Point Zero – Chapter 3


Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 3: A New Life and a New Foe

To say that the world ended in the year 2024 would be melodramatic.

The world as we knew it ended that cool August night. By the time we were ready to leave the cabin and reintegrate into society, we found a very different world.

Countries fell, leaders changed, industries died, and as we stumbled out of the woods in the spring of 2025 we found ourselves in a very different Canada and very different world. 

The night we were abducted there had been four other alien events. Each had been in remote towns and each had killed several thousand, sparing 4-6 teens or young adults. All of the kids had powers. 

The first Abductees to get back were Russian. They’d been met with military force and reacted in kind. An atomic bomb was dropped on their location after military action had proved futile.

The other three groups disappeared, either they did what we did and tried to hide in plain sight or they were dead.

When we left the cabin, we discovered we had been declared dead. I’ll skip the next few months since it was mostly us trying to get our identities back. Which is essentially months of paperwork and meetings with overworked government officials.

Our excuse of hiding off in a cabin seemed to not attract any attention. No RCMP or MIB visited us. We worked really hard to hide our powers from everyone. It wasn’t as easy for James as it was for the rest of us. I could hear a constant hum of electricity, Mel stopped drawing monsters and concentrated on slash or chibis, and Jane had to fight not to disappear at every odd noise, but James had gills and webbed hands. He was amphibious but needed to sleep in water.

We did what our parents had always joked about and pooled our inheritance to buy a house, except instead of being in the middle of nowhere like some hippy commune, it was in downtown Toronto. We thought living together and in a big city were our best choices. It was much easier to be a weirdo in Toronto than in a small town. 

Our inheritance wasn’t big enough to live off completely, especially that our powers seemed to amp up our metabolisms. We each got jobs. Once she had better control of her powers, Mel started her own online comic. It’s vividness made her an instant favourite. Jane got a job at a travel agency, often checking things out in advance for clients. If she had a maximum range, we never found out. James preferred freshwater but could handle sea water, he couldn’t deal with pools unfortunately. He got a job as a ticket seller for tour boats and spent more time in Lake Ontario than selling them.

I had a hard time controlling how electricity reacted around me. The only reason we didn’t need a lightning rod on our house was our proximity to the CN Tower. I tried to do electrical work but the electricity jumped out of the wires towards me. It was hard finding something that didn’t require me to constantly be near a computer or electrical device, although I could deal with a computer for a little while. I ended up working at one of the last independent bookstores ironically named Cover Stories.

The bookstore had four parts; the main space where they had new books, the used books area in the basement, the event space used for book launches and Friday Night Magic, and the lounge. The lounge was a large area with old furniture and lots of windows. The owner of the store had bought the space out for cheap from one of the old department stores but I’m still not sure how he afforded the space so close to the downtown core. Most importantly, he used a small tablet powered cash. For some reason tablets and phones were okay but I did fry any full sized computer.

It was fall again and everyone in town was selling maple or pumpkin drinks. I was on break in the lounge sipping a large pumpkin coffee when I heard an explosion. I looked longingly at my chocolate muffin and ran out to see what was going on.

As I ran I shuddered at the memory of the alien green fire that had started all this. What I saw outside wasn’t aliens. It looked like a giant cardboard dinosaur was shooting cars with laser eyes.

Jane appeared beside me and said, “I can get people out, you distract it.” Despite our many protestations, Jane had a habit of appearing a little too close. She said that she could find any of us anywhere. She knew I worked downtown and she must have seen the news. It was great timing anyway.

I looked around to see if anyone could see us and created my electric sword and shield. I made myself glow bright enough to be seen in the afternoon sun.

“Stop!” I yelled projecting my voice in the way that Frank had taught me. I missed Frank; that day was the anniversary of us getting abducted and he was heavily on my mind.

I expected it to screech and shoot its lasers at me. I hoped my shield would stop them. What I didn’t expect was for it to shout at me, “Your city will burn unless you bring me one ton of gold by the end of the day.” 

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. The deep menacing voice coming out of a building sized cardboard dinosaur was surreal. Its little hands flapped in the wind as it talked.

