Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the—no, wait, that's Doctor Who. Sorry. Hello, everybody! Welcome to my new story. Tell me what you think! I'd really rather not clutter up what I think is a rather nice ending with my author's note, so I'm putting it up here. Any questions, I'd be pleased to answer. Just review, or PM me, I'm not too choosey (though I must admit, reviews do, for whatever reason, feel somewhat more rewarding). Anyways, hope you enjoy the story!
Oh and just because I'm in the habit of it, disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, Artemis Fowl, the 39 Clues, A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Mysterious Benedict Society, Maximum Ride, Megamind, Harry Potter, the Girl, the Dragon, and the Wild Magic, the Kane Chronicles, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Hunger Games, Divergent, House of the Scorpion, Animorphs, Sherlock, Harry Potter, or My Little Pony. Dang, I'd be the richest person in the world if I owned all those. And yes, I do reference all of those. Yes, I read a lot. I do, however, own my character Embyr, as well as the plot. So if you see anyone plagiarizing my work, please tell me. Thank you.
Also, this was going to be two chapters, then I got lazy and decided that it wouldn't be. Yeah.
Who are you?
A simple question. Three words. The easiest assignment of the year.
Who am I?
Depends on who you ask. I'm nobody to some, worse than that to others, and most people don't even know I'm here. I like it that way, although it can be boring at times.
Take walking home today, for example. Perfectly ordinary (well, a little better than perfectly ordinary, but close enough). I step along the inside edge of the sidewalk, moving from shadow to shadow, glad for once that my mom refuses to let my dye my hair (despite black being the new boring, as she very well knows). I'm wishing it were longer (right now I can barely pull it into a ponytail), because then I could use it to cover up my too-pale face and watch from behind its curtain, observed by no one.
I'm pleased when my normal tormentors pass right by without even seeming to see me, as though I'm wearing a perception filtering device, like in that one episode of Doctor Who…Forgive me. I just started watching it a week or so ago, and now I'm obsessed. Just like I am with the 39 Clues, or Artemis Fowl, or A Series of Unfortunate Events, or countless other books, movies, TV shows…
I spend a lot of time by myself. I use it reading. Or watching. On screen or in real life, doesn't particularly matter to me. My bedroom has a somewhat large TV, an even larger window, and an enormous bookshelf.
So I hem and I haw and then I go and type on my personal computer a personal answer to the assignment, nothing too deep, because I really don't care. And then I print it on my personal printer, and put it in my personal backpack, in all my personal folders.
(And yes, the overuse of the word 'personal' there was to make a point. What it is, I don't really know.)
I catch the bus to school, as usual, and I keep my head down and my mouth shut in class, as usual (off topic, but: Parents spend the first few years of our lives teaching us how to walk and talk, and the rest of it telling us to sit down and shut up), and I have all my homework, as usual, and I get some back with pretty good scores, as usual.
And I walk home, stepping from shadow to shadow, as usual, and my tormentors spot me, again, as usual. And once again, as usual, my usual wishes for longer hair and usual things like that are suddenly suspended by the usual change to the usual wish that I had kept taking those martial arts lessons, because, as usual, they would really come in handy right now.
However, unlike usual, instead of cowering and shielding my head with my backpack like I usually do, I explode out with strength I didn't know I had, spinning around in a perfect pirouette. The jade ring at the end of my long blond ponytail whips around, contacting one of my attackers with a painful sounding crunch. Jeffrey moans and falls to the ground, unconscious, and meanwhile the other two, Mary-Anne and her boyfriend, Peter, are staring at me in astonishment. When I turn to face them, knowing I could beat them with both hands tied behind my back, they run as fast as they can away from me.
Wait, wait, wait, you're probably saying right now. I thought you had short, black hair, and didn't know martial arts.
Well, you'd be right. I don't. But Juliet Butler does. And that's who I am now.
Yeah, it was just as much of a surprise to me. And I'm wishing it had never happened.
