Freeze Frame
by EMW
Part 4

Chapter 10

Another day dawned and it was the usual scramble to get up and ready. It being Friday we didn't have lectures till the afternoon, so technically I could have had a lie in, but I felt like having breakfast, so made the effort to get up. Nat joined me and we headed over to get our breakfast. On the way Nat suggested we do another session in the gym before lunch and lectures. It seemed a reasonable idea, so after our breakfast had settled a bit, we strolled up to campus with our gym kit. The protesters were still there, but there were now only four people, though still including my lab partner. The others held signs with slogans, while Kathy chanted various things. No one was paying them any attention. They had become part of the scenery for most people.

On seeing me Kathy turned bright red and stormed over, “You and your kind have been trying to force us to stop by punishing our members for not attending lectures, despite them doing Gods work instead! You think you've won animal, but we won't be beaten! We have right on our side!” she frothed.

 I looked at Nat, shrugged my shoulders and carried on walking.

“Don't you walk away from me freak! Hey ... I'm talking to you, devil spawn!” she was walking alongside shouting at me.

I picked up the pace and she began running along side to keep up, “You think this is funny, don't you, you vile beast! Well I'll show you. I'LL SHOW ALL OF YOU!!!”

She was practically screaming at this point, her face a mask of rage, her fists balled up. All of a sudden, she was struck from behind by something and knocked to the ground. One of the big signs they were waving that said 'MORFS out!' or some such, had been flung into her. One of the few remaining protesters came running up, looking extremely worried.

“Kathy! Kathy are you alright? I'm so sorry, I don't know what happened. It just got wrenched out of my hand. The wind must have caught it or something. Are you hurt?” the protester said, very apologetically.

It was funny. While I could see those big signs would easily act like a sail in strong wind, it felt reasonably calm, there was barely any breeze. I guess it must have been a freak gust of wind or something. Still, it seemed odd. I had a look around. We had come a good distance from where the protesters had been. It was really too far for someone to throw the thing and still have it hit with a good deal of force. Well any normal person. I guess there was a chance of some MORFS super running up and tossing their signs about, but I would have thought they would scream bloody murder if anything like that happened, not make up some story about it being pulled out of their grip. I guess this guy could have been a secret MORFS survivor, but it seemed unlikely. While I was thinking, Kathy had picked her self, up taken the sign and used it to whack the other protester over the head.

“Idiot! Why am I surrounded by morons?! This is a holy quest, and you’re bumbling about like some sort of slapstick comedian! Get back over there now and get a grip, or I'll see to it you are drummed out of the organisation!” she shouted. The poor protester took off like a rocket and then Kathy turned her attention back on me. She opened her mouth to say something, but then just shook her head and stomped off angrily.

“That was weird,” said Nat.

“Yeah, very odd,” I replied as we continued on our way into campus.

As we approached the sports centre, someone called out to me from behind us, “Emily!” It was Mark.

“Leave me alone,” I said.

“I just wanted to check that you were alright. I heard that the anti-MORFS lot had been harassing you a bit earlier,” he said.

“What who told you that?” I asked.

“Oh some passer-by,” he said dismissively.

“How would someone random person know Emily was being harassed,” said Nat suspiciously.

“They didn't,” said Mark with a smug grin, “but how many other six armed girls with silver hair do you know?”

“Hmmpf!” grunted Nat crossing her arms and glaring at Mark.

“I'm fine, now leave me alone,” I said.

“Please, Emily give me a chance. I promise you that you will not regret it,” he pleaded.

“I gave you a chance, and I regret that! Why would I give you another one?” I snapped. “Besides, I thought you were told not to come near me again. Don't make me report you again, because I will!”

“OK Emily, I'll go,” he said but added quietly, “for now.” He turned and walked off.

I hoped maybe this time he would stop bothering me, but on past experience, I doubted it.

“You should report him again. He was told to stay away and he didn't,” said Nat.

“I know,” I said, “bit let's not think about him any more and just get on with our morning.”

“OK, Em,” I knew she would likely bring this up again. She was not one to let things go, which was often a good thing. I wasn't sure in this case, I just wanted to forget Mark and get on with my life.

It was much the usual routine at the gym, with the staring and such. It seemed to be slightly reduced from the last two times. I did recognise a lot of the faces, I guess a lot of the regulars were used to seeing me and Nat about the place now.

After another hour of lifting weights and running we hit the showers. We grabbed a light lunch then headed in to lectures. I almost forgot to invite Caitlyn to the evening’s entertainment, but Nat reminded me just in time. Luckily she didn't have plans and we arranged to meet up. A few hours later our school day ended and it was time to enjoy ourselves. We headed back to the hall, dumped our stuff, collected Caitlyn and headed over to Shaun's house.

When we rang the doorbell and it was answered by Carl, who took one look at the three of us and ran away screaming.

"... OK," said Caitlyn, "that was ... well strange. Was it something we said?"

"We had a run-in with him yesterday," I said, "I think Nat broke him."

"Oh ... I see," Caitlyn said.

We let ourselves in, as Carl had left the front door open, and headed up to get Shaun.

"I thought that scream heralded your arrival. Carl has been acting really nuts since you were last here, blithering on about what you did to him,” he said, then continued, “Try not to break any more of my housemates. I know Carl is a complete arse, but if I lose too many to the insane asylum I won't be able to pay my rent.”

"I'll do my best, but no promises," Nat grinned wickedly.

“What did you do to him by the way? He's been blithering crazy things about dark light and frozen limbs, not your usual I got beat up by a sexy little girl excuses,” he said.

“I just knocked him into a pile of bin bags, maybe he hit his head or something,” she said.

“That's probably it, he always was a strange one,” Shaun said rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

“Anyway, you ready to go?” asked Nat.

“Sure let me get my stick,” he said.

“No need we'll carry you,” said Nat.

“Yeah, much quicker,” I said, “Now, you wanted Caitlyn to sit on you while we did it right?”

