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About Literature / Hobbyist Chris de Mercado22/Male/United Kingdom Recent Activity
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As disappointing as the year’s meagre attempt at summer had been, Jamie was determined not to let the dull clouds hanging above the town dissuade him from enjoying at least something. The looming prospect of rain served only to speed his steps as he half walked half ran through the cobbled streets towards his destination. Turning a final corner, he spied the shop he sought, and made a dash for the entrance even as tiny spots of rain began descending, making it just inside the threshold before a downpour began behind him.

As always, the Lush store welcomed him with a warm, heady aroma. He never sensed the same combination, no matter how many times he entered, and today was no exception; sweet lilac suffused the atmosphere, and Jamie drew a long, deep breath, releasing it with a satisfied sigh. Humming happily to himself, Jamie flitted between the rows and racks of cosmetics on display. Creamy facemasks, luxurious lotions, and pungent perfumes battled for dominance of his nostrils, and vied to catch his eye. Jamie swore he could smell roses, but after searching for the source, regretfully gave up trying to find it.

He hadn’t come for roses, anyway. His target was near the back of the store, where an odd assortment of powdery orbs sat stacked atop one another in a number of pyramids. Jamie’s stock of bath bombs had fallen alarmingly low, and he relished the opportunity to resupply, imagining with pleasure the floral-scented, fizzing, fluorescent baths he might soak in after a particularly stressful day.

Eyes running amok over the carefully arranged piles, Jamie noticed a glaring omission from the usual line up. Scanning the various labels, he quickly discovered why. ‘Twilight Bath Bomb’ The label read; ‘Let the sun set on…’. Unfortunately, the image on the label, displaying a round, dusty pink bath bomb with raised protrusions in the form of a moon surrounded by stars, was the only evidence that such a product even existed, as a sizeable empty space above suggested otherwise. All gone. All of them.

Jamie’s fists had clenched of their own will, and he realised only when his nails started digging into his skin. It’s just a bath bomb. It’s no big deal. But it’s my favourite. The thought crept to the fore of his mind like a second voice inhabiting his head. Jamie surveyed the stacks around him, reaching for a pale one with streaks of red and green. Dragon’s Eggs were always a good choice. But it’s not my favourite. He fought to push the voice aside, taking a quick smell of the globe in his hand and savouring the citrus tones. Yes, this would do. No it won’t! Jamie squealed in fright as he found himself throwing the bath bomb back against the stack, causing it to topple.

Eyes everywhere turned to face the cause of the noise, and Jamie felt his cheeks and ears burning red with embarrassment. He muttered a string of apologies as he made an effort to restack the bombs, but what he’d just done had shaken him. Surely he hadn’t meant to throw it. Perhaps it was just one of those things; he’d tried to put it back with a little too much effort. Yes, that was it. Perfectly normal; nothing to be afraid of.

Then again, why would he put it back? He’d just decided to get it. He looked back at the bombs—the nest of Dragon’s Eggs now rather misshapen having been haphazardly restacked. He grimaced. Suddenly, he didn’t feel so inclined to buy anything, and kept forlornly staring at the gap where the Twilight stack should be. A low cough by his shoulder drew his attention, and he spun around in surprise. “Wha-?”

“Sorry,” He had come face to face with a fair-haired employee who had probably witnessed the debacle with the dragon’s eggs and come to investigate, “I didn’t mean to startle you. Do you need any help?”

‘No, thanks.’ Jamie had been prepared to say, when in spite of himself, he blurted out, “Where are my Twilights?”

Looking a little bemused, the employee—Shaun, his name tag displayed--paused for a second. “It looks like we’re out of stock, I’m sorry. Perhaps you’d like a different one?”

Jamie ignored the offer. “Out of stock? You’re lying. I don’t believe you.”

Shaun seemed completely lost for words, his mouth opening and closing and with a look like a fish out of water. Jamie noticed several pairs of eyes on them, and realised he must have shouted that last remark. He suspected that more than several of the whispers he heard were about the outburst. As Shaun regained his composure, Jamie spotted something in the hand of one of the gathered crowd members. Dusty pink, and covered in stars, he instantly recognised it.

Marching away from Shaun--who now seemed more confused than ever--Jamie approached the woman holding his precious Twilight bomb. She was a little smaller than he, and sported short blonde hair that probably wasn’t her natural colour. A look of amusement switched quickly to suspicion as Jaime bore down on her, something in his mind briefly recognising her before a mist descended.

Jamie stopped about a metre away, and trust an accusing finger at the woman. “You have my Twilight.”

Her brow furrowed, lips forming soundless words as she searched for a reply. “What?” Was all she managed.

“My Twilight.” Jamie repeated. “You have it in your hand.”

Recognition flashed across her face, and she raised the bath bomb. “Oh, you mean this?”

“Yes.” Jamie replied, eyes harbouring a hungry look. “It’s mine. You have it. You stole it. Give it back.” His accusatory finger opened into an upturned palm.

The woman scoffed. “Yours? I picked it from the stack. I haven’t stolen anything.” She turned to walk away, and Jamie lunged forward, grabbing her shoulder and spinning her around. “What? Get off me, fucking weirdo!”

Jamie ignored her. “Give it.” He made a swipe at the bomb, but the woman pulled it away. People in the crowd started muttering, several already recording the ruckus on their phones. Shaun stalked the perimeter, ready to intervene. Someone dropped their umbrella, the clattering piercing the eerie almost silence.

