they’re assigned to protect someone?”

“I’m not a cop,” Fenrir said.

“Good. But you are here to protect us?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Alright then,” she said, “You can come in,” where her body had previously been blocking the doorway, now she had moved to the side, allowing Fenrir to enter. She put her hand on Fenrir’s back as he entered, stating, “They call me Allure. You?”

He moved away from her hand, “Fenrir. Name’s Fenrir.”

Now that he’d entered, he was able to see what he was protecting. It was unsettling, in many respects. In the two-story dorm room, he counted four different weak spots. Someone could come through a second-story window and descend the stairs. They could enter through the kitchen, though the front door, or through the wall-sized window.

The wall-sized window was the most worrisome element, he realized. Placed right next to the television set, someone could easily burst through it and take everyone out before Fenrir had time to react.

But he’d work with what he was given. Besides, this was just a simple bodyguard job, done more to alleviate concerns than actually thwart danger. What were the chances this creep would attack the girls now, so soon after his last murder?

He let out a sigh of relief and moved towards the couch, where he saw a well-muscled girl watching an episode of some sitcom.

“What’re you watching?” he asked.

Good Times,” the girl responded, “I like TV Land.”

“Interesting,” Fenrir said, “Your name?”



“Yeah, m’name’s Crusty. You got a problem?”

“Er, no. That’s a good name.”

“You don’t have to act like you’re interested,” Allure interjected.

Choosing to let the comment pass, Fenrir asked, “Shouldn’t there be more of you?”

“This dorm was meant for six people,” Crusty said, taking a can of soda from the table but not taking her eyes off the television, “But one of the girls moved out.” She took a swig of the soda.

“And another’s dead,” a newcomer said, descending the staircase. She had straight black hair and moved as if possessed.



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fear and Loathing, Part 1

Claire Stevens stepped into the shower, unaware of the breathless fate that awaited her. Combing her hand through her fiery red hair, she took a deep breath as she turned the shower on. Her breath stopped as she pulled the shower valve and the cool water splashed across the top of her head and down her back. She shuddered, hating the feeling. But the water quickly became blazing hot and she let out a nice, warm breath.

Being a pyrokinetic, Claire’s aversion to water was somewhat understandable: it was her one time of weakness during the day. It was the one point in time where she was as normal, as defenseless, as every other person on the street. But she knew how foolhardy the fear was: she had what might be seen as one of the best security systems in the world. For the weekend, she was visiting her parents, better known to the outside world as the infamous Black King and Red Queen. Her father could control shadows, and if a man was engulfed in one he might never be seen again. Her mother could control weaponry, and as her name attested, her weapons weren’t always bloodless. Who could possibly get through those two? And even if her parents were compromised, surely their fighting would at least give her the time to towel off.

So she relaxed. Her shoulders drifted downward and her head drifted upward as she allowed the water to caress her face. She smiled. Picking up the bottle, she squeezed shampoo into her hand. Her hand slid across her hair.

Suddenly, she noticed she wasn’t breathing. She grabbed at her neck. Was that a cord she felt? She tried tugging on it, but to no avail. She tried screaming, but was too breathless to do so. She tried elbowing her assailant, who had to be behind her, but couldn’t connect. She tried setting the rope on fire, but her powers refused to work. Thinking back to the self-defense her father had taught her, she thrust herself backwards, onto the shower wall. After that, everything was black, silent.


Fenrir sat up against the wall of his cell. Bored with his abode, he took the quarter that was in his hand and flicked it up in the air with the tip of his thumb. Catching it, he repeated the action.

Yeah, he thought to himself, This is all I need in life. A quarter.

His peace was disrupted by the appearance of an old man, who with the swing of his hand caused the cell door to swing open, allowing him to enter. Fenrir spat at the man’s feet, as he looked up and saw the old man’s figure: he was clearly ancient, with long gray hair and wrinkled skin. His age had clearly not made him docile, as he carried with him a spear. Fenrir stared into the man’s glass eye.

“I thought prison was too pleasant,” Fenrir growled. He wanted a bailiff to come in here and see that Odin was breaking in, see that Odin had no respect for human laws. But he knew that would be a moot point. Surely the old god had made himself invisible to the others, an expedient though unnecessary measure to allow him entry into Fenrir’s cell.

Odin let out a hearty laugh, “So you’re enjoying your time spent in this cage?” Odin asked.

“Almost as much as I’m enjoying the thought of killing you,” Fenrir said, allowing himself a smirk. It was made all the more amusing to him by the fact that he knew it would be true. Norse legends had spoken of it for over a millenia: during Ragnorak, the apocalypse, Odin was doomed to die by Fenrir’s hands.

“For a mutt, you’ve a sharp tongue, Fenrir.”

“That’s only in my human form. When I’m in my wolf form, it’s my teeth that do the talking.”

Odin’s smile turned into frustration, as he realized Fenrir’s spirit was not broken, “Do you really think you’re going to get your mongrel paws on me? Me! Odin. God of War. God of Victory. God of Death. Do you really think you can kill the God of Death?”

Fenrir continued flipping the coin, “A prophecy’s a prophecy. And you’re the God of Prophecy. You of all people should know I’m going to kill you.”

“Not if I have anything to say about it!” Odin yelled, angrily.

“You do. In fact, probability’s on your side. What are the chances of me besting the God of War in a battle? But I hate to break it to you, fate’s going to abandon you, and then it’s going to be on my side.” Looking at the quarter, Fenrir threw it at Odin, who caught it in the air as he stared at Fenrir, “In fact, this coin’s more your territory than mine.”

Odin tossed the coin into the prison toilet, flushed it, and then proceeded to leave the jail cell.

“Some guys are just sore losers,” Fenrir said, twiddling his thumbs.

It remained that way for several hours, as he sat there, thinking and twiddling. Finally, he noticed the bailiff opening the door to his cage.

“At least you’re supposed to be here,” Fenrir muttered.

“What was that?” the bailiff asked.

“Don’t worry ‘bout it,” Fenrir replied.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Introduction, and a Table of Contents

Sometimes, the government needs a villain. That's when they turn to Julia, leader of Project Redemption, a special organization that take incarcerated super felons and uses them in various covert activities.

They may not be nice and they may not be clean, but they get the job done. Sometimes, all that stands between our security and a super-powered maniac, is another super-powered maniac.

Updating every Saturday, with a new story every month, Project Redemption is an anthology series of sorts. Focusing on a different super villain every month and their adventures with Project Redemption, there is still some continuity between the chapters, as they all take place in the same universe (or a parallel thereof.)

Table of Contents

Fear and Loathing- The God is Norse, the sorority is super-powered, and the killer is out for blood. Who will survive?

Liberty’s Cry- He was the American Dream. Then he tried killing the President.

Black Gazelle- Birds of a feather...