This is an ugly, horrible story and is
not intended for children or sensitive readers. Disclaimers
etc. are given at the beginning of the first part.
She awoke with a start, looking up at the hammer-beam ceiling
in her bedroom. It was an archaic detail that most houses
in the region didn't have, but then most houses in the area
hadn't been built by her great-grandfather, a shipwright obsessed
with medieval architecture. She climbed out from under the
duvet and looked out of the window. Her father was walking
out in the garden with his latest friend. She imagined that
she wouldn't see them until dinner.
She pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and went downstairs.
The studio was empty, so she went to the old stable. She found
Momma, no, Mother, working on the old Cord that
Great Uncle David had left there before hanging himself on
a gray day in November of 1929. Mother was well under the
hood, hitting something with a mallet.
"Need any help?" she asked.
Mother emerged from beneath the hood, wearing her standard
paint-spattered boiler suit. Steel blue eyes burned into her
"You have something to tell me, that you don't want
"I'm going to a new posting. That's all."
"Carol, I can't abide liars. There's something about
this which is bothering you. Tell me."
She wasn't afraid of anything or anyone, except for Mother.
Mother gave her a disgusted look, then disappeared back under
the hood. She turned and tried not to run towards the woods.
Somewhere, in the dark, she was lying on the floor. It was
best that way, in spite of the things that she had to lie
in. If she tried to sit up, the cramps started. Ugly things,
her own muscles like worms crawling under her skin, burrowing
away, eating at the flesh within. Every time she dropped off
to sleep, her legs curled up involuntarily and started to
cramp again. Even lying straight out on the floor, stretched,
there was some muscle ready to knot up under her jaw, or in
the soles of her feet.
"The symptoms of dehydration?" asked the professor
"Cramps, dry mouth (tongue that feels like leather),
dark urine (which burns like hell), buccal ulceration (which
hurt), rapid drop in blood pressure upon rising from a prone
position that could induce fainting?"
"Good enough. And how long has it been since the patient
had last taken fluids by mouth?"
"A day? Two days?"
"And the consequences, if the patient is left in a hot
unventilated cell and is not given fluids?"
"Possible death, due to heart failure, within 48 hours."
Her mouth was too dry to respond.
The woods were comforting, and she knew them better than
anyone. They went back for miles from the house, into the
hills and down towards the Connecticut River.
She went in a different direction than her father had, as
she knew his special places and had no desire to interrupt
him. He had never seen her spying on him and his friends,
though she had known about those places and what he did there
since the age of 6. Hiding in the bushes, he was usually naked
with men younger than himself, kissing and doing many unusual
things that she had the sense not to ask him about. Her mother
and father would always use special words when they talked
about such things, words that she soon got to know the special
meaning of. Other people's father's didn't meet new friends
in bus stations, or at least didn't bring them home for dinner
when they did. Other people's mother's didn't dress in men's
suits and go out dancing with other women. She said nothing
of this to any of her friends, or to any other adults that
she knew. Her brother knew all about it as well, but for some
reason was ashamed of it. After making his career on Wall
St., he had told everyone he knew that he was an orphan. None
of them had seen him or spoken to him in years.
Her route took her over the hill towards a clearing that
she knew better than any other place in the forest. Whenever
she felt threatened by things that were dark and terrible,
she would come here and look at the old oak tree and the place
where the heavy limb had been cut off, and she would remember
how she had learned to kill fear.
Her lesson had started one afternoon when she was eight,
in her brother's bedroom. She had been there with Mike, his
creepy friend Greg, and Greg's even creepier cousin Chris
in from Hartford. They were all reading comics. It was a Saturday,
and no-one else was in the house. She was reading the Western
comics and paying special attention to the gunplay, while
the boys were all reading Superman and Batman. After a long
discussion of whether Catwoman or Batgirl on the TV show was
sexier, Mike went off to the bathroom. Greg jumped on her
and pinned her to the floor. Chris had put his hands in places
where Mother had said no decent person should touch a little
girl. Greg's hand covered her mouth, but she was too enraged
to scream. Chris didn't do anything that would have left a
mark, but what he did hurt her somewhere deep inside.
"We can do this to you any time we find you alone in
the woods," Greg had whispered to her. "If you say
anything, what we'll do will be worse."
From the look in Greg's eyes, this was a certainty.
"Meat," said Chris. "You're meat."
Then they had let her go. Mike returned a moment later, and
they started to discuss the merits of Wonder Woman's new white
costume versus the Star Spangled bustier.
"They hurt me," she said, interrupting Mike's defence
of the bustier.
