The Sigil of Azazel, Chapter 1

•September 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Many of us like to believe the best of people. Despite historical evidence to the contrary, we are apt to have hope in the human race. That they are overall, bright, adaptable, good-hearted creatures.

I stopped having such foolish assumptions a very long time ago, if they ever existed at all, which they didn’t, not to my recollection.

I was not, nor have I ever been, kind-hearted. But I am very bright, and, as life would have it, extremely adaptable. Though as I sat there, squinting at the mixed code of symbols and numbers before me, I was having trouble believing it.

Most would have blamed the surrounding darkness of a computer lab at night with no lights on, but I possessed acute photosensitivity since birth, leaving me with acute night sight, migraines from florescent lights, and currently irritated contact lenses. The soft hum of the army of high-tech computers around me was a comforting background of white noise to the industrial synth-orchestra blasting out of the giant headphones that hung around my neck. I stared at the stupid code begging the stupid error to appear before me, rubbing my eyes to make the stupid contacts stick to my stupid eyelids, leaving my blinking idiotically in the darkness in a struggle to get them back in place, and it was in the midst of that struggle that someone turned on the painful light fixtures and sent agonizing ultra bright beams of light into my already irritated eyes.

“Spellmeyer! How’s it coming?”

If I hadn’t found the stupid absent backslash in that moment, I might have resorted to violence. As it was, I typed in the damned symbol, before hitting ctrl+s, F5 with such practiced speed that it probably looked like some hacker voodoo to the jackass interior design major behind me, really, all I did was save and reload the webpage, where it displayed his flawless new website in all its glory. The jackass to whom I was referring needed to get an edge on the competition for an internship with some up-and-to-do agency I could never afford, and would never hire if I did. He needed a site to showcase his talents, and I needed money. My opinion of my clients was not worth more than that.

“Take a look,” I gestured to the gargantuan monitor before me, standing up to give him full access to the preview. He didn’t like how I towered over him, but I towered over most everyone, I was used to it a long time ago. He seemed suspect.

“It’s very simple.”

“Simple is effective. Don’t believe me, ask Apple. It’s a website, communications and advertising, not a room to plaster wallpaper over.”

He frowned, but didn’t argue the matter.

“How much do I owe you?”

“250.”

He seemed surprised.

“That’s the steepest price on campus.”

“For the finest work on campus. You want top quality design, you need to pay top dollar. Time is money, and I have very little of either.” I wasn’t bragging, I don’t brag. I had a near genius level IQ and a very adaptable thought process, which is to say, I learn new things very quickly and excel at alarming rates. I do not have eidetic memory, but I have enough creativity to make up for it. I double majored out of boredom, and my high IQ and tendency towards computers were probably the only reasons my social apathy went undiagnosed. I was always regarded as “one of those people.”

He counted up the money and handed it over as if he had just given up his favorite son for adoption. I would have felt bad, except that Theodore Oscar’s parents were both wealthy beyond imagining, and there was no logic to guilt. I counted the money, copied the file from my thumb drive, and left.

I didn’t turn back when he asked what my plans were this evening. Nor did I look up at the guy who brushed past me, ascending up on my way down. I did not pause when he had a weird smell, and I ignored the odd feeling I got from him too. I was a borderline sociopath, I thought everyone was strange, and by strange, I mean so dull and so foolish I don’t understand how they find contentment in their sad, boring lives.

I did not turn back. Not until I was in the hallway on the bottom floor, not until I heard a piercing wail that sounded like something from a good actor out of a bad horror movie. I turned back just in time to see the “weird” guy towering over Oscar, cowering, cornered against the glass wall of the stair case.

I don’t know why I began to turn back, but I did. Though as I took my first step up, a pair of hands grabbed me by the waist, lifting me straight off my feet and hauling me back. One of them sealed my mouth shut when I tried to scream. I had never done that before, but I had never been kidnapped either. I was held still to watch the arc of blood spray across the glass in great, scarlet, arterial bursts as the guy tore Oscar limb from limb, and he didn’t go quiet, didn’t go quick. He kept screaming. And I screamed with him. Not for Oscar. No, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass for Oscar. I screamed for the knowledge that I was next.

“Calm yourself,” the commanding male voice of my attacker whispered into my ear, breath caressing my lobe, “You’re not ready to take him on. Not yet,”

I had no idea what he was on about, but I wasn’t ready to die yet either. His grip was firm, but not rough, not impossible. He wasn’t trying to hurt me. He didn’t expect me to fight back.

Stupid man.

He was taller than me, and I used that to my advantage. I elbowed him in the solar plexus with everything I had and took off running, slamming through the doors at the end of the hall to the student lounge, the sound of his foot falls not far behind.

I was lithe, and tall, but not in shape; he would outrun me in a heartbeat. But he couldn’t outsmart me. An abandoned janitor’s caddy was off to one side. Perfect. Quick as a fox, I grabbed the broom and darted to the left corridor, shoved it through the door handles, and ran into the nearest classroom on the left, using the side-door to double back through the adjacent lab, finding a good hiding place behind a row of servers. They wouldn’t expect me to double back, they didn’t know the layout of the campus, not as good as I did. They would find the doors barricaded, and barrel straight through the next exit to the quad. As soon as they passed through, I could double back through the building, exit to North St, and get home.

