Marathon in the Park

Commissioned by nobody! A HarmonyMotion original production

Marathon in the Park

Written by HarmonyMotion with Au Goose
Edited by Au Goose
Shard-Strike Universe created by Au Goose

Chapter 1

“Today is October 30th, and with a year between us and the Shard-Storm, folks are looking forward to getting back to normal. Though some academics are warning that strange phenomena could increase during this, the most spoooo-oooky time of the year. Mayor Bhasin is urging all parents to be especially vigilant this year if you are taking your children out for trick or treating. Police will be performing extra neighborhood patrols until 3AM and our own Los Angeles heroes, the Golden Guard will be on standby if there’s any paranatural threats…”

“Boring. Magic most divine, change to channel nine!” Melody sing-songed.

Her modest flatscreen flickered as she continued to brew her potion in a little black cast iron, stirring the nasty-looking brew with an electric hand mixer. She had it on the lowest setting, doing her best to follow Auntie Eunji’s secret recipe. One she’d found in the tome which she had inherited the day the world caught fire.

Before the firestorm…

Auntie Eunji was a crazy old bat. Everyone said so. But family was family, after all. The three Park sisters, Melody, Helen, and Jane, often went to visit Eunji in her decrepit studio. Their crazy maybe-Wiccan maybe-who-knows-what aunt had refused to go anywhere else, repeatedly claiming that ‘the leylines were strongest there!’

Eunji had grown more and more erratic the longer she isolated herself. She was always telling stories about witchcraft to the girls when they were children, but what their family thought was merely entertaining fairytales grew more zealous as time went on.

Helen, the oldest, insisted on going, calling it a familial duty. And because she was the eldest, Melody and Jane had to respect her wishes. Their mother approved. Helen would make a good wife and mother someday.

Jane, overachiever that she was, despised having her time wasted on mystical mumbo jumbo. She just wanted to study, do her homework, and practice violin.

But Melody… Melody was truly fascinated by Auntie Eunji’s tales. And their Auntie latched onto her like a drowning person gasping for air. Finally, someone in the family who had an interest in things not easily seen!

The family didn’t stop visiting, but Jane and Helen soon brought their own activities to entertain themselves at the old study, while Melody hung on Eunji’s every word. A period of upheaval was coming, she’d whisper conspiratorially to her only student. Melody had to be ready. Had to study the art of potion brewing, hex recitation, that kind of stuff.

The old lady became more and more frenzied over the years. While the rest of her family became more reluctant to visit, Melody always went without reservation. Her presence brought Auntie Eunji some comfort, she insisted. Her parents grew more nervous, but they wouldn’t deny the strange woman that.

Only looking back did Melody piece the whole timeline together.

Auntie Eunji passed away on the very first day of the Shard-Storm. And… it sure seemed like she had known it was coming. They found her body on the floor, lying on its side within a large hexagram inscribed in a circle drawn from chalk. In between her hands was a picture of Melody. Neatly printed on the back of the photo: “My time has passed. Your time is now.”

Melody received Auntie’s heirloom tome. Helen tried to suppress a snicker, but failed. Jane did not try to suppress it. They also received a few items from their aunt’s estate, as per her wishes, but they were simple tokens. A bit of art, a few other belongings that were surprisingly appropriate. Even Jane cried when she received the chair she’d taken to curling up in during their many visits. Eunji had let her be, but she had clearly noticed Jane’s fondness for it.

They were each grieving in their own way, and the news was full of fire and monsters and maybe superheroes. Many of their friends called the sudden lightning strikes that were sweeping away the old safe and boring world a hoax. A gigantic, synchronized hoax. Maybe one organized by anonymous members of an internet site.

But by the end of that long, terrifying week, there was no denying it: superpowers were a part of the world now.

But only Melody knew magic had come back too.

Chapter 1 (cont.)

So Melody studied, diligently, every day since she’d received her Aunt’s treasure.

It turned out that witching was hard work. Rhyming couplets were the source of a witch’s spontaneous power. Being tongue tied or distracted in the heat of the moment usually spelled a witch’s doom.

Pages upon pages of common rhymes filled well over a third of the manual. Perhaps that was why the mean girls in school held so much power over others. They always knew just how to twist someone’s name or something they said into a brutally mocking caricature.

The more powerful the spell, the more lines required. She committed pages of the stuff to memory, like a multiplication chart. Who knew, in this new and dangerous world, when she might need to call upon it?

A black cat sat on the inside of her windowsill, hissing and clawing at a dead raven on the other side of the glass. There were flies on its rotting corpse.

“Noir, what is it, baby?” Melody walked over to examine. “Oh, gross!”

Noir hissed even louder and ran away as Melody grabbed a disposable wooden chopstick, opened the window, and gingerly pushed the carcass off.

Shuddering in disgust, she threw the stick away and turned on the TV.

“Channel Nine News, Sophia Gomez reporting. Five masked men, dressed in brown military uniforms with red armbands depicting swastikas, entered an all-female school via paranatural portal. As most of our viewers know, women are statistically far more likely to gain powers in the aftermath of a shard-strike. Authorities suspect the crime is gender hate crime related.

Thankfully, Marathon arrived on the scene before any harm was done! The iconic superhero is truly a miracle—not only one of the most powerful beings the world has ever seen, but he is male!

The city’s champion suffered minor injuries: a few gunshots to his arms, one to his torso. But after subduing all five of these self-declared Nazis, the bullet wounds were already healing by the time he gave an after-action interview.

This has been Sophia Gomez, reporting live for CNN.”

Melody didn’t watch the footage, but she only needed her imagination to see Marathon in her mind’s eye. Despite being born second generation to Korean-American parents, they were still quite traditional. She imagined bringing home a rugged, lean, white man, face adorned with a scraggly five o’clock shadow, him towering over her by a full foot, and introducing him to her parents.

They would probably freak! Well, it would serve Helen right for demanding that she find a boyfriend and settle down. She could be just as insufferable as their parents about it.

The pleasant daydream quickly brought her back to reality. Melody just could not land a good date! So many of the men were too intimidated by a confident woman. Especially one as beautiful as she.