"What'd they do?" he asked her.
"They touched me," she said.
"What's the big deal?" he asked, puzzled. "I
touch you all the time." To prove the point, he punched
her lightly in the arm, as he often did on long car trips.
"Nothing," she said, and fled.
This was the place that she had fled to. She knew, deep down,
that Greg was dangerous, and that he was even more dangerous
when Chris was around. If they came after her and waited for
her here, they could hurt her for hours and perhaps even kill
her, and no-one would find out until it was too late. She
might be able to hide from them, but if they caught her unawares-
No. These were her woods, and she would not be looking
over her shoulder for anyone. She had looked up and seen the
branch that a storm had half broken from an oak, and she had
It took her a week to put it all together. First, there were
the things that had to be stolen. Heavy rope, a construction
knife, and a saw all vanished from the studio and the stable.
After she made sure that the woods were clear of watchers,
she had practiced on several other storm damaged branches
to refine her technique. It all involved much tree climbing,
but she liked that. When, on the following Friday, Mike asked
if Greg and Chris could come over, she was ready for them.
She had been watching Greg and Chris in the woods before,
even if they didn't know it. They were creatures of habit,
always taking the same path at the same speed. That day, she
was waiting for them, up in the tree. As she expected, they
didn't look up and didn't see anything until she cut the rope
and the huge, 500 pound tree limb came crashing down on them.
It had been a gamble, of course. If the ropes hadn't worked
properly or if the limb had caught on another tree, they would
have had her trapped up there. It had worked, and now they
were pinned to the ground, unable to move. She carefully removed
the ropes from the trees and then retrieved the Louisville
Slugger that she had been given for Christmas. Chris was out
cold with a large purple lump on his forehead. Greg was stirring,
and moaning. From the look of his leg, he had broken it. She
got his attention with a couple of swift kicks in the bent
"Meat," she snarled, and went to work on them both
with the bat.
She had returned everything to its proper place, though she
decided later that she ought to have wrapped the saw in plastic
to have kept the dew from it. A policeman came by and asked
her questions. Did she know these boys? Yes. Did she know
if they had any enemies? No, they were just friends of her
brother. Had she seen anything strange in the woods? Black
boys, perhaps, from Pittsfield? No, never. Then she should
be very careful, as there were kids doing vicious things,
and she shouldn't go out in the woods alone. Greg and Chris
didn't say anything about her to anyone about it, and blamed
it all on a gang of black kids. Two thirteen year old boys
would hardly want to admit to having been hospitalized by
an eight-year old girl, and she found it amusing when Greg's
parents moved, in order to 'raise him in a safer environment'.
Her mother had asked some pointed questions about where all
the sawdust in her clothes had come from and what had happened
to the saw, but she had said nothing. Mother hadn't punished
her. In fact, Mother seemed quite pleased for once. A few
years after that, her brother had given her all of his comics.
She had thrown all of the super-hero ones away.
Between spasms, drifting in and out of consciousness, she
began to worry about ridiculous things. What would they think
when they went through her books? They would all have a laugh
over the Harlequins, most like. What would they do if they
found her diary? Logan or Ro would burn it unread, she was
sure of that, but Longshot might read it, and ask questions.
Alison would read every word of it, and she was sure that
Betsy would too. Beyond that, she owned nothing but a few
clothes that would sit in drawers and closets until the desert
claimed them. She would not be remembered, not even institutionally
by the police or security apparats. She wondered if anyone
would tell Momma.
Mother was waiting for her in the kitchen. She still had
the boiler suit on, and Father had not returned.
There was no avoiding it.
"This new assignment. It's special work, security. I
may not be able to see you or speak to you for a long time."
Her mother busied herself with pouring some tea, as if she
had just said that she was planning to go for another stroll
in the woods.
"I believe that you said it was on Diego Suarez."
"I don't know where it will be, I might not be coming
back at all." Her voice was shaky, not like it ever was
on the parade ground. Her mother looked up, glaring.
"Carol, there is nothing that you cannot do if you put
your mind to it. I do not believe there is any force of nature
that could prevent you from doing anything that you want to
do. If you want to come back, you will. I know it."
Her mother stared at her with steel-blue eyes that allowed
"You will return. You will live. Now pass me the relish."