Caitlyn looked at me with a raised eyebrow, “That wasn't detailed in the invite you sent me. If I'd known it was that sort of evening out, I would have worn my leather gear and brought a whip.”

“Now there's an image that will be haunting my dreams,” said Shaun.

“Right. Well enough messing about. Let's get going, I'm getting hungry,” said Nat. “Em, you get one side, I'll get the other. Caitlyn, grab his stick so he can have his pride when we get into town.”

We lifted a reluctant Shaun up in the air and began carrying him off out. Between the two of us he was surprisingly light. He was a little surprised by how easily we could lift him. He was even more shocked when Nat carried him down the stairs on her own, as there wasn't really the room for the two of us to do it. He got really embarrassed when Roge, his house mate, came walking out of the kitchen and saw the two of us carry him out the door like a sack of spuds, Caitlyn in tow with his stick. We made good time into town and got to a pub for dinner, before Shaun got too annoyed with us carrying him along. He grumpily took his stick and went into the pub.

After we perused the menu, Caitlyn and I went to the bar to order, giving Nat some time to make it up to Shaun for the trip in. We returned some time later with the drinks and sat down to wait for our food.

“So I see the Anti-MORFS lot are more or less done now. The faculty have said they can protest all they want, but most of the courses have suddenly got a load of new tests for them to do, and if they fail to show up for them, they get kicked off their course,” said Caitlyn.

“That's sneaky,” said Nat.

“Yeah, one of the faculty staff came up with it. She took offence to their bullying and had a quiet word with all the tutors of their courses,” Caitlyn replied.

“Hmm, I wondered why there was suddenly a test this Tuesday,” I said.

“Well see it as all in a good cause,” said Caitlyn with a grin. “They were going to get them shut down eventually, since their message effectively amounts to incitement to violence and discrimination, but it would have taken a while. Plus, some of the local lawyers are similarly anti MORFS types, so they would have used the courts to string things out. Not that they have a case, but the university does not have the funds to play those sorts of games. This way they can't say a thing.”

“Won't they just argue discrimination this time?” I asked.

“That's why everyone has to do the tests. They can't argue they are being unfairly discriminated against if everyone has to do it. Besides, they are playing it off as drive to increase attendance,” winked Caitlyn.

“Hmm, won't they just go back to their protest after the tests are done?” asked Shaun.

“Maybe but who's to say there won't be more random tests, and if they aren’t in class to take notes, eventually they are going to slip up,” she replied.

“I did wonder what Kathy was going on about this morning when she had a go at me, ranting about how she wasn't beaten, and how MORFS people hadn't won yet,” I said.

Caitlyn fixed me with a serious look, “Not her again. Did she upset you?”

“No, I just kept walking. She followed and then she got clobbered by one of their big signs. I guess the wind caught it or something.”

“Yeah it was fairly amusing, it was one of those ugly yellow plywood things that said ‘MORFS OUT’, that sent her flying,” said Nat.

“Well so long as she's not upsetting my girl.” Caitlyn gave me a hug.

We chatted a bit more until our food showed up, then we were too busy eating to do much in the way of polite conversation. Once we had polished off our food, we had a few moments to let things settle.

“Ah, that's much better,” said Nat with a satisfied grin.

“I can't get over the amount you and Em eat. You're both skinny, yet you eat like you have hollow legs or something,” said Shaun.

“Well we both work out. It keeps us skinny and sexy,” said Nat, patting her flat tummy.

“What are you doing to need that much food, bench pressing a tonne?” Shaun joked.

“Pretty much,” I deadpanned.

“You're kidding! Please tell me you are kidding,” said Shaun.

“Oh calm down sweetie, she's just teasing you. We probably only do half that,” said Nat, grinning.

Shaun raised an eyebrow and looked shocked till Nat burst out laughing.

“OK, how much weight can you lift?” he asked looking a little ticked off.

“It's not polite to ask a lady that,” I said, “It's like her weight or age.”

Shaun rolled his eyes at that, which made Caitlyn giggle.

“Anyway we need to be making a move,” said Nat glancing at her watch. “You'll have to quiz us on our exercise routine more later. We need to get to the cinema.”

We cleared up and made our way out of the door.

“You know if you really want to see how much we can lift, you can just come along to the gym with us,” said Nat sweetly.

“I'm not sure my ego could take it,” said Shaun.

“Speaking of which, time to speed this up a bit, Hopalong,” I said as we got outside.

Shaun sighed resignedly as  Nat and I hefted him into the air. Caitlyn grabbed the stick and we carried him off in the direction of the cinema. Luckily there weren't too many people about so Shaun didn't get too snippy about us carrying him about. When we were close, we put him back down so he could walk the last bit himself, and since we were trying to cheer him up, we let him pick the film. The same historical thing about a famous MORFS civil rights leader he had wanted to see last time was still running, so we got tickets to that.

We got some treats to have during the film, some popcorn, and some drinks, we went in and took our seats. The cinema was already dark and in the middle of the adverts, but not yet to the trailers. Caitlyn once again snuggled up close to me. This time there was less kissing, she obviously wanted to see the film. We still stole the odd kiss now and then.

The film was pretty interesting. I had never really been into history much, so didn't know much about the really early days of MORFS. It seemed things had been really hard back then, though some of that might have been dramatic reinterpretation to make the story more gripping. It did strike me that back in those early day's, I wouldn't have likely been able to be attending university after having been changed by MORFS. I likely would never have met Caitlyn and Nat. They would have been locked up in quarantine somewhere, Caitlyn especially would have got it bad, hybrids had it tougher than most back then. There was also the fact that early on people would very frequently die from the change. While it is still a risk even today, the majority of people make it through okay. Back then it was much worse, any or all of us might not have made it, which was a sobering thought. I pulled Caitlyn closer and kissed her forehead, her warm body calming those dark thoughts. It did make me wonder what they would have made of me with my multiple arms back then. Would I have shared a cage with the hybrids, or been put in with the more normal individuals?

