N O T O V E R (Solo Quest)

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N O T O V E R (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 9/5/2012, 1:07 pm

Dread wrote:John honestly believed that he could return to South City and live with the kind woman who had, many weeks ago, taken him into her house as her son. He dared hope that he could truly enjoy the comforts of home and the joy of a loving family while also utilizing his power for the betterment of humankind.

He suspected that unpleasantness lay ahead of him, but he sought to deceive himself in thinking the worst was all behind him. His training under “Coach” and the tournament for which his master’s instruction had prepared him had concluded. What could possibly trouble him more than the seemingly impossible adversity he had already overcome?

He flew above the residential section of the city as the sun started setting. He then realized he had forgotten where the woman, he hoped to call mother again, lived. He had spent his entire childhood in South City, but his return made it seem like nothing more than a distant and fractured memory. He had long since abandoned his old life as a result of the weeks he spent embracing his power and refining the technique with which he implemented it. He had begun the perilous journey as a bum off the streets and had undergone something of a metamorphosis that severed him from normal society and enabled him to confront, survive, and vanquish unimaginable horrors.

John began to worry that his changes had made him too different from the man who had woken in a hospital to a beautiful woman and her life-altering words. Would she accept him into her home or would she reject him and label him as a monster? John certainly felt like a monster with all the power he had garnered in such a short time. His abilities were things he would never have dreamed about some months ago and presently experienced nightmares that included their involvement.

He additionally feared that even if his power did not frighten her away, she would probably have moved on since he snuck out of her home. He had done so as a precaution to ensure the tournament would not reach her doorstep. His departure might have relieved her with the knowledge she no longer had to be responsible for a homeless stranger.

What if she had secretly never felt gratitude for his actions that saved her daughter? What if she had taken his initial survival against a ki-wielding maniac as an overwhelming burden in her life? Was she better off without him? Was he being selfish by trying to salvage the relationship between them? For that matter, what relationship did the two of them even share? They had spent less than a day together!

John resolved to see her out and speak with her; he would leave the decision of having him in her life up to her. He decided he would accept her choice even if it would not be the one he desperately wished to hear. Before any of that transpired, however, he needed to locate her address!

Sirens blared below; John glanced toward the source and watched a procession of police cruisers, an ambulance, and a fire engine speeding toward a destination unknown to him with great urgency. The old John would have ignored them entirely without sparing a single thought on the well being of whoever required their services, but he had changed in a great number of ways. He headed toward them and trailed behind them, unseen by any of the emergency service agents. He had decided to help them and hoped they had not been summoned over something petty such as a shouting match between a husband and wife. John might have changed, but he had not yet conquered his anger and it would blaze if he discovered he had foolishly wasted his time on some minor nuisance.

The emergency service vehicles all slowed and stopped within a neighborhood that instantly struck John as familiar. It was where the woman and her baby girl, Tabitha, lived. The leading police cruiser had stopped directly in front of her home. John looked at the house; its condition instilled him with an all-consuming sense of dread even though it appeared mostly intact. Something or someone, however, had deeply carved wide letters across the front of the house. John read the words they assembled and his rising paranoia assured him that the message was meant for him. The crudely drawn letters spelled out two badly spaced words.

N O T O V E R

John immediately hurried to the door; firemen and police officers alike ran after him and shouted at him to stop, but he ignored them. He opened the door; it nearly fell apart in his grip, but he had not damaged it even in his panicked state. Someone had already splintered the wood and destroyed the bottom hinge; the lock was busted. John’s anger boiled at the forced intrusion and it intermixed with his fear over the well being of the residents.

He stepped into the living room; police hurried in behind him and continued yelling at him to wait outside. He continued ignoring them until one man tried grabbing his arm. John jerked his hand free and sent the offender tumbling onto his face. He proceeded into the living room and recoiled in shock at the horrific scene before him.

A teenage and freckled girl lay lifeless on the carpet that had been stained by her own blood, much of it glistened as a testament to a fresh kill. John clearly remembered her as Tabitha’s lively and talkative baby sitter, Susan. John hurried past her and toward the kitchen where he saw light. “Mom!” He cried out and hurried over to a woman huddled in a corner; she was clutching a phone, sobbing and shivering with grief, and rocking back and forth.

She looked up at him with eyes reddened by her tears. “Who,” She began, but recognition dawned on her after briefly studying his face. “John!” She cried out then jumped up and wrapped her arms around him.

She squeezed with all her strength as though he was the only thing keeping her tethered to the world. She buried her head into his chest and wept into his shirt. He returned her embrace; he could not grasp the appropriate words to express his relief he felt upon seeing her alive and unharmed. He made out some of her muffled words. She repeated the phrase, “She’s gone! She’s gone!”

“Who’s gone?” John asked. “Susan? I know, I saw her too; where’s Tabitha? How is she?”

“No! No!” She cried and looked into John’s eyes. “Susan’s dead and Tabitha-” She broke out crying again at her own mention of her daughter.

“What about Tabitha? Tell me!” John released her and forced her to look into his eyes.

“She’s gone, John! Someone took her!” She screamed.

