Freeform Friday

In an attempt to knock my superman expy down to size I have decided to do what follows. I'm sure my characters hate me, but not only does this mean all the other cast members get their own time to shine, but it also shows I don't need no stinkin' green rocks to put the heavy hitter down and introduces our first opponent that can stand up to the gifted freaks on their own terms.



[6]

Three weeks after the sentencing Max had was lounging in an overstuffed chair watching the news. He had a sort of not-seeing look to him, awake but not really aware. It was late and it was dark, yet the only light came from what he was watching.

"-Speculation about the continued inaction of Max Justice-"

Click.

"-Makes us wonder at the rest of the metahuman community's lack-"

Click.

"-Of statement or comment. Does this mean-"

TV Off. Three hundred and something channels plus another hundred movie and specialty networks and all any of them seemed to talk about was his 'daring and noble' compliance with his sentencing along with inane babble about what it meant to the community, literal and figurative, of metahuman 'night watch' members he had built up.

Max grunted at the now blank television, "All you people are parasites. So busy looking at other people's lives you-"

Crash. Front door busted in. Max rolled out of his chair and kept low as he watched them break into his home. Another crash upstairs signaled a second breach, but he wouldn't worry about that just yet. No. He was set on whoever had busted his front door in.

Caution made him keep from springing on the intruder and that caution probably saved his life. The man, impossible to see clearly in the dark wasn't big, not nearly enough to have shattered a steel door, stood just inside Max's home and frowned before taking two quick steps, stopping just on the other side.

Caution gave him that extra second to see the crowd gathered in front of his house before they would have been able to drag him past the door. As it was he was able to deal with them alone or in pairs as they attempted to force their way inside.

As alarms wailed and the bodies piled up he noticed no matter how hard he hit, blows that should have shattered bone and broken steel only staggered his attackers. Each that dropped soon got back up and shambled back into the fight.

Only later would details come into focus. Only in hindsight would he remember the assault ended with sunrise and the black clad man's disappearance. Only later would he remember the lack of expression and vacant gaze of his attackers. It was only after they had taken his statements, taken copies of surveillance footage, and left him a moment's peace would he wonder what his attackers were.

None of that entered his mind as he fought, first with restraint because they looked unarmed and unarmored, then letting loose the bonds he struggled to maintain so he wouldn't, for example, accidentally break bones whenever shaking someone's hand.

Even with bone shattering blows his attackers fought, clawing, grabbing, never ending. They never stopped, not until the sun rose. By then he was half crazed and screaming. Even when allies and friends approached he fought. IT wasn't until he had been dosed with a large quantity of sedative in aerosol form, as no needle was on hand that could pierce his skin, did he finally stop.





"Max?" Blurry vision. Unable to move. Max was frustrated most by his inability to move. Had they finally clamped hold of him, piling on so that not even his inhuman strength could move? For a moment he struggled, then realization hit. Safe, but restrained.

"Max?" Girlvoice. Familiar. Worried. "You're safe Max." A single touch. Flash of a thousand memories. Friend. Lover. Wife.

Vision resolved. Dark skinned porcelain face framed by black hair looked back at him. "Hey... What happened?" Weak, sedatives strong in his system even now. Too much danger otherwise.

"They're still trying to figure out how it started. Three dozen bodies all at our front door. All having been dead for days or longer." Calm voice. Too calm to Max's ears.

"Dead?" His eyes widened, pupils contracting to pinpricks. "No... I...No they kept getting up. Wouldn't stop coming at me. Thought it was nightmare." Thoughts wouldn't resolve through the medicine haze he was kept in. Words tumbled out on their own. "Couldn't make them stop. Drum kept beating, sending them at me like locusts. Couldn't hold myself back or would've eaten me. Make me like them."

"No Max. they were dead before you had anything to do with them." Too calm voice, strain barely contained. "Ted's getting forensics on the whole lot while Hiro's coordinating-" Max didn't care about the details after he managed, with herculean effort, to realize he had killed no one.

Hard slap.

"Stay with me." Stern words. "Max I need you to stay with me. They're afraid you might have-" Ooo pretty pretty. Max wanted to taste the butterflies coming from the woman's mouth but the snakes were bound tight and he couldn't get them to let go. Wait. What? Something about his brain being altered more than any drug in his system could account.

Don't cry dear bunny. He was stone and could not hold or comfort the poor thing. Your eyes were never meant for crying.





"You're sure about this?" Fury. An apt name that she had been given. Hers was bound still, but had been threatening to break the surface ever since she saw the state her husband was in.

Incoherent and only sporadically aware of surroundings. They had said. Well of course he would be if he was kept on a continued drip of whatever they had flowing in his veins. The idea of him being turned into a drug addict or worse because of their caution made her want to hurt people.

Stryker shook his head but motioned for her to look closer at where the bodies had fallen. To a normal person the smell was a bare afterthought. To her the layers of stink and filth would linger for weeks. Worse than the dead-stink was the oily filmy smell that coated everything. She barely had to sniff to get a noseful.

A curious thing happened though. As soon as she stepped through the ruins of her front door the odor was gone. No. She sniffed and it was here too. Strange that it wouldn't have traveled. Slowly she followed the smell. It was strongest right at the front door, but fine tendrils had seeped deeper into the house. The strongest currents leading upstairs.

She couldn't have answered if asked why she followed the trail. Only to her it felt like it needed following. The source found and destroyed. Upstairs. Closed door. Guest room. Door open.

Large shoe box resting neatly on the bed. Brick. Shattered window. No other marks, no other smells.

She carefully knelt down to sniff the box. If it were a bomb she would have smelled the explosives, but there was only that oily wrongsmell on the air that seemed to be strongest here. Box wrapped in brown butcher's paper tied with white string.

String untied. She should wait, but she needed to know what this was.

Soft stirring of air. Stryker was behind her, weapons ready. She could smell the tension in his emotion. He had her back.

Lid lifted. Smell overwhelmed her. Cough. Gag. Stumble to window, throw open. Breath. Deep lungful of air before stumbling back downstairs. She couldn't stay up there, not with that smell.

People saw her running from the house. Some panicked and fled, thinking she had found a bomb. Others readied weapons in case an attacker followed her out. Neither happened and after several tense minutes people started to relax. Then someone realized Fury wasn't moving.

She would be fine, medics told everyone. She just needed air. Kept complaining about smell, told everyone she had to be away from that place. Nobody tried to stop her. Nobody wanted to see her lose control. Normally she was well controlled and easy to work with. Now with her husband delirious and barely able to recognize her none wanted to be the idiot that got his neck snapped in half.

Nobody saw Stryker leave. Nobody saw what he carried away with him, which is just how he wanted it.
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