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Chapter 3

see disclaimer chapter 1
She looked around at all of the people watching her.  She felt an overwhelming dread at what she was sacrificing; using her powers in front of all these people meant the destruction of everything she had worked so hard for.  Sonja's eyes traveled back to the man, who seemed to have stopped breathing.

Sonja's worst dream was playing itself out all over again, but she knew this was the only way.  She closed her eyes and started to meditate, laying her hands over the horrific wound.  The energy started behind her eyes and in her chest.  She could feel the light and slight vibration of it starting to centralize and grow.  It gathered more and more strength as she concentrated harder.  Like a bright light bathing over her entire being, she felt the sensations start to radiate from her body and especially through her hands.  Like so many times before with her animals and other people, she mentally projected what she wanted to do.  She had only tried to use it on humans a couple of times, but she had no choice but to try to save the man.

She got flashes of what had happened to him.  She placed herself into his mind and into his body just before the accident, when he had been whole and unwounded.  She saw cameras and lots of equipment and people looking up at
her, smiling.  She saw and felt how the man had been lifted up to the platform, saw the other people in costume smiling and joking.  Then they were up on the stage.  Sonja could feel the rubbery springiness of the mats that covered the platform and see the vast stretches of fields surrounded by forests.

Then she felt herself slip.  Her feet came out from underneath her as she felt how the man had been grabbing at air, trying to save himself.  His heart skipped a beat from the initial fear and Sonja felt her own heart catch in her throat.  She saw quick glimpses of horrified looks from the other actors.  Then they disappeared as she felt herself go completely off balance.

Sonja had the sensation of falling over backwards, down, flying through space for a few sickening seconds.  All she could see was blue sky.  Then there was an all-consuming searing jolt up her side that sent stars of white-hot pain flying through her mind. She bucked backwards and her back snapped into an arch as the pain hit her.  She couldn't breath.  She felt her ribs crack and break, could feel her skin and muscle being forcibly speared and torn from her body.  Her whole right side was engulfed in fiery flames of pain.  She could feel all the muscles across her back screaming protests throughout her entire body as she convulsed next to the prone man.  Something hot and exceedingly sharp was jammed into her side, right into her ribs and lungs.  She couldn't breath, couldn't move, felt warm sticky blood running down her leg.  Then a blackness started to creep up behind her eyes.  The unconsciousness that had taken over the man was the last thing she
felt.  Her body went limp and as soon as she moved her hands from over the man,
her normal reality started to settle back in.

Sonja slowly regained consciousness, trying to piece together her composure
through the residual haze of pain.  She recognized the feel of sticky blood
stained grass under her hands and struggled with remembering where she was.
The man was starting to moan softly and his eyelids made a slight twitch.  Sonja's thoughts quickly snapped back into focus.  She was trying to save this man's life.  She checked his pulse.  It was much stronger then it had been. Almost afraid of going through all that pain and not succeeding, she slowly looked over his back to see if anything had changed.

Sonja was amazed with herself; she had never had this strong of an effect on
someone.  She almost couldn't believe what she had done.  The man's exposed
flesh showed absolutely no signs of having been torn or mangled.  There wasn't even any bruising, just smooth pink skin rising rhythmically with his deep breaths. His color had returned, his breathing was deep and regular again.  She palpated his side, pushing on his kidneys and ribs.  The man barely even noticed her, not giving any signs of pain in those areas.

Sonja heaved a deep sigh, her body going weak again with exhaustion and
relief.  The man would most definitely survive, hell, he was probably good as new, she thought.  She leaned down and looked into his face just in time to see his eyes flutter open.

"You'll be just fine," she said to him.  A ghost of a smile chased across his face before his eyes fluttered shut again.
That's when Sonja's world came crashing down around her ears with three simple words.

"She's a mutant!" someone said from the edge of the crowd.  Murmurs started
to escalate.  The faces of the crowd were all agape, staring wide-eyed, not
believing what they had just witnessed.  But the shout had somehow shaken
them, and horrified looks were quickly replacing the open-mouthed awe.  Sonja
had no time to think, just to react.  Her experiences in the past had permanently branded into her mind how humans reacted to mutants, no matter who or what the mutants were.  Sonja had to escape.

She looked up and saw the man that had driven her from the hospital.  She
mentally ordered him to move.  Like a puppet on strings, his arm reached into
his pocket, pulling out the keys to the SUV, and threw them in her direction. Coming off the ground in a runner's crouch, she caught the keys in mid-air and took off in the direction of the parking lot.  The pain in her side screamed for her to stop, but the fear in her gut pushed her on at an incredible speed.

People from the crowd started closing in on her.  "Someone, stop her!  Don't let her go!" she heard someone yell.  Sonja thought she was too tired and spent to clear a path for herself through all of the bodies around her, but the fear and desperation she felt strengthened her reserves.  She summoned the last bit of power in her body and concentrated, sending a concussing force at the people directly in her path. She effectively knocked them back just far enough so that she could squeak by without any of them making a successful grab at her.

Then she just ran.  She couldn't think of anything else but escaping.  She didn't hear the crowd screaming to stop her, she couldn't feel the pavement as it flew beneath her feet.  She headed straight for the SUV, jumped in, and started it up. She had just slammed the car into gear when the first person from the crowd reached her.  It was a big man and Sonja noticed that he had huge hands as he pounded on the back window, his face screwed up with confusion and pleading. She floored the gas pedal and screeched away.  The big man, the entire set, and the person she had sacrificed her life for all vanished behind her in a thick cloud of dust.

Chapter 4

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