John backed away from her and stared in absolute disbelief over what he had just heard. He had gone through more hell than hell itself had to offer for having saved the child once before. He returned from such horrors to find what? That someone had abducted Tabitha and killed her baby sitter in cold blood. “Who took her?” John asked. “Who?” He repeated, louder than before.

“I don’t know, John! I honestly don’t know!” She hysterically cried back; she slammed her back against a bare wall and slumped to the floor where she buried her head into her hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

John watched her in absolute dismay. Was he at fault for what had happened to Tabitha and Susan? Had his involvement in their lives endangered them ever since the beginning? He had done what he thought was best to separate himself and his troubles from them. Even if the person responsible for the death of one girl and the kidnapping of another had no vendetta against John, he could not stop himself from thinking he could have safeguarded them both if he had never left.

“You have to find her, John.” The woman, he had called his mother, suddenly told him; she stared at him through her fingers and he looked back. “You saved her before; I know you can do it again!” John gulped with the sudden commitment presented before him. How could he deny her, the woman who had treated him with nothing but kindness? “Promise me you will bring my baby girl back safely!” She cried out, dropping her arms helplessly to her sides.

The expression she showed him, in that moment, was plagued with desperation, pain, and terror. He knew then that any and every life he saved would henceforth become his responsibility. If someone he previously saved died or went missing, the blame for it would fall squarely on his shoulders and people would expect him to make things right or for him to suffer the consequences for his failure. Nothing I ever do is enough! He mentally screamed.

“I will find her and I will make whoever did this pay for their actions,” John vowed as he clenched his hands into tight fists.

He turned away from her and, as calmly as he could manage, made his way back outside. Police attempted to restrain him, but he easily shoved aside anyone who stood in his way or grabbed onto him. Some of the officers proved more perseverant than others; among those he had already felled, few scrambled forward and grabbed onto his legs in a pitiful attempt to subdue him. John effortlessly pried them off his person then flew straight out the door.

He ascended above the house and observed the scene below. A stretcher was carried by two paramedics, but the body it supported was covered from head to toe by a black canvas. John did not need to see the body’s face to know who it was. You did not deserve this, Susan. I will avenge you. John thought.
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Re: N O T O V E R (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 9/5/2012, 3:00 pm

Dread wrote:He turned his attention toward the clear sky above and continued higher until the neighborhood beneath him went from an indistinguishable speck to nothing in his eyes. Had there been any clouds that day, he knew he would have passed through them. The frigid and thin air he attempted to breathe informed him of as much.

He believed he had reached a safe enough distance from civilization and life on Earth to unleash a great and terrible force. He had felt its presence and sensed it building inside him ever since he learned of a Tabitha’s disappearance. He would have denied its release if he could have because he feared what it could do to the planet and to him, but it demanded immediate release!

It was something he had never suspected he contained, but it was there all the same. He knew little about it other than it hungered for his emotions, which, he instinctually realized, nourished it. He also knew he was presently experiencing more than enough anguish for it to rise for its meal.

John’s arms rose before him of their own accord; they situated themselves straight out and parallel to one another. He watched with a mixture of wonder and fright as a black chain materialized within the space between his arms. Its thick links ran from one of his wrists to the other; a link appeared deeply embedded within each of his wrists, but he felt nothing from them.

John’s eyes narrowed toward the center of the chain, he focused on a single link and somehow knew what needed done. He exercised his will over the chain and watched, without emotion, as a perfectly straight crack appeared along the middle link. Without further prompting, the link broke cleanly in half and the two chain halves dangled from his arms. A force that had been restrained for years issued forth and took John completely by surprise.

His power rose substantially as though he had just removed a limiter or some kind of safeguard from his own spirit and body. He flexed his arms and threw a few practice punches and kicks into the empty air. The chains noiselessly moved with his arms; not even a quiet rattle issued from them.

He further tested his unlocked powers by flying forward as quickly as his enhanced ki energy could propel him. He stopped when he realized he had left the city limits of South City some miles behind. “What else can I do?” He wondered aloud; if he meant to rescue Tabitha, he needed to familiarize himself with the full extent of his newest acquired abilities.

He looked to the empty sky above him and grimaced at it as though his enemy resided somewhere in the depths of space. A black ball of energy materialized in front of his chest, but he made no movement to complete or direct it. The basic blast shot forward toward the emptiness he faced. John issued a silent command for it to detonate. The resulting and abysmally dark explosion momentarily deafened John; the aftershock forced him back some. He wondered if anyone below had heard it or felt the shockwave.

John breathed heavily upon concluding his test run. He wiped his brow, bringing one of the black chains directly in front of his eyes. He brought his other hand toward it out of curiosity and tried touching it. His fingers passed through it as though it was some kind of ghost. It was, after all, an incarnation produced by his spirit.

He also realized that unleashing his new powers brought with it a noticeable strain. It was no wonder that it had remained dormant and unnoticed for such a long time. His body and spirit had required prior conditioning to withstand it. Even though he had met its requirements, it still drained him.

He held his arms out ahead of him and watched the chain halves reconnect, sealing away his new, great, and terrible power until another time when he needed it. The chain vanished from view, but John felt his true power raging within him in a childish demand for release. He could call upon it easily enough whenever he chose to wield it.
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