Chapter 5.30 – The crimson madness

Posted: February 8, 2015 in Generation 5
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5.30

I force the darkness into my hands, the stillness of death, and the creeping ice of the abyss, I force it right down into my fingertips. I let my claws extend outward. Smirking coldly, I begin to circle my prey, taking deliberate steps around the chair in the middle of the dim room. Pausing in front of the vampire, I trace a line down its arm. Underneath my cold touch, the veins turn black, and heavy beneath it’s skin, and the vampire cries out in pain. Deep down inside, the sickest part of me enjoys it.

“Tell me, vampire, what are your master’s plans?” I ask coldly, not expecting any semblance of an answer. None of the vampires that had been caught understood it any better than we did. No one knew, and that reality was terrifying. But it didn’t stop me from asking, from bleeding it from their skin. “Hmm, no answer?” I coo, repeating the torturous touch down the other arm, only this time applying more pressure.

It had been a week, a week since I’d said goodbye to my father in the hospital. The knowledge that Arkin had taken him away, that the vampires were draining this world dry filled me with an uncontrollable anger, and sickness. And being inside this room, locked in here with my enemies, and all the time in the world to cut, and stitch, and bleed them dry, it felt right. It was what I needed to get over it, to get over all my years fighting them in hand to hand combat.

5.30 (2)

Another forty minutes pass before I finally leave the room. My eyes no doubt were dark and bleak, sitting lifelessly upon my pale face. I wasn’t a torturer, but in torturing my enemy I found solace. I knew the types of people who joint this profession, and they were cold, and sadistic, even outside of these stone walls. Is that how I would turn out? Would I always take joy in it, or was this only a temporary escape from the horrors outside?

It’s necessity, I think, running a hand down my stomach, feeling for the heart beat inside of my womb. Surely there was a part of me that detested this life, that despised the blood, and struggled to forget the screams. Somewhere deep down inside there had to be a part of me that understood this was just pointless revenge, and nothing could bring back what I’d lost. I mean, whoever felt like I did had to be all kinds of messed up, not fit to raise a child.

A loud crash somewhere in the city brings me out of my mind. On instinct, my body tenses, and through my lips I growl low, and threateningly. My heart beats painfully, like it was all to suddenly too big to fit inside of my chest, and was struggling to make room. The pressure knocks the wind from my lungs, and sends a wave of cold nausea through my veins. The tension I’d been feeling building up over the last few weeks, seemed to suddenly reach it’s maximum limit.

5.30 (3)

Baltezhar’s body flies past me, ripping the door open from the shadows, and remaining within them. His bright blue eyes tighten as he surveys the skies, as he watches the streets, and alleyways for danger. Standing together, our nostrils flare as we breathe in the distant scent of blood, and smoke, and death. “Ulrick.” He states in a low tone. “What do you think?”

The scarred vampire is at my flank, assessing the situation with heavy eyes. Suddenly he looked very tired, the sun in front of him taunted him to find out, to fight back. “It’s the direction of the laboratories, sir. But the humans would hardly risk the cure in such a fool hardy move. Aleksi isn’t there, they wouldn’t know what to look for, who to ask.” He turns his face to mine, my gaze meeting with the thick scar running down his face. It was the mark of a traitor. “Sending in day servants wouldn’t be worth the trouble for purebloods. I don’t understand it. Who’d be so mad?”

Mad, that was the word, wasn’t it. I think gravely, balling my hands into fists at my sides. Who would attack during the day? So quickly, and stealthily that no one saw the attack, or assailant coming until it had already begun. Right in the middle of town. There was no conceivable way. No possible way in which it could of happened. The sun mocks me, as I step into the light. It laughs in my direction as I grip the wall for support.

5.30 (4)

“You’ve answered your own question, Ulrick.” Baltezhar growls quietly, his body was tensed in a half crouch as he spoke. “There are ways of course to cross distances during the day, not without the risk or pain of course.” Finally he uncoils his body, and straightens up. His black hair falls messily across his face, and his eyes finally seemed desperate, full of obvious pain. “But it’s possible, and the purebloods that we fight have always been an old race. A mad race.” His eyes fall onto mine with an obvious need to be ask. “Larka, they’ll need all the help they can get. Perhaps you know that better than anyone.”