…And who could turn them into a toad if they got too grabby. Not that she would ever admit it publicly.

Still, she just needed to find a man she was interested in. And with the scheme she was brewing, it would definitely be a good date. A perfect date, even.

Chapter 2

Potion brewing was a slow, torturous, methodic process, to be followed to the tee. Or so the book said.

“Eye of newt, toe of snail?!” Melody cried in disgust. “What the hell are these?”

“Fire burn, cauldron bubble. And do I really have to do this over a fire pit with… green flames!?”

So her first order of business had been to create cleansing or disenchantment salts. If something went wrong with a potion, she could always throw a handful over her shoulder and undo any calamitous effects.

Assuming that she still had a hand to use, or a shoulder to throw it over. Magic was fun that way.

But it turns out witches were luddites. Or their technology just really was that old. Maybe there was something to this Rebirth of Magic theory being batted around on the OccultWeb… it would certainly fit the timeline suggested by her spellbook.

Melody had spent most of the year slowly transcribing her own versions of these recipes. Eye of newt? Find a frog. Toe of snail? Escargot! Electric stove on and cast iron bubbling. Stir with electric hand mixers. It wasn’t so bad. Probably witches of olde didn’t have the convenience of big box grocery stores and online shopping. Economics still ruled the world, after all.

Tomorrow was a big mixer party in their shared offices. Surely there was someone in that twenty floor building that she would find more than palatable to spend a few hours with.

The potion’s solid ingredients finally began to dissolve into the fluid soup. It soon changed from a cloudy, steaming grey to a deep purple. She had discovered that a sudden shift in color always happened when a potion was done brewing. Nice design.

Cleansing salts at the ready, Melody pinched her nose and dotted a drop on her tongue. She shivered and gagged. Oh, was it bad! Good potion visual design, but awful on the taste buds. She spat it out, held back her hair, and shoved her face under the faucet. The water ran down her cheeks and seeped down her neck, but she just gargled and gargled.

Heaving over the sink, saliva dripping down her chin, her black crop top stained with trails of water, Melody fought the urge to gag.

Well, at least she hadn’t turned into a toad. Unlike one of her particularly nasty ex-boyfriends, whom she had transformed with twenty lines of rhyming couplets. After letting him hop around aimlessly for an hour while she practiced her incantations on his most treasured possessions, transmuting the poses in photos, or turning his video game console into a large purple dildo, she turned him back into human form—though maybe an inch or two shorter.

He kept a wide berth from Melody now.

Melody spat repeatedly into the sink, trying to scrape that vile taste off her tongue with her fingers. How did witches ever survive drinking these vile concoctions?

She went back to the stove and reached into the upper shelf. Vanilla extract, almond extract, plenty of nice, modern tools at the ready. She poured a bottle into the purple potion and monitored it.

No hissing. No color change.

She’d already done this a few times with concentration and persuasion potions. They had worked perfectly fine. If there were a witches’ academy out there somewhere, they would probably kill for her delicious newt-snail-bat-vanilla recipe.

Melody scooped another small spoonful and drank it down like medicine. Her other hand clasped the cleansing salts, lest something terrible happen. Maybe the salt would accidentally sprinkle over her shoulder.

Ten seconds passed. Twenty. A minute. She felt fine.

The potion would wear off by tomorrow. She’d have it ready for the party.

Her perfect-date-guaranteed potion.

Chapter 3

“October 31st, Channel Nine News reporting.

More petty theft and larger-scale heists stopped in their tracks today! The Golden Guardians, led by Marathon, are keeping our city safe!

We have actual, on the scene footage of Raceway and Titaness foiling a major armed bank robbery.”

The clip played in slow motion. All that could be seen in the background were Titaness’s calves, a testament that she really lived up to her name. At her maximum size, she stood taller than the entire highrise building.

Even in slow motion, Raceway was a blur. A thin, red streak zipped in and out of the building, depositing criminals in one pile and hostages in another. Only when they were all rounded up did the super-fast hero stop moving, allowing her masked face and short brunette curls to become recognizable to the naked eye.

Some of the empowered criminals tried to escape, but a large shadow loomed above them right before Titaness’s boot came crashing down.

She pinned them in place with her two-story high footwear, scanning the rest of the city from her high “perch,” waiting for the meta-police to arrive.

“Another day in the books for Los Angeles. Will criminal activity slow down anytime soon? Are we running out of prisons for para-enhanced criminals? Will we forever require the services of Marathon and his team?

This has been Sophia Gomez of Channel Nine News.”

Melody put on her scandalously sexy witch costume in preparation for the party. Luckily, the criminals had chosen someone else’s bank to rob! God forbid they hit her place of employment and ruin the office party for tonight.

Examining herself in the mirror, even Melody had to admit, she looked absolutely stunning. Was this too revealing for an office party?

To call the neckline of her black dress plunging was only half truth. It was positively scandalous, the front slit running down all the way to her cute belly button. She’d need tape to keep herself looking decent in public.

She’d always been proud of her breasts, and for good reason. They were so beautifully large, yet still firm and perky. She couldn’t resist tracing a single finger over the curvature of her swells, outlining her exposed cleavage. The fact that a short, pure-blooded Asian girl could have a chest like this only made her more of a unicorn. Though to be fair, it ran in the family.

Melody laughed at her sleeves that flared out below the elbow. She loved swishing them around, feeling the fabric rub against her wrists.

The lower half of her getup was just as scandalous as the top. Another long slit on her left ran all the way up to her hip, exposing her proportionally absurdly long legs on full display. She might need some more tape or a pin to keep that part from swishing a bit too much. It would definitely titillate, and that’s what she wanted for tonight.

Fluffing out her purple hair, she ran a comb through it out of habit more than anything else. Thanks to the first potion she’d ever dared try, it never seemed to need maintenance, always free of knots and silky smooth. That had been a spell seriously gone right. But it felt nice to run her hands through those thick, luscious tresses.

Grabbing her mane in one hand, she deftly tied it into a tight ponytail and cocked her head left and right, examining her whole visage. Neck? Long and elegant. Shoulders? Bare and smooth. Skin? Porcelain white, which she took great lengths to maintain.

