narrative - 19th july 2015 - 8:42am
A pounding heartbeat is what woke her up. She felt the heartbeat in her head, in her temples, in the headache that plagued her. Here she was again, Betsy, in the body of Beth Bradford. By that point it had become habit--she'd shifted in and out of existence with Beth at least nine times by that point, and though it had gotten a little easier each time, it still wasn't easy. She always woke up with a headache, something new every time.

But this time was different, somehow. The minute she awoke, she had an idea why she'd felt so strange the night before. Something...something was coming. She sat up slowly in bed, Pete still asleep, the dogs curled comfortably in bed with them. The sun shone in the balcony window of the master bedroom softly, and her eyes slowly opened. Something bad was about to happen. A flash of a thought--two seconds--and she gasped hard, her eyes clasping shut. She paid no attention to the dogs, who shot up at the sound and were now staring at her. Her palms flew up to her eyes, pushing her eyeballs into her head, trying to get the image out of her head. It was Pete... bloodied, pleading, reaching for her as he fell. As she threw him. She knew the image wasn't a memory, or a dream. It was a vision, something that was to come, something that she will do. The thought brought tears to her eyes and she tore the covers away from her body, rushing quickly toward the closet.

"I have to get out. I have to get out. Something's coming. I have to go. I have to ... I have to get away from you."

Without waiting for response, or answering confused questions, Betsy hastily got dressed, her X-Force uniform and katana precariously placed in the corner of the walk-in closet. She eyed it sideways as she pulled her knickers on, then stopped for a moment. She knew she was about to be dangerous--did she want to be publicly recognised? The studio came to mind, putting students and instructors in danger, and she shook her head. Best not. She swiped the X-Force uniform and pulled it on before grabbing her katana, and making a hasty exit out of the bedroom.

Not bothering to grab her keys, she immediately shut the door behind her and bounded down the stairs. Soon she found herself outside of her apartment building, staring directly at Pete's new bike. She thought about taking it, but Beth pleaded with Betsy internally--if anything were to happen to that bike, Pete would be devastated. She decided to run instead, her dark hair flowing behind her, the pavement beneath her feet. She took a couple of alleys and sidestreets, avoiding public eye, knowing she already stuck out like a sore thumb in her uniform.

And that's when it hit her.

She suddenly felt sinister. Full of life--another life. No longer did she have control of Beth, Betsy, anything--she was both the driver and passengers to her own vehicle. An evil bubbled up inside of her, something she couldn't control. It's here, she thought. And before she could do anything, she felt her body lurch forward, like a heat-seeking missile headed straight for the first person she could find that had been affected by the shift. She felt paralysed by fear, like she couldn't control her body, though it moved swiftly. A dumpster and fence laid in her way, she felt her arm shoot forward and sweep to the left, sending everything flying through the air without touching it. Soon she was leaping over other obstacles.

She saw it. Her. Zoe Blake, she saw the second life in her head, in her heart. Admittedly she didn't know much about Lady Blackhawk, only knowing that she was affected by the shift, she was valuable. She would put up a fight, she knew that much. Before Betsy knew it, she was fighting Zoe, using the martial arts that Betsy knew, the katana harnessed on her back. Whatever was possessing her, it didn't want to use her physical weapons, instead the psychic knife coming out. She felt her hand reach out, the familiar purple blade unsheathing from her fist, traveling quickly toward Zoe's head, to scramble her...

Something stopped her. Someone stopped her. She felt her head turn, and she wanted to scream.

It was Pete.