Archive for December, 2014

Chapter 5.26

Posted: December 8, 2014 in Generation 5
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5.26

“The first stage to ultimate vampiric purification, starts with blood. Blood letting, and starvation. During the entire experiment, the test subject shall forgo drinking of any blood. Safety procedures will apply to prevent any… Incidents from occurring. Silver bindings are to be used at all times, on the wrists, biceps, stomach, and ankles. Fangs are to be removed. Twice weekly, the subject shall be drained of one pint of blood. This is not enough to affect the human carrier, but overtime, with the weakened vampire cells, the virus will not be able to replicate at the same rate.

After the first week of trials, the dosage shall be increased, and so forth, until the subject is cured. Alongside the formula, various therapies, reintroduction of human needs-“

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“This is the second time I’ve heard this speech, this week.” Marlene rolls her eyes softly, as she takes the empty space at her colleagues side. Absentmindedly and almost without knowing that she does it, she reads the tiny names printed on front page of her clipboard, and the associated numbers. These were the chances, and tiny specks of hope at a cure. “Are you noticing any changes in our guinea pigs, wonder boy?”

“They’re slower, weaker. But we’re also draining them, and starving them. So I wouldn’t exactly call that conclusive.” Cassiel slumps his shoulders slightly exhaling loudly. Even outside of work, inside of his own mind, this was where he spent most of his time. Analyzing and recalculating the tiniest changes, over and over again. Waiting for that tiny spark to ignite the fires that would become the cure. But instead of results, it was the drainings, the pulling of fangs, the starving, and bindings, and becoming the scientist he didn’t want to become. Of course as a scientist he understood the reasons why, but as a human? “The dosage of the formula is so small, it’s hard to tell if it makes any difference at all.”

“We have to override the vampire cells slowly, or the host will die. As you’ve probably noticed in your own experiments.” She regards him thoughtfully from behind her glasses. This was the boy that the rebels had negotiated with, and flown in specially for this, that Mr Aleksi had seen the potential in. And despite all of it, he could have so easily been overlooked, and so easily left behind because he hadn’t been important enough to find.  “The body of a typical vampire is so infected by this virus, it will take time. You know, the first time Mr Aleksi did it, to himself, it took almost a year, and now he can do it in a few months.”

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“So we slowly up the dosage, stick with the therapy, do you actually think we can cure something?” Cassiel drops his voice into a low tone, as though saying it any louder might make the doubts come true.

“You’ve done it before, Cassiel. They didn’t survive the process because the human carrier wasn’t prepared for the change, but that’s what the therapy is for, the multiple doses, all of this. It is going to work, because we can’t afford for it not to.” And that was it, the thing that everyone was so afraid of. The humans. Their allies. And the impossible time limit that grew thinner with each passing day. Any day, any day they could just storm in here, and do as they pleased and no one would stop them, because somehow, despite everything, they were still the bad guys. How Larka could manage to risk her life for these people, and waste it away for their lives instead of her own, Cassiel could never understand.

“I really hope so, you know. We really don’t have the man power to fight another war, especially when we’re the only ones fighting this one.” He smiles softly, straightening his back as though he were leaving those fears behind. For now at least he couldn’t dwell on them.

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“Was that a ‘we’ I just heard?” She smirks back at him. “You’re finally one of us now?”

“I guess that I just have to much to lose here. Enough, that I don’t think I could just return back home, or back to them.” This time, the smile on his lips was genuine. Despite the fact that meaning those words meant he didn’t belong with his humans anymore. Surrounded by demons, in love with demons, it was everything he never thought he could come to love, and fight for.

“You sound like a man in love.” Marlene says with a knowing grin. A thankful one. Things were bad enough as it was, war and famine, everyone was struggling, but the fact that people could still find reasons to be happy was important. It meant he still hadn’t given up yet.

“Am I that obvious?” He replies with a soft blush.

“It’s a good thing, this type of job, your gonna need someone to take you out of your own head.” She states knowingly. Even if for most of the time those reasons were fear, and worry, loving a soldier, a mercenary, that’s just what came along with the territory. Anything was better than being trapped inside here, and your own head for the long haul.

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“Oh, she keeps me plenty busy. Don’t you worry about that.” Cassiel flashes a lopsided smirk.

“Larka, she’s a tough girl.” Marlene says. She smiles at him as if to say it’s a small town, and anyone different, or important got noticed. Especially in her case. “I’ve known her a while, and she’s always been a stubborn thing. But with you, she seems different somehow. Stubborn still, but, perhaps, warmer. Between you and me, I think you’re good for her too.”

“Just don’t let her hear you say that.” Despite his mocking tone, there’s truth in it. And he knows it.

“It’s tough for her, she’s only ever been taught to say goodbye, never a hello, never a I’ll see you again. It’s a coping mechanism, I wouldn’t take it personally. My husband was like that once, but even when he couldn’t admit it to himself, I always knew who he was fighting for.” Where were they now she wondered, fighting off in some distant city, maybe having the same conversation, maybe talking about how much they missed home.

“You think she’s fighting for someone, other than herself?” Cassiel raises an eyebrow at her. He loved the girl, but even he knew that she wasn’t so selfless, or caring. She had no friends, she didn’t like her family, she had him. And some days it really seemed like even that was too much for her.

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“I do. If she was fighting for just herself, then her battle would have already ended a long time ago.” Marlene says solemnly. “You know, she went through a tough time a while back, with her squad dying. Back in Ravenwood. She punished herself for that, for a long time, but she kept coming home. And that, I don’t believe was for herself. Does she ever talk about it?”

