Author: Wisdomwielder PM
Ezio comes face to face with the feared psychopath Malfatto– on his terms. How long and how much can he endure before rescue comes, or when the mighty Assassin finally breaks?Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Suspense - Ezio A. & Doctor - Words: 2,384 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 11 - Published: 05-14-12 - id: 8117765
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello, and welcome to my first post in well over two years... sorry.
This is one of the stories I have been working on all the way back from Brotherhood. Better now then never I figure. I thought I'd post the prologue even though the story is far from done to give you an idea of what's to come and also since it is the least likely to change. A fair warning: this story is not for the faint of heart.
When black darkness covered the bleak, dank streets of Rome in the dead of night, no one dared wander by themselves. The thick, inky night seemed to swallow up everything in sight, from lamp light, to entire buildings, to naïve or arrogant people wandering the streets, and deadly predators that lived and hunted in the darkness. On moonless, damp nights the conditions were perfect for monsters and other scum to crawl forth from their lairs and stalk those who found themselves alone and enveloped in the blinding murk.
Tonight was one of those murky, moonless nights.
At the Rosa in Fiore, those that were sensible stayed within the warm, protective walls in the middle of the night, but not everyone followed this unspoken rule.
Among the courtesans that inhabited the brothel was a young Assassin, clad in the grey of a novice, conversing with Madame Claudia Auditore.
He seemed rather uncomfortable as he spoke, "I'm sure Master Ezio would like a list of those Cardinals and senators that have been attending recently."
Claudia, a very astute and revered woman for her young age, stood tall and replied reassuringly, "I will have one of my girls deliver the list posthaste, along with any information they might have bestowed upon us, as I'm sure my brother asked for as well?"
Distracted by a wink from one of the girls sitting behind Claudia, it took him a few seconds to reply, "…Uhh… yes! Yes, that as well. I nearly forgot." The group of courtesans giggled at his awkwardness.
Claudia noticed them gawking at the young boy and found it quite amusing. "Yes, I thought so. Would you like to stay here for the rest of the night? We have several rooms open: free of charge for Assassins."
The novice glanced over her shoulder again, this time the girl was beckoning him over with a lanky finger. He decided to politely decline, "Uh, I think I'll be okay. I should be getting back anyways."
Claudia raised her eyebrows and replied, "As you wish. Good night." She gave a slight bow and walked away. The novice went straight for the door, the group of courtesans snickering as they watched him leave in a hurry.
He sighed in relief as the cold night air washed over him. Some of the girls there were no doubt attractive, on the outside, but places like that made his skin crawl. It was mostly because of the smell of filth shrouded with pungent perfumes stinging his nostrils. The thought of what could be growing in a cesspool like that also churned his stomach, not to mention the place was a den for the Borgia's underlings.
The novice started down the dark street, away from the glowing torches surrounding the Rosa in Fiore toward the direction of Tiber Island, the lair of the Assassins. He walked hastily, always feeling like someone was on his heels in a thick darkness such as this. The first opportunity he had, he planned to climb to the rooftops and travel across them instead; he felt safer when no one could follow him.
Before he could get very far though, he heard the door to the brothel slam open behind him, turning just in time to see one of the courtesans run out with her face in her hands, bawling. A several others called out to her to come back but did not pursue her further as the girl darted into the night.
He never did like courtesans much, but these girls were vital assets to the success of the Brotherhood. It was also not a good time to go running through the back streets of Roma.
Exhaling quite noisily, he went back and ran after the girl, following the sounds of her sobbing. The closer he got the source of her noises, the less the firelight from the Rosa in Fiore lit his path. Eventually, the young Assassin found himself stumbling through completely blackened, narrow alleys, falling into muddy puddles, and not having a clue as where he was anymore. His only guide was the courtesan's distressed sobs.
Eventually, it sounded as though she had calmed down enough to where she had stopped running and he could finally get an idea of her location. He moved forward into the night listening to her softening cries. Just as he turned a corner where he expected her to be standing, she wasn't there. The air also suddenly became very quiet. Confused, he scanned the lonely alleyway and found her nowhere in sight. He headed onto an offshoot of the shadowed alley, now blindly scouring the area and listening for any indication of a sound from her.
"Signorina?" he called out softly. Why he was whispering, he didn't know.
As he cautiously approached the end of the alley and the beginning of another, a curious, but all-too-familiar stench like that of iron wafted to his senses. A feeling of dread clutched at his throat. He saw something reflecting on the ground, as if it was wet. He silently gulped and bent down to examine the odd puddle, carefully touching the shiny, dark liquid. It was warm to the touch, making him cringe. Observing it to be thick, sticky, and when the dim light shined on it, colored red, he finally decided it to truly be blood. He noticed wide smear that trailed around the corner to the right.
The trembling Assassin hesitantly inched toward the corner, fearing what may just be on the other side. Pressed up against the wall, he waited a while before taking a deep breath and peeking around the corner.
He breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the courtesan standing in the alley with her back to him. He rapidly approached her ranting, "Signorina! What are you doing running off in the middle of the night? It is not safe to be-" His eyes grew wide in shock when she suddenly fell back into his arms, eyes glazed over and breathing very slow and shallow with dark stains around her mouth. Her bloodshot eyes slowly shifted to him, gazing pleadingly. He felt something wet and sticky on her right side that soaked her dress, noticing that it trailed up to her shoulder where there was an abrupt, mushy indent. He quickly pulled his hand away, realizing it to be a deep puncture wound where warm blood poured from.
