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  1. Maria's eyes blinked and went wide in surprise as the old, homeless man seemed to speak to her. 'Huh?! He can SEE me?!?!' she thought and then noted his eyes. 'Well.. maybe not "SEE" exactly, but WTF?!?' the line of thought continued. She was invisible and utterly silent... like, to a level that would give Batman a hard-on. She'd even walked by dogs in the past to test how well she hid her scent, sometimes even holding treats which she would extend her and was entirely un-noticed. Nobody had ever spotted her and now this guy did? Maria grimaced and clutched her arm, the pain drawing her out of her thoughts. She looked down at her arm and slowly growing crimson stain, biting her bottom lip, trying to to cry from the pain as she thought about her predicament. She could not exactly go walking into a hospital with a gunshot wound. They would have to ask questions and make a report and stuff. Yeah, she could give them a fake name and would not show up on a camera, and they probably would not remember what she looked like, so she considered just ditching this guy, and then she remembered that the hospital would have her blood. Damnit. She was not sure who this guy was, but he sure didn't look like a cop or some government guy, making his offer sound better and better. She focused as best she could, blinking hard in a futile attempt to hold back her tears, and allowed herself to be heard. "Thanks. Lead the way, abuelo." she managed to say more or less clearly.
  2. Maria watched what was happening before an almost kind of slow-motion as she considered what to do. As the guy began to push the door open she decided and outside police sirens could be head from a half dozen cars pulling into the parking lot, door flying open as police stepped out, guns drawn, surrounding the doorway. "Freeze!" the cops shouted in all manner of deep, intimidating voices "On the ground! Now! Arms and legs spread!" the continued to bark as more and more cop cars came screeching into the parking lot painting everything in alternating red and blue light. The thieves stood dumbfounded. ""On the ground! Now! Arms and legs spread!" one reiterated, his voice sounding maybe a little too much like The Rock as several of the officers approached, their heavy footfalls and the rustling of their belts easily heard. Not knowing what else to do the pair each made a decision. One lay down, looking terrified and the other bolted. 'Shit!' Maria thought to herself and made a snap decision, running the same direction at the runner, but invisibly running right through the walls shelves, displays, salon chairs and so forth of the various business of the strip mall to cut the guy off, snagging a bag of zip-ties that vanished off the shelf of the small auto parts shop. What she though would have been a tough footrace, even running through the walls, actually turned out to be easier than she expected, as she was still not full adjusted to her physiology. She passed through the wall at the far end of the strap mall just before the runner rounded the corner. With a mental decision she re-solidified, though remained invisible, and stuck slid her invisible leg out, bracing it as best she could. The runner, looking back over his shoulder at the police that were, for whatever reason, not giving chase, probably would not have noticed Maria's leg, even if it were visible and went face first into the sidewalk as soon as he hit it, unable to really make an attempt to keep his balance. Surprised, the guy turned around, wiping some blood from his face. Maria assumed that he would not submit to being bound without a fight, so she decided to give him one. The exchange was very brief, given Marian's newfound strength, just a couple of blows, but he had managed to get in a lucky blow as he punched wildly around himself before finally going down. Maria pulled out the bag of zip-ties, tore it open, and bound his wrists behind his back. She hefted him up with surprising casualness as he vanished from sight as well, and ran back. The thief on the ground in front of the store was confused. The cops were surrounding him, and yelling at him, but not a single one had made a move to handcuff him. Just as he was beginning to get some courage, his accomplice just appeared on the pavement next to him, unconscious and bleeding from his face, his wrists bound behind his back. He blinked at the newly appeared young man and placed his hands out to his sides, pushing up to rise as one of the cops stepped close and put his knee in his back. "Where are you going, punk?"said the cop who sounded maybe a little too much like Norman Reedus. As the cop pressed his knee into the guys back, Maria, still invisible, stepped into the image of the officer and pushed him down with her knee, grasping his wrists and pulling them behind his back to bind them and his feet with the zip-ties. The clerk stood inside, watching the scene with the cops through the glass, and the guy just appear on the ground, with a phone in her hand, having already dialed 911 for help. Maria could hear the sounds of sirens, real ones, approaching and rose up. When she judged they were just a few seconds away, the cops and patrol cars all just.. vanished. Maria the clerk dropped the phone and stood there slack-jawed as a police car pulled into the parking lot. Maria, still out of sight watched as the cops approached the two bound men and the clerk, who began to babble about she saw, or didn't see. Maria smiled and walked in, collecting her bag, which promptly vanished, and walked home. The least they could do give her a gallon of milk and a few candy bars for all she did for the store...