But he never came. Neither of them. Minutes passed, until a labored crash burst into the lounge beyond. The sounds of yelling, the loud slap of blows against flesh echoed against the silence. It was as good a time as any. I crept through the side door, only to have the metal hinges screech shut behind me. Fuck. They were closer than I thought too. Creep number one lunged for me first, angular face covered in blood, but the second one pulled him back, throwing him against the wall with enough forced that it shook. And before I could move his long fingers wrapped around my wrist, and the world was reduced to a swirling pool of blackness, the lights snuffed out.

The World of the Sigil series

•July 30, 2012 • 1 Comment

Though our series is based in downtown Chicago, the world itself encompasses multiple dimensions. Based around humanity’s involvement with an ethereal race we know as angels, these beings, though helpful, are certainly no guardian creatures from Heaven. It presents the Bible and other religious texts as propaganda spat out by the victorious party of “angels” ruled under a position we know as the Christ lord.

The frightening image of what humanity knows to be Hell is actually the aftermath of the last civil war of the “angelic” race, a Chernobyl of metaphysical proportions. Those who rebelled against the Christ Lord were stripped of their wings and cast out here, figuring they would die soon after. But they did something miraculous, they survived.

In the Sigil of Azazel, the Land of the Fell is currently surviving by taking the souls of truly evil beings after death, and using their life force to give enough energy to the workings of the Fell to insure their survival. Often demons turning rogue are imprisoned for the same purpose, and as both can exist for an everlasting amount of time, escapes can happen, and often. This is where the  Ward comes in.

The Ward is essentially a semi-organized group of  exorcists, humans with abilities trained by a demon known as Azazel to find, capture, and exorcise the fugitives back to their cages. What most of these humans don’t know is that they aren’t entirely human, rather the half-human counterparts of inter species breeding between the Angelic and Human races. This practice has increased as demons are having problems producing children, as fewer women are born every year, and fewer children are born at all, half or full demon.

Enter Eve Spellmeyer, borderline sociopath, genius student of the International Academy of the Arts in Chicago. The first female Warden in many many years, and Azazel’s newest recruit. An atheist in the strictest sense of “Seeing is believing, and even then illusions can trick the eye”, she may just be his most challenging recruit yet. Fortunately, he has help. But in a world of traitors and mutineers, and an entire race that wants you dead, who can you really trust? Simple answer: No one for longer than ten minutes.

Character Profile: Phenex

•July 12, 2012 • 1 Comment


age: unknown

race: demonic
alignment: neutral/no fucks given

Phenex is a demon of arts. Once a poet, then a painter, he’s followed the movement throughout the course of human time since men first smeared pictures onto the walls of their cave-dwellings. Currently a tattoo artist in Chicago, Phenex serves both demonic and human clientele. Extremely tallent, and very arrogant, Phenex left the Higher Realm before the war broke out. Now banished as a desenter, Phenex is confined to his human form for all eternity. His only companion is one who suffered a similar fate, the demon Crowley, who is trapped in the form of a large snake for teaching humans the difference between good and evil, something the higher and so-called “angellic” beings don’t want humans to know about. Creativity is not something that is common nor encouraged in either the lower or higher realms, and so Phenex has very few friends, only distant allies who will pay him highly for magical tattoos that can bring the bearer extrordinary power if done right. But the more time Phenex spends aiding Eve and Azazel, the more he comes to realize that his time on the sidelines may be coming to an end as he faces the decision all beings eventually are dealt: is friendship worth fighting for?

Earworm and I Didn’t Go There

•June 2, 2012 • 1 Comment

Earworm Prompt

Azazel. The word was lodged deep in my cerebral cortex, latched on tight, an earworm that would not quit. Where the hell had it come from? I’d never heard it before. Except for last night. But that was a dream! Just a dream. A really screwed up, but logical, dream brought on by an abused subconscious. I was sure Oscar would be in class any minute now, just as sure as I was that the Computer Sciences wing had been closed off for cleaning.
“Judith Spellmeyer?” a clipped voice asked. I looked from my monitor in a mix of shock and fury. No one called me Judith, no one. No one even knew it was my name. I had J.E. Spellmeyer on my papers, transcripts. The students, professors, they all knew me as Eve.

It wasn’t a student, and it wasn’t a professor. It was my nightmare made reality, a police officer asking for my name. I stood up, deciding not to correct the man in uniform with a loaded gun, no matter how I longed to do otherwise. I was smarter, but he had a gun. Caveman logic at its finest.

“Yes?”

“Can you come with me please?”

“What’s this all about?”

“Could you just follow me please?”

“Sure.”

I grabbed my things and logged off my account while the class exploded in the loudest chorus of whispers I had ever heard in my life. And all the while, as I was escorted down to the waiting patrol car to take me downtown, all of two blocks, I felt a different pair of eyes on my altogether. Eyes with a name.

