A to Z 2016 : ZENITH

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Sam had never felt so alive. The energy flowing throughout him, his entire body, was igniting him to his core. He wasn't sure if it was physically visible to others, but it appeared to him as though his used up body had been reshaped. Fat melted, shed away, and replaced with rippling muscles and taut skin overlapping them, displaying their graceful curves. Seeing them bulk and flex with his movements, glistening with sweat and blood, as he fended off multiple assailants was almost distracting. They pulsed in such a beautiful, exquisite rhythm.

He could also feel additional transformations taking place. Not just having his body chiseled, rivaling stone and marble depictions of Greek gods, but growing in overall mass. He felt larger, stronger, a man shifting into a hulking beast of what he perceived as physical perfection. And his mind. So clear and... What are you waiting for, you need to end this. Almost empty.

The small swarms of police officers that had flooded the park were easily manageable. Nothing more than annoying gnats, attempting to nip and bite at him, swatted away with little effort. Sam enjoyed the thought of toying with them more, but there was a more pressing matter at hand. One that took the shape of a persistent, nameless woman.

She was on him again, jumping on his back and wrapping an arm around his neck, landing blows against his head. Strikes that actually hurt. His neck felt as thick and sturdy as a tree stump, but she tightened her hold, slowly beginning to cut off his air. Sam reached back, grappling for and contacting her assaulting fist, enclosing it in his enlarged hand. She struggled to break free from his grasp and in response he gave a sharp, tight squeeze. Sam could feel her hand being crushed, becoming excited when hearing her scream out in pain. Taking advantage, he gripped the back of her shirt with his free hand and ripped her off his back, throwing her through the air in front of him. The woman landed hard and toppled end over end like a rag doll. He was certain she was sporting more than a broken hand afterward.

Finish her while she's down. Acting on the command, he lurched forward, making up the distance in mere seconds, but the woman was already back on her feet.

"You're really going to have to do better than that," she said, a taunting smirk offered. Sam sneered back and launched another attack, punching wildly, but each was either deflected or dodged. "You getting tired yet?"

He couldn't help but notice she seemed to be completely unhindered by her landing, and was even returning swings with both fists. Her crushed hand causing little pain after the fact. The woman was much faster and stronger than anyone else he had ever encountered, even able to defend against his attacks unless he managed to catch her off guard. Easier said than done. He knew he was the superior, though. Turn up the dial. Bring it home.

Sam wanted to end the confrontation before he actually did begin to tire. At the moment, he was being fueled by anger and a constant flow of adrenaline. By Trinity. Truly a wonder drug for the ages. There was no guarantee how long the effects would last. The woman was definitely someone outside the realm of normal. Perhaps another test subject for those behind Trinity. Doesn't matter. Unless it did. How many more are there? The potential of being constantly hunted down was very real. Not that he wouldn't already be, but there was a gulf of difference between lesser humans and those with enhanced abilities like himself.

His head snapped back as his opponent got through his defenses, landing a solid blow. The pain only succeeded in amping up his rage. In return, as she came in for another attempt, he batted her arm aside and countered. He threw a lightning fast jab into her abdomen, the connection lifting her backwards off her feet. She landed and stumbled back, one arm wrapped around her stomach. Now!

Sam was a flash, in front of her again, his massive fists pummeling at supersonic speeds. He kept the punches shallow, opting speed over strength, with the intent of building up momentum. Sam couldn't resist the urge to play with her, being he clearly had gained the upper hand. His adversary could do little to stop the assault, only avoiding a handful, the rest hitting their marks.

He listened as her ribs broke, to the sharp shallow breaths escaping her lips, a punch landing and breaking her jaw. And yet she continued standing her ground, unwilling to give up. Sam felt it was shameful to disfigure and destroy such a beautiful specimen, but knew for his survival it was necessary. Time to end this. Blocking her weakening flails, he opened up her defenses and threw in a charged thrust. His fist slammed into her sternum, shattering it, throwing her backwards yet again, but this time she landed flat on her back. The body laid in the grass, motionless.

Before he could attempt to relish in his victory, his attention was drawn to a minivan speeding through the parking lot. It was gaining momentum as it continued into the park, heading directly for him. Sam felt invincible, heaving and flexing his newfound body. Someone else wants to play? The very thought of anyone stupid enough to engage him after the pure dominance he had just demonstrated made him scoff. And then he opened the floodgates. Hate filled him up and he turned to face the vehicle head on.

His muscles tensed, neck veins protruding just under the skin, as he let out a primal scream. He could feel his face flush intensely as he continued the yell, embracing for impact with the van, which appeared to be piloted by a young kid. He could see the individual behind the steering wheel, eyes lit up with determination, and hear the screams given in return. And then Sam was struck in a thunderous clamor.

Instead of being pulled under the van, he was soaring backwards through the air, his vision blurring slightly, stars dancing. When he hit the ground and finally slid to a stop, he had to take a moment to gather his senses. He hadn't anticipated the impact to affect him so acutely. Sam shook his head and watched as the indented minivan, smoke curling out from under its hood, backed up. The driver turned the van so that one full side, housing the side door, was facing his direction.

The minivan was a solid dark grey, with the exception of large lettering scrawled across its side spelling out "Gravitron" in red paint. The side door began to slowly open, fracturing the word, as it shifted towards the back of the van, a metal plate beginning to extend outwards. Sam was curious who his new challenger was. After the automatic ramp was completely jettisoned from the van, a younger male, wheelchair bound, emerged from the side door and maneuvered down it.

His intrigue turned to confusion when he caught movement in his peripheral vision. To his right, the woman he swore he had just killed was walking towards the newcomer in the wheelchair. No limping, no crawling, no gasping for air, no anything. She appeared completely unharmed. What the fuck... Sam slowly shifted to his knees and then his feet, making sure to keep his eyes on the lady, feeling certain she would suddenly launch an attack. Her focus remained on the stranger, however, the two engaging in conversation.

Sam couldn't hear everything that was being said and he didn't care. He used the opportunity to rebuild and harness his rage, knowing that it wasn't enough to kill his opponent by conventional means. He was going to have to get creative, try something new. New was good. Killing was an art after all.

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(To Be Continued...)

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