The very presence of danger was causing my hands to tremble all on their own. But not from fear. No...this was something different. More confident More...'powerful'. It enticed and excited me. It was warm, and it was strong...and it surged through me like the aftershocks of an intense orgasm. It was the rapidly expanding list of extras at my disposal. Their energies swelling and arming themselves, almost begging for release. This was more than some emotional conflict inside...more than a storm. It was an act of God waiting to happen. A surge of almost divine power, ready and waiting at my fingertips. My eyes changed from their golden glow to a darkened shade of crimson, and with a sharp 'pinch', my razor sharp fangs lowered themselves from my upper gums.
I could almost feel the Beast's terrifying growl, building up to a mighty roar inside of me. And as I looked up to the blackened rooftops, I saw five masked faces looking back at me over the side. They wanted to see the 'chosen one'...I don't plan to disappoint them.
In a flash, they threw themselves over the side of the roof, and bounced back and forth from wall to wall, cricket jumping their way down to my street level. I only caught a short glimpse of Jun, Jeremy, and Doc, leaving the alleys and rushing back out onto the street, as the boots of the vampires hit the pavement. They stood silent in front of me, all five of them. They were dressed completely in black from head to toe, almost camouflaged in the surrounding darkness. Over their black outfits were long black leather trench coats, and the shimmer of shiny silver metal bottoms to their boots. They were each wearing a glaring white masquerade mask, with holes cut out for the eyes and nothing else. And sharp black fedora hats, which they all tilted in unison with black leather gloves. They stood there...watching. Waiting.
"I suppose you're looking for a few 'lessons' then? Maybe get a little taste of what I've got to offer?" I asked, feeling the extras almost reaching a boiling point. They remained silent, unmoving. "You know what I am, don't you? I assume that this is why you came looking for me in the first place. Are you sure you want to do this?" I said. At that moment, they reached behind them, and pulled out these razor sharp 'rings' and held it in front of them. Bigger than a Frisbee, smaller than a hula-hoop. It was about the size of their chests as they held it out with both hands. Two of them had a pair of smaller rings, while the others managed with only one. I felt their tension in the air as their feet dug into the cement beneath them, preparing themselves for a scuffle. "I'll take that as a 'yes'." With that, they all moved a step back, adopting a stable fighting stance and aggressively raising the razor sharp rings in the air. But I had nothing to fear from either one of them. Or from anyone for that matter. "Alright....let the lesson, begin."
This....should be interesting.
I gave them a wink...and they swiftly sprung into action! Faster than I had expected, to be honest. I could see the glimmer of the razor sharp edge of their circular weapons as they lunged forward, and my instincts instantly told me to leap sideways and take to the walls. My hands and feet stuck to the bricks as I scurried further up the side of the building to safety, but the others were quick to follow. We leapt back and forth between the two buildings, with them chasing me every step of the way, trying to cut me off. It was then that one of them got close enough to swipe at me with his ring, and it cut a deep slash on the back of my right calf. The pain was intense, but it only lasted a second as my extras moved in to numb the wound. I kept moving, avoiding them as best as I could while they kept striking out in every direction, but I found that I was soon taking even more damage as they all began attacking at once. They closed their circle around me, and spun the razor rings around me at lightning speeds! So I jumped down onto one of the fire escapes nearby and stood my ground.
They approached, and began attacking with a fury that would have cut most vampires to ribbons in a couple of seconds. Luckily for me...I was NOT most vampires. I leaned back and forth, dodging every attack as the rings 'sang' with a metallic whistling sound with every movement. I had to block them at the wrist to keep from being sliced to shreds, but as good as they were, I never once felt as though I was being tested at full potency. If anything, it almost felt like a 'game'. I don't know if these clowns were hunters or just random vampires looking to gain the secret of the powers I possess...but whoever they were, I could finish this at any time. And once that idea entered my mind, the storm inside grew more violent. It began to churn and twist until visions of breaking their limbs and leaving them with their heads on backwards began to enter my mind. I fought valiantly to protect myself and nothing else, but when it came time to strike....I found myself holding back.
