Heist Phantoms

1

Can we create a PARADOX

Build a bridge upon an empty world

Even though I'm just a simple girl

I know I'm capable

As she rampaged through the city, she wondered just how things had gotten so strange.

She wasn't really rampaging at first. She'd just grown to twice her height. So tall that even the roomy ceiling in the hipster coffee place couldn't contain her. Her back was starting to strain from bending over at a ninety degree angle.

Besides, she was sure the barista at the counter wanted her out from the moment she sat down. He kept giving her a look, probably because she was hogging their record player.

Now he was running down the street, towards the busy looking skyscrapers that sat at the centre of Paradox City. She let him go. Her giant self, a separate entity she found she couldn't control, didn't find him very interesting. There was something calling to her, and it was coming from down town. Though she couldn't control herself, she could tell that it felt good to be standing upright again.

Paradox City was known for it's weird happenings. It was never as weird as a ten foot tall girl with giant red claws, though there were rumours about that a while ago. The strange happenings were usually limited to things like street names switching for two weeks, only to right themselves whenever the city council declared it would do something about them. Then there was how ice cream flavours never tasted the same.

As she swung her gigantic fist into a pretty candy-coloured window, she thought about the first time she'd tasted real mint. It was a few weeks ago when she was on was on vacation in Leipzig with her older brother Waco. Here in Paradox City, 'mint' ice cream always tasted too fruity or like caramel. The owner of the local ice-cream franchise, Richard Lacombe, even had to go on the news once to promise people every ice cream flavour was made with authentic, fresh ingredients.

The local anchorman, Lucky Bagley, a man way too old to be going by 'Lucky', had watched Mr. Queen prepare a batch of ice cream and then had some. Though Mr. Queen had insisted it was supposed to taste like vanilla, Lucky Bagley fought back, claiming it was it was licorice flavoured.

These were the sort of things she thought as her large red tail swung across a banking display. Since she'd figured out that she'd lost control a while ago, she had time to let her mind wander. A cardboard standee of a smiling man who was in the middle of signing a cheque split in two as it connected with her tail.

That was was probably how people really felt when they had to write out cheques, she thought.

Most people were running off, but one large man stood his ground and rushed at her. Inside, she was quite terrified; he was at least six feet tall and looked like the sort of person that marked their religion on polls and surveys as 'gym'. Normally, anybody of that size would be able to crush her.

But right now she was a giant that clocked in at least ten feet tall. The giant, primal part of her that was in control didn't care what this guy wanted, it just wanted him out of the way. Though something far off seemed to be calling her, she wasn't sure if she was really following it or just messing around angrily. Either way, he certainly wasn't part of her plans.

With one hand, she grabbed a massive bicep and tossed him aside. He spun around in the air a few times, screaming at the top of his lungs. She was suddenly struck with his frailty; what would happen if he fell? Would he hurt his head? Break every bone in his body?

She needed to stop this, but her body was already turning away.

Until it saw them.

Two teenagers, dressed like rejects from a primary colour-themed Halloween party. Their stance was copied wholesale from a 90's album cover. Even though they were practically tiny to her now, she could see their faces clearly. They were each wearing an opulent mask, decorated with coloured gems and gold threading. The boy was in an oversized blue hoodie, and the girl was in a fancy green Victorian dress-coat.

Both of their outfits were monochromatic. Her father, a costume designer for a popular traveling theatre troupe, would have fainted at the sight of them.

'It's all too much,' he would say.

The sheer thought of him made her heart clench, but there was no time for that now.

Her giant body turned to watch them intently. The boy rushed over to the muscular man she'd tossed aside like a candy wrapper and raised his hand high up. A large blue ring appeared over his hand, and though she was more than incapacitated she swore she could hear dubstep music coming out of it. In line with the sort of music that was popular nowadays.

Even monster part of her was a bit irritated.

The man had started to fall, but he stopped in mid-air above the ring. Slowly, the boy lowered his arm and the blue ring followed. As she took a closer look at the man, she could see that he was vibrating; as if somebody was blasting him with a gigantic blow-dryer. The ring disappeared as it touched the ground. The man came down along with it.

It didn't look like a very soft landing, but it looked better than going splat all over the pavement. He didn't seem to be bothered either, taking one look at his costumed saviors and running off without even a passing glance at her.

Finally, the two of them turned their attention to her.

"Stop!" the boy said, raising one of his hands. "You're destroying the city!"

"Azure, do you really think whoever that is understands what you're saying?" the girl said angrily, gesturing at her. "They're completely consumed by the Raw Noiz."

"That's what you get for stealing from Phantom Thieves!" Azure said haughtily.

"It wouldn't have gotten stolen if you had gotten up to grab our delivery instead of spending the next hour or so reading those Gaelic culture platr blogs after it arrived!" the girl reminded him.

