Paw Prints

Chapter 1 - Control

Our story begins with a short teenage girl who stood in what looked to be a bedroom. This girl had long, wavy dark brown hair and light green eyes. She was slim and pale. Almost sickly looking. She shivered lightly.

Abbygale's stomach felt like it was being twisted. Sweat made a thin blanket across her forehead, after all she had never been so scared in her entire life. Today was the day. Any time now. She knew the routine. Of course she did, this was her daily schedule. Waiting in fear until her parents came home to beat her again. Over and over. Why not after all? Why not beat the freak? Abby knew she deserved everything thing she got. She deserved this torture for not being normal. For not being perfect. But not today. No, today she planned to change her life. It was time to give Abby's parents a taste of what they'd been giving her for the last five years.

Of course it hadn't always been this way. Her parents had once been...sort of nice. They weren't affectionate people. They had high expectations and expected them to be fulfilled, no matter what the cost. Private schools, tutoring, after school lessons; everything! She knew how to play the piano, the flute and a little bit of the violin. She knew the languages of German, Russian, Japanese and Latin. She could score a home run in baseball, cook a meal to rival a five-star restaurant and so much more. And of course, most importantly to her parents, she was a grade A student. Or she had been at least. All of that stopped when the accident happened. Really, it was a mix of blurs and meshed colours like one of the portraits she'd painted with the expensive supplies her parents had given her for her ninth birthday. Still though, she remembered one thing the most; blood.

XXFlashBackXX

Young Abby sat in her chair, her green eyes half-lidded, her short dark brown hair bushed out of her face with a few simple black clips. Her mouth was closed and her eyes did not look at her teacher. 'Ugh I'm so tired! I don't want to do this anymore! Why can't I just be like a normal kid and go home at three thirty?' Abby thought as she slumped down in her chair in the middle of the classroom surrounded by other kids sitting at other desks. Today had been a long day and once again she stayed after class for the extra lessons her parents had so cruelly bestowed on her. After she would have her evening piano and painting lessons. Abby hadn't eaten since lunch and was tired beyond belief. This was the way it always was. Push, push, push. What if she couldn't go on anymore?

The sound of clapping awakened her twelve year old self from her tragic daydream. 'What could it possibly now? I hope Miss Delim isn't asking me a question, I don't know the answer.' She thought suddenly alert.

"Break time children! Time to go outside and enjoy the air! Make sure to be back in fifteen minutes!" Miss Delim announced cheerfully. Miss Delim was one of the only teachers in her private school who actually smiled. Most of the other teachers always frowned and were strict with the students. Not Miss Delim though. She was nice. Tall, slightly plump with light brown hair and an always smiling face. Abby thought that if she ever became a mom, she would want to be just like her.

Abby sighed with relief and stood up, shuddering lightly as black spots clouded her vision, making her unable to see a thing. Her brain felt like it was being compressed and she felt dizzy. That always happened to her, whenever she didn't eat or get enough sleep. Her parents told her it was because she was weak. She waited the few seconds it took to pass and followed the other students outside to the pavement. There were no playgrounds at this school. Even if there were, there was no way the children would ever be aloud to play on it. The kids of Partent Private School weren't even aloud balls or skipping ropes or Frisbees. Heck, you would get a detention for sitting on the grass! It was just them alone. Alone Abby was. She never had time to make friends. She was always too busy. Of course in this rich place there were other kids like her, extra lessons and tutors and such but they were more outgoing. Abby was shy. Some of the kids would smile at her and make small talk but she had never been given the chance to make it anything more. There was always something or somewhere she had to be or do.