That night, as she lay in bed looking at the ceiling, she
thought about what Mother had said, and the first time she
had said it. She had expressed a desire to go to the Moon,
and Mike had told her that it was impossible, because she
was a girl. You had to be a jet pilot to be an astronaut,
and girls couldn't be jet pilots. Mike had been right about
the last bit, but Mother had sent him off to bed without dinner
anyhow. The colonel that she had been sleeping with had told
her that there was no hope of her flying jet within the next
twenty years, unless she was willing to go outside normal
channels and into the units that didn't exist on paper. The
colonel was too old to be involved such things, but as she
looked at the colonel's sagging body, she made up her mind
that she would be piloting a fighter jet within a year.
She did feel regret, that she might not see the old house
or Mother or her father again, but if it was a choice between
that or the jet, she would fly, and she would see Mother again.
She closed her eyes and went to sleep.
There was a commotion outside again. She was too weak to
move now, to hide from them.
"Which bloody cell did you put her in?"
"That's not her, unless she's a bleeding hermaphrodite.
Open all of them."
Her door was opened, and two faces looked in. One was Page,
the other an older, white-haired man with a Voice of Authority.
"There had better be a bloody good reason for this,
" said Authority. "I've got a bleeding brigadier
after me, wanting to know where she went. I want to see you
in my office, now."
Page vanished. Authority glanced at her in disgust, then
turned to another very frightened looking guard.
"You. We have 15 minutes. Get her hosed down, then hose
down the cell and put someone else in it. You. Find a mutt-suit."
"We haven't got one. Only magistrates-"
"What about the evidence room? Isn't there one in the
"But, it's evidence."
"Get the fucking thing and get her into it. I don't
want them seeing anything and asking questions."
"About cleaning her off-"
"Do it. Now."
"She's all covered in filth."
"Put on an ABC suit. Just get her out of there and clean
her and do it now, or you'll be out in the desert with the
apos for the next twenty years."
The warder saluted shakily and ran off. The Voice of Authority
remained, looking at her with disgust.
"You've caused a lot of trouble, you have."
He turned and went away. Two minutes later, two people in
rubber suits that covered them from head to toe picked her
up and carried her into a white tiled room. She couldn't walk
by herself, the cramps were too painful. They laid her out
on the floor. It was hard, but it was clean. She was the only
thing that smelled bad in the room. She was thinking about
trying to sit up when it hit her. A cold wall of water, pushing
her against the wall, tearing the filth from her. She couldn't
scream, only croak through her abscessed throat. None of her
struggles seemed to affect the warders, who stood there with
a bemused looks on their faces, directing the firehose at
different parts of her. They backed her into a corner with
the blasts, then when she collapsed one of them turned her
over and they washed down the front of her. When they were
finished, she couldn't manage more than a moan, but they pricked
her with something and it didn't seem to matter anymore. They
came in with a shiny greenish-yellow suit and she tried to
run, but she could barely flinch away. Two female warders
stretched it over her soaking body, until it covered everything
below the neck. They gave her water, but she was too weak
to drink. Instead, with some annoyance and brutality, they
shoved a tube down her nose and into her stomach, which they
filled with a cloudy liquid that they squeezed from a clear
plastic bag. They dragged her to a truck, where she was bound
in manacles head and foot, and they drove her to another building
Where it was she did not know. She didn't need to drink,
now, they had taken care of that. This place didn't smell,
but she knew that if she so much as breathed improperly, she
would be punished again. She didn't know what the rules were
anymore, only that she had broken them. Her life was over,
but she hardly seemed to care. A slit on the door opened,
and two sets of eyes looked in.
"No ID on this one either." Female, military.
"And you say that you are sure that she was a mutant?"
Male, older, patrician.
"She flew. Wipeout took her down."
"All the way?"
"No. She was coherent when they left her."
"She's bloody catatonic now."
"There were some irregularities in her processing."
"She somehow ended up in the cells at Police Central.
Seems that one of the guards attacked her."
"Knowing that she was a mutant?"
"No. They didn't know that."
"Inhuman. What is the name of the animal responsible
"Leung, sir. One of those filthy apos assigned to the
police. Refused to carry a gun. Went against his so-called
beliefs. Don't know how people like that can call themselves
"They're moral cripples, happy in their misunderstanding
of the words of God. A good stint in the Magistrates would
beat the weakness and perversion out of them. Show them what
God was all about."
"I certainly would think so, sir."
"Put him on the D list."
"Sir, his father is a citizen."
"Major Anderson, we cannot have a potential citizen
who behaves in this manner if he is in a position of responsibility.
Can you imagine what he would do if he were to be given responsibility
for a mutate?"
"Even so, it could be bad for our relations with the
"Do it. We don't have enough casualties on our side
One set of eyes disappeared from the slit. The sound of clicked
heels echoed in the corridor, and the one set of eyes stared
back at her with almost a look of pity in them.