Azazel.

 

I didn’t go there

“You were supposed to just banish him, Eve.”

Azazel and I were back at my off-campus apartment, covered in gore from head to toe. His dark hair was a mess with it, stuck up at odd angles in sharp contrast from its usual flawless styling. My own black hair was slicked back from my own stupidity when I ran a blood-riddled hand through it earlier, now a crusted, disgusting, mess. We looked like a murder scene, which, I suppose we were, but was it really murder if it were already dead? The blood was already congealed when it exploded all over us, thick brown-black goop that smelled like death and rot and the fact that I had yet to vomit amazed me.

“I didn’t mean it!” and I hadn’t. But my powers were increasing and volatile since Azazel had me Marked, which was illegal, and the mostly-dead, demon, thing had royally pissed me off. Before I could barely banish Azazel out my bedroom door. Now it was questionable whether I would exorcise a demon, or, as we had just discovered, blow them to tiny bits.

In my defense, it wasn’t actually a demon. It was a wandering corpse bent on devouring human flesh in search of a soul. So, fortunately, no real harm done. But what about next time?

I went to the bathroom sink to wash my hands, determined to get the goop off before I touched anything, when I realized Azazel might want to wash up too. And seeing as it was my fault, I kind of owed him.

“Did you want first shower?” I asked, turning around to see what he was up to now, and what I saw stopped my breath. Azazel’s usual tailored-wool coat and turtleneck were on the floor in a heap, and he stood there, inspecting himself, naked from the waist up.

“Azazel?” Again, he didn’t answer me. Shit. I was going to have to go over to him. Deep breaths, deep, calming breaths. The closer I got, the harder it became. Was it even possible to look like this? His waist was slimmer than my own, shoulder’s broad enough that I now understood how he could easily throw someone through a wall, rather than into one. And the dim lighting of my apartment  gave the lines a greater shadow, the ever-encroaching darkness of Azazel. His eyes were dark when I looked at him, and I knew he wasn’t kidding, he was furious.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a coat tailored to this form in Hell?” he glowered, and I flinched, almost bowing to him. The only mark on him that I could see was the one over his heart, a symbol not-unlike my tattoos, but this looked more organic, more natural.  Deep breaths, always deep breaths, I looked over his back to make sure he wasn’t wounded. No sense in putting on clean clothes if he was only going to bleed all over them. Somehow, he was unharmed. I was never more grateful, I did not want to pull shrapnel out of him, didn’t want to touch him, was terrified of doing so for a whole multitude of reasons.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered, like a child being lectured. I hated it, but I didn’t want him snapping me in two either. One of my hands reached out on its own accord, wondering if wings could come out of the hulking mass of his shoulder blades, but he turned around before it could make contact, furious, gripping my wrist tight enough to bruise. But something about the look of sheer terror on my face made him soften, ease up just touch. The anger was gone from eyes and his expression visibly relaxed, though it was still pensive.

“You have no need to be frightened of me,” he assured me, voice low and just above a whisper.

“I beg to differ. You could tear me apart, incinerate my soul with a look. You have power like I’ll never know. And yet,”

“And yet?”

I didn’t go there, couldn’t go there, wouldn’t go there. I took a step back, and he let me.

“And yet you haven’t. Go. Shower. I can wait. I’ll take forever anyhow.”

He looked like he wanted to say something more, as if he were biting back the words. But he didn’t go there either. He just nodded, and went to wash up. And when he closed the bathroom door, it felt like all of the heat had gone with him.

Demons According To Sue

•April 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’m working on a new series based entirely in demons and their world, set in Chicago, the first of which to be called The Sigil of Azazel. And it’s strange, how contemplating their biology, their metaphysical make-up, also tends to make me think about humanity itself.

In the Sigil series, demons are not wholly evil. There isn’t a really a great BAD or great GOOD in these novels, just various shades of people who do varying less bad or more bad things. I’ve also been working this series to have demons, (and mention of angels) without Christianity!

Let me say again, I am creating a world of demons and angels, SANS religion! There is no God here, not as an almighty creator, and you don’t go to “Hell” (which is actually NOT the name of the demonic realm) when you die. The Bible is sort of amalgamation of those “Old Wives” tales, things parents would tell their children to keep them in line, and then someone wrote a book about it just to make them listen.

I came to a decision a few weeks back, which was confounded by a reverie I had just moments ago walking to class. The decision was that my demons have souls. And my excuse was that they’re descended of angels, and angels obviously have souls. When the chosen few were cast out into the Wastelands as punishment for their part in the rebellion they were stripped of their wings, but no one creature can rob another of its soul. They wouldn’t be alive, the victims I mean.

And then I was thinking about souls and humanity on my quick jaunt to Writing for the Web just now. There seems to be some vast myth in the Christian religion, and any religion really, that all things bright and pure have souls and all things evil and bad with a capitol B do not. But how could we possibly make that assumption? Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Adolph Hitler, Stalin; all of these people had or have souls. But when you look at them, either in pictures or videos or what have you, you know there is something not right in there. My point being: the presence of a soul does not mean one is good, just as darkness does not equivocate evil either.