However a few of the children were mean and nasty as some kids are. A few particular girls who didn't like Abby's looks and excellent grades. Michelle Breakwater, Nona Walker and Lienna Stero were her nightmares. They hated her and Abby had never made a move to make peace either. They would sneer and call her names as she had walked by but they had never done anything else until today. Abby walked over to the far edge of the pavement right before the grass and was about to sit on her usual bench when she heard footsteps and the familiar calls of "Goody, goody Abby, weak as a stray tabby!" Of course a lame line like that wouldn't even make an adult flinch but for the kids they were the line was dynamite. Not to mention the "weak as a kitten" part really hit where it hurt. It was bad enough Abby had to hear it from her parents so often, let alone from the other kids. Abby turned around as Lienna, Nona and Michelle strode up to her, repeating the line like a song as she heard distant laughter from the other kids.

Abby stepped away from the bench and felt her pulse quicken a bit. 'What could they want with me? There's three of them and only one of me!' She cleared her throat and said over the song, "What do you want with me?" The girls finally stopped their singing and focused directly on Abby. Nona was the first to speak.

"Why we want you gone of course!" She stated in her haughty spoiled voice.

"What do you mean?" Abby asked, having a feeling this was going to get very ugly, very fast.

"Ugh, You're so stupid! We don't want you in this school anymore!" Lienna spoke up in a voice that always sounded like she was pinching her nose while she talked.

"Yeah, it's not fair that your always doing better than us and stealing all our glory! God, do we always have to spell stuff out for you?!" Michelle, the follower of the three snarled in. Abby felt her fear rise. 'Three against one, I'm so doomed.'

"Well I can't leave!" Abby shot back, trying her best to be brave. "You think I want to be here? No! But my parents make me! I have no choice!" She said hoping to have ended this tirade.

"Well obviously we know that weepy Gale." Michelle sneered, using the other torturous name they had made up for her.

"We've got a plan that wont involve your parents! Were gonna drown you in the pond!" Nona squealed, as if talking about going on a shopping spree.

"Yeah! Then we'll get all the awards and we wont have to look at your ugly face anymore!" Michelle added, squealing as well. Abby felt terrified. She had no idea that all the girls were planning on doing was just throwing her in the pond, not drowning her.

"No! You can't do that! My parents will call the police!" 'I think.' Abby thought with uncertainty. Would her parents really care is she drowned?

"Ha! You're parents wont find out! Come on girls!" Lienna shouted pouncing on top of Abby.

"No!" Abby screamed.

That was where things got fuzzy. She remembered screaming, pain, skin, cloth and a warm sticky fluid which she would come to know as blood. That next thing Abby knew Miss Delim was holding her, screaming at her in a voice mixed with anger and fear. Abby then realised she was screaming too, and making an impossible snarling sound. The world spun and she felt herself bend over in Miss Delim's arms and lose whatever she had eaten earlier. There was still an awful taste like a penny in her mouth and red stuff all over her uniform and fingers. Her sixteen fingers! 'Oh my god!' Abby thought horrified. 'I have too many fingers!' But as she looked closer she noticed her extra fingers were really long claws. Placed between her normal fingers. Those claws were getting smaller and retreating into her skin quickly. 'I'm a freak!' She thought in horror. Abby had always loved cats but she had never wanted to be like one! A sob made Abby look away from her hands to where the sound came from. The was Lienna, huddled on the ground between a few other teachers, missing an ear and large chunk of her calf. Not to mention her body looked like it had been used as a scratching post. It was all oozing with blood. She looked over at the other two girls, both looked a little better but also had deep scratchings and what looked to be bite marks. Even more, Nona was missing a finger. It was all so overwhelming Abby felt her whole world go black

After that things went down hill. She was silently dragged to the principals office where her mother was called in from a business meeting out of town. When she came into the office she didn't even look at her daughter. She went straight into the office with the principal and had a discussion which also involved a tape from the outside camera holding the key to what had happened. Mrs. Break was tall and impossibly thin, sort of anorexic-looking. Her hair was dark, dark enough to be mistaken for black. She had a narrow sculptured face with a long nose and thin lips. To Abby, she was the definition of terrifying.