The woman rose to full height, looking thunderous. “Fuck. Off.”

Jamie didn’t realise he’d swung for her until he staggered backwards. The crowd around went mad, and Shaun dived to tackle Jamie. He missed, however, as a return swing from the woman forced Jamie to step to the side, and Shaun crashed to the floor with a groan. A few other members of the crowd rounded on Jamie, and he made a quick grab for the nearest object—a bar of something—and threw it at the closest person. It struck them squarely between the eyes, and they collapsed with a cry. A hard kick rebuffed the second assailant, and the third swiftly lost their nerve.

The woman with his bomb, however, renewed her attack, forcing Jamie backwards with a fierce flurry of fists and kicks. Jamie stumbled and fell against a wooden bar, looking up and seeing his restored pyramid of dragon’s eggs. Without hesitating, he plucked one from the stack, and threw it at the woman, striking her cheek. Unfaltering, he took another and threw it, and another, and another, until his ammunition had been depleted. The woman cowered behind a shelf, covered in round powdery marks where the bombs had struck before falling to the floor and shattering.

To her credit, she took advantage of the lull, and opened up with her own salvo of shampoo bars. Jamie dived to the floor to avoid the opening fire, and heard the thud of bars against the wood above him. Several more struck his prone form as he crawled away. Firm footsteps and a pair of hands on his collar succeeded the shampoo bar assault. Jamie flailed, fighting off the grip and clutching at a basket on the shelf above him. A hard kick to his ribs forced him to recoil, and he dragged the basket down, triggering a rain of blue bath bombs around him.

A cry rang out behind him, followed by a hard crash. Jamie knelt up and turned to see the woman on her back, the bottom of a shoe coated in blue dust and a slightly squashed bomb now bouncing down the aisle away from her. Somehow, she still had a firm grip on the intact Twilight bomb, and Jamie attempted the pry it from her fingers, but it was like trying to shift steel ingots. Her grip was vicelike and unmoving.

Without thought, Jamie grabbed the closest bath bomb, and smashed it into her face. She cried out, and he did it again. Something audibly snapped, under the assault, and the bomb eventually shattered. He picked another, and continued until, panting, he realised she no longer cried out or whimpered beneath his blows. Her grip on the bomb had loosened at some point, and it had rolled free.

Reverently, Jamie lifted the bath bomb from the floor in both hands. His whole body shook from the adrenaline rush, but he could feel the haze lifting. He blinked, and for a second couldn’t quite place where he was, or what he was doing. Why was he holding a Twilight in his hands like some sort of delicate, rare jewel? Why was everyone staring? He looked around. The store was a mess of bomb shrapnel and snapped cosmetics bars. His body ached, and something in the corner of his eyes caused him to turn, and the colour to drain from his face.

Lying upright amid a chalky sea of shattered blue bombs, face almost unrecognisable beneath the congealed mix of powder and blood, was someone he recognised only too well. Had he? Had he done this? He stared at the powdery streaks on his hands and forearms. He had. Jamie had killed Emma Blackery. But why? His gaze returned to the bath bomb in his hands. The Twilight. My Twilight. A cruel grin split across his face. My Precious.

He turned to leave when an ear-splitting yell caught his attention. He turned only quick enough to see Shaun flying through the air; wrapping his arms around Jamie’s waist and driving him to the ground. Jamie could only watch in horror as the Twilight flew from its pedestal in his hands. It all happened in slow motion. He felt his chin hit the hard floor, and the metallic tang of blood filled his mouth as his teeth bit into it. But his eyes were focussed on the pink bath bomb spinning through the air, the protruding stars on its surface almost twinkling in the store lighting, and finally shattering against the floor.

Jamie only remembered unleashing a scream. His handover from Shaun to the Police was a memory he had not saved. Nothing else mattered. He felt numb. Sitting in the police van, flanked by officers on either side, he came to the conclusion that it was gone. His Precious was gone. And there was nothing left worth staying for. Falling forward, he hit the floor of the van before the officers could react, his last memory of the Twilight streaking through the air. He would see it again soon, in his everlasting dream. His eyes closed for the last time, and darkness engulfed him, or rather, an early darkness, where stars twinkled and danced in a pink sky. Twilight.
Into Twilight
From a friend's prompt: "[...] you could make it out like I murdered Emma Blackery bc she took the last twilight bath bomb :')"
Several days had passed since Skye had been taken to the safe house, and she still couldn’t think of it as anything more than a glorified holding pen. True enough, it had games consoles, basic internet access, books, and a TV with all the channels known to man—and going by the content of a few she’d flicked past, several channels known also to aliens. But nothing pulled her back into reality faster than pointing out a funny line in a show to someone who wasn’t there. Occasionally she’d lose herself in a game, and would ask Fitz if he’d been watching before realising that she was alone. There were no jokes to be told, or pranks to be had; she even missed sparring with May.

Her only link to the outside world as she had come to know it was the occasional webcam update to Coulson. The pre-arranged time arrived, and the television hanging on the wall quickly showed Coulson’s warm, albeit tired face. May stood behind him a ways, arms folded as per usual and a look on her face that betrayed about as much emotion as a concrete wall—although Skye decided she’d be worried if she could read her SO.

