The serum worked. Only too well.

She knew it would happen to her eventually. He was just toying with her. Ever since the day that foul evil liquid was secretly added to the water supply, he had been toying with everyone. What better way to discover if it worked? What better set of test subjects than this sleepy little town of 2,000? He didn’t care.

Nothing happened at first, but then strange things… and horrors… blood…

The very young were affected at first. Some died horrible deaths. Some sprouted gruesome growths, some melted away, some died in fires, or in ice. A very few, though, had positive results.

Then it moved through children who had not yet reached puberty. The same happened. As he hoped, a few grew stronger. He moved in.

The adults were hit last, but they were hit the hardest. Several of them exploded, cells spewing fluid. Some jumped out of windows to avoid the inevitable, leaving their children behind lest anything happened to them. The children who were unaffected or… affected profoundly? He had to find out. He found her, seemingly unharmed, and her son whom he held, just for safekeeping, somewhere inside his house.

He tasked her with gathering the survivors, who he somehow knocked out and brought back to a large building on his property. His lab? Yes. It was also where she stayed when she wasn’t playing siren.

He tested them all. First, the ones who seemed to have gained strength, or speed, or stamina. He put them in shackles, with his amped up taser at the ready, and ordered them to break things, smash things, pull iron bars apart. He shocked them and put them back into special electric cages. Some who had other physical manifestations, horns, wings, tails, he simply killed. And disposed of, after autopsies.

Some who didn’t appear to have any physical manifestations he tested in other ways. Held objects behind screens, asking them to guess. Placing small items on tables and asking them to move them without touching them. After some mental tests, he tested passive characteristics. Burning them. Freezing them. Pouring acid on them. Often he would find something that interested him, and he would allow that person to live. A woman who could float. A child who could manifest fire. Of course, they would live under heavy sedation.

Of all the subjects, he trusted her most. That wasn’t much. But enough to see what he was looking for. Immortality. When he found someone who regenerated, he would kill everyone else. He would experiment on that extremely unlucky soul until he conferred their power on himself. Then, if it were possible, he would kill them. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be – in which case, his power would be that much stronger. He would simply bury them to keep them quiet. At least, if they weren’t quiet no one could hear them.

One day, he locked her to the bars of her cage with handcuffs. For some reason, he didn’t lock her inside when he experimented, in case he needed her to get someone else that day. But as far as she knew, there was no one else. No one except…

Her son.

She screamed as loud and hard as someone could scream. After he showed her the boy, he simply tased her and she was out. She could still see. Her eyes were open. She couldn’t move. She would have to watch for the next few seconds. Watch whatever he did.

He slapped the boy. She winced, mentally, but her son didn’t even flinch. He pulled out a knife and cut the boy’s arm. At the same time, the boy backed away and she regained control. She grabbed her son and held him, and whispered…

Get away. I’ll be fine. Just leave.

He was already staring at her, smiling. How could he be smiling when he knew what was going to happen? What was wrong?

The clearly insane scientist, for lack of a better term, grabbed the boy and plunged the knife into his chest, impatient to discover the one power he sought. She cried out –

But her son was gone. Vanished. She was puzzled, until she realized something. For the first time, he looked nervous. Someone could escape, and that was a problem. He went to his cameras, his security, his infrared, looking, watching, seeking… yes, there was the boy, in the room he had been kept in for the past few weeks.

No! The boy was gone again. He ran to her, putting the knife to her throat. A twist – now she was the way to get the boy to do what he wanted. Across the room, between him and the table, the boy appeared. He saw the threat. He was ready.

The boy grabbed the taser and fired its darts at the scientist, dropping him instantly. Dropping his mother also, but he could bind the man before he came back around. He held his mother. She had love in her eyes, but also a fire, burning as any mother’s would. All the horrors. All the dead.

How could he have done this? How could he just have callously treated all these people like ants, like trash, like… experiments? During her rage-filled questions, he worked an arm free and threw his knife. It stuck right into her chest. She was bleeding out. Her son was worried, but not as much as he should have been. She didn’t want it to end like this. He would get away. Her son might, too, but where would he go? She didn’t want it to… end…

She felt better. However it had happened, she was not dying. Her son was still there. The man was still there. He… still had the knife? He moved like… he did before? Her son knew somehow. She had been holding his hand. She moved. The knife stuck in her arm.

This time she knew. She felt better. Her son smiled at her. She told him to go to his grandmother’s house, and she would be there soon, then stepped left as he disappeared, catching the taser as the knife flew past. She shocked the scientist. She grabbed the knife and held it to the man’s throat.

He laughed.

“Go ahead”, he said. “You will get nothing, because you are nothing. I killed everyone, hundreds, but you can only kill me once.”

She tased him again, and again, and he laughed each time as soon as he could. Then, she stepped, and thought, and concentrated, just as she had done before.

“… kill me once.” She had heard it before, she thought. She tased him twice more, then grabbed his bound hands and stepped back.

He didn’t say it again. She had been touching him. He knew. He had gone with her. But still, he laughed.

“Do it! You can’t do it. You don’t have the guts. And even if you do, like I said, you can only do it once. ONCE!”

She took the knife and plunged it into his carotid artery, and watched him die, her eyes on his face the entire time. She reached out and touched his hand. She concentrated, stepped…

“Once….once….”

He looked at her in horror as he realized his situation, realized her power. Time reversal. About thirty seconds. She walked over to the first cage and released the woman inside – the woman who could levitate. The scientist had killed her son. She had been watching. She slashed him and stabbed him, beat him and caved in his skull, until she felt the hand on her shoulder.

She held the scientist’s hand and looked at him. Then she stepped. He was healed, until the floating woman slashed again. For the first time.

This could take a while…

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