Read Chapter 4 (April 2020)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Point Zero – Chapter 2


Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 2: Recovery and Things get Animated.

The cabin was dusty but in better condition and better stocked than most houses. “It’s the only place I could think of,” Jane said apologetically as we all writhed on the ground in pain. She’d managed to teleport us all from wherever we had been to her Aunt’s cottage in a remote southern Quebec community.

Being teleported is one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt, worse than breaking a bone, being electrocuted, and being shot all combined.

When the pain started to recede, I panicked, “Where’s Frank? You left Frank behind. We have to go back.” Jane had the good taste to look abashed or ashamed, it was hard to tell. Everything was so bright with the lights on.

It was Mel that put her hand on my shoulder and said, “He was dead. He was cold and dead. Jane barely got us in time. It’s not fair to ask her to bring a corpse.” 

I knew Mel was right but between the residual pain in my body and the migrain I was getting from the lights, I didn’t want to hear it. “We left him. What kind of friends are we that we just left him?”

James started shaking and gasping for air. “I need water.” We all forgot what was happening and scrambled. Mel grabbed a glass of water for him, Jane went to the bathroom to fill the tub, and I grabbed a towel and wet it. 

We sat around the tub eating a couple of frozen pizzas that Jane had found in the freezer. They were probably the best thing I’d ever tasted. 

It was the tub that helped. It was less of a bathtub and more of a jet tub pretending to be a pool. Both James and Mel fit in the tub. Mel was just over six feet tall and she could have her legs and boobs in it at the same time.

“I’m semi-aquatic…” James said and rolled his eyes as Mel called him her platypus. “Sam here is some sort of lightning person, Jane can teleport, but what about you, Mel?”

“I have the power of puns! Bow before my linguistic lashing.” Mel said dramatically. “I don’t feel any different… Maybe I didn’t get anything. What you guys need are superhero names.” We all groaned and she continued, “James, you’re Platy-Power.”

“I have gills and webs… no duck bill or tail.”

“It’ll be part of your costume. Sam you’re the Electric Knight. ‘Cause of the shield. Jane you’re the Tele-Porter.”

Our groans turned into yawns and I fell asleep to Jane saying, “No, absolutely not.”

As I slept, I dreamt of green, emerald green, the colour was tinged in fear. I woke up thinking I heard something. I looked around, James was still in the tub, Jane was curled up on a sleeping bag next to it. There was a sleeping bag at my feet. I unrolled it and lay back down.

The cottage had four rooms, but we’d all decided to sleep in the same room for comfort.

I heard noises again. Where was Mel? I wondered. So despite being tired and in pain, I got up and walked toward the living room. Mel was sitting at the dining room table with a pencil and a pad of paper, drawing something. 

Movement and moaning caught my attention from the open-concept living room. I felt the electricity build up inside me, it felt like stretching before a sport. I raised my hand thinking to shoot a bolt of lightning but then remembered Mel’s superhero name for me. Instead I concentrated on forming a sword out of the electricity in my left hand and a shield in my right.

I moved towards Mel to get me between her and whatever was making the noise. Mel looked up at me confused. “What are you doing?”

I gestured towards the living room and her eyes went wide. She must have been so much into what she was drawing that she hadn’t heard. I glanced quickly at her drawing. It was the two main characters from the TV show Good Omens in a very sexy embrace.

I walked towards the sounds, they were behind a big sectional. At first I had thought zombies, then wild animals, I hadn’t expected two men going at it. It was a perfect copy, but in motion, of Mel’s drawing. 

“Mel, I think you did this.”

Mel gasped, “Sexy.”

“Mel.”

“Sorry. I wonder if I can touch them?” She leaned forward and poked a butt cheek. The man didn’t react. “Feels so real.”

“Mel!”

“I’ve never really been into self inserts, but…”

“Mel, can you dismiss them?”

Looking like she was imitating a toddler who was told to concentrate, she squished up her face and one of the men turned to us and said in a perfect Scottish accent, “Would you like to join?”

