I'll add a title if I come up with one.
The sun was setting, sliding down to its restingplace beneath the buildings, cars and people whom were just returning from hard work made harder by the incessant heat. On the subways, down the streets and alleys people complained and reasoned. Couldn?t it be the other way around? It?s on your free time you want to have the sun in your face, not while you?re trying to write important memos. True, but if it was the other way around, it would be too hot to sleep. You?d stalk your office like a zombie. Yeah... I guess there?s nothing to do about it.
Summer had come early, and there were still weeks of things to be done before anyone could even think about vacation. So instead, people thought about how it had been last year around the same time. As the chinese curse goes, may you live in interesting times, so some people had ended up. The Vampire Murders had occured around this time one year earlier. No one was ever caught; the killing just stopped suddenly. The nervous locked their doors earlier than usual, and didn?t dare to walk the streets at night. The paranoid, even if their numbers in reality were few, spoke of government being involved; of secret weapons testing or escaped alien captives. But, people in general generally agreed that whoever it was met his match in some intended victim and got killed himself. Why else would he have stopped, they figured.
Whether aliens, vampires or secret weapons of the government had been at work, Ganryo Naga had forgotten about the whole thing and thus did not worry about it. His work often stretched to late at night, since he had nothing better to do and since he got paid by the hour. Which he did find a little amusing, since all his work, which in essence was planning, was done in three days at the most. The rest of the time he just stood around shouting at his employees to build/whreck/renovate faster. It was all very rewarding work, he thought.
Ganryo Naga was one of the best and most renowned construction foremen in his field. His field included everything from skyscraper construction to groundbased construction, demolishion work and renovation of property. In other, shorter words, he was one of the best. The assignment he was currently surrveying was the de-construction of several two to three story buildings. It was all written down neatly and in great detail in his palmtop. For some reason he had always enjoyed the demolition jobs over the construction jobs. He had never built anything he could be really proud of; nothing tasteful. It was always low concrete housing or huge glas skyscrapers. Nothing people really enjoyed living in or working in. But with demolition, at least there was hope. Hope that someone would build a architectonial masterpiece on that very spot; and that he had made it possible. At least that was what he told others if he happened to mention it by mistake to someone. In truth, he just liked the sound and sight of the wreckingball fall.
He squinted towards the workers just setting up shop again after a break. They were good men. They cut their breaks short ?cause they knew that he didn?t tolerate any pansies. He could only make out their silhouettes printed upon the sinking red halfcircle as they were scampering about moving smaller debris with small bulldozers to clear a path for the wrecking crane. Ganryo exhaled deeply, taking in the newly cooled summer air and tried to come up with something that could help the time table. This something was just about to land on the tip of his tongue, or in his brain... on his brain-tongue, when some shouting scared it away like a drinking zebra seeing a lion approach carrying a fork in its mouth. With the dexterity he could muster he slid down the hill of crushed concrete and bricks that he had been standing on and quickly walked towards the source of the disturbance. One of the workers came running towards him looking panic-stricken.
- Now listen here, Ishikawa! You will adress me as...
- There?s someone lying under that wall debris! We have to call an ambulance! The fire department!
- Bah, what could they do that we can?t. We?ll just lift that rock off of him.
They supported up the wall chunk and brought a small crane to lift it off. Something in the back of Ganryu?s head told him that there were better things he and his men could be doing. The man was probably already dead. He hadn?t moved or said a word, and he could see the dried blood on the legs of his pants.
The crane hummed and slowly the rock slid away to reveal a human body, or more correctly, a bloody pulp. Blood covered his stomach and his legs, and he had cuts on his face and arms.
The workers stood around mumbling to one another, and Ishikawa asked his boss:
- Should I call an ambulance now?
- Didn?t you just hear what I...
Once again subjected to Ishikawa?s rudeness his face had formed an angry grimace. But, it quickly faded as he saw...
- He?s moving! He?s alive!