Her glassy eyes, cold skin, labored breathing; he knew what had caused this.
He searched her skin for a smaller puncture, as small as a pin-prick.
There was one, very round and small on the right side of her neck. When he touched it he felt some kind of grainy liquid, other than blood, oozing out of the wound.
Just as he uttered the word, the girl in his arms went limp and her eyes turned dull and lifeless. Disappointed in himself, he respectfully lowered her to the ground and closed her eyes.
The sound of shifting clothing came from the somewhere in the darkness.
The killer is still here.
The novice rose to his feet and drew a dagger from a small scabbard on his belt, holding it defensively in front of him as he scanned his surroundings, trying to follow every little sound that echoed around him. He whirled at the noise of a scraping footstep among the rooftops then at a terracotta shingle breaking to his right. Whoever this was hunting him seemed to be everywhere at once.
Something heavy landed on the street where he had come from, hidden by darkness.
He tried squinting to make out some sort of silhouette of movement, but nothing was visible in the veil of black. All of the different sounds he had been hearing had suddenly stopped, and the air had become silent again except for his shortened breaths which he realized were trembling with fear. The novice stood frozen for a while longer listening intently, making sure the presence had completely left.
After an undefined amount of time standing completely still in the darkness with the body of the girl, he finally let his guard down, but still kept his blade in hand. While periodically glancing around, he kneeled down to the courtesan, carefully sliding an arm under her knees and the other under her upper back, and lifted her up into his arms.
It suddenly felt like something like an insect had stung the back of his neck.
He could only cringe to combat it without the use of his arms. As he turned his head to look behind him, the stabbing pain disappeared. There seemed to be no sign of life in the area: no bug, person, animal; no anything.
As he stared into the darkness confused, a deep coldness began to spread from the prick on his neck. He shifted uncomfortably as it went up into the base of his skull and down his shoulder, turning into a dull, painful ache. His rationality went out the window when the feeling consumed his head, turning his thoughts toward paralyzing fear as to what was happening to him. He dropped what he had been holding and tried to swat away whatever was causing the painful, crushing sensation in his head. Shadows darted across his blurring vision as he stumbled about in a daze, the aching cold now seizing his chest and most of his right side.
His sense of equilibrium finally left him and the hard ground suddenly came up to meet his face. He stared out into the fuzzy, fluid darkness from his place on the cold stone at another form lying across from him as he let the feverish cold overtake and completely paralyze his body. Struggling to focus what was left of his darkening vision, he recognized the courtesan girl's lifeless, bloodshot eyes gazing at him as if to say, why couldn't you have arrived a little sooner?
He tried to answer but found his voice suppressed by something thick and sticky in his throat. He weakly tried coughing, but only found himself able to gag up whatever it was that blocked his airway. The bitter fluid seeped into his mouth and dribbled out the side of his slightly parted lips, pooling around his cheek. Out of the corner of his eye, he recognized it as a volatile mixture of blood and bile.
A shadow loomed over the young Assassin's deteriorating body and he suddenly found himself on his back staring up into the black night between the edges of the rooftops with a tall, dark figure standing over him. He gaped in confusion at the form until its features finally came into focus….
Long black trench-coat, black gloves, weird bulbous goggles, ghostly white face….
Wait…that was no human face, it was shaped wrong…a beak?
A primal fear crept into his clouded mind and strangled him as he continued to stare at this presence that he could sense was a predator of predators; this twisted version of a healer of the plague. He wished with all of the hope left in his heart that he was able to move so he could just crawl a little farther away from this mostro…
As the mock dottore pulled out something from behind him in his left hand, the novice felt himself mentally flinch in fear, as he was now physically unable to. Looking at the item, he recognized it to be some kind of metal syringe with a freakishly long needle. The man brought it around in front, holding it tightly in his leather-encased fist.
The young novice looked at the tool and then at the one wielding it with a helpless, pleading expression but realized all too well in his experience what was about to happen. All he could do was lay there, paralyzed in a torturous, half-conscious state, and linger in the toxin ravaging his insides.
He let out a gasp as the syringe was swiftly plunged into his heart. Each time his heart beat around the piece of metal stabbed through it, the boy silently convulsed in shocked agony and retched blood. Then, while he watched in horror, the plague-masked murderer pulled up the plunger and filled the small glass vile at the center with bright-red arterial blood. The only way he was aware enough to see his own bodily fluids harvested like this was a cursed rush of adrenaline. The craziness of it all, it had to be some kind of sick, twisted nightmare – this didn't happen in reality.
When the vile was finally full, the dottore viciously forced the needle down further with a fleshy crunch, the novice's gasp of pain stifled by a throat full of blood. He could only gurgle and gulp at the metallic red fluid filling his throat. After one last unsuccessful twisting thrust, the needle was ripped out of his chest with a spurt of blood. While the estranged murdered was examining the specimen in the glass vile, jets of blood were gushing out of the puncture wound every time his heart thumped pathetically.
The psychotic man noticed this display and seemed thoroughly amused by it, unabashedly observing the dark blood rhythmically flowing out of the crevice he created and spilling onto the stone.
The torturous suffering was finally taking its toll on the Assassin. With every second that passed, his injured heart seemed to beat more faintly and his body felt heavier and heavier.
The last thing he saw before his vision turned to nothing but darkness was the plague-masked dottore that had killed him reaching towards his face.
Suddenly all of his pain left him and he finally felt the comforting embrace of death.