She took off her glasses and flipped her hair. Nah, glasses back on.

For the piece de resistance, a wide-rimmed floppy witch’s hat, whose tip was bending over at the top.

A laughter emanating from deep in Melody’s belly burst from her lips.

Screw old, classical witches! She was rewriting their recipes. And now, she was going to refashion them as well. The typical witch image definitely needed a facelift, and that’s just what Melody was going to do.

Soft, inaudible footsteps padded toward her. Her black cat announced its appearance, rubbing against her ankles, purring contentedly.

“Aw Noir, what do you think? Think I look good? Think I can land a date?”

Noir had her eyes shut, still bumping the top of her head with her cute little prick ears against Melody’s limbs.

“Too bad you aren’t really a familiar,” Melody chuckled to herself. She wasn’t experienced enough to figure that one out yet. And she certainly didn’t want to risk it with Noir.

“So what are you saying, girl? Think this outfit needs something else?” Melody swiveled her torso, letting the wide-brimmed dress flow.

Melody chose her words carefully.

“I’ve got it!

Prettier than a new rose,

Clad me in black pantyhose!”

A silky nylon clad her feet and climbed up her slender calves, creeping its way past her knee, and then weaving dense strands up to her upper thigh. She examined the material by touching it with her lone index finger, enjoying the feeling of her ivory skin rubbing against her conjured garments. Little goosebumps formed on her skin, prickling her thighs and forearms.

Melody squealed in delight. She bent down at the waist to stroke her cat, gasping at the sight of her pendant cleavage on the way down.

“Oh my god, Noir,” Melody whispered as she scritched furry companion’s neck. The purring intensified. “I really might have a guest over tonight. Be nice to him, okay?”

A loud snapping noise startled a hopeful Melody. The corner of her full-length mirror had somehow been scarred with a deep crack. Noir scampered off again to whimper in Melody’s bedroom.

“Wow. Bad luck today, huh?” she said to no one in particular. She examined the deep gouge… it almost seemed like a dark shadow disappeared as soon as she leaned in closer.

Nah, probably just a trick of the light.

“Wisps of wind and morning dew,
Fix this mirror to brand new!”

As the magical energies repaired the crack, Melody threw on a denim jacket to cover her torso and made her way downtown.

Chapter 4

Strutting past Los Angeles Koreatown in a pair of heeled boots at 7:00 PM, Melody confidently walked into the lobby of the office complex where her bank was located. Her fancy footwear clacked on the sleek, polished, black marble floors.

She greeted the receptionist and gave her name.

“Montgomery Party.” Those two words were almost as potent as one of her rhymes. The woman handed her a nametag with a barcode.

“Elevator, floor 15.”

“Thanks!” Melody smiled. Oh, she was going to get lucky tonight, for sure! She patted the inside pocket of her witch’s robe to double check that her little vial was still there.

Swiping her barcoded nametag in the elevator with a loud beep, she rode it up to near the top floor, fidgeting with her floppy witch’s hat in her hands, butterflies whirling in her stomach.

The chrome doors slid open, revealing a dark room with impressive mood lighting. A cloud of fog swirled around everyone’s ankles. Displays of jack o’lanterns, some screaming, others laughing, and yet others just displaying the logos of various companies, outlined the room. A photo booth with three neon skeletons sat in the corner of the room, with a line of people waiting to use it. The camera shutter flickered rapidly, taking multiple shots per second, while people played with props and moved in slow motion.

In the center of it all was a slightly raised dance floor with an old-fashioned disco ball. Someone had taped black construction paper to the mirrored orb to give it a jack o’lantern’s eyes and toothy grin, projecting its shadow onto the entire room as it spun.

Melody’s heels clacked on the hardwood floor. She gasped. She’d never had clearance to come up here before! The open space was huge!

“May I take your coat?” asked the door check.

“Why yes,” she answered with a huge grin, getting into the mood. She should fit right in!

Adjusting her dress to make sure it covered just enough, she flamboyantly put on her hat and began to make the rounds.

Deftly grabbing a martini off of a passing waiter’s serving tray, Melody made her way to a long, brightly lit table, burdened with a near-orgy of cheese and meats. Picking her way through the extravagant array, she found some nice-looking meat quite quickly. Of the upright and two-legged variety.

She sidled up to her handsome Asian target, his short, glossy black hair spiked with gel, a strong neck and jaw just like Melody liked. He carried a blood red pitchfork, and a pair of devilish horns peeked out from the spikes of his hair.

Cute! A witch and a demon—like a match made in Heaven. Or… the other place. Whatever. Melody approached him, poised to strike up a conversation.

“Hi! I’m Melody! I work at One Capital on the third floor.” She tapped the nametag she had attached to her dress, right next to her alluring decolletage. She was trembling in anticipation for her moment to pull out her potion and chug it surreptitiously.

“Hi Melody,” he replied, with hardly a glance. “I’m Ed. Excuse me, I’m just looking for my date…”

A caucasian woman with a pair of alabaster angel wings and a golden halo walked up to them and hooked her arm around his. She was absolutely, jaw-droppingly beautiful. And much taller too. Taller than both she and Ed.

The mystery woman’s luminescent sapphire eyes locked with Melody’s own brown ones before giving the Asian witch’s body a once over. Then, she gave Melody a haughty smirk before taking Ed away.

Melody harrumphed. She grabbed a plate and filled it with soft cheese, some salted crackers, some plump, seedless green grapes, and a few morsels of a much less satisfying sort of meat.

As she nibbled on the pungent cheese and salty crystals, she examined the room more closely. Why on earth were there so many women here? And so gorgeous too, all of them! She had no idea that the floors above her bank hosted beauties such as these!

And Melody knew she was well above average in looks, but this place was laced with what had to be Traces—women with at least a touch of otherworldly power and the almost automatically gorgeous looks that came with it. You couldn’t have the internet and not be confronted with a parade of Trace influencers, but seeing it in person where you couldn’t tell yourself it was all filters was… daunting. Stories of Marathon having a whole coterie of Traces in his close orbit. The “Maratharem” as the more scandalous sites called it. She’d thought Auntie’s magic gave her an unbeatable edge, but she realized now it might only level the playing field.