The film finished with footage of the real person giving a speech at some political conference, which was a reasonably high note. I wondered if I was faced with the kind of adversities they had faced back then, where their very humanity was questioned not just by some religious nutters, but by a lot of the mainstream, would I have the courage to fight to make things better? Hard to say I guess, not having faced that sort of test myself I would never know.

I left the cinema full of thoughts, but reasonably happy, which I guess had been the idea of it. Caitlyn and I walked together, arms round each other, following Shaun and Nat as they slowly moved along.

“So what did you think of the film?” I asked Caitlyn.

“It was interesting. Made me wonder what things would have been like for me back then.”

“Yeah, me too. Makes me quite glad to be born into a slightly more enlightened age.”

Caitlyn nodded, “It made me wonder if I should be doing more, like some of the activist types in the Crystal society. I never really got into that line. I seemed like a lot of work, but I guess if someone had thought that back in the day, I'd be wearing a collar, locked in a cage or worse now. Rather than free to attend uni and go see a movie with my friends.”

“Well maybe next meeting we should both talk to some people, see what we can do to get more involved.”

“Yeah that's a good idea. So does this mean you are joining up then?”

“I think so. I had a good time and I'm not really a member of any clubs.”

“The social aspect has really been good for me, helping me to meet new people, and they have some great social events. I think you'll really enjoy that, too, I used to be a lot shyer and it helped my confidence no end.”

“Are you saying I'm too shy?”

“Well a little. I think it's cute, but I can see that you'll probably be happier as you gain a little more confidence.”

“I guess. Recently I've had more experience with standing out. Hiding in the background is no longer an option.”

Caitlyn nodded, smiled, and gave me a squeeze.

It was a nice night, the sky was crystal clear, and the stars were out. It was cool, but not too cold. We walked the rest of the distance to Shaun's place just enjoying the evening.

When we arrived, we offered to carry Shaun up the stairs to his room, but he declined fairly gracefully. We wished him good evening and then headed off to get home.

“So you want to do something tomorrow?” asked Caitlyn.

“Sure what did you have in mind?”

“We could have lunch together, maybe go shopping or something, or have a walk, just spend some time together.” she said.

“OK sounds good.”

“Cool, I'll pick you up at, say, ten?” Caitlyn smiled.

We got to the gate to our house and Nat headed up, saying good night to Caitlyn, leaving the two of us alone.

“So I'll see you tomorrow gorgeous,” she before she jumped at me, planting a big kiss on my lips. Eventually she let me go saying, “Sweet dreams.”

I smiled and waved goodbye, standing there watching her walk away, her tail swishing about as she walked, which I guess meant she was really happy or some such. Before she rounded the corner she gave me one final wave, and then was off. I stood there for a moment, but suddenly got this strange feeling a prickling of the hairs on the back of my neck like someone was watching me. I looked about but couldn't see anyone. It was probably nothing, but I hurried inside, feeling a little cold all of a sudden.

When I got into the house I found Nat coming back out again. The rest of the house were in the hall bar and she was going down to join them before last orders. I tagged along, having a couple of drinks and enjoying a laugh with my house mates.

I went to bed pretty tired, the day had been pretty full and I was worn out. I looked forward to my day out with Caitlyn. I hoped things would go better than our last two solo dates, where both times something had happened to ruin the mood.


Chapter 11

I woke up bright and early on Saturday. Well, maybe I should say bright and early for Saturday. It was after nine, and I had barely half an hour to get ready. I hurriedly washed and cleaned myself, then tried to pick out some nice clothes for my day out with Caitlyn. Nat sat sniggering a little at my attempts to decide on what to wear. I had never really been one to spend a lot of time on my appearance before now. It seemed now I was just like any other girl fussing over this outfit, or that, trying to decide which I looked best in. In the end, as I got increasingly frantic Nat took pity on me and helped me choose.

When ten o'clock rolled in I was brushed, polished, and ready for my day. I waited for Caitlyn to show up, pacing up and down the room a bundle of nervous energy.

“Sit down! You'll wear the carpet out! I don't want to have to pay half of a new carpet,” Nat joked.

I was often like this when waiting for someone. I’d worry I had got the day wrong, or the time, or the meeting place, or that the person I was meeting had forgotten me. I tried to calm down and sat, trying to do some of my work while I waited. It got to ten thirty and I began to get jumpy again. Where was Caitlyn? I waited another few minutes then decided to give her mobile a ring. There was no reply, I began to get genuinely worried.

Nat, sensing this shift in my emotional state, perked up. “What's wrong?”

“I don't know, Caitlyn was supposed to be here at ten and she's not answering her mobile,” I replied.

“Hmmm, maybe she just a bit late and forgot to charge her phone or something,” Nat tried to be reassuring.

“I suppose,” I said, still a little worried, but I guess I was probably over reacting. Caitlyn would probably come rushing up in a few minutes, with a dead phone and an apology.

I sat down and waited some more, but still no Caitlyn. I was getting very worried by the time eleven came around, even if she had been delayed and lacked her phone, she would have found some way to let me know by now. I decided to head over to her hall and see if she had just overslept or something.

“Where you going?” asked Nat.

“Going to try Caitlyn's room, see if she just overslept.”

“I'll come with you. I need to go up to campus anyway.”

I smiled. I was pretty sure Nat had no need to be on campus, but I was glad she was coming with me. Her presence was calming and reassuring. We headed over at a fast walk, Nat keeping me from running all the way. We got to her hall and headed over to Caitlyn's room. I found the door open with no Caitlyn. The bed was made and looked like it hadn't been slept in. As we headed out of the room to see if one of her neighbours knew where she was, I noticed the door frame was broken, like some one had kicked the door in.

I was beginning to panic now, when my phone rang. It was Caitlyn's number!