~Who am I?~
Skip to the next day. I'm sitting in science class, taking a test. My mind's gone completely and totally blank. I change, again, and before I know it I can recall every page of my textbook with perfect clarity and whip through the test in five minutes flat. Nicholas Benedict—for that's who I am now—stands up and gives the teacher the test, and when I return to my seat, I am myself again.
Unlike usual, I don't stay quiet in class, instead I have an insolent smirk on my face as I correct the teachers again and again. Best part is, I won't get into trouble for it, since it isn't me speaking. Instead, I have jet-black hair and pale white skin and blue eyes that have seen things most people would call impossible.
(Then again, most people would call turning into book characters impossible)
I am Artemis Fowl, and I have the highest tested IQ in Europe and I tried and nearly succeeded at building a time machine in first grade. I've sent countless psychologists gibbering to their own hospitals, I have contacts in the LEP, and I am the heir to a legacy of billions (not to mention the throne to a criminal empire). I am a Universal Genius and I put that to good use (others might say bad, since those uses are forging paintings and things of that sort).
When I head home I don't walk, I fly, an innocent little girl by the name of Angel. I take a different route than usual, one that's not quite as crowded and safe as my normal one, since really what danger could I possibly be in? Even this form can defend itself, I could just manipulate their mind and convince them to let me go, or slip into a different shape that finds it easy to defeat a mere human (or two, or three, or ten).
And when I land gracefully on the ground to finish up my walk back home and a strange man approaches and tries to mug me, I'm not concerned. Instead I do something I've fantasized about my whole life (or, well, my life ever since reading Artemis Fowl), and I turn into Holly, who tells the guy to "Stay back, human" because "You don't know what you're dealing with."
The man is, understandably, confused since I just shrank two feet in height. But I stand and wait for him to recover because I'm pretty much invincible (actually, I could turn into Metro Man and then I really would be invincible). The guy recovers and sneers and says that my pretty little magic tricks aren't going to save me now, but that's before my shape twists into a robotic shell that seems clumsy and odd and not deadly at all, but looks can most definitely be misleading, for I am now a Dalek, and I was born to kill. I have never felt sunlight or air upon my skin. A quick shot turns a garbage can nearby to a molten heap of metal, and the guy runs off, probably traumatized for life. Good riddance.
I turn into myself again, and when I return home, my parents are there for once, saying that my teachers called and is it true that I've been acting up in class, Embyr?
I nod and say that it's true, but you wouldn't believe what I can do!
My parents frown and tell me that it doesn't matter what I can do, it still doesn't excuse me from misbehaving.
I say, actually it does, because I change and I was not really myself when I was in class today. And because they still look disapproving, I transform again. My skin turns blue and my T-shirt and blue jeans melt into leather and spikes.
Now, of course, my parents understand when I say that I am not myself. Because I'm not. I'm Megamind, an alien from another planet. They gasp and they stutter and they are incredibly surprised.
Suffice it to say, I don't get in trouble for acting up in class.
No, the trouble comes much later.
Well, a week later.
~Who am I?~
Another pleasant development of my powers. I can now mix together the characters, blending magic and intelligence and athleticism. No one at school—or anywhere else, for that matter—dares to mess with me now, because I could leave them in excruciating pain with a flick of my hand and a few syllables tripping off my tongue.
The only problem comes when I attempt to change back. For some reason, my own form isn't coming to me, but I shrug it off and blend together some features and make someone that looks exactly like me—well, a little better than exactly, since I change a few things that I've always hated about my physical appearance.
Fast forward a few days. I'm at home—I don't even bother to attend school now, after all, I have the mind of a Time Lord available to me, and calculus seems a little inferior once you have that kind of intelligence. I change. The odd thing about this time is that I didn't want to change. I flicker, out of control, for just half a second (Corgan, with his incredible time-splitting abilities, alerts me to the fact that it was in fact 0.503 seconds). I push it off, it can't be anything serious.
The out-of-control changes continue to happen. They last longer, too. I'm starting to get worried. But I shrug it off because what can I do about it anyways?
I should have worried when I had the chance.
Later that week is when everything comes crashing down.