And pity upon any truly normal woman in this crowd. They were pretty much fucked. Or left unfucked. Whatever.

She heard the elevator ding. Another candidate sighted. Well dressed, pleated slacks and pinstripe suit, with a pocket handkerchief neatly displayed in a tan triangle. Just like something out of a TV show.

Melody made her approach, preparing a nice pickup line, before he was promptly whisked away by yet another tall bombshell. An Indian one this time, with multiple arms. And her bindi looked much more vibrant than just any old regular cosmetic.

Half an hour passed. Melody continued to strike out. Well, perhaps that wasn’t the right phrase. She didn’t even get a turn at bat!

Finally, some of her co-workers showed up. Not that she was interested in dating one, but she was just relieved to have some people to talk to! Even Chris with his insistence on talking about his pet tarantulas. Naturally, he had a few plastic ones glued all over his body.

“Claire! Bryan! Chris!” she called out.

“Whoa, Melody! Look at you!!” Claire gushed, dressed in a fuzzy, human-sized squirrel costume. “I didn’t know you were always hiding such a huge pair of cannons!”

Oh god! Not only did none of the mixer guests pay her any mind, but now she was showing off the goods to her co-workers?

“Uh, you look good, Mel,” Bryan said lamely. He was dressed in a t-shirt with a print that attempted to make him look like he was a zombie. On his head was a rubber prosthetic with a cartoonish axe buried in it.

“You too,” Melody replied.

“Though, you know, I think this might not conform to office standards of decency. Is anyone else from the office here? You might want to do something about your costume…”

Fucking great, Melody thought.

“Want to do the photo booth flip book?” Chris asked. “I can get my tarantulas to crawl around me. Show you how I play with my real ones.”

“Chris, that’s… okay, yeah, why not,” Claire shrugged. “Melody?”

Melody suddenly felt very self conscious about how much skin she was showing. The last thing she needed was for this to make the rounds at her office.

Melody examined all the beautiful women. She sighed.

“Hey, you guys go ahead. I’ve had a long day,” she lied.

“Oh… okay…” Bryan sounded disappointed.

“What? We just got here!” Claire whined.

“You see, fuzzy longlegs crawl up my arm like this, but Count Spicula usually hangs out around my shoulders…” Chris began.

“Sorry guys I’ll see you Monday though!” Melody blurted out and immediately headed for the exit.

She hadn’t noticed that she had in fact caught someone’s eye. He followed her out, black robes swirling against the ankle deep fog..

Chapter 5

Melody stomped along the streets of Koreatown in frustration. The world had changed, she’d hit her own kind of jackpot without having her whole neighborhood lit on fire, and she was still living in her sisters’ shadows? Little spells here and there to earn her a better salary, get a nice price on a small apartment in downtown Los Angeles, but all her relatives talked about at family gatherings was how good of a wife Helen was to her brain surgeon husband, and how Jane was graduating top of her class and about to join a prestigious law firm.

Police sirens wailed in the background, the constant soundtrack of the city of angels. The bright white streetlights flooded the night sky, transforming it into a hazy, dreamlike mist. The arid heat of the city enveloped her senses, clouding her mind.

Despairing, Melody couldn’t see a future for her at all in this damn city. Not right now.

“Fuck this,” Melody decided on the spot. She was going to drown her woes at a bar and nightclub. Maybe she could slip her potion into someone _else’s _drink, so that they could be the perfect date for her.

Ugh. Dammit! No, she couldn’t do that. That may as well be date rape. The whole point was that SHE would find a good person to spend hopefully more than an evening with, and take the potion herself.

Fumbling with her risque costume at an ATM, Melody didn’t notice the regular sights and smells of the smoggy city morph into a dark shroud until it was too late. She gasped when the smell of sulfur and ash invaded her nose. Even the sound of rushing traffic and wailing sirens faded from hearing.

Was she being attacked by another magician!? The black smoke thickened around her. Melody began to incant.

“Crimson tide… no, wait!

Black cloud of fog so weighty,

Whisk me— mmf!”

It was too late. A powerful hand pierced the dark smoke and covered her mouth. Her assaulter was far too strong!

“Well, well, it’s not just a costume, is it? Looks like I really found me a jin-u-wine witch.”

“Mmf! Mmf!” Melody struggled in fear. Shit! All that practice with memorizing couplets, and she still stumbled at the critical juncture! Was this what all the omens had been warning her about? Why did she ignore them so blithely!?

“Me and my boys, we burn witches. But maybe, we’ll have some fun with you before we burn you, hmm?”

Melody tried to elbow the voice whispering in her ear, or to stomp on his foot with her heel. But there was nothing corporeal behind her to strike. And then, somehow, her arms were locked behind her back as well.

“Mmm!!!” Melody tried to scream once more. Was it really going to end like this?

Suddenly, her arms were free to move again. She felt the hand forcing her mouth shut get ripped away as well. The smoke began to dissipate.

A tall, lean, bald soldier had what looked like a Neo Nazi in a chokehold, one arm across his neck, the other pulling it back like a vice. The despicable, struggling assaulter’s eyes quickly rolled up into his head as he passed out from asphyxiation.

Tall, dark, and handsome let the perpetrator slump to the floor.

“Miss, are you okay?”

Melody’s legs gave out. He reached out to catch her, hoisting her slender frame effortlessly. His arms felt so solid and strong!

“Breathe, breathe… you’ll be okay.”

Melody choked on her own sobbing for a few minutes. Her savior sat by her side, patting her on the back hesitantly, trying to offer comfort while still being a gentleman. He called the cops and reported the incident.

“Thank you thank you thank you!” Melody managed when she was able to speak.

“The police will be here soon. Are you okay to give them a statement?”

“Um… I’d rather not!” Melody glanced at her outfit. “It’s… it’s just a costume, you know? I don’t want any trouble.” She really hoped he would take the hint.