I answered it in a rush, “Caitlyn where are you? Are you OK?” I asked.

“Emily …” Her voice was tight as if she was in pain, and she was breathing in short sharp breaths a bit like she was crying.

“What is it? What's wrong, baby?” I asked, my heart accelerating, threatening to burst out of my chest.

“I'm ... he's got me on the ...” she said, then she started talking to someone at the other end, “I won't do it, you sick bastard!” Then she shouted, “Emily stay away! He's crazy, stay away! Ahhh!”

It sounded like the phone was suddenly moving, as if it had been ripped out of Caitlyn's hand. By now Nat was looking at me with an expression of extreme worry.

A voice came on the line, one that made me angry the moment I heard it, “Hello Emily.”

“Mark!? What have you done to her you sick fuck?” I shouted.

“Now. now. Language my sweet,” he said calmly. “If you want to see your little kitty cat again, you are to come to building 14 on the far side of campus, and don't bring any police. Quick march as well, or I'll test to see if this Kitty lands on its feet after a fall.”

Rage pulsed through me my hands balled into fists, “You bastard! You hurt her and I'll rip you apart, you hear me?”

The bastard laughed at me, then said, “Ta ta now,” and rang off.

I screamed in anger and punched the wall, putting six neat holes through it, crushing my phone, and startling the two occupants of the room next door, who peered worriedly at me from the holes I had left.

“What is it? For goodness sake, Em. Calm down! What is it!” cried Nat.

The noise and my destruction had brought quite a few people to see what the fuss was about. They stood round watching warily. A few were making calls, probably to the cops, about the crazy six armed girl trashing the place.

“I've got to go!” I shouted and started to move, pushing people out of my way.

“Where, what's happened,” said Nat jogging to keep up.

“He's got her!”

“Who? Emily, please stop and tell me what is going on.”

I didn't stop, in fact I probably accelerated. I wasn't in my right mind, all I could thing about was getting to Caitlyn, “Mark he's got her, I have to get to her!”

I started running as fast as I could, pushing my new body in ways I never had before. Soon I was moving at a speed that, if I hadn't been so focused, would have blown my mind. I was completely focused on saving Caitlyn, I didn't even notice Nat keeping up, trying to talk to me to calm me down. I didn't even hear her. I was just running, pushing my body to its limits, trying to get to my Caitlyn before that sick bastard did something to her.

I pounded up the hill to campus, scattering startled pedestrians. When I encountered roads, I jumped them, sailing high in the air, clearing the cars easy. I guess I should count myself lucky I didn't encounter any lorries, or buses, or even a double decker, that might well have ended my mad dash prematurely. As I came charging up to the university gate, there were a few of the anti-MORFS people still there. They screamed in terror when they saw me coming, maybe thinking I was attacking them. I pushed past them, smashing a few of their signs as they tried to block me with them. Campus was pretty quiet, so I only scattered a few people as I ran across the site to get to Caitlyn.

As I approached building 14, I finally began to slow, looking around for the evil bugger who had Caitlyn. I stood panting, exhausted. In the last dash it had only been the anger and fear that was keeping me going.

Building 14 had something to do with the science faculty. It was way off in the backwoods of the campus, separated from the rest of it by a good ten minutes walk. It was a large 4 story building, with reasonably old construction. Its relatively isolated location meant it was quiet at the best of times. Right now it was deserted.

Nat caught me up a bit out of breath herself. "Em ... " She paused, breathing heavily for a while, "“lease calm down, we should call the cops, this seems like some sort of trap."

I turned to her and was about to say something, when I heard Caitlyn's voice from above us, "Emily," she cried. I looked up and in horror saw her positioned on the edge. Her beautiful face was beaten and bloody, tears flowed down her cheeks.

"Run, get away!" she shouted, then she squealed and it looked like someone was pushing her forward over the ledge.

I let out a high pitched wail and ran to the front doors, smashing through them. I frantically searched for the stairs. Finding them I knocked yet another door off its hinges and began climbing to the roof. I hammered up the steps two at a time, quickly progressing up the building. As I passed the third floor and headed for the roof access I was grabbed firmly from behind.

I struggled, thinking it was Mark or someone he had sent to subdue me.

"Easy, Emily it's me," said Nat., "Listen to me, he's planned this. Rushing out there is what he is expecting you to do. We need a plan."

Even in my manic state I saw she was right. I relaxed a tiny bit and nodded.

"OK," she said, "it's just him out there. I can't sense anyone but him and Caitlyn. You go out there. try to keep him talking and his attention away from the access door. Then I sneak up behind him and brain the S.O.B.."

It seemed as good a plan as any with this short notice.

I nodded, so we made our way to the roof door. It was obviously normally locked, but the padlock sat on the floor, broken. Nat hid out of sight as I barged my way through the door, using enough force to make it look like I hadn't stopped to plan and also, not so much that the door w

was useless as cover.

Standing in the middle of the roof was Mark. He smiled at me with a cold evil smile, "Emily my dear, so nice of you to come."

I glanced around. I saw my poor Caitlyn still standing perilously close to the edge, her eyes closed. She looked like she was about to pass out. I ran to her, making it half way before Mark stopped me dead in my tracks, saying, "Go any closer and she dies!"

I wasn't sure what he was going to do. He was a ways away from her, but something about this didn't add up.

"I'm here, sweetie," I said to Caitlyn. "Are you okay?."

Caitlyn’s eyes opened with terror. "Emily run! Please! Run, save yourself! He is too ..."

"Silence!" shouted Mark. Caitlyn was abruptly quiet, her mouth snapping shut, she began making moaning mumbling noises.

What is he doing? It’s like he’s controlling her against her will? I didn't think that was possible.

"Leave her alone, you crazy bastard!" I shouted. I was positioned so that Mark was between me and the door. Hopefully Nat could get him while I distracted him.

"Is that anyway to talk to someone who has done so much for you? To the one person perfect for you, to your true love?" His face displayed a sly smile.