I don’t remember the journey to the labs, or pushing past the crowd to the epicenter. The scent of blood, and death hit me like a truck and derailed my thoughts, crushed me to oblivion. Smoke littered the sky, and for a second I wished it would block out the sun. The anxious grip upon my heart made me want to crumple to my knees like many around me, there were so many inside the building, so many that their screams burnt in my ears. And Cassiel was somewhere within the darkness, facing an enemy I knew I stood no chance against.

Arkin… The sound of his name ringing in my head makes my breath shudder. The unease in my body fortifies and makes itself a home. Trembling I take a step forward, the chaos barely registering the movement. He’d beaten the sun to get here, to take Cassiel from me, and to destroy the cure in one fell swoop. He was going to take everything.

5.30

“Lark?” A familiar male voice murmurs coldly, but not unkindly. Fingers curl around my shoulder, and twirl me away from the hopelessness of the building. I search his face for a quiet moment, looking for anything comforting and familiar, but all I can see is Cassiel’s face, and the sound of thunder in my ears.

“Captain…” I whisper, dropping my gaze from the intensity of his. I could tell that Sora was trying to hide the fear, and anxiety, but even despite his efforts, his face was just a ghost of his usual casual competence, and self confidence. Weakly, I try to turn away, to take a step towards where Cassiel could be.. Could be dying... My heart thuds painfully.

“No…” Sora’s eyes darken as he tightens his grip on my shoulder. Shaking his head, his own eyes travel towards the flames licking the sides of the building, and cringing as the next round of screams echo in our ears.  “The black ops are on their way, special forces, they’re going to…” His jaw clenches, as he searches my face desperately. He looked hauntingly like a man that was being forced to sit on the sidelines while people died, and all he knew how to do was follow orders. “… Fight.” He growls finally. “We can’t go in there, not knowing, not- It’s a suicide mission. This war, our enemies, that, in there… It’s… No.”

“I can’t just-“

5.30 (3)

“Larka!” He snaps at me, with enough force to make me jump. “Did you not just hear what I said? It’s a suicide mission. Whatever that is in there, it’s not human, it’s not like the enemies we fight. It’s too strong, and you will die. And I can’t bear the thought of losing you too, not to such hopelessness.” His tone softens just a fraction, almost pleading with me to stay here. “You’re not the only one with someone in there, girl. Just trust them to be able to do their jobs.”

I barely let his words sink in as I fall to my knees. Staring down at my hands I trace the lines, and little wrinkles, the traces of blood, and I watch the power cement itself back into my veins. Cassiel was inside, and for once, I didn’t care how the story ended, as long I could get him back out. He was good, truly good, and something bad and evil was inside that building with him, hunting him down. There were so many people in there that didn’t deserve to die, just like my father hadn’t. And the pressure of what I had to do settled in my stomach like a bomb.

“I have to go inside.” I say quiet enough that Sora has to lean in close to hear my voice. A part of me hopes that he can’t hear the trembling of my words. Looking at him resolutely, I try to harden my features to hide any doubts that I had. They didn’t matter, none of them did. If I died before I found him, if I couldn’t save anyone, they were meaningless. I didn’t have a choice. This was either how my story began, or ended.

5.30 (2)

“I can’t let you do that.” Sora growls, all of the fear turning into frustration. More than anything, I could tell that he wanted more than anything else, that he wanted to go inside and hunt the bastard down himself. But I couldn’t let him do that. Not when I didn’t know if i would make it back out. “You don’t think that I want to go in there too? We all do, all of us here. But if that thing could get in there, right now,” He points to the sun. “And do this, then you don’t stand a chance, I.. I don’t know if any of us do.”

“Five minutes, Captain.” My voice changes, as I drop my gaze. He was one of our elites, one of our best and strongest captains, and he was talking like it was over. How long had passed since the attack started, ten minutes? And he’d already given in. “That’s all I ask. Don’t send anyone in after me, just let me do this, alone.” My eyes blaze against my pale, clammy skin. “You know what I can do, sir, I’m just asking for a chance to save those people. And I’m not asking for your permission, I’m asking for a favor. No one else needs to die today, like you said, going in there, with it, it’s suicide. And at the end of those five minutes, regardless, it might not matter anyway.”

“Larka…” Sora says quietly, his eyes turning into stones. A part of him understood what I was asking, and the reasons why. He knew what I was, a necromancer, but he also knew me as something that he wanted to protect. “And what if you can’t?”