“I understand. Let’s go, then. The police are probably looking for this creep already…” He gestured to the still unconscious… God, had he been about to kill her? Melody shuddered.

“Can I take you anywhere?” He offered kindly.

“I was just about to go for a night out, but I think that’s out of the question,” Melody chuckled as she stood up on wobbly knees.

“If I may be so bold, Miss…”


“Hello, Miss Melody. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Zack.”

Melody giggled at the title. “Zack, you literally saved my life! Just Melody is fine. It’s nice to meet you too.”

He smiled. God he was gorgeous. Brilliant white teeth, that chiseled jaw and butt-chin…

“I was just on my way to a private party. Office mixer. It’s that large building, one block down. Public area. You’ll see reception and other people in the lobby, I’m sure. Nothing sketchy.”

Melody stared. “You’re kidding, right?”

“No, ma’am! I promise, it will be safe.”

“I just came from there!” Melody broke out into laughter. “I take it you’re not really a soldier!”

“Oh, I certainly am not! This is just a costume. And… you just left the Montgomery party? Well, that’s disappointing… perhaps I can take you somewhere safe and drop you off?” he looked a little crestfallen.

“Well, it sounds like you don’t have a date, right?” Melody double checked.

“That is correct, Miss Melody. I mean, Melody.”

“You know…” she twirled her cotton candy hair, “your costume is wrong.”

“What do you mean?” He glanced down, suddenly looking quite concerned.

“You really should have come as a knight. A knight in shining armor. I’d love to go back to the party with you.”

“Great! That’s great!” Even in the darkness, the blush was visibly rising through his tanned, rugged face.

“Just give me a second…”

Melody turned away and pulled out a hand mirror to check herself out. And also see that Zack wasn’t looking when she guzzled down her perfect-date potion.

Chapter 6

They marched back into the lobby and promptly received their badges. Riding the elevator up, Melody could feel herself growing bolder by the moment. Downright flirtatious. Saucy.

“So, Zack, what do you do?” she asked, tracing the faux emblem stitched on his soldier costume.

“I work on the top floor, actually. We manage money for some big clients,” he replied evenly.

“Top floor!? Oh my! I’m just down on the third, working for One Capital,” Melody almost felt embarrassed to admit. But she pressed her flank into his, anyhow. Her head only came up to his strong chest!

“Nothing to be embarrassed about. Your company has a bit of business with ours. The partnership is healthy.”

Was her potion even working? Zack hardly seemed to respond at all! But it only made Melody redouble her efforts. Somehow, she knew it would work out.

The elevator doors slid open. Melody was greeted with a familiar sight. But this time, she felt much more optimistic about her chances.

“Zack! You’re late!” a female voice rang out.

Two more slender, beautiful women approached them. These two were dressed as lingerie models, for Christ’s sake! Melody gripped even tighter to her precious knight. And as if the universe were shining a spotlight on her upcoming confrontation, Claire, Bryan, and Chris had just noticed her re-arrival, watching intently as the scene unfolded.

“Sarah, Sierra, this is Melody,” Zack introduced them.

“Oh, Melody! Well aren’t you just a cute lil button!”

“So this is your type, Zack? No wonder we never stood a chance!”

“Where do you work, lil one?”

“Ahem, ladies,” Zack tried to cease their condescending tones.

“Third floor. One Capital,” Melody answered confidently.

“Oh, isn’t that charming! One Capital has quite a… cute market cap, does it not?” Sarah prodded. Sierra smirked.

“Cute enough for Zack, I’d say,” Melody spat back. She looked up at him, eyes pleading for a tiny bit of assistance.

He returned her smile. “Yes, certainly. Ladies, if you don’t mind, I’d like to show Melody around. Two women as experienced as yourselves should have no issue making acquaintances, I imagine?”

Melody watched Sarah and Sierra gasp at the insult. Oh, this night may have started out badly, but it was coming up black cats and broomsticks now!

To Melody’s surprise, the two girls gave Zack a knowing look and a wink, as if happy for him. They walked away, stealing glances at Melody, nudging each other’s elbows and giggling.

“Shall we?” He extended his elbow and swept an arm toward the dance floor.

Melody entwined her arm with his, gave her colleagues a reassuring wave, and flashed him a bright smile.

“Watch your step, m’lady. Or should I say, ‘M’lody?’” Zack nearly lifted her off the floor with that slight contact.

“Smooth one, m’lord!” she chuckled. Oh, this was definitely going well! Even his stupid joke was cute!

The two of them gyrated to the dance remix uptempo beat of Monster Mash. Melody inserted her will, forcing herself on top of him despite his outward reluctance. Her neck was starting to get sore from looking into his dark, smoky eyes, but she wasn’t about to break eye contact anytime soon.

The number changed after a few minutes to Black Magic Woman. Melody squealed in delight.

“Zack!” she huffed, catching her breath from the last few minutes to grinding. “This is my song! Dance with me!”

“I’d love to.”

Melody reached up and placed her hands on his tightly muscled shoulders as he wrapped his arms around her slender waist. He wasn’t even breathing hard… and God, he smelled good! She rested her head on his chest, following his lead. The rest of the world fizzled away with every step.

“You said you work on the 20th floor?” Melody whispered huskily. “Do you have an office?”

She gave his groin a little rub. There was quite a bulge now.

“Yes!” he gasped. “But I shouldn’t badge in guests after hours…”

Melody detached himself from Zack and grabbed him by the hand. She knew he could easily overpower her, but he allowed himself to be dragged along like a helpless puppy.

She went straight to the open bar and asked for two glasses of sherry.

“Drink,” she ordered. They both emptied their wine glasses in three large gulps.

Then, Melody led them to the elevator.

“I’m not a guest. I’m a client, remember? With a very cute market cap.”

Zack scanned his badge and pressed the button for the 20th floor as Melody began to undress him.

Chapter 7

The two of them were tongue-deep in kissing as the elevator opened to the highest floor of the building. Zack pushed an eager Melody off him, much to her dismay. She would’ve liked to have been able to resist, even overpower him.