  3. --==[The Dance Loft - Miami, Florida]==-- Maria staggered into the restroom a the dance studio, holding her head and wincing in pain. The headache was excruciating, sending Maria to the cold tile on her knees. She had been having headaches lately, and they seemed to be getting worse, but she had had chalked it up to a too much caffeine or too many energy drinks to fuel the long nights out, but this was different. Her mind jumped to thoughts of blood clot in the brain or a stroke or something even worse that just did know about. That was for the few seconds that she could still think at least, before everything went black. The grimace on her face slowly faded as she returned to consciousness, the tension caused by the pain receding as her eyes blinked open. She lay there, on the tiled floor of the restroom and sneezed as the scent of the time released air freshener hit her like a punch in the nose. She never remembered it being that strong, and for that matter, she remembered the walls being better insulated, and yet she could hear the music of class she had just left better than she ever could before from in the restroom, and several more classes as well. On top of that she could feel somebody staring at her through the gap between the wall and the door of the bathroom stall as she vanished. Maria was, in fact, still standing there, though even hyper-perceptive Keys would be hard pressed to tell. Maria held up her hand and looked closely her palm and the back of her hand for a moment before noticing that there was no reflection of her in the mirror anymore. She stuck out a finger and pressed it to the mirror, passing right through it. "Wha-?" the girl in stall stammered in surprised by Maria's vanishing act, followed quickly by a flush. The pain in her head was gone, but somehow was replaced with a sudden clarity. She somehow just knew that she has become a... "Key" was the term she had heard, and she instinctively knew what she was capable of now. She felt... awake, strong, energetic... She had won the genetic lottery and become like those super people she saw on tv! The implications of were just beginning to race through her mind when Julia, a fellow aspiring dancer and student in the same dance calls as Maria, exited the stall. She looked all around cautiously and then raced out of the restroom and back to the studio. Maria followed, reflexively walking to the doorway, and then right through the closed door. "Uhh.. some girl in the restroom just vanished." Julia announced to the class. Maria sighed, though nobody could hear it. She had been taking the same dance class with Julia, three nights a week, for two years now, and she did not know her name or even recognize her as being in the same class. Unfortunately, this was nothing new for Maria. She had been looked past and forgotten all her life, no matter how well she danced, how hard she tried to look her best or a plethora of other things. She was not ignored, because that would take actual effort. Instead, she was utterly and remarkably average in appearance and charisma, just another face in the crowd, rarely getting any sort of recognition, and it had chipped away at her self-image and confidence for years now. "Yeah. It was me," Maria said as she became visible again, causing the class to gasp. "Where did you come from?" "How'd you do that?" "You.. You're one of those "Key" people?" The questions came rapid fire and, for the first time in her life, outside of family events, she was the center of attention. She displayed her newfound abilities like they were parlor tricks as the other fawned over her, or more accurately, the spectacle of a Key first hand, for some time, until the end of class came and the other students had to get going, making room for the next class. With a smile on her face, Maria vanished and walked around, listening to the girls talk as they left. "Who was that girl?" "I dunno. She must have just wandered in off the street." "Didn't you get a selfie with her?" "Yeah I did.. Huh... it's just me in the selfie..." Maria silently sighed again as she came to better understand that her abilities where really just an extension of her regular self, even to the point of causing people to forget her, what she looked like, and obfuscating her from cameras. It would be hard to get any degree of fame or fortune when nobody could film or even remember you... Maria picked up her bag, causing it to vanish from view as well, and began to walk home with tears welling up in her eyes, utterly unnoticed by every pedestrian and motorist...
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