~Who am I?~
One of the bouts of my uncontrolled changes comes. Only this time, it doesn't end within a few dozen seconds. I change again and again and again, and I can't stop.
Who am I?
I am everybody and nobody. I am Amy Cahill and Artemis Fowl and Sadie Kane and Percy Jackson and Rhianna Wildwood and Peeta Mellark and Beatrice Prior and Matteo Alacran. I am tall and short and strong and weak and intelligent and incredibly stupid and fat and thin and everybody all at once.
I am fairy and human and animal and alien, all mixed up in a chaotic mess.
I wonder how my body can take it all. Except, I'm not wondering. It's Artemis, analyzing the situation, or Isabel Kabra, refusing to share the same body as these, these peasants.
Through eyes that are blue and brown and green and a kaleidoscope of colors, I observe that I'm in a padded cell, apparently in an asylum, since despite the fact that I'm not crazy, a true hospital isn't the right place for me.
I certainly act as though I'm insane, but wouldn't you if you had hundreds of thousands of opposing characters fighting to be dominant inside your head?
My shape flickers and flashes through forms faster than the eye can see.
For a moment, Artemis rises up and realizes that to escape, it would be best to let one of the Animorphs take over and morph into something that could get out of here. But before he can enact the plan, Moriarty claws his way to the top and refuses to let go of his dominancy—at least, before he is squashed down by the Doctor. Everyone good inside of me lets out a sigh of relief, since Moriarty is one person who should never, never, be in charge of such power. The Doctor, being the fantastic person he is, manages to hold onto control for a while and for a moment everyone lets themselves hope that we'll escape. Of course, Crabbe and Goyle have by then fought their way to the top by brute strength and tussle over the prized spot at the front of our mind. The Doctor loses concentration, just for a moment, to glance at the fight, and he is toppled from his place by Damien Vesper.
For a while, it's only bad guys struggling for control, and then they are overcome by a group of the best of the best, bonded into a team.
When you're fighting against Artemis Fowl, the Doctor, Percy Jackson, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, and a multitude of other heroes all working together, you never stand a chance.
They allow one of the Animorphs to come to the front, and Jake lets this body transform into a fly, vision splintering into tiny shards of picture. A slight crack in the door of my cell lets us all escape, and everyone flies off into the night.
Except for one person.
Embyr no longer exists.
I no longer exist.
I am everyone I ever loved, everyone I ever hated, everyone I ever knew.
Everyone except me.
But then I flicker back, just for a moment. I return to myself, really, truly myself, and I catch a glimpse of padded walls once again. I struggle to move closer, but I'm constrained—within a straitjacket? A strange man sits near me, scribbling with a pen. I clear my throat—it feels dry, disused. "Where…where am I?" I manage.
The odd man with the brown hair and amber eyes looks up at me, surprised. "Do you know where you are?" he asks in return.
I shake my head in confusion. "I…I was in an asylum, I escaped…but no, I can't have, I'm back…." I trail off. "I could…transform. I…I wasn't myself!" I look back, checking to be sure I'm in my own body again. "What happened?"
"Incredible…" mutters my companion. He glances back over to me. "You were having delusions. Muttering things…something about-" he checks his clipboard "-all sorts of book and movie characters, entirely fictional people. A wide range of them, too. From Doctor Who to My Little Pony. We couldn't figure out a connection."
"I can still remember them," I tell him, dazed. "How long have I been here?"
"A few months," he replies. "Your family is here, if you want to see them?"
I concentrate, thinking. "Why did I start having delusions?"
"You were brought here from the hos-" his voice trails off and I'm changing again and I can't stop and help it hurts.
Back into vision splintered into dozens of views. I have my powers back again. I sigh in relief—I. I sigh. And I really do, I've got a consciousness of my own, again. But I'm content to sit back and watch and revel in being able to be me again.
It's an odd feeling, having thousands of minds pressing up against yours, vying for more than their own little share of this brain. I have to concentrate just so I won't be compressed out of existence—again. And forget about trying to control myself again.
