A Monster Without



Scene Title A Monster Without
Synopsis When flames come to haunt Isa's dreams, she faces them head-on.
Date October 9, 2020

When Isa becomes aware of her surroundings, she's circled by a three-dimensional ring of black ash— of fire long-since burned away and cinders quieted.

The air is still warm. Like it could reignite at any time.

It bothers her none at all.

She gasps as if waking from a dream and looks around with hazel eyes red from sobbing. Isabelle feels hollow here and full at the same time. A small hand on her shoulder has the woman looking upwards to see a younger version of herself wreathed in fire. "Yo͏u ͡are͡ ͟a m҉o͞n͘s̵t̸eŕ." Her voice is distorted and eyes empty sockets filled with blue fire. The adult reels backwards and crawls away on palms, "No…" She thought it had been over, maybe she knew that it would never be over.

She deserved no peace.

The screams of her victims overtake all of the pyrokinetic's senses. "And monsters, can wait."

Isabelle screams and sits forward.

Cresting Wave Apartments

In her bed, it takes a moment for the woman to understand where she is and that she's awake now, safe. There are no fires to dash like usually when she comes to from a nightmare and that also is a sigh of relief. Isa throws herself back into the bed and savors the feeling of the expensive sheets and the smell of her husband. Her nostrils twitch at another smell and her head comes up, coffee.

That could help her banish the brain fog of this horrible nightmare.

When her hand pushes down into the mattress so she can come to her feet, Shahid's side of the bed is void of him, though his scent remains. Pulling the bedroom door open and listening, there's no sound of music to indicate Namiko's home either.

After the nightmare she's just had, maybe a little time alone will be the best thing to clear her thoughts. So, the silence in the apartment bothers her none at all.

In the reflection of herself in the kitchen window, she sees something just slightly off— but on looking up, it's a trick of the glass. It's nothing. Similarly, there's only the scent of coffee here, but none actually to take in. Not yet, anyway. She'll have to make some for herself.

Cursing her senses at failing to lead to actual coffee but instead create the want of it, Isa opens the nearby cabinet and pulls the coffee beans out. Placing it softly on the counter before she rubs her eyes and bows her head.

It was still getting to her but, maybe coffee would eliminate the fog she was in. Her mind was already doing the work to write over the strange thing she saw in the mirror. A trick of the light, visual delusion. Shaw would smile at how Isa was working it all out.

The espresso machine is eyed and she makes her way over, doling out the beans and allowing the expensive machine to do its work. Isabelle had wanted to be alone but she equally wanted to be surrounded by her family, in the arms of her husband. She decides in that moment that the Khans would have a grand family dinner tonight. Things like that connected her to humanity. She wanted to turn her back on the monster finally.

And just like that, the coffee she's making is for herself, but it's also for so many others. She can hear the conversation of them in the background— her friends and loved ones in the living room. Shahid, Namiko, Magnes, Ling, Kain…

She's just putting on a pot of coffee for them all to share while they laugh together about their shared experiences, at peace that it's all behind them, and to commiserate about their current experiences in this new, medium place world they've fallen into.

The pot on the stove is just beginning to build steam when the doorbell chimes.

"I'll get it," Isabelle hears herself call out to the others, and she turns for the door. Maybe it's Kaylee, finally come to join them. It's a thought that fills her with hope, brings her to smile.

She pulls the door open with that smile still on her face— right up until she feels the heat coming through the open doorway. Her eyes reflect with sudden terror the thing on the other side.

It's… herself.

She's wreathed in flame, fist clenched by her side, and her gaze firmly over her shoulder— toward the rest of the house. Isabelle's flaming other shifts a look back to her with murderous intent, something inhuman about the way she carries herself. She gets the feeling, given the chance, this other her would tear past her and set to flame everything she holds dear.

The only thing between her loved ones and the monster in the doorway is herself.

Ah, now that feels right. Isa smiles to herself as she begins to take the pot and a slew of mugs out to her friends but the doorbell is rung and she goes to answer instead, two mugs in hand.

"No!" the sound of the mugs shattering on the floor echo unnaturally around her as her vision zeroes in on the flames.