They boy stirred and blinked towards his rescuers. He looked, if anything, suprised.
- Can you move? Are you in any pain? How long have you been lying here?
The questions hailed down on him from the cluster of talking heads, which was all he could make out as they still had the sun in their backs. Also, his eyes weren?t really used to light just yet. He brushed the hair out of his face with a blooded hand and tried to stand. Instantly three people were there to help him up and another three trying to convince him to stay down. It took longer than it should have, but after a while he was on his feet.
Ganryo decided he should try to sort the matter out as quick as possible. Maybe he wouldn?t even have to call the police. Having them on the site would delay his work, and his employers rarely, if ever, listened to excuses.
- How are you feeling? Are you badly hurt?
The boy gave a very short smile; as if smiling was much more draining than ski jumping in his condition.
- Oh, I?m fine. I walked by yesterday around this time and kind of toured the site. My usual bad luck hit me and that block there fell over me.
He looked down on his blooded clothes, and gave a matchingly quick laugh.
- It?s not as bad as it looks, I assure you. Just flesh wounds.
- Do you want us to call the police or an ambulance to pick you up?
- Nono, it?s fine. I can walk back. I just need to get home; clean these wounds and get something to eat.
- Well, if that?s what you want...
The boy nodded and turned to walk off. Ganryu watched him as he walked away, just like everyone else. He was relieved. Relieved that there would be no unnecessary delays. He felt like there was something he had forgotten though... Ah! He shouted after him:
- Hey, why the hell were you ?touring? a de-construction site?
- Well, I guess I just enjoy watching the art of it all. The shapes; the new landscape that is shaped by it. The sounds, the images. I just appreciate it all.
Without waiting for a retort or apoligizing for by-passing the ?no entry?-signs, he left.
As the men started clearing up around him Ganryu thought to himself:
- He ain?t no pansy. I wish my son was like that.
The sun has finally surrendered to the night and left to shine upon another city. A cold, but soothing wind blows. It blows the leaves in circles in the parks, it blows the sweat from the foreheads of the late homegoers and it blows the dust of the rooftops. On one of those rooftops stands Sion Eltnam Atlasia. She appreciates the wind. Silence through noice. The wind brings other smells than the smell of inadequate sweeping. Far out in the night she senses the smell of tire, the smell of relief and, closer...
- The smell of fear...
Her communicator transmitted some static along with a whispering voice.
- What was that, Phatmose? The static?s louder than your voice right now.
A deep, raspy voice punched through the static.
- I said, have you found him?
- Yes, I?m pretty sure. You sit tight, I?ll call in the rest of the team.
- Lenkinunit 1 and 2, secure the the main enterance. Unit 3, you take care of the back door. Scout for additional exits. I don?t want this guy disappearing. Don?t forget sewer maps. Remember, if he?s only on the second floor he can clear the jump easily, so stay alert. Until I break it, I want radio silence. Over and out.
Sion put away her communicator, crouched down and put an ear to the roof. A normal human would have heard nothing, save perhaps the sound of a mind ghost. But, Sion wasn?t a normal human. She heard everything she wanted to hear, and sometimes things she didn?t want to hear. Now was a good example. Dripping. Metal grinding against metal and metal grinding against flesh. She stood up and let out a deep sigh.
- A little late. Well, you can?t save everyone.
Silently she approached the staircase door focusing on any shifts in the balance of fear. She gathered her focus. She could hear single dust grains as they moved about on the roof surface. She almost jumped backwards as the communicator came to life again.
- Raia? I said radio silence until I break it!
- I?m sorry; we arrived a bit late. Unit 3 radioed me and asked us to get sewer maps of the area. There are no escape routes that way inside the building. At least not large enough for a human to get trought.
- Well, we?re not dealing with a human, are we?
- No? I?m not really well informed about the case. Can you brief me?
Of course she could have had someone else do it, but the other units needed some time to get into position anyway. As soon as she stepped through the door, anything could happend. It could have set an alarm, or a trap or just plain be standing right behind it. The building was its lair. Not everything was as it seemed inside. She let out another sigh.