There’s a lot more to them biologically, but I’m still digging into that. All I can say is that demons in the purest bloodline are naturally albino. So over the next few days I will be posting new character bios, maybe a snap shot here and there, and perhaps more personal-ish posts like this? Yeah? Oh! And a few flash fiction prompts I wrote for the class I just mentioned, which happen to feature the characters based here-in. Sorry I’ve been away so long, I’ve been dealing with a lot of fuckery that I didn’t want to bleed out on the page, not do I feel like sharing the negative. So! Welcome to the Sigil series, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, where demons have souls, and they’re not always bad people, they’re just not human.

V/K Finale: Love Is Our Resistance

•February 24, 2012 • 1 Comment

The desert holds an eerie silence in the dead of night, no people, no insects, just silent reptilians and the moving sands. Here, in the higher altitudes, Kaira Dunstan could occasionally hear a faint avian screech and the beating of large wings. This sense had become increasingly acute; she was Awakening a little more every day.

But there was something in the distance, disturbing the quiet, breaking fragile sandstone rocks and snapping the twigs of young ponderosa pines that grew at such high altitudes, with a distinct and simple pattern.

Footsteps.

Byron must have awoken in the night, noticed her bed empty, and immediately grabbed shoes and amulet to track her down. Gods, he was the nicest man she had ever met. Kaira hadn’t even met Serenity yet, and already she was quite envious of the relationship the two shared.

Rocks were shifting as he made his way to her spot by the waterfall, just a few feet beyond a sign prohibiting such action.

“Byron, I’m fine, I just couldn’t sleep. Really, I would just like some space to think.”

It was the lack-of-reply that made her pause. Byron always had something to say, he was a writer, they were often very chatty folk, and Harper was no different. Her pulse quickened as the shuffling grew closer.

“Who’s Byron?”

Kaira Dunstan couldn’t turn around, couldn’t stand to face the man who couldn’t be here, shouldn’t be here. Like a jump scare from a bad horror movie, Kaira prayed, that if she didn’t turn around, there would be nothing there, if she didn’t turn around, the threat would just go away.

A cold hand touched the flesh of her shoulder, and Kaira screamed bloody murder, turning around in a rare display of inhuman speed, knife in hand to face her attacker. It fell to the ground at the first sight of eyes the color of coagulated blood, body frozen in fear, struggling to catch her breath. The man smirked widely, dimples gracing sharp cheekbones, made harsher by a coat of dark stubble.  It wasn’t Byron. It was the beautiful nightmare made flesh.

“Vincent,” she whispered, and it was as if the name delivered some sense of realization. She scrambled to grab the blade from the sand, and the man made no move to stop her. “You need to leave.”

“But I’ve only just arrived. Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting to get you alone?”

Her right arm tensed, fingers fluttering along the blade’s oak handle. Vincent had worded that very poorly indeed.

“I didn’t come here to hurt you Kaira, just to talk. I’m going to take a stab and assume by your new tattoo, which looks splendid by the way, that this Byron is associated with the Coven Aetherael. They don’t like me very much.”

Her firm stance began to soften, and he knew he was on the right track. He had to do right by Kaira, he simply had to. Failure wasn’t an option.

“Does anyone?” she asked darkly, death glare still visible in the night.

“You,” he grinned, taking her hidden smile as an invitation to come closer. It wasn’t. He stopped when she began stepping back towards the cliff.

“I don’t like you, I despise your very existence.” And though the words were there, Vincent couldn’t detect a single emotion behind them. Only the fear in her eyes and the slight crouch of her battle stance. Well, this simply would not do.

Vincent moved slowly towards the dusty outcropping, hands raised in diplomacy, eyes never leaving hers as he sat down on the dirt overlooking the oasis below. He smiled, and patted the space beside him.

“On my word and blood-bound oath, Kaira Dunstan, I will not harm you on this night.”

Or any other, he thought, but such words would have been taken as false. And she knew from experience that Vincent honored his word, he could count the times he had given it in his entire life on one hand.

Kaira took her seat, but did not put the knife away. Progress.

“So. You’re not here for Trinity, or you would have gone for her already. You’re not here to sell me out, you would have killed me by now if that were the case. What on Goddess’ green earth are you here for? Taking in the sights?” she calmly joked, gesturing to the majestic moonlit scene before her.

“No.”

“Mormons are super tasty?”

“No,” the man answered again, equal parts frustration and humor.

“Okay, just admit it.”

“Admit what?” he asked, grinning his slyest grin.

“Admit you’re in love with Byron and we’ll get on with your unlives.”

Vincent wasn’t smiling anymore. Frustration, definitely frustration.

“Kaira, this isn’t funny.”

“Nope, It’s not. Because it’s not happening. I’m obviously dreaming because only in my sick twisted head would you ever come back to me for anything other than my blood,” she laughed, and no, it wasn’t funny at all. It was shards of ice in the form of sound. And the pain of it brought a greater foe in its wake, a creature that Vincent had not expected to face. Given the severity of the damage he had wrought to her life, it rose up before him as the single darkest obstacle he had faced.