"I could never love you!"

"Oh my poor Emily. That's what your so called friends have conditioned you to think. They have used their abilities and your trusting nature to control your life and turn you against me. In reality you love me very much. I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were the one for me. But your roommate, jealous of you for finding a happy loving relationship when all she can achieve is empty sordid sexual encounters, contrived to break us up. She used her powers and her complete control over your life to make you think awful untrue things about me. Then when you were changed and even more vulnerable, she used this to further control you, first having you slave to some guy she owed, then gave you to this little kitty cat. I can only assume it was so you wouldn't go after her men. Now you were more than a match for her charms. She conditioned you day and night, controlling your destiny, taking you away from me.”

“What! That's crazy! You are totally out of your mind!”

“Oh my poor dear. Your devilish roommate has you completely controlled, and you don't even realise it. I only hope I can undo the damage.”

He was totally bat shit crazy. I had to keep this nutter talking and give Nat the chance to take him out. “Please, Mark, let Caitlyn go and give yourself up. Get the help you desperately need! I don't love you, but I'm sure you can find someone who does. Stop this before you do something that can't be undone ... Please!”

“You don't think this thing,” he gestured at Caitlyn, “has any feelings for you. It thinks of you as a toy, a mere slave. All set up by your roommate. She is an evil monster pretending to be a human being, and speaking of your roommate, it's high time she joined the party.”

He gestured, and then suddenly the door behind him exploded as Nat was forcibly pulled through it. She screamed in pain as she was dragged along the roof and brought to a stop a few meters to the left of Caitlyn, not on the edge, but near it. She was visibly struggling but seemed unable to move. I tried to run to her, but suddenly I couldn't move, either It was like a invisible force had grabbed me and was holding me in a vice-like grip. It was painful and immensely disturbing. I tried to move, but pretty much all of me was held tight. I could move my eyes and my mouth, but I couldn't turn my head or move any of my limbs. The pieces were slotting into place, though. Mark must have gained some sort of telekinesis, or some other form of control over the physical world, when he went through MORFS. Whatever it was, he was strong! He was holding the three of us still and didn't seem to be under any strain.

He walked over to Nat slowly and calmly. He looked completely in control.

“Ah, Natalie, how beautiful you are, but your wonderful body hides a grotesque and twisted person underneath. I will make sure Emily sees that, and is free of your control forever.” He stroked her cheek and ran his hands along her body. I could see she hated him touching her, she was straining, trying to get away, but couldn't. The desperation and anger showed in her eyes.

He walked away from her towards poor Caitlyn. “And you,” He pulled on her tail, causing her tear filled eyes to open again in renewed pain. “I will see she is purged of all the conditioning that makes her your slave. I know Natalie is most to blame for my loves brainwashing, but you took advantage, allowing her slavery to continue for your own ends. You will pay for that.”

I wanted to rip this guy apart. If he let me go even for a moment, I would not hesitate. I would tear him limb from limb for what he was doing to my girls. I waited for my opportunity.

He turned back to me and, with another theatrical gesture, caused a table, some chairs, and a basket to float over from next to the roof access door.

“Please my dear, come join me for a little food. Your run up here must have made you quite hungry,” he said.

I felt his control release me. I decided to be careful, he would be expecting an immediate attack. I slowly walked over and when I was in range, sprang at him with all my might. I actually managed to touch him, my nails nicking his face slightly before an unstoppable force catapulted me away from him. He nearly threw me into the wall, stopping before I hit.

“Ah my dear, Of course I had hoped without her whispering poison in your ears, you would be able to listen. But I see she has conditioned you far too well for that, turning you into her weapon if need be. No matter. I will break you of this, have no fear,” He touched the cut on his face gingerly.

I was pulled back towards the table and forced into a sitting position. I tried to struggle, but it was no use. His power held me like I was encased in steel.

“Such a shame you can't enjoy this as I would like you to,” he said, pulling various things from his basket. He placed a plate of sandwiches in front of me. I glared back at him. Even with his new power he couldn't force me to eat those wretched sandwiches. “Such a pity I must resort to other methods to get you to cooperate. Eat them all, or kitty cat will suffer.”

He did something that made Caitlyn scream to prove his point.

'Damn him, I'll get him for this, for torturing my sweet Caitlyn,' I thought, anger raging in me.

He released my arms and head, so I could carry out his bidding. I was still held in place, so I couldn't throttle the little bastard, but I was able to eat his damn sandwiches. Goodness knows what drugs he had laced them with. I hoped I would lose myself in all this. I had to remain strong for Nat and Caitlyn. I took one of the sandwiches and, glaring hate at him, ate it .

“There's a good girl. If you just stop fighting and let me help you, things will be so much better for you,” he said. “Think of what I have already done. When Natalie tried to give you to that rugby moron, I saw to it he took a beating he'll never forget. When the student services woman also under the pay of Natalie tried to keep us apart, I dealt with her. When that loathsome protester tried to harass you, I taught her a lesson. All small things I do for you my love.”

He really had flipped! It had been him all along going around hurting, even killing people. The horror of it, was he thought he was doing it for me. I felt terrible, like it had been my fault. I mentally shook myself to clear that out of my head. There was no benefit in thinking like that, no matter what I had done, he was the one who had decided to do the damage. If it hadn't been me it would have been another girl. I had to stay strong and fight this bastard for everyone's sake, including my own. When we were all safe and this nut job was behind bars, then I could feel guilty for being the catalyst that caused these events.

I couldn't let that go, though, “You sick fuck! You killed and harmed all those people for no reason! There was no conspiracy against you, I wanted rid of your crazy arse. I reported you to student services and you killed that poor woman, just on a whim, then attacked others just to get your sick thrills!”

“Oh Emily while you may think it was you that were trying to get rid of me, it was Natalie all along,” he said with a tired smile. “You'll see in time. Now we should be going before someone notices us up here. I have much work to do with you, my dear Emily. Soon your mind will be free and you will love me again.”