- Nicolaus Gargan. Tourist. Was infected by some stray Shinto a few weeks ago. That Shinto has been taken care of, but this guy has been more resourceful. Firstly, he escaped one of our caption attempts in a subway by jumping over to an oncomming train. Secondly, he?s recieved Vitae Calculus syndrome. He somehow calculated how much blood he gains and how much he loses for different actions, and he believes that if he can refill his veins completely, with the right blood type, he can come back to life.
- But it won?t work?
- I don?t know. We have so far been able to prevent any attempts to find out.
- How many people does he have down there?
- 11, all with the same blood type. He recently killed one of them.
She approached the door, pulled out an Ethernite tool and dissolved the locking mechanism.
- And I hope I will make it down before ten. Now get into position and hand over those maps before I come down and smash you into a wall instead.
- A, Affirmative!
Sion turned off her communicator. Any noise made inside could lead to a messy operation. Just as she was about to press down the handle she paused and sprayed something on the hinges. A thick layer of rust fell off as peelings. The door opened silently.
- Alright then, mister vampire. Let?s see what you?ve got for me...
Silence. No alarms went off, no traps were sprung.
Well, Sion thought, I guess nothing else was expected. He wasn?t the most resourceful vampire we have ever encountered. Just one of the luckier.
Also, it wasn?t alarms or traps that worried her. It never was. It was the... presense of the Shinso. Every Shinto had it?s origin from one of the original vampires, the Shinso. And every vampire carried a part of that Shinso?s spirit. The vampires lair was in reality the lair of the Shinsos spirit, and it affected things and people that entered. Seldom in a good way. Sion had accumultade quite a few real nightmares throughout her hunts.
The top floor was made up of appartments, all of the same cheap kind. The bottom floor was a famous restaurant, owned by rather infamous people. Sion bet herself that at least some of the housed some of the less fortunate of female immigrants. The hallway looked like a viaduct tunnel. Torn walls with chunks missing here and there, and some half-assed graffiti covering much of the surface. Beige with some kind of sickly blue tint, moonbeams corrupted by the filthy windows and walls. The room interior was probably the same; perhaps even worse. Sion took a deep breath and tried to concentrate. Inside a vampires lair all senses were muddled. The athmosphere had a direct impact on the mind and created some kind of silent noise, interfering with other sounds. Even with an alchemists training, she couldn?t feel the precence of the vampire, or anything else that might be lurking. Taking the safety of her Black Barrel handgun she pressed down the handle on the door of the closest apartment.
- If Gargan has left any minions behind, I?d rather take them on now than having them stab me in the back...
How many times since it happened? She couldn?t remember. A sweat dropplet ran down from her forehead. The fear never went away; no matter how well armed or how well you had planned. Something can always go wrong. Something usually goes wrong. It was all a matter of making sure the mistake was not getting your head chopped of as you open the first door. With a loud gneek the door slowly opened. The small room had grime and stains covering it. Either the tenant didn?t bother to clean, or it was too late for that. On the small bed, which was more or less the only piece of furniture in the room, sat a woman. She seemed to be examining something she held in her cuped hands. Her long, dirty brown hair hanged down and covered her face.
Sion slowly began to approach her, still holding the Black Barrel in both hands.
- Hey there, girl... It?s alright... You should get out of here, it?s going to...
- It?s the first time.
Sion flinched as the woman spoke. She still looked down into her hands.
- We all have mirrors, and when we look into them, we think that we see things as they are. It?s not true. Now, finaly, I can see myself as I really am.
Sion took one step closer and bent slighly forward to see what she was looking at. She felt her stomache turning. Something looked back at her from the hands. With a voice, suddenly rasp, she continued:
- My eyes. Now they can see me as I really am.
She looked up, eyeless. Her eyes clawed out of their sockets.
- And now you can too, eh?