“Sorry I’m late, it’s been busy.” Coulson’s voice echoed.

“Late? It was about twenty seconds.” Skye replied.

“Like I said, it’s been busy.”

“Speak for yourself; Lameville here isn’t exactly a theme park.”

Coulson’s face softened, “I know it’s not an adventure holiday, but it’s only temporary. We’ll figure it out, Skye. You’ll be back on active duty before you know it.” Skye didn’t miss the look May gave Coulson, but she nodded regardless. “I take it Simmons’ gloves are working?”

Skye grunted, “They itch.”

“Better than the alternative.”

“I guess.”

Coulson pursed his lips, “Skye, listen, I know I said I’d come visit you every few days, but-”

“But you’re busy running the show over there, it’s okay, I get it.” She didn’t just get it, she’d already assumed for it.

“I’m sorry, Skye, I really am.”

“I know. So, nobody’s coming?”

“Not right now, I’m afraid. Lance is still AWOL, FitzSimmons are up to their eyeballs, and Mack and Bobbi… Well, they can’t make it either.”

“What about May?”
Coulson looked back, and mumbled something inaudible. May shook her head, her lips forming soundless words. “May can’t either, Skye. She’s needed here. We’re sorry.”

“Oh.” So that was that. She’d hoped that Coulson would send someone—anyone—in his place, but at the same time, knew it was unlikely. “So I’ll be stuck here on my own for a while longer? Awesome, I can start writing my memoirs, maybe take up knitting.” Coulson did look genuinely apologetic, though. “Look, I’m sorry; I’m just getting a little… cabin fever.”

“I understand, I do. Fury told me that Steve complained of that a lot, too. Said he enjoyed spending time in the forest, though, and I know I suggested fishing when you got there.”

“Now I can be bored outside, too. Yay.”

Coulson grinned back at her. “Someone will be around to resupply you in a day or two, until then you-” Skye frowned as static rippled across the screen. The lights around her dimmed, then brightened, and dimmed again. Through the tearing static, Skye saw Coulson tap on the webcam at his end, and May was fiddling with something out of shot. She heard parts of her name, and garbled sentences, until with one final burst of power from the lights, everything went out.

Skye had expected herself to panic, and yet, she didn’t. Instead she stood where she was, staring silently into the darkness that engulfed her, with the grim, dull late evening light slicing shallow swathes into the shadows from the windows. She could barely see her hands held in front of her face. Tugging her phone from her pocket—thankful that she’d charged it not long ago—she swiped to a flashlight app, and quickly turned the impromptu light on her surroundings.

Nothing seemed out of place—or, as out of place as anything could look in the dark with a flashlight shining on it—and Skye edged over to the light switches beside the door. Flicking them a few times elicited no response, and she abandoned the attempt. Growing acutely aware of rain lashing down with increasing intensity, she ruled out looking around outside for a fuse box, instead deciding on simply having a lie down and waiting it out. There’d be agents already trying to sort it out, she reckoned, Coulson wouldn’t risk leaving her unguarded, perhaps for more reasons than one.

With her phone in one hand, and her other hand against the wall to guide herself, she made it through to the bedroom, threw her phone onto the bed, and herself after it. The mattress was harder than she was used to, but comfortable enough, and the feather pillows offered her head little resistance. Laying, blinking in the darkness, she listened. Every gust rattled the windows as the weather outside the cabin fought against itself, wind vied with rain to be heard above it, and soon, the low peals of thunder made their presence known.

Skye couldn’t sleep. Maybe she wasn’t tired enough, but something just felt… wrong. Occasionally she’d hear other noises outside, and had started out dismissing them as wildlife, objects being blown around, or patrolling agents. Her curiosity steadily built up inside her, a gnawing feeling in the back of her mind that grew into a hungering need for knowledge. Growling in annoyance, she pulled herself up, and walked over to the window, drawing back the curtain just enough peek through.
Whatever stared back at her quickly looked away, disappearing into the darkness. Backing away in shock, Skye tried to rationalise what she’d seen. Was it her own reflection? An agent’s? Her mind playing tricks? It can’t have been her own; half of it would have been hidden by the curtain. An agent, perhaps, but why had nobody made any attempt to actually check on her, and why would they stare through curtained windows? It was her mind. It must have been all in her mind.

Three slow, stiff knocks reverberated through the cabin, and she gritted her teeth. She wasn’t crazy; she knew she’d seen something. Thankful, at least, for the pistol that Coulson had left her—or neglected to remove prior to her arrival—Skye retrieved it from a drawer in the bedside table, turned her phone on, and cautiously stepped into the front room. Another trio of knocks accompanied her, each one purposeful.

“Who’s there?” She shouted. Only the wind bothered to howl a reply. Three more knocks. She levelled her pistol at the door. “I won’t ask again.” Three more knocks. She sighted down the barrel, hoping the wooden door was thin enough for a bullet to penetrate. Three more knocks; her finger brushed the trigger; and the door swung sluggishly inward. She fired.

The bullet whizzed through the open door, off into the distance. Nothing stood before her except the elements. Maybe she was crazy. Erring on the side of sanity, she kept the gun levelled, inching forward to shut the door. She kept her phone, and her eyes, trained on the doorway, allowing herself to glance down only once to make sure she was close enough to kick the door closed. A breath of relief escaped her when she looked back up and found nothing returning the gesture. Lightning flashed. A figure emerged. Her phone hit the floor with a thud, and darkness enveloped them both.