“I will spare you from seeing these two dealt with, while you will come to see it was the right thing to do in time. I fear watching them die would permanently damage your gentle mind, and set back the healing you need to return to your normal self. But before you go I will take a kiss. While I wish you would give it willingly, it is still too early for that. I only take it now to show your two tormentors that they have lost for all time.”

I was pulled closer to him and my mouth formed so as to kiss him, I was frantic, trying to get free. If I didn't do something he was going to kill Caitlyn and Nat. I fought and fought, trying to get free but I couldn't move. He used his power to pull me close and then began kissing me, feeling me up. I would have felt so violated, if it weren't for what I knew was coming next. I would have endured an eternity of his pawing me if it meant Caitlyn and Nat could live.

Eventually he seemed to sate himself. I was still franticly trying to get away, to no avail.

“Well my love, say good bye to your oppressors. They will bother you no longer. We will carry on our lives free from their meddling,” he said.

This was it. He was going to kill them! I had to do something. I dug deep for energy, trying to fight him with everything I had. He waved me goodbye, “I will see you soon, my dear. I will deal with these two out of your sight so as not to offend your delicate sensibilities. Rest assured I will take my time and ensure they suffer for their transgressions against us.”

I began to move slowly away. I dug as deep as I could and suddenly felt the strange tingling I had felt when Carl had grabbed me. I didn't know if it would help, or what it meant, but it was all I had, and I was desperate. I focused on increasing it more and more, the feeling building inside me, stronger and stronger. I felt the air around me churning with energy that I could tap, I pulled it in further and further out. The lights installed around the place for maintenance work began to flicker, as whatever was happening drew power through the wires, some how bridging the switch that normally kept the lights off. A strange humming noise in the air slowly rising in pitch and volume, coming from somewhere nearby. I rather suspected it might be me that was causing it, something inside me was charging up.

I stopped moving. The strange events had unnerved Mark. “What's going on?” he asked, “What's with those lights?”

I focused on drawing in more power. I didn't know what was about to happen and I didn't know its effectiveness. So I wanted the bang to be as big as possible. I hoped it wouldn't hurt Caitlyn and Nat, but now it was their only chance of survival, so I had to take the risk. Mark was looking around for what could be causing the disturbance, as I was rapidly approaching the point of saturation. I was building towards an explosion of some kind. I just hoped it would be enough to save us.

Mark looked back, shrugging his shoulders and began to move me again.  Just as I became unable to pull in any more power, I met his gaze with one of total rage and felt like some sort of dam had burst within me. My body switched from drawing power in, to pumping power out. A massive shock wave of energy burst out of my skin, focused in an arc in front of me, centring on the object of my attention, Mark.

His expression turned to terror as the wave raced at him, enveloping him, flowing through him, I saw both Nat and Caitlyn were also caught in the edge of blast, and I hoped it didn't hurt them.

The energy wrapped around him, giving him a brilliant white corona, which persisted momentarily before dissipating. He looked himself over with a confused grin, “Ha! What was that suppose to ...” he said then paused and looked at his hand with an expression of confusion registering on his features, this became alarm. He shook his hand franticly, as it seemed to be locked in a single pose. Then his arm froze and he seemingly unable to move anywhere but the shoulder.

“What ... h ... have ... yo ... u done to m ...” he said, looking at me in horror, trying to walk towards me, but suddenly collapsing to the floor. Locked solid, like a statue, not moving.

It took me a moment to realise his telekinetic grip was gone. I raced over to Nat and Caitlyn who were standing where he had left them.

“Guys are you OK? He seems to be out cold!” I said. I got no response from either one, “Guys? GUYS!!”

I prodded Nat and her rigid body tumbled backwards. She was like a statue. I managed to grab her arm before she impacted the roof. She was solid, as if she was made of rock or some such, yet she looked normal. Her clothes, her hair, and her body were all frozen in place. ‘Oh goodness what have I done?

I carried Nat away from the edge, then went to get Caitlyn. She too was a statue. I wished like crazy I had gone to get a post MORFS check-up and powers check. Then I might have had some idea what I had done to them. I put Nat and Caitlyn together out of harms way and sat down in front of them crying, not sure what to do.

This was all Mark’s fault! If it weren't for him I would have never had to do this to them. I leapt up the anger and despair surging in me. I ran over to where his statue like body was and grabbed it. I screamed in rage and threw him as hard as I could at the wall. I don't know what I expected to happen, maybe have him shatter into a thousand pieces. What did happen was an almighty thud, and some massive dents in the wall. Mark's statue body seemed completely unharmed, as if what ever had happened had made his frozen shape indestructible.

This made me even madder, and I ran up and kicked his body, which only served to hurt my foot, I was glad I didn't kick him too hard or I would have likely broken all my toes. I decided I’d better call the police. They might well arrest me for turning three people into statues, but I didn't care at that point.

I called them and then tried to explain what had happened. They were with me till I said I had turned him to stone, which was the best I could manage by way of an explanation. In the end they agreed to send some cars.

I went back to sit with Caitlyn and Nat. I sat there, wailing till my throat was raw, I stood up and grabbed Caitlyn's hard stone like body and hugged her to me. I so needed her to hug me back.

I rocked her frozen statue body back and forth for a good while, completely lost unable to think, I was so upset. Gradually something filtered through my consciousness, I could feel something when I held her. A slight buzz when I touched her frozen body. I tried to calm myself and focus, which took some effort. I felt her more carefully. The buzz felt like some sort of field, a sort of energy encasing her body. It seemed to be slowly draining, too. I tried to draw the energy into me like I had before, but for some reason I couldn't absorb it.

I wondered if it was the somehow the wrong sort of energy. Maybe I drew in power of some type and changed it into this field that encased my love, and now I couldn't absorb it. I felt around with my these new senses and realised I could cause this field to accelerate it's draining into the world. I focused on a point and tried to weaken the field around Caitlyn, a field that I could now almost see, or smell, or something. It was like some new sense was overlaying on my existing ones, gradually awakening by its use.