It was like I could feel myself getting angrier! More barbaric! More appalled at their intrusion in my part of the circle! My eyes began to change from deep red to black, and heat began to radiate from my body to the point where I almost became too hot for them to touch. My fangs lowered themselves even further than normal, and the extras swirled up tight to protect me at all costs. Even if it meant ripping every last one of them to pieces.
I jumped over the side of the fire escape to the wall on the other side of the alley, and began to scale the side towards the roof. Two of the masked men attempted to follow, but when I connected my hand to the all, a thin sheet of ice spread out from my fingertips and slicked the entire wall before they could connect. Their footing slipped, and they went crashing down to the concrete below as I continued to climb. I reached the roof and readied myself as the other three jumped up to strike at me even harder. Their synchronized moves were a blur as they struck both high and low, left and right, all at the same time. They were a well oiled machine, and while I attempted to defend myself on my own, they were just too damn fast for me!
I KNOW that Comicality told me to slow down, and to trust my own sense of control over just falling prey to my instincts. But these guys were faster and more skilled than the average vampire raider or scavenger. They were seriously beginning to fuck me up by cutting my arms and legs and even my FACE with those razor sharp rings! My personal sense of self control wasn't going to be enough to protect me this time. So...I kinda let go a bit more. I allowed my reflexes to take over...and fed off of my emotions a bit more than I should have.
Just doing that, I was able to tap into something truly brutal. Something EXPLOSIVE! And my strikes got infinitely faster and harder than they were before. I gave in to it...and my body began to work all on its own again. I had never felt so much freedom. So much authority. I began kicking them with all of my might, and whenever a blow landed true, they reeled from the pain of it! I saw one of the masked men double over and fall to his knees after kicking him in the stomach. He slid back almost ten feet from the impact, and had to take a moment to catch his breath. I began to spin like a Texas twister, lashing out at everything in site! And the further I tapped into that infinite power source...the stronger my inner storm became.
I ducked, dodged, and leaned away from the rings, their skills with the weapon becoming more and more incredible by the second. I took more damage as the other two from below reached the rooftop to fight alongside their companions. I found myself avoiding attacks in what felt like 5 dimensions at once. The speed of it was too fast for the human eye to even catch it, and I'm sure that even my attackers were surprised by my skills at the moment. But the harder I fought, the more the madness crept in, and it was getting harder and harder to keep my most savage instincts from taking over completely.
At one point, I felt a cut streak across my back, drawing blood. And without thinking, I jumped backwards, raising my foot in the air above my head as I fell to the ground, and delivered a bone-shattering kick to one of the vampires that nearly caved in the front of his skull! It was much rougher than what I had planned on, but I didn't regret doing it. A healthy splash of blood fell down on my face, and I popped back up to my feet to fight some more without even blinking.
I swung a foot sweep around to the vampire in front of me that was almost hard enough to break his leg, and when his companion thrust his ring towards me, I dodged to the side, and took a giant bite out of his arm! I felt the 'squish' as his flesh erupted with a strong gush of blood, and he screamed out loud from behind his mask as I delivered a harsh kick to his chest, nearly cracking his ribcage.
It was the same power I felt as I took on Soren's minions. The same power I felt that I felt that first night that I fought in his arena. Or at Dash's sanctuary. It was so unapologetically vicious. Fierce and cruel and created a mindset that no longer had any sense of boundaries. Suppressing the threat was my only concern...and I was VERY good at doing it! I began to enjoy the pain! I was almost laughing at them for even TRYING to fuck with me at this point! They didn't stand a chance! And knowing that caused my ego to rise to unprecedented levels of brutality! Even with the whistling razor rings whizzing by my head, I had NO fear at all. NONE!
This is what it feels like to be a true warrior.
They fought harder, and I found myself being pushed back towards the edge My GOD they were fast! I took a few more cuts to my face, arms, and stomach area...but I didn't stop fighting. Not at all. But it was then that something began to happen. Something that I didn't expect.
It was their pain. Their anger. Their determination. That is what infected me most.