She felt her heart pounding in her ears. Thunder roared overhead, and more lightning clawed its way across the sky. It was gone. The figure was gone. Skye couldn’t explain it. “I’ve gone crazy.” She muttered. “I’ve spent too much time alone, in this cabin, in these woods, and I’ve gone off the deep end.” And yet, she couldn’t bring herself to believe it. All she needed to do was shut the door, and wait for the power to come back on. But that wasn’t what she wanted to do. She needed to know. Sighing, she held the pistol in both hands, and took a step out into the rain.

Before she knew it, she was standing where it had stood, soaked to the bone and wishing she knew what to look for. The cabin door slammed shut behind her, and her question was answered. Spinning on her heels, she turned, felt the pistol being yanked from her hands, a foot in her chest, and the sodden ground at her back as she fell. Disoriented, she looked up as a flash revealed to her the last person she’d want to meet at night, and in the middle of nowhere.

Grant Ward’s smug face faded back into shadow with the dying of the lightning. Skye’s stomach churned. She wanted desperately to throw up. All she could do was stare at the darkened outline of the man who, when she’d last seen him, she’d shot and left for dead. He fumbled with something, and a flashlight beam burst into life. He focussed it on Skye, and smiled. “Miss me?”

Skye stayed silent. “You know it’s rude to ignore people, Skye? Or doesn’t Shield teach manners anymore?” Still, she bit her words back behind gritted teeth. Ward raised an eyebrow. “Guess not, though, I should’ve figured that out when you shot me several times in the back.”

“You deserved it.” Skye spat. Ward smiled wider.

“There you go, was that so hard?” Skye made to stand up, abandoning the attempt when Ward levelled the pistol at her. “Yeah, you can get up when I say you can get up.”

In the torchlight, Skye could see a different look in his eyes than he used to have. She’d come to abhor the glint that appeared whenever she’d approached him in the cell at the playground. It wasn’t there anymore. Scooping the sodden strands of her away from her eyes, she noticed that Ward was oddly dry, but she didn’t allow herself much time to dwell on it. “Why are you here, Ward? Coulson’s not coming.”

“I’m not here for Coulson, Skye, or May, or Fitz, Simmons, Trip-”

“Trip’s dead.” Skye almost thought she saw a hint of sorrow pass over Ward’s face.

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Piss off.”

Ward pursed his lips. “Regardless, I’m not here for anyone. Anyone, except you.”

Skye almost laughed. “Still? Still with this obsession? Didn’t you get the message? Are you seriously that dense?”

The smile had faded. “I got the message, Skye. I got all of them. They were painful, at first, but I found someone who cared enough to remove them. All that’s left now are scars.” He looked at a point behind Skye. “Pick her up.”

Skye felt someone hauling her up from behind and, noting the gun Ward was pointing at her, felt it wise not to resist. The person brushed against her shoulder as they pushed past, walking around Skye’s left to join Ward. It came like a punch in the gut. Ward’s flashlight illuminated May, sauntering over into Ward’s outstretched arm. But wasn’t May with Coulson? Had something happened?

“What did you do to Coulson?” Skye demanded.

Ward eyed her, and laughed. “Show her.”

May nodded, turning to face Skye and revealing the wide scar across her right cheek. Agent 33. “Pretty convincing, huh?”

It wasn’t May. Coulson was fine. That much, at least, was alright. “You don’t deserve to look like her.”

Agent 33 smiled back, looking more than a little unnerving. “Why not? Sounds like you don’t think very highly of her, if you think her capable of betraying you all. Maybe she already has.”

“You bitch.” Skye snarled. “I’ll kill you.” She made to lunge forward, deterred by Ward waving the pistol around again.

“Oh, there’ll be killing.” He said. “But I’ll be the one doing it. To you.” Skye could only stare. He hadn’t come to take her, he’d come to kill her. “Like I said, I got the message, Skye, and being the wall-mannered man I am, I’ve come, personally, to give you my reply.” He turned to Agent 33, “Just like I said.”

Agent 33 nodded, approaching Skye. With no other choice, and so much pent up anger, Skye took the opportunity, and met the rogue agent halfway, catching her off guard with a swift kick to the leg. Ward backed off slightly, but didn’t intervene, seeming more content to observe the fight from the side-lines. Agent 33 recovered quickly, blocking a punch aimed for her gut. Skye threw a second, which Agent 33 grabbed and used to lever Skye around, landing her own punch in Skye’s back.

Skye’s vision dissolved into a trance-like haze. Thankful for May’s training, she blocked strikes that would have otherwise quickly ended the fight, and managed to exploit weaknesses she might previously have overlooked. Agent 33 was good, though, and recovered well. After trading several bruises, Skye spotted an opening, and went for it. Thrusting both fists forward at Agent 33, she pushed them up at the last minute, deflecting what would otherwise have been a fairly simple block, and leaving the agent’s chest exposed for a brutal kick. The agent flew back, knocked off her feet, and Skye did the only thing she could do. She ran.

Her eyes stung as the driving rain lanced them, and she could barely see what lay before her, but she ran regardless. Trees passed her as barely recognisable blurs in her vision, wavering, watery illusions that she managed to dart around at the last second. Skye daren’t look back, knowing that Ward would be in full pursuit. His voice, laced with anger, confirmed it.