The field weakened at the point I touched and then suddenly gave way with a strange popping sensation. Now that the encasing energy was no longer contiguous, the field rapidly unravelled with a blue glow which maybe only I could see. The energy seemed to soak back into the air around it. As the field peeled away, Caitlyn became squeezably soft again, her limbs going limp, no longer held by either that odd field or Mark's telekinesis.

I caught her before she fell and bundled her up in my arms, “Oh my sweet Caitlyn, are you alright? , OK it's me, Emily. Everything is going to be fine.”

She slowly opened her eyes looked at me then buried her face in my chest. “Oh I'm so sorry Emily, I led you to him. I tried to be strong, but he used me to hurt you,” she wailed.

“Shhh shhh, baby everything is all right now. The police are on their way. You don't need to worry. What happened is not your fault.  You're going to be fine.”

“Oh can you ever forgive me> I can't take it that I caused you pain.”

“There is nothing to forgive. That creepy bastard is the one at fault. I don't blame you for anything. I'm just pleased as punch you are OK. I was so worried he was going to kill you, my love,” I was crying now, the emotions I had been feeling were catching up to me again.

We spent the next few minutes kissing each other, gently comforting each other until Nat let out a piercing scream.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” We both snapped round and looked at her.

Nat paused, looked confused, and then said, “Oh.”  She shook herself and then sat down on the ground, looking puzzled. Cocking her head to one side, she asked, “What just happened? I was over there, that tosser was going to kill us, now I'm over here, and something happened.”

“Come to think of it, something weird happened to me, too. I was over by the ledge then something happened and I was in your arms,” said Caitlyn.,

I gently stoked her hair, “I did something, I'm not sure what. It froze you two and Mark like statues. I took it off Caitlyn and I guess it wore off you Nat,” I said, then paused, “Oh no! If it wears off, he could get free!”

I gently freed myself of Caitlyn and raced over to where Mark was. He was still as frozen as ever, I shifted my senses to look at the field, It was blazing bright. He had got a much higher dose of whatever I had zapped out between the three of them. The field showed no signs of weakening. Judging by the rate of loss, I could see he would be a statue for a good while yet.

I relaxed a bit, “It's okay. He's going to be a statue for a while yet.”

“A statue?” said Nat who had come over to look, “Wow! It's like he's frozen solid. Even his hair is solidified in mid motion. Is he fragile?”

“I don't think so, I threw him at the wall there after I realised I’d frozen you two as well. I was afraid it was permanent.”

“Pity. We could have smashed him and just ground up the pieces to powder no one would have ever found him.”

“That might be a little problematic, as I called the police, so they might ask some pointed questions.”

“Bah, spoilsport,” she picked up Mark and began hitting him against the wall repeatedly.

Finally she stopped. “This is no fun if I know he can't feel it.” She put him back down, propped up against the wall and we went back to where Caitlyn was sitting. I wrapped my arms around her she curled up against me and after a short while went to sleep. I held her gently, happy that she was okay.

Some time later several police cars, a few otherwise nondescript cars with lights, and an ambulance screamed up to a stop in the nearby car park. There was the pounding of boots and pretty soon the cops burst out of the roof access door and flooded the roof. It took some time to sort out what had happened.

I told the police everything I knew all about Mark's strange obsession that had led to this. I also told them what Mark had told me, about him being behind the attack on Shaun and the death of the woman.
Nat backed me up as did a sleepy Caitlyn. When they asked which way he had escaped, I pointed out his solidified body sitting behind the door they had pushed open, unnoticed in all the fuss.

They brought in some sort of specialist, a forensic expert who also had several useful MORFS powers. The unassuming normal looking woman took one look at the solidified Mark and whooped with amazement.

“Far out! That is amazing!” she gushed.

She pulled out all sorts of gadgets and began taking readings while muttering strange scientific jargon. Some time later she came and examined me, which meant Caitlyn had to let me go, much to both of our chagrin.

She also was a telepath and read me a little to see what my powers where.

“Wow!” she said for the 12th time. She did a little dance she was so excited.

“Please I'm very tired. what did I do to him, Nat, and Caitlyn?” I said.

“What? Oh yes. Sorry, I don't get out of the lab much. Anyway yes, fascinating little trick you have. it seems to be some sort of temporal nullification field or a stasis field. Put simply, you create a pocket where space time no longer flows, or at least flows very slowly, I'm not sure, I need to do more tests. Anyway as you can imagine, this takes a lot of energy, which you seem to gain from the world around you. Possibly by electrical, or maybe draining zero point energy, possibly a combination. Once you charge up, BOOM! Anything in the effective blast radius that can be enveloped is sealed outside of time for however long the field holds out, or until you purposefully nullify it.” she began dancing about. “To use an analogy, it’s as if you are sending out a blast of intense cold and flash freezing everything caught in that blast. As time goes by the frozen items gradually defrost. When you pop the stasis, as you put it, you are accelerating the dissipation of energy holding space time, analogous to adding heat or microwaving to speed up defrosting.”

“She can freeze anything?” asked Nat.

“Yeah, at least it seems so. Anything that can be surrounded, at any rate. So you were standing about here so anything in the path of your field got wrapped up. Observe,” she said and took one of the flimsy chairs and smashed it against the wall. It just bounced off, unharmed. “Once isolated from the normal passage of time, it makes objects nigh on indestructible. Nothing can penetrate the field.”

She grabbed the other chair, “However It was only objects in front of you, so this chair …” she smashed the thing to splinters, “is unprotected, and the building itself is too big to get surrounded. But most of the small items you see are frozen till the field gives out.”

“How long are they frozen for?” I asked.