The eyeless woman lunged at Sion from the bed, but she was able to dodge to the side. The woman turned towards her again, blood flowing out of her mouth as she spit out her tongue.
- Tho wid lib ad suwwer lig I did. Then I wid tead oud yow eyes so you cad see wad you hab decom!
A bullet flew trough the air and landed in the right empty eye socket. She let out a furious scream and clawed at the wound. She fell down, dead, but still convulting. Sion stayed down in the corner, gun fixed on the body until it stopped, then she crawled up from the floor and followed the walls out of the room, touched by the madness of the Shinso.
Sion Eltnam could hear a needle fall to the ground as clear as if it had been a glas bowl. She could see see clearly all contours in complete darkness, she could recognize people by their smell. Sion Eltnam could easily do that. But she was Atlasia now. More was expected of her. She was the head of the academy, and she had to surpass everyone. And she had. Now she could get a 20/20 certificate in complete darkness, she could hear worms burrowing deep underground and her nose could determine what you had for breakfast, a week ago. No human was a match for her physical abilities. Her speed was meteoric and her strenght superhuman....
And thus she had survived, for technology alone was not enough. Many of her students had come to realize that. It was more than once that she had found them impaled on their own weapons. Vampires could, like animals, smell fear, and many enjoyed preying on the fearful. The atmosphere became even more oppressive as she opened the closest door. Leaning against the wall stood another woman. In her her hand she held a pen knife, and down her face ran a mixture of blood and tears. A broad smile was on her face, from ear to ear as she had cut her face up.
- I was so sad. Always they would come here and do things to me. The would ravage me and beat me and every day I wished that one of them would go too far and kill me. They didn't, but one of them strangled my baby. Heheh... I never realized it was so easy to become happy again. You see my smile don't you?
The woman looked up at Sion and raised the knife.
- You look troubled. Let me make it all good again.
Sion didn't hesitate this time. Soundlessly the mad woman fell to the floor, sliding down against the wall. Sion looked down at the womans ruined face.
- " Gouge out your eyes and you cannot cry. Carve a smile on your face and destroy your sadness. Ride the black storm and find the truth in its eye."
The words came to her, and she spoke them without thinking. Her eyes were fixated on the dead womans face, she could not look away. She took a step forward and the voice became sharper. In a single voice a thousand voices spoke. She was just about to take another step when a gunshot rang through the air. Sion dashed backwards and slammed the door shut.
- "The black wind fills the heart from the inside out. There will be no escape."
No more shots came. Probably just one of the students who thought he saw something, Sion thought. She dried the tears off with her arm. She had been standing, staring at the corpse for a more than a minute without being able to blink.
- No more suprises, eh? Well, I guess it wasn't his suprises after all.
Silently she proceded down the stairwell. As she passed the second floor down to the basement she noted the blood trail going downwards. So there had been a struggle after all. That either meant that the vampire was either brutal or panicky. The absence of traps suggested the later. He was probably unaware of her presence. As she slowly crept down the last few steps she could hear its voice. The oppresive atmosphere was lighter than it had been on the top floor, but the fear in the air was enormous. A crying choir performed what was to be their first and last piece. Sion gave a short smile.
- If there's nothing else you would like to show me tonight I guess I'll just clean up the litter and leave.
Shiki dragged the heavy suitcase down the plane stairs, almost falling twice and getting many an irritated look from his fellow passengers. As he got to the lowest step he was just about to turn around and apologize when the suitcase slid of the last step and made a deep inprint in his foot. With pure force of will did he manage to keep in the yelp that threatened to jump out of additionally decrease his shares with the other travellers. He divided the scream into many smaller swearings muttered under his breath and proceeded to the terminal exit. It wasn't until he stepped outside the airport that he realized how hot it really was. When he first stepped out of the plane he had figured a combination of the heat from the engine and the embarrasment. But it wasn't particulairly cooler away from the engine.
- "I sure hope the pavament doesn't melt. And...", he added, " that if it does it melts before I do."