Then a plain white building enters our splintered view, and somehow I know, I just know it's the hospital from when I was myself. I struggle forwards, try to force ourselves away, but I can't stop and suddenly we're there…
And I'm back in my own body again. I blink again, confused.
Someone different is here, a woman this time. "H-hello," I stammer out.
The woman glances up. "Oh, you're conscious again."
"How long has it been?"
She looks at the sheet of paper in her hands. "Approximately thirty-six hours. You continued to experience the hallucinations during that period of time, but it was…strange. As though time was slowed down for you in the hallucinations."
"Yeah," I agree. "For me, it only felt like an hour or two had gone by before I came back here." I remember the last few moments before snapping back into my own body. "I don't think I'll have any more," I whisper, mostly to myself.
My partner hears anyways. "Why not?"
"I-Last time, I was flying away, free from where I was trapped…but then I came back. To here, not to the other place…I can't escape even in my dreams…" I trail off.
The woman is furiously writing on her paper. "Interesting…tell me, what can you remember? Start from-" she thinks "-oh, about a week and a half ago."
"That was when I first started changing," I say.
I tell her all about the changing, about the power I had and about the disaster it lead to.
"Intriguing…your hallucinations started at the same time as you had your accident." This time she's the one who's whispering, surely not intending for me to hear.
But I do anyways. "Accident?" My voice is slightly hysterical. The word, the word that the man only half got out, could it have been 'hospital'? What's happened to me? I try to get up, to move closer, to demand to know what's happened, only to fail, and that's when my question is answered but I'd really rather it hadn't been. Because my legs refuse to submit to my commands and my arms won't really move that well either and how could this have happened?
As though the question is a key, my mind reels back to the first time I changed. Only this time, instead of changing, I'm shoved over, into the bushes lining the path, something sharp piercing my skin, injuring me, and that's when I can't move. I scream and scream and scream and can't seem to stop, because panic overtakes me and Jeffrey and Peter and Mary-Anne all stare at me before Mary-Anne pulls out her cell to call 911, panicking a little as well.
I'd love to curl into a ball and sob, but I can't, because that involves the willing cooperation of your limbs, which I don't really have right now. So instead I stare at the wall and sob, which is much less cathartic, and my parents are called in and my mother strokes my hair and whispers soothing words in my ear and eventually I calm down.
Now that I'm no longer insane, I'm allowed to go back to the regular hospital for physical therapy. Eventually, I am told, I may regain full use of my arms and perhaps even be able to use my legs again. But for now, I'm in a wheelchair.
Several months later
I'm up and about (well, not really up, considering that I'm sitting in a wheelchair) and heading for school when it happens. It seems a normal day until a passing thought of, wow, those clouds are beautiful, wish I could be closer enters my brain and then my back is growing beautiful wings that I recognize as belonging to Maximum Ride. Dimly I wonder what has happened to me this time, but decide that I really don't want to know and instead just go with the flow. This time, when I'm buried by all the characters, I don't bother fighting back. I'd rather not know how my body has been broken again, not when I can be so magnificent. So this time, I go out peacefully, with a smile and a whisper of 'goodbye', waiting until—there.
Turns out not even in my dreams can I be invincible, for I am one day walking on the streets and someone attacks, and before I have a chance to react, to turn into someone else, I am dead and bleeding on the sidewalk.
Gone at last.
And in the real world, in a room that would have seemed all too familiar to me had I finally woken up, a girl who had muttered for months about a wonderful world in which she is whole and unbroken and even better then she was, has her eyes empty of anything human, going blank and emotionless. She reacts to nothing—why would she? Her mind is gone, vanished and absorbed into millions of others. And days later, when cuts and bruises suddenly open up on her body and nothing the doctors do can stop it, it is unsurprising, because the last bit of her that was whole is now dead and so now she really should be too.
Far away from the world of perfection, a teenage girl dies of blood loss. And though there are many tears and much sorrow, eventually she will be forgotten.
Billions of years in the future, the sun swallows the Earth, just as the pale, bloodless corpse, somehow preserved throughout the years, begins to change…