I blushed and elbowed Mel, who also blushed and did a whipping motion with her hand, like she was washing something away. The two men disappeared. 

“I think we found your power.”

“I hope I can control what I animate… Oh that’s good; I’m The Animator!”

I remembered I was standing there with a sword and shield built of electricity and willed them away. Looking at Mel with as much fatigue as I could, I said, “Mel, go to bed.”

It had been a long day for us, but for the rest of the world it had been a long week.

Read Chapter 3


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:


Fanfiction What? – Guest post by Lindsay

I made a goal for myself this summer…to read some books. I even went to a library and took out nine books of a variety of genres and authors in the hopes to kick start this goal. It’s August 1st as I write this and I haven’t touched a single one of them. Yet, I have read over 1 749 260 words since July 1st. A MILLION AND A HALF WORDS! Which, based on an average 80k word book, is roughly 22 books. But I haven’t opened a physical book…or actually, I haven’t opened any published books. Allow me to introduce to you a written world often unknown, often disgraced…the world of fanfiction.

For those of you not in the know, Mirriam-Webster defines fanfiction as “stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet — called also fanfic”. So basically, a story created by someone who isn’t the original author. Sound familiar? Your thoughts might automatically jump to Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the most infamous examples of current media that started off as a Twilight Fanfiction. But many popular stories can be fit into this definition. Lion King? Simply a lion AU (alternate universe) version of Hamlet. While on the topic of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet? One of the most famous love stories of all time? Basically a fix-it fic of Arthur Brooke’s The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Juliet which could be viewed as an AU of the legend of Tristan and Iseult and it just keeps going.

My first experience with fanfiction was asking my sister what she was reading on the computer when I was in grade 6 (after the fourth book came out). “A book about Harry Potter written by a fan,” she answered after several minutes of my persistent asking. WHAT? My brain was so confused – why would someone a) write a Harry Potter book that wasn’t J.K. Rowling and b) why would someone read a book written by someone who wasn’t J.K. Rowling? Fast forward four years to me in high school, lamenting to my friend that I really wanted Ron and Hermione to develop a romantic relationship in the series. “Why don’t you just read some fanfics? I know a couple you would love!” WHAT? Fanfiction? NOoooooooooo. But I gave it a go…and haven’t looked back since.

So why is the main social perspective of fanfiction viewed so poorly? What uses are there for this form of storytelling? The answer to the first question is one I cannot answer, but probably stems from the fact it is mostly written and read by marginalized people looking for representation. That is a whole other aspect that could be examined in another article (there are some awesome posts and threads about this on Tumblr and Twitter that are far more eloquent than anything I could write). The answer to the second question is far easier to express.

Writing fanfiction is a great tool for writers.

  • Want to work on characterization without having to world build? Write about original characters in a certain fandom world
  • Want to explore creating a functioning society but don’t want to character design? Write an AU for characters you know well
  • Struggling with dialogue? Struggling with descriptive passages? Practice with characters and worlds you already know well
  • Spelling and grammar a problem? Practice with fanfiction!

Reading fanfiction is fun and easy for readers.

  • TAGS – the best thing about fanfiction is how easy it is to search for the kind of story you want. Want angst with a happy ending? Hurt/comfort. Want sweet wholesome anxiety-free stories? Fluff. Want raw emotions expressed physically through vigorous lovemaking? Smut…well…just adjust the rating to R or E and you can pair that with any other tag to really hone down the type of story you want!
  • Short or long – based on the amount of time or energy you want to invest in a reading session, you can find short stories to novellas to novels to epic long series
  • Tropes galore – like reading a certain trope? People love writing them too so you can spend as long as you want exploring the same flavour of story again and again
  • Unsatisfied with the media you consumed or you simply want more of that world – Fanfiction will fix it or provide you with enough content to satisfy your needs

So yes, I’m obsessed with reading fanfiction and have even dabbled in writing it. There’s a fanfiction from your fandom, about your favourite characters waiting for you for whatever kind of story you are interested in reading. Go forth with an open mind and you can discover some literary gems. Explore fandoms you haven’t even seen the original media of (I’m so into Teen Wolf fanfic right now without ever having seen a single episode), read a genre you don’t normal expose yourself to, and have fun!