"Verdant," Azure complained, drawing out the syllables in the strange name. Their exchange confused the girl inside the monster, but she was curious and wanted to watch it all play out. Maybe she would find out what was going on if they kept talking.

The monstrous part in control of her body didn't agree. It's large clawed hands lashed out at costumed strangers, quickly closing the gap between them and almost catching the girl's flowy green cape and coattails.

Though she was very fast, Azure and Verdant were even faster. They were so quick to jump that it seemed like they'd practically teleported six feet up. Yesterday, or even a few minutes before, she would have been surprised by the sight of two teenagers leaping a few feet straight up with no preparation, but that was before she'd become a giant clawed girl.

Correction; a giant clawed monster.

She caught a glimpse of myself in the mirrored glass behind them and saw that she'd grown a large, red snout and huge, floppy ears. Her body was covered in red fur, and her feet were now stubby paws, barely visible under a large belly. Her eyes were a piercing shade of jewel-tone red that stood out against it all, full of a strange unrecognizable fervour.

She looked like a jolly stuffed animal with rabies.

"What's going on?" she finally said. It was the first time she'd opened my mouth since this had all started. Seeing her reflection had made it all so real, too real.

The monster's large snouty mouth opened, but no words came out. Instead, it let out a a rough terrifying howl. The two costumed teenagers were disoriented by the noise, falling to the ground in a disorganized mess of knees and elbows.

"You didn't tell me it could do that!" Verdant said, rubbing her ears.

"I had five minutes to read up on Raw Noiz possession," Azure said, plugging his index fingers into his ears. "In ancient Gaelic."

"Forget it," Verdant dismissed, getting up on uneven footing. "All we need to do is beat them up until we break their transformation, right? Just like us."

"We've never used our powers to fight before," Azure said, pulling his fingers out of his ears to look at his hands as if he no longer recognized them. The fingerless gloves he wore made everything he said seem slightly less serious. "The only time we've ever had our transformation broken is when we got hit by lightning."

"It was a staunch reminder not to hang around tall pre-colonial buildings," Verdant said with a shiver.

Whilst they argued amongst themselves, her monstrous self rushed towards them again. It hurled a massive claw at them just as Azure stepped in front of his friend. The blue circle reappeared in front of his arm, and a wave of noise blasted from it. With a startling whoosh of air, her monstrous form was blown a few feet back.

Verdant jumped over him without breaking a sweat and held out one arm. She had perfect posture; gracefully leaping through the sky, but the violence in her eyes scared even the most monstrous parts of the beast. A long thick rope appeared between her fingertips and she grasped it tightly. It was a bright acid green. Without anything to anchor it, she began to swing forward.

As she closed in, a monstrous claw tried to grab Verdant out of the sky. it was too late. Verdant's kick landed square between the beast's eyes, making her vision blur. A monstrous anger flared up inside of the the beast, and it slashed at the air with both hands; catching Verdant in a few blows.

Verdant flew across the pavement, landing so roughly that the asphalt around her cracked. Large flakes of it flew through the air, as if a jet of air had suddenly burst forth from under the road.

"Verdant!" Azure screamed, running towards her. The monster seized it's opportunity whilst the boy was facing away from her, rushing up behind him and slapping him down with one large claw.

At first, she felt like she could pretend it was just a dream, but she'd crossed that threshold long ago. This was reality; strange as it was. A few minutes ago, she'd almost killed a man. Though she wasn't in control of her actions, she knew she would still feel responsible if he died.

Then these two had come along and tried to stop her, but they weren't strong enough.

She would be stuck like this forever, and she would single handedly destroy Paradox City. The monster gave the two costumed strangers each a once over, tilting it's head from side to side in an almost comical fashion. Once it had decided they were done for, it started to turn away.

Just as she was about to give up hope, a sliver of green light caught the monster's attention.

Verdant, the girl who was practically encased in asphalt, had raised her hand high. The green thread she'd been holding before was whipping wildly above her. Flecks of green light were appearing all around them, all flocking towards the thread.

Slowly, but with determination, she pulled herself out of the road, gripping tightly onto her thread. The thread in her hand grew to twice her height and solidified into a pole. At it's very tip, the part that had remained green thread continued to glow and whip around violently.

"Nora!" Azure shouted, clambering onto his knees. "You're doing it!"

Verdant didn't seem to hear his call as her eyes flashed a brilliant emerald colour. It reminded the girl inside the monster of something, though with her head swimming in all of this nonsense, she couldn't work it out.

She was also filled with a new emotion; the monster on the outside wanted to run away. Though it physically wanted to run away, it also wanted to disappear entirely, to be anywhere else but facing Verdant.

It was afraid.

She didn't understand why until Verdant moved ever so slightly towards her. At least, that was how it had appeared. Instead, she was right in front of the monster in a split second, her pole raised high above her head and the violence in her eyes beyond what the girl thought possible.

Then it all went black.