Somehow, through the battle, Comicality's extra had combined itself with Jenna's...and I found myself taking their demons onto myself. The shadows began to creep, their ice cold grip, their screams and cries, latching onto me as I fought them back. They began at the feet, creeping up my ankles and all the way up my legs until I could hardly move. I looked down to see a cloak of pure blackness rapidly swirling up around me, spinning at high speeds like a cyclone as it crawled further upward, taking me over bit by bit, the rage inside growing stronger.
I backed off for a second or two, trying to hold it back, but the more I pulled back, the harder and faster they lashed out at me. The rings spun dizzying circles around their wrists as they switched up their attacks, their cuts got deeper, and splashes of my blood fell to the ground and ran down my arms in small warm rivers of crimson. In order to just defend myself...I was forced to let go. I was forced to tap in to that power...that unbelievable source of limitless POWER! And when I did...it felt...GOOD!
Better than it had ever felt before! This was a whole new experience that eradicated all of those feelings of utter helplessness that I felt as a child growing up in my abusive father's household. This was a 'release'! A vindication! Just getting a taste of what it was I had lying beneath the surface of my own restraints was like an adrenaline rush from HELL! And I embraced it with both arms, as I suddenly found myself able to handle anything they threw my way. ANYTHING!
..But at what cost?
Two of the masked men struck out at the same time, and I found myself being pushed further and further towards the edge. And with a momentary lapse of my judgment, one of them delivered a harsh kick to my chest, thrusting me over the side, and into a freefall that I knew was going to hurt a LOT when I hit the ground! I fell about 7 stories of the 10 story building, when I felt my energies kick in on their own, and a large set of majestic black wings spread gracefully from the back of my shoulders. The wings of the Beast...working to save me from the injury that was sure to follow. They flapped hard a few times, providing me a cushion of air to stop my fall, and when I saw the masked men start hopping their way down to finish me off...my aggravation increased by tenfold.
I landed softly on my feet, and concentrated hard to retract my wings and regain control again, but before I was fully recovered, they were on me again! I could only see slight flashes of silver as the rings swished through the air around me. I blocked and dodged as best as I could, trying to simply knock them down and escape with my head in tact. But my thoughts kept wandering to much more deadly tactics with every second. I felt my extras self activate, and soon, I was helpless to stop them from working to defend me.
As one of them flew at me, I felt a harsh burning in my throat, and...almost like a 'belch'...a red hot burst of flame shot out of my mouth and nearly burned off three layers of his skin before he even touched the ground! I had to shut it off as the fire was burning my lips, and I patted out some of the flames with my bare hands. Two more of them hit the ground and ran towards me, but Chad's extra kicked in instantly, and I found myself suddenly standing behind them as they tried to figure out where I had gone to. I spun around to kick them both in the jaw and send them spinning to the concrete as another attacker crept up behind me. We traded blows for a few seconds, but I was MUCH too fast for him to block or even SEE my fists moving towards him! He hit the ground, and the other four regrouped to challenge me once again. They surrounded me on all sides, and my arms and legs moved to block the flurry of punches and kicks from every last one of them. When I let go, and let my body take over, they couldn't land a single shot. Not ONE! And while avoiding a three pronged attack, I spun backwards to the ground on my hands and knees. The second my hand touched the concrete, a thick sheet of ice shot out from my palm, covering the ground until it reached one of the other masked men and fastened his foot and ankle to the ground in an icy grip to where he couldn't move! I hopped back up to my feet, and leaned back as another one swung his ring back and forth at my face and throat. But I dodged three or four blows effortlessly, before blocking his arm, and reaching out to grab him tightly by the throat! I heard myself growl and hiss with a vampire's fury, and my mind was instructed to CRUSH his larynx and rip his throat out without mercy! But I had to balance myself. The extras were spinning out of control again, and it was hard to keep my sanity and fight at the same time. Instead, I let him go, and delivered a hardcore blow to his chest! It knocked him up against the bricks across the alley, and I turned to face the rest of my attackers as best as I could.
My concentration continued to slip into madness. Mental orders to rip arms off, stomp on ribs, break legs, and twist necks counter clockwise, were being given to me with every blow. I could SEE them! FEEL them! It would be soooo easy. Soooo quick. Why NOT give them the kind of destruction that they came looking for? Huh? Why not?
At that moment...I consciously changed the 'rules'.