“If I can’t, then it doesn’t matter, because in the end the outcome might actually destroy me.” I mumble to him. Cassiel’s face burns in my mind as I take a shaky step forward. Not because I loved him, but because I truly did believe that he was the hope for this dying world, for a cure. Because I truly believed in him, and hell, maybe in my own way, that was what love was. “Even if you don’t understand, this is something that I need to do. No one else stands a chance, no one else can fight him, so I will, even if that means saying goodbye.”

5.30 (4)

A few moments of tormented silence later, and Sora finally steps aside. with just the empty pavement between me and Arkin, I feel dizzy, and weak. And impossibly stupid. Of course I had no way to know that it was him, but it was the same surety I felt that the sun would rise again tomorrow. I knew it in the pits of my stomach, and the fibers of my frantic heart. I knew it. I walk stiffly, trying to hold my head up high so that no one else could see my fear. I could win, it begs to say, I actually stand a chance against the monster inside. Against the madness.

Stepping through the building, my body is tensed, hard as iron, hard as concrete. I can barely hear my own thoughts over the sound of my thunderous heart beat, and the hopeless struggles from just mere floors above. The scent of blood was dizzying, and made what few thoughts I could muster up scarce. Some of the faces I knew, some of them I didn’t, and there was not one single person that I had come across that I could possibly still save. Whoever did this truly did deserve the name of a monster.

Once I reach the third floor, the pressure in my veins, and on my heart is almost to much to bear. Each doorway, and branching hallway, every shadow has me trembling, and clinging onto false hope. I both dreaded and hoped to see Cas. I expected to see Arkin at every turn, so much so that when I finally did catch up to him, I almost didn’t believe it. I felt nervous and sick, and my body was covered in a thin, clammy sweat. And like a swift kick to the stomach I realized I had exceptionally screwed up by chasing him into this building without a plan or hope beyond finding him.

5.30 (5)

“Thank you for coming, little girl.” His voice murmurs softly. Arkin was as beautiful as all dangerous things were, like tigers, and venomous snakes. His skin could have been cut from the whitest of opals, hard, and sharp, and gleaming in the flickering lights. Skin that was adorned in very old, yet intricate armor, dressed as he was, he could have been a king, or a knight of prophecy. And his dark hair hung at his shoulders, obscuring parts of his face, and his eyes. Eyes that I knew all to well were Crimson red, like blood, and trained on me as though I were the only thing in existence. “I’m so hungry.” He says quietly, as though he were in pain. My body tenses instinctively.

For the briefest part of a second, I lose his silhouette in the darkness, before he appears before me. His teeth gleaming, sharp, and white against the Crimson wash of blood against his mouth and chin. “No matter how much I consume, it never ends.” He whispers, breathing in the scent of me. “Your sacrifice is a worthy one.”

For a moment I can’t move as time begins to slow down. His body presses me against the desks, trapping me in place, and the metal he wears is cold and wet from the blood. His fangs close in around me, edging towards my neck, but instead of the hysteria, and the blackness that I thought would follow, my mind snaps awake, and I choose to fight this unbeatable war. I focus the darkness into my skin as I push his face away with my palm.

5.30 (6)

I feel his body go rigid all over, and a low hiss passes through his teeth. And then his weight is gone. He stands across the room from me, barking a sadistic laugh. It sends a chill down my spine, because he was every bit of the nightmare I was expecting. I ignore the dead bodies in the room, the strong scent of blood burning in my nostrils, and the fact that I hadn’t found Cassiel yet. Instead I train my eyes in Arkin. I couldn’t hope to overpower him, he was too strong, and I stood no chance of out speeding him.

Cocking his head to the side, his laughter stops abruptly. “You.” He says. “Are an interesting creature indeed.” We circle each other slowly. Where he takes a step in one direction, I match him, not daring to break his gaze. “Unfortunately for you, I haven’t seen a witch in a thousand years that could stand against me, and you, you are just a little girl, not yet tempered in the fires of age, or experience.”

He breaks the circle, flashing his fangs as he does so. He’s so close that he could reach out and touch me. That I could drive a stake through his heart. I force a smirk onto my cold, frozen face, forcing a calm surety into my voice. “Are you sure about that, vampire?” My eyes are wild, and desperate, and I wonder if through the haze of blood the shade of my eyes was something he remembered.

My hand brushes his cheek as I force all of the hatred I had for him into the attack. For my father, for everyone in this room, for everyone that could never fight back. This time he screams, his veins turning black, and thick beneath the surface of his face. His screech turns into a strangled laugh at the end, as he forces us both against the wall behind us. My spine cracks, and I taste blood on my lips, as I struggle to regain my composure.