“What did I tell you, Skye?” He shouted. “Don’t turn your back on your enemies!”

Gunshots drove his point home. A bullet flicked past Skye’s ear and into the forest. Another embedded itself in a tree beside her, throwing splinters into her face. Thankful that the weather, at least, took no sides, Skye kept running, relying on the elements, and the trees, to throw off Ward’s aim. Another few shots rang out and flew wide.

“You can’t run forever, Skye! You’ll have to stop eventually!”

The gunshots had ceased as the trees grew thicker, and closer, eventually cutting off the worst of the weather. Skye’s legs ached, and her lungs burned. Gritting her teeth, she pushed herself to her limit. She wasn’t about to give in to Ward.

His growl was distant, and spurred her onward. Skye didn’t know where she could go from here, only that she needed to keep running. Stay on her feet. Don’t even stop for breath.

In a second, she hit the floor. Her vision swam. Why had she fallen? What was that smell? She tasted blood. Her head pounded, and her limbs throbbed, and no singular thought lingered for more than a second. Muffled noises echoed, as if heard through a tunnel filled with cotton wool. Skye tried moving her head, and the wispy haze in her mind shifted, her sight reduced to a swirling, tumultuous chaos of splintered images. And just what was that smell? It smelled clean—chemically clean.

Skye shut her eyes tight, her mind cleared, and she was back. It was disorienting, and her stomach was turning something fierce, but at least she could finally think. Something cold, damp, and metallic was pressed firmly against her forehead, as she quickly realised the time for thinking had already long passed.

“-Not sure what you thought it would accomplish, but a good try, anyway.” Apparently Ward had been talking. Skye didn’t feel particularly upset for missing out. “There’s one thing you get out of all this, though. You never have to see me again.”

At some point, she’d started crying, though she couldn’t remember doing it. Skye clamped her damp eyes shut for the gunshot that never came. Or maybe it already had come, and she was living out her last splinter of a second in her mind. Perhaps.


The call was faint, but definitely there; a dim lamp in the darkness--flickering, but recognisable.


A man, definitely a man. She knew him, or so she thought. He was too far away to tell.

“Open your eyes, Skye.”

But what if she was already dead? She didn’t want this last sliver of existence to end before it needed to. If she opened her eyes, she was dead. And yet…

“Come on Skye, you can do this. Open your eyes.”

She still felt the chill steel bite on her forehead; the dirt in her fingernails; her aching muscles, and the trails of raindrops down her sodden skin. She opened her eyes. Ward had his torch focussed on the shadows, his eyes scanning the darkness. Agent 33 knelt beside Skye. She must’ve tackled her down as she ran. As Skye’s eyes adapted to the torchlight, she saw the man calling her name step out.



It was strange. He looked right at her, and yet appeared to see through her. Ward pulled the pistol away, levelling it at Coulson. “One more step, Phil, and I will shoot you.”

Coulson took a step. “Skye?”

“I mean it. Coulson.”

“Skye?” Another step.

Skye watched Ward’s finger tighten its grip on the trigger. No.

Another step. “Skye?”

“Last warning.”




“I’ll kill her.” Ward turned the gun back on Skye.



Coulson stopped, and smiled. His face, wizened and wrinkled before its time, giving way to a look of absolute joy. Ward, with one move, turned the gun back on him. “Skye.” Coulson said, as the trigger depressed. “You’re safe, now.”

“NO!” The walls she’d built up collapsed. It surged through her; a second bloodstream, pumping, and coursing through invisible veins. It can’t end like this. In that instant, she moved freely through time. She felt that she could flit between the tree for hours, and spend only a second doing it. Skye watched the bullet leave the pistol, spinning its deadly path towards Coulson.

With intangible fingers, Skye plucked it from the air, holding it in place and inspecting it like a jeweller would his finest diamond. A single, unconscious command sent tremors through it; a deadly heartbeat pulsing within. Cracks and fissures split the lead surface under her scrutiny, growing into metallic ravines. The pulses increased. Skye could only watch the bullet sunder further, eventually tearing itself apart; a slow-motion firework of hot lead flakes that themselves shattered into nothing.

Time moved around her again--the bullet disintegrating in a burst of metal--but the pulsing didn’t stop. Coulson’s smile faltered.

“Skye. You’ve got to stop this.”

Ward looked at her, confused. Skye just sat there. It was all she could do. The power was on, the pulses had started, and the quakes would come. “I’m sorry.” She muttered. She knew, now, why she cried.

Around her, leaves spiralled down. Branches twitched, and dirt started rolling along the ground in swathes. There would be no end. Not this time. Agent 33 shuffled uneasily to Skye’s right. The rogue agent stared at her hand as they shook. Fine lines—cracks, began to form at her fingertips, and the screaming started. Watching, helpless, Skye thought back to the temple—to Trip. Was it as painful for him? Were his last moments spent in agony? Was he even still alive when she…

The emotion fuelled the pulsing. The very ground Skye sat on had begun tearing itself apart. Around her, branches were torn free, and trees split, exploding outwards in a shower of splinters and bark. Agent 33’s screams abruptly ended as the cracks converged on her face, each reaching a single central point.