I found myself blocking attacks from all five directions at once, my speed nearly blinding them all. And while I was pushing so hard, my wings unfolded once more, and knocked two of the masked men backwards behind me. I spun around as a long tail slot out to swipe at another one. My body continued to warp and change, pulling their pain and aggression into me to build up beside my own mountain of misery. I backed up a bit, using Chad's speed to put some distance between us while I pulled it back in and packed it into a tight center in the pit of my stomach. It was like trying to fit too many clothes in a tiny suitcase, but I managed to keep some of the madness at bay for a few seconds. They ran towards me, but with a wave of my hand, I mentally pulled a dumpster away from the wall, and sent it sliding across the alley to smash one against the wall and block the others off. The rest jumped over and kept coming. They wouldn't stop! WHY wouldn't they STOP????
I turned to face them, and with a loud monstrous roar, a I sent out a brain geyser shot that rattled the bricks on all sides of the alley! They were blown back with the rest of the trash, and I found myself being consumed entirely. Acid began to bleed from my palms, my body radiated enough heat to to actually cause the paper trash in the alley around me to burst into flames. And when I looked at my hands, the shadows had created long claws where my fingers used to be. As I saw the wounded goons getting back to their feet, I felt an intense hatred rising up inside of me. They're doing this to me! They're MAKING me change! I WARNED them! They could have gone home tonight and forgotten all about this pointless pursuit of theirs! But no...they still want a challenge! They still wanna play fucking GAMES with me!!!! FINE!!! NOBODY GOES HOME TONIGHT!!!!
I marched towards them, my pace picking up speed until we were all running towards each other full force! I grabbed two of them by the face, and felt my arms stretch out until I bashed their heads against the walls on two different sides of the alley. I felt a slice cut my chest, but let the others go to grab him by the wrist. I held it for a second to look him directly in the eye...before snapping his forearm in half like a dry twig. Then, while still holding the broken limb, I sent an extremely cold subzero wave up towards his shoulder, freezing it solid. And with a punch, I shattered it to pieces. He screamed out in horror as I kicked him backwards, sliding his sorry ass across the ground. As his companions struck out at me, I wrapped one of their faces in acid webbing, fastening the rapidly melting mask to his head. He fought to get it off as fast as he could as I blocked another kick, and put it up over my shoulder, breaking it until the knee bent the other way. But before letting him hit the ground, I spun him around until he was facing the other way, and with my fangs already MUCH longer than normal, I bit down savagely into the side of his neck! Brutally, I sank all the way in until my teeth scraped his collar bone...and I drank his fluids in DEEP sickening gulps, rapidly absorbing every last fucking drop of blood that I lost wasting my time with these assholes! I had never felt the thirst consume someone so quickly. I was literally draining him by the pint, in a matter of seconds, I was already full..and still drinking. I was bleeding the son of a bitch dry right in front of the others.
I opened my eye to see one his friends attempt to help him, but I held my open hand outstretched...stopping him in his tracks...and then lifting him off of the ground. I held him there for a few moments, and even though my heart told me it was wrong, my instincts didn't give me a chance to fight their order. I quickly closed my hand into a fist, and watched as the vampire's entire chest collapsed right in front of me. The ribs cracked and his body was literally destroyed from the inside, crushed like an aluminum soda can. He fell to the ground like a limp rag doll, his lung and heart pierced by sharp shards of bone as his muscles began to tremor from the shock of it. It was only then that I dropped my 'meal' for the evening. I don't know if he had enough blood left to survive or not. And I didn't care.
The other two, clearly not wanting to meet an equal fate as their friends, backed up a few steps, and then began to run away from me. I could have let it end there. I could have let them go. But I didn't. They came for me, and now they have to deal with their actions. This is too close to home to let them go now. Next time...they'll come for my friends. Next time..they'll come for my Taryn. And I cannot allow that.
The speed used to catch them was nothing. I appeared a full twenty feet in front of them in the blink of an eye. I waited for them to catch up, and the slid to a stop as they saw my red glowing eyes from the shadows ahead. They had no choice but to fight for their survival, but it was all a game to me. A useless attempt to fight for a life that didn't belong to them any more. Now it was MINE for the taking! MINE!
