*********

Hello, I’m Abby. It’s been a few days since our fight at the Hellfire Club, but I’m still reeling from it. It’s not like I hadn’t seen any action before this, and I can tell you that even before I graduated from Camp Hammond to become an Avenger, I’d seen my share of horrors. This thing with the Hellfire Club was something else, though. I was captured, and I was powerless at the mercy of that witch Selene. It just occurred to me, that I usually call evil women witches, but his Selene really was a Witch, using magic and everything. She scared the hell out of me, and she is one of a group of enemies the X-Men never managed to defeat decisively.

I still haven’t made up my mind about joining the X-Men. I like the girls I’m living with a lot, and we are much closer already then I ever was with my Initiative team, Freedom Force (Kitty told me who the people were that used that name first, and all I can say is that if I ever get back to them I’m going to put in for a name-change or a transfer). The point is that I’m still not sure if I really want to do this. I’m not a fighter, even though everybody always tells me how good I am at it. It’s like shooting, I guess. Is it possible to hate something you’re good at? I’m not sure, but I always come back to the fact that I got dragged into the Initiative while all I ever wanted was just to fly.

Still, like I said, I really like the X-Women, all of them. I share a room with Rachel and Clarice, but I’m already feeling that Alani and me are becoming best friends. She’s so different from me. I love my powers, and she hates hers, even though they probably saved the day at the Hellfire Club. Also, I’m very shy about my looks, and she’s like totally not. I still can’t believe that dress she wore to the Hellfire Club party, and I really wish I looked half as good as her. I can train as much as I like, and I’ll always have these hips and I’ll never have her… Ah, you know… She’s also very confident about whatever she does, and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. She told me she has sort of a boyfriend back home, and showed me a picture of him. His name is Josh, and he has golden skin and looks really cute. If I had a boyfriend like that, there’s no way I’d ever move to Europe. Alani doesn’t seem to care about it much. Also, when we fought Selene, she was completely naked, and it didn’t seem to bother her at all! Me, I probably would have died of embarrassment before the Black Queen would have a chance to kill me. She’s so free, so cool; I wish I could just be a little more like her.
*********

And here’s another episode from the mind of Clarice Fergusson. I don’t even know why I’m writing this stuff to myself, but since everybody here seems to do it, I figure I might as well join in. It’s probably one of those typical girl-things that I just have no knowledge of. When I spent time with Nocturne in the Exiles, I learned a little of what it’s like to have a normal life, but of course that was when we were constantly moving from one reality to the next. Try having a normal life under those circumstances!

However, since we moved here to Amsterdam, I have been experiencing a more or less normal life. Sure, I live in an apartment with four other super powered women, but all in all life has been pretty normal for us. I go about my things, working out at a local gym, I do groceries, I go shopping, I watch television, I make dinner. It’s so different from the world I grew up in, it’s unbelievable sometimes. I have to admit that I start to enjoy the girly things most of all. We can watch a cop-show on television and comment on the hero’s ass. We can go shopping and take forever to pick out a sweater. We can drool over shoes in the shopping windows. The whole dressing up for a fancy party thing last week, with the Hellfire Club fiasco, was actually a lot of fun for me. It’s completely new to me, all this girl-stuff. Blame Sabretooth for not showing me that part of life, he’s the one that raised me. But then again, Mr. Creed may be a lot of things, but he’s not going to be braiding my hair, and I can’t blame him. Instead, I’ll just blame Apocalypse, as he’s the one that turned my world into a hellhole. Apocalypse is always a nice choice to blame anything you like on!

I do have some concerns about Rachel and Alani. We all saw what happened with Alani, and believe there is no way she could have just caused that inhibitor to malfunction. I was trying like a maniac to teleport and nothing happened. Those things worked! Then, when we were looking for something magical to throw at that Modred guy and Rachel, she just jumped in and shorted out whatever magic was going on. There is a lot more to that girl than we’re all seeing, and I hope that she’s fine.

Rachel is a different story, because I now she’s not fine. She told all of us what had happened to her, and what she saw, and I can’t even begin to understand what that does to a person. I know that most of this world’s mutants lost their powers a few months ago, but this has got to be almost as bad. Rachel has been violated in the worst way by that Modred-bastard, and if I ever get my hands on him, I’m blinking him into orbit! Why? Because that’s what girlfriends do for each other!

*******

Hello there Alani, this is Alani. Thinking about what happened to me, writing stuff to myself is not so dumb after all. Who am I going to talk to about this stuff otherwise? I still talk to my grandmother sometimes, but I’m not sure she can hear me, her being dead and all. I hope she hears me. I love her a lot and she helped me when nobody else could.

I still hate my stupid powers, but last week I hated them a little less. If not for my powers, and my ink, I would have been dead, and that would mean no more Alani in this world and that would be sad. Alani is good, more Alani is better, right? Right!

Anyway, this witch-woman was going to kill me, and she put a collar on me so I couldn’t use my powers. Right! Like some collar is going to work over grandmother’s patterns. I don’t think so! As soon as she started to hurt me, my powers kicked in, and I swear I saw her hands melt of. Well, she deserved it! Bitch!