"Don't worry, little girl, I'll take it all away from
you. No more worries, no more pain, and you will have a useful
purpose in society. No one will ever hurt you again."
The slit slammed closed, and they left her in the darkness.
She awakened in the night, sweating. It was so unlike her
to have nightmares, especially such vivid ones. She rose from
the bed and went to her dresser. In the mirror, she saw a
familiar face. Auburn hair with a white stripe, big green
eyes, a filth-covered body twenty years younger than her own.
"You look like shit, girl."
The face in the mirror looked was staring off into space,
its eyes empty.
"You're covered in it."
"They washed me."
The voice from the mirror was small, almost inaudible.
"It's outside, it's inside, it's you though and through.
"You've lost it, haven't you? Can't fight back. Don't
know what to do, and Logan's going to die because of it."
The green eyes looked down.
"You know what you have to do if you want to live."
"I don't want to."
"I know how to save him. Give me control, and I'll get
us out of this."
"Then we'll die."
"They'll do something to us. Kill us both, but the body
will live on."
"Maybe I die either way."
"You will if you do nothing. Do you really want to die?"
"Then you have-"
The green eyes were looking up. The body beneath them was
no longer covered in filth.
"You didn't deserve the power."
"Deserve it? Who gives a shit if I deserved it? I got
it, and I used it for good. Not like you."
"You're like them. You like to hurt people. You enjoy
"You enjoyed hurting me. You left my body for dead,
you miserable little bitch."
"If you hadn't hurt me-"
"I don't believe this. We're going to get killed and
you're going to debate me on the moral issues associated with
violence? Give me control, now."
"Will you give it up, if we get out of this?"
"I'll think about it."
"Then think of Berlin."
The girl vanished, the mirror vanished, the room vanished.
She was in a cell somewhere. Genosha, in some sort of prison
associated with the mutate processing service. Logan was certainly
nearby, somewhere. She stood up and flexed the body. Severe
bruising at the joints, administered by someone who would
spend the rest of his life being through a tube. Abrasions
on the back and buttocks. She bent all the way forward, tearing
them open against the suit. Best to hurt now, not later. She
threw a few punches, tried a few kicks. The arms and legs
on this body were shorter, and not in the same proportions.
Even worse, the power was gone, but she could remember how
to fight without it. At least the body was in reasonable shape.
She tried a few more stretches, then sat back down on the
bed when she heard the footsteps coming.
The door opened, and two magistrates entered.
"You should have asked Ray to come along," said
"He's taking the heat for me," said the female.
"She's no threat. She's spaced. Gone away, not coming
back. Should never have left her alone back there. Animals."
They came in close, thinking that it was still the weak little
bitch, and not her. She used the heel of her palm to drive
the man's nose into his brain as she kicked the legs out from
under the woman. The man went down, probably dying. She slammed
the woman's head against the floor, then put her neck in a
hold. She recognized the woman from somewhere. A quick twist
would make sure that they never met again, but she couldn't
do it. Instead, she switched to a choke hold, which she held
for two minutes. She checked them over quickly. The man was
comatose, and would die if not given prompt medical attention.
No threat. The woman was still breathing, shallowly. It was
stupid to leave her alive. Stupid and dangerous. She stripped
the woman of her uniform, and then, as an afterthought, draped
the blanket from the bed over her unconscious body.
"No worries," she whispered, and left the cell.
It took some time to find Logan. She whispered his name through
the slit of the thirtieth cell that she had looked into, but
he had not responded. It took her a while to find the right
key, but once she was inside, it was apparent that she wasn't
going to be relying on him for much if it came to a fight.
He had more bruises than her body did, and his face was covered
in blood from a nasty cut on the forehead which had not healed.
She leaned over him and whispered into his ear.
He groaned softly.
"Come on sport, up and at'em."
She should have said yes, but she couldn't manage it. His
eyes opened, but unfocused.
"Carol, what you want? Sleepy."
"A kiss before dying," she heard her voice say.
The body grabbed hold of Logan and forced its lips down onto
his. She tasted the blood and tobacco in his mouth. He struggled
against her, which was more frightening than anything else
because he was so weak. She made the body let go of him, but
he stopped her, still holding on.
"Not like that darlin', like this."
It was different that time. His lips found hers and his tongue
caressed her own, gently. It was over in a second, but it
felt as if she had been kissed for the first time. His eyes
unfocused again, and he went limp.
"Logan. Come on, sport."
His eyes opened again.
"Carol? Where's Rogue?"
He was looking at her, able to see her this time.
"We're here Logan," she said. "We're here."
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by