The first slashed at me with his ring, but I caught the razor sharp metal in my hand, and I sent enough electric current through it to cause third degree burns burn and blister him from head to toe. Sparks shot out from under his skin, 'popping' in the air as the blue energy crawled over him like a web of lightning. His muscles contracted, and he couldn't even let go. I saw saliva, blood, and mucus dripping out from under his mask...his blood boiling from the energy surging through him. I showed him no further mercy until I was certain that he would spend the rest of eternity both blind and deaf. Only then did I throw him into a heap of trash. Leaving only one more. He tried to run, but by the time he turned around, I was already standing there. He turned back, only to see me again. And shivering with fear, the masked man slowly got down on his knees in front of me. He clasped his hands together...as if to beg me for his life. He was shaking so badly that he could hardly keep his balance. There was a part of me that almost...sympathized with his cries. A part of my humanity that was trying soooo hard to shine through. But it couldn't surface. Not now. This was simply something that had to be done. To protect myself And to protect my family.
With Jenna's extra at the forefront, I felt the intense fear in his heart And combining it with Max's strength...I felt my hatred get even stronger...increasing the strength of Jenna's empathic abilities at the same time. I transmitted it back to him....unrestricted. I intensified his fear, causing it to get stronger and stronger with my mind alone. He began to scream, shrieking in absolute horror as the fear enveloped him a level of hysteria that was too much for his emotions to handle. He literally broke down into an insane fit in front of me, falling over to the side,screaming until his throat burned and his body went into convulsions. Still I raised the intensity, short circuiting his emotions as he began to claw at his own flesh, ripping himself apart. And then, a the very height of his emotional explosion...I heard his heart come to a complete stop...and he lost consciousness there on the alley concrete. Only then...did I allow him to rest in peace.
Five bodies. Five.
Scattered around some dark alley with the rest of the trash.
I remember feeling myself moving. Walking away from the carnage I had caused. And not feeling...much of anything. I remember thinking that I was just doing what I had to do. That's what this power was good for. That's ALL this power is good for. But...as I got further and further away from the slaughtered vampires I had left behind, and my emotions began to calm themselves down...the memory of it all began the difficult task of trying to hide itself from my own conscience. Attempting to bury itself in the swirling mist of suppressed memories from my life...hoping to dig deep enough where I wouldn't be able to find it any more. Where it couldn't affect me any further. The more I hide from myself...the better, right? How can I go back to laying side by side with the boy I love, when thoughts of the terrible deeds I had committed for his benefit are constantly plaguing my mind? Maybe it was excessive. And...and maybe I could have fought harder to just concentrate and beat them on my own terms, but...I'm so SICK of playing things safe. I'm tired of struggling. I've struggled my whole life. I WON'T be bullied any more. I can't stand it any longer! And now that I've been given the power to actually DO something about it...I shouldn't have to hold back! I shouldn't have to take any damage for their benefit. Fuck 'em! Fuck 'em all! The whole world is ran by bullies and abusers and opportunists...and I'm just not going to play this fucking GAME with them any more. You come for me, or try to hurt ANYBODY that I care about...you get handled! End of story! Just like those poor bastards laying back there in that alley. They're going to learn their place. And I'm getting stronger by the minute, so I'm going to be right there to teach them.
My clothes were a bit dirty, my shirt cut and slashed in some places. Jesus, I'm going to need a whole new wardrobe of clothes if this keeps up. I walked those streets, wandering towards the old church where I hoped that Taryn would still be there with Kid and Rain. But they had already gone before I got there. It was a disappointment, but I figured I might as well clean myself up as long as I was there. I didn't want to go back to the lot right away. If I was being mentally tracked in the streets, I'd have to wait until the psychic connection was broken and wore off. God help the sorry son of a bitch who comes knocking at our door, looking for trouble.
I went into the church through the side door, and accidentally ran into an old man who looked as though he was sweeping the steps on the way down to the showers. He took one look at me, and I made sure to use my shirt to wipe off some of the blood that was staining my lips and chin. "You alright, kid?" He asked, giving me a look of serious concern.