It should have frightened him, and it did. But above the fear and regret and remorse was something else; determination. Yes, he had committed many a wrong, enough to ruin the girl’s previous life entirely, exactly why he had to make it right.

“Fresh ink isn’t exactly in your day-to-day travel guide, so I’m going to guess that you got that done for a reason. So. What happened?”

It was like going back in time. With those words and in that moment, he wasn’t Vincent the Conqueror. He was Vincent the Caretaker, guiding her through her Awakening, sorting through her symptoms and episodes with the patience of a saint and the mind of a devil all in one.

“I had a panic attack, I suppose, I got bit by a spell of depression, the suicidal variety. The tattoo reminds me that I am not Kaira Dunstan, college student anymore. I am,”  a monster, she though, a filthy leech, “Kaira Dunstan 2.0, the psy-vamp edition.”

He nodded as if this were all perfectly normal. Kaira didn’t like it, being on the outside of a very cruel inside joke. She tried not to glare, he tried to remain passive, and only one of them succeeded. The one with more practice.

“When?”

“Sometime in our first week on the road. Time kind of blurred, I don’t know the day exactly-”

“Thursday, the 14th.”

“-but that sounds about right,” and Kaira was studying him now, and he wasn’t passive anymore. Running a hand through his short dark hair, unkempt and sticking up at odd angles in a way that was somehow fashionable and distraught, he looked like someone trying to stay composed in front of a doctor who had just diagnosed them with a terminal illness.

“Vincent, what is it?”

Silence.

“Vincent?”

Staring off the edge of the cliff, like the painful fall to the waters below was his idea of a good time.

“Vincent, you’re starting to scare me.”

He broke his silence, laughing like a madman possessed, like one of her old roommates at St. Mary’s. She was afraid before, now she was terrified.

“Of all the things I’ve done to you, the death and destruction to loved ones and personal property, you choose now to fear me?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“You’ve never looked like this,” she gestured to his state of unrest, “before,”

“This?”

“Afraid.”

“Sweetheart,” he drawled, “I don’t get afraid,” grinning all the while like the lunatic he was.

“Really?” she challenged, not deterred in the least, not his Kaira. “Because you look like I just told you you have cancer.”

“That’s not far off,” he muttered, eyes widening as her own did before him. Damn, she was Awakening quicker than he thought.

“But it was just a panic attack. It’s a hunger symptom, right? Right?”

“Tell me Kaira, have you tripped up at all? Fed on this Byron or any of other tasty still-breathing ones?”

“No!” she was appalled, “My control is much better than that.”

Again, he laughed, a full on doubled over guffaw.

“My my, we are full of ourselves aren’t we. Control. You? Not possible. You’ve only been Awake a few short months, a delayed Awakening at that. You have the resistance power of an AA newbie at a bar in Vegas. When was the last time you fed?”

“Yesterday morning.”

“And how do you feel?”

“Anxious, and edgy, but what’s that go to do with this?”

“You should be starving. And insane.”

“Oh. Then why aren’t I?”

“Because I’ve been eating for two, so to speak. And if this is what women feel like during pregnancy, I strongly recommend you reconsider children, if only for the sake of the local populace.”

“But…who…how?”

“You’re panic attack was my fault Kaira. I should have left sooner, I won’t let it happen again.”

“Vincent-“

He continued, “I did all I could, but those fuckers got the drop on me and escaping was more difficult than I presumed it to be. I couldn’t get out till Friday. I was hot on your trail by the end of the week, which is just sad, really, that poor little Hyundai,”

“And why is your subsequent kidnapping in anyway related to my psychological state?” she snapped. She was tired of this new game of his, had played enough of them for one lifetime.

“Soulmates can go insane if the distance between them becomes too great.”

If Kaira’s heart was still beating normally, it would have stopped. Were she holding a beverage, it would have fallen to the floor. She understood now why people always said to sit down before delivering the most crippling of news one could possibly hear- you will fall down. Your body will cease to do as it is ordered, your mind will stop working. You will do nothing but hold your breath, and try in vain to forget whatever it is you’ve just heard.

“I’m sorry…say that again into my sane ear?” Kaira exclaimed, trying desperately to find her bearings, hands pushing through her wind-whipped choppy black locks. She looked like she might jump if he pushed her any further. Vincent needed to keep her calm, focused. It was the only way either  of them would make it out of this alive.

“Soulmates, once found, if separated, tend to go insane if they’re apart for too long. They also tend to die a rather painful demise once the other is gone, at least, that’s what the legends say.”

“Legends?”

“Yes. This doesn’t exactly happen often. Hasn’t in a few centuries far as the Sanguines know. Funny, coincides exactly with the fall of your race from power. Real fucking comical, that.”

“It is, really,” Kaira laughed, “Us? Soulmates? We’re like…silver and sulphur, fire and black powder, nuclear weapons and armaments codes. Explosive, dangerous, causing intensive collateral damage to anyone we come in contact with.” She was laughing so hard she thought she might fall off the cliff. And the look on his face wasn’t comical, it was end of the world serious.