For a long time Abby waited until finally her mother came out of the office and paused on her way out only to say "Come Abbygale." Abby followed her mother out of the school and into the car like the dog she was. The entire car ride was silent. Abby didn't even bother to make an attempt at a conversation. What could she possibly say when she herself didn't know what happened? Her mother knew though. Her mother had seen the tape. Abby wondered what she had seen. It wasn't until her mother pulled into the long driveway of their mansion and opened the door that anything happened.

The second the door closed her mother grabbed Abby by the arm with one hand and let the back of her other hand fly into the left side of Abby's face. Abby screamed in pain and immediately started to crumple to the floor but was held up by her mother's sharp grip on her arm. Mrs. Break left her hand whip across Abby's now red cheek over and over again as she began to scream.

"You little fucking freak! You little freak! You weak little fuck! How could you?! After we spent so much time and money on you! You go and do this! Expelled from the best school in the city! You'll wish you were never born! How are we supposed to explain you to the children's parents?! You little freak!" Her mother yelled and she continually backhanded her child in the face while Abby screamed and cried. Eventually her mother grew tired of abusing her kid and let go of her and left the room. None of the maids hovering around walked over to help Abby. Each and every one of them were tied to the family house hold and only obeyed Abby's parents. They were not aloud to do anything they weren't told to.

Abby layed on the sleek marble floors and cried for a bit until finally she went up to her room and dreaded when her father would be home. Would he do the same thing as her mother had? What was happening to her? What had happened between her the the other girls? What was going on? Abby curled up on her bed. She began drifting mentally into a land of unknown confusion, fear and horror. 'I'm a monster!' She could not get the vision of her "claws" out of her head. The taste of blood from her mouth. Abby realised she still had her uniform on. She looked at herself. There was dried blood all over her. She let out a small whimper and shed all of them off until she was naked and went to her bathroom to scrub herself raw.

It's wasn't until about ten in the evening that she heard her father come home. She lay still and quiet until she heard her father call her name ten minutes later. She walked quickly to the sitting room knowing that if she took too long she would be in even more trouble. However when she got there it wasn't her, her mother was giving evil looks to, it was her father. Mr. Break addressed her coolly.

"Abbygale it seems your mother is having some sort of meltdown. Go to the kitchens and request some tea to be made for her." He stated, taking no notice of her black and purple face.

"I am not having a meltdown Robert!" Her mother screamed hysterically, which made her sound like a meltdown she was exactly having. "Here, watching this wretched tape should be proof enough!" Abby's mother threw a VHS labelled "school incident" onto the coffee table loudly. Mr. Break went quiet for a few minutes then ordered Abby out of the room to wait in the hallway. Abby wasn't sure if she was relieved or disappointed to not see the tape. She wanted to know what had truly happened but at the same time did she really want to know exactly how much of a monster she now was?

She waited for about twenty minutes, hearing muffled screams from the t.v through the door until finally it stopped and she heard her father's deep voice ring though the room.

"Abbygale, you may now re-enter." For what felt like the millionth time that day Abby felt her heart beat like a drum and sweat glisten on her skin. This was it. She entered into the room and stood in the silence. She stood waiting but no one said a word. Finally her father held out his hand. "Come here Abbygale." He said in his usual cold voice. Abby wanted more than anything in the world to just run away or even to just simply say 'no' but she knew better than to disobey her father. She quietly walked over to father and at the last moment noticed that his belt was it his hand. She barely had time to whimper a small "no" before he grabbed her and swung her over his lap, yanked up her nightgown and started thrashing his belt against her butt and back while saying in a cold and controlled voice, "You are a freak of a daughter. This is what you deserve. You will never know the luxuries of society again. You are no longer our daughter." Abby cried. Why was this happening to her? What had she done to deserve this? The only thing she knew was that it was about to get a whole lot worse.

XXEnd FlashbackXX

Things of course had gotten worse for Abby. Her parents had moved to a town where no one knew them. Abby was home schooled then. Her extra lessons and tutoring halted. The only place she was aloud to go was their backyard witch was fenced in and shaded in trees. Completely secluded. Completely isolated. Which was fine by Abby's parents. As far as they were concerned the only time she existed was when they felt like they needed a punching bag.

