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I haven’t always been special.

I trained for it. I trained for years, following Them, studying Them from as close as I could safely get, learning what made Them tick even as the sight of those glorious beings drowned my mind in serotonin. There were a few nights where I wanted to kill myself over what I was planning on doing to Them. But I remembered the look on my mother’s face on the day I left forever, and I hardened my resolve.

I found a new community where nobody knew me. I blended in easily enough. Even this close to the Out-lands, reality is still elastic enough that new neighbors with mysterious pasts go fairly uncommented on. Everyone around me played by Their rules, the rules They imposed just by existing. It made them pretty boring company sometimes, but I still managed to find some friends. They were always part of my plan, even in the early days when I didn’t really get it.

I trained my body and my mind relentlessly, urged on by the vision of my mother in her bed on that last day. I started getting into “accidents” whenever I hung out with my friends. Falling off of a cliff and landing unscathed because I’d scouted the location tirelessly for the highest concentration of tree branches to break my fall. Diving out of the way of a loosened sign that was about to fall on me at the last second. Jumping over a car that was careening towards me. I brushed with death in front of witnesses over and over again, and they were duly impressed by my ability, but it never got any easier. I had thought that once I had established myself as “special,” the universe would recognize me as a potential member and slot me into a path that would eventually take me to Their level. It wasn’t too far fetched, if what the conspiracy theorists say about reality being thinner is true. It seemed like a failure, and I gave up was ready to give up.

For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to.

I went back over my notes. I even risked studying Them in person again. It was so hard to watch Them at their ridiculous and deadly games, knowing what happened to all of the background characters that get in their way. I remembered waiting for my mother to come home with a gift from a city that had been nearly leveled in some twisted rodeo. I cried as I watched Them kill all of those innocent people. But I came away with valuable information. I was going about things all wrong. It wasn’t a matter of strength. It was a matter of character.

I began a new training regimen. I started to develop quirks. Small ones, at first. Whenever I was with my friends, I would idly run a matchstick through my hair, until I eventually found myself doing it alone out of habit. I began eating a dozen clementines daily, and never wore sleeves if I could avoid it. Where before the community at large had largely ignored me, I now found myself getting a reputation. I started to stand out. The dynamic within my group of friends started changing too. They started looking to me for suggestions. I would usually decide what to do and dominate the conversation as we did it. One day, months after I had abandoned my physical training, my friend and I fell off of a bridge. I somehow managed to catch the edge of the bridge with my feet and my friend’s ankles with my hands and I swung us both to safety.

It was impossible. But it had happened. I had done it.

From there things started moving quickly. I found myself getting into the same predicaments as before, but genuinely by accident, and sometimes in much more dangerous circumstances. Every time I made it out without a scratch, and I learned to laugh off the danger. I started acting superior around my friends, embracing the leadership role, and they all just folded up and fell into line. Even when they objected to my treatment of them, they never once seriously challenged me on it. This power was amazing. When I finally exhibited my first truly impossible ability, breathing gale force winds, I started laughing uncontrollably. I couldn’t believe it was possible! I couldn’t believe what a rush it was! I started to understand why They acted so happy all of the time, before the memory of my mother’s blood splashing on my young face brought me back to Earth. I knew then that it was important to never let my power turn me into a monster.

I apologized to my secondary characters for all of the things I said to them. Every single one of them reassured me that they loved me, and that they knew I just acted odd because my mother’s death traumatized me. With my position secure, I continued to accumulate powers randomly, until finally my personal reality was stretched to its breaking point. I felt the complete knowledge of the universe flow through me, and learned how to bend it, change it, even erase it. And at that point I knew that it was time to move on the final phase of my plan to save the world avenge my mother’s death.

To beat Them, I had to join Them. And I did. I have all the power of the Senior Staff now. I have all the power I need to take them down. And why shouldn’t it be me? I have their damn tragic backstory, I have a driving reason! I have the pure heart to resist the siren call of this cursed power! The Senior Staff made an enemy the day they killed my mother right in front of me, and I intend to make them regret it.


My mother wasn’t dead before

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