She shattered. Just like Trip. She was still skin, and flesh, and blood, and bone, but still she shattered like stone. It wasn’t meant to be like this. None of it was. To Ward’s credit, he didn’t cry out as he, too, succumbed to the quakes; the shards of his being scattering themselves across the ground, and disintegrating to nothing. Only Coulson remained.

“You can do it, Skye.”

“I… I can’t.”

His smile returned, and he stepped closer. “Come back to us, Skye.”

“I can’t. I don’t know how!”


“Don’t come any closer.”


“You’ll die!”
His next step sent an object skidding across the ground towards her. The pistol. It was the only way. He was within arm’s reach, now. It was now or never. She wouldn’t responsible for Coulson’s death. Then she noticed the lines crisscrossing his outstretched arms. Skye shook, through grief rather than the quaking. She should have let Sif and the Kree take her.

“Coulson.” She managed; her throat tight. “I’m sorry.”

He reached her as the fractures united, and held her tightly in his arms. “It’s alright, Skye.” She couldn’t watch him shatter, “You’re safe, now.” And her world exploded in darkness, and pain.


Skye couldn’t move for the first few moments. Everything ached, and she daren’t even twitch an eyelid. Eventually, she lifted one open, instantly closing it as daylight blinded her.

“She’s awake.” Came a voice. She recognised it, or rather, hoped she did. Someone’s hand covered hers, gently stroking the back with their thumb. “Everything’s fine, Skye; nothing to worry about.”

Cautiously lifting her eyelids, flinching again at the light, Skye let her eyes focus. She was in the cabin, with sunlight streaming through open windows. More objects came into focus: two suited men she didn’t recognise, one closing a duffle bag with a red cross on it, watched from the foot of the bed she lay on; May stood in the doorway, doing her best to look intimidating whilst at the same time flashing Skye a reassuring smile; and sat beside Skye on the bed, looking equal parts concerned and utterly relieved, was Coulson.

Now Skye was fully conscious, a wave of senses hit her at once. Sweat had managed to soak through her clothes, and her head felt as though it had been mistaken for a soccer ball. Opening her mouth stung her bottom lip, and the salty, metallic tang of blood coated her tongue. Birdsong had replaced the clamour of the storm; the discordant symphony of the elements giving way to trilled, harmonic melodies. Though every muscle in her body protested, she sat up.

“How do you feel?” Coulson asked, looking as if he already knew the answer.

“Like I was hit by the Bus.” Skye replied, managing a lopsided smile. “Twice.”

Coulson returned the smile in kind, letting his shoulders slump a little lower. May, too, seemed visibly more relaxed to see Skye sitting up and talking. “Do you remember what happened?” Coulson asked.

Skye shook her head. She had a feeling that mentioning the dream, or nightmare, or whatever it was, wouldn’t exactly help to get her back on active duty. No, nobody else needed to know about it. Not for now, at least.

Coulson nodded. “I thought as much. Good news is that it’s nothing to do with you, or your powers.”

It felt as if a mountain had slipped off Skye’s shoulders. “That implies there’s bad news.”
“A little.” Coulson remarked. “The gloves Simmons developed, you know I mentioned side effects?” Skye nodded. “Well, fainting or passing out is one of them. Something to do with the shocks they give to inhibit the powers. It’s rare, though. Shouldn’t happen again… She hopes.”

“Could you be a little more vague, please?”

Coulson rolled his eyes. “Hey, I’m not the scientist here. Anyway, the bad news is that you’re stuck with them until Simmons can fly out here to make adjustments. Think you can manage until then?”

No, was her first thought, but now she knew what it was, that it was just in her mind… “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” …And yet, she wasn’t fully convinced.

“Good. I’m loath to leave you on your own like this; I know it’s probably stressful.”

More than you could possibly know, she thought, “Na, it’s… I’ll be fine.”

Coulson nodded. “There’ll be agents on hand to help if it happens again, just like this time.”

“How exactly did they help this time?” Skye asked, genuinely curious. “I was kinda out of it at the time.”

“Well, first they knocked, because they’re polite like that.” It was Skye’s turn to roll her eyes, now. “They ended up breaking the door in, though. They let me know the situation, tried to wake you up any way they could, loud noises, smelling salts, stuff like that. May and I only got here a few minutes before…” He trailed off.

“Before the quakes.” Skye finished. She noticed that the windows weren’t open, the panes had simply shattered. Ornaments and things on shelves were scattered around the floor, most in assorted pieces. She dreaded to think what the rest of the cabin looked like.

“You knew they were happening?” Skye nodded. Coulson was contemplative for a moment, storing the snippet of knowledge away. “May and I can stay a while, if you’d prefer it.” Skye looked over at May, who gave her a slight nod.

“I’m fine now, really.” She matched Coulson’s raised eyebrow with a look of her own. “Really. Honestly, the sooner you guys get back, the sooner Simmons can be on her way out here to fix these gloves. Did you tell her they itch?”


They’d left a little later, leaving Skye alone to once again mope around the cabin. Relieved that it wasn’t her, or her powers, that had affected her, she still couldn’t shake the feeling that not everything had been explained. Deciding to follow in the footsteps of Steve Rodgers, she grabbed a jacket, and stepped outside.