"You don't look fine. You need some help, boy?"
"No. It's ok." I said, looking him in the eye. "It's....just been a long night. I just need a shower. And then I'll be on my way."
He gave me such a strange look. He stepped aside for me to pass, but after I took a few steps, he said, "You know, sometimes...those long nights you're talking about...they give us the best lessons. I certainly hope you found yours, whatever it is."
"Maybe I did." I said quietly, still feeling my limbs buzzing with the power they held within them. "Sometimes, a little 'wrong' is needed to make things right. Right?"
But the old man shook his head. "Nope. Never." I looked back at him, and I told him it wasn't as bad as he thought. His answer? "Wrong is wrong, kid. They say that hate...it's like cancer. Doesn't matter if you have a little bit of cancer, or a LOT of cancer...it's still cancer." With that, he handed me a clean paper towel and told me that I had some blood in the corner of my mouth.
"It's nothing." He told me, and I started back down the steps. "You know what, kid? I ain't gonna ask what you got yourself into, as I figure it's your own business and all. But being around this church for some years, I've seen a lot of good souls come and go. Heard a lot of sad stories. A lot of angry stories too. And they all start with one 'long night'. You take care of yourself, you hear? Because I can see the look in your eyes..and if you don't mind me saying so...it looks like the devil's got his foot in your door."
The old man connected eyes with me for a moment longer, and with a nod, he went back to his sweeping. I can't explain why it had such a weird impact on my current state of mind, but it did. I thought about it for a moment, and walked further down the steps to get to the showers. I removed my clothes slowly, and then walked in to an empty room to clean myself off. The cascade of warm water never felt so good, flooding itself into my blond hair and rolling down the back of my shoulders. My muscles tensed and twitched slightly from the overexertion, but it wasn't painful. After all, my body was able to handle almost anything these days.
My mind began to wander. It was almost as if I was living two lives completely, and I had yet to choose a side. With Taryn so close to my heart, I knew where I wanted to be. But...I had to be an angel to be with my angel. And I had to be a demon to battle the demons around us. How can both coexist without a choice to give myself over completely to one or the other?
I washed myself slowly, enjoying the warmth of the spray...but my mind refused to remain silent. It haunted me. Burdened me. I was seeing flashes of the broken arms and legs in that alley. The torturous things that I had done to them. I blocked it out as best as I could, but they wouldn't go away. It was like a 'stain' on my soul. A spot that I couldn't scrub off of myself, no matter how hard I tried. Visions of the fights that I had been in over the past month or two. Or even before that. At the arena, the 'spice' shack, the IceZone, or at Soren's warehouse. Moments of brutality that seemed to come from nowhere. Pushing me. Driving me.
Echoes of Taryn's voice rang in my ears as I washed my hair, trying to ignore them. "Who knows, Justin? Maybe 'hurting people' is what you're good at." He said. "Maybe that's what you were meant to be." He told me. I can still hear the faint screams in my mind, from that moment when I was murdering Natpea with my bare hands. Punching and punching until there was nothing left. And Taryn, behind me....screaming. "JUSTIN!!!! STOP IT!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? STOP!!!" If only I could wipe my memory clean, and start all over from scratch. If only I didn't have to 'deal' with this suffering any more.
I finished my shower, and stepped out to dry myself off with a towel. I had it over my face, drying my hair, when I heard a voice behind me. "I don't seem to remember the Mimic scriptures mentioning anything about an extremely hot ass." I quickly turned around and covered myself as I saw a familiar face staring back at me.
"Dizz?" His smile was just as fascinated with me as it always had been. Hell, even after my training with him and Jazz had all but gone astray, I figured he'd be disappointed in me. Instead, his bright eyes gazed upon me with a smile all their own. "What are you doing here?"
"We'll get to that." He said. "First...why don't you get dressed, and meet me outside. We have some 'issues' to discuss."
"Did Com, send you?"
I saw his face drop slightly, but he was quick to cover it with an artificial grin. "Not exactly, no." He said softly. "I'll meet you upstairs." He turned and left before I could ask any more questions...but the emotional traces that I picked up on him were solemn ones. And I wondered just how dark this future of mine was going to get before my story was told.