“Okay, I don’t see anyone around,” he whispered as the elevator doors dinged, threatening to close on them. Even at the elevator area the place was lush. Deep carpet and the scent of waxed wood panelling awaited these clients.

Melody leapt right back on top of him, throwing his soft felt cap away, tracing her long fingers through his smooth, bald head while Zack frantically mashed the open door button.

With Melody off the floor and hanging onto his body, legs wrapped around his waist, Zack quickly made his way to the back of the premises. A trail of his clothing littered the floor as Melody stripped piece after piece off of him. All of her sensual, lascivious grinding had also undone the tape keeping her robe on. The front of it fell away, dangling behind her back, flopping with every tortured step that Zack took.

By the time they got to his office, he was naked from the waist up.

Melody was sucking on his neck while pumping her hips against his, dragging her nubile body over his lean but strong frame. He tasted as good as he smelled! Masculine, slightly musky, and clean. How was he so perfect?!

She sucked his neck as hard as she could. She wanted to leave a mark.

Zack moaned as this Asian-American witch wove her spell over him. His badge was lying on the floor near the elevator where Melody had stripped him. Way too far to go back.

He reached behind him, grabbed the doorknob, and mangled the whole thing with a squeeze of his hands. Then he forced the door open.

Waddling over to his desk, his legs almost gave way as she crashed against his erect member with another thrust.

“Miss Melody!” he cried out.

She stopped trying to inhale his heated flesh for just a moment. Rubbing her own flushed cheek against his, feeling the prickly stubble of his five o’clock shadow, she brought her lips close to his ear.

“I thought I told you to call me Melody,” she whispered hotly.

Her tongue snaked out, flicking against his earlobe before she dragged it into her mouth, giving it a few lusty sucks.

He swept his computer monitor and other personal items onto the floor with a loud crash.

“But Mistress Melody would be acceptable too.”

Melody couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth! And she couldn’t believe how fucking wet she was!

She braced herself, expecting to be thrown onto his polished mahogany desk. But instead, he lay himself onto it and kept her on top!

“M-m-m… Mistress Melody,” he tasted the words on his lips. The juice of the forbidden fruit was candy for his soul.

Melody felt him positively twitch between her legs. It almost hurt, how hard his rod had slapped her down there!

Eager to release the beast, she fumbled with his trousers. She had to stop and admire just how large he was! Melody delicately unzipped his fly, being careful not to pinch her ultimate prize.

Zack lifted his hips off the table, giving Melody access to unwrap him. Her body bucked up with his legs. Just how strong was this guy?

She tortured him by tracing his hips with her silky fingertips, dragging them and the backs of her nails over skin, sending tingles through his body. She wanted to test the limit of his strength, see how long he could hold his hips up, but he didn’t seem to tire at all! He just whimpered and moaned as she began to trace the searing heat from the outline of his iron erection.

Melody couldn’t take it anymore. He wasn’t giving in. And she wanted to start satisfying her urges.

She grabbed his pants and underwear both by the waistband and tugged them down. His member sprang free, slapping against his belly with a wet smack.

He was absolutely huge!

Throbbing, twitching, wet, and ready. Melody licked her lips. She wanted to devour him. She’d never seen one so beautiful before.

“What’s my name again?” Melody goaded him as she began to pull her witch dress off.

“Mistress Melody!” he cried out, unabashedly. His turgid, delicious cock jumped again.

“Mmm, that’s right, Zackie boy.”

He moaned again. His hips began to buck, humping nothing but air.

“Whoa there, you big stud!” Melody yelled as she was forced to bounce along with him. “Just give me a moment…”

Melody yanked the dress over her head, throwing it onto his desk chair. Now clad in nothing but her black boots and pantyhose, she presented all of her naked glory to his hungry, feasting eyes.

“Look at your mistress, Zack. What do you think? Think I’m just cute?”

She traced the curves that she was so proud of, outlining the full, elegant swells on her chest and her mouth-watering cherry nipples. Her belly was totally flat, her torso elegant and slim. Zack’s eyes widened at the sight of her confident seduction.

Melody’s long legs, bent at the knees, were almost as long as his, despite the spectacular height difference. She scooted backwards down his muscled thighs, dragging her glistening nether lips over his firm muscles. A slick trail of her love juices lingered on his skin.

“Mistress… you’re gorgeous! I’ll make sure those two hags never speak ill of you again!”

“Damn right. And to make sure you keep that promise…”

Melody leaned forward at the waist, letting her pendant breasts touch down on his desire-addled body. Now both her aching pussy and tingling nipples were scraping over her dream date’s skin. Despite the cool, October weather, her body flushed even hotter.

With a deep, guttural moan, she ceased her humping. She traced his inner thighs slowly, traveling up and down, climbing ever nearer to his throbbing cock. She gripped his balls gently, softly massaging those delicate jewels in the palm of her hand, increasing his needy turmoil. With the other hand, she wrapped those long fingers over his thick trunk, long enough to properly grip and squeeze the entire circumference of his surging arousal. She gave him a few experimental tugs, wetting her hands with the combined nectar between her thighs and his dripping slit. Swirling and twisting her hand, she luxuriated in his involuntary moan that had caught in the back of his throat.

And then, without warning, she devoured him in her hot mouth.

He screamed loud enough that Melody could have sworn the entire party five floors below would hear it! But that only drove her further. She clamped down as hard as she could with her legs, trying to hold her unbelievably powerful lover in place as she slurped along as much of his length as she could manage. Pumping the base of his shaft with one hand, steadying herself with another on his chest, she sucked as hard as she could against his angry, raw, exposed cockhead. She pressed her tongue as powerfully as she could, grinding it against his delicious, salty flesh.

God, he even tasted good down there! How was this possible? She wanted to drink him up!

“Melody! Wait, I’m so close, don’t…” he begged.

Her lips left his cock with a nice, wet pop. She licked them clean and looked him in the eyes.

“It’s Mistress Melody. And I think you’ll find that you don’t have a choice.”

She went back down on him.

As if on cue, she could feel his entire body tensing. His moans changed in intensity, ramping up another notch, He swallowed soundless, urgent gasps.