“You’re not joking.”

“It’s the only thing that fits. It explains why I was able to track you down, your ability to feed through me, all of your symptoms, everything.”

“You’re really not joking.”

“If we don’t fix this Kaira, we will both die. So no, I am not joking around here. I am, in the most literal sense, deadly serious.”

“So we’ll fix it. Surely you’ve thought of something in your obvious research to make this stop.”

“I have,” he replied, and he didn’t sound very happy about it, he sounded defeated.

“Okay, what is it? Sacrifice babies on an altar of innocent souls? I’ll do it, I don’t care, I’m not Wiccan anymore. Just tell me what to do,” she begged, pleading for a way to make it all stop.

“Come away with me.”

“…to sacrifice babies in a sacred location?”

“I can protect you Kaira, I can keep you safe, if you’ll let me, I’ll show you. My life is dependent on your continued existence. If nothing else, believe that I ultimately need you to survive.”

Goddess save her soul, Kaira wanted to believe him. It did explain things. It would be why, try as she might, Kaira still couldn’t bring herself to hate the beautiful monster sitting beside her. Try as she may, the young psy-vamp only succeeded in hating herself for it, despising her own mind for not damning him to ever last corner of hell.

But that’s not love, she thought, that’s Stockholm Syndrome.

She may not hate him, but she wasn’t sure she entirely trusted him either. Logically, she had no reason to. But logically, she had every reason to hate him too. Logic was something Kaira seemed to be greatly lacking.

“Kaira?” he asked, and when she looked back at the mindless killer sitting beside her he did look mindless, or murderous, at all.

“Vincent?” she mocked. The half-smile it earned was too humane to be real.

“What do you think?”

“I think,” she sighed, “that I want to believe you, but I…Vincent…how am I supposed to trust you?”

Vincent Pavel, world renown silver-tongued devil, had no words for this woman. What could he possibly say to make Kaira Dunstan, psychic vampire, ex-lover, latest victim in the Vincent the Conqueror wake of destruction, to possibly put her faith in him? Not a single thing.

So he stopped talking, and took action. Cold hands captured the warm flesh of her face, eliciting a gasp of shock from the woman as Vincent crushed her lips with the force of his own. Kaira’s hands grabbed hold of his, fighting to pull away, but Vincent would have no such thing. Their noses were jammed together, neither party willing to change the angle, one fearing the other would let go, the other fearing they would stop. And when Kaira (finally) took a breath, he stole it, and gave her his own. Vincent assaulted her senses, projecting and fighting with everything he had. Somewhere, none too distantly, Kaira could hear it, his voice in her mind, leading to her heart with everything he had.

I won’t hurt you. I want to help you. I need to keep you. I have to protect you. I have to have you. His hands tangled in her choppy black hair, moving down her back to pin her body in place against his, I am bound to you She could hear his heartbeat, just out of sync with her own You must know how you matter to me. But then a third heart beat was there, faint, but getting louder, closer, You need to know that I-

She came away with a copper taste on her tongue, a red smear on the corner of his mouth, fighting for sanity and air. Distantly, Kaira could make out the rhythmic foot falls of someone running.

Byron?” Vincent asked, wiping the smear from his face only to lick it clean. For some reason, Kaira chuckled.

“Yeah. You’d better go, if the Coven knows you’re here, I don’t know what they’ll do to you, let alone me. I’d like them to be under the illusion that I am a slightly sane and stable human…psyvamp..thing.”

“We’re not done here, Kaira,” he stated coldly, the scarlet shine in his eyes prompting her to pick up the blade again. He frowned.

“No, we’re not.”

“Tomorrow then?” he asked, and though Vincent Pavel did not beg, he was damn near close.

“I’ll be gone before sundown.”

“Not a problem,” he grinned, fangs showing the crimson stains of her blood from that none-too-gentle kiss, “I’ll come by around 8?”

“9.”

“8:30?”

“Vincent, we don’t have time for this.”

“We’re vampires, all we’ve got is time,” he said plainly, adding with a persuasive smile, “I’ll bring coffee.”

“Fine. We’ll talk then,” she added “I promise,” at the prompt of his pointed stare.

“Kaira? Are you alright?” Byron shouted, loud enough to wake the dead.

“I’m fine Byron,” she called back, surprised to still see Vincent there when she turned back around.

“Go on, before I have to separate you two.”

Even in the dark, his eyeroll was still visible, and even after everything, it still made her smile.

“Alright, but only because you ask so nicely,” he drawled, taking the hand that was intended to punch the vampire for his sarcasm, and did something very uncharacteristic; he kissed it, a gentle whisper of cold velvet on her work-worn hands.

“If you need me,” he whispered, looking into her eyes with a satisfied expression. He liked what he saw. Even if he hadn’t gotten to say everything he wanted to, all that he needed to, his words had the desired effect all the same, “I won’t be far.”