It was, all things considered, a beautiful day. Or at least what was generally considered a beautiful day. Many would probably rather have it being a rainy or otherwise bad day. The heat and the fumes rising from the ground made everything blurry. What from a distance looked like people talking at a bus stop turned out to be nothing but the shadow of a tree swaying in the wind. With the heavy suitcases it took him quite some time to reach the parking lot. By the time he did all the excitement of being home again was gone. Part by part it had been replaced by foot-pain, sweat and general gloom. The fact that there were no cabs avaliable didn't make it any better. Out of pure frustration he gave out a short yell and started walking away from the airport. He had been walking in the glare for a good twenty minutes when he realized he had ner walked from the airport before, and better yet, even if he could fly it was several miles to his sisters house. As he cut back into the main street a strong wind made a short appearance, blowing some grit into his eyes. It wasn't even a cool wind. It was like a huge outdoors hairdryer. Shiki kept walking. He didn't see anything, but he figured it didn't matter since he didn't know where he was anyways. At least until he hit his head on something hard, stumbled backwards and slowly fell to the ground in a way that would make a laid-off accountant on his way to an interview as a hygiene technician fold himself double with laughter. Shiki wasn't laughing and there were no accountants around to see him, so he blinked towards his assailant. It turned out to be a subway sign. For a moment he didn't understand what it was: salvation. Even considering the effort it took to bring the heavy suitcase down the stair that had no ramp he was in the cool the underground and he would soon be home. There was a subway station just a block away from his sisters house. He might have to change once or twice but he was sure to get there. At least so he thought until he saw the strike-taping. Shiki's spirits would have sunk if he wasn't already underground. He had thought it was strange that he had been waved through at the ticket booth, so he went back and asked.
- "Oh, there's a negotiation right as we speak. The situation is probably resolved shortly, so you can just sit and wait for a while."
- "How long would you guess?"
- "Oh probably just an hour or so."
"Or so" turned out to be 6 hours more or less. And "more or less" turned out to be 36 minutes more exactly. It had been out of the frying pan and into the freezer. Shiki sneezed as he entered the tram. With a sigh of relief he took a seat in one of the many empty seats. It would seem that he was more or less the only one who didn't have something urgent to atend to. Or perhaps the negotiations had gone sour for a while. Outside the sun had gone down and brought the poor surface dwellers a well-deserved chill. Shiki leaned back in his seat. He was tired, but he forced himself to stay awake. It was made difficult by the dim fluorecent light, the well-temperatured tram interior and the oscilloscope of lights that passed in the darkness of the tunnel. Slowly he tore his gaze from the passing lights and ogled at the other passengers. There were only three of them apart from himself. A young man was sleeping on one of the benches. He looked pretty shabby, and Shiki hoped that he was going to the end of the line instead of the alternative. That he was a dropout, or worse, someone who had been kicked out by his family for something or other that they didn't approve off. He wondered what he was dreaming about. Perhaps that he was at home and that nothing had happened. The second passenger was a older woman, in her forties maybe. She looked stressed out and she was holding a large shopping bag in her lap, even thought there were so many free seats in which she could put it down. Perhaps she had been unaware of the strike and now she was late to get home. He could just imagine her grumpy husband sitting in an armchair watching television, too lazy to cook himself. Well, society is a burden upon itself. Sooner or later it would revolve and things would hopefully change for the better in at least some areas. The last passenger, sitting in an adjacent car, was the hardest to read. He was sitting in the corner shadows with his head fallen forward as if he was sleeping. His attire included short gray hair, a trenchcoat and black boots. The first two images that flew into Shikis mind were flasher and weird gestapo-cosplayer. Neither seemed plausible and he locked his leer on the man. As he sat there, watching the weird traveller there was as if the dim light got even dimmer. It was as if some kind of darkness crawled out of the corners of his eyes and smothered the lights. The edges of things got smoother and withered away until there was nothing left except the himself and the grey-clad man. Then the man stirred, slowly lifting his head to face him. Shiki found himself unable to move or speak, and after a while he could see that the man's face was covered in scars. The man starred into Shiki's eyes, and his eyes were a whitish grey, and his scars started to bleed and he gave a sharp-teethed grin as he stood up and took a step towards him.