The shock of seeing herself. The monster within her has hazel eyes wide and Isa does the only thing she knows how to do.

With a cry she charges into the woman on fire.

The two of them go tumbling out into the hallway, hands braced against each other in a shove. Her other self struggles wordlessly back against her, hands burning onto the skin on her shoulder and biceps. But Isa succeeds in drawing the monster away from her loved ones, wrestling her away from the doorway to the apartment.

One which vanishes behind her, leaving only the hallway, only the struggle.

And a young girl— woman?— standing further down the dimly lit hall, watching from afar.


"You can do it," she encourages, her voice at once at a perfect, normal register and little more than a whisper. Her eyes are grey, the color of smoke and ash. "You can beat her— you can beat back the m̵͚͕͇̜̳̟͊̔õ̸̢̙̯̙͎̫͑͘͝ǹ̶̢̮̮̥̗̺̈͊̐͂̉͊ͅs̷̡̧̯͈͇͉̀͋͆͌͜͠͝t̶̝̪͚̱̂͐̏ě̵̫͍̱͔̤̬̭̉̀ͅr̴͚͊̃̀͗́̇."

Can she, though? For every move Isa makes, her flame-wreathed double matches it.

Isa can.

Her hand claps against the flame covered arm and her nails dig in. Isabelle's teeth bare and she grunts from the blistering pain but what was pain becomes acceptance, understanding on a level her conscious mind is never able to grasp.

"We are the monster." Hazel eyes narrow at the unknown face before she yanks herself towards her fiery double. "We are the same."

Her body slams into her double's and she wraps both arms around the creature's middle crushing them into each other. "Together. We're in this the fuck together."


Isa's eyes close and she lays her head on its shoulder, the blackening skin on her face beginning to peel back.

"Oh, Isa."

The distant voice sounds supportive, if pitying. Flame wreathing her other form takes hold on her own skin. No nourishment, no joining, just… pain. No melding of beings happens, for all that she tries. Just more of herself burns away in the process.

And then the woman at the end of the hall begins to laugh, one hand lifting to partly cover red-painted lips in a failed gesture to contain it.

"That ţ̵̦̬̒r̵̟̞͔͇̈͒̓u̵̧̨̱͑͑̂͐t̷͔͕͙̀h̵̛̺̆̐̅ will set you free, won't it?"

In the end, Isa crisps to an ash, one that dances in the heat put off by her monstrous self. All her flaming form had to do was just wait it out— wait for her other self to just be burned away.

Wordlessly, through eyes now shared, Isa sees herself head back for the reappeared door to the apartment she shares with her family. She can do nothing as her hand grabs the doorknob, pushes it back open. She's lost all control, unable to stop herself from stepping back in, from keeping the doorframe catching fire from where she touched it, from bringing the flooring to flame with every step she takes.

From bringing danger to those she loves most.

The woman with red-painted lips observes Isa's dutiful trudge forward from the kitchen with a coffee mug cupped between both hands, mouth twisted into a smile.

"You didn't even need my help to get there," she remarks with that wicked curve of a grin.

Isa can hear the sounds of her family and friends in the living room space as she heads down the hall, step after step, unaware of the pyroclasm she wordlessly brings with her. She can hear the sound of gentle music pl—

Cresting Wave Apartments

Yamagato Park

4:09 am

Thrown from sleep with a terrible sense of dread clinging to her, Isa sees only the dark of the ceiling, shapes made distinct only by the faint light that comes in from the window facing the cityscape of Yamagato Park…

And hears the sound of gentle music coming from down the hall, backgrounded still by the sound of running water.

It was a dream. Just a dream.

But it's not the first time she's had one like it.

The fire is intense, a hovering ball of blue flame in front of her face. Hazel eyes widen and she quickly looks around, nothing else on fire. Husband was safe. She should really start taking negation pills before she sleeps. Why hadn't she?

That nightmare, it felt so familiar and also different. The ball of fire flickers in the air and slowly bobs around her seated position.

It takes a moment for Isabelle to realize there is no flame, simply imagination; a want so desired she had brought it forth to the land of the waking, but the room is cold and dark. Husband safe.

Fire still out.

Was a monster the same without their most deadly weapon?

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