Melody removed her mouth from his member, giving it a lingering caress with her tongue and tracing it closely with her lips. And then…

“Come in my mouth, Zack,” she ordered, her breath wafting over him.

She immediately dived right back onto him as he erupted. Rope after rope of salty fluid splashed onto her tongue. She could feel the incredible pulsing from the base of his shaft, all the way to the tip. He cried out in ecstasy, each wild ejaculation coupled with a primal, uncontrollable moan.

Melody couldn’t keep up! She was trying to swallow, but Zack was simply overwhelming! How could he come so much?!

And then suddenly, it wasn’t a problem anymore. The more she drank, the more invigorated she felt. Not just her arousal, but her entire body soared with elation as she seemed to feel stronger, more alive than ever!

She drank every last drop. And when it was over, she squeezed and tugged at him some more, milking every last bit she could.

Removing her mouth from his rod, she rested on her haunches and looked at Zack. He was breathing hard, but within seconds, he normalized again. And somehow his penis remained hard.

Melody marveled at his incredible stamina. And her own. She didn’t think she could kneel over someone this long and not feel sore. All she felt was the need to achieve a climax of her own. She brought her hands to her own groin and began to massage herself.

“Zack,” she said.

“Ung. That was so good, Melody… please, let me do something for you too.”

Melody parted her pink pussy lips and traced circles over her moist, sensitive clit.

“You’re not getting softer?” she asked directly.

“Um… I just need a little break.”

Melody smiled.

“No, you do not.”

Chapter 8

Melody scooted forward and grabbed his still stiff penis. He gasped and reached out to grip her dainty wrists, but did nothing to actually stop her ministrations.

“Oh my god! You’re really not softening! I thought I’d have to coax you back to full hardness,” she exclaimed.

“Melody! Um… be careful! I’m, I’m really…”

“Sensitive? Shh,” Melody whispered as she leaned back and rubbed his head across her soft folds. He was surprisingly difficult to maneuver! She sat up and grinded her own body against it, sending tingling shivers down her spine every time it traced her clit oh-so-softly.

To her surprise, he didn’t fidget or buck from the sensation at all! Instead, he closed his eyes and seemed to be drinking it all in!

She was about to ask for permission, but he didn’t seem to be objecting. And asking for forgiveness might be more fun.

With a deep breath, she inserted his hard rod right into her tight, ready and waiting canal.

His eyes opened wide with shock as Melody perfectly consummated their wonderful chance meeting.

“Oh my god, you’re really not going soft!” she shrieked. “Yes, yes, fuck me!”

“Yes, Melody!”

He grabbed her hips and easily hefted her up, sliding his own hips down as well, until only the tip of his penis was enveloped in her soft, velvety folds. And then, in perfect synchronicity, thrust their bodies against each other, burying himself to the hilt, hips conjoined.

“Fuck, you’re so strong!” she cried.

He continued to maneuver her lithe, supple body at his will while Melody hung on for dear life, enjoying the sensation of being filled so fully. But even as they played human pogo, she could feel him beginning to soften inside of her.

Melody instinctively knew what to do.

She ripped his hands off her hips, flung them to the side forcefully, and leaned down to cup his muscular asscheeks. Then she, not he, began to lift his heavy form into herself.

“Mmm, like this better, do you?” she teased as she felt him stiffen again.

Melody did her best, using her ragdoll fucktoy at her tempo, subservient to her will, not sure how long her strength could keep this up. She was a witch, not a super! Still, she was determined to make this a perfect date. She, and the potion.

Her strength and stamina never flagged! She continued to pump him inside of her, molten lava pumping through her veins as her arousal surged. And felt the pressure inexorably welling in his organ in tandem as well.

Thrusting him to the hilt once more, his body arched, Melody constricted her legs powerfully over his hips, squeezing as hard as she could.

Amazingly, she could feel his body start to buckle under the pressure! Zack, clearly some sort of Para himself, was wincing in pain from her efforts! She was physically overpowering this beast of a man!

But his organ didn’t subside one bit. Quite the opposite. He surged even harder as he urgently sought his release, already so close to climax after his first!

Melody took the cue and redoubled her efforts. She felt no effort or exertion. If anything, it was getting easier! Her whole body felt like it was vibrating like one of her sister’s violin strings…

Shifting one arm to support his entire lower body, she slid the other one up his back, tracing his hard muscles with her dainty fingers, sensually digging her digits into his flesh. He gasped in response. Melody performed a few trial runs of what she had in mind, loosening her sensuous thighs, letting his body dip, then plunging it back into her. In, and out. In, and out.

She saw Zack’s eyes go blank with pure carnal ecstasy as she plunged him deep inside hot, slick warmth. And just when his attention was the most distracted, with a large heave, she straightened her legs, standing upright on the table!

Zack’s head went crashing into the plaster. His extra height made maneuvering his body awkward. Melody laughed as she swiveled 90 degrees, letting his feet dangle above the floor as she continued to pump in back and forth, so close to achieving her own orgasm. The sound of wet flesh slapping wet flesh overpowered even the volume of the dance music a few floors down. She was dripping all over him now, panting not from exertion, but from a near-detonation of bliss.

Zack didn’t fight her strength. He didn’t want to. He couldn’t. He’d dreamed of meeting a woman like this ever since he’d gotten his powers…

He came again in another soul-shattering burst of ecstasy. Melody erupted with him.

“Zack! Oh god! I’m coming!” The feeling of his incredibly powerful jets splashing inside her most sensitive core, and the sound of his uncontrollable groaning pushed Melody right over the edge.

Her arms finally gave out as her body felt alight with fire. Zack floated gently to the floor as his pulsing subsided, but Melody’s ecstasy was still crescendoing.

Melody began to swirl rough circles around her clit, groping her ripe breasts as she continued to process her pleasure.

“Something… feels… good!” she cried.

Her long legs grew even longer, still lithe and slender. Just even more succulent female flesh. Her previously perfectly flat belly that she was so proud of gained a beautiful, softly-defined musculature, putting her feminine abs on gentle display when relaxed. And when she came, they crunched into view in wonderfully feminine, sharply defined ridges. Her bright pink hair started to change color, from the thick roots all the way down to the soft tips, turning into a pure, snowy white.