Resources

(some of these I hesitate to recommend but I’m trying to be impartial):


Lindsay is an all around geek who mostly spends time consuming fan-created content rather than the original piece of media.

She can be found pottering around TumblrTwitterInstagram, or her portfolio site.

Throwback Tuesday – The Last Horcrux (2014-02-05)

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m frightfully busy at the moment and so you get to revisit one of my favourite short stories. Also some of the only Fan Fiction I’ve written. I don’t like writing Fan Fiction because I worry that I don’t get the voice of the characters or the feel of the world.

This story based off a comic. Here we go.

Click to read the rest of this hilarious comic

In the last days before the battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort decided that he must survive. To this end he created a last Horcrux, one that no one could ever find. Unlike his others, he used and ordinary grain of sand.

This last Horcrux was tossed into the deepest ocean. On its way into the deepest parts of the ocean, a deep water fish mistook it for food and chased it down. It swallowed the grain of sand and proceeded to swim into a magical tear between worlds.

The tear led into a lake. Being a deep water fish, the poor fish was completely blinded by the light in this little lake. It was quickly caught by a fisherman, who gutted it and brought it home. The fish’s guts however were left on the beach to decompose.

There the grain stayed for a few years until a jewellers apprentice came looking for sand to temper jewellery. The sand on this beach was perfect. He collected a large sack of sand including the grain which was a Horcrux.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY


Thanks for reading!

Éric

Ownership of Ideas

Congratulations!

You made something, a piece of art, movie, song, book, story, sculpture, etc. Legally you own what you made. It’s called copyright. What that means is that no one else is allowed to make money from your thing unless they pay you for that right (Unless you gave up your rights to a distributor or publisher). There are exceptions and loopholes but our laws say you own it.

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Your thing becomes viral and super popular. People start writing fanfiction, drawing fanart, making filk, and dissecting every detail about your thing. That’s great. It gets others into it. Your fan community is now self fueling.

You licence out your thing to game makers, movie, television, music, etc. You’ve made it, yay!

You notice that a piece of fanfiction that you read about your thing has had the names changed and is selling ridiculously well. But still using your ideas…

You notice someone has made a Kickstarter to make a fanfilm and it’s in the millions. Using your thing as a basis…

You notice that someone has taken a small sample of your thing and turned it into an earworm that everyone has heard.

You notice that some dumbass has used part of your thing for Geeky Coffee names or logos and is doing ok business. But it’s still your thing…

There are two ways to react to people using your thing to make money, and the most natural one is anger. You get angry and hire a team of lawyers to make sure you get the money from licensing that you deserve or to get them to stop doing what they’re doing. I mean, in theory everything with your thing affects how your thing is seen. You don’t want to hurt or dilute the brand of your thing. How dare they!!!

Or there’s the super-chill way of dealing with it; that is to ignore what they’ve done and make the next thing. You’ve made lots of money, so who cares, right?

Both approaches are extremes and the answer is somewhere in between, I think. You see, I’m not sure where the line should be drawn between fair use and plagiarism (ref.: https://copyleaks.com/businesses/duplicate-content-checker-for-seo-agencies).

As a creator, I’m uncomfortable with the idea that someone else could play or change my stories for their own benefit. I’d hate to find out that my book’s characters have been stolen, twisted into a poor semblance of porn and resold to billions. BUT, I’ll be overjoyed when I look on Fanfiction.net or DeviantArt and find fan creations based off my work.

As a consumer, I want more stories, more books, more fanart! I want buttons, coffee, shirts, posters, and all the things!!! I want to tell everyone about the super awesome cup I got based off my favourite thing.

The ethics are obvious; Don’t steal! But does my use of a drawn picture of a Dalek and the name Davroast really count as stealing? I’m not saying it’s mine, I’m just showing my love.

I know that when I’m ready for mass production, I’ll have to change the names of most of my coffee.

 

I do not have the answers. What do you think?

Éric