The late afternoon light lent the lake a gilded sheen, as if she could reach out and pluck gold from the surface. It rippled gently in the light breeze, and a noisy family of ducks carved their way through, plundering the lake for treasure or, more likely, something to eat. Skye continued to walk around the water’s edge, feeling a little chilly as the sun began dipping below the horizon, but also strangely content. Before she knew it, the sun was half set, and she could barely see the lights of the cabin from her position in the trees.

It was then that something caught her eye. Glinting, in the trunk of a tree deeper into the forest, was something small and metallic. Digging it out, Skye rolled it in her palm. A bullet, squashed by the impact, and also a little corroded by the weather. Her legs were more curious than her attention span, and she wandered into a secluded clearing not quite sure how she got there, or why. Pacing around it a little yielded no clues, and she made to leave, stopping only to examine something half buried in the dirt below a knotted web of thick roots.

Kicking the dirt aside, she jumped a little as the barrel of a pistol emerged from the ground, pointing up at her. Kneeling beside it, Skye tugged it free. It wasn’t fresh; that much was obvious. Corrosion pock-marked it, and the barrel was clogged with dirt, mulch, and likely a few beetles that called it home. Pulling the bullet from her jacket pocket, and comparing the two, she dared to wonder for a second—only a second—before placing them both back below the root, and covering them firmly with dirt.

Maybe she had just followed in the footsteps of Captain America himself. A man like that makes more enemies than a politician tells lies. She made a note to perhaps ask him about it, one day. Maybe Coulson could set something up. Regardless, as the final rays of the sun fell below the horizon, and she ducked inside the cabin to close the door, she could’ve sworn she saw a figure standing in front of the lake. She blinked once, and they were gone. Satisfied for now that her blink had vanquished the threat, Skye smiled, shut the door, and was all too ready to resume being bored.
Shattered Reality
A few nights into her forced leave, Skye still has trouble getting used to the cabin hidden in the woods. Even the safest house is no defence if the occupant's mind is their own worst enemy.
Looking up the stars used to calm her, all those years ago. She supposed that her astral vigil might have influenced her when she finally abandoned her old identity in her search for the truth. Knowing what she did now: that Humanity was not alone in the Universe; that the Universe wasn’t particularly friendly; that she herself wasn’t truly of this world—of Earth—Skye wondered if perhaps she was fated to carry her name.

Though the night leeched the warmth from her exposed arms, and the railing they rested on bit into them like chill, metal teeth, she refused to roll her sleeves back down. The discomfort helped distract her, in a way—gave her something else to focus on; something mundane and within her capacity to fix if she wanted. She savoured the feeling of control, wishing she could bottle it. Control was something she had in short supply, nowadays.

A light breeze blew stray strands of hair across her vision, and though they obscured her view of the twinkling dots of light above her, she refrained from sweeping them back. They were another distraction; welcome, like a reliable old friend. Friends. Even the stars had each other. Though light-years apart, from where Skye stood, they could almost be touching; laughing together and dancing and holding hands. People used to wonder if Humanity was alone in the universe. Despite the answer, Skye couldn’t help but feel that she felt more alone for knowing it.

“Beautiful, aren’t they?” Skye didn’t jump. May had trained her out of being startled. Instead, she turned around, leaning her back against the railing.

“How long have you been up here, Fitz?”

“Not long, just enough to… to…” Skye watched him fidget, watched his mouth work soundlessly. It pained her a little to watch, even now. “Rehearse!” Fitz finally declared, wincing a little at the sound of his own voice, “Enough to rehearse what to say. Didn’t do much good, did it?”

Skye smiled at him. “You got it in the end, that’s what matters.”

“Yeah, just don’t trust me to warn you if you’re about to get hit by a car.” Fitz said, returning the gesture.

“I’ll bear that in mind.” Her smiled faltered. “Why’d you come up here?”

“After the other day and everything, I… I just want to make sure you’re alright.”

“Thanks Fitz, but I’m fine, really.” Skye turned back to her stargazing. “I mean, I cause earthquakes when I get upset, but apart from that I’ve never been better.” She hadn’t noticed her hands forming fists at the memories until her nails started jabbing her palm. Focussing on a particularly bright star, she tried to zone back out, but couldn’t.

“Which one are you looking at?” Fitz asked, joining her at the railing.

“That one.” She pointed, frowning at the hair dangling in front of her face and tucking it behind her ear.. “The big, really bright one.”

“Next to the other really bright ones? Very precise.” Fitz joked.

Skye rolled her eyes. “Just look up my arm.”

“That’s Jupiter, I think.”

“You can tell from here?”

“More or less; you see over there, to the left of it?” It was Skye’s turn to follow where Fitz pointed, now.

“Yeah, I’d say those ones were stars, too.”

“Funny. You see that big one, with a hook shape of smaller ones above it?”

“Yeah…” At least, Skye thought she did, though they didn’t seem very impressive.

“A little lower right of that is a smaller one, with a bigger one below that, with two more across from that one, and-.”

“Hold on, you’ve lost me.”

Fitz pulled a piece of paper and a pen from various pockets, drew a quick diagram--linking dots of varying sizes with lines like a puzzle--and held it up to the sky. Skye compared it to the area they’d looked at, and sure enough, saw the pattern. It looked mainly like a badly-drawn coat-hangar. “That’s Leo, the constellation.” Skye examined the stars again as Fitz went back to drawing, holding the new diagram up a little farther across to the right. It looked like an over-tall U on its side. “That’s… erm… that’s Gemini.” A third diagram was quickly held up for comparison, between where the first two were, and resembled an upside-down Y. “That one’s… Cancer.”