Arkin’s hand lightly brushes the hair out of my face, capturing one of the strands between his blood stained finger tips. His head dips down into the crook of my neck, breathing in the scent of rushing blood beneath the surface of my skin. His lips brush against skin as I try to push him away, to force him back again, but he’s silent, as he kisses a trail down my jugular.

5.30 (7)

In this close proximity I can feel his burning spirit, aching with loss, and confusion, and violence. There’s memories on his lips, on his fingers, and as he pulls away he smirks. His hand moving to my stomach and caressing it lightly. The touch makes me sick, makes me want to tear his throat out, but I force my face into ice.

“The blood of the innocent truly is one of the most glorious gifts in this world.” He murmurs. Tracing a lone finger down my stomach, drawing blood, and tearing the fabric with a shallow wound. He grins, the type of grin that makes me tremble beneath his touch, the type of grin the turns my skin to ice. “I’d be doing you a favour, you understand? Children are more trouble than they’re worth.”

I can see red hair dancing in his eyes, and teeth shimmering in the morning sun, turning to ash. “Did you always believe that, or only after-” A scream pierces my ears, so loud that we both cringe, but more than the volume is the utter pain, and horror of the feminine screech. “Did you try to help her?” I growl, summoning all my strength to draw out his memories. To draw her out. “Did you want to save her?”

He drives a hand through my shoulder, shattering the bones as he does so. Frustration, and confusion, and something deep, and dark burning with familiarity in the scarlet of his eyes, which flicker around the room. Arkin can’t even deal the finishing blow, not with the agonising scream filling the air. It’s the first time the mask of bloodlust has been lifted, and all that’s left is terror. His eyes flick back to mine, the pupils wide, and black, almost blocking out the Crimson sun in his eyes.

5.30 (8)

“You can’t kill what’s already dead, Arkin.” I breathe out in a shudder, coughing up blood. A sick laugh vibrates from behind him, trailing her long fingers down his back. His entire body stiffens as he throws me to the ground to spring into a crouch in front of the girl with the red hair. Arkin hisses, his eyes wild with panic, and confusion.

“Silly, silly father.” She giggles tensing into a crouch, like a snake coiled to strike. Their images flicker, as my grip trembles around a broken leg of a chair. And then like the thunder, a growl so vicious fills the room. Arkin whips his head around, turning his back on me as he watches the black wolf, its teeth exposed, and its body trembling with the ferocity of the growl. I almost can’t hear Elvira’s childish giggles over the sound.

I stand and drive the sharpened wood through his back with inhuman strength, sinking it in deep, not deep enough. Until I’m flying across the room, crashing through glass, shattering it into a thousand pieces, my back soaking up the shards. I can’t make a sound, I can barely see the flash of black whirling past me, and the sound of thunder turning into rain against my skin.

5.30 (9)

I want to move, I want so desperately to find Cassiel alive amongst the dead, and bloody. But the numbness is dragging me down, as I breath out ragged gasps for air. I think I’m drowning in my own blood, as shards of glass cut into my body, slashing it open with each tiny movement, but there’s a stillness in the air as the wolf sits at my side, dripping blood into my wounds. There’s a calmness in my heart that hadn’t been there in a while, my father was dead, but somehow I’d fought Arkin, and he was gone, and maybe I’d scared him back into the Arkin that my grandfather had loved so much.

But there was too much to be forgiven.

Too much that could never be.

Too much had been lost.

Too many.

5.30 (10)

I struggle to keep my eyes open as I see movement, silhouettes moving past me, and to me, and speaking words I don’t quite understand. I can feel the weight of Arkins memories dragging me into the darkness, even though I so desperately want to stay. Here. In the warmth. With Cassiel. Alive. I can’t. Because Arkins blood is mine now, his burdens are like heavy rocks sinking to the ocean floor. And the image of Cassiel isn’t enough to anchor me in the sun.

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Comments
  1. Becki says:

    Usually I’m a silent reader but wow. Just wow. What a beautifully dark chapter. Oddly, I quite like evil Arkin. It’s such a contrast to how he used to be, all childlike and innocent, it’s quite cool to see his full potential and being *ahem* a “bad-ass”. I’m interested in Larka’s potential too, especially after Arkin’s reference. Hopefully Larka will survive this episode (and her baby, too)!

    Next instalment, please ^^

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