The face should have sent her reeling, but oddly enough, it was a kind comfort.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she firmly answered. He nodded, tense and polite. Goddess, he was trying. He was trying, and that alone was enough to melt her heart and bring tears to her eyes.

“Until then,” and he was gone, stepping off the cliff like he was stepping into a cab, and everyday action, completely normal. In her world, it probably was now.

Vincent Pavel left not because he wanted to, or because he thought it would please her. He left because he trusted her to make the right choice.

“Kaira,” Byron panted, fighting to catch his breath. He must have run the whole way here, in his pajamas none the less. Barefoot. The ancient ankh’s hieroglyphs glinting brightly in the starlight.

“Byron, where the hell are your shoes? Do you have any idea how many species of poisonous snakes live in the desert?”

“And I suppose you do?”

“17, and that’s not including the scorpions, and the black widows.”

“Not my concern, we’ve got bigger problems. Serenity was attacked.”

“Oh gods, is she alright? What happened?”

His eyes were wide, making her fearful, but he nodded just the same. Kaira sighed a great breath of relief.

“Yeah, but it’s so much worse than that.”

“HOW?”

“The Master for the South East has declared war on the Aetherals. On your kind. The Powers are meeting to decide whether or not they will recognize it worldwide. Agents are on their way to take us into ‘processing’,” he finished the last with finger-quotations. Processing meaning death on sight for being anything not Sanguinarian. Anything not normal. Anything they deemed a threat.

She wanted to pray that it wasn’t real, not now, not after everything that had just happened. But the fear in the human boy’s eyes, the pounding of his heart, were all very, very real. As real as the possibility that the true reason Vincent Pavel had come here tonight was to rescue her from the very soldiers he had sent to do his dirty work.

“Who? How long do we have?” she asked, feigning surprise well enough to fool him while they walked back to the cabin.

“No one knows, could be anyone I guess. Trinity had a vision, couldn’t see the faces, but says if we don’t leave we’ll be dead by morning. The Old Mother has arranged a private jet to meet us at an abandoned airstrip. Serenity and Elyssa , the other new girl, are already on it. They should be here before day break.”

Goddess. Vincent. How would he ever forgive her for this? Better yet,she thought, how would she ever forgive him for betraying her? Again?

It was real. It was happening. The war had begun. There had been many times since she had become Aware that she prayed to be insane, for everything to be a delusion. She never thought she could wish for it harder, but she was now.

Her race was being targeted for annihilation. No rights, no reasoning, no chance to even explain themselves. Just kill or be killed. And if it came down to it, Vincent or her charges, would she be able to pull the trigger? Was it all just an act? Was it real? Or just another strategy of war?

~*~

Vincent was worried when he could not sense Kaira’s presence the following morning. He was enraged upon finding her cabin empty of occupants, and relieved when there was no sign of a struggle, just another note in the girl’s almost illegible scrawl:

Vincent-

They’ve found us. Our high priestess is flying us out via private jet tonight (feels very Bond-like too). I really did want to see you again, but the truth is, there’s a war coming, and right now we’re on opposing sides of it. You need to decide where you stand. I will not abandon my people, I can’t just escape to a tropical villa to let them get mowed down simply for being alive. It’s not right Vincent. Somewhere in that twisted head of yours, you must understand that. This war is bigger than us. And yet, it’s not right for me to ask you to abandon your people either.

All sense of logic and reasoning tells me that you are the reason they’ve been able to find our trail, that you’ve sold me out, again. Goddess above, I don’t know why I do this to myself, why I’m even writing this last line down, but I hope above all of this to be proven wrong.

-Kaira

Oh, he’d prove her wrong all right. He tried playing amicable, he had given playing the nice guy his all. He’d show her how foolish this all was. Their numbers were far too great. They would win, and she would die. And that, Vincent commanded, simply would not do.

He needed her, she’d rather him die. He trusted her, and she single handedly destroyed it with a single blow. He should have hated her, should have despised her, should have walked away and went on with life the way he liked it best, alone. But he wouldn’t. He couldn’t.

He made his first mistake. He had trusted her to do the right thing, and Kaira Dunstan was doing exactly that.

That is until she goes critically insane and dies.

“You idiot,” he muttered, folding the note and pocketing it with the others, “How the hell are you going to save your race if you’re dead?

“One could say the same for you, Vincent Pavel.”

~*~

Kaira had never considered herself claustrophobic before this morning. She had flown before, but there were many a great difference between a private jet and a 747. She tried to tell herself that it was simply the size of the thing, tried to tell herself that it wasn’t getting worse the closer they became to their destination. If should could convince herself, she could convince the rest of them too.

Kaira took a deep breath in, and exhaled slowly, exuding the appearance of calm. Her hands were still shaking.

“He’s right, you know,” said Trinity plainly, nose in her sketch book in the chair across from her. Her blonde hair was pulled back from her face with various charcoal pencils sticking out of it.

“What?” Kaira asked, removing her headphones and pausing the barrage of Marilyn Manson.

“Pavel. He’s right.”

“No, he’s not. And how the hell do you know that?!”