And then Melody realized that no part of her body was touching terra firma.

It was all over in a minute. Melody now “stood” over six feet, slightly taller than even Zack. She opened her eyes, seeing the whole world from a new vantage point.

“You’re… you’re definitely at least a Trace!” she gasped.

“So are you!” Zack swallowed audibly at the sight of the tall, powerful female before him. “You… you can transform? And fly, too?!”

“No! Hardly! I don’t know what’s happened!”

Except she did know. That potion… oh, it really was perfect! She was so lucky she had landed the perfect date for her perfect-date potion!

“What… what do we… do you need to go to a hospital?”

She looked at his still-twitching erection.

“No. What I need… is for you to stop holding back. Fuck me the way you’ve always wanted to fuck a girl.”

“Miss Melody!”

She could see how feeble his protest was. He was leaking anew.

“Mistress Melody. And I won’t break. That’s what you want, isn’t it? Someone who won’t break when they’re with you. Someone not even you can overpower.”

“This is serious!” Zack protested, even less convincing than the last.

“I’m serious too.” Her eyes flashed with delighted understanding.

She leapt on top of him, pushing him down with a force contraindicated by her slight weight, their equally invulnerable bodies crashing down through the table… and two more floors before Zack halted their descent. Until she pushed him through that floor too… and another… and another…

And then they really consummated their evening.

It took a newly empowered Melody and even Zack a few minutes before they regained consciousness and could move again. Their bodies ached pleasantly, still feeling the afterglow of their sensual, physical, building-leveling love.

The partygoers had long since evacuated.

“Oh no…” Zack moaned first.

“What… what happened to me?!” Melody was overjoyed, but also in disbelief.

“You… you were perfect! Too perfect! I didn’t think someone like you could exist!”

“Someone like me?” Melody examined her lover’s nude body that she had so thoroughly enjoyed the last few hours. Why did that physique look so familiar?

She gasped as realization dawned on her. “You’re Marathon! Your strength, the flying… it all makes sense!”

“I didn’t think there was a female Apex like you!”

“I’m… I’m not an Apex!”

“You’re at least as strong as I am! Listen, we gotta go! I’ll have to explain this to the Golden Guard later! They are not gonna be happy…”

“What do I do? I don’t want to be alone right now! My body feels like it’s brimming with power!” Melody whined, both afraid and excited.

“My place?” Marathon inquired.

“Yes! Let’s go!” She was relieved it wouldn’t have to be her place. She didn’t really know how Marathon felt about witches.

“And, you know, the night may not be over yet. It has to be perfect, after all…” Melody smiled wickedly.

Chapter 9

“Channel Nine News, Sophia Gomez reporting. The largest Montgomery Street office hosted a Halloween party last night. As you can see from the video, the building has been reduced to rubble. The bank vault was torn open, and deep indents have been left in the metal.

Mysteriously, none of the cash has gone missing. We’re told all of the safety deposit boxes were also left untouched. Aside from some strangely human-looking shapes molded into the metal, nothing of value was taken. The vault door was laid on top of the cash to try and obscure it from view.

The Golden Guard converged on the scene fairly quickly, so perhaps the criminals fled before they could complete their heist.

Titaness and Raceway are once again on the scene, this time for cleanup duty.

Experts are estimating the cost of the damage at around…”

“So, Marathon, how are your teammates going to feel about this?” a newer, taller, more powerful Melody asked as she ate some quartered strawberries, licking the honey from her fingers.

“Heh heh… I’d prefer if we, you know, keep this between us?” He was basically pleading.

“After a night like that? It’s the least I could do to repay you! But… aren’t you supposed to be there helping them out?”

“Actually, they’ll… they’ll understand. They already know it was me. Er, us.”

“What?!” Melody asked in shock. “Did you tell them already!?”

“No, no! Nothing like that. Just, I always have to, ahem, hold back, if you know what I mean? I haven’t been with many others since, you know.”

A timer buzzed.

Melody bolted over with boundless energy, reaching in with her bare hands and pulling the scorching hot muffin tin out of the oven.

She carefully dug a few of them out of the molds and tabled the steaming pastries in front of Zack/Marathon.

“Careful. They’re hot,” Melody smirked.

“Very funny, Miss Melody.”

“I thought you preferred calling me Mistress.”

Marathon blushed furiously. “Please… also keep that between us, would you?”

“Of course, my little pet slave,” Melody cackled. And then softened. “Of course I will.”

With a sigh of relief, Zack dug into one of the steaming hot muffins.

“Oh, these are so good! I can’t believe you just whipped them up with stuff I have lying around!”

“Oh, it’s not that hard! Here, let me try one.”

Naturally, Melody had taken quite an interest in baking ever since potion brewing. Not that she would mention that. She still didn’t know what Zack thought of witches…

“I really can’t believe how durable I am. This is incredible! So you’ve been like this ever since …the Storm?” Melody asked. There was only one storm when you said it like that.

“Yeah. I suppose you must actually have quite high levels of Fortification. Especially for a woman. No offense.”

“Of course not.”

“But you really didn’t have these powers before?”

“Zack, I don’t know what that thug at the ATM was going to do, but I was powerless. You saved my life.”

“Hey, don’t mention it. I’m just lucky I was there when I was. And none of my rescues have ever been quite this successful before,” he comforted her with a shit-eating grin.

“Well…” Melody stood up, able to look one of the world’s most powerful men eye to eye and relishing the sleek lines of her new, even longer, polished legs. She began to undo the button-down shirt she had borrowed.

“I think you’re about to get lucky again,” Melody scooted her chair back and floated into the air. ”And this time, you can call me Mistress Park. Care to go for another 23 miles, Mr. Marathon?”

Around a shrine of sacrifice, a circle of hooded men chanted to their God over the corpse of a so-called witch who had been ritually “cleansed” (though others would call it murdered). Their robes were decorated with red armbands, emblazoned with a swastika.

“Soon, true believers, we shall begin our campaign to rid the world of these abominations against nature in earnest…”