Skye couldn’t stop staring. A block of space, tiny in comparison to the rest but large enough for her, had suddenly been opened up. “When did you become an astronomer?”

“I’ve spent my fair share of time outside just… looking. I had a telescope as a kid, and set it up when I could. You can’t beat a clear Scottish sky at night.”

“Isn’t Scotland supposed to be about 99% rain?” Skye laughed.

“That’s about right.”

Felt silent for a while, eying the heavens. In spite of herself, Skye shivered, rolling her sleeves down over her arms. She found Fitz’s arm and looped hers around it, suddenly regretting not bringing a jacket as she rested her head on his shoulder. Fitz didn’t seem to mind, or at least, he didn’t say so if he did. He just looked at her, smiled, and turned his attention back to the sky.

As the night progressed, they took turns picking out patterns in the squares of their thumbs and fingers, like artists visualising masterpieces. Fitz would point out other constellations, and Skye would trace her own in the stars. Fitz encouraged her up until she started drawing rude words, at which point he just joined in. The night sky was her canvas, where she’d previously thought it just a gallery. With a few deft sweeps of her finger, she painted pictures that spanned galaxies.

“…And that star there, is Sirius.”

Skye couldn’t resist. “What makes that one so serious?”

Fitz sighed. “It’s part of Canis Major, and the brightest star in Earth’s night sky.”

“That does sound serious. Good name.”

“I’m sure it’s glad to know you approve.”

Skye had stopped counting how many times they’d laughed during the night. Instead, as silence fell once more, and the stars soundlessly twinkled overhead, she found that she’d stopped worrying at all. She’d spent hours unlocking space with Fitz; he’d introduced her to galaxies; she’d laughed with him and joked with him; she’d used the very universe to aptly write her name above her. The stars didn’t calm her any more—they emboldened her. She knew them, now—looked upon them as friends. Friends. The stars had each other, and now she had them. Knowing that humanity wasn’t alone in the universe didn’t bother her so much, knowing also that the universe itself didn’t seem to mind the company.

If a universe, and Fitz, could accept her, then why wouldn’t anyone else? Coulson, and May, surely. And maybe Simmons, and Lance, and Mack and Bobbi.

For one night, at least, Skye felt wanted, and in control. For one night, beneath the stars, the tremors ceased.

It's been a pretty tough, hectic, and eye-opening couple of months, to say the very least. I won't go into why, but a condensed version could be that I found myself ready to give right up before I discovered one final reason to keep going, and that reason is why I'm still here today, able to write this and do what I've done to get here.


Soppy stuff out of the way, I say I'm only 'sort of' back because I'm not going to be dedicating nearly as much time to dA as I used to (and even that wasn't much), and I'll only be posting the occasional collection of the latest stuff I've vomited up, maybe an excerpt or a short every blue moon.


In any case, I'm taking this time off to focus on restoring myself. This doesn't mean I won't keep writing, but it does mean that tweaking what I write and posting it to dA for advice is going to take a backseat, as currently I couldn't care less about the quality, I care about just writing it. Criticise that outlook if you must, but in all honesty, I don't give two shits. Most of what I write for a while will probably just be helping me keep going and just getting things out in some form or another, and that's all I want from it.


Avatar-720's Profile Picture
Chris de Mercado
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United Kingdom
I'm Chris, I'm 21, and I'm a writer of sorts.

There used to be a lengthy bio here but it was unnecessary so I eated it.

Instagram: chrisdemercado
Twitter: Down below.

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Glaiceana Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014   General Artist
Thanks for the watch! :)
Avatar-720 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No problem; Dakkanauts gotta stick together! =P
Glaiceana Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014   General Artist
Ah I thought I recognised the name :D
Kiibun Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013  Student

Hello! I'm the founder, =MoonlessDepth, here to welcome you to #The-Writers-Study! I can't wait to see what you'll put forth into TWS~ I know that you'll do great! If you have any questions, any at all, you can note the group, or me personally~ Feel free to ask anything!

When you have time, please look over the Rules and FAQ if you haven't already done so. It goes over basic rules, and again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Also! If you want to become a part of our Admin team, please consult our job listings!

Oh! And don't forget~ Please enjoy your stay~


The Writers Study
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P.S. Sorry it took so long to welcome you, I just moved and I finally was able to get internet set up in my home.
Metarex12 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Student General Artist
Happy Birthday!
Avatar-720 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ty ^_^
xSammyKayx Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Student Writer
Hey, welcome to :iconinspireandcreate:!
We are quite happy to have you join us.

Our newest contest has just been released. If you would like more information on it, please go here: [link]

If you haven't already, please read the group rules and submission limits. These can be found in the "group info" section on the main page. Just click 'more'.

Finally, if you have any questions, or need anything, please, do not hesitate to ask.
EnenraEnn Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for joining :iconauthors-club:
It is great to have you with us! Please make sure to read all the rules and if you have any kind of questions feel free to ask the group's founder or any of the admins!
Hopefully you'll have a lot of fun and share a lot of your work with us! :D
elohcin111 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for competing in Writers4Life’s 4th annual November writing contest! :glomp: :donut: :teddy:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the :+devwatch: :huggle:
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