“To be honest, she doesn’t do a lot of talking. I mean, I don’t blame her, I can’t even imagine the things that she’s seen, and done out there. All those memories, the good, the bad, the horrible, she’s got to live with them. Whatever way she can. But talking about it, or how she feels, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for her.” Or me, he thinks to himself. Some days she barely spoke at all. And he tried, he truly did, but somehow, along the way of losing people and trying to protect herself, Larka had made an impenetrable wall that kept everyone out. But that only mattered as long as she kept coming home. “Does it ever get easier? Because I can deal with not knowing what’s going on inside of her head, but not knowing when, or if she’s gonna be coming back.”

“I’d like to say it does.” She says slowly, trying to make the words fit on her tongue. “But perhaps, you just get used to it, you just grow numb to the constant worrying, and fretting. We all do.”

*

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The first howl of the night came after midnight. My squad had been stationed fifteen miles from the first barricade of Starlight shores, and the construction site that would become the safe zone if the city ever did fall. Ten days in, and I couldn’t understand how it had remained in tact for as long as it had. I suppose money really could buy anything, and inside the walls of the illustrious city, war was a distant thought. Barely visible at all.

Sprinting through the sparse tree line, I shift my legs into something more animalistic, something that made me fly under the moon without a sound. The knowledge that Azazel had managed to impart with me was working, I no longer needed a full transformation to get the benefits of my lycanthropy. Two wolves take my flank as we descend through the valley and towards our target. Ahead, the rest of our squad, two other lycans race to cut the vampire off from the opposite direction.

As we break through the tree line, I can’t help but notice that I no longer care about who the vampire was before they were turned. Age, gender, hair colour, none of it matters to me anymore. I don’t see it. Now, all I see, is it’s vital spots, and how best to dispatch it. Another nameless enemy to add to the list that I didn’t feel remorse over. Realizing that it’s cut off, the vampire backtracks violently, lashing out at me with a powerful strike.

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On instinct alone, I dodge, but not so gracefully that I escape the full brunt of the strike. The vampire’s claws dance over the fabric of my uniform, slicing shallowly into my stomach as I drop to my knees. Quickly, I throw myself up, and backwards, colliding the top of my head into it’s jaw. The sound is terrible, and blood drips from it’s mouth. Without slowing down, I land two swift strikes to it’s throat. It’s instinctual now, reshaping only the muscle, or limb that I need to use. It’s natural to fight with the instinct to incapacitate, and kill.

I duck as the vampire leaps toward me, the two wolves at my side take advantage and sink their oversized fangs into the beasts arms. They drag the vamper to the ground in one fluid motion as I pull out a vial of pure liquid silver, and inject it into it’s neck.

“Kill or capture?” The second team of lycans ask as they prowl closer. It was standard measure, anyone suspected of knowing anything to do with anything was to be brought in to the punishment force for interrogation. Everyone else was to be executed on site.  I focus my breathing with a breathless sigh, feeling the warmth trickle out of my finger tips.

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“It’s such a shame.” It laughs breaking my concentration, pain evident and heavy in the strange strangled chuckle. There was no fear at being captured by it’s enemy, no fear at its possible torture and execution, just pure blood lust. “My master would have loved to taste that thing inside of you.” I square my jaw, listening intently to it’s words. “Innocent blood tastes the best, ‘specially fresh from the womb.”

My blood runs cold as I land a savage punch to it’s jaw, and all it does is laugh in return. Chuckling it’s painful, breathless chortles. Growling, I take a handful of hair, and pull it’s face close to mine with a dark growl. “And who exactly is this master I need to meet?” With my other hand, I grip painfully onto the underside of the vampire jaw, and cheeks. Squeezing until it’s veins turn black and heavy against it’s pale skin. The scream is ear piercing and distracting, but I focus on that small glimmer of memory.

It’s a dark room, with candles lit around the edges. A vampire stands in the middle surrounded by humans as it’s drinks, and drains them dry. Except, the dark haired vampire doesn’t throw the corpses to the ground, instead the bodies turn to ash in his arms. He’s laughing a vicious sound, his red eyes flickering open, clouded with intoxication, but he doesn’t stop drinking. Doesn’t stop killing his own men, his own kind. My hands tremble as I release myself from the vision.

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What sick bastard did that? Slew his own men, his own progeny for blood lust alone? No other reason, just pure gluttony. Senseless killing. The rumors were entirely true. Arkin was a monster. A killer. A lover of senseless violence.

“Espin, Luke, take this bastard back to camp for interrogation.” I breathe shakily, bending down to capture the knife in my boot. It trembles ever so slightly, barely noticeably in my hand, but it’s all I notice. I grip the side of the vampires mouth, and force it open to cut out it’s fangs. “Trey, Ramone, I want you back on the perimeter, no vamper is getting through tonight. Not through our section anyway.”

I watch them move silently through the trees, like ghosts. When I’m sure they’re gone, I release the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. My hands frantically assess the cuts in my uniform, and the freshly healed wounds on my pale stomach. I close my palm over it, gripping softly as though I’d float away if I didn’t. It was a foreign idea, one that made me shudder, and lose my sense of direction, a life, inside of me.

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How easily could I kill someone, take a life, and torture someone. How little it weighed on my mind that I was a hired killer, that I thrived on cutting dead things open, and making them bleed for the smallest glimpse at who my enemy was. But growing a life… My breath quickens to the point of panic as I tighten my grip, and move my hand, desperately feeling for an answer. Vampires had keener senses. Vampires lied.

This wasn’t happening.