Shiki awoke with a heavy jerk-and-flinch manouver that caused the nervous woman to grasp her bag tighter and tried to move further back into the seat which proved a futile effort. Shiki cast a quick look into the other car. Empty. The second before he awoke he had recognized the man. He never trusted dreams to be just dreams anymore, but he wasn't there. Nrvnsqr Chaos wasn't there, and couldn't be there, dead as he was. But maybe it foreboded something else? Shiki jumped again as the train came to a screechy halt. He got off. The woman and the boy stayed in their seats, going on towards their fate as Shiki pulled his suitcase into the next tram towards his.
The vision remains with me. The whole sequence of events. At the same time a piss in the ocean and and event on an enormous scale. Two of the Dead Apostles slain. Two simple creatures. Two vampires. Two of the most powerful beings to ever walk the earth. Roa, the reborn. He was thought to be immortal, but his life was in reality no different from any human. As time goes by the body withers and slowly dies. Through hundreds of years he took control of the bodies of humans and rampaged through the human world, and each time the Princess of the Moon came and slew him. His spirit would go in search of a new body strong enough to suit his needs, and so it went on. Not even Roa noticed how his soul grew weaker, and when he possessed the human Ciel and the Princess came to kill him, his soul was forced out before the girl was dead. I suppose it doesn't really belong, but the soul of a Shinso always leaves a mark as it passes, and the girls body became something not quite human and not quite vampire. She is now well over decade old and has in no way aged.
But as I said, it is probably not important at this time. What is is the fact that the spirit of Roa was destroyed by a man who could see the threads that connected him both the body of his victim and to this world. He cut them out of the possessed mans body and Roa was destroyed. Hail to one of the ancient ones, existant before the world was made and gone before us to lead the way. May his pitiful death be remembered by no one but us who can never be free of his presence. The snake's head has been crushed and he shall never rise to his fated path again. This event was important, because Roa was the incarnation of the eternal precense of the beasts. Now that he is gone, I fear that more than a few of the ancients will have crazy fits and do something that will ultimately doom our existence. We vampires are not known for our internal brotherhood and friendship. Since the spirits of madness and betrayal are some of our own it is not so suprising. Our history is one of backstabbing and war, something humans have been unaware of, and so it should remain. Unless we want to be all sought out and ultimately destroyed. The spirit of the black wind. The truth in all things is nothingness. More powerful than any other single Apostle. For the first time in our history two Apostles made a pact to bind one of our own. Roa and myself. The black wind whispered too many secrets,told too many truths to be allowed to roam free. And then we were destroyed, both by the same man. The man with the eyes of direct death. I am Nrvnqsr Chaos. Within me I carry the souls of 666 beasts. They sustain me, they grant me power. They are my shield from harm, now as ever. They are my swords that reach anywhere.
When Shiki Tohno attacked me, cut the threads that he saw my life connected too, he was unaware of how his powers really worked. He could not truly see. My beasts, my guardians protected me and created illusions of the threads. I do not as of now know how. The threads are made to be absolute and unmovable. Perhaps it was Shiki Tohnos power that is incomplete. It is evident that they did not succeed entirely. I have been in torpor for a year, sleeping dreamlessly. Some think time means nothing to those with eternal lives, but a vampire caught in a burning house will value every second just like a human would. As I slowly awake, as my powers slowly return to me I know that time is short. I must move quickly if I am to reach the eye of the black storm before it becomes too strong. I must find demon lord, the black magican, the slayer and princess of the moon. And, I must once again confront my killer and see what fate has in store for us.
Last edited by Dectilon
on December 18th, 2005, 2:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.