So afterwards, we needed something magic to fight this ancient magic-dude. I figured my ink would do the trick, so I tried it. Ka-Boom! It worked! Alani to the rescue! I totally saved the day, and I didn’t even have to use my powers there! So you see why my grandmother really is the best ever! I still miss her. A lot.

**********

Hi, I’m Kitty Pryde. I am a veteran X-Men barely in my twenties, and last week I did something stupid that almost cost my best friend her life. Wow, reading it back as I write it makes it even more unbelievably stupid. You see, I approved an idea by Alani, who really can’t be blamed, to go and infiltrate the Hellfire Club. Now, that name should have set of every single alarm-bell in my head there is, but I let myself be convinced, and then I convinced Rachel that we should do it. So you see, the blame falls squarely on my shoulders.

As we came there, we fell into this trap set by uber-bitch Selene, who I may consider more horrible than I ever considered Emma. Everybody was captured except me, making the re-enactment of corrupting the Phoenix that Selene had in mind even more complete. I got to play Wolverine, doing the insanely violent rescue-attempt. In the plus column, I managed to fight my way to Selene without killing anybody. That’s about all there is to say about the plus-column.

Some weird medieval-speaking guy that calls himself Modred got a hold of Rachel. We’re still not sure what he did to her, besides stabbing her, but when he was done, Rachel had lost most of her powers. She’s still a telepath and a telekinetic, but nowhere near the power level she used to have when there was a little bit of the Phoenix-force inside her. But that’s not all he did. Rachel is a complex person, whose life has been lived in various time-periods. She’s traveled through time so much that she hardly even remembered everything that happened or still has to happen. Thanks to Modred, she now does!

That’s all Rachel has told me about what happened so far. I can tell how difficult she finds it to speak about what happened. Old wounds that she had fought so hard to close and put behind her were opened by this Modred guy, as he mentally raped her. Rachel was always burdened by the things she did in her past, but since the last time she came back to us, she really made an effort to just go out and enjoy life. Even after what happened out in space, she was still trying her best to live life to the fullest and to just be happy.

Like I said, I blame myself. You see, this group I have here, the X-Women squad, is my responsibility. I’m supposed to be the veteran, the one making the decisions, the one looking out for everyone. I’m supposed to be the leader of this team, and I blew it. I talked to Ororo about it on the phone, and she told me not to blame myself too much. She told me that looing, accepting it and having the strength to move on are also part of being a leader. She talked about how losing Kurt, Peter and me in the Morlock-massacre all those years ago almost tore her apart, and warned me not to let that happen. I suppose she’s right, she’s Ororo, after all. But why then do I still feel like such an utter failure?

*******
It’s all gone. Ever since Modred assaulted me, the Phoenix force is gone. Most of my power went with it. I can still speak telepathically. I can still read other people’s minds. If I try, I can still lift a number of pounds with my mind and move things around. But that’s it. No more earth-shattering, mind-blasting or other feats from Rachel Grey.

I should be thankful for what I’ve still got, I guess. I heard of people who lost their powers on M-day, that couldn’t stand the silence in their heads. Still, I feel like part of me is missing. The Phoenix has been more curse than blessing to me, but now that it’s gone, I miss it. I want it back, but that is impossible now. Modred took it all. And the worst part is, I know what he did with it.

When Modred talked to Selene, I could hardly understand what was happening. He called Selene Vammatar, a name she seemed to recognize. He showed her a book, looking for answers. When Selene didn’t know what he wanted to know, he came for me. He showed me the book, and did some magic to me. That’s when it happened. I learned from Cable that my future and the future I once traveled to, were wiped from existence, my timeline was erased, and the only reason I survived was because I was at the end of time itself. Modred needed something from my timelines. He went with me through my timelines, until he found what he needed. He needed a part of the timeline in which I grew old leading a rebellion. He needed that timeline restored, and he took my power, and the Phoenix Force to do it. When I had exhausted my powers, he stabbed me with a knife. I felt more power than I ever dreamt possible course through me. And Modred took it all. I don’t know how, but I am certain that he somehow used me to restore those lost timelines. And then he tried to bring something from the future here. I’m sure it would have killed me had he succeeded. Thank god Alani disrupted his magic. She probably saved my life.

So now I’m back where I once was. I’m a low-level telepath and telekinetic. I carry around the memories of my horrid past like they happened yesterday. I know what the future may bring. I know I died in the future. No matter how much of a curse the Phoenix force was, this is worse.

Kitty, and everybody really, has been great. Kitty has known me the longest. SHe knows the horrors I lived with everyday. She knows what it means to have all that fresh in my mind. She’s there when I need her, and she leaves me to my thoughts when I need it. I know she blames herself for what happened, but she shouldn’t. I’m a grown woman, and I knew what I was doing. Nobody could foresee what would happen.

Right now, I feel like I’m learning to live with a handicap. So many things I took for granted are now impossible. I’m also learning to live with my past all over again. Wounds have been reopened, and it will take time to heal them again. I will do it. I did it once, I will do it again. I am Rachel Grey.