“Depends, it seems to be inverse square. So strength is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. It also depends on the amount of power pumped into it. Your friend there got free after a few minutes, but the perp still shows a significant charge, as best I can determine, nearly an hour after exposure. Size of the object might also be a factor, I expect with some practice you should be able to focus the blast better and envelop only the thing you want and ensure all of the energy goes into it, rather than the shotgun effect we see here.”
“It doesn't seem to have a lot of practical use beyond freezing potential murderers,” I said.

“Well at first glance maybe, but remember, often abilities, even minor ones skilfully applied, can be extremely useful. I mean, if you could prefect and extend the duration, you could freeze items for shipping, protecting them against damage, or in the case of food, against spoiling. Putting medical patients into stasis before transport to a hospital, their bodies would be protected from harm, and as far as they were concerned, they would arrive instantaneously at the hospital. A world of possibilities are out there for you to find, I'm quite giddy with excitement. Anyway, I’d best be going. This case has got me really exited, and I can't wait to write it up, I might even submit it to a journal. If I do, I'll be sure to send you a copy,” she said before she ran off.

I asked one of the policeman standing around waiting with a tired look on his face, “Is she always like that?”

“No usually she's much worse,” he said, “I think she has been cutting back the coffee and switching to decaf, so she is far less manic than normal.”

I shook my head. The cops were more or less finished with sorting things out. I held Caitlyn's hand as she sat on a stretcher, being tended to by the paramedics. She had a few cuts and bruises, but nothing too bad. Mainly, she was really tired from having been grabbed in the middle of the night. So a bit of rest, and she would be right as rain. They finally finished bagging and tagging, and wanted to secure Mark. They asked me to nullify the field that still held him and the prepared to snap some sort of device on him that would prevent him using his powers. I complied and reached over, undoing the field at a point and retreating to a safe distance while the field unravelled with its cool blue glow.

Mark gradually unfroze, seeming a bit disorientated he looked around, seeing the cops and me and Caitlyn. His face turned to anger and just as the cop behind him was about to snap on the device to remove his abilities, he lashed out, scattering police everywhere. He then struck out at Caitlyn. I felt her being pulled up in the air. I gripped on tight with three of my six arms, and was pulled with her. I heard Mark cry out and felt the force pulling Caitlyn drop, but we were still moving under momentum, and she went flying over the edge of the roof into open space. I grabbed the edge with my other arms and held on. The jolt of the sudden stop almost pulled Caitlyn out of my grip. The two of us were hanging from the edge of the building, with Caitlyn gripped in one of my hands, but she was slipping.

I held on for dear life, screaming for help, Caitlyn's terrified screams were ringing out as she gradually slipped from my grip. She was hanging by a finger over the surely deadly four story drop. It was only moments till she fell. I felt the last of the grip slide away and in that split second that she was falling away from me I made the decision to let go and fall with her, pushing off hard to catch Caitlyn. I fell and was able to grab hold of her while we plummeted. I pulled her close and called on my every reserve, hoping I could use this strange new ability to save at least her. I pulled in as much energy as I could, as the precious milli-seconds ticked away, then released it around my Caitlyn. A brilliant flare of white light enveloped my world, then nothing.


Chapter 12

I thought I had died. Everything was still and light was all around me. I remembered hearing tell of the tunnels of white light, the feeling of euphoria often reported by people near death. I had always though of it as the brain dying, its last ditch effort to live as its body gave out. The white light tunnel, the visual cortex failing.

I had to say floating in this pure light was pretty boring. I couldn't feel my body, nor move. If this was the afterlife I would go mad pretty soon. Maybe it was one of those lucid dream type things where you could change the world by will. I tried conjuring up Caitlyn, but nothing happened. I wondered if maybe she had survived, or perhaps she was in some other afterlife. So I tried conjuring up chocolate cake instead, but that didn't work either. This was going to be a really rubbish afterlife if there was no Caitlyn or chocolate cake. Just when I was beginning to wonder if my atheist ways had doomed me, I began to make out shapes in the light.

“They're coming around!” said Nat's voice said out of the light.

Slowly the light faded and I began to be able to feel and move again. I saw I was lying on a bed somewhere, then as my body gradually recovered, I felt my arms wrapped tightly around someone. I looked down to see Caitlyn looking back up at me.

“What happened?” asked Caitlyn sleepily.

“You two fell four stories onto a police car,” said Nat. “I thought you were goners, but at the last moment little miss stasis froze the two of you. It made a hell of a mess of the car. It’s a complete write off. I have the pictures for when you are feeling better.”

“What happened with Mark?” I asked.

“They locked him up, and hopefully threw away the key. He's up for murder, assault, kidnapping, and various other crimes. He hopefully will never see the light of day again. After his little escape and murder attempt, one of the cops hit him with a stun baton. It's hard to focus on moving things with your mind when several thousand volts is coursing through your body making every muscle convulse,” said Nat with a smile.

I yawned, feeling very tired, “Man I'm tired. I could use some sleep.”

Caitlyn nodded in agreement, “What time is it?”

“Sleep!?” asked Nat with a grin, “You two have been lying there for the past two days.”

“What!” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, you drained a load of power when you fell, and the doc said you some how focused it around the two of you. As a result, you have been statues for over two days. Today is Tuesday,”

“Hmmf,” said Caitlyn. “In that case I don't have lectures today. Pull the blinds to and don't bother me till tomorrow.” She then snuggled against me, pulling the covers over us.

She went to sleep nearly immediately, and much to Nat's amusement, I as I began dozing off as well.

The last thing I remember was, “Well, I'll come pick you up tomorrow then. The doctors wanted to keep the two of you for observation, anyway, I don't think they meant in the same bed but I'm sure they'll get over it.”

“Thanks Nat, you're the best,” I said sleepily.

“Sweet dreams, kiddo,” she said and skipped out the door with the nurse.

I looked down at Caitlyn curled up on top of me and pulled her closer, thinking to myself,

'’Yeah I think they will be sweet dreams.'




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