She tapped her temple like most would indicate a computer or other common means of communication. “That, and you’re shaking like a leaf.”

“I’m nervous.”

“You’re bound.”

“Then why am I so fucked up, yet Serenity and Byron are fine?”

“Because she has been trained by one of the finest energy workers of our age, while you were brusquely Awakened via the half-guess-work of a sociopathic-Sanguinarian with the subtlety of a dull cleaver,” the tiny girl nodded to the far end of the plane, where the new red-head girl was sleeping, while Byron and Serenity talked animatedly about something, and if you looked closely, their bodies were always touching in some casual form.

They have accepted their bond. They work together on it. They also call each other ten times a day when they’re apart. Byron and Serenity know themselves, and thusly know what the other needs. How can you ever hope to be at peace with Pavel, if you’re not at peace with yourself?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“And why is that?”

“Because Vincent will never choose us over them.”

She remembered very clearly what Byron had told her that day…

“Vincent is different. Yea, he’s not perfect, but he’s been helping me. He’s not altogether good, but, if you look-“

 

“I have looked Kaira. The Old Mother gave me the file on him. I know him even better than you do. I know that Vincent was a soldier in a genocide on your people. For 50 years. He is not some badboy with a heart. He is the worst of them.”

 

And in the moment, Kaira Dunstan finally learned to hate Vincent Pavel. Hate him for coming back to her, hate him for existing, hate him for being on the other side of a war she knew they had no chance of winning. She hated whatever mystical forces ruled above for handing her this miserable fate. Above all else, she hated that she had done the one thing she vowed not to do.

She had ruined her life. Again.

Last night she prayed the war would never come.

Now she whispered sweet nothings for its arrival at gods speed. Now while she was mortal. Now, because Kaira didn’t understand how to exist in a world where the man she was destined to be with was a heartless monster bent on the destruction of her kind. Because she didn’t understand how she still wanted him. She should be killed, before it came down to a life or death battle between him, or them. Because given the choice, she would always choose wrong.

Always.

V/K one shot series, Part: The Second To The Last: His Albatross

•February 21, 2012 • 1 Comment


It wasn’t about love.
Let me make this perfectly clear. There was no wanting. No butterflies in my stomach or the beauty of life renewed. There was only the Big Empty, the invisible hole where the world rushed in and threatened to tear my body apart from the inside out. And it was all her fault.
That bitch.
She could have been anywhere. She could have been a housewife in China or some washed up waitress working a diner in no-where Oregon. Hell, she could have been dead. But no, Kaira Dunstan had to be alive and well, and at exactly the wrong place at a very bad fucking time.
Oh no, bitch didn’t even cover it.
That violet-haired harlot was supposed to be a snack, a short-time meal, a play thing to pass the time with, because when you live forever, time is the only sure thing you’ve got. But no. She had to muck up the works. Robbing me of my rest during the daylight hours, making me fucking care, stealing my love of the hunt! That’s it! That’s what she was! Kaira Dunstan was not just a creature of emotion, but a thief and collector of one’s livelihood, ones soul, at least what was left of mine that is.
Now I could barely sleep. My body was only doing so because it was the only way to keep moving to point B. Eating was something I did out of necessity, not enjoyment, the irony of it all! The little goth that was just going to be my second course was now…I can’t even say it! It’s disgusting. Kaira couldn’t be that, it had to be a trick. A deception by the Gods above to take away my last pleasure of life, to remind me that I am a damned man.
Not that I’ve ever minded! Sure, it’s not easy, but I’ve been making the most of it. I let myself become a part of history, starting the occasional war or triggering the next disaster when the mood of absolute and total boredom strikes. You think you’ve seen it all? You think you’re desentized? Try living forever, then come back to me. I’m pretty sure I have seen everything. So I make something I haven’t seen before. Problem solved.
Till that fena had to come along and do the worst possible fucking thing, she resentized me. I was fine with not feeling anything anymore, you get used to it, you revel in it, you use it to your own enjoyment. It’s easy to get up and desert the latest coven house when you don’t really give a shit if they live or die. When they get boring, you simply call up the local hunter with an anonymous tip and hop the next Lear Jet to wherever the hell it’s going. Does it have full size blankets and closed window seating? Great. Count me in.
But now I had feelings. I cared about her, and it was the most frustrating, agonizing thing I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t just go and forget it all with the next most interesting thing, because I couldn’t forget her. She ruined me! Vincent Pavel, starter of World War 1, the real gun man behind the death of President JFK, and what brings about my demise? A petite purple-haired girl who can barely hold a knife with the psychic abilities of an Orthodox Catholic.
And she claimed that I ruined her. She could have turned back at anytime! But she chose me. I didn’t force her into anything. Well, maybe that one time, where I threatened to eat Rachel, but only that one time! Everything before that was her own damned doing. It was Kaira that chose to leave her friends and her old life behind, not me. I simply presented the option in a very enticing manner.
I didn’t ruin her. She ruined me. And I was going to repay the favor. That was all. Nothing more than that, and nothing at all less.
That albatross.