Of course that hadn't been the only incident. Over the course of the years her 'powers' had recurred many times. Each earning her beatings and broken bones worse than the last. However she still had nearly no idea what her powers could possibly be. For 2 years she thought her powers were just to be cat-like or something. But one time when she was swimming her finger and toes had become webbed and her mouth hard. Another she had been playing with a skipping rope one of the maids had snuck her when her parents weren't home and she had grown whiskers and had jumped so high she touched the roof. Most of all was the cat though. Her parents thought she was terrified of her powers which she had been for a while but not any longer. Curiosity had eventually won out a year ago and she had begun trying to activate her powers on purpose. She was pretty sure she could become a panther. 'I think.' She thought to herself. She had never fully changed before but she also found that she didn't have to. She could have claws, teeth, the ears, tail and eyes if she wanted to. However changing fully was what she wanted.

She could almost do it too. She found that if when she changed, if she curled her fists they would become paws, and crouch her legs would turn to back legs. Same with her face. She could almost do the full transformation. It had been rather easy once she had accumulated an animal book from the library in her house. She had read up on the black panther, studied everything about it, especially it's anatomy. After she studied it parts and muscles, the way it moved, things became a lot simpler. Only it was draining. So many times she had blacked out or had become sick trying to embrace the monster she was. But no more.

One day Abby had finally been brave enough to sneak onto her father's computer when he wasn't home. Hoping against hope she thought that maybe she just might have some very exotic disease and that the computer would offer her a cure and her life would be perfect. What she found though, was quite different. She had never heard the term 'mutant' before that day but after she found herself thinking it all the time. Once she figured out what a mutant was, and that she was one of them things changed. She found her powers to no-longer be so scary. Other people had powers too. Normal people just like her, who did normal things just like her. Best of all though, was that she was provided with an escape. Looking up on a very detailed page she found out that there was a special place for people just like her in a town called Bayville. A whole country away. Looking into it more she found that the place was called Xavier's institute for gifted children.

After finding out that precious information her life had new purpose. There was a way out! She did have hope. She wasn't alone anymore! The only problem was that she knew her parents would never let her go. Not to mention she would never get the words out of her mouth anyways. Everytime she tried to speak around her parents her mouth would be slapped shut. Her parents did not want to have to acknowledge her. Even seeing her was like the greatest sin in the world to them. But not anymore 'Not ever again!' Abby tried to think through her impending fear.

They were coming home soon and she was going to teach them a lesson. 'Never ever, ever, again!' She heard the doors open and knew her parents would come up looking to beat her in only a matter of seconds. They always worked their stress off as soon as they came home. That way they could happily relax for the rest of the night knowing they had already punished her for existing that day. 'But not anymore! I wont be fucked around again!' she thought picturing all the times her parents had ever lay a hand on her. She heard the stomping of the carpeted steps leading up to her ugly, almost empty room. 'Never again! You wont hurt me ever again!' She thought viciously her breath quickening in a lighting fury she had never felt before. "NEVER AGAIN!" She screamed out loud as her door crashed open. Before her parents even got a chance to look around the room she was already flying through the air at them.

Her scream turned to a high pitched yowl as she felt her teeth and jaw change. Her legs were already there and as she saw her parents stone cold faces her hands changed as well. 'ears, tail, eyes..' she immediately stopped counting what had changed the second she collieded into her parents, sending them rocketing into the hallway. All the pain, all the hatred and fury she had buried deep down out of fear all those years were finally resurfacing on Abby. As an animal she smelt death and her teeth longed flesh. After all who was she to deny herself the pleasures she finally deserved. 'This is what happened that day.' She thought to herself distantly as her fore claws, back claws, and teeth shredded into her feebly thrashing parents. 'Except now I'm fully grown' she thought savagely. Hunger burned. Panther Abby saw red. These annoying prey would stop moving. They were such an easy catch. No playing this time. They didn't amuse her. She would simply kill them.

and Kill them she did.

Chapter 1 end.